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1/1/2013 to 1/10/2013
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January 10, 2013


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Ambergris Today

San Pedro Cancer Society Elects New Board of Directors
The San Pedro Cancer Society held its general meeting on Monday, January 7, 2013, and the election of its new board for the year 2013 took place. After formal nominations and votes the San Pedro Cancer Society is proud to announce its new board which includes President – Miguel Perez, Vice-President – Dina Graniel, Treasurer – Gonzalo Muñoz, Secretary – Lucy Muñoz and Membership Chairperson – Penny Bonilla. Outgoing president Gonzalo Muñoz expresses his gratitude to all members and the entire community of San Pedro for helping and supporting the Cancer Society during his presidency and asks for the same support for this coming year so that the group can continue helping cancer patients in need.

Misc Belizean Sources

In a highly televised press conference held by the leader of the nation and his Government on January 8th, 2013, Prime Minister Dean Barrow held absolutely no reservation in telling the nation that he personally met with the leaders of the George Street gangs at his cabinet office in Belmopan yesterday. In his press conference the PM stated Government of Belize has no motive and no opinion leading to any suspects but that there may have been a window of opportunity by the underworld to have committed this terrible act of violence. He was referring to Monday night’s quadruple murder in the city. Eventhough, the George Street gang hierarchy blames the GSU for being directly responsible for the quadruple homicide, PM says the accusations are utterly unfounded and constitutes a very serious allegation of the integrity of the government but blames the underworld. Of note is that GSU has come under fire in the past for having used excessive force in executing its duties. Head of the Gang Suppression Unit Marco Vidal categorically refutes accusations of GSU’s involvement and says not true. According to Vidal allegations are totally unfounded and baseless. The GSU has a mandate to target gangs, and that is what they have been doing in Belize City, through its intelligence. Any actions beyond that would distabilize the country and that is not its mandate. If the GS gangsters are certain that no rival gangs were involved then who did it? Today, marks nine days into the new year and 8 body counts of senseless murders. We have seen in the past press conferences after press conferences and the statistics for homicides keep increasing from 129 in 2011, 142 in 2012 and have so far close to one per day counting for the new year.

Barrow meets with Belize gang leaders in the aftermath of brutal murders
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has confirmed holding talks with the leaders of a notorious criminal gang here after four men were found murdered in an apartment building on Tuesday. Barrow told reporters that he led a delegation that included National Security Minister John Saldivar for talks with the leaders of the George Street Gang and said that an arrangement had been reached for them to leave the area and not seek to retaliate against people they believe committed the murders. “I said they went under an arrangement with the government, they went completely of their own free will as a consequence of the discussion we had,” Barrow said, adding that the delegation made it clear during the talks “that it would be absolutely unthinkable for there to be any attempt at retaliation against innocent citizens. “I will say that right from the start of those negotiations, they freely volunteered their commitment that absolutely nothing like that would happen. Now I say to residents of the City, I say to citizens of this nation that notwithstanding that particular development...the security forces are putting in place all that is necessary to make assurance doubly sure. “But we do think that it was extremely helpful that we were able to secure that kind of commitment from the leaders. These people have premises outside the city. I don’t know that we can say it’s for rehabilitation purposes. It is perhaps better put as a departure that helps to assure us that they are going to be far removed from Belize City and to help to give us the additional comfort that they mean what they say when they undertake to abide by the laws of this country and to in particular not to engage in any random acts of violence at all against innocent citizens,” Prime Minister Barrow said.

Baldy Beacon in MPR
Jonathan Cariddi captured some beautiful scenery around Baldy Beacon in Mountain Pine Ridge. "A special part of Mountain Pine Ridge reserve is Baldy Beacon. Speculation continues on the cause of its infertility - soils are so poor they can't even support trees. Instead its covered in grass so tough that when sheep were introduced as an experiment back in the 1960s, they died of indigestion! The most probable explanation for the infertility is that in geological history, while the rest of Central America was under water, protected from the elements, these parts were still above sea level and exposed to erosion and leaching for millions of years longer than anywhere else. The result is a set of rounded grassy hills, with views uninterrupted by any trees."

Contemporary & Classical Concert Coming Saturday
The Soul Project will be having a Contemporary and Classical Concert this Saturday, January 12th. See a lot of great, local talent, with Giselle O'Brien playing too.

Challenge Gobie Foundation Raffle
The Gobie Foundation is doing a raffle of 2 trucks to help with the children's ward at KHMH. "February 16th 2013 is the date for the 5th Annual Bike Ride for the Challenge Gobie Foundation... We will also be drawing the Grand Raffle for 2 brand new 2013 Wingle Pick-ups on February 16th after the bike ride! Tickets are available countrywide at Caribbean Tire offices and select Service Stations for a contribution of only $10 each. Each vehicle will come with 1 year license (donated by De’Mar’s), 1 year comprehensive insurance (donated by RFG) and $100 worth or diesel each month for 12 months (donated by PUMA). All proceeds raised by the Challenge Gobie Foundation is for the construction of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the KHMH. You may also make donations directly to our Scotiabank Account number 4060895 Support a worthy cause! Call us at 627-5206 for further information or contact us on Facebook or at [email protected]"

Toledo Alcaldes Association Conducts Swearing-In Of New Alcaldes
On Saturday January 5th, 78 First and Second Alcaldes were sworn at Father Ring Parish Hall, Punta Gorda Town. This ceremony was a momentous event for the 38 Maya villages of the south as their traditional leaders take office to lead them into 2013 and 2014. Special remarks were made by Mr. Enerst Banner of the Ministry of Rural Development who maintained that the ministry will continue to collaborate with the Alcaldes. Inspector Ernel Dominguez, commanding officer of Punta Gorda Police formation, affirmed that the Alcaldes play a very important role in policing and that the police will remain committed to their partnership with the Alcaldes especially through its Community Policing program. Attorney for the Maya people, Antoinette Moore, spoke on the topic of Rights. She asserted that as Indigenous Peoples, the Maya communities have a right to exercise their own forms of social institutions such as the Alcalde system. Guest speaker Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith congratulated the Alcaldes for taking on the mantle of being custodians of law and order especially in these times when crime is becoming more prevalent. She spoke to the Alcaldes on principles of Integrity, Independence and Fairness. She encouraged the Alcaldes to ‘do right when no one is looking’, to be ‘free from improper influence’ and to be ‘balanced in their reasoning.’ The Chief Magistrate asserted that incorruptibility must be a bench mark of all magistrates and ‘to be one of the Alcaldes who cannot be bought.

Channel 7

Meyers' Mom Speaks: Says "Ghost" Is Gonna Get GSU!
Tonight, the city remains peaceful after a rough Tuesday - that forced a panic induced, city-wide shutdown. But today, there has been no violence, and Dean Street remains locked down from West Canal through its junctions with Plues Street, George Street, up to West Street at the Police substation. Today the GSU continued paramilitary style searches in the area -which did not sit well with residents, but the GSU continues undeterred. And the reason residents are angry is as we have told you: they remain certain that the GSU killed 30 year oldLeonard "Ghost" Meyers, 19 year old Albert "Long John" Fuentes, 40 year old Keino Quallo, and 28 year old Anthony Perez. In terms of George Street seniority, the most prominent among them was Leonard Ghost Meyers. He was considered to be George Street Boss Shiney Tillett's closest companion - and today his mother spoke for the first time. She'll be the first to tell you that she's not the average mother - she says she's shed no tears for her son, and told Monica Bodden why: Elizabeth Welch Escarpeta - Mother of Lenard "Ghost" Meyers "I am Lenard Meyer's Mother. I haven't shed a single tear as yet, and I am not going to shed any until I get the satisfaction for what the GSU did to my son. And from the time they told me that they killed 'Ghost', I thought that it was the GSU who killed him because they always - they told me, 'You will bury your son very soon.' I told them, 'When I bury my son, you all will bury me too.'

The Dean Street Apartment Has Known Violence Before
And that's pretty much the same thing that Vidal said 11 months ago when the accusation was that four masked policemen went into that very same apartment building and beat up six men - including Leonard Ghost Meyers. It's a compelling parallel due to the physical location and the tactics employed - which were brutal. But there's one major difference - at the time two prominent government politicians - including the Prime Minister didn't side with the GSU. For context that is difficult to overlook, we re-visit that story, that time - which was just a month before the election. Monica Bodden reported in February of 2012: File: February 9, 2012 Monica Bodden Reporting The bruises on the back of this man are allegedly from a baton used by GSU Officers. He showed us his busted face and cuts on his foot straight down to his toes.

Police Camera Did Not Capture Anything, Hoping For More From Post Mortem
And while the jury is out on that - there are other developments of note. First, our information is that the camera at the corner of George and Dean Streets overlooking the apartments won't yield any clues to investigators. It works and has night-time visibility, but there's no recorder, we understand that unit malfunctioned some time ago and hasn't been fixed. But - as far as clues go - police do have hopes for the post mortem examinations, which are expected to be conducted tomorrow. So far they know that all the victims were stabbed multiple times and had their throats cut. Police believe that they were stabbed into submission and their throats were cut after that. Tomorrow's post mortem on the bodies is expected to give some indication as to what type of blade and how many were used.

OW Man Dies In Prison; Who Beat Him Up?
Tonight, the family of 48 year-old Florentino Ayala is awaiting a post-mortem to determine his cause of death after his body was found inside his cell at the Belize Central Prison yesterday morning. Earl Jones, the CEO of the prison, confirmed to us that authorities found him inside his cell at the special care section at around 7:30 a.m. According to Jones, he was displaying signs of psychotic behavior, so he was placed there under special care. Ayala, who is a resident of Orange Walk, was remanded to prison December 31 on the charge of aggravated assault, and according to reliable reports, he had injuries all over his body, which is the cause for suspicion.

Police Get Gun + Well Known Figure
Tonight, 20 year-old Diondray McKoy and 18 year-old Lyson Cacho are in prison for firearm offences. At around 4 p.m. yesterday, police visited #35 Set Site Belize City, and they were searching for both McKoy and Cacho in relation to an aggravated assault report. When they entered the premises, they found a firearm which had been thrown into the backyard through one of the windows. As a result, the officers detained both men and retrieved a .38 pistol and a magazine which contained 5 live rounds of .38 ammunition. As a result, both of them were arrested and charged with keeping unlicensed firearm, and keeping unlicensed ammunition, in addition to that aggravated assault report. They were arraigned before Senior Magistrate Sharon, where they pleaded not guilty to all charges. Because they are firearm offences, Senior Magistrate Frazer couldn't grant them bail, and she remanded them to prison until February 20.

Back To The Chaos On Dean/George Streets
Yesterday, 7news had the most complete coverage of what was happening on the ground on Dean and George Streets. But there's some stuff that didn't make the cut - and tonight we revisit those images with narration from Jules Vasquez: Jules Vasquez Reporting When we first arrived at the scene around 8:00 - the police were just arriving and trying to bring the area under control by dispersing residents form the area - after a good many had already made a trip inside to witness the gruesome scene. This stepfather got pushed back and police had to keep on doing that. Police had a small armory out at the crime scene yesterday but this stretcher wasn't needed.

Leader Of The Opposition Wants A Commission Of Inquiry
We've given a recap of yesterday's incident - and we're not the only ones wanting a second go at it. The Leader of the Oppositions did a "wheel and come again" remix today when he changed his tune on the GSU's alleged involvement. Yesterday he said he didn't want to entertain any thoughts or conclusions of a state-sanctioned execution by the GSU. But today he told the media he's been in contact with very many members of the public from all across the social and political spectrum, who believe that the GSU was involved. Here's what he told about his recommendations to the Government as the Leader of the Opposition: Hon. Francis Fonseca - Leader of the Opposition "We thought that it was important to raise a few important issues, 3 important issue really. The first issue we wanted to raise, and the first recommendation we want to make is that because of the ongoing concern being expressed by people throughout Belize - and it's not only Belize City. Over the past 24 hours, I've had the opportunity to community leaders, religious leaders, leaders in the business community, and of course my fellow political leaders and representatives across the country.

OW Mayor Lashes Out
Today the PUP Mayor of the Orange Walk Kevin Bernard sent out a statement basically chiding his leader Fonseca for the moderate position he took yesterday. It says, quote, "Extending the hand of cooperation is fine, but…I believe that is the responsibility and obligation of the Opposition…to take control and lead the charge. This is not the time to sit and wait for an invitation which may never come." End quote. He also chastises the Prime Minister and calls on him to, quote,"desist from negotiating with criminals, and…restore control to the streets of Belize City through legal force, if necessary." And for gratuitous effect, the Mayor adds, quote, "we should not negotiate with terrorists. A curfew should be imposed and enforced immediately." And while Bernard seems to be riding a rather high horse in speaking about a city that is not his own and a situation he has no familiarity with, the Council of Churches is not quite so doctrinaire. In a Statement issued last night, it quote, "urges the authorities responsible for law and order to re-instill confidence in the Belizean populace by introducing stronger measures to preserve law and order."

Belizes Murder Rate, "Up There"
But apparently neither prayer nor police will keep down the murder rate. In the nine days of 2013, we've had eight murders - and one shooting victim, Marco Valle remains in a very critical condition on life support. Police still have not released the official crime statistics for 2012 - so we are still going with the media's figures which show 145 murders, the most ever. That leaves Belize with one of the highest murder rates in this hemisphere. According to sources culled from the internet, Honduras is at the top with 80 homicides per one hundred thousand inhabitants, Venezuela is second with 73 per hundred thousand inhabitants, the US Virgin Islands is third with 60 per hundred thousand, Salvador is next with 41.3, and Belize rounds out the top five with 40.7. Now this is an adjusted figure - last week we told you it was 46.6 - but that was based on the 2010 Belize census figure which puts this country's population at only 313,000.

Is Micah G Being Punished For His Outspoken-ness?
Micah Goodin has been featured many times on our newscast for his youthful and outspoken position on various social issues. His most recent appearance was on behalf of the 500 new students at the University of Belize who are forced to pay an addition $150 in registration fees. Well tonight, he is not wearing the hat of advocate; he's in the news because according to him, he's being victimized. He is a 6th Form Student at Saint John's College Junior College, and he is trying to begin his final semester and graduate with an associate degree in criminal justice. But he can't register because according to him, his scholarship from the Du Di Rait Ting Program sponsored by the Police Department has been revoked. This program is set up to encourage young people to engage in positive activities in society, so according to Goodin, he cannot understand why he's being punished for it now. He explained to us today that he has an excellent academic record at the institution: Micah Goodin - Claims Victimization I was a recipient of this scholarship while a 3rd form student at Saint John's College. This scholarship took effect in August of 2011. I have been attending SJCJC since then, attended both semesters and summer classes of last year. And when I went for my report card last semester, I was told that I was blocked from picking up my report card, and from registering. I was embarrassed, a bit disrespected, and a bit devalued.

Alleged Bicycle Shooter Charged
Tonight, 21 year-old Kenyon Dominguez is at prison after he was taken to court in connection with a shooting on Sunday. According to police, at around 9:20 a.m., Justin Richards and Leroy Zuniga Jr. were both hanging out at the corner of Flamboyant Street, when a man rode past them on beach cruiser bicycle and fired several gunshots in their direction. Richard was shot in the lower left back, while Zuniga escaped without injury. As a result of this report, police arrested and charge Dominguez with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, wounding, and aggravated assault. He was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, who remanded him into custody until February 22, his next court date.

Cruise Ships Cancel Calls
In last night's newscast, we told you about the US Embassy's travel advisory about Belize City sent out in the aftermath of the quadruple murders. Well, it caused some issues for the local tour operators today. As viewers are aware, the tour operators only make money on the ship days, which happened to be today. But according to those operators we spoke to today, they had mass cancellations of were pre-booked tours because the captains of the 4 ships today made announcements to the guests that Belize City isn't safe. That represents a major loss in earnings for operators - and they weren't happy! 7News spoke to Yhony Rosado of who explained the effects of the Dean Street mass murder on his business: Yhony Rosado - 2:00:18 We have been impacted because we got a lot of cancellations this morning stating that the captain on the ships are announcing that if you're not booked with them, you should not come ashore because the city is not safe. That is the announcement, point-blank, made by the captain of the ships. We have got a lot of emails and text messages from our guests." Daniel Ortiz "And how many tours have been cancelled so far, sir?" Yhony Rosado "About 50% of our tours have been cancelled because we are the freelance tours. There are people who book with us for many factors, finance or different budgets."

Hon. King Tells Parents, "Keep the Kids Home!"
If you are Belize City resident, did you send your child to school today? We sure hope you did because things were safe and sound all over. But if you listened to Minister of State with responsibility for Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation with Emphasis on the Conscious Youth Development Programme and the Gang Truce Programme Mark King you would have kept them home! You see, Honourable King has set up a Facebook Account where he takes questions from the public. He explains that the is a sort of antidote to what he calls the misleading media, which can, quote, "destroy our country the way they operate on second hand info..." Ok what's the first hand info? Well, in response to a question about whether it was safe to go to school today, King said: - and we quote, "Yes, I think it is very safe but as usual I would take off tomorrow (meaning Wednesday) just to be sure, we could never predict these things when rumors are so high... try sending them back Thursday..." end quote. Not sure you can use that as an absent note for a principal, but, hey, it's worth a try...

Belize Nat'l Selection Gets Promising Start
While yesterday was a stressful day, it wasn't all bad news. It didn't make our newscast last night, but the Belize National Team Selection played its third and final exhibition match against the Premier League Champions, Belmopan Bandits and other reinforcements they chose. The 90 minute game started at 4 p.m., and when it finished, the score was 5 goals for the National team, 2 goals for the Bandits. The man who put the National Team on the board with his first goal was Harrison "Cafu" Roaches. Deon McCauley nailed the coffin shut with 4 goals in the second half. For the Belmopan Bandits, the goal scorers were Kevin Rodriguez and Floyd Jones, who both scored in the second half. With these first 3 games under its belt, the National Team makes last minute preparations for the first round of the Copa Centroamericana which starts on January 18 in Costa Rica.

Channel 5

Who ordered the hit on the George Street 4?
Since the bodies of four George Street affiliates were found on Tuesday morning, there has been no further violence in the city’s hotspots. After meeting with the prime minister, some leaders of the gang left the City to cool off tensions. The rumor mill and citizen journalists on Facebook may have helped spread mass hysteria [...]

What is the PM’s relationship with George Street?
It seems that while the entire country supports the government to find a strategy with haste that would end the violence on the streets, many don’t believe that any Prime Minister of Belize should hold private discussions or negotiations with gangs. But the meeting that occurred on Tuesday also included Minister of Housing Michael Finnegan. [...]

Returning to the scene of the crime
On the day after the quadruple murders were committed, we went back to the scene of the massacre at the apartment building at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets. The area is still barricaded and there are more boots on the ground, but there is a foreboding air on the streets adding to the [...]

Citizen journalist’s camera allegedly triggered shooting
Terror spread quickly through the George Street Area on Tuesday when shots were fired after the discovery of the four bodies. While the PM and security forces say that they were warning shots, there is video that shows the contrary. A bottle was hurled at police and B.D.F., which triggered the gunfire at the angry [...]

Police camera in vicinity of murder scene
The murders of Keino Quallo, Leonard Myers, Albert Fuentes and Anthony Perez of the George Street Gang, is likely to be one of the most difficult to crack for the police, which is now officially headed by Commissioner Allen Whylie.  The bodies of Quallo, Fuentes and Perez were found in a pool of blood in [...]

Carnival Cruises by Belize without stopping
According to the Belize Tourism Board, arrivals peaked last year with record numbers of visitors. But to start the year and in the height of the high season, one of the biggest cruise lines, Carnival Cruise line has cancelled ten stops in Belize for 2013, starting as early as this week.  That can have a [...]

Life not a carnival for operators without 28,000 visitors
Two stops by the Carnival Legend, which carries two thousand, one hundred and twenty-four passengers, were canceled; one this week and one in December. The other eight calls being cancelled in the coming months are for the Carnival Glory; a two thousand, nine hundred and seventy-four passenger ship. If you do the math, that’s twenty-eight [...]

Masseuse Kevin Lee accused of inappropriate touching
The trial of massage therapist Kevin Lee is taking place before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer.  Lee is before the court for allegations that he inappropriately groped a client on separate occasions while administering a massage.  Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal charges that Lee touched the woman on her breasts, buttocks, as well as her [...]

Attempted murder charges for Kenyon Dominguez
Twenty-one year-old Kenyon Dominguez appeared unrepresented before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith today, where he was read four counts of attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, wounding and aggravated assault.  It is alleged that on January sixth, Dominguez opened fire on a pair of men as they stood on Flamboyant Street.  Twenty-five year-old [...]

P.U.P. now want Commission of Inquiry for GSU
The People’s United Party issued another press release today on the quadruple homicides of members of the George Street Gang.  The party leader Francis Fonseca is now calling for a commission of inquiry into the possible involvement of the GSU in what residents strongly believe were state-sanctioned executions.  A complete report subsequent to the official [...]

FECTAB says Belize has good track record for visitor safety
In the aftermath of the gruesome discovery on Tuesday of four George Street Gang members, who had been brutally murdered, the U.S. Embassy has issued a security message for American nationals residing in and travelling to Belize. The advisory notes that, “while there is no indication that U.S. citizens are targeted or otherwise under direct [...]

Aunt says cop choked her niece on Caye Caulker
On Tuesday’s newscast we told you about seventeen year old Shaniel Soriano, a Caye Caulker resident who says she was slammed and choked by an officer on the island. After being examined by a doctor who classified her injuries as wounding, she reported the incident at the Raccoon Street Police station. Her aunt, Eden Velasquez [...]

Under-20 prepare for Central American Games
On a more positive note, the Central American Games, 2013 are coming up in March and the Football Federation of Belize is preparing to take male and female Under-twenty national teams to compete. Some athletes were scouted in the recent selection process for the National A team and have been called to attend tryouts this [...]


US State Department issues travel advisory for Belize City
And there is one more development coming out of today’s multiple homicides. The United States state department issued a travel advisory to U.S. citizens traveling to Belize. Without going into specifics, the advisory reads, and we quote: “this Security Message informs U.S. citizens residing and traveling in Belize of several gang-related homicides that occurred in Belize City on January 7, 2013. While there is no indication that U.S. citizens are targeted or otherwise under direct threat, there is a possibility that retaliatory violence could take place. As a precaution, the Embassy’s Regional Security Officer has advised U.S. Government personnel to avoid travel to Belize City for the time being.” End of quote. At the press conference this afternoon, the Prime Minister said that he had not yet been briefed on the travel advisory.

Opposition PUP makes bi-partisan offer to help fight crime
Amidst all the havoc in the wake of the discovery of the bodies, the opposition People’s United Party held a press conference of its own just prior to the PM’s briefing. Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca said the PUP offers condolences to all the families of murder victims since the beginning of the year, and appealed to the residents of Belize City to remain calm and follow the advice of security authorities. Fonseca told reporters today that the PUP had always disagreed with the gang truce as one of government’s tactics to tackle crime. Recruitment of gangs in campaigns, according to Fonseca is not something that the PUP is involved in doing although gang members are voters. As to the view of most citizens that this morning’s killings were the responsibility of the state, Fonseca commented that he does not share that view. Fonseca reiterated twice and time again that reaching out to the affected communities and letting them know that they have support and the willingness of our leaders to help them is key to start reforming the crime situation in the country.

Prime Minister holds press conference to discuss quadruple murders
The mass panic that struck Belize City in the aftermath of the discovery of four murdered men in the apartment building at the corner of Dean and Plues streets prompted a mid-afternoon press conference by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Flanked by south-side representatives Michael Finnegan, Anthony Martinez and Mark King, in addition to the commissioner of police Allen Whylie, commander of the BDF Dario Tapia, head of CIB Alden Dawson and CEO in the Ministry of National Security George Lovell, Prime Minister Barrow took to the airwaves this afternoon to assure the nation that everything is under control and that the mass panic in the wake of the killings was unwarranted and caused by misinformation. Having made that statement to the nation, Prime Minister Barrow announced that he has met with the leaders of the George Street Gang and said the result was good news and bad news. Prime Minister Barrow also announced that a special proclamation is being drafted which would designate a special area of concern to law enforcement, giving the police the right to cordon it off to effect a de-escalation of any attempt at retaliation. Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie told the press conference what are some of the other emergency operational measures being taken in Belize City.

Businesses shutdown follows quadruple murders
As word of the quadruple murder spread like wildfire, so was the rumor mill cranked up. So much so that by midday, businesses started to announce closures, some schools invited parents to come retrieve their children as classes were suspended. By mid-afternoon, downtown Belize City was a virtual ghost town. All businesses were shuttered up, banks closed early and schools closed early for the day. The uneasy calm prevailed throughout the day and as seen from the pictures, citizens from around Belize City stayed at home anticipating there would be retaliation for the execution-style killings.

Four men found dead in Belize City apartment building
It is the worst case of mass murder in Belize City in recent memory. Four men were found dead this morning in an apartment building on the south side of the old capital. Word quickly spread across the city and around the country and by midday, there was mass panic as concerned citizens feared for their safety. We have extended team coverage of this spectacular development. Our first report is by Love TV’s Patrick Jones and video journalist Brian Castillo who were out at the scene from early this morning. As you saw in that story, while shots were fired in the general area where reporters were interviewing the police commissioner, no one was injured. This afternoon, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, in addressing the nation at a mid-afternoon press conference, confirmed that the gunshots heard were from security forces who fired warning shots in the air in response to a threat to investigators who were in the area. We’ll have more on the Prime Ministerial press conference shortly.

VIP states its position on the ICJ referendum
The Vision Inspired by the People, VIP, has issued a statement on the issue of the proposed ICJ referendum. Paul Morgan, Executive member of the VIP told us what position the VIP holds. The VIP also calls out on the government of the UK to do the right thing. Morgan says he calls on Belizeans to become more aware of the issue and he also calls out on Guatemala to observe it’s responsibility as a member of the United Nations to promote peace and economic development in the region and to relieve us of this unjust claim.

New executives for Toledo Alcalde Association
The Toledo Alcalde Association has elected new executive officers. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.

News from the crime beat
Police are looking for thirty year old Ian Dawson, after a cheque he tendered to pay for electronic items at a local business establishment bounced. The computer company reported o police that the purchase was made back in October and even though several calls have been made to Dawson to settle the outstanding amount, he has still not done so. Dawson is being sought in connection with a case of obtaining property by deception as his outstanding bill at the computer company stands at two thousand, one hundred and twenty nine dollars. Police are investigating a number of burglaries and robberies in Belize City. A twenty eight year old secretary reported to police that the office of a Christian television station situated on Cemetery Road was burglarized sometime between Friday evening and Monday morning. Stolen in the burglary was an assortment of electronic items, cheques, vouchers and cash all to a total value of fifteen thousand, eight hundred and thirty five dollars. Police say entry to the building was gained by cutting the burglar bar of a window located on the eastern side of the building and exit appeared to be from the main front door. Burglars have also targeted the Cancer Society in Belize City. According to police reports, the office situated on Mercy Lance was burglarized sometime between the middle of December and this past Monday. Among the items stolen were a flat scree television set, DVD player and a five gallon water bottle. Police investigations continue.

Head of GSU talks about the role of the unit
Earlier in the newscast we told you about the Prime Minister press conference. One of the speakers was the head of the Gang Suppression Unit Marco Vidal. He said that allegations that the GSU was responsible for the killings is regrettable and is not something that the country’s law enforcement authorities would even contemplate. Vidal spoke at length with Love News today following the Prime Minister’s Press Conference.

Police department gets new vehicles for Cayo and Stann Creek
The Police Department is under severe pressure to deal with the ever escalating crime situation. Today, the men and women of law enforcement in the Cayo and Stann Creek districts received operational support in the form of new vehicles to help in the discharge of their duties. The improved mobility for the police in these two areas of the country, will go a long way in support of the police’s crime fighting initiative. The new rides were handed over this morning in Belmopan to the officers commanding the respective formations, Superintendents Ralph Moody in San Ignacio and Robert Mariano in Dangriga. The handing over was done by Minister of National Security John Saldivar. Two of the six motorcycles received by the Dangriga formation will go to the Independence Police formation, while one more will go to Hopkins Village. The rest of the motorcycles will be used in the nearby communities.

Weekend violence leaves three dead
Three more families are tonight grieving the loss of loved ones. Weekend violence in Belize City left three persons dead, and two others injured. Love TV’s Patrick Jones and video journalist Brian Castillo worked the crime beat today and bring you the following report.

Separate shootings leave two people injured
Twenty five year old Justin Richards was the victim of a shooting incident on Sunday morning. According to police reports, Richards was in front of his home on Flamboyant Street when two men on bicycles rode up and one of them fired several shots in his direction. Richards was hit in the lower part of his back. The seemingly mundane task of socializing with friends ended up costing a fifty eight year old woman a trip to the emergency room. Around seven thirty last night, Jennifer Staine was at her gate on Sibun Street with friends, when the sound of gunshots were heard. Shortly after, Staine says she felt a burning sensation on her left arm and realized that she was injured by a gunshot. Police investigations of both incidents continue.

Orange Walk town council complains about liquor licensing board appointments
It’s the new year and the ministry of local government is appointing new liquor licenses across the country. But so far the Orange Walk Town Council is not happy with the appointment that Minister Godwin Hulse has approved. In a press release issued this afternoon, the Orange Walk Town Council expressed its objection to the new liquor license board because it labels the new appointment as “disrespectful, malicious, and underhanded”. That is because, according to Deputy Mayor Josue Carballo, the council had already recommended certain people to serve on the liquor license board, the ministry had approved the persons and in addition just last week the ministry sent its officers to conduct training of the new persons recommended by the council on how to carry out their duties. Carballo says that to the council’s knowledge the new members of the liquor license board are John Pollard as Chairman, Daniel Grajalez as vice chairman, Ludwig Williams, Jaime Burns and Fidelmar Hernandez as members. Mayor Kevin Bernard serves in the board as ex-officio member.

New alcaldes sworn in for Toledo
Newly elected alcaldes and their deputies were sworn in during an official ceremony on Saturday in Punta Gorda town. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

News from the Magistrate’s Court
Twenty year old Andrew Talbert, who was recently released from prison for firearm and ammunition offences, was taken back to jail today after he was charged with kept firearm and ammunition without a gun license. Talbert pled not guilty to the charges. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith remanded him into custody until February 19. The incident occurred around 4:30 p.m. yesterday. The police reported that they were on mobile patrol when they saw Talbert throw something in a yard at the corner of Dean Street and Plues Street. They said that when they retrieved the object it was a 9 millimetre pistol with one round of ammunition in its magazine. As a result, Talbert was taken into custody and charged. DORIAN DOUGAL Forty-one year old Dorian Dougal, an auto mechanic of 21 Croton Lane, was charged with the theft of a black Geo Metro car valued at $5,000.00 when he appeared in Court today. Dougal pled not guilty to the charge. He was offered a bail of $500.00 and his case was adjourned until February 19. The incident occurred on December 30, 2012. Sherlene Sankey, the owner of the car, reported to the police that she gave Dougal her car to repair and when she tried to contact him she was unable to locate him. Police investigated her report and charged Dougal.

Belize-bound Mexican bus impounded after uncustomed goods found onboard
An ADO Bus entering the country from Mexico was impounded by Belize Customs overnight following the discovery of un-customed goods on board the bus. Reports are that Custom officers at the Northern Boarder searched the bus and found a quantity of vegetables inside the bus. The owner of the goods did not step forward but the company was held liable resulting in the bus being impounded overnight. ADO recovered its bus this morning after paying a fine of ten thousand dollars for un-customed goods and a three thousand dollar fine to the Belize Agricultural Health Authority.

Belizean referees get FIFA certification
The Belize Football Federation this weekend celebrated a major milestone with the designation of four referees who can now officiate internationally. Our Cayo correspondent Fem Cruz reports. Executive member of the FFB, Marlon Kuylen explained how the referees qualified. After the luncheon where the referees were officially presened, the elevated officials moved on the FFB stadium where they proceeded to officiate the football match between the Belize National team and a selection from neighboring Honduras.

Double Head cabbage resident wins 12 Days of Christmas big giveaway
A resident of Double head Cabbage, Joellen Thompson is the winner of Love FM’s 12 Days of Christmas big giveaway. Coordinator of the program Carmen Barrow called in to the Morning Show today to share additional prizes that Thompson will take home. Thompson will also receive a four hundred dollars cash prize from the disc jockeys of More FM. Joellen Thompson’s name was submitted in the competition by one of her daughters.


20 year-old female choked during attempted robbery
A 20 year old female of Belize City reported that on Monday January 7th sometime around 2:15pm she was walking on N...

Police have not determined any motive in murder of four
There have been no murders reported in Belize City since yesterday and up to our news time today. That is an import...

Travel warning affects independent cruise operators
Yesterday, Belize City was in a state of panic following the murders of the four men of George Street. So much so t...

PUP leader calls for Commission of Inquiry into four murders
Today, the Leader of the opposition called for a commission of inquiry into the four murders. The opposition says i...

Head of Special Branch says allegation that GSU were involved in murders is baseless
George Street community fingers are pointing at the GSU as the killers of the four men. The Prime Minister discusse...

Four charged for robbery of food vendors at Battlefield Park
On Monday we told you about two hotdog vendors who had been targeted by criminals. A Food Vendor of Queen Charlotte...

UB Student President wants Government to continue subsidy
In August 2006, the University of Belize increased its General Semester Fees. However, a policy decision was taken ...

Massage Therapist, Kevin Lee claims innocence of the charges of aggravated assault
The trial of well-known Massage Therapist, Kevin Lee aka Kin Li/Lee began from late 2012. Today he put up his defen...

Two charged for firearm offences in Belize City
Yesterday afternoon at 4:00pm, Police visited an area in Belize City in search of Diondray Mckoy and Lyson Cacho wh...

Corozal Police investigate two incidents of Robbery
Corozal Police are investigation two incidents of Robbery. A 66 year old watchman of Xaibe village reported that at...

Jason Wade charged with theft from Police compound
The Queen Street police station in Belize City was robbed! Chief Mechanic for the Belize Police Department reported...


A Tale of Five Cities: Merida at night
Once the sun goes down, Merida, Mexico definitely does not roll up the sidewalks. After dark, people are out and about, walking, shopping, dining, and the city lights are very pretty -- especially at Christmas time, when even more lights than usual decorate la noche (the night). On Saturday night as we were strolling around after dinner, we were lucky enough to happen upon the area at the south end of the Paseo de Montejo all lit up and filled with vendors selling food, jewelry, leather items, clothing, and other things. In addition, there was a musical stage performance set up in the park area. All the singing was in Spanish, but the costumes and voices were charming. Quite a large crowd was sitting and watching the performance. And a singer -- wish we could have understood what she was singing about! The huge Christmas tree in the same area was all lit up.

Party planning 101
I am in the works planning a birthday party for my Cousin, She and her husband touch down for a day in Belize next Thursday while on a Caribbean Cruise. I cannot give you the details about where we will end up, what ever we do I know it will be a lot of fun. I am working on a few angles and seeing which one materializes first, the main requirements are beach, boat and food. I am hoping we get planes in too. Mary120 arrives Saturday and said said she would join us. Unfortunately there is a downside to life right now, I just found out yesterday that Lara is putting Luna down today. A few are going to go over this aft to support Lara and and say good bye to Luna before Dr Laurie takes over. Pics below are 3 random shots I found in my 2012 stock pile. I am waiting for Saturday and my Nikon Coolpix L120 to arrive with Mary then I will start filling up my empty 2013 stock pictures folder.

Prime Minister Barrow Meets With Belize Gang Leaders Following Brutal Murders
The Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow, revealed in a press conference on Jan 9, 2013 that he has held talks with the leaders of The George Street Gang (GSG), a notorious criminal gang groups after four men were found dead in an apartment building on Tuesday morning. Local media said the men were tortured and their throats slashed. When security forces arrived on the scene to pick up the bodies, people of the neighborhood began pelting them with stones, and bottles. The forces had to fire shots into the air to keep the crowd at bay and senior police officers and journalists were forced to scamper for safety as multiple gunshots were fired near the apartment building. The residents in the neighborhood were alleging that the killings were a state-sponsored execution. Later in the afternoon Mr. Barrow told reporters at a press conference that he led a delegation that included National Security Minister John Saldivar for talks with the leaders of the G SG and said that an arrangement had been reached for them to leave Belize City and not seek retaliation against people they believe committed the murders. “I said they went under an arrangement with the government, they went completely of their own free will as a consequence of the discussion we had,” Barrow said, adding that the delegation made it clear during the talks “that it would be absolutely unthinkable for there to be any attempt at retaliation against innocent citizens.

Cause & Effect
Regular readers of this blog, the reason for its being is to record our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize, will recall from earlier editions, I am sure, that the foundations for our home – because of the low lying nature of our land in Tres Cocos- had to be built much higher than the plans stipulated. One consequence was that the golf cart ramp had to be extended so that the gradient was not as steep. Well, when Rose and I visited the site yesterday evening, after I returned from the dentist, we noticed another couple of unwanted effects caused by the increased height of the foundations. At it’s planned height it was possible to step up to the Ground Floor from ground level. This just isn’t possible now given the increased height of the foundations. You would need a trampoline from ground level or mountain climbing boots to access the Ground Floor via the ramp. Rose and I discussed the problem and decided that the solution is to allocate 2 foot nine inches of the ramp space for stairs. We considered other possible solutions but we thought that this one would be the easiest and least costly to implement.

Watch This Blow Over Too by Fayemarie A Carter
A lot has been said, fingers have been pointed but does any of it make a difference? Will anything change? No. Why? Because we aren’t really interested in a solution. Many feel that what is happening in the South Side is irrelevant to their lives. The district people get on the bus and go home as soon as they are finished with whatever business dragged them into the city. The city folks jump into their air conditioned cars and drive to their burglar barred homes and wait for the chaos to blow over. An overriding sentiment seems to be ” I wish they would just hurry up and kill each other out.” Horrified yet? Maybe. Maybe not. The self righteous religious people pray to God and assure themselves that the only reason these gang bangers are dying is because they need Jesus. They just need to pray and everything will be all safe and good again. The government treats them like a nuisance that needs to be put down by any means necessary, even murder. Screw trials and due process. What would be the point? We have a whopping 2% conviction rate. Let’s just open fire into a crowd of unarmed bystanders and see what happens. The Opposition is whining that they aren’t invited to the Press Conferences, which is PUBLIC by the way, so they sit on their hands and say “Da nuh we!” The GOB says “Stop the rumor mills!” and blames Facebook. That one is hysterical. Instead of blaming rumor mills and Facebook, embrace it. Use the social media to spread awareness and garner support for your efforts. Oh wait. Do you actually have any????? As far as anyone can tell, everything is hush hush thereby CREATING the speculation. And as for the media…well. What media? You call that journalism? Trampling all over the crime scene is just irresponsible and disrespectful to the process of justice…unless we aren’t planning on seeking any justice?????

Daily Dingleberry 01-09-13
Sooooooooooooooooooooooooo… do you murder four burly men all at once? Without using a gun BUT by slitting their throats and no one fought back or caused a raucous???? Seems to me that they had to know the perps AND there had to be a group of them AND they had to somehow subdue all these men in order to get up close and personal enough to slit their throats. An eye witness, who better watch her ass now, says she saw the GSU go into the house…is she a real witness or was she planted to just raise speculation? Could this be the work of trained assassins imported from say…..Mexico???? Any number of possibilities exists. And something tells me we will never know because we are not meant to know. Food for thought: if this were a rival gang, wouldn’t they have claimed they did it by now or else how would they establish cred???? And then what if, just what if, it was an inside job? Like say, get rid of the boss so you can become boss? And then allllll that chaos that happened yesterday would basically be for nothing. No conspiracy. No state sanctioned hit. Just some dude getting a promotion to head honcho.

International Sources

London's 2013 fireworks on New Year's Day. Spectacular. Go full screen. HD is worth the load…but it’s a long load…

VIDEO: 2012 Caves Branch River, Belize
Tetras, cichlids and more from this belizean jungle river

VIDEO: Tubing to Clarissa Falls
A quick clip of the group while tubing down the river after visiting Xunantunich!

"Exciting" times ahead for New World Oil & Gas
New World Oil and Gas (NEW) on Thursday promised investors they would soon find out if the first of a fully-funded, multi-well drilling campaign in Belize has made a commercial hydrocarbon discovery. In an operations update, the oil and gas exploration and development company confirmed drilling operations were ongoing at the deviated well, the Blue Creek #2A side-track. Drilling at the well had been deliberately controlled at a slower rate than originally expected in order to maintain a gauge wellbore diameter that would maximise log quality. To date, this has proved effective, resulting in excellent log data quality. In Denmark, a 75 square kilometre 3D seismic acquisition programme over the Jensen Prospect was over halfway completed, with all seismic lines surveyed and 55% of the 3D survey recorded to date. The seismic operations for Jensen, which has a prospective resource estimate of 48 million barrels of oil (mmbo), are expected to be completed by the end of January 2013, with an updated competent person's report (CPR) expected in April. Additionally, New World is in the final stages of interpretation of its 161-square-kilometre 2D seismic acquisition programme which was completed on the Als Prospect, also in Denmark, in August 2012. An updated CPR detailing the results of this seismic programme is expected in the coming weeks.

New World Belize drilling "making steady progress"
New World Oil & Gas (LON:NEW) said the side-track of its keenly anticipated Belize well is making “steady progress”. On Monday the drill-bit had reached a depth of 10,195 feet and is bearing down on the targeted 11,880 feet as it prepares to test the Hillbank and Y3, two oil bearing formations. The company deviated the original well to locate what it believes is a “potentially significant trap”. New World said drilling had been deliberately controlled to maintain a gauge wellbore diameter that will maximise log quality. Chief executive Bill Kelleher added: "Drilling in Belize continues to make steady progress towards its objective thanks to the first class work of our operations team on the ground.

Belize Grants DHS Holding a License for an Online Casino
Last October 2012 DHS Holding Co. was granted a license to operate a casino in Belize. The Belize Gaming Control Board awarded DHS Belize, LTD a license to operate a land-based casino, contingent upon site plans, environmental clearance and inspection. With the license granted, DHS Holding, Co. can now begin its development of the long-anticipated Cenote Falls Hotel & Casino. Company President Charles Barrett stated then, "This is great news. These contingencies are the norm for obtaining a gaming license and should in no way hinder our efforts to move forward." That day moving forward has come with the announcement that DHS Holding Co. has reached an agreement with software vendor FenServices and Net Entertainment to lease and operate the online casino software engine that will drive the website.

Carnival drops 10 calls in Belize, citing congestion
Industry giant Carnival has canceled 10 upcoming calls in Belize City, Belize, citing growing congestion at the port town. A spokesperson for the line says the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend is skipping the port this week and also will forgo a call in Belize scheduled for December. The line's 2,974-passenger Carnival Glory will skip eight calls scheduled for sailings starting in late January. Carnival is replacing the Belize calls with visits to Mexico's port of Costa Maya along the Yucatan Peninsula. The change also will allow both ships to spend an extra hour in Cozumel, Mexico. Carnival says it recently discovered that local officials had overbooked the port of Belize City on the 10 days in question. While the port has the capacity to handle four large ships, the Belize Port Authority had allowed five ships to schedule a visit. "Although we have a confirmed berth in Belize, local officials accepted calls for additional ships," the line says in a letter to passengers. "Consequently, their tender capacity is not able to effectively handle the increased volume of guests without creating long delays and limiting your time ashore."

January 9, 2013


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The San Pedro Sun

Technology is supposed to make life easy and wonderful...but when it doesn't work it can sure make life difficult! Please bear with us as we muscle through some issues we are currently experiencing with are working on it! Thank you!

Ambergris Today

Belize Visa-Free Treatment For Taiwanese Goes Into Effect
Visa-free treatment granted by Belize has gone into effect for Taiwanese citizens, who can now visit the Central American country for stays of up to 90 days, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday. The Foreign Ministry said it had received notification of the move from its Belize counterpart and that the measure was also confirmed by the International Air Transport Association. From now on, holders of valid Taiwan passports can enter the nation for up to 90 days without a visa for tourism or business, the ministry said, adding that Taiwanese visitors can apply for an extension of stay once the 90 days are up. Belize, one of Taiwan's 23 diplomatic allies, is the 131st country or area to have accorded visa-waiver privileges to Taiwanese citizens.

25 Years Ago Goes From Newspaper to Book to Radio
Based on the book “25 Years Ago” by respected educator and historian Mr. Angel Nuñez, Lighthouse Christian Radio F.M 101.3 presents the radio program titled “Years Ago” that will take you back into the origins of La Isla Bonita. The radio program will Remind or inform listeners of Lighthouse Christian Radio of the way of life here on the island before the many developments that changed this little piece of paradise we all call home. The first episode is about the celebrations of Christmas and New Year "Years Ago" when life was a bit more peaceful here on the island.

Prime Minister Assures Safety after Belize City Shutdown
Residents countrywide were glued to their radios and television on Tuesday afternoon, January 8, 2013, as Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow addressed the nation concerning the safety of Belize City after an early morning homicide involving gang members caused the shutdown of business and school activity for the day. The Ministry of National Security confirmed reports of an apparent multiple homicide that occurred in Belize City sometime Monday night. Police responded to a call around 8:00am and visited an apartment complex at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets where they found the lifeless bodies of four men, namely, Albert Fuentes 19, Leonard Meyers 30, Anthony Perez, 28, and Keino Quallo, 40. The bodies had multiple stab wounds, and there were no signs of forced entry. Authorities informed that the apartment complex was a central hub of the notorious George Street gang of Belize City and immediately dispatched personnel to assure the security of residents in the south side of the city. As an immediate reaction and fear of retaliation by gang members, city residents panicked and started to close down businesses and schools resorted into allowing parents, who felt it unsafe, to pick up their children. Most business and schools closed down for the remainder of the day.

Flashbacks: Papa and Mama Blake
If this couple would be alive today, they would be millionaires without a doubt. They are James Howell Blake, better known as Papa Blake and Elena Alamilla Blake, also known as Mama Blake. Papa Blake and his wife Leni lived in what was considered a mansion in San Pedro prior to 1908. It was a magnificent Colonial style building, three stories high with polished floors and expensive furnishings. Now why would they be millionaires? Well, Papa Blake’s father, James Hume Blake had purchased the entire island of Ambergris Caye in an auction sale on September 13, 1869 for the sum of $625.00. That price was extremely low even by the standards of the time. Only a few parcels of Ambergris Caye were either sold or given to the Parhams and Alamillas, who were related to the Blakes through intermarriages. With the current price of real estate in Ambergris Caye today, certainly Papa and Mama Blake would be multi-millionaires if they would be owners of this jewel of ours, La Isla Bonita.

Pic of the Week: Treasures of the Caribbean Sea
This young boy was anxious to get his picture taken as he discovered a beautiful Star Fish while he was enjoying a day out in the water. While having fun on his surf board, he spotted the sea creature on the sea bottom and was too curious not to dive for it. The Caribbean Sea is so crystalline off the shores of Ambergris Caye that it is very easy to spot any marine life lurking on the sea floor. Another great attraction of Belize.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belikin Calendar Casting Call
Belikin is doing a calendar casting call for their 2014 calendar. "We are looking for beautiful Belizean Women 18+ years to model for the 2014 calendar. If you are interested, please email [email protected] with a few photos of yourself along with your contact information."

Gaia Riverside Lodge
Gaia Lodge, formerly Five Sisters Lodge, has new owners, and has gotten a serious refurbishment. They've really done a great job remodeling the main entry, bar, and restaurant palapa. They have an outstanding collection of masks. It's located in Mountain Pine Ridge, just down the lane from Big Rock Falls.

Chicken Broth from Scratch
Chicken broth is needed for many recipes. I never use it from a box or can however, because I have adverse reaction to too much sodium or MSG in foods. This is a simple way to make broth from scratch that is simple and plain. This broth can be used in many recipes like broccoli soup, broccoli cheese soup and stuffing.

Channel 7

Mass Murder On George Street: Killers Moved In Silence & Violence
Tonight the city is recovering from a highly stressful day that teetered between panic and pandemonium- and the George Street area is traumatized after four well known neighborhood men were found dead an apartment building; they were the victims of a mass murder, the likes of which have never been seen in Belize before. The apartment at the corner of Dean and Plues is known to be the turf and one of the home bases of the George Street Gang. But sometime between last night and this morning, what is believed to have been a team of assassins went in to the building and with unheard-of stealth and surgical precision, cut the throats of four men: 30 year old Leonard "Ghost" Meyers, 19 year old Albert "Long John" Fuentes, 40 year old Keino Quallo and 28 year old Anthony Perez. Ghost Meyers and Long John Fuentes are considered to be senior functionaries of the George Street Gang - Quallo was basically their run man, and from what we have gathered Perez was just seeking lodging. But they were all killed last night - and the mass murder has left George street reeling and directly accusing their nemesis the GSU of carrying out state sponsored executions.

PM Met With George Street Leader
As noted in the story, the mass murder and the subsequent shots being fired in the air by the B-SAG unit, caused a flood of panic across the city. Dozens of crazy stories went out: first saying that police officers had been shot, then that there was a riot, then word that there was a riot at the KHMH. All of those stories were false, but the cumulative effect of all was to create a sense of imminent siege and widespread terror in the city. It was all unnecessary because nothing happened after the bodies were found - but with rumors flying at the speed of text and multiplying at a Facebook factor of 10 - no one was taking any chances. But there was legitimate reason for panic, because the George Street area is certain the mass murder was carried out by the GSU - and we have seen gang retaliations against the state recently: so the fear was that innocent people would be targeted this time. Enter the area representative for the Mesopotamia division, Michael Finnegan. The base for the George Street Gang is in his division and he reached out to leaders to arrange a meeting with the Prime Minister in Belmopan. That meeting was held this afternoon - and the Prime Minister reported on it at a press conference this afternoon at the Biltmore. Here's what he said:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "The leaders of the so called George Street gang in an effort to make absolutely certain that the retaliation that people feared this morning that did not occur may not in fact occur over the next few hours; over the next few days; over the next few weeks. Ladies and gentlemen as a consequence of that meeting which took place in my office and which we set up through the facilitation of the Minister of Housing there is good news and bad news; the bad news is that the people from George Street are absolutely convinced that these were state sponsored murders that not to put too fine point on it that it was the GSU that killed the 4 persons in that apartment building. That's bad news because of course their conviction is utterly unfounded and it constitutes a very serious allegation in deed against the integrity of the GSU; against the integrity of the police department; against the integrity of the security forces and against the integrity of the government. We have tried to make clear to the leaders that their conviction has no basis in reality. The good news is because George Street is absolutely satisfied that this was not some kind of an attack from a rival gang - there is no question of the murders provoking any inter-gang warfare between George and any group that might otherwise have been suspected as being responsible for the killings. But of course it left us with the question of whether George Street would think the then retaliation is due against the state by way of launching the feared attacks against innocent civilians. I say to you that we are reasonably confident that that's not going to happen. We are absolutely confident that the situation is under control. Let me reiterate that we are absolutely certain that all conditions are in place for life to return to normal in Belize City and in particular on the Southside of Belize City."

GSU Denies Involvement
Today's press conference was to try and somehow settle the sense of public disquiet - and to make a public declaration that the GSU was not responsible for the deaths. For that the Prime Minister called upon the GSU Commander Marco Vidal who hardly ever makes press appearances. Here's what he had to say:.. Marco Vidal, Head of GSU "We find that the allegation they made is totally unfounded and it is baseless. Any suggestion that the Gang Suppression Unit would be involved in such a heinous crime would self-defeat us as it would destabilize the country and certainly that is not our mandate." Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "The GSU had visited that area and those particular premises earlier in the day, yesterday. The George Street people allege that the GSU had broken the lock on the back door of the premises and they see that as offering proof positive that this was so - so that the GSU could come back in the dead of night and gain easy access to the premises. Mr. Dawson will tell you that when the police went on the scene they photograph the premises, they photograph the back door and that there is no question of that back door having been forced open - there is no question of any padlock having been broken off the back door." And while the press conference was to say who didn't do it - there was not a single word said about who or who all might have done it and why. The investigation is in its infancy but certainly the level of complexity, stealth and surgical precision seems to preclude any possibility that it could be any local crew.

Families, George Street Blame Police For Deaths
So far we've shown you what the scene was like on George Street this morning, and we had the state's response plus the GSU disclaimer. But while the societal sense of terror is happening at the wider level - at the level of the family and the community - this is a mass tragedy. Today Monica Bodden went to George Street to speak with family members about their loved ones, their lost ones:.. Voice of: Cousin of Ghost "I got up this morning to go to work and when I came out I saw a lot of people on Plues Street. When I heard that my family got shot I went to see what was happening. When I went upstairs, one of the young men that they call "Long John" has a hole in his throat and a cut across his face and my family was sitting down in a chair with a big slice across his neck. That young man doesn't mess with anybody - the other 3 are into gang yes but the other one - they killed him too. This is simpleness. The GSU told me when I went to station that George Street men who are not dead are going to jail for the rest of their life. We are trying to calm down - you see they arrest any George Street men yet? Nothing like that. This is 6 now, we just loss two, my family that got killed was working, he doesn't mess with nobody." "When they brought down my family "Ghost" - his face was not even covered. They want us to see how they did it to him. All the rest of faces were covered." Monica Bodden "We understand that Ghost was in Manatee up until last night?" Voice of: Cousin of Ghost "He was in Manatee; he doesn't stay around here much. When he comes he stays right here and the reason why he moved from around here was for the same reason. He went to Manatee - to village just to live a better life."

Whylie Speaks While Bullets Zip
And with all those rancorous anti police sentiment going around, Commissioner-designate Allen Whylie had what we'd have to say is the misfortune of being in the area at the same time when all the chaos was unfolding after the bodies were removed. He gave the media a brief interview on the situation and what the police department is doing to keep things under control - even as they seemed to be getting out of control, in real time:.. Allen Whylie - Commissioner Designate "I must say that any life lost is unacceptable and regrettable and condolences extended to the family. As you know we receive this information early this morning and the police responded and it was a gruesome find. We will ensure that we have our top investigators assign to this matter and all resources will be utilize to try to solve this heinous crime. In addition to that additional resources will be deployed to this area to contain and deescalate this situation and we will remain in this area as long as we need to remain." Patrick Jones, reporter "Commissioner this is not typically the welcome that a commissioner gets to the post. You are going to put additional resources here, we've tried that before flood the streets with police officers and it keeps getting worse." Allen Whylie - Commissioner Designate "Well true, as we said there is a lot of challenges within the city and my task will be focusing specifically on Belize City whilst we have issues of crime nationwide Belize City is the battleground and I believe that it is a fight that we cannot give up, we cannot lose hope. We will be doing and trying different things, we will be re-evaluating strategies and will be changing and adapting. Our strategies have got to be flexible as the situation changes we change our strategies on the ground." Reporter "Sir, it's the 8th in the new year and the 8 murder already. It's getting worse."

BDF Will Assist Police
This afternoon at the press conference, Whylie had the luxury of not having to speak over the staccato percussion of shots being fired mid-interview. He explained how police intend to maintain a presence in the area: Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "A special proclamation is going to be done so that the zone of particular concern to the government and to the security forces can seal off. Extra bodies are being called out so that there can be effective on the ground containment as well as wider policing in Belize City." Allen Whylie - Commissioner Designate "Immediately we have deployed additional police and BDF in key areas within zone 4 which comprises of George Street and other areas. Those patrols will remain on the ground indefinitely until we are able to get the crime situation contained." Dario Tapia, Commander BDF "We have deployed additional troops to Belize City to compliment what we already have in support of the police. I think the situation demanded that we do that and we will continue to support the police in that regards with additional troops until we are able to satisfy the Belizean people that the situation in Belize City is contain or under control." Allen Whylie - Commissioner Designate "We have a number of targets that we are going after. We have got to move from a position on the defense to have these people on the defense. We have got to use all legal authority within our means to reassure the public that we serious about getting the job done."

Whylie: Police Will Secure Schools
But for most of us - the police's targets don't matter very much, what we want is personal security and the safety of our children when they are at school. Whylie said that special measures will be taken with schools that are deemed to be at risk:.. Allen Whylie - Commissioner Designate "We've also taken a number of other steps to reassure the schools. We had the various patrols to visit the school management to speak to them and assure them that we have the situation under control. Those patrols have been task that they will continue to visit the various schools within the zones that they have been assigned to. In addition to that we will be utilizing other officers in key schools that we believe we need to actually have a presence - not that we have any indication that anything will occur but because of the location that they are we want to assure the public as well as parents that their children are safe." And while school should resume as normal tomorrow, today the US Embassy issued a Security Message about Belize. It, quote, "informs U.S. citizens residing and traveling in Belize of several gang-related homicides that occurred in Belize City…" It adds that, quote, "While there is no indication that U.S. citizens are targeted or otherwise under direct threat, there is a possibility that retaliatory violence could take place. As a precaution, the Embassy's Regional Security Officer has advised U.S. Government personnel to avoid travel to Belize City for the time being." End quote.

Hot Dog Robbers Arraigned
And coming up we'll let you hear what the leader of the Opposition had to say about the killings, but first, some other news. Last night, we told you about the 3 hotdog vendors who were robbed on Sunday night by 2 men and 2 women. Well tonight, they are all at prison for it after they were taken to court. As we reported, one of the vendors told police that at around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, they were approached by 2 dark-skinned men and women who ordered food from them. While she was preparing it, one the men pulled out a firearm, and robbed her of $675 in cash. The other moved to another of the vendors, and robbed her of $200, and a 17 year-old vendor was robbed of an undisclosed amount of cash. They made their escape, but quick police led to the detention of 20 year-old Andrew Talbert, who was allegedly caught with a firearm. Police charged him jointly along with 18-year-old Desiree Waight, 21-year-old Theresa Elijio, and a 14 year-old male minor with the charge of robbery. They were arraigned today before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith where they all pleaded not guilty to the offence. Because of the nature of the offence, they were all remanded until their next court date, which is set for February 19, 2013.

Man for Attempted Murder
In other court news, 29 year-old Dorian Moody, a farmer of Biscayne village, is at prison tonight after he was taken to court for a machete hacking which took place on New Year's Day in that village. According to police, 43 year-old Mark Davis reported that he was called out to his sister's home in the village to calm down a misunderstanding between family members. Moody, who was one of the persons in the argument, allegedly got angry because of his intervention, and attacked him with his own machete. Moody allegedly inflicted chop wounds to Davis on his left hand, face and his left ear which was almost severed. Other family members intervened and stopped Moody before he could do any more damage. Police charged Moody with attempted murder, grievous harm, and use of deadly means of harm. He was arraigned today before Magistrate Cayetano, and due to the nature of the offences, he couldn't be granted bail. He was remanded to prison until March 18, 2013, his next court date.

Leader Of The Opposition Extends Olive Branch To PM
Today the opposition weighed in on the public panic that had consumed Belize City, and shut down schools and businesses. Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca flanked by caretakers from southside divisions held a quickly convened press conference to offer the Prime Minister an olive branch. Here's how he explained it:.. Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the opposition "I want to take this opportunity as well to really invite if you like, encourage the Prime Minister and I am prepared to join him. Let us go into these communities together and if we need to invite religious leaders to join us, other social leaders to join us - let us go into these communities together. Our people in these communities need reassurance that in fact the state is on their side, that in fact the state is working to try to ensure that their lives are secure and safe that their property is secure and safe. I think we've reach this point in terms of the crisis we are facing. It's very important I think for the Belizean people to see that there is national unity on this most important issue." Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Let me welcome in principle the offer of the Leader of the opposition to have us proceed to try to deal with this problem on a bipartisan basis." Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the opposition "We need to engage face to face with these communities and they have to understand in fact they are not at war with the state; that in fact the state is there to also provide for their security and protect them. We understand that in these communities there are very serious elements of crime but they are operating within communities where you have a lot of good innocent citizens and we have to make sure that when we go into these communities to tackle crime and to target the criminals which we have to do that in fact we are not saying to the entire community that we are coming after you - that you are a useless community and I sense that that is the message some of these communities are getting and it will be a very dangerous road for us to travel if these communities in fact make the determination that the state is not on their side." Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Generally we want to move a partnership with the Honorable Leader of the Opposition, with his party and with all the social partners."

Hon Fonseca Rejects "GSU Did It" Theory
And while both leaders seem to agree on that one - do they also agree that the GSU is not responsible for the mass murder? Fonseca said he doesn't even want to entertain the possibility:.. Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the opposition "All the prevailing view of the public certainly in the affected communities seems to be that these killings were state sanctioned killings. I certainly don't want to join in that and that's why I am saying that it is so important for us to send that very clear message to these communities that in fact that is not the case - that in fact the state is not trying to destroy our communities."

Redux For A Rough Day
And on that note we end what has been a stressful day in the city with a recap. Early this morning - at about 7:00, residents of the George Street area found four men dead in an apartment building at the corner of Plues and Dean Street. Two of them are considered senior members of the George Street Gang: 30 year old Leonard "Ghost" Meyers and 19 year old Albert "Long John" Fuentes, while the other victims 40 year old Keino Quallo and 28 year old Anthony Perez just happened to be living there. All four reportedly had their throats slit. Who did it? - no one knows - And why? - at this point no one in the licit world can say. We do know that the apartment is considered a home base of the George Street Gang and on many nights the man considered to be the leader of the gang, Gerald Shiny Tillett sleeps there. In fact we are told that Leonard Meyers was killed in Shiney's room, room number 9. The neighborhood remains convinced that the police did it, specifically the GSU - and the attitude towards police is past hostile tonight. Today though, after a meeting in Belmopan, it seems Tillett and the Prime Minister have reached a sort of accord: he and his crew were assured safe passage to Gales Point Manatee - a village that some members of the crew are from and where they often retreat to when police bring on the pressure. They are believed to be there tonight. Even as that is the case, police have set up the Dean and George Street areas as a sort of Special Zone - and it will be so declared by proclamation tomorrow. Tonight, the police tape that went up this morning at 8:00 pm remains across Dean Street 12 hours later. We'll keep following developments and have more the entire story tomorrow.

Channel 5

Throats of 4 gang members slashed in apartment
The death toll is ticking upwards as the crime epidemic claims more lives: Eight days into the New Year – eight murders. Terror blanketed the entire City this morning, just before eight after the gruesome discovery of four bodies inside an apartment building at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets. Security forces moved into [...]

Families believe GSU killed George Street Gangsters
All leads are being following by the police but so far, there is no established motive for the mass murder. Family members of the slain men believe the murders were state-sanctioned, a claim that has been denied by security forces. Of the four, Keino Quallo, the son of a former attorney who was gunned down [...]

Security Forces shot in air during murder investigation
This gruesome discovery made this morning at an apartment complex at the corner of Plues and Dean Streets in Belize City sent shockwaves to the entire country that the crime situation had spiraled to a point of crisis. Many said that it was basically a fight between the state and the gangs. And that statement [...]

Do you support a curfew given the current crime crisis?
Tonight’s question is: Do you support a curfew given the current crime crisis? 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]

Rumors and FB caused City shutdown
The multiple murders of the George Street Gang associates all under one roof, may be the single most horrific incident in Belize’s recent history. After the discovery of the four bodies, there were gunshots heard in the vicinity of Dean and Plues Street. Shots were fired during an interview with the ComPol designate, Allen Whylie. [...]

George Street Gang on sabbatical
Most of the city would still not be at ease because many would assume that the George Street associates would retaliate the loss of their fallen brothers. Prime Minister Dean Barrow told the media that a delegation that he led, including both Ministers of National Security and Housing held a special conference with the leaders [...]

B.D.F. ready if necessary. So is Police Department
Superintendent Alden Dawson has just been promoted to the Head of the Eastern Division. He has hit the ground running and says his team is checking all leads and cameras in the area will be checked for evidence regarding the murders. He pledged to return to the scene following today’s press conference.  Dawson shared the [...]

Dan noh we! GSU Commander proclaims innocence
There was one allegation that Prime Minister Dean Barrow went at pains to dispel; not once, but twice during his conference. Apparently, the George Street Gang and residents of the area believe that the murders may have been committed by the Gang Suppression Unit. After dispelling the rumor, the PM also called GSU commander Marco [...]

Schools, businesses and banks close upon perceived threat
Schools and businesses will go back to schedule on Wednesday but this morning the downtown and south side areas closed down. Fearing the worst, parents picked up their children from various schools and to ensure the safety of employees, businesses pulled down their shutters. News Five’s Delahnie Bain has that story.   Delahnie Bain, Reporting [...]

P.U.P. supports government’s stance against crime
Just prior to the prime minister’s press conference, the People’s United Party issued its position on the unrelenting spate of crime and violence that continues to grip Belize City since the start of the New Year.  Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca, flanked by members of the party, held a press conference this afternoon to address public [...]

P.U.P. condemns rumors of GSU involvement in crime
Since the discovery of the four bodies this morning rumors have made their way onto the social media, particularly on Facebook, where it was posted that the homicides were the work of the Gang Suppression Unit.   Francis Fonseca, Opposition Leader “The prevailing view of the public, certainly in the affected communities, seems to be [...]

Inmate passes away
In the immediate aftermath of the grisly discovery, word quickly spread that retaliation for the quadruple murders was imminent.  In the frenzy that ensued, media houses across the city began receiving reports that an inmate at the Belize Central Prison had also been killed.  A further check with prison officials later revealed that while an [...]

Thousands burglarized from businesses
Two Belize City establishments have been struck by thieves, who managed to steal thousands of dollars in electronic items, money and office accessories.  In separate incidents burglars broke into the offices of the Belize Cancer Society and Enlace Belize Limited.  It is reported that sometime between December fourteenth and January seventh, the office of the [...]

He stole from Queen Street Police Station
Everyone is under threat, including the Police Department. Forty year-old Jason Adolphus, also known as Jason Wade, has been charged with theft, following a report made by the chief mechanic for the Belize Police Department that several items were stolen from the Queen Street Police Station.  It is alleged that sometime between December twenty-eight and [...]

Enrique Martinez and Sons employee turns himself in
The Enrique Martinez and Sons employee who went M.I.A. with a customer’s order as well as items stolen from the company vehicle has turned himself in. Forty-three year old Nathan Pratt was to take copper tubing and a disconnect switch valued at four hundred and fifty dollars to the Caye Caulker Water Taxi Terminal on [...]

Arrests made for robbery of 3 Albert Street vendors
A fourteen year old minor is among a group of four persons who were remanded today for three armed robberies of food vendors at the Battlefield Park. The minor, eighteen year old Desiree Waight, twenty-one year old Theresa Elijio and twenty year old Andrew Talbert are accused of stealing six hundred and fifty dollars from [...]

Peace man chopped with his own machete
The New Year started with several violent incidents on January first, including a chopping in Biscayne Village that was almost fatal for forty-three year old Mark Davis. Tonight, Davis’ alleged attacker twenty-nine year old Doran Moody is behind bars; he was charged today with Attempted Murder, Use of Deadly Means of Harm and Grievous Harm [...]

Weed in the glove compartment
Two men were busted today as they exited the City and were heading to Ladyville. Lincoln Requeña, a BSI employee and Ranile Pandy, a mechanic, were travelling in an Altima car in which police found six hundred and thirty seven grams of suspected cannabis in the vehicle’s glove compartment. Both have been charged with drug [...]

Caye Caulker resident, 17 years old, says cop choked her
There are all sorts of people who come to our station alleging to be victims of police brutality. But rarely is it ever a seventeen year old girl from Caye Caulker. The teen in the company of her aunt came to our studios to talk about the abuse, being choked and manhandled by a police [...]


Mass Murder in Belize City; PM Holds Press Conference; Travel Advisory Against Belize Issued In US
It is the worst case of mass murder in Belize City in recent memory. Four men were found dead this morning in an apartment building on the south side of the old capital. The victims have been identified as 19 year old, Albert Funes; 30 year-old, Leonard Myers; 28 year-old, A...

Opposition Leader Speaks Out on Recent Killings
Amidst all the fright, panic and havoc that this morning’s finding of four murdered men in Belize City, the People’s United Party today held a press conference shortly before the Prime Minister’s, to speak on the recent state of the nation. At the conference, th...

Cancer Society Burglarized
Burglars have also targeted the Cancer Society in Belize City. According to police reports, the office situated on Mercy Lance was burglarized sometime between the middle of December and this past Monday. Among the items stolen were a flat screen television set, DVD player ...

Christian TV Station Burglarized
Police are investigating a number of burglaries and robberies in Belize City. A twenty eight year old secretary reported to police that the office of a Christian television station situated on Cemetery Road was burglarized sometime between Friday evening and Monday morning. ...

Man Sought for Bounced Cheque
Police are looking for thirty year old Ian Dawson, after a cheque he tendered to pay for electronic items at a local business establishment bounced. The computer company reported o police that the purchase was made back in October and even though several calls have been made to D...


Therese Felix’s only daughter died after a hail of bullets hit her house. It seems that tragedy simply cannot leave the Felix family alone. The family lost two sons to gun violence, the mother then died from heart-related complications, and now, there is going to be a funeral for the family’s only daughter. Feesha Felix, 22, of Gill Street, went to bed Friday night, January 5. She never woke up, however, because she was shot dead in her bed Saturday morning at about 2:30. Police say that gunmen went into the family yard and opened fire at the house. Among the hail of bullets that hit the house and went through the wooden walls, one struck Felix in the head, killing her almost instantly. During the gunfire, her brother, who was also in the house at the time, tried to make his sister take cover on the floor, but she was not responding. When the gunfire stopped, he found that she had been shot in the forehead. She was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), where she was declared dead on arrival at about 3:50 a.m. Police who responded to the scene said that (10) 9mm expended shells were recovered on the street in front of the house. Two slugs were retrieved from inside the house.

Two more shot in beginning of New Year. The family of Marlon Harris, 33, of a Lake I address, is preparing to bury him after he was shot to death in his car near Mile 2 on the George Price Highway at about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. When the murderous shooting erupted, residents of the area called police, who went to the area and saw a dark green four-door Toyota Corolla car, L/P-BC-C-4096, in a ditch on the right side of the highway, near to Belize City. Police observed five bullet holes in the driver’s side door, and when they opened the door, they found the body of Marlon Danny Harris, also known as “Lippo,” behind the steering wheel with six gunshot wounds to the abdomen and chest. Harris was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. Police said that their initial investigations revealed that about 8:25 that Saturday evening, Harris was driving his car on the road towards the Fabers Road junction with the highway, when in front of the Sans Foam Factory, a gunman or gunmen opened fire at him. The bullets went through the car and hit him multiple times.

Lamb was shot in his right foot by a security guard while attempting his getaway. Clarence Lamb, 22, a resident of #2 Wagner’s Lane, was today taken before Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith, where 10 charges were read to him. According to police, a report was made by Maria Zetina, the cashier at Belize Tourism Board (BTB). In her report, she recounted that at 4:30 p.m. on January 2, 2013, she and other employees were present at BTB when two dark-complexioned men entered the establishment, one armed with a knife, the other with a firearm. The men robbed the cashier of $1,732.78, money which belonged to the BTB, and as the men attempted to exit the premises, a security guard on duty took out his issued .38 revolver and fired a shot at one of the robbers. The robber who was injured was later learned to be Lamb, who was taken, under police guard, to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for treatment. A search of the area resulted in the discovery of the stolen money. After hopping into court today, Lamb had to listen to Chief Magistrate Smith read out the following charges to him: keeping a firearm without a gun license for the .38 revolver he was armed with; keeping ammunition without a gun license for the (6) .38 live rounds; robbery with a firearm; and seven counts of aggravated assault on Edwin Torres, Shauma Hall, Arlo Cansino, Marlena Middleton, Javier Cardinez, Jacqueline Martinez and Maria Zetina.

The outstanding Tony Wright, KREM Radio host, Belizean musician, entertainer and president of Association for Belizean Artists First, has been recognized by Jim Gray, the Mayor of Lexington, Kentucky. The recognition was for Wright’s work in promoting Belizean artists and their music and his work at the Association for Belizean Artists First. The award was presented on December 14. Wright said that he is happy and proud that his efforts in promoting Belizean music on KREM Radio has been recognized, not only locally, but internationally, and he will continue to promote and showcase Belizean music. Wright said that Gray went on the Internet when he heard of him, and was impressed with the work he was doing. Mayor Gray invited him to travel to Lexington to entertain the citizens of that city, Belizean style, later this year. Wright also said that a music festival will be held in Lexington later this year, featuring artists and groups from the Caribbean, and Belize will be represented. Among the musical forms that Belize will showcase will be the Punta. Wright said that he is excited and looks forward to these events with eagerness; it will be an occasion for local artists to display their talent, he said.

“Chetumal is a heavily Catholicized society, more so than Belize. So if the role of the Catholic Church is analyzed, then it can only be deduced that it is good for Chetumal. The school system there is pretty much the same as in Belize.” - Leslie Lamb in AMANDALA No. 2671, Sunday, January 6, 2013 “From the earliest days of the colonial period, Mexico has always been a predominantly Catholic country. Yet for more than a century after independence the Church came under periodic and at times violent attack at the hands of various governments, some (in the nineteenth century) liberal, others (during the first period of the twentieth century) radical. From 1926 to 1929 the Mexican bishops ordered all churches in the Republic closed in an effort to force President Plutarco Elias Calles’ regime to rescind its anticlerical legislation. The clerical strike failed, in large part because most Mexicans, especially those in the countryside, felt no overwhelming need for Masses and sacraments. Since the Spanish conquest the traditional European practices have played an insignificant part in the religious life of the Mexican people. The Franciscan and Dominican friars who brought Christianity to Mexico sought to impose their own theological conceptions, but the Indians resisted passively until in the end the native ways won out. If the official religion became Spanish and European, the images and the cult practices remained Indian. It was the native, preconquest influences, as manifested at the basilica of Guadalupe and other national and local shrines, that have continued into the last third of the twentieth century to characterize much of Mexican Catholicism.

According to an article by Mike Rudon, Sr., in last weekend’s issue of The Reporter, the Government of Belize has prepared for the October 6, 2013 vote on whether to go to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or not, by putting together a Referendum Unit coordinated by Ambassadors H.E. James Murphy and H.E. Stuart Leslie. The Referendum Unit has, in turn, organized a Referendum Commission “with representation from all sectors and pertinent bodies across the board, including both political mass parties, the unions, the churches, business, student and community organizations.” A vote will be held simultaneously in Belize and Guatemala on October 6 this year, and both the Belize and Guatemala referenda must have a turnout of 60 percent or more of registered voters in order for there to be a valid majority decision to go or not to go to the ICJ. A majority of both Belizeans and Guatemalans must vote yes for the ICJ, or the process will be halted. Mr. Rudon’s article did not provide any names where the composition of the Referendum Commission is concerned.


A Tale of Five Cities: Merida, Art and Architecture
Another interesting place we visited in the Merida, Mexico centro historico was the Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace), right downtown. This was on the recommendation of our bed and breakfast host, Larry, and it was spectacular. It is absolutely free to enter and consists of sizable painted murals depicting the history of Merida. There was an open courtyard downstairs, and an incredibly elegant gallery upstairs. From the second floor, the view of the Merida Cathedral out the windows was as amazing as the murals. Merida Cathedral A couple more murals...I found the description of this one more interesting than the battle scenes. Leaving the museum, right outside is the stunning Merida Cathedral. It was pretty much impossible to get it all in a frame since we don't have a wide-angle lens. It was built in 1598 -- hard to imagine! Here are a couple of other pretty churches from around the city.

My Amazing Belize Vacation
The following is a letter that we received from the Winter Solstice Contest Winner. Enjoy! Dear Chaa Creek, Thank you SO much for our wonderful vacation! I feel extremely lucky and fortunate to be the winner of the Maya Winter Solstice Competition! The trip was so full of awesomeness that I almost don’t know where to start… I traveled with my husband, Adam, and our first stop after arriving into Belize was the Belize Zoo. We have visited this zoo a few times before and find it to be a must see on every trip. The zoo habitats are the most natural I’ve encountered with wonderful views of the diverse wildlife that inhabits the country. Adam loves to visit the tapirs and my favorites are the spider monkeys and the jabiru storks. We were impressed with the new walking paths at the zoo and updates since our last visit. After the zoo we arrived by shuttle to Chaa Creek. We were greeted with a welcome drink and were immediately impressed by the friendliness of the staff. We headed to the camp with Docio, who instantly became one of my favorite people ever. He was kind and caring for the duration of our stay. The camp casitas were pristine and serene. Every night I could hear howler monkeys howling in the distance and frogs croaking. Before bed we would go out with a flashlight to see what we could see. We noticed that when we shined the flashlight around that there were many eyes looking back at us! We bravely went over to see what creature the eyes belonged to and found out that they were wolf spiders. We had no idea that their eyes would do that!

She's Gone
For those of you that have come here expecting to read what the Mystery Blogger has to say I have bad news for you. She inexplicably is – as we say in England – a ‘no show’. Gone AWOL! So, you are stuck with me today. Writing this after virtually a full day at the dentist ( well it seemed like a full day). Got the 8 am Caye Caulker Water Taxi to Belize City and on arrival grabbed a taxi to the dentist (BZ$8 including a tip). My appointment was for 10 am but, as has become customary ( the only gripe I have about the very good dentist Doctor Pedro Habet) I didn’t get into the surgery until 10.40 am. Once in there it was straight into the chair, a couple of injections, remove the temporary filling and then set about removing one of the nerves in the root canal that he was unable to extract last week. Success achieved this time around. So he then prepared the two teeth that have had root canal work for the crowns that are going to be fitted. That done I went for lunch which proved not to be the easiest thing given that one side of my mouth was still numb. Back at 1.30 pm for an attempt on the second of the nerves that he was unable to remove last week. No success this time either so he will try again next week. He did though remove the nerve for the other root canal that required this treatment. A 66% success rate. Not perfect but not bad. Hopefully next week the difficult nerve will succumb.

International Sources

Global Sea Level Rise By 2100 Could Top 3 Feet, New Study Suggests
In 2007, the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that global warming could cause sea levels to rise between 7 and 23 inches by the end of the century. A new study published this week says the actual levels of sea rise could be much higher — up to three feet higher. The consequences of sea level rise at that proportion would be "horrible," the study's co-author told NBC News. Millions of people living in coastal areas would be displaced and mega-cities such as New York City and Tokyo would need to spend billions of dollars to improve their infrastructure to avoid flooding. The study was published Jan. 6 in the journal Nature Climate Change. The paper claims that the IPCC report — which is in the process of being updated — did not fully anticipate the risk of melting Antarctic and Greenland glacial ice sheets and therefore underestimates the risk. The authors, J.L. Bamber and W.P. Aspinall of the University of Bristol in the U.K., pooled the findings of other researchers and came up with new estimates for sea level rise by 2100. Depending on the climate-change scenario, they predict that sea levels could rise between 11.4 and 33 inches (there was only a 5 percent chance of reaching this level, according to the experts' data). If rising temperatures also cause ocean waters to expand, the total sea rise could be more than three feet. Bamber and Aspinall prepared this paper by polling 26 glaciologists around the world in 2010 and 2012. Bamber told NBC News that this technique, which has been used for earthquakes and volcanoes but not previously for climate change, is "a lot more than an opinion poll" since it rigorously analyzes ice sheet modeling and other information.

Ireland could be hiding huge stores of oil and gas
A BELFAST born geologist believes Ireland could be hiding vast stores of oil and gas deep within ancient rock - and she intends to drill the land to find it. Susan Morrice, who was born in the city and educated at Trinity College, Dublin, heads up a massive oil programme in Belize. Having generated more than $300 million from its first discovery of oil in 2005, her company Belize Natural Energy (BNE) is the number one generator of revenue in the Central American country. However, after years of drilling in Belize were fruitless, Ms Morrice said she had to battle against "negatives attitudes" before finally proving oil was there, "and now we are producing 2,500 barrels of the best quality oil anywhere in the world". She targeted Belize because of it proximity to the borders of the Caribbean and Northern American tectonic plates. Vast natural fractures, caused by plate movement, lie deep in the ancient rock which house oil stored for millions of years. As the fractures are already there, it negates the need for the controversial 'fracking' technique to be used. There are several offshore oil-fields dotted around Ireland including one near Cork which it is predicted could produce millions of barrels. Ms Morrice believes similar stocks of oil and gas could be found onshore in Ireland "in some surprising places". "If you think about it, Done-gal used to be connected to what is now Canada and the rest of Ireland was connected to another plate," she said. Speaking to The Irish News during a brief visit to Belfast, Ms Morrice said: "I am always being asked to help replicate the BNE model across the world including in Ireland.

Katie Couric Agrees Belize’s Sacred Cave is “Incredible”
American journalist and author Katie Couric joined the growing number of Actun Tunichil Muknal fans last week and is expected to be in the forefront of a wave of visitors to one of Belize’s most fascinating natural and cultural attractions, the Lodge at Chaa Creek’s marketing administrator Larry Waight said today 8 January 2013. Mr Waight said that Ms Couric’s popular tweets will no doubt add to the growing interest in Belize’s network of ancient Maya ceremonial caves, of which Actun Tunichil Muknal, known locally as ATM, is the most highly recognised. “ATM is a relative newcomer to Belize’s Maya attractions, but word of mouth has steadily increased interest in it in recent years,” Mr Waight said, “It’s certainly one of the most captivating things I’ve experienced anywhere, and without exception our guests return from excursions to the cave completely amazed. It’s an experience that’s difficult to put into words,” he said. Ms Couric spent the 2013 New Year’s in Belize where she tweeted about the country’s many attractions, including the famous nurse sharks of the Belize Great Barrier Reef and her exploration of the ATM. “Last day in Belize!! Went spelunking in the incredible ATM Cave! Wish I could have taken pics-Mayan pots, skeletons from human sacrifices!!” Ms Couric tweeted. Mr Waight said that Ms Couric’s reaction was not uncommon. “Everybody, and I mean everybody, is blown away by the ATM. It’s impossible not to be affected by the sheer physical beauty, the ancient Maya altars and the number of ancient Maya artefacts such as jade axe heads, pottery and sacrificial instruments scattered around. “And then, after exploring the various chambers and cathedral- like ceremonial areas, you come across the Crystal Maiden – the complete skeleton of a young woman that has over the years been crystallised so that it sparkles in the flashlight beams. Most people describe it as breathtaking, and I’d have to agree,” Mr Waight said.

Culver-Stockton students raise funds to donate to children of the rainforest
n December, Culver-Stockton students raised over $600 to buy and donate school supplies to children from the Mayan Village of Blue Creek, Belize. Following the fund drive, Dr. Lauren Schellenberger, professor of biology, and Dr. Scott Giltner, professor of history, travelled with 18 students to Belize and Guatemala to personally deliver the goods during a study-trip for tropical ecology and environmental history. With these funds, the students purchased classroom supplies such as pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, notebooks and printer paper. Blue Creek is located deep within the rainforest in the southernmost district of Belize, near the Blue Creek Rainforest Preserve. “An important part of a study abroad experience such as this one is reciprocity,” notes Dr. Giltner. “Our students are privileged to study in someone else’s country, learn from them and with them, and we are aware of the need to give something back. We can’t just be tourists. The students understood this and worked hard to raise the money. We are proud of their effort.” The group delivered the nearly 100 pounds of school supplies to the Blue Creek School, spent some time talking with teachers and students, and even spent some time playing soccer and other games with the children.

Belize boost
Peace Corps volunteer Meghan VanDeventer, a University of Delaware alumna, is helping to empower and employ more than 20 members of a local women’s cooperative in Belize by working to reopen a restaurant in the community after it was destroyed by fires in 2003 and 2005. The Sandy Beach Women's Cooperative owns and operates the recently restored Sandy Beach Restaurant, which reopened in November. The Sandy Beach Women's Cooperative was originally formed in 1986 with the help of a Peace Corps volunteer and became the first women’s cooperative registered in Belize. Through a small grant, the cooperative established and ran a successful lodge and restaurant until the entire property was destroyed. For seven years, cooperative members have been trying to restore the property. With help from VanDeventer and several local organizations, they built a new structure for the restaurant.

Tender Problems for Carnival Cruise Line Cause Problems in Belize, Cayman Islands
Carnival has pulled nine sailings on two ships out of Belize in light of tender congestion, and, according to reports, is threatening to pull out of the Cayman Islands in response to an increase in tender passenger fees. Cruise Critic learned of the port of call cancellations from John Heald's Facebook page. Heald is the line's senior cruise director and a popular cruise blogger. On the nine affected sailings, all on either Carnival Glory or Carnival Legend, the port of Belize will be replaced with calls in Costa Maya. Though Heald said the changes were "purely for operational reasons," Cruise Critic has learned from Carnival the changes are in fact due to port and tender congestion. "Although we have a confirmed berth in Belize, local officials accepted calls for additional ships," Carnival said in a letter. "Consequently, their tender capacity is not able to effectively handle the increased volume of guests without creating long delays and limiting your time ashore. Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to come to an acceptable agreement with Belize Port Authority regarding this situation." Carnival canceled a handful of Belize calls two years ago around this time, also because of problems with tenders. At the time Carnival said the available tenders did not meet its standards for safe, comfortable and efficient transport.

Taiwan passport holders get visa-free Belize entry
Taiwan's Central American ally Belize officially announced that R.O.C. passport holders are now entitled to visa-waiver entry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced yesterday. The new rule takes effect immediately. Taiwanese travelers now may enter the diplomatic ally for business or pleasure without obtaining a visa for up to 90 days as long as their passport is valid for at least six months, the MOFA said in a released statement. One may also apply for extensions of the 90-day stay before it expires, it noted. The MOFA reminds Taiwanese tourists to follow Belize laws and regulations when traveling in the Central American country. In case of an emergency, Taiwanese nationals can contact the ministry through its hotline on +886-800-085-095.

Belize visa-free treatment for Taiwanese goes into effect
Visa-free treatment granted by Belize has gone into effect for Taiwanese citizens, who can now visit the Central American country for stays of up to 90 days, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday. The Foreign Ministry said it had received notification of the move from its Belize counterpart and that the measure was also confirmed by the International Air Transport Association. From now on, holders of valid Taiwan passports can enter the nation for up to 90 days without a visa for tourism or business, the ministry said, adding that Taiwanese visitors can apply for an extension of stay once the 90 days are up.

January 8, 2013


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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

Ambergris Today

San Pedro’s Persons of the Year 2012 Kelly & Mukul Kanabar
They are philanthropists at heart; there is no doubt about it. Those who are close to this couple, or even have had the opportunity to spend some time with them, know how genuine, kind-hearted and generous they are. The two of them complement each other and share the same values, ideals and aspirations. It is because of their generous and kind hearts that Ambergris Today has chosen Kelly and Mukul Kanabar as Persons of the Year 2012! Their generosity goes beyond their family and friends as they have reached out to their community in ways that few have. From moral support, monetary donations, sponsorships and driving the community to step up and assist in various charity and fundraising efforts, both Kelly and Mukul have shown that they have a heart of gold. “We try to focus our giving on youth education and healthcare because we firmly believe that our happiness and our success are directly related to the health and well being of our community,” commented Mukul to Ambergris Today.

It’s a Girl - San Pedro’s New Year Baby 2013!
Every newborn baby is reason to celebrate but this bouncing little gal is an extra special reason to celebrate because she is San Pedro’s First Born for 2013. It's a girl! She is the first child for Marina Olivera and Juan Rosalez born on January 4, 2013. This proud Sanpedrana was born at 10:30a.m. on January 4 at the Ambergris Hopes Clinic under the care of Nurse Natalie Palen and weighed in at 7 pounds 10 ounces. This beautiful baby receives the generous prizes offered by Ambergris Today through its generous sponsors. The baby’s name is Giselle Elizabeth Rosalez and on Friday, January 4, 2013 the excited staff of Ambergris Today visited Marina and baby Giselle at their home in the Escalante subdivision to present them with their gifts as follows:

Mayor Guerrero and Elvi’s Kitchen Host Ambassador of Taiwan
On Saturday, January 5, 2013, Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Deputy Mayor Severo Guerrero Jr. Minister of Tourism & Culture, Hon. Manuel Heredia, Hon. Joy Grant and members of the private sector held a dinner at Elvi's Kitchen in honor of the Ambassador of Taiwan, Mr. David Wu and his wife. Mr. Wu recently made a donation to the San Pedro Town Council of two garbage compactors which is scheduled to arrive this upcoming week. Hon. Manuel Heredia shared a few words of appreciation to Mr. Wu and also gave him a heartfelt welcome to Belize and in special to San Pedro. Mayor Daniel Guerrero also shared a few words of appreciation and assured that the two garbage compactors will be put to its best use. Hon. Joy Grant is grateful for the relationship that Belize and Taiwan currently share and that in the future it becomes stronger. Lastly, Mr. David Wu gave many thanks for the special treatment he received and he was most grateful for the visa waiver that was implemented for Taiwan residents to visit Belize by the Government. He stated that this will further increase the tourism industry in both countries and even went the extra mile and extended an invitation to the Mayor and his wife to visit Taiwan in the near future.

25 Years Ago: Burning of the Old Year
On December 31, 2012 at Central Park, I was emceeing the official Countdown for the New Year 2013 and I commented that New Year’s Eve was the perfect time to make some reflections of how things went in our lives. Those things which did not work well for us should be trashed. Along the same line, those things which worked well for us should be cherished, and built upon during the new year. So if you cheated on your wife or your fiancé and it brought some measure of discontentment and problems in your life, you should opt to stop that foolishness and try to make amends with your loved one. If for example you have built a poor relationship with your boss or colleagues at your workplace, you can also choose to at the end of the year and commencement of the New Year to apologize, regain confidence and press on to a better and healthy relationship. Years ago in San Pedro the married couples had a special dance for New Year’s Eve where only married couples could attend. Earlier that day the folks had built an effigy or dummy of an old man using an old pair of pants and shirt stuffed with seaweed or grass and a carved coconut for its face. Just before midnight of December 31, the dummy was burnt to symbolize the going away of the old year and the trashing or burning up of all unwanted things and habits in the lives of the San Pedranos. Silently the folks did their reflections and made their wishes, and also made resolutions for the New Year just commencing. As the dummy was being consumed by the fire, the folks gathered around it drinking, dancing, and celebrating the fact that they were getting rid of the many unwanted things that happened in San Pedro and in their lives.

Free Dental Check Ups For Children by Smile Center
San Pedro Smile Center is giving FREE DENTAL CHECK UPS to children starting Monday January 14th thru Thursday January 17th at our San Pedro Smile Center too located at Holy Cross School at no cost to the children. This service is open to all the children of Belize but they do need a parent or guardian with them to sign papers. You can reach the project coordinator, Dr. Mark Johnson, at 604 7995. SAN PEDRO SMILE CENTER'S 2013 VOLUNTEER SCHEDULE At this moment we plan to see patients according to the following .... God willing:

To The New Year! And A Vibrant New Me!
I extend to all Belizean educators and students my best wishes for a Successful New Year! Also, I thank all educators, whether teacher, administrator, or parent, who are committed to supporting, developing, and improving Education systems in Belize, especially in areas of ‘classroom management’ and ‘working with difficult students’. My warm appreciation goes out to each reader who posts commentaries, positive or negative, to my Guidance Counselor articles. Commentaries that you post to articles in this column serve to keep me ever committed to sharing (with students and educators) my personal and “tried” tips, strategies, and effective solutions to the difficulties that can and do arise each school day inside the classroom – for students, teachers, and administrators. In this New Year, 2013, we will revisit several important and core principles of Education that will never change, even though students and circumstances do keep changing every day. Effective classroom management, productively dealing with difficult students, being a good role model, motivating our students, dealing with bullying, and staying organized and in-charge in the classroom, are important strategies that all educators should master. For readers who are new to this column, “Difficult Students” are those defiant and unmanageable students who often disrupt the class, and who very often have very low esteem but are embarrassed of failure. Repeated and seemingly uncontrollable behaviors that these students exhibit at school indicate that they have special needs – physical, emotional, or psychological. Throughout the world today, teachers who work in Primary and Secondary level schools are encouraged, and in many countries are required, to receive updated and regular training on how to productively deal with difficult students.

Misc Belizean Sources

Back to School at UB
The University of Belize had their orientation. Hope it's another great semester.

Rotaract at Hode's
Rotaract met last night at Hode's. "Interested in becoming a Rotaractor? Want to make a difference within the Community? Then, join us at our next meeting."

NICH Cave Announcement
The Institute of Archaeology's National Institute of Culture and History is announcing that the ATM, Nohoch Che'en, and Barton Creek caves are closing due to heavy rains and flooding. They've been closed the last few days. Hopefully, they will be open later this week. Other caves that are still open are Chechem Ha and Mountain Cow.

Rotary's Orthopedic Clinic Week
The Rotary Club of Belmopan is having this year's orthopedic clinic this week. They'll be in Cayo today. They'll be in Belmopan this evening. Thanks, Rotary! "Things have been quite during the holiday season but it is time to start getting active again. Our Belize Children's Project will be hosting clinics around the country next week. We will be looking for children 18 and younger who need orthopedic (bone related) care. Please look at the attached flyer for all the details."

January 9th, UB Business Campus in Belmopan

Belize Bureau of Standards – Consumer Watch Newsletter – December 2012
Dear Readers, The Bureau would like to share with you our December 2012 Issue of our Consumer Watch Newsletter. To read kindly click on the link BBS Newsletter Vol 4 Issue 3 (Dec 2012). Thanks for Reading

VIDEO: Belize Zoo on CCTV News
It’s been called one of the best small zoos in the world. The Belize Zoo is situated in a thick jungle near Belmopan, a region known for its efforts to save the jaguar. CCTV’s Franc Contreras has our report. Direct contact with nature at the Belize Zoo. Here visitors get just that with mammals and reptiles that have sometimes encountered difficulties when mixing with their human neighbours. The Belize zoo has the world’s only program designed to help problematic jaguars, like Field Master. Out in the wild, he had trouble finding food. So he started eating dogs. He’s one of 13 endangered jaguars now living here, under the care of zoo director Sharon Matalon. Sharon Matalon, Belize Zoo Director, said, "I always get reports of Jaguars getting shot because they go into someone’s cattle pasture." She trains these large cats to get along better with people, and eventually becoming ambassadors for their species.

Channel 7

Innocent Female Killed In Brother's Gang War
It was another terrible weekend of gun violence in the city - as three persons were killed in 18 hours. The saddest case though is tonight's headline story: the murder of 22 year old Feeshia Felix. It's sad because Feeshia was a productive young woman, an SJC Sixth Form Graduate, recently employed as a temporary clerk at Social Security. But she comes from a family with heavy gang affiliations: two of her brothers were already killed and her mother Therese, a community activist died of asthma complications in 2008. That wide imprint of loss and grief is the background for Saturday morning when death again visited the Felix house on Gill street and this time, it took an innocent life. Monica Bodden reports:.. Monica Bodden reporting 22 year old Feeshia Felix was murdered at her Gill Street address - the home she grew up in most her life. The young woman was in bed sleeping - when her house came under fire by a hail of bullets.

Marlon Harris Executed In Car
We'll tell you about that one shortly, but, first, we'll tell you the story of Saturday night's murder. The victim was Marlon Harris, known as Lippo - a well-known figure whose name has been in the news before. But on Saturday night, Harris was just going home - when a gunman waylaid him and shot up his car. It happened at mile 3 on the Western Highway and 7news was there - along with traffic that was blocked up for miles. Here's how it looked:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting: When we arrived at mile three on the Western Highway at 8:45, it was closed off, so that police could process the crime scene of the 3rd murder in less than 18 hours. That scene was an emotional one where his friends howled in angry disbelief, and his sister's screeching wail left her doubled over in pain. That tells the story best of the loss they were experiencing. And while a friend held her, it was too much and she collapsed unto the pavement - fainted, overwhelmed by the knowledge that her brother had been killed. 33 year-old Marlon Harris lay dead in his vehicle - which had run off the road into a huge ditch. That's where his life ended after being shot multiple times.

Could Gun Arrest Be Key To Other Murders?
And we'll have the story of Saturday's other murder shortly - but first a story about a gun arrest that police are taking very seriously. Andrew Talbert known as Elegance was caught with a gun on Sunday morning before dawn. Yesterday at 4:30 a.m. - the patrol branch was looking for suspects in a robbery when they spotted Talbert in a yard at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets. When Talbert saw the officers, he flung an object into the yard. Police detained him and retrieved a 9 mm Glock pistol with one live round of ammunition. They charged him with keeping an unlicensed firearm, and keeping unlicensed ammunition. He was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, where he pleaded not guilty to both offences. Still, because it is a gun offence, he was remanded to prison until February 19, 2013. But that weapon which police allegedly caught Talbert with is not just any other unlicensed firearm. Reliable information to 7News is that police suspect that this is the weapon used in two recent homicides and ballistics analysis will be done to determine if this is so.?

Mother Loses Second Child To Murder
So far we've told you about two of Saturday's murders: one happened early in the morning, the other at night. In between, there was one more - and police believe it may be related to the Feeshia Felix killing. At around 3:00 in the afternoon, Marvin Foreman was near his home in front of a Chinese store called Bobo on Central American Boulevard when two men on bicycles rode up. They fired more than a dozen shots and hit him multiple times in the midsection. Foreman was rushed to the hospital - but died an hour later. In an off camera interview today with 7news, his mother spoke about the pain of losing a second child to violence. Mother of Marvin Foreman "I was inside and I heard 4 shots first. When I heard the first shot I say that it sounded like a gunshot. My other son said that it was pop-shot and I told him no, it sounded like gunshots. I came out by the door and I peep and saw people running from that direction. I saw a young lady running from across the streets saying that it is "blinds." I told my other son to go see if it was his brother. He came back running and said "mom why, God why, this is the second brother that they want to kill" he says "mom, I don't understand what is happening out here."

CITCO Apologizes to Family For Mess At Cemetery
Last week, 7News told you about the unsteady transition that the Belize City Council made in relation to their assumption of responsibility for Cemetery services, including the construction of new graves. Well tonight, things are still bumpy because another family has complained that this so-called "quality control" that Mayor Darrell Bradley is trying to work on apparently didn't apply to their dead loved-ones grave. The Hylton Family, who came forward last week to complain that police aren't properly investigating the death of 76 year-old Hector Hylton, contacted us to say that CitCo didn't construct his grave properly. Here's how that conversation went about the grave they had to bury their loved one in this weekend: Daniel Ortiz "I imagine that you all feel that it is disrespect to the family and to his memory that his grave is poorly done." Deltrude Hylton - Daughter of Deceased "That's right," Daniel Ortiz "What's the response that you've received from City Council?"

Second Suspect In San Cas Robbery
Last week Wednesday, 7News told you that police charged 1 suspect in connection with the robbery of the San Cas Employee who had almost $19,600 in cash on him. Well tonight, his alleged accomplice is behind bars also. He's 25 year-old Victor Pratt, and according to police, he and Micshak Flores robbed 33 year-old Leroy Cassasola on December 27, 2012 of $19,598.13 in cash, which belonged to his company, along with the company's check book, and a black Apple I-Pad. Police investigated and they charged both Flores, who was arraigned last week, and Pratt, who was arraigned today. Pratt was taken before the Chief Magistrate who remanded him to prison until March 5, 2013.

BTB Robber Lamb Was Found With A Gun!
22 year-old year-old Clarence Lamb, the man who tried to rob BTB last week is at prison tonight after he was taken to court on a long list of charges in relation to that incident. As we reported at about 4:30 last week Wednesday afternoon, two men - one armed with a knife - the other with a gun - went into the BTB office on Regent Street and held up the cashier. They managed to steal $1,732.78 in cash, but the security guard was alert and he shot Lamb in the calf before he could get away. Police charged him with keeping an unlicensed firearm; keeping unlicensed ammunition, both for a .38 revolver found on him, which contained 6 live rounds of ammunition; robbery; and 7 counts of aggravated assault, which he allegedly committed against various BTB employees. Due to the nature of the offences, Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith remanded him to prison until February 28, 2012. All the stolen money was recovered, but his accomplice escaped.

Hot Dog Vendors Robbed
The food vendors - mostly women - who work the night shift in down-town Belize City have a visibly difficult job. They work late at night - right up to the early morning and it leaves them open to all kinds of roving criminals. At 3:30 on Sunday - two dark skinned males with guns, and 2 females, who were reportedly armed with knives, chanced two of the vendors - one of them only 17 - out of their earnings. Police told us more: Reporter "Could you confirm a report that the hotdog vendors in Battlefield Park were robbed early Sunday morning by two men and two women?" Elodio Aragon Jr., Acting Deputy Comissioner of Police "Yes that report was made to us and definitely quick response of the police we were able to apprehend two person and two women and the investigations is on-going and likewise the police was able to recover a firearm from these persons. I can tell you - yes indeed we had an incident where three vendors were robbed at the Battlefield Park. I could tell you that quick response of the police resulted in the apprehension of two males and two females and likewise the recovery of a firearm which we believe was the weapon and the persons involved in the robbery of these three vendors." Police found Andrew Talbert with his gun when they responded to that robbery.

Two City Shootings
Apart from the murders, there were also two shootings in Belize City this weekend. On Sunday morning on Flamboyant Street, 25 year old Justin Richards was shot in the back. He was in front of his home when two men on bicycle rode past him and one of them fired several shots. And last night, at around 7:20, 58 year old Jennifer Staine was at her gate at the Corner of Vernon and Sibun streets socializing with three companions when shots rang out. She was hit in the arm. There have been numerous shootings at this address over the past 5 years - and the murder of one female.

Police On Placencia Operation
A few weeks ago, we told you about the launch of the police new Elite Team, the mobile interdiction unit. Well, on Friday, the joined up with Placencia police to perform a joint operation on the peninsula looking for drugs and firearms. They searched eight homes and arrested 37 year old Charles WESTBY Jr. and 28 year old Evangelina PECK 28 after finding 0.5 grams of cocaine. It's less than point one (.1) ounce , but both were jointly arrested and charged for "Possession of control drugs". Another search at the residence of 31 year old Kiron LOGAN led to the discovery of a pipe used for smoking drugs. As a result he was arrested and charged for "possession of a Pipe". The K-9 unit found 64.9 grams of cannabis, half a gramme of crystal meth, and (14) live rounds of .38 ammunition in an open lot.

Belizean Bus In Chet Accident
A Belizean bus was involved in an accident in Chetumal on Thursday. The Diario De Quintana Roo reports that the Belizean bus ran over a Mexican motorcyclist. Jonatan Red Arreola, received injuries to his face, legs and arms. The experts indicated that Red Arreola was had the right of way when bus driver Samuel Moguel ran into him, crushing the motorbike. Arreola was taken to the ISSTE Hospital.

Belize Tops Honduras Champs
Yesterday, Belize's National A Football Team played its second game since being selected against one of Honduras's premier semi-pro teams, Deportivo Platense. It was broadcast live here on Channel 7, but for those viewers who missed it, we caught up with the coaches and players to ask them about how that game went. We found that even though Belize got a 1-nil victory, it was only an exhibition match. Leroy Sherrier - Coach, Belize National Team "My impression is that I feel satisfy - not completely. This kind of game helps you to take real decision that you have to take but in general I feel good because the players performed very good." Reporter "Tell us what's your impression of how your young players were playing on the field today?" Leroy Sherrier - Coach, Belize National Team "The younger ones came in good and Mariano surprises me on how he was playing. I think in the couple of weeks that we have ahead we can fix that. This is our first serious game and that's why I don't feel bad because we played against a very good team and that help us to see what we got to work on."

New Trucks/Cycles For Police
Law-abiding residents of Stann Creek and San Ignacio should benefit from a donation of new police mobiles. In one of his last acts as Compol David Henderson handed over the keys to formation commanders at Headquarters in Belmopan today. The police minister told the press office how it will help: Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of Police "It's a part of the continuing process of improving the equipment and infrastructure for the police department. Today we are handing over 2 vehicles and 10 motorcycles to Dangriga and San Ignacio formations; one vehicle for San Ignacio and some of the motorcycles for Dangriga and some of the villages in the Stann Creek District and also for the San Ignacio formations." Henderson is slated to demit office on January 9th when he goes on early retirement.

Channel 5

Feeshia, another Felix murdered
The cycle of violence is unending; this weekend alone three persons were killed in a span of twenty-four hours. The most tragic is the murder of Feeshia Felix, a twenty-two year old woman who was asleep in her family’s home on Gill Street when a hail of bullets penetrated her house. She expired when one [...]

3 murdered over weekend including Marvin Foreman
Gunshots rang out again on Saturday, this time in broad daylight. At about three o’clock in the afternoon, Marvin “Blinds” Foreman was shot and killed not far from his house in Port Loyola. Two gunmen on bicycles rode up where Foreman was shopping and executed him, at least ten bullets landed on him. Foreman died [...]

Harris shot and killed in his car
The third murder victim on Saturday was Marlon Harris, also known as Lippo. Harris was driving into Belize City when he was shot and killed by someone in another vehicle. It happened at the western entrance of the City at about eight o’clock p.m.  Marlon’s body was pulled out of the bullet ridden vehicle and [...]

Shot in front of his house
Two other persons were shot on Sunday and managed to survive. The two victims had the unfortunate coincidence of being shot where they felt safest; that is in front of their homes. Police Press Officer Raphael Martinez filled in the media on the details.   Raphael Martinez, Police Press Officer “On Sunday the sixth of [...]

Senior citizen shot in front of her house
The other victim who is fortunate to be alive is Jennifer Staine, who lives along the canal side of Sibun Street which intersects with Vernon Street. Staine was also standing in front of her house when a gunman blasted her. But why would anyone want to harm the woman? The police say that her son [...]

Grave problems for City Hall
Since the Belize City Council has taken control of public cemeteries and the building of graves, at least one undertaker has made his discontent public. But it seems there is a growing list of upset residents, who are also voicing their rage at the council’s handling of burial services. The most recent case involves Hector [...]

UB student government alleges student didn’t register
Today was registration day at the University of Belize Belmopan campus and there are over five hundred incoming students who were expected to sign up and pay for the upcoming semester. But when News Five spoke to the Student Government President, Hope Amadi, today, there was only a handful of students completing their registrations. Amadi [...]

Will Ministry of Education pay fees for students?
While the students are taking action, there has been no direct communication with the ministry and Amadi says he is uncertain if talking would make a difference. Based on recent public comments by Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, the student government believes he has already made up his mind.   Hope Amadi “We’ve been hearing [...]

Liquor Store Blues in Orange Walk own
The Orange Walk Town Council, led by Mayor Kevin Bernard, is outraged over a last-minute decision taken by the Ministry of Local Government to scrap a recommended list of members who were recently named to a new Liquor Licensing Board.  According to the town council, Minister of Local Government Godwin Hulse had initially approved the [...]

B.T.B. robber gets ten fines for botched robbery
The Belize Tourism Board got a scare last Wednesday when two men—one armed with a firearm—robbed the cashier of over one thousand, seven hundred dollars in cash. But the robbery was thwarted by the quick response from security guards, when one of the robbers, twenty-two year old Clarence Lamb was shot and hospitalized under heavy [...]

Alleged robber will blow out birthday candles in prison
A second suspect has been charged in connection with the robbery that netted almost twenty thousand dollars from a San Cas employee. Twenty-five year old Victor Pratt was arrested over the weekend and after two days in custody; he appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano today to be arraigned for Robbery. No plea was taken and [...]

Judge gives Horse’s wife bail for attempted suppression of evidence
On December twenty-seventh an entire family was charged and remanded to prison on charges related to the murder of nineteen year old Raheem Requeña. The well known Jermaine “Horse” Garnett and his stepson Kenneth Barrow were charged with murder while his wife, Pamela Garnett and her son Mark Vernon were charged for Attempted Suppression of [...]

ADO bus impounded for uncustommed goods
Licenciado Leonides Chavarria, of Mexican Bus Line ADO operating Cancun and Merida Tours into Belize City has confirmed that one of its busses was impounded on Sunday by Belizean Authorities at the northern border after uncustommed goods were found onboard. Chavarria says that a passenger owned up to the bag containing the goods and was [...]

Deputy Commissioner of Police Aragon’s super promotion
Last week the Ministry of National Security announced several unexpected changes in the Police Department. The most significant shift occurred at the top and the Commissioner’s post went to Allen Whylie to succeed the former commissioner David Henderson, who moved to the all important post of Head of the Forensic Department. But some hope has [...]

Police get motorcycles for fast patrols
Police patrols in the west and south received a boost today with the handing over of brand new wheels from the Ministry of National Security. The Cayo District received a Mahindra truck and two motorcycles which will serve the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena. Meanwhile, the Stann Creek Formation also received a [...]

Mother of three missing
A mother of three is missing. The woman was expected to travel to Belize City on Saturday to attend a funeral but she never arrived. According to Nakisha Usher, her sister Tasha Usher has not verbally communicated with anyone, however a text message has been sent from her phone and they hope that the message [...]

Goal! Football highlights on Sports Monday
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and welcome to this 1st delivery of Sports Monday for 2013.   The Belize National Football Team opened the new year with a flurry as they hosted Tigrillos of Chetumal Mexico on Friday in which they overwhelmed the visitors in a 7-zip blast and then yesterday inside the F.F.B. Stadium [...]


Belize City Turns to Battle Ground Over The Weekend
Since Friday evening, Belize City has been a virtual battle ground with a number of shooting incidents. By Monday morning, three persons had been murdered and at least two others injured and receiving treatment at the KHMH. The first murder happened early on Saturday morning and ...

Ministry of Local Government Appoints New Liquor License Boards; Orange Walk Town Council Objects
It’s the new year and the ministry of local government is appointing new liquor licenses across the country. But so far the Orange Walk Town Council is not happy with the appointment that Minister Godwin Hulse has approved. In a press release issued this afternoon, th...

Alcaldes Sworn-In In Southern Belize
Newly elected Alcaldes and Deputy Alcaldes were sworn in during an official ceremony on Saturday in Punta Gorda. ...

Police News
A second person has been charged with the robbery of $19,598.00 from Santiago Castillo Limited. He is 25 year old Victor Pratt, a self employed of Vernon Street. Pratt was arraigned today Court. No plea was taken because the matter will be tried on indictment. Pratt was remanded into c...

Woman Charged For Wounding Police Woman
Twenty-three year old Delicia Mckoy, a resident of Gail Street, located in the complex area, was charged with wounding police corporal Linda Reyes when she appeared in Court today. Mckoy was also charged with assaulting Reyes and using insulting words to her. She pled not guilty to the...

Mechanic Charged With Theft of Motor Vehicle
Forty-one year old Dorian Dougal, an auto mechanic of 21 Croton Lane, was charged with the theft of a black Geo Metro car valued at $5,000.00 when he appeared in Court today. Dougal pled not guilty to the charge. He was offered a bail of $500.00 and his case was adjourned until F...

Belize Customs Impounds and Fines Bus for Unaccustomed Goods
An ADO Bus entering the country from Mexico was impounded by Belize Customs overnight following the discovery of uncustomed goods on board the bus. Reports are that Custom officers at the Northern Boarder searched the bus and found a quantity of vegetables inside the bus. The owner of ...


Christmas Tree Goes Up In Flames
The Christmas Season has officially ended with the celebration of the feast of the Three Wise Men, or most commonly referred to as, Dia de los Reyes Magos. As tradition has it, on January 6th, Christmas Trees around the world starting coming down along with all Christmas decorations. Well, here in Orange Walk Town, the Town Council along with every other resident was waiting for the Dia de los Magos to bring down the Central Park tree, but someone beat them to the punch. The Orange Walk Fire department received a call sometime around 11:30 of Friday night by a resident reporting that the Christmas Tree situated in Central Park was going up in flames. As you can see on this picture taken by a resident of Orange Walk, it appears that the bulk of the flame was at the base of the tree. With the fire station just up the street, the fire engine was on the scene within a matter of minutes. Officer at the Orange Walk substation Kenneth Mortis told us more on the report they received Friday night. “We did get a call of the fire approximately 11:00pm Friday night and upon arrival we found that the decorative Christmas tree was at blaze and we got into the investigation trying to confirm the source of the fir after it was extinguished. We were led to believe early in the investigation that it was a result of rain which would had probably hampered the electrical process, that was the initial investigation but it wasn’t until the following day Saturday morning that works conducted by the Town Hall people that we learnt that it was an intentional fire by that we mean that someone maliciously set the Christmas tree t blaze by using a candle, it is an unfortunate act culprit or culprits unknown actually left the evidence on which they use to set this Christmas tree on fire which was the remains of a candle.”

Home Protector Insurance Burglarized
A burglary has netted thieves over $1,400 in stolen items. A reliable report to CTV3 is that on Sunday, January 6th, sometime between the hours of 3am and 4:30am a thief, or thieves, broke into the Home Protector Insurance building located at #121 Belize/Corozal Road in Orange Walk Town. Police were immediately alerted by neighbors. The culprits gained entrance to the building through the bathroom window located at the back of the lower flat of the building. Once in, items stolen included one pink bicycle valued at $225 BZD, one radio valued at $150 BZD, one digital camera valued at $125 BZD and one PC valued at $900 BZD. Damages include 2 wooden doors, 1 glass window with burglar bars and one wooden office desk drawer. Manager of the Orange Walk Branch of Home Protector Insurance said that police instructed that the scene not be altered and promised to be back at 8am this morning. Nonetheless when we last made checks with the manager earlier this afternoon police had not yet responded to process the scene. We will continue to follow this report and bring to you any new developments.

First Day Back To School
It is the first day back to school for the New Year 2013. Approximately seventy thousand students are registered for classes around the country. Today we visited two schools in the Orange Walk District to find out how the day was looking like, for the students returning to classes. If you’d look at your calendar you’ll see that we are seven days into the new year 2013 and today also marks the first day back to school after the Christmas holidays. We spoke to Infant one teacher of the Trial Farm Government School, Agudia Ayuso who told us how day one back to school was playing out. Agudia Ayuso – Teacher “We have prepared many activities for children to work with and apart from that we have instill in children the motivation of learning and the outcomes in the future of becoming someone so we try to use the words of encouragement, that is one of our major goals for children to develop that positive attitude towards learning and also being cooperative to the community and the teachers and to be somebody in life.”

Writing competition Launched for Students
Every year, the Commonwealth Essay Competition inspires thousands of young writers from all over the world to participate. Coordinated by the Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883, it is the world’s oldest and largest international writing competition for students. Past winners include Mr Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore and Elspeth Huxley. The competition is free to enter and in 2012 over one thousand young writers from 245 schools in 38 countries across the commonwealth received remuneration for their entry. For 2013, the Competition will be held in partnership with the Cambridge University Press, whose support will enable the engagement of even more young writers across the Commonwealth. The Competition celebrates and nurtures the creative talents of young people across the Commonwealth, providing a platform for students to compete with their peers in each of the 54 nations which make up this unique association. Entrants are judged in two age groups, the Junior Category which is for students under 14 years and the Senior Category which is for students 14 to 18 years.


Minister of Education responds to concerns of UB students
On Thursday we told you about concerns raised about the discontinuation of a government subsidy, which means that new students are now required to pay registration fee. Today was registration for the January intake and was carried out online, so we can’t be sure how many new entrants to the national university actually listened the call from the Student Government body to refrain from paying the registration fee. And our news centre has been unable to verify how registration went with management of the University of Belize. During Thursday’s press conference, members of the UB student government and a group called Nation Builders implored Education Minister Patrick Faber to intervene, saying that he made promises during the 2007 campaign. Today, Minister Faber called in to the Love FM Morning Show to respond to the allegations made during Thursday’s press conference. Minister Faber went on to say that he believes that yesterday’s press conference was a personal attack on his integrity. Love News will continue to monitor developments in this story in the coming days.

Car radio and employee missing from Belize City business establishment
Theft from motor vehicles was reported frequently toward the end of last year. But usually it involved a broken window where the culprits made off with valuable items. The first for 2013 involves the theft of electronic items from a delivery truck. Police say the vehicle, belonging to Enrique Martinez and Sons Limited was sent to do a routine delivery on December nineteenth. The following day, the delivery truck was found parked in the compound, but the supervisor noticed that the radio and amplifier, a pair of speakers and a two-ton jack were missing. The driver of the truck, Nathan Pratt has not been seen or heard from since. Police are now looking for Pratt for questioning. Meanwhile, a burglary in the old capital has left a homeowner without thousands of dollars worth of household items. Derek Cervantes who lives on Handyside Street reported to police that sometime between last Thursday and Wednesday of this week, someone broke into his house. Cervantes says that an assortment of household items valued at twenty here thousand dollars was stolen. Police investigation continues.

Shooting on Lovely Lane leaves one hospitalized
A shooting incident on Thursday night has left one man hospitalized. Twenty year old Paul Alvarez, Junior was injured to the right hand, right armpit and the right side of his back, during an incident around seven forty five last night. According to police, Alvarez was inside of Ming Ming Shop on Lovely Lane when an man of dark complexion arrived in front of the shop and fired several shots, injuring him. Police say Alvarez remains hospitalized in stable condition. Authorities say they have since recovered eight 9-millimeter shells from the scene, along with two live rounds and a slug. Police have detained twenty four year old Oscar Usher and are looking for another man, as their investigations continue.

Four appear before the Magistrate’s Court
Thirty-five year old postman Lloyd Dyer, who was with police corporal Edward Castillo, when there was a run in with Assistant Police Superintendent Anthony Rosado, was charged with using a motor vehicle not covered by third party insurance and permitting himself to be rescued when he appeared today in the number eight Magistrate’s Court. Dyer pled not guilty to the charges. He was released on a bail of one thousand dollars. According to court reports, the incident happened on Boxing Day. On Wednesday, Castillo was charged with obstruction, driving an uninsured motor vehicle and rescuing a person for a cause other that a crime. Trenton Webster, the person who the police believe robbed the deposit money for the Magistrate’s Court clerk, was charged with robbery when he appeared today in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court. Webster was also charged with 2 counts of aggravated assault, 1 count of harm and 1 count of escape. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and he was remanded into custody until February fourth. The robbery occurred on December 28. The cashier for the court was on her way to make the deposit when she and a security guard were held up at gunpoint and robbed of over seven thousand five hundred dollars in cash and personal items.

A Toledo family says their safety is under threat
A mother and her children are concerned about their safety in their home in Punta Gorda town. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

Businesses prepare for what is hoped to be a good 2013
Businesses in Belize City are gearing up for what they hope will be a good year in 2013. But if the ending of 2012 is to be used as a gauge for what this year holds, there may be cause for concern. Love TV’s Marion Ali and video journalist Brian Castillo report on what’s ahead for the business sector.

House gutted by fire in Punta Gorda
A house was partly destroyed by fire in Punta Gorda town earlier this week. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.

Monument to Phillip Goldson to be installed in Battlefield Park
Phillip Goldson is one of two nationally acclaimed heroes of Belize. An airport is named after him, and just last year, the Northern Highway was renamed to carry Goldson’s name. And soon, a monument to this hero will grace the historic Battlefield Park in downtown Belize City. The bust of Phillip Goldson, which was created by sculptor Stephen Okeke has been languishing in storage for the last few years. Now it is being dusted off and readied for public display, as explained by its creator. If you wish to make contributions for this cause you can contact Stephen Okeke at telephone number 6-6-2—1-6-7-8.


22 year old Feeshia Felix shot in her bedroom
Only one week into the new year and Belize City say its first set of murders this past weekend. In less than 24 hou...

27 year old Marvin Foreman shot dead on Central American Boulevard
13 hours later another murder took place within the same vicinity. At 3:10pm on Saturday Police visited the K.H.M.H...

Marlon Danny Harris shot dead in his car
Police were called out the scene of another murder. Marlon Danny Harris was killed in similar fashion like his best ...

Belize Police Department.receives pick-ups and motorcycles
Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar today handed over Two (2) new Mahindra Pick-up Trucks and Ten (10)...

Vendors robbed in Battlefield Park, Belize City
Hotdog vendors targeted. A Food Vendor of Queen Charlotte Street reported that at about 3:30am yesterday afternoon ...

ADO bus impounded, driver carrying quarantined vegetables
News had been circulation that an ADO bus had been impounded at Belize's Northern Border because half a kilo of coc...

Cannabis and crystal meth recovered in Placencia
On Friday January 4th between the hours of 3:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. based on Special Branch information a joint oper...

Four of Belize's referees reach international standard
The Football Federation of Belize's hosted a media luncheon on Saturday at 12 noon. The purpose of the luncheon was...

25 year old Justin Richards shot in Belize City on Sunday
On Sunday January the 6th at about 9:35am Police visited a residence on Flamboyant Street, in Belize City where the...

58 year old Jennifer Staine shot in Belize City
A shooting incident took place in Belize City yesterday. At about 7:42pm police visited the K.H.M.H where they saw ...

Chopping incident in Spanish Lookout
A chopping incident took place in Spanish Lookout on Friday January the 4th. Police visited Rivera`s Grocery Store ...

19 year old Erlin Ferguson stabbed in Belize City
Belize City Police is also investigation a stabbing incident. On Friday January 4th, at 7:00pm, acting upon informa...

Belize City man beaten and robbed
A 20yr old Chinese man of Central American Boulevard and Neal Pen Road, Belize City reported to the police that he ...

Police catch armed robber on Albert Street, Belize City
At about 4:30am yesterday Police received information of a robbery on Albert Street. Police then proceeded to the c...

Danriga Police seek Ernesto Pineda, missing since December 31
Danriga Police is requesting help of the general public to locate 24yr old Ernesto Pineda, of Mile 21 Stann Creek V...

Generator stolen from Crustaceans Shrimp Farm
Police in the south is investigation a report of theft. A US National presently residing in Independence Village re...


A Tale of Five Cities: Merida, around town
Merida, in the Yucatan state of Mexico, is a historic city with so much to see. We spent our three days in the city walking until our feet were tired, taking in the interesting sights, local color, and architecture all around us. Here's a sampling.... Absolutely loved the color of this colonial home Statue in one of many city parks We knew we were not in Belize any more when we saw this store! I must admit, we did take advantage of the lower prices on toothpaste and a couple of other small things, but we were traveling so light we couldn't buy much. Red sky at night... Traditional bull-fighting ring. I think it's gruesome & gory, but it's part of the history of the area. Plaque showing founding of the city -- 1542. That's old! Pedestrian art walk downtown Busy marketing day Artisans' Marketplace Inside the Artisans' Marketplace There's not much you can't buy here, including beautiful flowers The sidewalks downtown were very busy and slow to negotiate. It was a couple of Saturdays before Christmas, so everyone was out shopping til they dropped. I think all we bought was our Panama hats.

Too noisy and buy now before it’s gone
Our neighborhood dogs were too noisy for a Sunday morning, it was not even 7:00am and they are all carrying on like the sky was falling on their heads. At least the rooster got it right today for sunrise, he crows at all random times of the day. I have yet to figure out his rhyme or reason, maybe he just likes to crow like some people I know I suggested going for breakfast, the one thing I knew would get tacoboy’s attention and get him out of the house before Sunday afternoon football took over. I gave him 3 choices, Antihitos, Rico’s at Banyan Bay or El Divino at Banana Beach. All within a 10 min walk and had good food at all 3 lately. He picked El Divino which was cool because we ran into Dan and Cath aka Hon. Not seen them in ages, and it was nice to catch up. Even though they are not far when they are on island just on the other side of town at the Oasis, we both agreed it was a good haul on a bike. We laughed at what becomes far when you live in an island. I am also nominating Emily and Barry for a bike fit award as they ride a lot and in all kinds of weather. When we got to El Divino we barely had to read the menu we both knew it was going to be a steak and eggs day. I opted for an Arnold Palmer and he went with OJ. Our breakfast was good and left is both in a bit of a food coma, we had planned to walk as far as Denny’s Donuts and Truck Stop but made to Xanadu and crossed the road to Super Buy South to get a couple of snacks for later. While browsing I pointed out the small container of pistachios for $17 bzd which made tacoboy say “that’s redonculous”

Ixcanan aka Polly Red Head : An Important Medicinal Rainforest Plant in Belize
Common names: Scarlet Bush, Fire Bush, Red Head, Sanalo-todo, Ix-canan, Sac-te-much, Klaush-pim Ixcanan is a small fast growing semi-woody bush that can be found throughout Belize. It grows up to three meters in height and has red tinged, deeply veined leaves about 10-20 cm long. It produces a showy mass of tubular, bright reddish orange flowers and a flashy fruit – the edible berry turns from green to yellow, to red and finally black when ripe. In Mexico, the ripe berry is turned into wine. The plant is indigenous in Central and South America, the West Indies, Mexico, and even southern Florida. The Maya named this plant after the Goddess of the Forest and Healing, Ix-canan likely due to the abundant anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties used in treating a large variety of skin ailments. Everything from sores, ulcers, fungus, rashes, burns, insect bites, burns, and bee stings can be treated effectively with this natural plant remedy. The remedy is prepared by boiling a double handful of leaves, stems and flowers in 2 gallons of water for 10 minutes. After it cools, it’s applied liberally to the affected area. This same remedy is also drunk as a tea to relieve menstrual cramps The flower is a favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies and can also be used to hold iodine from the stems of the plant.

Wall to Wall
After eating breakfast this morning I made a call to the UK to try to see if there was a way for me to remotely close two building society accounts that were held in the joint names of my late Dad and myself. I didn’t close the accounts before leaving England because I assumed ( never assume) that they had been closed during the probate process. They hadn’t because one of the account holders – me – was still alive. Anyway, the long and the short of it is that the accounts can only be closed with a personal visit to one of the building society’s branches. Not very helpful because they are all in the UK. So, this job will have to wait until Rose and I decide that we would like to go back for a visit . No inclination to do so yet awhile though. Next on the agenda was to ‘hit’ the shops for one or two much needed provisions and pay the cable and Internet bills. An hour later we were back home having lunch and getting ready to visit our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize We got there around 1.45 pm to see a truck load of cement being unloaded. Where does it all go! As we approached the build we could see that progress had been made on building the staircase from ground level to the Ground Floor

International Sources

UK urged not to ship dangerous waste through Caribbean
The tourism-dependent Caribbean has warned against Britain’s risky plan to ship dangerous radioactive waste through the Caribbean Sea on a route to Japan. Caribbean Community (Caricom) chairman, Dr Kenny Anthony said the UK’s shipment of the waste will pose grave risks to the lives of people in the region if there happened to be an accident. In a statement on Friday 29 December, Anthony called on the UK to stop the forthcoming transshipment of Vitrified High Level Waste to Japan via the Caribbean Sea. "The United Kingdom's imminent shipment of radioactive waste follows 14 such shipments to date, each of which has been strenuously objected to by Caricom Heads of Government, Caribbean business communities and civil society,” Anthony said. “In this regard, the region is particularly disappointed by the continued disregard shown by the United Kingdom for the objections to such shipments given the historical relations which the Caribbean shares with the United Kingdom”, he added.

Guatemala official takes on nation's ugly past, violent present
Atty. Gen. Claudia Paz y Paz is fighting gang leaders, corrupt officials, Mexican drug cartels and figures from the 1961-1996 civil war, including a notorious former president. She holds one of the most dangerous jobs in this spectacularly dangerous country, confronting the most feared and powerful men of the Guatemalan present: gang leaders; dirty public officials; shot-callers in the Mexican drug cartels who have bled in from the north. She is also taking on the titans of Guatemala's past: military men and security chiefs whom she has accused of human rights abuses during the nation's brutal 35-year civil war. Guatemala's emblematic 20th century strongman, Efrain Rios Montt, has been under house arrest since January, when her office charged him with genocide and crimes against humanity. Claudia Paz y Paz, a 46-year-old former human rights lawyer, has served as attorney general since December 2010, earning a reputation as the most aggressive prosecutor the Central American nation has seen since the war's end in the mid-1990s.

Actyl Group Returns to Europe and Central America to Recruit Skilled Workers
As the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta continue to see unprecedented economic growth, Actyl Group is heading back to Belize, Ireland and the United Kingdom to recruit skilled workers for Canadian companies. After more than a decade of seeing many of its young people leave to seek opportunities in Alberta and elsewhere, Saskatchewan has seen resurgence since 2007, with a wide range of companies relocating to the province. While this has drastically improved the local economy, it has left the province with a significant shortage of workers for a number of skilled trades. Actyl Group, an international recruiting firm, is looking to fill the gap by finding skilled professionals who are willing to relocate to both Saskatchewan and Alberta for secure, well-paying positions. “Saskatchewan and Alberta’s economic growth over the past several years has been a blessing, but it has also created some challenges for employers in finding the skilled workers they need,” said Adrian Schulz of Actyl Group. “This has created an opportunity for foreign workers to come in and help these companies continue to expand throughout the region. We look forward to meeting with those interested in coming to Canada to explore the possibilities.” The need for skilled workers is so great in Alberta and Saskatchewan that the Actyl Group is returning to Central America and Europe less than three months after visiting these areas for the same purpose, and bringing back what it thought would be plenty of individuals to fill open positions. However, rapid growth has continued in western Canada to the point where another active recruiting trip is needed.

Belfast geologist Susan Morrice to head up new oil drilling programme by Belize Natural Energy
An oil exploration and production company headed up by Belfast geologist and Trinity College Dublin graduate Susan Morrice has started a new drilling programme in Belize. Belize Natural Energy is partnering with the Belize Government in the exploration programme. BNE discovered oil at an onshore exploration well in Belize six years ago. The company has generated gross revenues of over $300m since then. "This new exploration programme involves the drilling of a horizontal well in the Spanish Lookout field onshore Belize. This technology allows for the effective extraction of oil from natural fractures in the rock," Susan Morrice, BNE's chairperson, said. BNE is owned by a group of Irish and international investors including Ms Morrice.

VIDEO: Guillaume Nery base jumping at Dean's Blue Hole, filmed on breath hold
FREE FALL: World champion freediver Guillaume Nery special dive at Dean's Blue Hole, the deepest blue hole in the world filmed entirely on breath hold by the french champion Julie Gautier.

Belize Has Zero Tolerance for Maternal Mortality
Belize, a country of only 400,000, must virtually eliminate maternal deaths to meet one of its 2015 U.N. development goals. Despite rising poverty, it has a shot.The young woman lying in the small, cheerfully decorated recovery room was still groggy, but she was fully aware of her new role: being a mother. She had just delivered her first child at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City, where she was encouraged and coached by a nurse to start breastfeeding her healthy, hours-old baby boy. In Belize every woman's pregnancy and delivery is under the microscope of the Millennium Development Goals, U.N. anti-poverty pledges made by governments that are due in 2015. "We had zero maternal deaths in 2011," said Dr. Natalia Largaespada-Beer, director of maternal and child health for Belize's Ministry of Health, in an email interview. "Every obstetric emergency is considered a national emergency." To meet its goal of 10 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, the country with a population of only around 400,000 people--and just 7,000 women or so who give birth each year--will have to keep that up. Amikole Aminata Maraesa, an American doctor of anthropology who lived in southern Belize in 2006, explains the math.

VIDEO: A Flight Through the Universe, by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey
This animated flight through the universe was made by Miguel Aragon of Johns Hopkins University with Mark Subbarao of the Adler Planetarium and Alex Szalay of Johns Hopkins. There are close to 400,000 galaxies in the animation, with images of the actual galaxies in these positions (or in some cases their near cousins in type) derived from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 7. Vast as this slice of the universe seems, its most distant reach is to redshift 0.1, corresponding to roughly 1.3 billion light years from Earth. SDSS Data Release 9 from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), led by Berkeley Lab scientists, includes spectroscopic data for well over half a million galaxies at redshifts up to 0.8 -- roughly 7 billion light years distant -- and over a hundred thousand quasars to redshift 3.0 and beyond.

January 7, 2013


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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

Misc Belizean Sources

Whatcha Gonna Do About It?
An element of the contract we have with Daniel Camal, our building contractor, for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize is that he clears the land that we have in Fire Coral Street of the trees, scrub and general rubbish that has grown and been dumped on it. Some of the trees have grown to over twenty feet and the coverage can only be described as dense – a sharp contrast to how it looked when we started buying the lots back in 2004 ( see the first edition of this blog entitled ‘A bit about us’). When we first arrived on the island at the end of May last year we were dismayed to see that the road facing side of our lots was covered in cars and car parts. This has been remedied, however, following a conversation that Rose had ( so much better coming from a woman) with the motor mechanic who operates his business on the opposite side of the street. The lots though still look a mess.

Candidates from all over Belize are invited to participate in this prestigious online pageant. The candidates will be judged in four segments: Application Form (5%), Preliminary with the Judges (75%), FB Pageant Dialogue (15%) & Public Voting (5%). Percentages of each segment will be tallied and a new Queen will be chosen along with a 1st & 2nd Runner-up. Miss Photogenic, Most Beautiful Delegate & Miss Personality will also be selected. Miss Top Celebrity 2013-14 wins a prize package donated by generous supporters of Teens Belize. This includes an official crown and sash and a year representation across Belize. There are also opportunities that exist for her participation in International Pageants. The winner will be crowned by Outgoing Queen, Christine Syme, who took over official duties from the original winner, Cindy Jones, who is currently pursing studies in Taiwan. Christine has represented at various functions including the Costa Maya Pageant, September Celebrations, Photo shoots, among many other activities in San Pedro, Belize. There will be 8 Judges & 2 Tabulators who will work with the Pageant Committee during the entire selection process.

Snooty Fox Grill House Online
The Snooty Fox has their new, free webpage online. The latest Best of Cayo project. Thanks go out to SHJC's Emmanuel Mangar for making the site.

A Guide to the Maya Temples of Belize [Infographic]
This is a great guide to Belize's Mayan temples. The 4 main sites in Cayo are listed: Cahal Pech, Caracol, El Pilar, and Xunantunich. "It is estimated that there are thousands of May ruins in Belize. Few have been found and escavated by scientists but thousands more exist that are yet to be discovered. This makes Belize a prime destination for tourists and archaeologists all around the world. The beauty is that each temple have a story behind its creation, making each one of them unique and important as the other. Here are some basic facts about some of these magnificent structure and there whereabouts."


News from the crime beat
Police have released details of the armed robbery of the Belize Tourism Board office on Regent Street late on Wednesday afternoon. According to the official police bulletin, two men, one armed with a firearm and the other with a knife, entered the office around four thirty yesterday afternoon and proceeded to rob one thousand, seven hundred and thirty two dollars and seventy eight cents. Both robbers exited the building, but while outside, of them identified as twenty two year old Clarence Lamb struggled with the on-duty security guard. During the struggle, the security guard reportedly took out his issued point thirty eight revolver and fired a shot at Lamb hitting him in his right calf. The other man managed to escape. Police say that a search of the immediate area led to the recovery of two cash pans containing the money. Police investigations continue.
And while police have apprehended one of two suspects in the armed robbery of the BTB office on Regent Street, in Cayo, two men were also victims of armed robbers yesterday. According to police reports, two park rangers were held up and robbed around seven thirty last night in the Barton Creek area. The rangers were reportedly seated on the porch of a house they were caring for when they were accosted by two men, one of whom carried a shotgun and the other a machete. Police say that the armed robbers, who were dressed in dark clothing and spoke Spanish ordered the rangers to lie on the ground. The man with the machete reportedly proceeded into the house with a flashlight and helped himself to a pair of tennis shoes, cell phones and cash, including a hundred dollars belonging to the Government of Belize being fees collected from tourists entering sites in the area. The robbers made good their escape and the rangers say that because the area has no electricity, they were unable to see the faces of their assailants. Police investigations continue.
Fifty-one year old Patrick Gordon, also known as “Pato”,today racked up his twenty first conviction when he pled guilty to charges of kept prohibited ammunition and smoking marijuana. Gordon was sentenced to three year in prison for the ammunition charge and 6 months behind bars for smoking cannabis. Magistrate Dale Cayetano, who imposed the sentences, stipulated that they are to run consecutively, so Gordon will serve forty two months in jail. The bust occurred around eight o’clock this morning. Members of the police’s Gang Suppression Unit, executed a search warrant at a house in Hattieville village where they found a 40 millimetre ammunition in a carton box under a bed. Police say when they entered the house they caught Gordon smoking marijuana. Gordon’s common-law wife, 45 year old Karen Gillett and her 3 daughters, one of them a 17 year old, were with him in the house at the time. They were charged jointly with him for kept prohibited ammunition. But the prosecution did not withdraw the charge from them because the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl- Lyn Vidal, has to be consulted first. The other adults charged were 18 year old Sheridean Gillett and 25 year old Rondean Gillett. Karen Gillett and her daughters were remanded into custody until March 11.

A five year old girl allegedly raped in Belmopan
Allegations of rape against a minor have surfaced in Belmopan. Correspondent Fem Cruz has the details.

Official says there was a decline in rice production in 2012
The Toledo rice, beans and corn producers association has recorded what has been described as an alarmingly low rice production season for 2012. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the story. Usher told Love News that he is seeking a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture to discuss the dire situation and hopefully get the requested assistance to help the rice farmers. The Rice, Beans and Corn Producers Association Chairman says that if the requested financing comes through, the major problems facing the rice farmers will be eliminated almost immediately.

Live grenade recovered from beneath city church
A live deadly grenade, which belonged to the batch of 24 that went missing a few years ago from the BATSUB compound, was today discovered in Belize City. At around noon today, the police, alerted by someone in the neighbourhood, discovered the lethal explosive device in an concrete enclosure beneath the Church of Christ on West Street in Belize City. The police called BDF bomb expert, Lieutenant Colonel James Requena, told Love News that had this device detonated, it would have been tragic. A resident who lives across from the church where the grenade was discovered told us that her grandchildren are always underneath the church building playing. Lieutenant Colonel Requena advises people that whenever they stumble upon any suspicious-looking device, to call on the BDF to come and safely remove it.

Trouble at UB, teachers want official inquiry into alleged irregularities
Tonight there is trouble brewing at the University of Belize. According to documents delivered to the RSV News Centre late this evening, the Staff Association of the University of Belize has written to the Prime Minister, asking that he appoints a commission of inquiry to probe allegations of corruption at the nation’s national university. The letter, dated December nineteenth, asks Prime Minister Barrow to initiate an independent investigation of the UB payroll audit based an auditor’s report carried out by the firm of Castillo, Sanchez and Burrell. UBSFA is asking for the prime minister to assign a neutral entity to investigate the findings of the audit in which irregularities were reported in an official payroll audit report with concentration in the Human Resources and Budget and Finance departments for the year 2010 to 2011. In the letter to the Prime Minister, the Staff Association lists a number of irregularities, including, Gross breeches in Managerial and Financial Policies, Change of Status of Director of Human Resources by only individual members of the Board, without the consultation of the board of trustees, violation of the code of ethics as set out by the UB Board of Trustees Code of Ethics and the University of Belize Act by Board members, Salary increase for one unit of the university and overpayment for overtime in the same unit, the Human Resources Department and Signature irregularities. The UBSFA believes that it is a conflict of interest for the UB Board of Trustees to investigate itself and therefore calls to the Prime Minister to aid in the matter as he did when he commissioned independent investigations in DFC and KHMH. The Interim President of the UBFSA, Allison Crawford told Love News that they are still awaiting a response from Prime Minister Barrow.

Student Government not happy about discontinuation of fee subsity at University of Belize
Six years ago when the Government of Belize proposed the termination of their allocation of funds to UB, the student government and students protested the decision, forcing GOB to absorb the expected increase in fees. But that was then and now in 2013 the allocation of funds may soon be terminated as outlined by the Minister of Education, Patrick Faber. The UB student Government and Nation Builders today held a press conference to outline their position on the decision. Former President of UB and member of Nation Builders, Moses Sulph told the media that back in 2006 the country faced economic difficulties which rendered it difficult for students to afford to pay an increase. Sulph contends that the economic predicaments have worsened and the students just cannot afford an increase. UB’s Student Government’s National President Hope Amadi voiced that the choice to heighten prices in fees is the wrong one. Meanwhile the president of St. John’s College Jr. College, Micah Goodin expressed that SJCJC has reason to worry because most of its graduates will seek further education at UB, today he challenge the competence of the Minister of Education and the rest of the Government. According to Amadi the increase will go over three hundred dollars should it become effective. At this time the student Government is trying to get the support of UB students, especially those for the January intake, which Amadi says is about 500.

Spokesman for Succotz village council responds to concerns over use of football field
On Wednesday’s newscast, Love News reported on the concerns raised by residents from San Jose Succotz Village in the Cayo district about damages being done to the community’s football field. Reports are that a musical concert has been going on for the last few days and that vehicles being driven onto the field have gutted the playing area. Today, spokesperson for the Succotz Village council, Wilson Patt, told Love News that the concerns are basically much ado about nothing.

Robbery reported at Coast Guard headquarters
The headquarters of the Belize National Coast Guard should be one of the safest places in the country. But tonight the police department is investigating a burglary which happened there late last month. According to reports, the theft happened sometime between December twenty eight and December thirtieth. Police say someone entered the engineering section of the building located on the upper floor and stole a laptop computer valued at four thousand dollars. The Belize National Coast Guard headquarters is located at mile four and a half on the George Price Highway.

Toledo businessman robbed at gunpoint
There are reports of another armed robbery in rural Toledo district. A businessman reported to police that around seven forty five last night, he was heading to his home on the Boom Creek road when he was held up at the wooden bridge in the village. The businessman told police that three men of dark complexion all carrying firearms, came out of the bushes and held him up. They reportedly stole the man’s wallet, cell phone and other personal documents. Police say one of the robbers fired a single shot, hitting the radiator of his vehicle, before the robbers made good their escape. Police investigation continues.

Toledo police find and destroys marijuana plantation
An early morning police anti-drug operation led to the discovery of a quantity of suspected marijuana in the Toledo district. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

Mother of man who killed his baby’s mother talks with Love News
The families of the young couple killed in a murder-suicide on Sunday night in Punta Gorda are preparing for their burial. The deaths of twenty one year old Keena Williams and twenty four year old James Staine Senior is an unspeakable tragedy that has rocked the quiet community of Cattle Landing on the outskirts of Punta Gorda town. Staine is reported to have shot his girlfriend and then turned the gun on himself. Today Staine’s grieving Michelle Swasey told Love News, the search for answers continues, even as she prepares to law him to rest. Staine will be buried on Saturday, following funeral services at the Queen Street Baptist Church in Belize City.


A Tale of Five Cities: Merida's Bici-Ruta
Merida, in the Yucatan state of Mexico, has an awful lot to recommend it: the beautiful architecture, the great restaurants, the cultural activities, and the many parks being among its attractions. And in the winter, the weather is absolutely beautiful. However, one of the Merida traditions we were most excited about was the Bici-Ruta or bicycle route. This occurs every Sunday morning, when a long stretch of streets, including the Paseo de Montejo, are closed off to motor vehicle traffic, allowing cyclists and pedestrians to take over and cruise up and down more easily. We were absolutely delighted that our visit would allow us to participate in this fun event since we had a full Sunday in the city. We rented two cruiser bikes right on the Paseo (between Calle 45 and 47) and joined the other cyclists on the street. The hourly cost was just $40 MX (approximately $3.20 US) for the two bikes -- a deal. Bike Rental place on Paseo de Montejo I tried out a lot of bikes before finding one I felt comfortable on. Weeeeeh! This pink one was the one. There were some really interesting human-powered vehicles among the more conventional bicycles. Fun family bike, but difficult for the person doing all the work!

Investing In Belize Is A Sure Bet
Whether you’re looking to open an international business venture, relocate to a tropical country, or retire in paradise, Belize makes for a great investment. Major advantages include the official language being English, a stable government, easy access to North America, a booming tourism industry and a good economy. Here are some investment opportunities Belize has to offer: Belize is an ideal place to run away from it all. When most people think about taking a vacation they think about traveling to paradise, and that’s just what Belize is. With our lush rainforest, legendary Mayan temples, pristine beaches, rich marine life, many islands, diverse cultures, and lots of fresh air, Belize has it all. There’s just never enough time in just one visit to do it all. Retiring in Belize is a good way to make the best of your golden years. After years of working for your family, it’s time to kick back, relax and enjoy Belize’s slow paced lifestyle. The low cost of living and tax-free pensions leave you with more money to do the things you really want to do – exploring and having fun. You can wake up in the morning surrounded by trees and mountains and in the next few hours you can be relaxing on the beach, enjoying your favourite drink.

International Sources

Benefits for Belize: Vacation time spent helping less-fortunate
A vacation can mean rest and relaxation for some, but for Andi and Bill Grantham, the opportunity to help others is vacation enough. The Granthams recently returned to Green Valley after spending nearly 10 days in November in Belize, a country on the northeastern coast of Central America. There they volunteered with the Belize Mission Project — a group dedicated to providing free dental and medical care to the poor of the country. The out-of-pocket cost to the couple, with airfare, amounted to about $2,000 each. The cost included accommodations provided by a dentist from Kansas who settled many years ago in Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize. “We were prepared to spend this amount to be part of this project,” Andi said. “We knew that we were going to be helping less-fortunate people with medical and dental needs that do not have access to health care.” Although the mission is not affiliated with any particular denomination or church, the project is Christian-based, according to its website, and participants may join in the daily morning devotion. The group, which travels to Belize at least one week a year, typically consists of approximately 40 dentists, physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, dental hygienists and assistants, nurses, dental technicians, general helpers and everyone in between. Many bring their own medical supplies, often amounting to thousands of dollars in value. Andi and Bill are no strangers to the mission. This is Andi’s third visit to the country and Bill’s second.

PM: Belize Set to Finalize Superbond Deal
Belize will officially sign an agreement on the restructuring of its large commercial debt in the early part of this month, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said in his first national address for 2013. The agreement will “resolve once and for all the crippling commercial debt burden that has threatened to turn Belize into an economic basket case,” he said. “The settlement we have reached with Superbond holders is on terms very favourable to us,” he said. “The relief we have been able to secure amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars.” That savings has been estimated at around $150 million on a bond that totaled almost $550 million. The debt had been a major issue in Belize’s March 2012 election campaign after Barrow suggested the country would not make payments on the debt. Belize defaulted on a coupon payment on the bond last August, when Barrow said the country was unable to make the payment. Despite the debt issues, Belize’s economy improved in 2012, growing by 4.2 percent in 2012, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. That was the highest growth rate in the Caribbean.

Giving Back to Belize
As a parent, I feel that one of my many responsibilities is to teach my children about compassion and giving back to others. It is no secret that American children have it really good. We live in a land of fancy stores, well manicured homes, and a great education system compared to much of the world. Most American kids don’t really understand the reality of true poverty. So, when it comes to teaching my kids this concept, it can be hard. I, like so many parents, can easily get caught up in our daily life of material things and stuff. We are a society caught up in iPhones, video games, and celebrities. It is truly a difficult task for our young people to see beyond that. While vacationing abroad, I always make a point to stop at a local school, village, or library. In past years, I would stock up some needed donation items to distribute to local charities. Our family would show up to distribute our donations and my kids would love the attention and praises of being told how kind they were. Honestly, this attention would overshadow the meaning of why we were there. I never had much success with impacting my kids for more than the time it took them to get their next virgin pina coloda. I really wanted to make an impact in their young minds, but have had little success in the past. On our recent summer trip to San Pedro, Belize, a different approach was attempted (this tactic was somewhat by mistake, dictated by luggage restrictions). We showed up empty handed, except with a basketball from our local University, and thought we’d send a monetary donation after returning home. The focus of this visit turned away from my kids and onto the true meaning of the less privileged kids of Belize. The visit was all about observing and really seeing the needs of the children who attend this tiny school.

McAfee has been taking Assange’s pills
Insecurity expert John McAfee’s stranger than life tales are starting to get a little on the weird side. Stopping just short of the Belize government harvesting humans for alien experiments, McAfee describes using 75 netbooks and 29 "operatives" to track government officials, Cabinet assistants, and local power brokers. He claims that he has uncovered embarrassing personal details but an international terrorist conspiracy run out of Belize. According to McAfee he gifted cheap laptops loaded with keylogging software and hired "'pillow talk' masters" to seduce and wiretap targets. All this for revenge on the Belizean government for what he has claimed is a long-running campaign of intimidation. He said that he had proof that the Prime Minister (had personally ordered the murder of an alleged Belizean gang leader. He also said that Belize was "clearly the central player in a larger network whose goal is to infiltrate the US with individuals having links to terrorist organizations." McAfee claimed that he ended up living with eight of his honeypots and was nearly killed by one, who was a double agent. He is famous for playing practical jokes on journalists so it might be another one of those sorts of things. However if he does come up with proof it will be just another spin on the wacky and weird life of McAfee.

John McAfee turns super spy
Claims he hired honeytraps and keylogged Belizean officials... Fugitive and antivirus entrepreneur John McAfee claims to have gone from software guru to super-spy, unearthing plots by the Belize government which he says are part of a coordinated global terror network. The antivirus creator has hinted that he fancied himself as a James Bond style spy, admitting to using a range of technology to track government officials in Belize. On his blog, McAfee claimed that he was "pissed" after a raid on his property by Belize Police in April, which saw his dog being shot and many items damaged. He claims he was refused an apology. McAfee says he decided to target and spy on government officials in a bid to uncover embarrassing personal details - as well as what he claimed was an international terrorist conspiracy run out of Belize. He started by deploying 75 netbooks and 29 operatives to track government officials, Cabinet assistants, and local power brokers. To get into his targets' lives the software developer gifted the laptops loaded with keylogging software to his victims and hired "'pillow talk masters" - 23 women and six men - to seduce and wiretap targets. McAfee claims that eight of the women were so accomplished that they ended up living with him. And as with any spy, he adds one was so accomplished, that she became a double agent and nearly got him killed. He claims to have found damning information, one snippet being that the Prime Minister had personally ordered the murder of an alleged Belizean gang leader.

John McAfee unravels online, details terrorist plot uncovered by his own spy operation
By gifting cheap laptops loaded with keylogging software and hiring "'pillow talk' masters" to seduce and wiretap targets, McAfee says he carefully crafted his revenge on the Belizean government for what he has claimed is a long-running campaign of intimidation. Naturally, he quickly discovered first that the Prime Minister (from whom McAfee says he repeatedly demanded an apology) had personally ordered the murder of an alleged Belizean gang leader, then that Belize was "clearly the central player in a larger network whose goal is to infiltrate the US with individuals having links to terrorist organizations." Along the way, he ended up living with eight of his honeypots and was nearly killed by one, a double agent. McAfee's story reads even more like a movie script than what's happened so far, despite the fairly sketchy sources he's included on his blog. While it's tempting to write the whole thing off as a conspiracy, it's also quite possibly one of the many "practical jokes" he claims he's played on readers and journalists, or an attempt to outwit the Belize police force that is still attempting to question him in a murder case. If, as McAfee says, "Much of my life is a mystery to me," it's even more impenetrable from the outside.

January 6, 2013


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

Misc Belizean Sources

Win a 2013 Belize Mesoamerican Reef Full Color Calendar
Tony Rath Photography has a few limited edition 2013 Belize Mesoamerican Reef calendars left in stock and we have decided to give them away. These stunning calendars include 18 full color images from the archives of award winning photographer Tony Rath. The 11x16 calendars are printed on heavy stock and of the highest quality. The images depict the incredible biodiversity of the Belize Barrier Reef. ENTER YOUR EMAIL AT RIGHT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN!

VIDEO: The Belize Museum, Formerly, Her Majestys Prison
Day Trip from San Pedro, can be combined with Cave Tubing, Mayan Ruins, Jungle Zip Line

Xunantunich and Cahal Pech Wedding
More feelgood news. Leonardo Melendez did a photoshoot for a wedding at Cahal Pech and Xunantunich. Amazing work. Congratulations to the new bride and groom! "Tying the knot at Cahal Pech + Xunantunich."

Bullet Tree Falls Neighborhood Watch Gets Motorcycle
Feelgood news of the day. The Bullet Tree Falls Neighborhood Watch got a new motorcycle donated to them, along with phone service, from the Cariddi family. There are around 20 neighborhood watches around Cayo, and donations like this are what keep them going. A big thanks to the Cariddi family. "PEOPLE POWER: The Cariddi family of San Ignacio, Cayo is putting their money where their mouth is. On Thursday, the head of the family, Mary Cariddi, handed over her family's contribution the efforts of the neighborhood watch program in Bullet Tree Falls village, Cayo. A brand new motorcycle was handed over to the committee. In addition to the motorcycle, the Cariddi family also facilitated the installation of a phone service for use by the committee in keeping the village safe. All total, the donation from the Cariddi family amounts to over $5,000."

Messi's 91 Goals in 2012 [INFOGRAPHIC]
Hate or like this guy, you have to give it to Lionel Messi. He scored 91 goals in 2012, a historic record in football that will probably remain there for a good while. That is the most goals a football player has scored in one year at a professional level. Messi is great! This infographic show Messi's 91 goals and where they came from on the football pitch. Excellent infographic.


A Tale of Five Cities: Merida -- the food (Part 1)
One of our favorite things about visiting a new city is trying out new-to-us restaurants. Merida has a reputation for having great food, and we weren't disappointed. Our first night in the city, we were too tired from our travel day and lots of walking for most of the day to do much for dinner. We decided to walk around the corner from La Casa Lorenzo to a pizza place Larry recommended and bring home a pie to eat in his bar area, which we'd have all to ourselves, since we were the only guests at the bed and breakfast. This vegetarian pizza did not disappoint. Of course Barry got my olives, and I got his mushrooms. Yum! The next morning, Larry said that he would either serve us breakfast (included in our room rate) or take us to a very authentic Mexican place to eat, Wayane. Always up for something novel, of course we chose the latter, and it didn't disappoint. Filled with locals, it's gotta be good! $10 MX (10 pesos) is approximately 80 cents US. Cheap! Larry and me Our juices -- Barry had chaya/pineapple (the green one), and Larry and I ended up with tamarindo, though we thought we ordered mandarin orange -- must have been our Spanish! No matter, it was delicious. As with our juice orders, there were some misunderstandings with my food order. I though I'd ordered three different egg tacos (with various add-ins), but ended up with only one egg and two meat (chicken and pork). They were delicious but way more food than I really needed. Larry successfully got three egg tacos.

A Letter to our Valued Travel Partners
Despite all the warnings and dire predictions, the 2012 apocalypse did not eventuate, the US economy did not fall off a fiscal cliff and here we are once again wishing you, our valued travel partners, a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013. Indeed, where others saw endings, we saw fresh opportunities and new beginnings as 2012 wound down and the sun rose on a beautiful January 1, 2013. Celebrating the Maya Winter Solstice of 2012 in a respectful and exuberant way made for the perfect farewell to 2012 and a hearty welcome to the new year. As most of you know, here at Chaa Creek we were eagerly looking forward to December 21 2012 and sure enough, our anticipation was well founded as we hosted one of the best celebrations Belize has ever seen. As a combination of education, cultural exposition, feasting and partying, we’re happy to report that a great time was had by all as staff, guests and neighbours joined together for a truly special week.

Around 10 last night I received an email from Daniel Camal, our building contractor, which was accompanied by the detailed costing we had requested for the building of an additional en-suite bedroom and a repositioning of the store room on the Ground Floor of our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. We decided that it was too late in the day to review the breakdown of costs and would,instead, tackle this the next morning. When I got up this morning I opened the attachment and carried out a cursory check to make sure that the individual material type costs are the same as those that we received for the initial proposal for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. They were. That done I went for breakfast at Estel’s ( for me the BEST way to start the day). When I got back home Rose and I went through the cost proposal checking the component costs against the architect’s plans and the changes we wanted to make . We identified that Daniel had included one more window (three) for the store room than we want. Whilst reviewing the architect’s plans we also agreed where we want the windows and doors to be for the additional en-suite bedroom and store room to be . That done I ‘phoned Daniel and told him that we want to incorporate the changes to the plan and asked to meet with him.

International Sources

Japan bluefin tuna fetches record $1.7m
A single bluefin tuna has sold in Japan for 155m yen ($1.7m; £1.05m), almost triple the record price set last year. High bids traditionally mark the year's first auction at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market. Even the buyer, sushi chain owner Kiyoshi Kimura, who also paid out the record price last year, said the cost was "a bit high". The sale came amid continued warnings from environmentalists that tuna stocks are dwindling and overfished. This year's record-breaking fish was caught off north-eastern Japan and weighed in at 222kg (489lbs), some 47kg lighter than last year's prize-winner, which fetched 56m yen. The prices do not necessarily reflect quality or size and are more linked to publicity and setting the tone for the business year. The auction at the market - which trades millions of dollars of products daily and is a popular tourist destination - began at 05:00 local time. Mr Kimura immediately carted his purchase off to a nearby branch of his Sushi Zanmai chain. He said he wanted to "encourage Japan" with his bid. The price works out at about $7,600 per kg ($3,500/lb). Japan consumes more than half of the world's bluefin catch. New figures to be released on Monday are expected to show a continued decline in Pacific bluefin stocks. Amanda Nickson, of the Pew Environmental Group's global tuna conservation campaign, told Associated Press news agency: "Everything we're hearing is that there's no good news for the Pacific bluefin. We're seeing a very high value fish continue to be overfished."

Benefits for Belize: Vacation time spent helping less-fortunate
A vacation can mean rest and relaxation for some, but for Andi and Bill Grantham, the opportunity to help others is vacation enough. The Granthams recently returned to Green Valley after spending nearly 10 days in November in Belize, a country on the northeastern coast of Central America. There they volunteered with the Belize Mission Project — a group dedicated to providing free dental and medical care to the poor of the country. The out-of-pocket cost to the couple, with airfare, amounted to about $2,000 each. The cost included accommodations provided by a dentist from Kansas who settled many years ago in Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize. “We were prepared to spend this amount to be part of this project,” Andi said. “We knew that we were going to be helping less-fortunate people with medical and dental needs that do not have access to health care.” Although the mission is not affiliated with any particular denomination or church, the project is Christian-based, according to its website, and participants may join in the daily morning devotion. The group, which travels to Belize at least one week a year, typically consists of approximately 40 dentists, physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, dental hygienists and assistants, nurses, dental technicians, general helpers and everyone in between. Many bring their own medical supplies, often amounting to thousands of dollars in value.

Peace Corps Volunteer Helps Reopen Restaurant in Belize
Peace Corps volunteer Meghan VanDeventer of Barrington, Rhode Island, is helping to empower and employ more than 20 members of a local women’s cooperative in Belize by working to reopen a restaurant in the community after it was destroyed by fires in 2003 and 2005. The Sandy Beach Women’s Cooperative owns and operates the Sandy Beach Restaurant, which reopened in November. The cooperative was formed in 1986 with the help of a Peace Corps volunteer and became the first women’s cooperative registered in Belize. Through a small grant, the cooperative established and ran a successful lodge and restaurant until the entire property was destroyed. For seven years, cooperative members have been trying to restore the property. With help from VanDeventer and several local organizations, they built a new structure for the restaurant. “The women involved directly benefit because they are now able to employ themselves once again,” said VanDeventer, a graduate of the University of Delaware who has been living and working in Belize since 2011. “The financial benefit is obvious and necessary, as many of the women are responsible for housing and feeding themselves and their children.”

Island Basecamp Adventures Now Include Stand Up Paddleboarding
We now have stand up paddleboards at our Glover’s Reef and Lighthouse Reef Basecamps. Try out this fun new watersport which combines elements of surfing with canoeing and kayaking. Stand up paddleboarding is an excellent full body workout, and a great way to develop core strength and toning. We have boards that are wide and stable, ideal for beginners and more advanced C4 boards with sharp lines and built for performance. Our guides are happy to provide instruction for those trying the sport for the first time, if you are an experienced SUP paddler doing your thing on the water don’t be surprised if your fellow guests are watching and asking for pointers! When the conditions are calm and the winds are light our boards are fast and responsive and a joy to paddle. Inside the protected lagoon of the atolls, paddling amongst the tropical fish and coral reefs is a dream come true for SUP paddling. One of the things we like best about SUPs is how much crazy and colourful marine life we see when paddling from the stand up position. If the wind is blowing the SUP’s can be a real challenge to control in chop and waves. For those with a little more paddling experience, ask your guides about a downwind paddling option. We’ll carry you upwind by motorboat so that you can enjoy the challenge and thrill of a downwind paddle over the shallow reef flats back to our basecamp

January 5, 2013


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

Technology is supposed to make life easy and wonderful...but when it doesn't work it can sure make life difficult! Please bear with us as we muscle through some issues we are currently experiencing with are working on it! Thank you!

Ambergris Today

Fate Gives to Host San Pedro’s First Hope Kitchen Event At Sandbar
Fate Gives will be hosting San Pedro’s first soup kitchen event in January at Sandbar. Beginning at 6 p.m. on Jan. 8, the new project entitled “Hope Kitchen” will provide a healthy meal to families that might not otherwise be able to afford the luxury of a dinner out on Ambergris Caye. Fate Gives is partnering with local San Pedrano, Hermojenes “Moncho” Acosta, known as “Teacher Moncho”, to identify families in need who would benefit from the Hope Kitchen project. The initial event will be hosted for these families selected by Teacher Moncho. “The idea of Hope Kitchen is very near and dear to my heart and was inspired by Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul Kitchen,” says Brittney O’Daniel, chairman of Fate Gives and co-owner of Sandbar restaurant. “I want to enable all residents of San Pedro to have access to healthy food options and be able to enjoy a night out with their family, all in a beautiful setting.”

Friends Come Together to Form ‘Fate Gives’ Charity
Four San Pedro resident women who have come to call La Isla Bonita/Belize their home are now banded together as a group looking to do more for a community that has given so much to them. Brought together by fate and a set of unlikely circumstances, these four women have discovered a common goal and the desire for giving back. Brittney O’Daniel, Erin De Santiago, Brittany Munson, and Jessica Salo have founded the charity organization that goes by the name of Fate Gives. With the support of Joe Chung, Teacher “Moncho” Hermojenes Acosta and Dorian Nunez at Ambergris Today, Fate Gives is committed to providing an economically effective way to enrich the lives of people around the world, one project at a time. “We want to involve the community, have local input on where resources and funds are most needed, and maintain absolute transparency on where every dollar goes,” commented Erin De Santiago, Public Relations Director for Fate Gives. “We all feel it’s very important to closely work with locals to identify the best way to give back to the island.”

Changes in Police High Command for Greater Efficiency
The Ministry of National Security announces the following changes in the Ministry and in the high command of the Police Department to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness as we begin the New Year. Mr. David Henderson leaves the post of Acting Commissioner of Police and takes up the post of Director of the National Forensic Science Service. Mr. Allen Wyllie is promoted from Deputy Commissioner of Police to the post of Acting Commissioner of Police, thereby assuming command of the Police Department. Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon Jr. is promoted to Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police with additional responsibility for Operations, thereby leaving the post of Officer Commanding Eastern Division. Assistant Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura moves from Head of National Crimes Investigation Branch to Officer Commanding Eastern Division.

Misc Belizean Sources

Grenade discovered beneath Belize church
Bomb explosive experts have recovered a live grenade underneath a church here amid concerns that it could have killed or caused severe injuries to children who normally use the playground on a daily basis. Lieutant Colonel James Requena, a bomb expert with the Belize Defence Force (BDF) said that the grenade is amiong the 24 missing from the British Forces here in 2004. "It's a L-109-A1 highe xplosive grenade fragmentation from the similar batch that was missing from the British Forces. So the count now is at eight with 16 remaining out of 24," he said, adding that many children from the neighbourhood play in the yard of the Church of God. "Had one of them found it and didn't know what it was and pulled the pin, we would have had several kids injured or dead on the sport."

Commentary: It will take more than reshuffling the top ranks of the Belize police force
From all my years of being in the Belize Police Force -- from 1973 to 1978 I worked at Patrol Branch, Criminal Investigation Branch, NCO I/C Criminal Investigation Branch Orange Walk District and NCO I/C Hattieville -- I am convinced that crime prevention is always better than crime detection. The Belize Police Force over the years has been spending too much time on crime detection and they have failed in detecting many of the crimes, prosecuting the criminals and convicting them. Most of the crime prevention measures that have been proposed and implemented seem to have had little impact on crime reduction. Getting rid of gangs and guns with a special task force now should be their number one focus and that would stop the violent murders that are taking place in the country. The Police Force know who are the gangs in Belize because they have said that in many of their press conferences.

Feature Belize on your Desktop! PACT's 2013 Desktop Backgrounds
This year, why not feature Belize on your desktop? Choose nature images from one of our twelve 2013 Desktop Backgrounds! It's always a hard decision choosing which of our many photos to include but we hope you like our selection this year!

VIDEO: The Belize Zoo
Day Trip from San Pedro, combined with Cave Tube, Jungle Zip Line or Mayan ruins.

On 12/12/12 (at 12 noon, of course) The Belize Zoo celebrated its 30th anniversary in grand style. The festivities started with a delicious lunch followed by a brief history of the zoo presented by Founding Director Sharon Matola, a delightful performance of Lucky Boy’s song by the La Democracia Pre-School Gibnuts (featuring lead guitarist Sharon “Keef” Matola), and some thrilling singing, dancing, and drumming by a talented group of Garifuna performers. After this rousing start, U.S. Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally and area representative, Dolores Balderamos, cut the ribbon to the newly-rejuvenated Gerald Durrell Visitor’s Centre. The Durrell Center now includes “Uppie’s Classroom”, which will be the site of fun-filled educational activities for many of the schoolchildren who visit the zoo.

January Workshops at the Small Business Development Center!
Register with us at 223-7427 or email us at [email protected]

Channel 7

Arrests for New Years Night Shootings
It's been 3 days since the murder of 45 year-old Orlando Williams, and the near fatal shooting of 48 year-old Marco Valle, who continues on life support tonight. Yesterday, we told you about the GSU who labeled it as a deliberate act by affiliates of the George Street Gang. Well, the news tonight is that 2 brothers, 23-year-old Akeem Humes and 20-year-old Shakeem Baizer, have been charged for the shootings, and are on remand tonight. But their families are angry because according to them, they have airtight alibis which can be verified. His sister called us out to the courthouse after their arraignment to vent her family's discontent. Here's how she defended them, under our questioning: Tracey Baizar - sister of men accused "Honestly I just think that they are abstracting them really and truly because me personally - they were at home with me. Akeem Humes was at 8 miles with my mom at a dinner having fun.

GSU: Occupy George Street
Heard of Occupy Wall Street? Well how about "Occupy George Street"? That's what the GSU has basically been doing for the past three days - after the New Year's night shootings. So far they've found a grenade, a loaded 9mm pistol, and a pair of Molotov Cocktails. And this morning, they found a high powered prohibited pistol. Between 5:00 and 11:00 this morning, the GSU searched the residence of one of the key figures in the George Street Gang. Nothing was found inside his house, but the search continued into in a property across the street. That's where they found two otherwise nondescript wooden blocks 6 feet apart. They only stood out because each had a plywood cover nailed on to it. When police opened it up, inside they found a black 45mm pistol, Glock 30 along with a magazine fitted in a mold; the wood was actually carved to fit the firearm and the magazine inside. It's a prohibited firearm, but couldn't be linked to anyone so it was deposited as found property. The other wooden block was also molded to hold a pistol inside - but it was empty.

Dr. Gayle Explains How Detentions Lead to Gang Retaliations Against The State
So while two men have been arrested and the GSU has George Street on lockdown for the time being - we end the first week of this new year with a sense of foreboding. That's because the random New Year's Night shootings of two Hispanic men has left society shaken. Could the Carlos Valle and Orlando Williams have been just random victims: marked for death only because they are Hispanic males over the age of 40 - and the shooters saw that as the best way to retaliate against the state for a New Year's Eve preventative detention? It's a scary possibility - and yesterday we asked Violence Anthropologist Dr. Herbert Gayle in Jamaica to decode such behaviour. He's done the most comprehensive study on gangs in Belize - and he told us that the shootings may have had nothing to do with race, it might have simply been the most effective way to lash out at the state after an oppressive lockdown:.. Dr. Herbert Gayle, violence anthropologist "I have seen in many places where if the murder rate is looking very bad they would just go and arrest the whole gang or clean up a community or what is called social cleansing and that would allow things to stabilize for a while. They are short term measures but extremely good."

Man Shot In City While Going to Buy Boledo
Just as the news finished up last night, our newsroom received word that there was a shooting on Lovely Lane. We can report tonight, that the man who was targeted was 20 year-old Paul Alvarez Jr., who is recovering at the KHMH. We responded and found police security the area, where the Scenes of crime personnel were putting down 11 markers, while they were retrieving 8 mm expended shells, 2 live rounds and one slug. According to police, at around 7:35 p.m. he was inside Ming Ming Shop when a dark complexioned man arrived in front and fired a barrage of gunshots at him and escaped. Alvarez suffered injuries to his right hand, right arm pit, and the right side of his back, and he was rushed to the KHMH, where he is in stable condition. We made extensive efforts to try to speak to his mother, who flatly declined comment.

Shot By Cops, Escaped Hospital, Accused of Robbing Clerk
On Monday, we told you about the man who robbed a Magistrate's Court Clerk of over $7,000 dollars in cash. Well tonight, 31 year-old Trenton Webster is at prison tonight after he was taken to Magistrate's Court for it. As we reported, the First Class Clerk reported to police that on Friday at around 4:05 p.m., she was accompanied by a special constable who was providing security while she made a deposit. On Regent Street, a dark skinned man who was armed with a rusty handgun knocked out the unarmed officer with the weapon, and then pointed it at the clerk. Fearing for her life, the clerk handed over the black plastic bag which contained a Belize Bank Night Deposit bag. Inside that bag was $7,634.90 in Belize currency, belonging to the Government of Belize. On New Year's Day, police detained Webster in connection with the robbery, and in the process they shot him in the left foot to subdue him. While he was getting medical attention, he escaped from police, but he was detained yesterday near the Bayview Hotel.

Lamb Will Get Eight Charges
Clarence Lamb is still in the hospital tonight after he was shot by a BTB Security Guard on Wednesday evening. The 22 year old has a long list of charges waiting for him at court when he gets out of the hospital. The Wagner's Lane resident will face one count of robbery and (7) counts of Aggravated Assault. This is for allegedly pulling a gun at the BTB Cashier and other employees when he and another man pulled off a robbery. They escaped with $1,732.00 dollars in two cash pans - but all of it was recovered by police.

Michelle Swasey's Troubles With Burying Her Son
On New Year's Eve, Michelle Swasey gave a sad, moving interview. She was talking about her son James Staine who killed himself after shooting his common law wife Keena Williams in front of their child. She's burying him tomorrow - but today her worries multiplied as she tried to make burial arrangements for her son. She wants to bury him in the same vault as his father, Leslie Staine who died 16 years ago. She made arrangements with undertaker, David Coye - but as of January first, many of the services he provides are now left to the City Council. She told us about all the confusion the sudden change has caused:.. Michelle Swasey, mother of James Staine Sr. "I went to City council this morning. Before I went and pay $25 for research because the grave that my son is going in his father was buried there for 16 years. Now I went to City Council this morning and they charged me $150, I have the receipt right here. They didn't tell me that I have to pay whatever and they will do it, they didn't tell me anything. Now I got a call from Mr. Coye because he has started the process because my son will be buried tomorrow - now they stop them. I don't know what they stop them for. I am waiting for Mr. Coye to come to find out what is going on."

Mayor Defends Cemetery Charges
But the Mayor of Belize City says it is law and a necessary one. Mayor Bradley today told us that the council isn't trying to put undertakers out of business - they're simply trying to ensure quality control at the cemetery:.. Mayor Darrell Bradley "This should not offset in any significant way the undertaking business. I read the headlines in terms of the Amandala and certain concerns which were raised which are things that we do look at because we are mindful of the economic conditions, we are mindful that people need to make a living. But the undertaking business involves a wide gamut of services and what we are saying is that we will do the construction of the tombs. The cemetery comes under our jurisdiction and the maintenance of tombs is always our responsibility and what we have notice over several years is that the tombs themselves they are not built to standards and so when a tomb is constructed if it's not built to standards within a year, two year or five years period the City Council has to go in there for public health reasons and we have to reconstruct the tombs. What we are saying is that we have people who worked at the City Council cemetery; we have 8 people who worked currently at Lord Ridge and a lot of them currently they build the tombs themselves because the undertakers would subcontract the work out to them."

New Year, But Mayor Still Can't Open Highway
And while the Mayor says City Hall isn't trying to make money on the Cemetery - the businesses along the first mile of the Northern Highway say they are losing money because the Council has not completed concrete paving the first one hundred yards of the highway in time. Today the Mayor said they are waiting for the cement to cure properly:.. Mayor Darrell Bradley "Our people are just waiting for the half of the road that has been completed to be cured and then they will open that section of the Northern Highway to traffic and they are going to start work on the other section. Freetown Road is supposed to be finish by next week Friday and then they will do the roundabout and the whole project will be completed. I am expecting that the entire thing will be completed in another two weeks. The Freetown Road/Northern Highway project is something which will be a very good drive for residents of Belize City. It's 1.3 miles of road at a cost of about $630,000.00. I indicated earlier that part of it includes re-structuring the traffic flow on the Northern Highway; we are going to remove the cross walks and we are going to force people to actually use the overpass because we put a barricade there.

City Needs Revenue From Garbage Tax, Having Trouble Implementing Collection System
And the City Council is the one waiting on BWSL to conclude negotiation so that the utility can attach the residential garbage tax to the water bills of city residents. Sounds like a good plan on paper, but the devil is in the details - and while working those out, the mayor says negotiations have stalled. It's bad news for City Hall because its main sources of revenue, the head tax and the government subvention now go to the Central Bank to service the municipal bond. It needs the revenue from the garbage tax as revenue replacement, but setting up collection may be difficult. The mayor discussed it today:.. Mayor Darrell Bradley "We are still not finalized with BWSL. I had expected that we would have been much advance in terms of our discussions with putting that in place. It's been stalled and this is one of those things that you had ask me about in terms of wanting to push aggressively ahead but it doesn't work as planned. We wanted to ensure that we were agreed before the close of the year, we are beyond the year because these bills have to go out this month in terms of our projection. We have to start collecting this fee by latest February and that is our time table."

Battlefield Or Bust!
We've featured Steven Okeke in numerous newscasts in the past where he emerged as a social activist, but tonight, he wears the hat of a patriotic Belizean. He's trying to get a statue of the Belizean Hero, Phillip Goldson erected in the Battlefield park, but according to him it's been a 12-year fight to get it done. Well, he's finally gotten permission from the Belize City Council to use an area in the park for it, but he needs finances to build the base for it. He called us out to the location to show us where it will be, and also made a public plea for financial help: Steven Okeke "This would be a historical location because it would be the point from which we develop the base for the Phillip Goldson monument. In fact I want to thank the city government; the Mayor especially Mr. Phillip Willoughby who helped me to push this thing and Mr. Kevin Singh. We came out here yesterday to mark a spot where the monument would be erected.

PUP Deputies Oppose Hyde Return
Is there a future for Cordel Hyde in the PUP? According to an article in today;s reporter two Deputy Leaders Mike Espat and Julius Espat are flatly opposed to it. But, the article quotes the party chairman as saying that that quote, "Cordel Hyde never left the PUP. And it quotes former leader Said Musa as saying that the matter will have to be sorted out by the Party one way or another. Current leader Francis Fonseca said he would not comment until he had hear directly from Hyde.

Shamed By FACEBOOK Fight
Our next story is an unusual one. First off, it's not for kids - so if they're in the room, you'll want to change the channel or ask them to take a TV break. The story involves mature content because it's about a physical fight - an all out war between two women. Now, this is not the stuff that usually makes news - but what happens when someone captures that fight on cell phone camera and then posts it on the web for the whole world to see? Well, that's another level - and when that fight involves partial nudity…well you can imagine the embarrassment of the combatants! And what's worse is that the video has gone viral and they have no power to take it off the internet. It's like your most embarrassing moment being immortalized forever on eternal loop - and you're powerless to do anything about it. What happens to someone in the glare of such sudden exposure and notoriety? How do they explain it to their family? That's what Monica Bodden tried to find out yesterday when she tracked down one of the combatants. She appeared off camera and we have also blurred the video:

Channel 5

The dead will sleep; if undertakers and City hall agree
The City Council’s decision to assume some burial services effective January first is not resting well with undertakers or families who need to bury their loved ones. The new regulation by the City Council was put to a test today when Coye Funeral Services, the biggest undertaker in the City, went to the Lord Ridge [...]

Marco Vidal’s heavy portfolios of GSU and Special Branch
A new commissioner of police has been named; he is former CEO for National Security Allen Wylie. It is critical time for the police with crime and street violence proving to be a major challenge and the gangs running amok now that the gang truce program has ended and funding has declined. The appointment of [...]

Brothers charged for murder
This afternoon, two brothers were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith for the New Year’s Day Murder and Attempted Murders in Belize City. Twenty-three year old Akeem Humes was charged for the murder of forty-five year old Orlando Williams, who was violently gunned down on East Canal. Akeem, a reputed associate of the George [...]

Shot 4 times and survives
There was a shooting during the heavy rains on Thursday night. It happened on Lovely Lane off Victoria Street and could have ended fatally for the victim had he not hidden behind a rack of water bottles. Paul Alvarez braved the downpour to purchase Boledo when he came under attack; at least four bullets found [...]

Will there be justice for slain toddler?
It is four months since baby Kaylee Burgess was murdered; her body was found in a bucket in the yard of her grandmother’s house in Ladyville on September fifth. It was a tumultuous time because her mother and father were feuding and the baby’s murder was staged as a drowning. Kaylee was in the care [...]

Mom of accused says her son chopped in self-defense
Self defense; that is what the mother of twenty-nine year old Doran Moody claims led him to chop forty-three year old Mark Davis to the face, left hand and ear. Moody, it is reported, was in an altercation early on New Year’s Day with two young men with whom he had an old beef. And [...]

The twists and turns of Mexican national’s arms case
The trial of Zurisday Villasenor Mendez was adjourned on Thursday evening in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court. He is the Mexican national who was charged after a bust of guns and ammunition at the Las Vegas Casino in Corozal. Two issues were submitted by attorneys Dickie Bradley and Arthur Saldivar. Firstly, they are seeking the recusal [...]

No one injured as bus engine catches fire
A Morales bus drove into problems on one of the city’s highways early this morning. When the bus reached Gardenia Village in the Belize District, a fire occurred under the hood. The driver took a fire extinguisher that was located at the entrance of the vehicle, lifted the enclosure for the engine and quelled the [...]

Enrique Martinez and Sons employee disappears amidst theft
It appears that a delivery man for Enrique Martinez and Sons Limited has gone rogue and disappeared with a customer’s order as well as items stolen from the company vehicle. According to a warehouse Supervisor, on December nineteenth, Nathan Pratt was sent to deliver several rolls of copper tubing and a disconnect switch; all valued [...]

He robbed the Magistrate Court’s cash and returns for 5 charges
Seven thousand, six hundred and thirty-four dollars were stolen from the Belize City Magistrate’s Court on December twenty-eighth. The cashier was jacked of the day’s deposit when a brazen robber pulled a gun on the unarmed Special Constable that was escorting her to the bank. Today, the gunman believed to have executed the broad daylight [...]

Charged with ‘Permitting Himself to be Rescued’?
We reported on Wednesday that Corporal Edward Castillo was charged for Obstruction after he prevented Assistant Superintendent Anthony Rosado from carrying out his duty. On December twenty-sixth, Castillo was one of five occupants in an SUV driven by Lloyd Dyer Senior when it was inspected on Central American Boulevard. Rosado found that the vehicle’s insurance [...]

12 years later, a home for Phillip Goldson’s bust
Politician, talk show enthusiast, author, teacher, father, and businessman are only some of the words used to describe Stephen Okeke but busy man may be the sum of his many parts. It’s possible that some may forget that Okeke first came to fame for his prodigious work as a sculptor not only of wood but [...]

GSU forages for weapons in blocks
The Gang Suppression Unit is keeping a close eye on the George Street Gang. Having found a grenade and ammunition in a church on West Street, on Wednesday morning, GSU officers searched the residence of someone they describe as one of the key leaders of the George Street Gang. Nothing incriminating was found inside the [...]


Police News
A shooting incident on Thursday night has left one man hospitalized. Twenty year old Paul Alvarez, Junior was injured to the right hand, right armpit and the right side of his back, during an incident around seven forty five last night. According to police, Alvarez was insi...

Teenage Girl Missing
A teenage girl has been reported missing by her father. According to thirty six year old Daniel Aguirre, a resident of the San Martin area of Belmopan, his fifteen year old daughter Beverlin, left home enroute to a local store on Wednesday night and has not returned. Beverl...

University Students Disapproves of Government's Decision to Cut Subsidy
The Student Government of the University of Belize and a group called Nation Builders yesterday called a press conference in Belize City voice their disapproval of Government’s termination of subsidizing fees. According to the student government, discontinuation of the gove...

New Police Commissioner Appointed; Reshuffling In Police Department Announced
A new commissioner of Police has been named. Long-serving Deputy Allen Whylie was promoted to the commissioner’s post, according to an announcement made late yesterday by the Ministry of National Security. Former commissioner David Henderson moves on to take up the po...

Punta Gorda Police Investigates Fire
A house was partly destroyed by fire in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details. “According to police information the early Thursday morning fire incident happened at about 12:30 am. The Punta Gorda Fire service went to the scene of the fire an...

Brothers Charged For Separate Shooting Incidents
Twenty year old Shakeem Humes appeared in the number four Magistrate’s Court on Monday, December 31st, 2012, and was charged with causing public terror in connection with an incident that occurred at BTL Park on December 15. He was released on bail. According to an allegation, at...

Postman and Police Charged Following Escape From Police
Thirty-five year old postman Lloyd Dyer, who was with police corporal Edward Castillo, when there was a run in with Assistant Police Superintendent Anthony Rosado, was charged with using a motor vehicle not covered by third party insurance and permitting himself to be rescued when he a...

Escaped Robber Recaptured
Trenton Webster, the person who the police believe robbed the deposit money for the magistrate court, was charged with robbery when he appeared today in the number one Magistrate’s Court. Webster was also charged with 2 counts of aggravated assault, 1 count of harm and 1 co...


2012; PlusNews Year in review
A comprehensive look back at 2012; a year that saw a general and Municipal election held simultaneously, the Renego...

Man shot in Belize City Thursday night
A man was shot in Belize city last night. Just before 8 o' clock last night, Police visited the K.H.M.H. where they...

Akeem Humes charged for murder of Orlando William
21 Year old Akeem Humes, an affiliate of George Street was today arraigned in Court and charged for New Year's Eve ...

Trenton Webster in court for robbery
A man who was shot by police while trying to flee, was arraigned in court this morning. 31 year old Trenton Webster...

Dakers Stationary and Books broken into in Belmopan
A brazen burglary took place shortly before midnight last night in the City of Belmopan. The incident took place at...

Group calls for no more bars in Belmopan
Yesterday we told you about the 15yr old minor who ran away from a children's home and was later found working at T...

Michael Avilez sentenced to 3 years in jail for drug trafficking
52 yr old Michael Avilez will spend 3 years in jail for drug trafficking. On August 14, of last year, Police conduc...

Clarence Lamb charged for robbery of BTB
Belize City Police have formally arrested and charged 22yr old Clarence Lamb, of Belize City with Robbery and (7) c...

Construction of tombstones in Belize City will be sole responsibility of Cemetery Department
Media houses have reported on plans by the Belize City Council to takeover activities at Belize City’s major public...

UB students protest registration fee increase
Today, Friday, is registration day for students attending the University of Belize (UB)’s campuses across Belize. B...

15 year-old missing from San Martin Area, Belmopan
36yr old Daniel Aguirre, Taxi Driver of San Martin Area, Belmopan, reported to Belmopan Police that at 8:00pm on We...

Police make more drug discoveries
Police made some more drug discoveries. At 4:00am yesterday morning, Orange Walk Police conducted a search at the r...


Monday, January 7, deadline for public’s comment – but documents not on website yet! The year 2013 kicks off with a painful increase in electricity rates, with the average cost per kilowatt hour seeing an increase of nearly 17 cents on the dollar. “The new approved electricity rate is now 48.86 cents, which is approximate 16.87% above the existing 41.81 mean electricity rate,” chairman of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), John Avery, told the media at a press briefing last Friday afternoon. Whereas the rate increase is going to be applied to January light bills, as of January 1, the PUC has set a deadline of Monday, January 7, 2013, for the public to comment on the decision. (We note that the documents had, at the time of this report, still not been released on the PUC’s website.) News from the Commission is that Prime Minister Dean Barrow will travel to Mexico in the coming weeks to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto, to negotiate a better price for power supplied by the state-owned Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE). Avery acknowledged that Belizean consumers, including the already struggling productive sector, will take a hit with the hike in electricity rates, but he noted that the cost of power, which had been unexpectedly high in the second half of 2012, is by law a direct pass-through cost that must be billed to consumers.

A gunman shot him four times when he went to buy boledo. Paul Alvarez, 20, a resident of Lovely Lane in Belize City, is fighting for his life at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after he was shot four times by a gunman who fired about six shots at him at about 7:30 p.m. today, Thursday, in the Ming Ming Shop on Lovely Lane. He was shot in his shoulders, stomach, arm, and leg. Alvarez’s mother told Amandala that they live in the Lovely Lane area, and her son Paul had just gone to the Chinese store to buy number (lottery), when shortly after, she heard shots fired. A neighbor came and told her that Paul had just been shot, and when she ran outside, she saw his friend bringing him on his shoulder. She immediately took a car and rushed him to the KHMH. Paul told his mother that while going to the store, he saw the man, but did not pay attention to him. When he arrived in the store, he heard a gun cock, and when he turned around, the man fired at him.

All construction of graves, tombs etc. taken away — funeral home owners out in cold! The Belize City Council has informed all undertakers in a press release sent out in December 2012, that effective Tuesday, January 1, 2013, the City Council cemetery workers would take over several duties from the undertakers. Those duties include the construction of common graves and enclosed graves, the re-opening of graves at the Lord Ridge and Eternal Gardens Cemeteries, and the construction of “vault/mausoleum, tombstones, tomb tablets, statues, and niche in columbarium.” The press release went on to state that the listed structures were to be done only by authorized workers from the Cemetery Department, and that the construction of those structures would cost $1,000. David Coye of Coye Funeral Homes said the arrangement does not seem plausible because it has not been made law. “Laws like that have to pass through the Cabinet, not happen overnight,” he said. He went on to say, “I’m looking into getting a lawyer. The cemetery is not for the City Council; it’s for the people of Belize, the people of Belize City. If they want to compete, no problem. But they can’t just stop us, though.”

They leave behind a 2-year-old son. A Punta Gorda family, of Forest Home, is mourning the death of their daughter, Carlita Williams, 21, who was shot to death by her jealous and abusive boyfriend, James Staine, 24, who killed himself after killing her. The murder/suicide occurred around 8:30 p.m. Sunday, December 30, under a thatched shed near the road by the sea in Punta Gorda. Witnesses said that Staine, Williams and their son, 2, were seated at the beachfront under the thatch when he took out his gun and shot her, then turned the gun on himself. Inspector Ernel Dominguez, Commander of Toledo District Police, said that their initial investigation revealed that both Williams and Staine were under the shed when two gunshots were heard by a neighbor in the immediate area. The neighbor looked out to see what was happening, and that was when he saw both bodies under the shed. Police said that Staine, who is the father of the couple’s son, shot Carlita in the right side of her head and thereafter shot himself under the chin. The shooting came after Staine and Williams had a misunderstanding on Saturday, December 29.

New champions of 23rd Krem New Year’s Classic – David Henderson (Elite), Shalini Zabaneh (Women), Tarique Flowers (Junior). The New Year started with a “bang” indeed, as there was bright sunshine on the morning of January 1, and the 23rd running of the Krem New Year’s Cycling Classic, from the Corozal border to Belize City, went off without a hitch or a spill, despite the absence of an official Belize Cycling Association executive. All the big name cyclists were there, but in the Elite and Junior male races there were new names entered into the record book of past Krem Classic champions, as U-23 rider David Henderson, Jr. beat all the big boys in the Elite/Open race, and newcomer, 16-year-old Tarique Flowers surprised the Junior field by taking the top prize in impressive fashion. In the Women race, former 3-time Krem Classic champion Shalini Zabaneh, who was dethroned by Kaya Cattouse last year, came back to claim #4, as she overpowered all competitors in the last leg of an aggressive 55-mile ride from Orange Walk Town Hall to become the Krem Classic Women Champion 2013.

Belmopan Bandits defeat Police United, 1-nil, for PLB championship. A massive crowed thronged the FFB Stadium on the outskirts of Belmopan yesterday afternoon in bright sunshine to witness the final championship game of the Premier League of Belize Opening Tournament 2012-2013 between two teams who called Belmopan “home” during the competition – Belmopan Bandits and Police United FC. Police were “bridesmaids” in the previous competition behind Placencia Assassins; but it was the Bandits, who were also “bridesmaids” some years ago in the semi-pro football league, who finally captured their first national football title. The two clubs, both connected to Hon. John Saldivar, as sponsor of Belmopan Bandits, and as the Minister in charge of Police, had met only once before, and that was in game 1 of the championship finals, in which they drew last week, 1-1. During the course of the regular season, all of the Bandits’ home games had been on Saturday night at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium. Police had used the FFB Stadium for 3 of their games, but subsequently retreated to the Isidoro Beaton also, playing their remaining home games on Sunday afternoons. When the two teams met in the finals, and Police chose to play on Sunday afternoon, December 23, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium for their home game, it was assumed, and it had already been released by the league, that the Bandits home game the following weekend would be on Saturday night, December 29, at the Isidoro.

At a press conference this afternoon at the Toucan B Room of the Best Western Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City, the National Team Committee of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) announced the final list of 20 players comprising the National “A” Team that will represent Belize at the Copa Centroamericana 2013 (formerly Nations Cup), the qualifying tournament for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. National Team Committee member Onan McClean was master of ceremonies, and seated at the head table were the Assistant Coach, Charlie Slusher; Head Coach, Le Roy Sherrier Lewis; Team Co-Captain, Dalton Eiley; Committee Chairman, FFB Vice-President, Rawel Pelayo; and Team Manager, Dean Flowers. 7 Central American countries will participate in the Copa Centroamericana, which commences on January 18 in host country Costa Rica. 5 of those 7 will qualify to the Gold Cup, and Belize’s national coach Le Roy Sherrier Lewis said he feels very good about Belize’s chances at qualifying.

Those of us who came on the scene after World War II know that Southside Belize City, and indeed the entire city, was an area of heavy, heavy discipline. In those days, men ruled boys. Men ruled with a hard hand, as did single mothers. Wayward boys were beaten into submission, at home. Some things went wrong between then and now, and today the Southside is ruled by gangs, headed by young men and featuring teenaged boys, with young women and teenaged girls supporting them. After Hurricane Hattie, a couple generations of adult men went looking for better jobs in the United States, and into Belize, along with the marijuana of the 1970s and the cocaine of the 1980s, there came guns. Boys started to rule men. Our newspaper competitor last weekend editorialized in an authoritative, confident manner. “It is time to dismantle the gangs!” This is an impossibility, unless you also physically destroy Southside Belize City, and parts of the Northside. The socio-economic conditions in specific parts of the old capital are such that you could wipe out the present gang leaders and their followers, and in a matter of months, new, similar organizations would emerge, with younger leadership. Our competitor’s editorial is a declaration of war on the gangs, on behalf of the elected government. Theoretically, the elected government has the power to crush the gangs, wipe them out, but they would be destroying children and grandchildren of the same families which went to the polls and elected UDP area representatives in every single constituency of the Southside in March 2012.

The Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) announcement last week that they are granting a 16.87 percent increase on electricity rates to the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) is a bad blow to what is sometimes called our “productive sector.” This is also a bad blow for Belizean merchant businesses and hotels and restaurants and homeowners, and the whole country of Belize really. PUC and BEL blame low rainfall for the sub-par performance of the hydroelectric facility, and the problem is compounded by production shortfalls from the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) machinery which was supposed to generate electricity by burning bagasse. This meant Belize had to buy a greater amount of electricity from the Mexicans at Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), and Mexicans don’t play. In the words of a Chetumal police chief in the 1970s” “When you have me, I pay. When I have you, you pay.) CFE has us: Belize has to pay. The increase in electricity rates will have an immediate inflationary effect, which is to say, the prices of goods and services will start going up, which means that the value of our Belize dollar, in real terms, goes down.

Beginning in this issue of the newspaper we’ll be serializing an article entitled OPERATION DELIRIUM I found in the December 17, 2012 issue of The New Yorker. I’m using this column to call special attention to the article because these types of long, introspective articles can easily escape readers who are not absolutely focused. I was struck by the article because the writer is discussing matters which had to have been American state secrets during my time in school there (1965 to 1968). Because the United States, compared to Russia and China, is a democracy, most of their state secrets become declassified after forty years, as I understand it. That is to say that secret materials become available for researchers to study and submit to the general public for the people’s perusal and analysis. A lot of changes took place within the student population at Dartmouth while I was there. These changes essentially coincided with the escalation of American involvement in the Vietnam War, which was, generally speaking, a civil war between capitalist Christians and communist revolutionaries in Vietnam. During the period between 1965 to 1968, the American military required more and more bodies for their war effort in Vietnam on behalf of the capitalist Christians. The draft law was still in effect in America; this was a law which required all able-bodied American males to register for the military once they reached the age of 18. Students on American college campuses began to panic between 1965 and 1968 because the military was coming after them, and these students, unlike Belizean immigrants for instance, knew exactly what was going on in Vietnam – death and derangement.

Minister Godwin Hulse should be declared a national hero! Citizenship is the single greatest honour that can be bestowed upon an individual; it affords a person certain privileges and protection, but it also imposes certain duties. One of the most important duties imposed by citizenship is the duty to defend one’s country. Societies all over the world understand that it is extremely difficult to perform this duty when a person shares allegiance with two or more countries, and particularly so, when those countries are in conflict with each other. The Belize Constitution also recognizes this challenge and made provisions for it at Section 29. However, despite a clear constitutional ban, government after government since 1981 has granted Belizean nationality to citizens of Guatemala. The politicians who sponsored this sustained breach of our Constitution did so not because the Guatemalans brought any special skill or talent to Belize. Their behavior was and is motivated solely by the fact that these Guatemalans represented votes. It was and is, more important to the political class to attain high political office notwithstanding the adverse national security implications of this unconstitutional practice. Incredibly, it took more than thirty years for a brave and patriotic Minister of Immigration to stop the treasonous behaviour of granting Belizean citizenship to Guatemalans. It took Godwin!

People blaming Christianity for the drawbacks of society is like law breakers blaming the law for their crime and sentence. I am writing in response to the editorial titled, “Bitter vibes of the post-modern Pascua,” in which Christianity and the church-state system of education are blamed for Belize City’s lagging behind Chetumal in development and national pride. It is important to pinpoint the right cause of a problem to devise a right solution. We will see that pointing fingers at Christianity or the church school system is unfortunate, at the least. Mexico became Independent from Spain in 1821, 45 years after America. Belize became independent in 1981, 160 years after Mexico. Belize’s tender age is one of the major reasons for her underdevelopment. Mexico also fought for independence for 10 years in the “Mexican War of Independence”. Belize’s Independence came relatively easy. People more readily value and take pride in what was fought to gain. The fact that Belize has suffered from a corrupt government system is another contributing factor to our underdevelopment. Look at it from an individual level. At election time large numbers of Belizeans won’t vote unless paid. People sell votes for anything from $20 to loads of sand. Some wealthier families pool their family members votes together and sell to politicians for properties or a few thousand dollars.

Perhaps you’re already aware of this sober and well-thought-out mini-series, “Untold History Of The United States,” being offered on Showtime television by acclaimed director Oliver Stone (Platoon, Born On The Fourth Of July, Wall Street, and Salvador, among others). Once again, this 3-time Oscar Award winner brings his intelligence and trenchant observations to the documentary form of cinema, of which I’m a great fan. In its own way, this series is as equally important as your Amandala series on the American Indian, and even more important—and current—to Belizean concerns. I encourage you to not miss this superb offering. Thank you and keep up your good work at Amandala.

Castillo, a corporal of police, challenged an Assistant Superintendent of Police. Cpl. Edward Castillo, 33, attached to Patrol Branch, today found himself on the other side of the law when he was read charges in the #4 Magistrate’s Court. Cpl. Castillo was charged with obstruction, driving a motor vehicle without third-party insurance and with rescuing a person for cause other than a crime. According to the police report, at 6:30 p.m. ASP Anthony Rosado and other officers were on routine patrol around Central American Boulevard. As they approached the roundabout by Cemetery Road, they saw a blue SUV suddenly stop, which seemed suspicious to the ASP. As he approached the vehicle, he noticed there were five persons occupying it, one of whom was Cpl. Castillo. ASP Rosado asked the driver to present his license and identify himself, and he was told that an inspection would be done on the vehicle. He proceeded to check the license and insurance of the vehicle, and discovered that the insurance had expired on December 24, 2012.

University of Belize students are heated up over the government’s decision to stop paying subsidies and adding a $350 increase to tuition rates. The government stated that they can no longer provide the financial aid for the students, but some students are in strong opposition to paying an increment on tuition. Hope Amad, Student Government President, Belmopan campus, said that he does not understand how the government could say that they cannot afford to help Belizean students further their education. “The government is the richest in the country, the people don’t have money like that,” he said. “If they can’t help us, then who will? They want us to get an education, but won’t help us.” Amad said that he has been writing to the Ministry on behalf of the students requesting that they reconsider the increase, but they have not received any response in favor of their demands. Their next step was to sign a petition, which begun in October 2012. The fee increase will be imposed on students who are registering to start new programs at the University of Belize. Although this increase will not directly affect all returning students, they are still livid over the matter because they see it unfair for the ones who have to.

Police assistance for witnesses in major court cases, will now be carried out by the Police Department beginning in January 2013. The assistance will be to counsel witnesses, give them transportation, court reminders, and other relevant assistance, including their safety. The announcement was made on Monday, December 24, by Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon, Jr., the Commanding Officer of the Belize District Police, during a police press brief at the Racoon Street Police Station. ACP Aragon said that a new unit has been formed which will be known as the Witness Support Unit. The unit was formed with assistance from the Embassy of the United States in Belize. Aragon said that it was not a witness protection program, because the department cannot afford or sustain a full witness protection program, but the unit will do its best to assist witnesses. ACP Aragon reminds the public that any information that can help in the investigation of cases can be relayed to the nearest police station or 0800 TIPS. Superintendent Alden Dawson, the commander of Crimes Investigation Branch, reminds people that if they see crimes being committed, they can also call the nearest police station, or 0800 TIPS

Victim was shot 7 times; motive unknown. New Year’s Day brought nothing new in the line of lethal violence to this tired city. In fact, there seemed to have been no let-up from the killing from the previous year, 2012, which closed with 146 murders. The year 2012’s last murder was that of Carlita Sienna Williams, 20, who was shot to death on Sunday, December 30, in Punta Gorda. Just two days later, in Belize City, on New Year’s Day, at about 9:30 p.m., Orlando Sylvester Williams, 45, a labourer of Dean and West Canal Streets, was ambushed on Dean Street and shot a reported seven times; he was pronounced dead on arrival at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Police, when they arrived at the scene, found Williams lying on the street side, shot up and dead. Police say that at about 9:45p.m., Williams was at the corner of Dean Street and West Canal talking with a friend when a gunman came walking up Dean Street from Plues Street and shot him. The gunman then ran back into the area and disappeared into the night.

To the Teachers: To be a teacher is a wise and wonderful vocation. Yours is the power to place a child on the road to becoming a good, decent, honorable and productive citizen. You will be doing your duty, if you teach well the subjects in the curriculum set by the Ministry of Education. That would be commendable, but if you teach your students a love of learning; to appreciate fine literature and the arts; to cultivate good manners; to practice personal hygiene; to respect and obey proper authority; and to live by the Golden Rule, the angels in heaven will rejoice. Then you will have fulfilled the promise of your high calling. You remember how it was in your early school life. How one year was a struggle to get through, because your teacher seemed always to be in a bad mood. How the subjects taught were dull and boring. How it was difficult to be attentive and, how you wished that the year would end and, you could go on to the next class. That was your fault, because you did not understand why it was necessary to be schooled. Not entirely so. It was also because there are teachers who are only doing a job for pay. They do not have a real vocation. This essay is intended for them, for if children do not enjoy being in your class, you’ll not enjoy teaching them either, and you should, and they could. First of all, school should be a controlled environment. There has to be discipline and order. Without these, even the teacher with the strong commitment to serve, might be unsuccessful. Teachers are authority figures and should have the power to exercise disciplinary control over the students in their class. Can they do it without resorting to the cane or the ruler, or some other instrument of discipline? Of course, provided they are child psychologists, or they have an imposing presence that instills fear, or they can command respect like a Sergeant Major in the Army. There are a few willful, high-spirited and headstrong children, not unintelligent, who have the capacity to lead, and who if brought under control, will amount to something. If not, they will take away the class from the teacher and go on to become a troublemaker in the society.

The Reporter

City Council burying the undertaking business
Belize City undertakers may very well be forced to financial straits due to the Belize City Council (CITCO)’s decision to monopolize certain funeral services. CITCO’s Sanitation Manager, Percival Murillo, in a letter dated December 17th, informed undertakers that “effective January 1st, 2013” the Council’s Cemetery Workers will take over services such as the re-opening of graves at both Lord Ridge and Eternal Gardens cemeteries; the construction of tombstones, tomb tablets, statues, vaults, mausoleums, columbarium niches; and the preparation of common and enclosed graves. David Coye, of Coye Funeral Home, said the new policy to have CITCO’s Cemetery Department monopolize those services has hit undertakers hard. Where in the past he employed as many as 15 workers, he is now down to a skeleton crew of six. Coye described the new measure as unfair because the City Council charges him an annual trade license fee, as well as property tax. Now it is seeking to remove the means for him to earn the income to pay those taxes.

Leadership changes in Police Department to improve efficiency and effectiveness
The Ministry of National Security announces the following changes in the Ministry and in the High Command of the Police Department to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness in the New Year. Mr. David Henderson leaves the post of Acting Commissioner of Police to take up the post of Director of the National Forensic Science Service. Mr. Allen Wyllie is promoted from Deputy Commissioner of Police to the post of Acting Commissioner, thereby assuming command of the Police Department. Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon Jr. is promoted to Acting Deputy Commissioner with additional responsibility for Operations, relinquishing his post of Officer Commanding Eastern Division. Assistant Commissioner Miguel Segura moves from Head of National Crimes Investigation Branch to Officer Commanding Eastern Division.

PUP divided over Cordel Hyde’s return?
Cordell Hyde, the former three-time Peoples United Party (PUP)’s Lake Independence area representative, may want to come back to the party, but the PUP’s Southern Caucus said Thursday that he should not be allowed to return. The Cayo South area representative, Julius Espat, said that “the Party has moved on.” Mike Espat, the PUP area representative for Toledo East, said that both Hyde and Espat left together and he thinks that it is just a matter of time before both of them may want to come back, but the PUP Executive had already made a decision about both men: “The answer is no!” The Reporter spoke to both Mike and Julius Espat after a Thursday afternoon meeting of the party’s Southern Caucus, where they explained that the Party’s Executive decision about Hyde and Espat is still pending a National Party Council. The matter may still go before a National Convention, they explained. The Reporter also asked PUP Leader Francis Fonseca about Hyde’s return.

No to Cola and yes to ICJ!
The COLA article by Geovannie Bracket which appeared in the Amandala merits a reply because of its absurdities and contradictions. The Declaration presented by “Citizens Organized for Liberty Through Action,” seems to be their position paper on why Belize should not go to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to settle the Guatemalan Claim.

Police say man killed in Ladyville shooting was not intended target
Allen “Deebo” Davis, 21, a young man who moved from the crime-ridden Belize City streets several years ago to live in what was peaceful Ladyville Village, became murder victim 143 for 2012 on Thursday night when a gunman emptied a clip full of bullets into his body.

Link between pot, psychosis goes both ways in kids
Marijuana (cannabis) use may be linked to the development of psychotic symptoms in teens – but the reverse could also be true: psychosis in adolescents may be linked to later pot use, according to a new Dutch study.

David Henderson Jr wins KREM New Year’s Classic
Santino’s cycling team swept all top three places as well as fifth place in the 23rd annual KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic held under the auspices of the Belize Cycling association on the Philip Goldson Highway on Tuesday, January 1.

Bandits win PLB football championships
The Belmopan Bandits, bridemaids at many Belize Premier Football League finals in the past, won their first national championship by a 1-0 victory over the Police United in the second match of the Premier League of Belize Championship Finals.


A Tale of Five Cities: Merida's Paseo de Montejo
There are so many interesting sights, buildings, and homes in Centro Merida, in Mexico's Yucatan state, it is hard to know where to begin, but since we spent more time walking along the Paseo de Montejo than just about anywhere else, it seemed as good a place as any to start. This elegant tree-lined boulevard, often called Merida's "Champs Elysees", was just a short walk away from La Casa Lorenzo (link), where we were staying, so we walked there a couple of times each day. The shady, wide sidewalks were a pleasant change from the sometimes narrow, bustling sidewalks closer to downtown. Here, people moved more slowly and there was room to amble, to take in the beauty and history all around. The Paseo is a pleasant mix of private homes, public buildings, hotels, shops, churches, and restaurants. Loved these wide, tree-lined sidewalks The clip-clop of horsedrawn carriages provided a nice break from traffic noise Unfortunately, the elegant Palacio Cantón, which houses the Regional Museum of the Yucatan, was closed for renovation. It was the gem of the Paseo to our eyes. Another view of Palacio Front of Palacio/Museum -- the sign explained about the closure and renovations

We Can Work It Out
Forgot to mention in yesterday’s edition that the potential remodelling of the Ground Floor to incorporate an additional en-suite and, as a consequence, repositioning of the store room is not the only change. Because the foundations for the house are higher than the architect’s plans specified ( the land is low lying) the specifications for the golf cart ramp have had to be amended. Had the plan been rigidly adhered to the gradient would have been too steep for the golf cart to ‘climb’ so the length of the slope is being extended. We I got to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize today there was a lorry delivering a further supply of concrete blocks – we ran out of them yesterday afternoon.

Five Things You Didn’t Know about the Elkhorn Fern
Staghorn or Elkhorn Fern is a beautiful and epiphytic plant native to the new and old world tropics such as South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Guinea. Here are five things you might not know about this fern: 1.) They get their name because their fronds look like the antlers of a staghorn deer. The plant bears two types of fronds: The sterile fronds are flat, round, and located at the base of the fern, and the fertile fronds are irregular, lobed, and usually ascending from the plant. 2.) These ferns are commonly cultivated as ornamental plants and grow on trees and rocks and can be found in gardens, especially tropical gardens like the one at the Chaa Creek bar. 3.) One of the most interesting things about the Elkhorn fern is that it does not need soil to grow. 4.) The Staghorn ferns are epiphytes plants which mean they are air plants and are one of the most interesting plants to grow at home because it is quite easy to maintain. 5.) The only problem with this fern is that it can grow so large that moving becomes a major project.

International Sources

Escapes: On the trail of ancient Maya temples in Belize
City of Lamanai, High Temple bring ancient world back to life. A white-hot sun bore down on the small boat as we rode upriver through the thick jungle of northern Belize. We were headed to the ancient Maya city of Lamanai. It’s a place of dark secrets, not the least of which was the cause of its demise. The city, which once had a population of 50,000, was buried by dirt and foliage for four centuries until archaeologists started an excavation in the 1970s. Only five buildings have been uncovered. About 732 buildings remain hidden in the firm grip of the jungle, an entire city never seen by modern eyes. The boat cruised up the New River past crocodiles resting on the muddy banks, seemingly immobilized by the tropical heat. One of them came to life and slid into the river, his ridged tail propelling him swiftly across the surface, his eyes locked on the boat.

January 4, 2013


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 December 30th, 2012 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • No Arrest Yet In The Murder of Rene Vera:
    As the community records yet another murder with homosexual overtones, an arrest is yet to be made while the Christmas plans of the victim’s family was shattered and the remains of yet another productive male person was committed to the earth from whence it is said to have come. Funeral services for Rene Vera, 36, Belizean laborer formerly of a Bishop Martin Street address in Santa Elena, Cayo was held at the Sacred Heart Church in San Ignacio, on Thursday, December 27. The body was laid to rest inside the Carmen Memorial Cemetery in Santa Elena.
  • Introducing The Nation’s New Ombudsman, Mr Lionel L. Arzu:
    Mr. Lionel L. Arzu, has been officially sworn in as the new Ombudsman for Belize. This took place in brief ceremonies this morning in the presence of the Governor-General of Belize, His Excellency Sir Colville Young. Mr. Arzu leaves behind his post as a teacher at Julian Cho Technical High School in the Toledo District, where he resides. Prior to this, he served as an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Belize, Toledo Campus; Project Coordinator for the Meso-American Project, and numerous other posts within the agricultural sector.
  • Questioning The Appointment Of The New Ombudsman Of Belize. Is It Really Because He Is A Garifuna?:
    This is the first time a Garifuna person in Belize has been appointed as Ombudsman and we should be proud of this especially given the fact that the chances for a Garifuna to be appointed to a post like this in Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala is slim to never. I suspect that because he is a Garifuna someone is questioning whether he will be able to handle the responsibilities of the office. This did not occur when Paul Rodriguez, a former Mayor of Belize City, was appointed as the first Ombudsman of Belize. We likewise did not see it happen when Cynthia Pitts was similarly appointed until the recent expiration of her contract. I do not know Mr. Lionel Arzu but reviewing at his academic credentials, given the necessary support, he should have no problems doing the job.
  • Rotary Project “Literacy Alive” Brings Professional Laminators To Cayo Schools:
    Literacy is one of the most important preconditions for a successful life. Being able to read enables a person to take part in everyday and business life and make a good living. Consequently learning to read belongs to the most important objectives in primary schools throughout Belize. The educational success however depends on several factors like the talent of as kid as well as his or her social and language background. Equally important are the literacy related capacities of the teachers as well as the methods and materials that are used to teach reading.
  • Ten Life-Changing Facts About Anger:
    “Yes, I was angry. And I was a little afraid. After all I’ve not been free in so long. But, when I felt that anger well up inside of me, I realized that if I hated them after I got outside that gate, then they would still have me. I wanted to be free so I let it go.” ~Nelson Mandela upon leaving prison after 27 years of confinement Frustrated, impatient, raging… aaarrrrrrgh! Yes, it’s normal to feel angry – you are human, after all. But if anger causes problems in your life – if it interferes with your health and happiness – then consider these 10 life-changing facts. Get curious about anger, and you just might discover an untapped well of vital energy that improves your life circumstances and wakes you up to the whole of life.
  • Benque Viejo Christmas Bash:
    Program under the leadership of Captain Samuel Bruce since 2008; participating with the Community Policing Effort of Police Sub-Formation Benque Viejo, produced a spectacular event for the residents, with their annual Christmas Bash for the community of Benque Viejo. Located at the spacious multipurpose community park on Mr. Bruce’s property, the party had all the trimmings; Stone constructed community center, 3-tents, chairs, DJ kahlib sound system, bathroom facilities, electric & water supply, two football courts, volleyball court, running track, BMX Bike track, and swimming pool under construction.
  • Cayo Central Christmas Football Cup:
    On September 19, 2012, eight teams from Santa Elena Town participated in a football marathon held at the Santa Elena football field, to kick off the Cayo Central Christmas Cup Sponsored by the Hon. Rene Montero, Area Representative for Cayo Central And Minister of Works & Transport. This past Sunday was the Finals for the competition and the Trapiche Team and the Hill view team played an exciting and competitive game and exhibit discipline and excellent sportsmanship. At the end of the day Minister Rene Montero was present to issue the first place trophy along with a cash prize of $500.00 to the Trapiche Team, the winner of the competition.
  • US Requests Colombia Urabenos 'gang leader' Extradition:
    Prosecutors in the United States have requested the extradition of one of Colombia's most wanted drug dealers, detained two months ago in Argentina. Henry de Jesus Lopez Londono, known as Mi Sangre or My Blood, is the alleged leader of the Urabenos gang, which operates in northern Colombia. Argentine media reported that he was due to be released on 2 January unless there was a formal extradition request. Lopez entered Argentina with a false passport, police said. The 41-year-old Colombian posed as a Venezuelan businessman, travelling for work.
  • Bolivia Takes Over Ownership Of Two Spanish Owned Electricity Companies:
    Bolivia has brought two Sanish-owned electricity supply companies under state control. President Evo Morales accused the subsidiaries of the Spanish company, Iberdrola, of overcharging consumers in rural areas. Mr Morales said rural households had been paying three times more for their electricity than people in urban areas. The left-wing president has previously nationalised oil, telecommunications and energy-generating companies. "We had to see that the quality of electricity service is uniform in rural as well as urban areas," Mr Morales said. He added that his decree was in line with the South American country's constitution, which says that the public interest is above private interests when it comes to the supply of energy.
  • How Indian Women Are Treated:
    People have called her Braveheart, Fearless and India’s Daughter, among other things, and sent up a billion prayers for a speedy recovery. When the unidentified woman died in a Singapore hospital early on Saturday, the victim of a savage rape on a moving bus in the capital, Delhi, it was time again, many said, to ask: why does India treat its women so badly? Female foetuses are aborted and baby girls killed after birth, leading to an an appallingly skewed sex ratio. Many of those who survive face discrimination, prejudice, violence and neglect all their lives, as single or married women.
  • STAR Humor
  • Editorial:
  • Your Weekly Horoscope and Lucky Numbers
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Public Notices

The San Pedro Sun

Electricity rate go up by 16.8%
It may be possible that citizens will have to allocate more money toward their electricity bill. Electricity rates are going up by almost 17 percent in 2013. The rates will be going from 41.6 cents to 48 cents per kilowatt hour a total of 16.8 percent. According to the Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), John Avery, this increase is a must to sustain electricity for the population. Due to low rainfall levels this year paired with an increase in cost of power production Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) was forced to buy power from out of Mexican neighbors at 32 cents higher than the price BEL sell to the public. John Avery, Chairman ofPUCsays "The power from BAL (Belize Aquaculture Ltd) was at 73.96 cents per kilowatt hour. So basically BEL was selling at an average of 41.61 cents; meaning that they were losing 32 cents every time they sold 1 kilowatt hour of energy from BAL. From their diesels, the average price was 59.48 cents, from it was [...]

Ambergris Today

Belize’s Brand Position and Tourism Number Worldwide
Belize is in position number 148 for Trade and in position number 114 for Tourism, winning 21 positions in Trade and losing 2 positions in Tourism. These numbers come from Bloom Consulting that just recently announced the release of the 2012 Bloom Consulting Country Branding Ranking©, now even more accurate with the incorporation of Online Search Demand (OSD). The 2012 Bloom Consulting Country Branding Ranking© is a thorough study measuring the effectiveness of each country’s brand strategy, separately evaluating the trade and tourism country brand strategies, and comprising of 160 and 161 countries respectively. The ranking relies on hard facts, which include the economic performance and the economic growth of countries. For tourism these are represented by the annual intake and the annual growth rate of global tourist receipts. For trade these are characterized by the annual intake and the annual growth rate of global FDI inflow. This hard data is accompanied by soft facts, thereby measuring the economic impact of each country’s brand strategy.

A ‘Local’ Restaurant Filled with Flavor
One such restaurant that provides a distinct local flavor and one that concentrates more on home cooked meals is Local’s Restaurant and Bar, located on Coconut Drive across the Tropic Air Terminal. The restaurant is much of an “In & Out” establishment that provides fast (not necessarily fast food) great tasting meals for those on the go. At Local’s Restaurant you have the option of dining on the picnic style benches or at the high top counter that surrounds the bar. We opted for the bar and were served some of their top drinks such as the Miami Vice, Tequila Sunrise, Margarita and Rum Punch. Great drinks to try especially on a hot day on our sunny island! Hey, after a busy day the restaurant turns into a local hangout to enjoy some cocktails or cold beers, where there is also a karaoke night and special celebrations.

Channel 7

There's A New Top Cop!
Tonight there are major, major changes in the command of the Police Department - and from what we've heard, it's caught quite a few persons off guard. The announcement came out about an hour ago and the headline item is that Commissioner of Police David Henderson is out as Top Cop. Henderson who was already past retirement leaves the post of Acting Commissioner of Police and takes up the job of Director of the National Forensic Science Service. And so who will be the top cop now? Deputy Allen Wyllie is promoted to the post of Acting Commissioner of Police. And his Acting Deputy will be Elodio Aragon Jr. - who moves on from Officer Commanding Eastern Division to take up the Deputy Post with additional responsibility for Operations. Assistant Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura will take Aragon's place as the boss of Eastern Division. Senior Superintendent Desiree Phillips moves from Commander of Community Police to one of two posts of Deputy Officer Commanding Eastern Division. The other Deputy Commander will be Senior Superintendent Marlon Allen who moves from his post at Head of Special Branch. The other big move is for ASP Marco Vidal - he moves from the Head of the Gang Suppression Unit - which he created, back to Special Branch - where he first earned his name.

Grenade Found In "Gaza" Turf!
And while there are changes at the top - the war continues on the ground. Last night we told you about the New Year's Night Shootings in the downtown area of Belize City that left one man dead and another on life support. As we told you in the news - reports to us said that the shootings were a kind of retaliation against the state - after certain gang elements had been locked up on New Year's Eve for so-called Crime Prevention. Well, today a press release from the Gang Suppression Unit said it plainly - they described it as, quote, "the deliberate murder on January 1, 2013 of two non - gang members perpetrated by the George Street Gang." We presume they mean one murder and another shooting, because the other persons Marco Valle was critically injured by a shot to the head, but not murdered.

Molotov Cocktail Found in GSU Turf
And the GSU says George Street isn't only packing grenades, there are also home-made explosives. On New Year's Day, at around 10:30 a.m., GSU personnel searched an abandoned building at the corner of Bishop and Far West Streets. That search led to the discovery of 2 Molotov cocktail bombs in a black plastic bag along-side the chain-link fence. According to the GSU, the bombs were manufactured using pint bottles filled with pellets, nails and metal shards - to be released as shrapnel - and a liquid accelerant. The GSU says it believes that the cocktails were intended to be used against the security forces patrolling in the George Street area. They say the house is in the generally controlled area of the gang.

Random Shooting Victim Valle Clings to Life
And, the news tonight is that one man in his 20's is detained pending charges for the murder of Orlando Williams. He is well known to police and had previously gotten off a murder charge. He lives in the same general area where Orlando Williams did. We understand that his brother is also being detained in connection with the other New Years Day shooting. That victim Carlos Valle remains in a critical condition tonight. He remains on life support in the Intensive care Unit at the KHMH. He was shot in the temple as he drove his motorbike on Regent street near the Belize Bank on Sunday night. The father of 5 had gone to buy food when the shooter rode up and shot him in the head.

Were Men Shot Because They Are "Spanish"?
Valle was shot seven minutes before Orlando Williams - and police believe the shooting area related deliberate acts of retaliation against the state. It is the very definition of senseless - so much so that it seems to defy comprehension: shooting two working men, one 45, the other 48 years old who just happened to be on the streets when gunmen wanted to see someone dead. Orlando Williams and his family grew up in the same neighborhood that out studio is in - and we were struck by the chilling tragedy of his death. For context on these very crazy crimes, we look back at that night:.. It is probably one of the most affecting images I have seen in two decades covering the news: Dennis Williams holding his dead brother, Orlando's limp hand, imploring life from a body that had none left. The tragic scene playing out under a streetlight's sickly yellow glow, a huddle of neighbors in the shadows at the corner of Dean and West Canal, a few dozen feet from where the brothers grew up.

Violence Anthropologist Explains Why "Spanish" Men Might Have Been Shot
So, was the shooter or shooters deliberately targeting men of Spanish descent? It's a deeply disturbing possibility - but one we must report on because it's what information to the police suggests. Indeed, the possibility of such random barbarity almost boggles the mind and we asked violence anthropologist Dr. Herbert Gayle to decode it for us. Gayle did the comprehensive study on violence in Belize in 2010 - and today we called him in Jamaica to ask about this disturbing pattern where innocent persons are targeted - possibly based on their ethnicity. Gayle said that globally it's not too uncommon - and he explained what he calls the "Combatant Frame." Dr. Herbert Gayle, violence anthropologist "It's a group of young people feel state-terrorism, they feel that the state has slaughtered them for a special oppression and had used force on them unfairly then they are likely to act upon persons who are within our country to be outside of what we called the combatant structural frame of war, in other words they would no attack another gang to prove a point because they would already assume that the state does not care about gang members.

Police Recover Cash From BTB Robbery; Suspect Awaits Charges
Last night we told you about the drama at the BTB headquarters. At about 4:30, two men - one armed with a knife - the other with a gun - went into the office and held up the cashier. Police today confirmed that they did grab the cash pan with $1,732.00 dollars before they dashed out. But the security guard was on hand and he shot one of them. That man is Clarence Lamb from the nearby Jump Street area where he is known as "Monkey Man." Yesterday when we arrived on the scene he was slumped on the ground - after he was shot in the calf with the Security's issued.38 pistol. The other robber escaped, but not with the money. Police searched the area and recovered two cash pans, one which contained $300.00 dollars in cash and the other which contained $1,432.78 in cash - which is the sum total of what had been stolen. Lamb has been hospitalized and he is expected to be charged as soon as he is well enough to appear in court. His accomplice is still at large.

Furor At Tourism Village Over Barred Gates
And, very strangely that robbery at the BTB on Regent Street- had a strange spinoff effect on the Tourism Village across the harbour mouth on Fort Street. This morning the Tourism Village Management closed the gate at Terminal Two - after they heard the Belizean operators outside just talking loosely about the robbery at BTB the day before. That somehow got misinterpreted as a discussion about a possible jacking at the tourism Village, which led to the gate closure. It caused quite uproar. That's because dozens of taxi-men and tour operators line up there to link with their guests or recruit tours - and when the gates don't open, they don't make any money. We found out the real situation this morning:.. Cecil Gill - Rents scooters "Before we had the gates open and the tourists would come out and we had an opportunity to solicit and get our jobs. Today, out of the blue all the gates are closed. We don't know why. Information that I have gotten from an officer is that there is a new management team here."

UB Students Say They Will Boycotts Registration Over Increased Fees
Tomorrow is orientation and registration for over 500 new students at the University of Belize. They will have to pay a $150.00 registration fee, because the government - which used to pay it - has been forced to discontinue the subsidy. The University's Student Government says the new students will have to pay $550.00 dollars in registration fees - where current students only pay about $185.00. For months the student government has been making the rounds to say the imposition of the fee on new students is unacceptable. But nothing has happened - and tomorrow is registration day. Today the President of the Student Government along with a former president and a fellow president held a press conference to say they will resist the new fee: Hope Amadi "Each student will be paying almost $360 additional per semester, where can we find that money. Tomorrow we have new students coming in for orientation and registration. We are not registering; I am not registering. If the fees remain the same way i am not registering and I am urging students that the fees should not increase show solidarity - do not register." "Everybody keeps asking the same question over and over; Hope if the Minister doesn't change, what are you going to do, what are you guys going to do? Don't worry, our actions you will see but we won't say it and we better keep it that way."

Man Pleads Guilty to Ammo Possession; Family Still Remanded
Tonight, 51 year-old Patrick Samuel Gordon is spending the first night of a 3 and a half year sentence in prison, and his family is on remand because of a round of prohibited ammunition which was found in his house. According to the GSU, at around 7:20 a.m. this morning, they conducted an operation at his house, located at #17 Windmill Area of Hattieville. According to the officers, Gordon was caught inside one of the rooms of the upper flat of the house smoking weed. Also present were his common-law wife, Karen Gillett, and her daughters, 25 year-old Rondean Gillett, 18 year-old Sheridean Gillett, and a 17 year-old minor, who all live at the same residence. A search of a bedroom accessible by all occupants led to the discovery of 1 round of 40 mm ammunition found in a carton box among some documents.

Three Years For Four Ounces
And while that man will spend 3 ½ years in prison, 52 year-old year-old Michael Avilez will spend 3 years for drug trafficking. According to police, they busted the Ladyville Resident on August 14, 2012 with 114 grams - or 4.02 ounces - of marijuana which was inside his pocket. The officers searched him on Central American Boulevard and charged him with drug trafficking. He was arraigned in August where he initially pleaded not guilty and was granted bail. Today was scheduled for the start of his trial, but he changed his plea before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith. As a result, he was sentenced to spend 3 years in prison.

Men Beaten Up In Police Sweep
Yesterday we told you about the brazen hold up that happened at the Belize Tourism Board. Shortly after that incident, police swarmed the entire area- as they were looking for the second suspect in the hold up. Today 3 men claimed that while all that was happening, a team of officers came to their worksite and began beating them for no apparent reason. Here's their story of police brutality. Marlon Yorke, Claims Police Brutality "This happen like around 4:30 but from yesterday morning we've been back there working digging out a trench for Mr. Young so he can build up a sea wall. We've been back there all day and as 4:30 came we got ready to clean up, eating the rest of our food, drinking our water and talking. We saw the CIB truck came on the other side and they turn back here not knowing that they came for us. As we were walking behind the curve there were so many BDF and police with guns who came up to us and told us to get down on the ground and put our hands up. We got down and I am the first one they search and they search everybody else. When I got up I saw a BDF flying over me. When they were finish we told them that we were working for Mr. Young and they and they wanted to know if anyone else was here - they did their search of the area."

PROFILES: Kaina Martinez
It's a new year for the I am Belize Profile series and this year they're focusing on inspiring stories. The first is from Kaina Martinez - the sprinter who represented Belize at the London Olympics. But this Seine Byte girl has done much more than that in a life filled with athletic excellence. Now, don't adjust your TV sets, this week's version is in Black and White, but her story is full of colour:..

Will Cordel Return As a PUP Candidate?
It's been months since we've heard from Cordel Hyde, the politician. In February, the three-term incumbent stepped down as PUP Lake - Independence Standard Bearer citing the illness of his son Cory, who passed away in September. But a "From the Publisher" article in the Amandala last week penned by Cordel's father Evan X Hyde says quote "Cordel has never announced publicly that he is seeking to become the PUP Lake Independence candidate in the next general elections but this is the sense I got from him about three months ago." So will he run? Well, according to reports Hyde has held preliminary meetings with former Leader Said Musa to discuss the possibility of a return. Musa has been quoted as telling a journalist that it is a matter that the party will have to decide on. But it is complicated because the PUP now has a hard right wing comprising the Western and Southern Caucuses who - we are reliably informed - would be staunchly opposed to such a reconciliation. And then there's the fact that on March 13th , still brooding over the General Election loss, the party did issue a statement saying that Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde had "effectively resigned" from the party and quote, "by their actions, Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde can no longer hold any position in the Party nor run for any seat on a PUP ticket."

The Lowdown On Bze's Nat'l Football Selection
Last night, we promised to show you the new national team which was selected by a committee appointed by the new Football Federation of Belize Executives. Unfortunately, we experienced some technical difficulties, but tonight, we present you with an in-depth look at that press conference which announced the new team. We start first with the announcement of those players, and the comments that national team's coach made about their talents and readiness. Here's how that went: Onan McLean, Vice Chairman, National Teams Committee "Woodrow West, goal keeper; Frank Lopez, goal keeper; Ian Gaynair, defense; Deon McCauley, forward; Elroy Smith, defense; Harrison Roches, forward; Devon Makin, midfield; Andres Makin, midfield; Tyrone Pandy, defense; Ashley Torres, midfield; Dalton Eiley, defense and captain; Delon Torres, midfield; Leovaldo Mendez, midfield; Russell Casanova, forward; Elroy Trapp, defense; Jeremy James, midfield; Cristobal Gilharry, midfield; Shannon Flowers, defense; Trevor Lennon, midfield and Evan Mariano, forward." Leroy Sherrier, Head Coach "I was here 10 years ago and this time I come back and we have better players now, we did good 10 years ago and I think we will do better this time."

Channel 5

Grenade found in Church
At news time tonight, George Street, one of the City’s most dangerous neighborhoods, is under increased vigilance by security forces. On Wednesday night a gun and ammunition were found on the premises of the Church of God on West Street and at noon today, the GSU combing through the church, found a live grenade. The [...]

Major shakeup in police top brass
Just before news time, major changes were announced by the Ministry of National Security to the high command of the police force. Firstly, the ministry says this will bring about greater efficiency. The most substantive changes include the promotion of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie to Acting Commissioner of Police, replacing David Henderson who [...]

Mexican national on trial for arsenal in Corozal
A Mexican national is under trial in the Corozal Magistrate Court; but the serious drug related and ammunition charges he faces have faded into the background. Attorneys for Zurisday Villasenor Mendez are instead arguing the legality of the appointment of a Cayo Magistrate who has been deployed to the north to preside over the trial. [...]

Unbelievable! 5 year old a victim of aggravated assault?
There are allegations of a heinous crime against a five year old girl in the Capital. According to Belmopan Police, the five year old accompanied by her mother made the report that her stepfather fondled her on Wednesday just after they came home from a visit at his relatives on New Year’s Day. Since the [...]

Lamb detained following botched B.T.B. robbery
Twenty-two year-old Clarence Lamb, one of two Belize City men involved in an unsuccessful attempt to rob the Belize Tourism Board’s main office on Wednesday afternoon, is expected to face charges for his role in the botched heist.  It is reported that Lamb entered the building, located at the corner of Regent and South streets, [...]

Update on recent murder
A Belize City man is in police custody tonight in connection with the New Year’s Day murder of forty-five year old Orlando Williams.  Williams was gunned down a short distance away from home shortly after nine o’clock on Tuesday night, as he stood conversing with another man near the corner of Dean Street and West [...]

Chamber says slew of increases has business community on the edge
Electricity rates are going up by sixteen point eight-seven percent; that is the latest in a slew of increases that the business community is facing. According to the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the increases are putting the business community on the edge and businesses under serious financial pressure.  Kay Menzies, the president of [...]

Government subsidy for UB comes to an end
Aside from the increase in rates hitting the business community, university students are also facing a fee increase. That has prompted action by the National Student Government of the University of Belize. Its President, Hope Amadi, told the media today that they are urging incoming students, preparing for enrolment during the second semester, to boycott [...]

Nation Builders tell UB students not to register
In solidarity with the UB student government are other members of Nation Builders, including Micah Goodin of St. John’s College Junior College.  While not affected by the decision to terminate the subsidy, Goodin joins the fight on behalf of future UB students graduating from SJCJC.   Micah Goodin, President, SJCJC “My name is Micah Goodin [...]

City Hall says its setting standards for the graveyards
The Belize City Council has announced that it will take over from undertakers the construction of graves at public sites such as the Lord Ridge Cemetery and Eternal Gardens. Deputy Mayor Dion Leslie confirms that on December seventeenth, all undertakers and funeral homes were advised that the council would assume many of those responsibilities.   [...]

114 grams of marijuana in pocket; of course he is guilty
He is the first man to plead guilty to a serious offense this year; tonight fifty-two year old Ladyville resident, Michael Avilez is spending his first night of a three year sentence in jail.  This morning in the Court of the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith, Avilez took a guilty plea even before any witnesses [...]

Runaway girls need to be found
On Wednesday we told you about three teenage girls, minors who fled from the Youth Hostel on the George Price Highway. They alleged that at least one girl was regularly stomped several times on her torso when she misbehaved and all three were allegedly subjected to emotional abuse by employees of the Hostel. The Director [...]

Corozal man says he’s a victim of abuse
A Corozal man is also claiming that he was the victim of abuse, but at the hands of a police officer. Heraldo Lara says that he was inquiring about his father at the hospital at around eight o’clock on the night of January first when he was confronted by three officers, including Juan Tun who [...]

George Street Gang under pressure from GSU
On Tuesday, the George Street Gang came under pressure from the GSU. The unit found two Molotov cocktail bombs in a plastic bag alongside a chain link fence. According to the GSU, the bombs were manufactured by using pint bottles partially filled with pellets, nails and metal shards and a liquid accelerant to be used [...]


Police News
A burglary has been reported at the headquarters of the Belize National Coast Guard. It happened sometime between December twenty eight and December thirtieth. According to police, someone entered the engineering section of the building located on the upper floor and stole ...

Park Rangers In Cayo District Held Up At Gunpoint
And while police have apprehended one of two suspects in the armed robbery of the BTB office on Regent Street, in Cayo, two men were also victims of armed robbers yesterday. According to police reports, two park rangers were held up and robbed around seven thirty last night in the Bart...

Police Releases Details on Robbery at Tourism Office
Police have released details of the armed robbery of the Belize Tourism Board office on Regent Street late on Wednesday afternoon. According to the official police bulletin, two men, one armed with a firearm and the other with a knife, entered the office around four thirty yesterday af...

Five Year Old Raped in Belmopan
Allegations of rape against a minor have surfaced in Belmopan. Correspondent Fem Cruz has the details. “A five year old child in the Salvapan area of Belmopan City accompanied by her mother visited the Belmopan Police Station and reported that on Tuesday night, January ...

Thursday, January 3 ------- Belize City Man Gets 21st Conviction
Fifty-one year old Patrick Gordon, a.k.a. “Pato”, who had 19 convictions, got two more today when he pled guilty to kept prohibited ammunition and smoking cannabis. He was sentenced to 3 years for the ammunition and 6 months for smoking cannabis. Magistrate Dale Cayetan...

Police Corporal Charged With Obstruction
Thirty-three year old police corporal Edward Castillo, who allegedly obstructed Assistant police Superintendent Anthony Rosado, was charged with obstruction when he appeared today in the number four Magistrate’s Court. Castillo was also charged with receiving a person for a...

Suspected Robber Claims Police Abuse
Twenty year old Micshak Flores, an unemployed of Arlington Drive, who the police believe was one of two persons involved in the robbery of nineteen thousand five hundred and ninety five dollars. was charged with robbery when he appeared today in the number four Magistrate’s Court...

Nurse Robbed at Health Clinic in Belize City
Thirty-three year old Denfield Lemoth, a laborer of 20 Racoon Street who allegedly entered the office of public health nurse Pauline Griffith at Cleopatra White Health Center, was charged with burglary when he appeared today in the #4 magistrate’s Court. Lemoth pleaded not ...

First Murder Reported for 2013
It did not take long before the first murder was recorded for the New Year. It happened at around 9:45 on New Year’s night on Dean Street near its junction with West Canal in Belize City. 45 year old Orlando Williams lived in Mexico but came to work in Belize as a con...

Tourism Office Held Up
The normal business flow at the Belize Tourism Board was interrupted this afternoon, when the Government entity came under assault. Love News understands that sometime around 4:30 this afternoon a dark skinned man entered the BTB office on Regent Street and pointed a gun at the c...


Armed robbers hit BTB headquarters
The year 2012 went down in history as the most violent in the history of the country. And it appears that the criminals have not gotten the memo that it is a new year. The latest criminal activity took place this afternoon on Regent Street at the headquarters of the Belize Tourism Board. Love TV’s Natalie Novelo reports.

Youths volunteer in Placencia
Two youths of Placencia have put their artistic talents into fruitful voluntary service for their community. Our Toledo correspondent Paul Mahung has the story.

Two people injured in road traffic incident in Roaring Creek
Another News Year’s Eve traffic incident, this time in the Cayo district has left two people injured. Correspondent Fem Cruz has the details.

Youths charged for assault in Georgeville
Two men from Georgeville village have been charged for an assault in that community. Our Cayo correspondent Elaine Berry has the story.

First baby for 2013 born to Ladyville couple
It has become a yearly tradition … the feting of the first baby born for the New Year. And in 2013, the citation goes to a couple from Ladyville village in the Belize district. Love TV’s Natalie Novelo reports.

Police say suicide; family claims foul play in death of elderly man
An elderly man reportedly died on New Year’s Eve on the job site and while the death certificate states that his injuries are congruent to those associated with a fall, his family believes otherwise. Seventy four year old Hector Hylton, a supervisor at Lopez Mechanic and Garage behind Bandag Tires on Central American Boulevard, died under circumstances that his daughters say are strange. One of them, Deltrude Hylton, told reporters this evening that they have reason to believe that foul play was involved in her father’s death. Deltrude Hylton says that the family also has issues with the company with which her father was employed over his social security payments and they will weigh their legal options after they lay their father to rest.


Change in Police High Command for Greater Efficiency
News reaching our news room minutes ago from the Police press officer is that there has been a Change in Police Hig...

Grenade found in Church yard
GSU finds grenade under Church of God Church. It is the last place that one would think to find a grenade but today...

Security guard prevents robbery at BTB
Yesterday we reported briefly on an attempted armed robbery at the offices of the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) in Bel...

Independent tour operators protest closed gates at Tourism Village
Early this morning at around eight there was a commotion outside terminal two at the Fort Street Tourism Village in...

Bandits default in payment to Police Officers
Information reaching plus news is that Police attached to the Belmopan formation have not and will not be receiving...

Belize is one of the top 10 places to retire
Live and Invest Overseas has named Belize location as one of the top 10 places to retire for 2013. The article was ...

Police seek step-father after allegation of rape
Police is seeking a 29 year old male person from the City Belmopan in connection to recent allegations of rape agai...

15 year-old runaway found having sex in a bar
In other disturbing news from the City of Belmopan; reports reaching our news room today, is that a 15yr old minor ...

Death on job site was an accident
Early Monday afternoon, Police were called to the Control Room of Lopez Equipment Company which located on Pine Str...

Armed robbery and burglary in PG
PG Police visited Hicatte Lodge, which is situated on Boom Creek Road where a businessman who resides at the same a...

Laptop and cable stolen from Coast Guard
A member of the Coast Guard and a resident of Belize City reported that sometime between 2:00pm on Friday the 28th ...

Items missing after house party
A 26 year old resident of Button Wood Bay Belize District reported that on Wednesday the 26th of December at about ...


A Tale of Five Cities: La Casa Lorenzo in Merida, Mexico
In yesterday's post we'd just arrived at our bed and breakfast for the next three nights, La Casa Lorenzo. It's a beautiful colonial home in Merida's Centro district, in the St. Ana neighborhood. I have been fascinated by the colonial architecture of Merida since seeing a couple of episodes of House Hunters International. While plain at the street-side, the wonders that often lurk behind the doors can be breathtaking, so I was excited to be staying in one of these beautiful homes. Larry, the host and owner, recently bought and remodeled the home into a bed and breakfast, adding lovely guest rooms furnished in antiques and with colorful Mexican tiles. Our room was charming and comfortable, and we happened to be the only guests staying for the three nights we were there, so it was really quiet and private -- perfect. I loved the carved wood bed, armoire, and shabby chic quilt! Cute and convenient sink nook Huge shower with great Mexican tiles Cool door and nice cane rocking chair There's an outdoor bar/kitchen area for guests' use with a fridge, microwave, and sink. Larry made and served us a welcome margarita that was very welcome indeed! He also provided maps and lots of good information on places to see, things to do, and good restaurants to try during our visit to Merida. Very helpful!

Time flies when you are having fun
Today marks our 7th year of living on Ambergris Caye. While I have never said it was forever, I can honestly say I still love living here as much as I did when we first made our move to Belize. I will also say living on a tropical island has changed the scope of where I could and could not live forever, tacoboy agrees on both counts. We both enjoy the different pace of things although surprisingly island life always seems to be too busy too fast and too much going on at the same time, that is one thing we did not expect. We are getting better at scheduling in time for us and were planning to do something tonight but Paul got a last minute call that he has to do trivia tonight, good thing he decided to take the day off this morning.

The Great Kiskadee
The Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus) is a large striking bird whose name is derived from its call which sounds very much like French for “What are you saying” …”Quest-ceque dit,” or kis-ka-dee. The Great Kiskadee is found from Texas, USA to Argentina and is common in Bermuda, where it was introduced in the 1950s. The Great Kiskadee lives in open woodlands, streamside thickets, groves, orchards and parks. In the tropics it occurs widely in many semi-open habitats, usually avoiding dense unbroken forest. It is a permanent resident throughout its range and does not migrate. Chances are you will hear this bird before you see it. During the heat of the day, while most birds are silent, the kiskadee will draw your attention by calling its name constantly while perched from a telephone wire or on a roof. This robin-sized bird is about ten inches in length. It has black and white stripes on the crown and sides of its head. It has a white line above its eyes. Its chest and undersides are a bright yellow and its throat is white. Its back and wings are brown and its bill and legs are black. Its bright pattern is unique in North America, but in the tropics several other flycatchers look almost identical.

The Only Way Is Up
First of all I want to say a big thank you to the Mystery Blogger for filling in for me yesterday because I spent most of Tuesday at the dentist in Belize City. Hopefully the Mystery Blogger will fill in again over the next two weeks when I have to visit the dentist for follow-up appointments. Rose and I spent a good part of the morning poring over the plans for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize to see how we could make best use of the ‘spare’ space in the south-west corner of the Ground Floor for another en-suite bedroom. This included researching bed sizes and culminated in Rose sketching out how we would like to use the space ( she is much better at this than me and is spatial which comes in handy for this type of thing). We finished around lunchtime, had a bite to eat and then drove to the site to see what progress had been made, recheck our planning thoughts for the additional en-suite and meet Daniel Camal, our building contractor, to find out if our plan could be accommodated. When we got there we could see straight away that the guys had been busy laying the concrete blocks.

International Sources

Chávez Cancer Imperils $7 Billion Caribbean Oil Funding
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s battle with cancer threatens $7 billion of subsidized oil exports that help prop up Cuba’s economy and contain inflation in Caribbean nations from Jamaica to the Bahamas. Chavez, hospitalized in Havana after a fourth operation, sent Cuba $3.6 billion of oil in 2011 through the Petrocaribe program that serves 70 million people across Central America and the Caribbean. Cuba failed to make discoveries in the first offshore drilling effort since 2004 as Repsol SA, Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and Petroleos de Venezuela SA reported dry wells. While Chavez’s avowed “political father” Fidel Castro used guns and medicine to spread his socialist revolution abroad, the Venezuelan leader relies on the world’s biggest oil reserves. If Chavez’s successor ends the funding, Caribbean economies still struggling to bolster tourism after the 2008 financial crisis would face further budgetary strains. “Everyone loves Chavez here,” Salvador Rivas, head of unconventional energy at the Dominican Republic Trade and Industry Ministry, said by telephone Dec. 21. “We are trying to buy more and more Venezuelan oil because terms are very good.” The 58-year-old former paratrooper, who suffered renewed complications from a respiratory infection following surgery last month, created Petrocaribe in 2005. The alliance’s members can buy oil from state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, at market prices, paying as little as 5 percent upfront and the remainder over 25 years at 1 percent interest rate.

Planned new Belize free zone only for the elite
in Spanish.... I had to scan it, as the Novedades' site does not have individual links for their articles...

Unsung Heroes: Local volunteers support mission work in Belize
The office of Dr. Joe Smiddy is stacked high with cardboard boxes. They’re full of medicine for Belize, says Smiddy, the medical director for Body and Soul Ministries, a Kingsport-based charity that sends about 300 people a year to the tiny Central American country, which is situated between Mexico and Guatemala on the Caribbean Sea. "Belize has a very primitive national health organization run by the government," said Smiddy, also a pulmonologist who practices in Kingsport. "They do not have most of our major specialists: There’s no pulmonologist in the country, there is no psychiatrist, there is no allergist, so it’s a very poor country with very primitive health conditions." Body and Soul Ministries started 15 years ago, when a man named Ralph Digman packed up his family in an old school bus and drove to Belize to help the poorest of the poor. The Rev. Frank Waldo, the current president of Body and Soul, helped to build the organization. But the ongoing effort wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers, said Smiddy. A group from the Kingsport area - often about 20 people - travels to Belize each month.

Papaya power
A wintertime display of vibrantly colored, fresh papayas can brighten a shopper’s day and inspire thoughts of warm, sunny days or lush tropical isles. Any time is a good time to sell tropical fruit, but a display of ripe papayas provides a psychological lift for shoppers on a gloomy winter day, says Eric Crawford, president of Fresh Results LLC, Sunrise, Fla. The company sources tainung papayas — also known as formosa papayas — from Belize, and it plans to begin offering maradol papayas from Mexico this spring. Although papayas are available year-round, January is a good time to promote them as production increases, says Melissa Hartmann de Barros, director of communications for HLB Specialties LLC, Pompano Beach, Fla. HLB handles tainung papayas and golden, or solo, papayas. It sources golden papayas from Brazil and Jamaica, and tainungs from Mexico and Guatemala.

Best Diving and Snorkeling in Belize
Tiny Belize’s mainland beckons with lush jungle canopy, palm-tangled Mayan ruins, and diverse wildlife. Still, this Central American jewel is best known for its snorkeling and diving sites along hundreds of cayes, atolls and a 185-mile barrier reef – second in size only to Australia’s. Abundant sea life and colorful corals fill the turquoise waters, are easily accessible and welcome divers and snorkelers of all experience levels. Dive tours generally last 2 hours or less, other tour options include live-aboard dive boats, which offer week-long trips featuring 2 to 3 daily dives. From the busy north of Belize to the sleepy south, here are our choices for the best marine meanderings. Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark-Ray Alley Located in the north of Belize and visible from the southeastern shore of Ambergris, the country’s largest caye, Hol Chan and Shark-Ray Alley may be Belize’s most popular dive and snorkel spots. Crowds can be problematic, but at a mere 30 meters deep and with Finding Nemo-esque underwater views, the positives outweigh the negatives, especially for diving newbies and snorkelers. Hol Chan opens to deeper waters beyond the reef, so divers and snorkelers will be greeted with an eruption of vibrant fish, nurse sharks, rays, turtles and the occasional dolphin. The eponymous sharks and rays are the site’s biggest attraction, and you’re guaranteed an adrenaline rush stroking the stippled hide of a nurse shark streaking by (but never touch the corals). Night dives reveal a completely different world of bioluminescence, glowing green moray eels and parrotfish dozing in protective mucus cocoons.

Caye Caulker, Belize
Caye Caulker is a very small, yet popular island destinations that can be found off the coast of Belize. It sits about 1 mile to the west of the internationally renowned Barrier Reef with an estimated population of 1400 residents. Most of the people that live on Caye Caulker are of Creole, Mestizo and Garifuna descent. It’s also a favorite destination amongst backpackers and other travelers in search of an affordable holiday since the island has low prices when compared to the other cays. The one downside to the island is that it doesn’t have the amazing beaches that the other cays have but it’s affordable, has lots of bars and restaurants and is close to the Barrier Reef which works in it’s favor. Activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving are the most popular activities here and some of the most popular diving sites are Spanish Bay, the Barrier Reef and Caye Chapel. You will also find tour operators here that will take you to other diving sites which are a bit further away such as the amazing Blue Hole and even Turneffe Atoll.

Belizo Zoo – One Woman’s Dream To Save The Endangered Jaguar!
There is no doubt about it that Sharon Matola is passionate about what she does: saving lives one at a time. The lives of animals that is. The biologist and environmentalist is the founder and director of The Belize Zoo, which is currently the only zoo in the country. Getting to the zoo’s current state was certainly no easy task, but Matola’s determination and passion towards saving the indigenous species of Belize was steadfast. No person was going to stand in her way. The Baltimore native acquired an early interest of the natural world, attracted to anything from dogs, cats, birds, and even insects. Matola even recalls training a squirrel, by teaching it to sit on her knee and eat peanuts out of her hand. Today, a squirrel is a minuscule critter for Matola to handle for she has gained much experience working with large, exotic animals including pumas and jaguars. In 1981, she joined a traveling Mexican Circus for graduate study purposes where she trained to be a lion tamer. Matola was able to learn useful skills in handling the large cats from her Romanian trainer. He gave her clear forewarning of the many scars she would receive and bear but a willing and fearless Matola endured through it for a year.

As Surpresas de Belize
Tem menos de 300km de comprimento e 313 mil habitantes, menos que Santos, nossa cidade natal. E também é um país super recente. Até 1981 era uma colonia britânica, chamada British Honduras. Por conta dessa herança, é o único país da América Central onde a língua oficial é o inglês. Sua construção mais alta são ruínas maias de mais de 1000 anos de idade (pirâmide de Caana, no síto arqueológico El Caracol, com 42m de altura). Mas apesar das ruínas Maias, o maior destino turístico de Belize está nas águas, com a segunda maior barreira de corais do mundo, atrás apenas da Grande Barreira de Corais Australiana. E também pelo "Blue Hole", um enorme buraco de mais de 120m de profundidade, conhecidíssimo no meio de mergulhadores, mas muito pouco fora desse meio. E lá também fica a tal da "Isla Bonita", cantada pela Madonna. Porém nada disso nos havia animado a passar por lá e Belize não estava em nosso roteiro inicial. Acabou entrando pois nos demos conta de que passar por lá era a melhor forma de irmos de Yucatán, no México para Tikal, Guatemala. Tínhamos ouvido pouca coisa a respeito desse pequeno país da América Central, sabíamos apenas que é um destino muito procurado por mergulhadores - o que ainda não é nosso caso. Mas não podíamos imaginar que iríamos ser abduzidos pelas belezas de suas águas caribenhas.

Guatemala/Belize: helping resolve the territorial dispute
One of the priorities of the British Embassy in Guatemala City is to work with the government of Guatemala to resolve its territorial dispute with Belize. We also work closely with the British High Commission in Belmopan. There have been some recent developments. Read on the find out more about them, the current status, the UK’s interest and role, and some of the history to the dispute. Current status In March 2000 the governments of Guatemala and Belize re-started talks to end their long-standing territorial differendum through the Organisation of American States (OAS). And in December 2008 they signed a Special Agreement setting out their agreement to allow their territorial dispute to be submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for independent arbitration. On 9 September 2010, Guatemala’s Congress approved the holding of a referendum on the referral of the dispute to the ICJ, and now Guatemala and Belize have agreed to hold it simultaneously in both countries on 6 October 2013. Meanwhile both have put into force positive measures to strengthen bilateral relations. For example, in 2009 a Partial Scope Agreement was agreed that liberalises trade for more than 70 Guatemalan products and removes other physical barriers to trade, as well as allowing Belize to export duty free to Guatemala fish, tropical fruits and some industrial equipment. Belize supported Guatemala’s successful candidacy to be elected non-permanent member of the UN Security Council during 2012/13. Belizean and Guatemalan Ministers continue to meet bilaterally, and at meetings of regional fora, working together on a range of issues.

Jem Volunteer Abroad in Belize
This was honestly the best decision i have ever made. It was difficult to start but everything is worth it after seeing the kids smile at you… How happy you make them. Even simply by just being there makes all that difference in their lives. The caregivers there were also amazing, so friendly and down to earth, but of course you have to initiate the conversation but after that they are amazing. This experience had opened my eyes to da developing countries, despite of what the western side of the world looks there is countries out there that are very under developed. Countries that have rich resources but has not been able to be cultivated. The children was the best part of the deal. They are very fun loving kids who really just want and needs love and attention. They all have different stories but at the end of the day they have all this love and dont have much people to share it with. Im thankful that i had the chance to experience their love and it does know NO BOUNDS… They love you unconditionally. That why it was very difficult to leave the kids behind. As i was leaving i felt that i left my heart with the kids. I feel now that I am back in my home country i feel like a stranger. I feel like my heart and home is back wherever those kids are. They were by far the best things that ever happened to me.

A Clear And Present Danger
After the April raid on my property in Orange Walk I went on the offensive. I had asked for a simple apology and had received none. I was pissed. They had shot my dog, destroyed my property and stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of things that I valued. They have still not been returned. I purchased 75 cheap laptop computers and, with trusted help, installed invisible keystroke logging software on all of them – the kind that calls home (to me) and disgorges the text files. It also, on command, turns on, and off, the microphone and camera – and sends these files on command. I had the computers re-packaged as if new. I began giving these away as presents to select people – government employees, police officers, Cabinet Minister’s assistants, girlfriends of powerful men, boyfriends of powerful women. I hired four trusted people full time to monitor the text files and provide myself with the subsequent passwords for everyone’s email, Facebook, private message boards and other passworded accounts. The keystroke monitoring continued after password collection, in order to document text input that would later be deleted. So nothing was missed… I next collected my human resources for the complex social engineering I would have to do. I arranged with 23 women and 6 men to be my operatives. Eight of the women were so accomplished that they ended up living with me. It was amazingly more efficient and they were easily convinced to check up on each other. One was so accomplished (Marcia) that she became a double agent and nearly got me killed: These men and women were given simple training on how to access and load software on someone’s computer while they slept, or ate or made long phone calls etc. It’s dead simple if you’re sleeping with someone – “Hey Babe, can I borrow your computer to check my email?” – A little more complex if you’re not – but not much. They were also shown dirt simple phone tricks, like borrowing a person’s phone to make a call and then resetting auto-delete of sent texts. No-one ever checks these things after setup, so all the sent texts are now available to the person borrowing your phone to call their boyfriend to make up a story so they can sleep over with you. Due to the nature of the call, the operative clearly needed privacy during the call – hence ease of access to changing your settings and reading your sent texts And I taught them other tricks. When my teams were assembled, I targeted the two National phone companies for engineering. It was imperative for me to be able to hear people’s phone conversations, or at the very least to know with whom they were in contact. This social engineering exercise was the easiest. I used myself as the decoy in this operation. I approached numerous employees of both companies with the offer to buy the information that I needed. I knew this would raise flags and lead to failure. I did this in a manner that would not get me arrested but would ensure that my enquiries reached the appropriate ears – ears belonging to people who definitely did not want me to learn anything. People then knew I was after information and, as they would naturally think, I would use “buying” as my technique. Both companies eventually gave me information, which I purchased, but it was, as expected, garbage. While I was negotiating all of this, my team was working its way through the lower ranks of Phone Company employees and had locked onto a number of key players who had access to the technical processes involved in tapping phones and delivering lists of phone contacts. The team had contact information for appropriate wives and husband of these key players, knew the names of the employees’ drug providers (if any), names of respectable family members, and names of all the other “side interests” of the targets. Being “pillow talk” masters, they also knew, and had verified, every secret thing the persons had ever done. Phone Project complete.

John McAfee Pimped Out 29 ‘Pillow Talk Masters’ to Spy on Belize: Here’s What He Found
The law of diminishing returns: it’s the bane of bath salts enthusiasts and fabulist storytellers the world over. Sure, that first hit was good; but it takes an increasingly potent dosage to deliver a thrill that approaches your very first time. Fortunately, global media icon John McAfee appears to understand this phenomenon. (We’re not saying that Mr. McAfee is necessarily pioneering a new form of reality entertainment, but we’re not saying he isn’t, either.) In his latest missive, posted under the title “A Clear and Present Danger,” he claims to have hired 29 “pillow talk masters” to spy on Belize officials, and in so doing uncovered links between the Central American nation and the terrorist organization Hezbollah. Ever since Mr. McAfee’s first titillating blog posts after the murder of his neighbor Greg Faull, the story spun by the antivirus pioneer has never failed to get weirder. In the first chapters of the saga, he told tales of clever disguises and held forth on his experiences in sex tourism. In what seemed like his pièce de résistance, two Vice journalists embedded with Mr. McAfee, published a photo of the fugitive that outed his hiding place. Which seemed to beg the question, would Mr. McAfee do next to maintain our interest. Well, here’s a summary of Mr. McAfee’s latest bid for our attention: After Belize police raided Mr. McAfee’s home in April, he purchased 75 cheap laptops, loaded them with keystroke monitoring software, and gifted them to various Belize officials. He hired 23 women and 6 men as operatives, and sicced them on Belize’s two national phone companies. “These men and women were given simple training on how to access and load software on someone’s computer while they slept, or ate, or made long phone calls etc. It’s dead simple if you’re sleeping with someone …” “Eight of the women became so accomplished that they ended up living with me.” Throughout the operation, he emailed the Belize prime minister Dean Barrow, asking for an apology for the police raid. “A simple apology, in the early stages at least, would have stopped this whole affair.” With no apology forthcoming, Mr. McAfee says he dug into Belize’s National Security and Immigration ministries, which he alleges were knee-deep in a human-trafficking schema. A surprising number of the new arrivals to Belize, Mr. McAfee says, were Lebanese men. It should be noted here that for our man behind the curtain, it’s a thin line between spymaster and pimp. A phone call with an operative posted to Mr. McAfee’s site begins with, “How is my favorite tart today?” and ends at, “Why don’t you come home, because I miss your ass anyway.” (The recording is appended to the bottom of this post.) Frankly, after listening to that, we got a little distracted from the allegation that started all this. “Belize is clearly the central player in a larger network whose goal is to infiltrate the U.S. with individuals having links to terrorist organizations,” claims Mr. McAfee. The scheme involves the Zeta drug cartel, which, ominously, may be helping Hezbollah transport “something similar, in weight and size,” to the drug packages the cartel slips into the U.S. Luckily for us, Mr. McAfee managed to infiltrate a Hezbollah camp.

January 3, 2013


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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

Ambergris Today

Celebrity Christmas Vacations in Belize
Canadian Actor Kris Holden Reid (pictured above) was spotted having dinner at Caramba Restaurant in downtown San Pedro. He met with restaurateur Rene Reyes, owner of Caramba, and was gracious to take a picture with him. Reid is known for his role in the Showtime series The Tudors, the television series Lost Girl and as the mutated lycan in the film Underworld: Awakening. After posting two pictures on her Instagram account, MTV reality television celebrity turned fashion designer Whitney Port was known to be vacationing in San Pedro and bringing in the New Year in our tropical Paradise. “Heaven” and “My Escape” is what she called San Pedro on her picture posts. She was spotted taking a sailing trip aboard the Lady Leslie catamaran and stopping for lunch at Rainbow Restaurant on out neighboring sister island of Caye Caulker

Electricity Rates Go Up for Belize!
The New Year came in with a bang as electricity rates increased as of Tuesday, January1, 2013. According to news media the Public Utilities Commission has made the decision based on the Belize Electricity Limited’s budget which skyrocketed way above their budget this past year. It went so high that the company ended up spending $45Mil, more than it had budgeted to buy power. The company sent its figures to the PUC for the annual review - and when the PUC did the math, the Utility was effectively requesting a rate increase to about 55 cents per kilowatt hour - about one-third more than the 41 cents you are currently paying. “The new approved electricity rate is now 48.86 cents which is approximate 16.87% above the existing 41.81 mean electricity rate,” commented John Avery, Chairman of the PUC, in a press conference in Belize City.

Donut Delights and More at Denny’s Donuts & Truck Stop
Delicious and fresh donuts are hard to come by the island and since the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts is in Honduras, Dulce’s donuts have to be the best donuts around. But she is working her magic on more than just donuts; included in her pastry menu are cookies, cinnnamon rolls and she is opening for breakfast and lunch with specials for the day! Angel Perlita Zapata took time to visit Denny’s Donuts and Truck Stop, along with her son Gaven and his friends, who were treated with an afternoon of cookie making. Dulce’s grandson Davin joined in the fun. The shop is located across Ramon’s Village, next to Asian Garden Spa. Her Delicious Donuts go for $2 each, Three for $5, Six for $10, and a Dozen for $20. Lunch specials are for $10. For orders call: 663-9615

Rockin’ New Year's Eve in San Pedro, Belize
THE party town of Belize that never seems to sleep would most definitely be San Pedro, known for its great bars, live entertainment and parties that go on until the sun comes up - One such party that nobody should miss out is ringing in the New Year. There were fire dancers and face painting at Sandbar by the beach, Lola’s Pub pitched tents and brought out the bar to the street, it was jam-packed under the famous giant palapa at Fido’s, Señor Marlin’s Sports Bar drew another hefty crowd to celebrate beachside and Kama Lounge and Captain Morgan’s Retreat offered great parties in the North Ambergris area. Even Elvi’s Kitchen stayed open past midnight to ring in the New Year with live music, hors d’oeuvres, party favors and champagne; one of the few restaurants to do so. The two night clubs in town, Jaguars Temple and Daddy Rock were full to capacity with a local crowd, as well with visitors from the city and around Belize.

Misc Belizean Sources

Abalone Caye - Here to stay and new fish magnet
Abalone Caye, a small island in Port Honduras Marine Reserve and the location of TIDE's marine ranger station, is being saved from being washed away by the waves by a new artificial reef. A year since efforts began in earnest to save Abalone Caye and the Port Honduras Marine Reserve (PHMR) ranger station from being washed away by rising waves, the construction of an artificial reef around part of the caye has not only slowed and perhaps even stopped the erosion, but surveys show fish abundance and biodiversity to have increased in the vicinity. The new artificial reef has also become a handy educational tool, providing an ideal sheltered lagoon full of fish, with easy and safe access for school children and other groups to snorkel in and learn about marine life, and all right next to the ranger station! After a high number of turtle strandings this year, a rehab facility could be included into the design, providing a safe and convenient location for stranded marine animals, such as turtles, to recover under surveillance by the ranger staff.

VIDEO: Altun Ha "Ancient Maya City"
Day Trip from San Pedro, combo pac includes Belize Zoo and Belize Museum

Channel 7

Working Man Killed For No Reason
Tonight our first newscast of 2013, begins much like our last newscast of 2012: with a story about murder. Monday's was a domestic killing; tonight's homicide is believed to be gang related - but not in the classic sense. The victim was a 45 year old who had no gang connection. He is believed to have been killed by a gang-affiliated person - as an act of retaliation against the state, the law... because of a mass lockdown on New Year's Eve. It's a very crazy motive, but the real story is the loss of a productive life - a working man who was killed for standing on the corner of the block where he grew up and spent most of his adult life. It happened at 9:47 last night - and I found out more today: Monica Bodden Reporting It was here at the corner of Dean Street and West Canal - where 45 year old Orlando Williams was violently murdered around 9:47 last night.

Man Shot In Head Again, For No Reason
In that story, we referred to another shooting, which happened earlier; it was at 9:40 just seven minutes before Williams was killed. And it is another case of a totally senseless attack with no discernible motive. The victim is 48 year old Carlos Valle - who works at the Princess. The father of five was in the downtown area of Belize City by Wellworth on his motorbike. He had gone to pick up some food at the hot dog stands near Battlefield Park and was riding alongside a friend when a young man rode up on bicycle and fired a single shot, hitting him in the head. The shooter is described as a young creole male in a red t-shirt - and police suspect it could be the same shooter as the one in the Williams murder. That is a very distressing possibility but tonight it makes hardly any difference to Valle's family: all they know is that the hardworking man was shot for no reason at all. Tonight, he is on life support; his sister told us more: Sandra Moguel - Sister "Actually, right now, he is critical, but stable. He is on a mechanical ventilator, and he's actually fighting for his life right now. Apparently, the bullet actually went through the temple and then came back out, but they were saying that they want to see if the brain stem at the back was affected. So, with that, they will do another CT scan in the morning, and see what is going on with the brain."

Robbery Attempt At BTB
And the crazy violence continued in the city this afternoon when a pair of men tried to rob the Belize Tourism Board. Now, it's not the kind of place that would seem to suggest having a lot of cash at hand - but there is a cashier at the front desk who collects hotel Tax receipts - which we presume are usually paid by checque. More than that, the BTB is the headquarters of the Tourism Police Unit. Nonetheless, a pair of daring men, one with a gun, and the other with a knife, popped inside the office this afternoon at 4:30. They reportedly put the gun through the service window and held it to the cashier's head and told her that it's a hold up. The security guard was sitting in a booth in the same room and set off the alarm. He confronted the men, who then dashed out. But the security guard fired at one of them and hit him in the foot. He fell on South Street about 100 feet from the BTB's door. Tourism police picked him up and placed him into the back of the police pickup. He has been taken to the hospital - and is being held pending charges. According to our reports, he is CLARENCE LAMB from the nearby Jump Street area. Another man escaped down Regent Street - and reports are that there may have been a boat waiting at the Foreshore. So far we have been unable to determine if any money was stolen. Tourism Director Laura Esquivel told us she had no comment until police finish their investigation.

Woman Stabbed In Domestic Dispute
On Monday night the headline was about the murder/suicide of Keena Williams and JAMES Staine - which happened right in front of their young son. By all accounts, that tragedy was prompted by deranged jealousy - and tonight there is another such case to report. 25 year old Julissa Flores was stabbed multiple times on New Year's Day in San Ignacio Town. The main suspect is her common law husband Alvin Puc. They had an argument and Puc allegedly inflicted what police call "large stab wounds" to her neck, the palm of her hand, the left side of her breast, her right hand and her abdomen. She was taken to the Western Regional Hospital where she is in critical condition. According to police - she is lucky to be alive after profuse bleeding. 31 year old Puc, a resident of San Jose Succotz has been detained pending charges.

Cousin Charged For Vera's Killing
In other police news out of Cayo, police have charged 22 year old Joseph August for the murder of Rene Vera. He was killed on December 22nd - and reports are that it was by a relative. Well, the man charged for the murder, 22 year old Joseph August, of Esperanza is reported to be a cousin of Vera's. Vera was found lying in a pool of blood inside his home with 9 stab wounds to multiple parts of his body.

Police Say Sudden Death, Family Says Murder
At the top of the Newscast, we told you about the murder of Orlando Williams, and the shooting of Marco Valle which happened last night, but there was a death which occurred on New Year's Eve, which didn't make the news. It concerns the death of 74 year-old Hector Hylton, a mechanic of Lopez Workshop, who was found dead at his workplace at around 1:30 p.m. on December 31. Police don't believe that anyone murdered him, but his family believes strongly that they are wrong. They spoke to us this evening, and they told us that his nose was bashed in, and his body was posed to look like he fell from the top of a container. Here's how his daughter told us about the finish of the autopsy, and their suspicions based on what they found: Deltrude Hylton - Daughter of Deceased "Based on our knowledge, and from what we saw, we know that it is not something of the normal. We know that our dad was killed, by who, we're not so sure as yet, but we're giving the police their time to do their interview. They're saying that he fell from off a double container, and this was told to us on the scene by the police officers who came after us. They said that he fell from off those containers. The employees on the ground know that our dad does not climb heights.

The Ombudsman Speaks
And now Hector Hylton's family has someone they can take their grievance to. That's because the new Ombudsman is in office. Lionel Arzu reported to work today - and we stopped in to ask the Toledo resident why he wanted what must be the toughest job in town: Lionel Arzu - New Ombudsman "Lionel Arzu is from Punta Gorda, as most people might be aware. I come from humble beginnings down in the south, and when I look at the job description in short, it's to be the voice of the voiceless. And so, I believe that because that, I will be able to just do that for the people who come to the office, and request assistance from the Ombudsman." Daniel Ortiz "Tell us a bit about the experience you have in what is required to be the Ombudsman." Lionel Arzu "Way back in the 80's, I worked with the Agricultural Department, and within that job, you have to be working with farmers and fighting for the things that farmers need. And so, from that angle, I realized that if I am able to do that for those farmers in those years that I worked, I can do the same for a greater population. The contract is from January 1, 2013 to January 1, 2016. Today is my first day." Daniel Ortiz "And how do you feel so far on the job? Is it measuring up to your expectation? What's your feeling?" Lionel Arzu "I am feeling optimistic. I believe that a lot has been said, and my only thing now is to prove that yes, I am worthy of the office, and I intend to just carry out my duties to best of my ability.

Woman Claims Police Brutality
But an education in police brutality, not higher learning is probably what awaits Arzu in the Ombudsman's chair. He's sure to get a lot of complaints about that just like we do. One came in this afternoon where the family of 20 year-old Mecshack Flores claimed that officers from the Gang Suppression Unit brutalized him when he was arrested for robbery. According to police, at around 6:30 p.m. on December 27, 33 year-old Leroy Cassasola, a salesman for Santiago Castillo Limited, was on Central American Boulevard, and he had just exited Tommy's Store. That's when he was approached by 2 men, one of whom was armed with a firearm, and robbed him of just over 19 thousand, five hundred dollars in cash, which belonged to the company. The men got away, but police say that they investigated, and they charged Flores for the robbery. Well, his family came to 7News today to tell us that the GSU officers brutalized him before they charged him. Here's how they described it: Daniel Ortiz "Tell us about the GSU Officers, and your nephew." Florence Horn - Aunt of Accused "Well, they beat him bad. Sir, my nephew can hardly walk. They threw clorax in his face; they covered his face with a black cloth, and they say he can hardly walk. He fainted 3 times. How do we know? That's because the persons who the did it to as well, in front of him, told us, and then he himself told me. He said, 'Aunty, they beat me bad.'

Motorcycle Man Dies After Bus Collision
There was a fatal traffic accident on New Year's Eve in Dangriga Town. It happened at 7:00 in the evening between Miles 1 and 2 on George Price Drive, where a motorbike collided into a James Bus. The bus driver Earl Sanchez Sr. stopped to let out two female passengers. One of them asked him to wait for her as she ran to give a package to a man on the opposite side of the road. While waiting, 28 yar old Winfield Duran, a fisherman of Sarawee Village ran into the back of the bus. He recived major head injuries and died on the spot.

First Baby Of New Year
While the New Year has started with violence and murder, it's not all bad because there were new lives which started yesterday. One of those newborn babies is Romarion Williams the first born of the new year, who is now 2 days old, and 7News had a chance to meet his parents and him at the KHMH. Here's what his parents told us about what they hope his life will be like: Daniel Ortiz "Your baby is the first for the New Year. Tell us what's the feeling for you right now." Tanesha Lopez - Mother "Amazing, this was great, awesome. I feel good." Reporter "When was your due date?" Tanesha Lopez "The first of January." Reporter "So, he was born on the due date." Reporter "And it's your first child?" Tanesha Lopez "Yes, it is my first." Daniel Ortiz "What challenges do you see yourself having, being a new mother?" Tanesha "I have to show a good example, teach him the right way, and make him be somebody good in life."

Krem Classic Winners
In our New Year's Eve newscast, we told you about the run up to the 2013 Krem New Year's Day Cycling Classic. The Race Promoter told us that the instability in the Belize Cycling Association would not throw a damper on the race. It didn't, and 7New caught up with the winners from all 3 categories when they crossed the line. Here's what they told us about the level of competition this year: Daniel Ortiz "Tell us about that victory." Tarique Flowers - 1st Place, Juniors "Amazing, I ran the entire race. I ran all day, punished, thought about the win, and it was tough. But then again, that's cycling. Pain is temporary; pride is forever." Daniel Ortiz "How far did you lose the main pack?" Tarique Flowers "It was from like about mile 46 or so." Daniel Ortiz "Is this your first win?" Tarique Flowers "Yes, sir." Daniel Ortiz "How many races have you competed in?"

La Popular Tortilla Factory Targeted On New Years
Yesterday, there were scores of people lined up to buy tortillas for that special new year's day lunch. But at La Popular Tortilla factory on Vernon Street, while consumers were lined up, the criminals were watching. And at around 2:30 PM, when the sales had subsided, a lone gunman attacked the business and robbed the manager while he was counting the money. He managed to steal $1,000 in cash, along with his cell phone.

Channel 5

Robbery foiled; gunman at B.T.B. shot
Crime and violence dominated the headlines in 2012; and if you expect that to change, well more of the same is ushering in 2013. On New Year’s Day alone, there was a murder on West canal, a shooting in downtown Belize City, a woman was stabbed in San Ignacio, a man was chopped multiple times [...]

Belize City, venue for 2013’s first murder
The murder count at the close of 2012 stood at one hundred and forty-five. The City was the most violent where the largest number of homicides took place and it is where the first murder for 2013 was committed. A forty-five year old standing on a street side with friends was shot multiple times; he [...]

Random shooting leaves man clinging to life
The murder of Orlando Williams occurred just minutes before a shooting, in close proximity at Market Square in downtown Belize City and it is believed to have been the same gunman. Around nine-thirty p.m. on Tuesday, forty-eight year old Marco Valle, an employee of Princess Hotel, had just left work and had purchased food from [...]

Woman stabbed multiple times and survives
As the year closed, a man shot and killed his common-law and then took his life. That was on Sunday night in Punta Gorda. In the west on New Year’s Day, a mother of two was similarly attacked by her ex, but luckily she survived the vicious stabbing in which at least nine wounds were [...]

Old beef leads to hacking in Biscayne Village
The violence spread to Biscayne Village where a resident was chopped multiple times on the face and hand, also on New Year’s Day. The weapon of choice was Mark Davis’ own machete and his attacker was no stranger to him.  The violence was prompted by an old beef among residents of the village. News Five’s [...]

The Economic Indicators of 2013
In economic indicators tonight, we look at the Impact of Rising Electricity Rates on the Productive and Business Sectors. The electricity sector promised significant reforms in recent years. These reforms were to bring about higher efficiency and productivity, lower and better services.  But that has not been the case.  The Public Utilities Commission has announced [...]

Is there a compensation offer for Telemedia?
In his New Year’s Message, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said that the government is proposing to transfer to the previous owners of Telemedia, fifty million dollars of proceeds from the re-sale of shares. The down payment on compensation is a further sign of government’s desire, said the PM, in reaching a just settlement. News Five [...]

City Hall puts funeral home on life support
With increases in trade licenses for some businesses and hikes in electricity rates, 2013 spells ‘haad time’ for entrepreneurs. You would think that following a year of record murders, that undertakers would prosper in a new year that has already had a fair share of violence in two days. But David Coye, the proprietor of [...]

Mayor reviewing Chamber’s Trade License Assessment
The Belize City business community is experiencing an increase in Trade License fees. Rates for most affected businesses have been increased from ten to thirty percent while fees for a few have skyrocketed to two hundred percent. That is because the Trade License fee is calculated using the rental value of properties. Mayor of Belize [...]

Construction at Belize City entrance soon complete
If it is necessary for you to exit Belize City and head towards the north of the country, you probably diverted to Coney Drive because of ongoing construction at the entrance of the City. It’s an upgrade that’s not popular with some motorists, but the Mayor says it’s all part of making traffic flow easier [...]

Cop charged for preventing cop from work
From the streets to the courts; a police officer who chose to challenge an Assistant Superintendent of Police in the execution of his duties was slapped with three criminal offenses today. Thirty- three year old PC Edward Castillo who is attached to the Hattieville Police sub-formation, appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano for arraignment.  He was [...]

Suspect busted for San Cas robbery
A San Cas salesman was robbed at gunpoint last Thursday just after he collected a large payment from Tommy’s Store on Central American Boulevard. One of two suspects has been caught and today twenty year old Mischak Flores was arraigned before Magistrate Dale Cayetano for Robbery. He pleaded not guilty, but bail was denied and [...]

Even the tortilla factory get robbed
La Popular Tortilla Factory located at the corner Vernon and Sarstoon Street in Belize City was robbed on New Year’s Day. At two-thirty p.m., while counting the day sales inside the tortilla factory, a man wearing a black T-shirt and a black Dickies pants entered the factory and pointed a silver revolver handgun at the [...]

Fire in Succotz Village
In the west, the Garcia family of Succotz Village lost everything but the clothes on their backs when their house was completely destroyed by fire on Monday night. Six persons were living in the house and they were all at church when the blaze erupted. A neighbor called the Fire Department and alerted the family, [...]

And the first baby for 2013 is…
The parents of the New Year’s baby were all smiles today when we caught up with them at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Aside from the joy of a bouncing new baby, they received generous gifts from James Brodie and Santiago Castillo Limited. The nine pound baby boy was delivered within thirty minutes of the [...]

Another mother of newborn honored by Lions
Also giving birth to a beautiful six pound four ounces baby girl was Raquel Franklin. Janayla, her fifth child, was due later this month, but late Monday night, Franklin experienced labor pains and was rushed to the hospital where she delivered her baby girl. And good tidings also came her way. Apart from receiving a [...]

Football Federation announces members of National Team
Belize’s national football team will be playing against regional power houses. The Football Federation of Belize today held a press conference today to announce the name of the players who were selected to be on the National Team, which is being sponsored by the Belize Bank among others. The Head coach indicated that commitment to [...]

3 runaways of Youth Hostel speak of physical beatings
Three girls, wards of the Youth Hostel recently ran away. They are currently together staying at the home of one of their families. The parent of one of the minors contacted News Five because the girls allege that physical beatings as well as emotional abuse were the norm while they were at the facility on [...]


Cane Farmers Continue To Deliver Quality Cane To The Factory
Since the beginning of the 2012/2013 crop season back in November 2012 CTV3 News has been following its progress closely and based on figures and reports submitted by the Belize Sugar Industry Limited the crop season started off on the right foot. Here is a break down of crop week number four. Latest figures from crop week number four show that so far the factory has milled one hundred and sixty three thousand five hundred and seventy one tons of cane producing fifteen thousand two hundred and sixty five tons of sugar. Last year during the same lapse of time the factory milled one hundred and twenty three thousand seven hundred and sixty seven tons of cane producing ten thousand nine hundred and ninety four tons of sugar. This week it took 10.29 tons of cane to produce a ton of sugar. This is good news if we take a look at the cumulative figure and compare it to last year’s crop. So far for the four weeks of crop TCTS stands at 10.72%. Last year it stood at 11.26%. According to Chairman of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association Committee of Management Alfredo Ortega a TCTS 10.57% is indication that cane farmers are delivering quality cane to the factory.

Corozal Resident Charged for Carrying A Machete
While Belize City Police have the first murder for the year 2013 to investigate, a resident of San Andres Village in the Corozal district has been arrested and charged for the offence of “Possession of Article with Blade.” On Monday December 31st 2012, officers from the Corozal Police Department were on patrol when their attention was drawn to a male person of Hispanic decent riding a bicycle. The individual, identified as forty six year old Hilberto Daniels, was searched and found to be in possession of a machete. Daniels was escorted to the Corozal Police Station where the machete was found to measure two feet, one inch in length. As a result Daniels was arrested and charged for the offence of “Possession of Article with Blade”. The machete was kept as exhibit.

2013 Spells Murder For Belize City Resident
The north welcomed the New Year free of major incidences, unlike the Belize District which saw its first murder for 2013 on the first day of the year leaving residents wondering if the blood bath will ever end. Around 9:45 on New Year’s night, 45 year old Orlando Sylvester Williams was standing at the corner of Dean Street and West Canal in Belize City, right across from where he lives, conversing with another individual, when he was targeted by death. As Williams conversed with the individual a male person described as being of clear completion, slim built and wearing a red pants came walking unto Dean Street from the direction of Plues Street and fired a barrage of bullets at Williams’ direction fatally wounding him. Williams was injured on multiple parts of the body. The victim was transported to the KHMH where he was pronounced dead on arrival. At the scene of the crime police retrieved seven Aguila brand 9mm expended shells, one slug and one copper jacket. So far police have no motive for Williams’s murder and are looking for a Belize City resident for questioning.

Traffic Accident Claims Life Of Stann Creek Resident
In the Stann Creek District a traffic accident claimed the life of twenty eight year old fisherman, Winfield Duran, a resident of Sarawee Village in the Stann Creek District. The fatality occurred between miles 1 and 2 on the George Price Drive, Dangriga Town on December 31st just minutes after 7:00pm. Reports are that Winfield Duran drove his blue Meilun brand motorcycle into the rear portion of a yellow and green James Bus driven at the time by fifty three year old resident of Mile 20 Stann Creek Valley Road, Earl Sanchez Sr. Duran received serious head and body injuries and was transported to the Southern Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. According to Sanchez Sr. two female passengers exited the bus and as he waited for one of them to return after delivering a package to an individual who was standing on the opposite side of the highway he heard a loud bang coming from the rear of the bus. When police arrived at the scene of the traffic accident the James bus was observed parked on the right hand side of the highway facing an easterly direction with damages to its back door and fenders. Duran’s motor cycle was a few feet behind the bus with extensive damages. Police investigation into the matter continues.

2013 Will Bring Better Times Says P.M
Life continues after the enjoyment and the amusing time spent with family and friends over the Christmas Holiday and New Year’s celebration. But truth of the fact is that while we forgot for a while about the problems our country is facing, it’s time to go back to reality and place emphasis on what lies ahead for our country Belize. While Belizeans recognize that Belize is facing crucial times, in his 20 minute long New Years message, the Prime Minister of Belize, Honorable Dean Oliver Barrow, painted a colorful rainbow picture to Belizeans when he spoke about the country’s future. In the PM’s lengthy New Year’s message he speaks of the super bond, thematic that has drawn much attention, since a fiscal cliff was foreseen. But according to the P.M this is no longer the scenario. And that is as far as he went since he never did explain the settlement agreement of the super bond. Honorable Dean Barrow- Prime Minister of Belize: “The settlement we have reached with our Superbond holders is on terms very favorable to us. And the relief we have been able to secure amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars. For a physically and economically tiny country, for an Administration and a people unfairly saddled with a monstrosity not of our making, this is an accomplishment of historic proportions. And it is a great way to underline the annual refresh with which we mark every January 1.”


Police officer charged for driving uninsured motor vehicle
Thirty-three year old police corporal Edward Castillo, who allegedly obstructed Assistant police superintendent Anthony Rosado, was charged with obstruction when he appeared today in Magistrate’s Court today. Castillo was also charged with receiving a person for a cause other than crime and driving a motor vehicle not covered by third party insurance. He pled not guilty to the charges and he was released on a bail of one thousand dollars. His case was adjourned until February 12. The incident occurred on Boxing Day. Rosado, who is the deputy commandant at Police Training Academy, reported that he and a police constable were driving on Central American Boulevard when he became aware of a SUV that had stopped in front of his vehicle. Rosado said that he saw Castillo inside of the SUV and he asked the driver, Lloyd Dyer, for his driver’s license. He said Dyer handed him the license and when he was about to check the vehicle for insurance, Castillo and Dyer got into the vehicle and drove away.

Man charged with robbery, appears in Magistrate’s Court
Twenty-one year old Asban Grant, a resident of Lizarraga Avenue, was charged with robbery when he appeared in Court today. Grant pleaded not guilty to the charge. He was offered a bail of one thousand dollars his case was adjourned until February 21. The incident occurred around 12:30 on the afternoon of Saturday, December 29. Tanya Mcnab, a graphic designer, reported to the police that as she exited her car she was held up at knife point by a person who stole her Blueberry bag, valued at two thousand dollars and an Apple I-phone, valued at two thousand, five hundred dollars. She her assailant rode off on a beach cruiser bicycle.

Youth accused of armed robbery, remanded top prison
Twenty year old Belize City resident Micshak Flores, who the police believe was one of two persons involved in the robbery of nineteen thousand, five hundred and ninety five dollars, was charged with robbery when he appeared in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court today. Flores pleaded not guilty to the charge. The court could not offer him bail because the offence was committed with a firearm. He was remanded into custody until March 3. The incident occurred around 6:30 pm. on December 27. Thirty-three year old Leroy Cassasola, salesman for Santiago Castillo Limited, reported to the police that as he exited Tommy’s Store on Central American boulevard and was about to get on his motorcycle, he was approached by two persons, one of them armed with a firearm. He said the gunman held him up while the other person stole a cool aid kit which contained the money and a knapsack which contained several bank cheques. Both persons then ran down Arlington Drive and escaped. Police investigated and detained Flores shortly afterwards. Members of Flores’ family said that he was beaten by the police and that a piece of cloth was put over his head and Clorox was thrown on his face. They say that they are going to Internal Affairs to make a report.

San Ignacio woman recuperates after viscious New Year’s Day attack
Thirty one year old Alvin Puc, a resident of San Jose Succotz village in the Cayo district has been detained by police pending charges, following a stabbing incident on New Year’s Day. According to police reports, Puc went to the home of twenty five year old Julisa Flores in San Ignacio town around ten thirty on Tuesday morning, during which the couple got into an argument. During the fight, Puc allegedly stabbed Flores multiple times including to the left side of her neck and abdomen. Police have since detained Puc pending charges. They have also recovered a knife believed to have been used in the stabbing. Flores meantime, remains hospitalized at the Western Regional in Belmopan.

Esperanza resident charged for Santa Elena murder
Just over a week after the brutal murder of thirty six year old Santa Elena resident Rene Vera, police have brought murder charges against a man from Esperanza village. On Monday of this week, police arrested and charged twenty two year old Joseph August for the crime of murder. August appeared in the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court on Monday and was remanded to the Hattieville prison until his next court appearance later this month. Vera’s body was found inside his home on Bishop Martin Street in Santa Elena town on the afternoon of Saturday, December twenty second.

Orlando Williams is 2013s first murder victim
The first murder of the New Year happened just before ten o’clock last night in Belize City. It claimed the life of forty five year old Orlando Sylvestre Williams. According to police reports, Williams was at the corner of Dean Street and West Canal around nine forty five last night, when he was fatally wounded. Initial police investigations reveal that the gunman, described as been of clear complexion, slim built and wearing a red pants, came walking onto Dean Street from the direction of Plues Streets and fired several shots at Williams. Police say they have recovered a total of seven nine millimeter expended shells, one slug and a copper jacket from the scene of the murder.

Man shot on Regent Street, clings to life
Another shooting incident, this time on Regent Street has left a man hospitalized in critical but stable condition. Forty eight year old Marco Valle was shot to the left temple around nine forty last night. Police say that Valle was riding on a motorcycle heading towards the Swing Bridge, when upon passing in front of Welworth Store, a man of Creole descent rode up beside him and fired a single gunshot injuring Valle. Police investigations continue.

Armed robberies in Belize City and Toledo
Two armed robberies were reported in the last forty eight hours in Belize City and in Toledo. In the case of the incident in Toledo … fifty year old Santos Sanchez, a resident of Boom Creek village reported to police that he was on his way home around five thirty on Monday evening when he was accosted by a man of dark complexion. The attack took place near the first bridge in the village, and Sanchez says the robber who carried a gun, took away his cell phone, wallet containing forty dollars in cash and his personal documents. In the other incident, a Belize City businessman was held up and robbed at gunpoint on New Year’s Day. The manager of La Popular Tortilla Factory at the corner of Vernon and Sarstoon Streets reported to police that on Tuesday afternoon, he was reconciling the day’s receipts when a man, armed with a handgun entered the factory and held him up. Fearing for his life, the manager says that he handed over a thousand dollars in cash and a cell phone. The armed robber is reported to have been of dark complexion, tall, and wore a black T-shirt and a pair of Dickie’s pants. Police investigation of both incidents continues.

Man charged after he was found with a machete late at night
A man from San Andres village in the Corozal district has been arrested and charged for the offence of possession of an article with blade. It sounded like a strange charge; but several contacts in the legal field have confirmed that such a charge is on the law books of the country. The arrest and charge follows the interception of forty six year old Hlberto Daniels on Monday night during a police mobile patrol on the San Andres road. Police say that when they saw Daniels, around eleven thirty on Monday night, he was riding a bicycle and when they asked him to stop, he refused. Police pursued Daniels and when they caught up with him, found him to be carrying a machete on his bicycle. Daniels and the machete were taken to the Corozal police station. Authorities measured the machete and found the blade to be two feet, one inch in length. Daniels was then arrested and charged. For context, the charge for which Daniels was charged is covered by the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act, which is Chapter 102 of the Laws of Belize. The law basically prohibits anyone from carrying articles with blades or point and offensive weapons in public between eight o’clock at night and five o’clock in the morning. The law also prescribes that any person who is charged under this law, must prove that he had the article with him for use at work or had other good reason or lawful authority for having the article with him in a public place. If found guilty of the offence, Daniels faces a possible fine not exceeding five hundred dollars or imprisonment of up to six months.

Man dies after crashing into parked bus
A traffic accident in Dangriga town on New Year’s Eve night, claimed the life of a man from Sarawee village in the Stann Creek district. The victim has been identified as twenty eight year old Winfield Duran. Police say Duran was driving his motorcycle on George Prince Avenue in Dangriga town around seven o’clock on Monday night when he crashed into the back of a passenger bus that was parked at the side of the road to allow passengers to alight. Police say Duran sustained serious head and body injuries and was taken to the Southern Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Police continue to investigate Monday night’s incident.

Belizeans get Queen’s New Year’s award
Four Belizeans have been named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honors for 2013 and appointed to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, MBE. They are attorney at law Denys Barrow for his contribution to Law and Education; Patrick Bernard for his contribution to Public Service and good governance, Pen Cayetano for his contribution to Music and Art and Cristina Hyde for her services to Education and the community. Barrow’s appointment makes him an ordinary Commander of the Civil Division, while Bernard, Cayetano and Hyde are ordinary members of the Civil Division. The insignias will be presented to the award recipients in Belmopan at a date to be announced, by Governor General, Sir Colville Young.

Man accused of stealing a nurse’ wallet
Thirty-three year old Belize City resident Denfield Lemoth, was charged with burglary today. It is alleged that Lemoth, a resident of Racoon Street, stole a purse from the office of public health nurse Pauline Griffith at the Cleopatra White Health Center. Lemoth pleaded not guilty to the charge. He was released on a bail of one thousand dollars. The incident occurred around 8:55 this morning. Griffith reported to the police that she left her office and went to the office of another nurse. While there, Nurse Griffith said that she was notified that a man had just entered her office. Griffith said when she went to her office she saw the man coming out of her office and she asked the man what he was doing in her office. The man reportedly said that he was awaiting his turn. But when the man turned around Nurse Griffith saw her wallet in Lemoth’s back pocket. Griffith said she grabbed the man in the back of his pants and held him until the police came and took him away.

Villager says football field in San Jose Succotz damaged by concert promoters
A concerned resident of the village of San Jose Succotz in the Cayo district is complaining about damage being done to the community’s football field. According to the resident, and as shown in photographs sent to the RSV News Centre, the field has been gutted by vehicles skidding onto the grass, apparently to transport equipment for a music concert which has been ongoing since New Year’s Day.

Do you think that crime (murders) will decrease in 2013?
Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.


Orlando Williams shot dead in Belize City
There were 145 recorded murders last year, and on the very first day of 2013, murder number one for the new year to...

Arrest made for murder of Rene Vera
Cayo police have also made an arrest in the murder case of 36 year old Rene Vera. Vera was stabbed to death inside ...

Fatal traffic accident on New Year's Eve in Dangriga
There was a fatal traffic accident on New Year's Eve in Dangriga Town. The incident involved a James bus which was ...

New Year’s first baby born at KHMH
It is an annual tradition, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) welcomed with fanfare the New Year’s first bab...

Belize City Lion’s Club makes monetary donation to a new mother
This morning the Belize City Lion’s Club handed over a monetary donation to a new mother on the ward who was identi...

PM anticipates benefits from Green Tropics' sugar project
Early last year Plus News received information that a large scale sugar production company was expressing interest ...

70 participate in KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic
New Year’s Day saw the 23rd edition of the KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic. Defending champion in both classics...

La Loma Luz Hospital celebrates 40 years of service
La Loma Luz Adventist Hospital in Santa Elena held its grand 40th anniversary celebration over the weekend. It was ...

Proyecto Lagartija Centroamérica. promote drama in Belize
If you would like to be an actor and would like to sharpen your skills, then you may be interested in the following...

New Year's Honours announced
Appointments have been made to the most excellent order of the British Empire on the occasion of New Year Honours 2...

Attempted robbery at BTB
Just this afternoon, an attempted robbery incident was reported at the offices of the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) on...

Attempted murder on New Year's day
In the west, there was an attempted murder on New Year's day. A man stabbed his common law wife multiple times. Acc...

Taxi driver accused of rape
On Monday, we reported on a rape which occurred in Santa Elena Town. Well, police say they have arrested the accuse...

La Popular tortilla factory in Belize City was robbed
La Popular tortilla factory in Belize City was robbed on New Year's Day.The manager was inside the establishment at...

Robbery reported in the south
There was also a robbery reported in the south. 50 year old Santos Sanchez of Boom Creek Village, Toledo District, ...


A Tale of Five Cities: Traveling to Merida
After two full days and three nights, it was time to hit the road again, heading north to Merida from Tulum. We'd be traveling to a different Mexican state today, from Quintana Roo to Yucatan. We've neglected to include a map of our travels so far, so here is a map showing our route through Merida. We'll continue updating it as we travel along. After breakfast, we headed to the Tulum ADO bus station, a very short walk. The king of traveling light Prepared for the air-conditioning in the bus Today's journey was to be made on a "luxury class" bus called an ADO gl, which is pronounced, we found out from watching ads on the DVDs in the bus, like "ADO hell". Ha! It was much closer to heavenly than hellish, however. A very comfortable ride indeed. We were given free bottles of water, earbuds for listening to audio, and there were multiple DVD players playing American movies that were dubbed in Spanish. We discovered that with most movies, even speaking just a bit of Spanish, we were able to figure out enough of what was going on from the video to follow along.

Pimp My Ride in Ambergris Caye
Mystery Blogger here. I drove Mr. John to the water taxi to catch the 7:00 am boat, whilst driving we saw two backpackers and asked if they wanted a lift, yes they said. They had stayed at Pedros and thoroughly enjoyed their stay on the island. Mr. John is going to Belize City and back to the dentist. I dropped him off at the water taxi, then drove home. On the way there I stopped for two more backpackers, who were on their way to Victoria House to stay the last night of their vacation. Then home for me and a cup of coffee. Today I am making a chicken curry. When I cooked curry in the UK I never used coconut milk but here it is part of the norm, and very tasty. Curry ingredients Chicken, red curry paste, cumin, curry powder, coconut milk, termeric, fresh ginger and chilli. I saw this on the Island and want one I really really do. Either pink or french navy in colour.

International Sources

What Traditional Societies Can Teach You About Life
A new book from best-selling author Jared Diamond tells us how we can learn a lot from people who live like most of us did 11,000 years ago. For most humans living today, it's hard to imagine life without written language, governments and large-scale agriculture. But on the scale of human history, all of these are recent inventions. Until just 11,000 years ago, we lived in small groups, hunting, gathering and practicing simple farming. Tribal warfare was common, life spans were short and strangers were rarely encountered. While that lifestyle might seem to belong to the distant past, it is also the life that our bodies and our brains are adapted to, and it’s a life that some people around the world still live. In his latest book, Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, argues that we also have a lot to learn from people who have continued to live as humans did for most of our history. The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? (which comes out on Monday, December 31) takes readers around the world, from the New Guinea Highlands and the Amazon rainforest, to Africa’s Kalahari Desert and the Arctic Circle...

January 2, 2013


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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

Misc Belizean Sources

Bug Photography & Adventure workshop – Jan. 2013
Entomologist Alex Wild and Joanne Holley will be in Belize for an 8- day tropical insect safari and photography work shop hosted at Caves Branch Jungle Lodge. BugShot – Belize: January 19 – 26th 2013 Click here to see more details and the planned schedule for the days that you will be in Belize. It will be one of the most exciting adventures while you learn to capture the life of the jungle. This is a perfect opportunity to visit a new place and have fun while learning and meeting new people. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW spaces are limited.

BELIZE Jungle Zip Line and Cave Tubing
Day trip from San Pedro. Check it out! Prebook Your Adventures Today!

Cave Tubing Belize. Crystal Cave
Day Trip from San Pedro. A great adventure, have a look at Crystal Cave.


Big New Year’s Eve celebration just hours away
The countdown to 2013 is on and there will be a number of activities taking place tonight. One big event is the Love FM and Belikin New Year’s countdown. Ava Diaz-Sosa is the coordinator of the event. Tonight’s event will be aired live on Love FM and Love Television.

Galen University holds graduation exercise
Graduation season is usually between May and June of every year. But over the weekend commencement exercises were held by Galen University. Love TV’s Natalie Novelo reports.

Punta Gorda community stunned by murder/suicide
The final day of the year is usually reserved for well wishes for a happiness in the coming twelve months and grateful reflections on the year that is passed. But tonight, like way too many newscasts over the last twelve months it is our sad duty to chronicle more episodes of bloodshed and tragedy. For the quiet municipality of Punta Gorda, the peace and tranquility were shattered by two gunshot blasts early on Sunday night. And it soon dawned on the entire nation that a tragedy of unimaginable proportions has occurred. Our Senior National correspondent Paul Mahung was on the story from right after it happened and files this report. This morning the police press officer Rafael Martinez gave reported the police’s version of what transpired last night in Punta Gorda town. Martinez said that the couple was involved in an argument on Saturday.

Brother kills brother in Sand Hill village
In Punta Gorda the lives of two people ended with gunshots. But in Sand Hill village the weapon of choice was an edge tool. The tragic death of a young man over the weekend has devastated a family, as Love TV’s Marion Ali found out this morning.

Business man stabbed in San Pedro town
Police in San Pedro town continue to look for four men in connection with a stabbing incident on Friday night that has left a man hospitalized in Belize City. The police press officer gave the details of the incident this morning.

Cayo school teacher alleges rape by taxi operator
A San Ignacio taxi operator was today arraigned on a charge of rape in the Magistrate’s court. Thirty year old Antonio Gongora was arraigned on a single charge of rape, following a report that he sexually assaulted a twenty eight year old school teacher. Gongora was remanded to the Hattieville prison until his next court appearance on March thirteenth. It is the kind of incident that no woman should have to experience. According to the victim, she was out socializing early on Saturday morning when she caught a taxi cab and asked to be taken home. But instead of taking her home, Gongora reportedly took the woman to the horse race track in the Trapiche area of Santa Elena town where he had sexual intercourse with her against her will. After the assault, the woman was abandoned in the area at two o’clock in the morning. She managed to make it to the main road where she was able to call the police to report the incident.

Men arrested on robbery charges
Twenty year old Randy August, one of two persons who the police believe robbed three persons at the Marion Jones Stadium on Saturday, December 22, was charged with 3 counts of robbery when he appeared today in the Number One Magistrate’s Court. August pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was remanded into custody until February 6. Forty year old Victor Argueta, a Salvadoran sub-contractor, reported to the police that while he was at his workplace, two persons of dark complexion entered, one of them armed with a black pistol. Argueta said the gunman held him up and they stole three thousand dollars, which was the company’s payroll. Thirty-seven year old Jamie Marin, the supervisor, reported to the police that they stole one thousand dollars and his cell phone from him. Forty-five year old Carla Patnett, reported to the police that they stole her black Apple phone which has a value of one thousand dollars. The culprits then made their escape. James Copius, a man with 5 convictions who has been to court 30 times, made his thirty-first appearance today when he was brought to the Number One Magistrate’s Court on charges of robbery and aggravated assault. Copius pled not guilty to the charges. The prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds that robbery has become prevalent and that if granted bail the defendant might interfere with the complainant. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith upheld the objection and she remanded Copius into custody until February 27. The incident occurred on December 20. Jamie Garcia reported to the police that Copius, armed with a machete, along with two others, robbed him of forty five dollars and his 21 inch television. Ervin Myvett reported to the police that Copius held him up with a machete. Police say they are searching for two other persons to charge them in connection with the incident.

Police make arrest in Hopkins village murder
Police in Hopkins village have made an arrest in connection with a murder in that southern community just before 9 o’clock on Boxing Day. In that incident, seventeen year old Luke Dayton Nunez, Jr lost his life. The police press officer explains. The accused is an ex-policeman.

House crashes to the ground
A single mother needs your help to get back on her feet after the house she was living in collapsed, rendering her and her two young children homeless. Tanisha Romero told Love News today that two nights ago, her house on Pelican Street collapsed during strong winds. If you can help Tanisha Romero with a house to live in or a job, you can visit her at her mother’s house at 7050 Raccoon Street Extension and ask for Tanisha Romero or her mother, Glenda Miller.

Separate accidents reported on the George Price Highway
Two vehicles overturned off the George Price Highway on Sunday evening. Reports are that the two vehicles overturned just minutes apart between miles forty seven and forty eight. Police have not yet released any information on the incidents; but Love News understands that there were no major injuries resulting from the incidents.

Cultural Habina Wanaragua celebration held in Dangriga
The cultural event known as Habina Wanaragua was held over the weekend in Dangriga. Correspondent Harry Arzu reports.

Mexican national jailed for single bullet
A Mexican national has plead guilty to a charge of kept prohibited ammunition and given a jail sentence in Belize. Forty four year old Salomon Gomez Cunil of Chetumal Quintana Roo, Mexico, was sentenced to five years in prison and will be escorted to the Hattieville prison to begin serving the sentence today. Police say that on Sunday morning, Cunil and another man were involved in an argument in front of the Princess Casino. Police on mobile patrol escorted both men to the police booth at the Santa Elena border in Coroxal where a search of the men resulted in the discovery of a single seven point six-two round of ammunition inside of Cunil’s back pocket. He was informed of the offence committed and charged. Police have arrested a Belize City woman in connection with a shooting incident at the BTL Park in Belize City during a concert earlier this month. The woman, identified as twenty four year old Laura Caceres was charged with the offences of disorderly conduct and causing public terror. Two men from Belmopan have been arrested and charged for the crime of unlawful imprisonment. Alex Ayala and William Hernandez were charged after a sixteen year old girl reported that she was held against her will by the two men on Saturday morning. The girl told police that she and a companion were on their way home from a nightclub when they got into an SUV driven at the time by Ayala. After dropping her friend home, the men reportedly took the sixteen year old to a hotel, despite her request to be taken home. The girl told police that she managed to escape her kidnappers and ran out of the hotel compound where she met a police mobile and reported her ordeal. When the police officers went to the hotel, they reported found the two men, escorted them to the Belmopan police station where they were formally arrested and charged.


Long Way to Go
After a really enjoyable evening at Lola’s to ‘see in’ the New Year and watching from the beach the really good firework display put on by the San Pedro Town Council I slept in today. Didn’t get up until 7 am! Felt slightly the worse for wear but felt exercised. Knew that I had given my right arm and throat a good workout. The legs got some work too with frequent visits to the Restroom being required! In all seriousness it was a really enjoyable way to say goodbye to 2012 and hello to 2013. The first time we have ever been away from England for New Year. We have, however, maintained a longstanding tradition of never being away from home – because that is what Ambergris Caye is for us – on New Year’s Eve. Rose got up some time after me and we had breakfast and then got to talking about the expansion of our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize to include another en-suite bedroom on the Ground Floor. We studied the architect’s plans to try to determine how we would lay out the two rooms in the space available but found it difficult to do this so decided that we would drive to the site for inspiration. Before going though we measured the dimensions of the bed in our rented accommodation.

A Tale of Five Cities: Tulum, around town
The rest of these photos didn't really fit into any of our previous blog posts on Tulum, so this is just a miscellaneous round-up of sights seen around town to finish out our 2.5 days in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico. As you'll probably notice in these photos, town itself was not crowded at all while we were there the first week in December. When we passed back through at the end of our trip for one night, it was filled to the brim with tourists there for Christmas and/or the end of the Mayan calendar. Big difference! The Municipal Plaza, all decked out for the holidays Town Christmas tree Mexican flag This colorful urgent-care clinic was right around the corner from our hotel. Fortunately, we didn't need it! I loved these brightly colored bedspreads & blankets, but no room in our packs for anything this large.

Lazy Sunday Crazy Monday
Happy 2013 everyone, hope you all had a fun time ringing in the new year. We started out as romantic dinner date crashers at Casa Picasso where Cindy and Andy were having a baby free night out. After that tacoboy and I progressed to town and made it as far as Lola’s Pubfor the big street party. Gino and the shackshakers were playing when we got there and the party was already packed and everyone was having a great time. Town board also did the traditional fireworks show this year and it was better than ever. They had a new kind I have not seen before and when they exploded it was like a big patch of glitter in the sky. I managed to get a picture of one but it does not do it justice – see last fireworks picture. Back track to Sunday afternoon for this next part. As we were enjoying our morning iced coffee in the fab new cups that Leisa gave us from the states, tacoboy said “he would do what ever I wanted today but was hoping for a lazy day”. I was all for it and my thought was a walk down the back road to the store later would be as much movement as we need.

International Sources

The Simple Life in Belize
Five hours of driving on paved highways with jaw-dropping views of mountains and farmland brought us from the international airport in Belize City to our destination: Monkey River Village in the Toledo District, the southernmost area of Belize. We parked our truck and hopped on a boat taxi for the five-minute ride to our new but temporary home, a two-story Caribbean-style home that we are house sitting for six months. Our journey here began when my husband and I had decided to get off the “earn-and-spend” treadmill. Belize offers that—and the chance to teach our four children the value of a simpler life, away from materialism and consumerism. Here, in the Toledo District, you get a respite from strip malls and over-development, from pollution and stress. There’s no Wal-Mart in sight (I have heard the closest one is in Mexico). And there’s not one fast-food restaurant in the entire country. We wake each morning to a cool breeze and the sounds of the jungle and the sea: the lapping waves, the calls of exotic birds and, occasionally, howler monkeys making their racket in the trees. Our village is home to only about 300 residents who rely mostly on fishing and tourism for their income. It’s an authentic Creole fishing village where everyone knows everyone else. Neighbors help neighbors. When I needed a lift across the river (where we park our truck at a friend’s house), a local guy was happy to give me a ride. Another new friend brought to our dock a lovely gift of lobster. “For the kids,” he said, smiling. And when we want to sit awhile over a Fanta or Belizean-brewed beer Belikin (each in returnable bottles), and ask questions about Belize, the locals are always willing to chat at our neighbor’s Barebones Bar up the beach or Ivan’s Cool Spot in town. On the days when we head into town, we pass an elderly Creole gentleman, Horace, who sits on his neat porch, as if he has nothing but time. He greets us each day with the same refrain: “Good morning, mon! Have a good day, mon.” Once we reach the town of Independence, which is just across the line into Stann Creek District, we hit the shops and are met with smiles and waves by shopkeepers. They all recognize us—and they are always willing to help. Like the time we needed to buy a long-sleeved shirt for our two-year-old, who is too fair for the tropical sun. A little girl, about 10 years old, happily led us around to all the stores in town that sold clothing, offering her sweet and child-like perspective on the place she lives. Her mother, who owns a local restaurant, smiles and calls out a greeting every time she sees us drive by. She also makes a mean plate of stewed chicken, rice, and beans. Lunch for two, with fresh orange juice—better than I’ve ever tasted—will set you back just $9. When we want a day in the “big town,” we head into Punta Gorda, or “PG,” the largest town at the south end of the district, about 1.5 hours away from us. Views of the rugged Mayan Mountains provide the scenic backdrop as we drive south. Thatched roofs dot the countryside. Every local passing on foot or bicycle offers us a friendly wave as we pass by. These locals farm the land to provide for their family’s needs and rely on fishing for their livelihood. Many still bathe and wash their clothes in the rivers and streams. They cook in outdoor kitchens, letting the rich smells of fried plantains, chicken soup, and spicy beans float into the open air.

January 1, 2013


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Monday-Monday, Dec. 31 2012 to Jan. 7, 2013

A high pressure system centered in the SW Atlantic just west of Bermuda is generating a moist north-easterly airflow over the western Caribbean and Belize. This high is forecast to drift southeastward over the next 48 to 72 hours, causing the airflow over the NW Caribbean to veer to the east and then to the ESE by Thursday and Friday of this week.

Another cold front will move off the Texas coast late New Year day, moving rapidly across the NW and central Gulf of Mexico. However, the cold front will stall in the SW Gulf of Mexico on Thursday. A new surge of cold arctic air will reinforce the continental high pressure system behind the cold front, which will then push the system across the eastern Gulf of Mexico and across NW Yucatan by late Saturday. The GFS model extended forecast move this cold front across Yucatan and Belize by late Sunday and early Monday of next week.

The rains will gradually die off later in the morning on New Year day, giving way to brighter weather with only isolated showers on Wednesday through Friday. Showers with possible thunderstorms will likely begin developing in the north and NW on Saturday, spreading over the rest of the country later on Saturday evening and on Sunday, as the next cold front approaches and cross the country of Belize. Cooler and gusty northerly winds will set in on Saturday morning through early Sunday.

Daily rainfall rates over the sea and coastal regions of Belize will be ranging from 0.25-0.50 of-an-inch on Monday through early Tuesday, New Year Day. Rainfall will then decrease later on Tuesday, with daily totals ranging from 0.10-0.25 of-an-inch over some areas of the hills and in the south. Rainfall will be minimal over most areas on Wednesday through Friday. Rainfall rates will increase on Saturday through Monday, with daily totals of 0.25-0.75 of-an-inch in some localities of the north and the central highlands.

CLICK HERE for the full Belize Weekly 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

Police Station Inaugurated at Maya Beach; Special Constables Sworn In for Placencia
On December 15, 2012, a new Police Station was inaugurated in the Maya Beach area, now designated as a precinct of the Placencia Formation in the Stann Creek District. The fully furnished and outfitted Police Station is the product of effective collaboration between the Ministry of National Security, the Placencia Police Formation and the business community and residents of the Peninsula, over 70 of whom have donated material, cash and labor. Present for the inauguration was Commissioner of Police, David Henderson and the Officer Commanding the Placencia Formation, Inspector Mark Flowers. Speaking on behalf of the local business community and residents were Mr. Doran Yount, Coordinator for the Peninsula Community Crime Watch; Mr. Dan Edwards, co-organizer of the group; and Miss Deb Coston, Justice of the Peace and Warden of the US Embassy. The Building was blessed by Reverend Jeanne Marechal.

Dr. Love: Taming a bad boy
Dear Doctor Love, Last week I met a gorgeous guy who used to live here and has just moved back. At the bar I noticed that there were a lot of women hanging around him so I didn’t bother to flirt or anything. After a while he came over and talked to me. I got [...]

Wolfe’s Woofers: Curses and Cures
“I’ve been taking medicine to get rid of this gout but it’s not working,” Casey said. “I’m thinking about going to have to see one of those bush doctors. Maybe he’ll make me up a spell or something.” “I don’t believe in any of that witchcraft stuff,” I said. Ed was sitting one barstool over [...]

Lionel Arzu is sworn in as new Ombudsman
Mr. Lionel L. Arzu, has been officially sworn in as the new Ombudsman for Belize. This took place in brief ceremonies this morning in the presence of the Governor-General of Belize, His Excellency Sir Colville Young. Mr. Arzu leaves behind his post as a teacher at Julian Cho Technical High School in the Toledo District, where he resides. Prior to this, he served as an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Belize, Toledo Campus; Project Coordinator for the MesoAmerica Project, and numerous other posts within the agricultural sector.

Santa’s Little Helpers
There is a lot of thought to give during the Christmas season and three little girls along with their mothers set out to give a little Christmas joy to needy families. Gabriella Knox (8), Arianna Flota (8) and Alejandra Flota (9) took the task of providing food and goods for three families to enjoy during the Christmas season. The three girls, together with the encouragement and support of their mothers, organized a bake sale to raise funds to purchase items such as washing soap, bleach, soap, shampoo, tooth brushes and tooth paste, staple food items including rice, beans, flour, sugar, eggs, milk, herbs and spices, potatoes, carrots, fresh bell pepper, onions and tomatoes, along with a Christmas dinner of turkey, stuffing and yams, and a toy to each child of the family.

Ambergris Today

Busy Tourist Season Brings Weekend Intermittent Outages in San Pedro
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) advises that it has completed works in San Pedro Town to address the technical problems on the system which caused several power outages in the municipality over the weekend. The technical problems related to an overloading on the power system in San Pedro. This is the result of significant and rapid growth in power demand in the area. To address the problem, the Company carried out works to change equipment settings to help facilitate the growth in demand. The Company encourages customers to practise energy conservation to help reduce the impact on the system. Considering the current high cost of power, customers can also save money by practising energy conservation. Some useful tips follow:

Three Island Girls Become Santa’s Little Helpers
We asked the girls how they would like to raise the funds to purchases the family Christmas boxes. Unanimously they choose a bake sale. We began by creating a menu, purchasing the supplies for the baked goods and then baking lots of delicious cookies, cupcakes and treats. Part of our goal was to have the girls learn the value of a dollar and to understand how much money was needed to purchase the items required to bake the goods for the bake sale. The girls were all very shocked by how much money needed to be spent to buy the ingredients! They worked for two evenings after school to help bake the goodies, and then sold them for two days on the beach; one day in central park during a sailing regatta and one day on the beach at El Pescador. Through this two day bake sale they raised enough money to purchase the contents for all three boxes. We thank everyone who supported the bake sale, many of whom left additional funds when they were informed of the girls’ mission.

Pic of the Week: Family Gatherings During the Holidays in Belize
“Flip flops on Christmas... YES... that is Christmas in Belize! Miss it.” This is what a friend of Ambergris Today commented when she saw this picture. The mercury hardly went below 85 degrees for the “Belizean Winter” this year and even though everybody dressed up for Christmas parties in San Pedro, Belize, there is no need for fancy dress shoes – Flip Flops do just fine.

Flashbacks: The Fun of Kraals
A Kraal is defined as an enclosure for livestock, particularly cattle, but in Belize it also refers to an enclosure in the sea and used particularly for private swimming. Back in the 1950’s business lady from Belize City, Mrs. Serafina Encalada (+) had a kraal in front of her vacation beach house in San Pedro by the Tackle box area. It was enclosed with palmetto posts and even had a dressing room. Later on in the 1980’s and 90’s Holiday Hotel had is private kraal as seen in this Flashback. Whilst some people build them to keep fishes as a tourist attraction, Holiday Hotel had its kraal for its tourists to enjoy a safe swimming area due to the increase of boat traffic and accidents. We believe it is a wonderful idea for resorts to have private kraals for their tourists, and when it is not high season, they could very well open them on Sundays for the Island residents to be tourists in their own hometown. Keeping a kraal in full-time use is advantageous in that it does not allow silt to settle. A public one at Boca Del Rio would also be an excellent idea as it would diminish the chances of boat accidents. So what do you think?

25 Years Ago: Happy New Year at Marino’s Roof Top
The New Year’s Eve Celebration has undergone many changes throughout the years. I will take you back to the 1960’s when Marino’s Club Roof Top was the Number 1 place to celebrate. Of course the dances have been the most featured attractions for any New Year’s party as they are today. Twenty five years ago the dance at Marino’s Club was for the teenagers or all single people. Daddy’s Club was the venue for the “Baile de casados’ or ‘Baile de Viejos’ only for married couples and you had to go with your spouse. The dances commenced at 9 p.m. on the dot with any accordion band that was active at the time. Popular accordionists were Wil Alamilla, Aldo Marin, and Ovidio Guerrero. Guitars and percussions were in abundance so that was no problem. The music and dancing went on until 11:30p. at which time the church bell was rung to call everyone to mass. Oh, by the way I forgot to mention that everyone attended the dance in regular or everyday clothing to signal the año viejo or the old year that had transpired. Therefore as soon as the first bell call was rung, the music stopped at the dance hall and everyone went home to put on their new party clothes to signal the New Year. At midnight the mass commenced with Reverend Robert Raszkowski extending his well wishes on behalf of the bishop and himself and all the religious to the San Pedro community.

What is Success?
By Gustavo A. Ramirez, Guidance Counselor / Education Consultant We educators, while trying to teach young students, both in Primary and Secondary schools, perhaps without realizing it, often times confuse them even more than they already may be confused, by insisting that they focus on “our” visions of success – not theirs. “You had better pass my exam, or else…” Worse even, many parents also (consciously or unconsciously) add more confusion to their already stressed out teenage sons and daughters by pressuring them to “stay at the top” always at school, or remain in the “honors” category each term/semester. Too many parents do not view their children as successful unless they bring home grades in the 90’s or high 80’s. Sadly, this type of attitude from parents (and from many teachers) will only add to young people’s already stressed-out and burnt-out lives at school. Teachers and parents: let’s remember that teenagers are at an especially awkward transition period between childhood and adulthood. Let’s not make it worse for them with “our” constant demands for success.

The Best of 2012 – Happy New Year
It’s a New Year, which means there are many new adventures ahead for everyone. We don’t know what we may have to do this year or what we will encounter, but all we know is that we should try to make this year the best year you ever had. Why not try to develop a new skill or start working on one you already have? Why not help the less fortunate or bring joy into someone’s life? There are many different things we can do. All we need to know is to not waste this year or mess it up by doing something bad. We must take advantage of what life brings our way and make the most of it.

Misc Belizean Sources

Save San Pedro's Wildlife
Welcome to Save San Pedro's Wildlife! We would like to thank you for your support this past year. ACES/ American Crocodile Education Sanctuary has saved lives by relocating problem crocodiles and has rescued numerous animals in Ambergris Caye. We could not have done it without your support and generosity! Our goal is to raise $8,500 by the new year for the completion of two croc habitats & security gates at ACES Wildlife & Croc Refuge in San Mateo, Ambergris Caye, for injured wildlife on the island. On December 27th while joining ACES Team on a CSI Belize croc excursion, The Edmonton Reptile & Amphibin Society made a very generous, direct, donation to this cause lowering our need by $1500 USD! ACES volunteers respond to all wildlife calls and see that any injured animals are quickly and safely transported to the appropriate mainland facility under the direction of the Belize Forest Department. ACES is a member of the Belize Wildlife Conservation Network and verified by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. Our bathtub is just getting too small, but over the past year it has rescued everything from six foot crocs to crocodile eggs, a Green iguana, and even "Tia," a Collared anteater. Please support San Pedro's Wildlife by donating to The Belize Economic & Ecological Development Fund.

VIDEO: Sharks Battle Diver For Lionfish, Local Diving Belize
Featuring Guest Diver Malik Brooks. Thanks for helping create awareness of reef conservation and preservation here in Belize. In this episode diver wins after making to the surface with Lionfish after repeated attacks from sharks of which they enjoy eating Lionfish from our spears

New Year's Happiness - Quita Goma
Here's some help for today. "quita goma... just in time for the holidays... you can private message me to place your order..."

Channel 7

Man Kills Common Law Wife, Then Himself In Front of Their Child
Tonight three families are shattered after an unspeakable tragedy last night in Punta Gorda. 24 year old James Staine Sr killed his 21 year old common-law Keena in front of their 2 year old son, James Jr. It happened on the seaside of the Coastal Town. Monica Bodden went to Punta Gorda today and we're just putting the finishing touches on her story now. But there's a Belize City element in the story as well. James Staine was from Belize City. He had gone to Punta Gorda to follow Kina. But now he's coming back in a coffin. His mother Michelle Swasey told us about his unfortunate end. Michelle Swasey, mother of James Staine Sr. "it was under a shed in PG that he killed the girl; he put the gun to her head and then he put the gun under here and then he shoot himself." "It's hard for me because I know they were really in love but as I say I don't know what went wrong. I sympathized with Keena's mom and her family and I will miss her also because she was a good daughter-in-law to me and she gave me a wonderful grandson, so I really sympathized with them. I know what she is going through because I am going through the same thing right now and it hurts. I will not say my son is innocent. I don't know what happen during the other times. I know they have their arguments - I stop them because I don't encourage my kid to beat a woman or to do anything bad to a woman because I always tell them to remember that they have a mom and they wouldn't want anyone to beat their mom."

Brother Killed Brother In Sandhill
And while it was husband killing common-law-wife in PG on Sunday, on Friday night in Sandhill it was brother killing brother. It happened at their mother's home at mile near mile 20 around 9:45. 23 year old Brandon Cabanas - who had reportedly been drinking - got into a fight with his younger brother, 20 year old Edward. Edward pulled a knife and stabbed his brother in the legs - and a cousin stepped in to separate them. But - it appears an artery had been severed and Brandon bled to death before they could get him to the KHMH. Officer in Charge of Ladyville, ASP Chris Noble told us more on Saturday: ASP Chris Noble "They were having some altercation. One of them inflicted injuries upon the other that we believe at this time are stab wounds and he pass away this morning. We are looking at it at all angles and we will consult the DPP for advice based on what the circumstances are." Jules Vasquez "Do you have any idea what circumstances may have preceded such an unfortunate event?" ASP Chris Noble "That matter is still under investigation. We've been doing what our normal ground work is with regards with the investigation and that is where we are at this stage."

Debo's Dead, But Family Spat Lives On
Last week Friday, 7News told you about 21 year-old Allen "Debo" Davis, who was gunned down in a wild shooting in Ladyville. It happened on Thursday when Davis and 4 others - including a child - were injured, and it resulted in his death. In our coverage, we spoke to several people, including one of his neighbors in Ladyville, who gave an impassioned interview, where she called out Davis's family. She claimed to have treated him like one of his own when he moved to Ladyville, and she made certain remarks which infuriated the family. Well today, Davis's family called us to their home to respond to some of the allegations made by this neighbor. Basically, it's a quarrel between 2 parties which is being conducted via the media, which isn't something that we normally report on. But because those comments ended up in our coverage, we're obliged to air their response. For context, we'll start first with those made by the neighbor. Here's what she told us on Friday: Emily Gabourel - Neighbor "The guy is not anything to me but when they put him out of his house - none of his family was at his side. I had that guy in my house for two years and 6 months; I took him like a mother. I gave him that house over there and then now the family is coming like an idiot, like a jackass to be acting like that. All of a sudden that he is dead - the family comes like they so love him." And here's what his family said in response, as well as their suspicions about why he was killed.

Court Clerk Robbed of 7k. Did Not Have Armed Escort
Last week Friday, 7News told you about a robbery on Regent Street, in which a Magistrate's Court Clerk was targeted. Well tonight, we can report that the assailant got away with over $7,000 in cash. According to police, the First Class Clerk reported that on Friday at around 4:05 p.m., she was accompanied by a special constable who was providing security while she made a deposit. But while on Regent Street, a dark skinned man who was armed with a rusty handgun approached them. The assailant attacked quickly and struck the unarmed officer in the forehead with the weapon, and then pointed it at the clerk. Fearing for her life, the clerk handed over the black plastic bag which contained a Belize Bank Night Deposit bag. Inside that bag was $7,634.90 in Belize currency, belonging to the Government of Belize. The man then fled the scene, escaping with the money. The efficiency with which the attack was executed suggests that the assailant may have been running surveillance on the movement of money from the courthouse to the bank.

Light Rate Goes Up Tomorrow!
made the decision based on BEL's cost of power in the past year - which skyrocketed! It went so high that the company ended up spending 45 million dollars more than it had budgeted to buy power. The company sent its figures to the PUC for the annual review - and when the PUC did the math, the Utility was effectively requesting a rate increase to about 55 cents per kilowatt hour - about one-third more than the 41 cents you are currently paying. PUC gave them half of that - which works out to about 48 cents per kilowatt hour. It's still a 17% increase for you as the PUC Chairman explained at a Press Conference on Friday: John Avery, Chairman - PUC "The new approved electricity rate is now 48.86 cents which is approximate 16.87% above the existing 41.81 mean electricity rate."

PM Says 2013 Public Work Programme Will Cause Major Employment Stimulus
And so while the New Year starts with the blight of higher light bills - don't tell that to the Prime Minister! His New Year's message - all 22 minutes of it, is nothing but good news. One bit that did catch out attention was a major package of public funded works projects designed to create employment. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Government will initiate a 60 million dollar, domestically financed package of public works. This venture, to be planned, executed and managed using a specially chartered investment vehicle, will include the rebuilding of the Belize City Center and construction of showcase sporting/social use facilities in each district. I expect no less than 1000 new jobs to spring from this stimulus package. And there will be myriad opportunities for contractors, sub-contractors and workers in the communities where the facilities will be built. These sporting and multi-purpose centers, along with the soon-to-be completed Marion Jones Stadium, represent a boon for a broad field of community and commercial activities." "Also scheduled for commencement in 2013 is the recently approved, CDB-funded 12 million dollar Youth and Community Transformation Project. This includes a 21,000 square foot Resource and sporting facility on the Lake Independence side of Chetumal Street, plus the uplift of the Wilton Cummerbatch Field in Port Loyola, and the fencing of the Samuel Haynes Institute for Excellence."

He Killed Keena; She Was a Daughter and A Friend
As we told you at the top of the newscast a man killed his common law wife last night in Punta Gorda and then he took his own lif e- all in front of their small child. You've heard from his mother, and today Monica Bodden went to Punta Gorda to hear from his family. They are wracked by grief at the loss of a daughter - another victim of a deranged abusive relationship. Here's the full story:.. Monica Bodden reporting 21 year old Keena Williams was murdered under this seaside shed - only yards away from her parents' house. The incident happened just after 9 last night in the village of Cattle Landing - just outside of Punta Gorda Town. She was shot once to the right side of her temple by her jealous boyfriend 23 year old James Staine - Staine then pointed his 9mm pistol under his chin and pulled the trigger on himself. He died on the spot - while Keena was pronounced dead at 9:20pm- 20 minutes after she was shot. The entire incident unfolded in front of the couple's 2 year old son.

Special Branch Again!
Recently in the Newscast, we've been reporting on the consistent busts being made by Special Branch and the Gang Suppression Unit. Well, this weekend it was the Special; Branch doing a thing. On Friday, at around 6:15 p.m., SB personnel conducted a search at the residence of 31 year-old Nigel Eric Murray, located at #7056 Raccoon Street Extension. This led to the discovery on a black garbage bag which contained 650 grams - over a pound - of cannabis. As a result, he was charged with drug trafficking. He was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith today on the charge where it was discovered that he owed the court fines of $775. He was granted bail of $1,000 which he will unable to meet until after he has paid those fines. His case was adjourned to February 5, 2013. On Friday at around 8:45 p.m., a search was conducted based on Special Branch information in an empty lot on Antelope Street Exension. It resulted in the discovery of 12 Parcels of cannabis to a total weight of 1.94 kilos - or 4.28 pounds - of cannabis, and 123 grams of compressed hydro. No one was in the immediate area, so the drugs were labeled as found property.

The Ferguson Fuss Continues
On Friday, we ended our newscast with Paul Ferguson, the Chicken Dread, who continues to defy City Hall on principle in relation to his quest to sell his fried chicken on the street corner in front of the Abdul Building. As we showed you, Ferguson was once again shutdown and removed from his favorite spot by police. He was as defiant as ever when he instructed his family members to continue to sell chicken at that spot because according to him, they can only stop him, and no one else. Well, when he was eventually removed on Friday, essentially, nothing happened. He was taken away by police who released him later on because no new charges which were brought against him. So, even though the City enforcement unit told us that it was acting under orders from the Mayor, it seems that Ferguson didn't violate any other law. So, he's out tonight, and he told us this evening that he will be operating somewhere on Albert Street tonight and during New Year's night.

Cycling Assoc In Chaos; New Year's Race Will Still Be Dramatic
Right now, cyclists from all across the country are making last-minute preparations for the 23rd annual Krem New Year's Day Cycling Classic. As we've been reporting, there is a rift in the Belize Cycling Association, which has caused some instability in the entire sport. Well today, the promoter of the Krem Cycling Classic told us that tomorrow's race is not affected by that, and in fact, they're ready for a very competitive event: Kwamy Scott, Race Promoter - KREM Cycling Classic "Tomorrow bring up the 23rd running of the Annual KREM New Year's Day Cycling Classic. 23 years ago the brain trust of the Kremandala organization saw it fot to have a race to start the New Year. At that time we started from Orange Walk to Belize City, I believe that Gerald Garbutt was the manager of the station at that time; I think that Bowman was the president of the cycling association at that time and they made it a reality. Now 23 years later what we have is the second biggest race on the cycling calendar next to the cross country. When I say second I mean in terms of the quality of the race, the distance of the race and the big prizes; there are over $20,000.00 in prizes; finish and station prizes on the road." "There will be 3 categories; 3 different races; the elite make and under 23 will ride from the Corozal border with Mexico near to the free zone, they start there at 9am and head all the way to Belize City. The Female and the Juniors begin at Orange Walk near the Town Board and they head to Belize City. The Juniors start at 9:30 and the females begin 5 minutes later. All races will finish on Central American Boulevard near its junction with the Mahogany Street stop lights."

What's Your 2013 Resolution?
The New Years' Resolution - most people have them, but very few actually follow through and try to accomplish them. But, there's nothing wrong with aspirational goals and that's what our associate, Giovannie Brackett, hit the streets to find out about today: What do you aspire for in 2013? He found that most people want to increase the peace: Interviewee "I don't have a new year's resolution. I serve God everyday - that's my resolution." Geovanni Brackett "You know like what most people will try to change for the new year?" Interviewee "It's a daily thing for me I don't make resolutions." Interviewee

Alcohol Is the Killing Thing
And according to police, one sure thing you can do to ensure that there is less bloodshed is to consume less alcohol. As the police press officer told us today - alcohol is behind a great deal of terrible crimes: Raphael Martinez - Police Press Officer "We have notice that all the stabbing incidents of late have actually been traced back to alcohol consumption and i want to say this that alcohol has actually been the main cause of death, more than world war 1,2 and aids combined. It's always traceable to alcohol. Quite a few incidents that have been occurring in crime; violence, rape burglary, stabbing, shooting - all the murders can almost be trace back to alcohol consumption."

Goodbye 2012, the Year Of Excess
And we end our newscast on that note: Everything in moderation. Indeed, 2012 was a year of excess: 145 murders is too much. And you probably also had your fill of politics because it was a year of election - and you surely had your fill of pedophiles and girl killers. But we were happy for Rowan Garel's excessive ambition that led him to walk 92 miles, and we were also happy for Giovanni Choto's excessive heroism, which led him to dominate the Cross Country like no Belizean had in decades! And so excess has its virtues, but usually too much is just too much to take. And that's what we found when we looked back at 2012: too many murders - the biggest of them happening on a Friday night in April in Belize City. Here's that and some more images that made news in 2012:.. And for those hardcore news junkies who still want more, well you can tune in to Channel 7 tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 pm when we present the best, most important news stories of 2012.

Channel 5

Cain and Able; brother kills brother in Sandhill
2012 comes to a close with a record number of murders. One hundred and forty five persons have been killed across the country; the majority of victims were gunned down in the Belize District. But gang related killings are not the only cause. This year the explicit degradation of morality and values were shown not [...]

Murder count at 145; lovers’ murder and suicide
The victim, Brandon Cabanas was twenty-three years old, and his brother the murder suspect Edward Cabanas is twenty years old. Though only one brother survived the dispute, his life will never be the same. The other two deceased individuals are twenty-one and twenty-four years old, in the same range as the Cabanas brothers. Their case [...]

Anthony Garcia charged for Boxing Day murder
There is an update to another killing that occurred over the holidays. The man accused of brutally stabbing seventeen year old Luke Dayton Nunez to death on December twenty-sixth has been charged. According to police, forty-eight year old Anthony Garcia, a driver of Hopkins Village has been formally arrested and charged with Murder. It is [...]

House falls on Pelican Street
We’ve reported on a family of a dozen that recently lost their home in a blaze days before Christmas in Orange Walk Town. It’s quite daunting to start the year, without a roof over your head, but a similar fate has reached the steps of a Belize City family. A Pelican Street resident has lost [...]

Special Branch’s numerous drug and ammo busts
The Special Branch of the Police Department has been very busy over the past three days and conducted successful searches for drugs and ammunition. On December twenty-eighth at six-fifteen p.m., officers conducted a search at the residence of thirty-one year old Nigel Eric Murray of Raccoon Street Extension.  Murray was arrested and charged with drug [...]

Islander stabbed and self-discharges from hospital
A San Pedro businessman was the victim of a stabbing incident on Ambergris Caye last Friday night. Edwin Henry was reportedly attacked by four men while he stood on Sea Grape Drive, not far from his home. Henry struggled with the assailants and was injured in the process, but according to Police Press Officer, Raphael [...]

Teacher raped in Cayo and a narrow escape in Belmopan
2012 also saw some of the country’s most heinous crimes committed on females.  The murder of Jasmine Lowe and Suzenne Martinez in the Cayo district tugged at the country’s collective conscience and resulted in peaceful demonstrations for change. That change has not come as yet, as a Santa Elena teacher was reportedly raped early on [...]

Alleged robber at Marion Jones Stadium behind bars
As you are aware by now, the courts were busy even on the last day of the year. Nineteen year old Randy August will bring in 2013 behind bars after he was arraigned this morning for an armed robbery and remanded to prison. August appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith where he was read one count [...]

Youth inspired to be Latin singer
Channel Five has proven that talent comes in all shapes and sizes from our various shows. And tonight, one seventeen year old resident of San Ignacio wants to showcase his love for singing to the country. Roni Baños, who goes by the stage name “Roni B” has been singing for five years and has picked [...]

Who will win the New Year’s Cycling Classic?
Each municipality has its own celebrations to usher in the New Year.  There may be private fireworks and countdown sessions across the country tonight, but come sunrise, 2013’s first national sporting event will be the annual Krem New Years Cycling Classic.  The defending champion is Giovanni Choto, and according to spokesperson Kwame Scott, all eyes [...]

New Year and Old Resolutions
At the start of a new year, the general public often times make goals they wish to accomplish over the next twelve months. And while many may have achieved their resolution, there is the few that may not have kept their plans. So this year, we decided to add a twist when we hit the [...]

Good Evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.
Money time inside the 1st PLB Championship arrived yesterday at the F.F.B. Stadium where Police United and Belmopan Bandits went into the home and away series locked in a 1-1 tie the pump and circumstance on the field tells the tale that one of these 2 ball clubs will become the 1st ever PLB Champion. [...]


Police News
A stabbing incident on Saturday morning has left a Belize City man hospitalized. Forty three year old Edgardo Siciliano was stabbed to the left side of the abdomen and cut to the left thumb during what police have described as an aggravated robbery incident. Police say that...

Galen Holds 8th Commencement Exercise
Sixty five students graduated from Galen University on Sunday. The eighth Commencement exercise was held at the Princess Hotel and Casino in Belize City and featured the welcome address by MBA candidate, President of Galen, Dr. Louis Zabaneh, commended the efforts of ...

Spouse Kills Woman and Himself
A shooting incident last night in Punta Gorda town has left two people dead. Information to the RSV News Centre says that the incident happened around nine thirty last night at the northern entrance to the town. It allegedly involved a man from Belize City who, according to...

Taxi Driver Detained Pending Rape Charge
Police in San Ignacio have detained a taxi driver pending charges after a woman claimed she was raped over the weekend. According to reports, the woman, who lives in Santa Elena, was out socializing and on her way home, the taxi driver took her to the racetrack in the town, where...

Man Stabs Brother In Belize District
Police are expected to file charges against a 20 year-old man in connection with the stabbing death of his older brother. The incident occurred during a dispute between the two brothers in Sand Hill Village on Friday night. Love News understands that 23 year old Brandon Cab...


Man kills girlfriend then himself
2012 will end sadly for two families in Punta Gorda Town who lost their son and daughter in the most tragic of circ...

Man kills brother in Sandhill
There is another murder to report on tonight and once again it involves one family member turning deadly on another...

Businessman Edwin Henry stabbed in San Pedro
There was one last incident of violence in the Belize District , this time in San Pedro. A man was stabbed over the...

BEL to receive an increase in mean electricity rate
Barring any objections from consumers and stakeholders, Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) is set to receive an incre...

Community concern over safety on George Price Highway
When the George Price Highway becomes wet due to rains, the phones at our news room inevitably rings informing us o...

Wilfred Anthony Garcia charged for murder of 17 year old Luke Dayton Nunez Jr
A man has been charged for the murder of a 17 year old youth from Hopkins. On Friday Police arrested and charged 48...

Nigel Eric Murray charged for drug trafficking
31 year old Nigel Eric Murray was arrested and charged for drug trafficking on Friday night. On Friday 28th Decembe...

Belize National Football team in rigorous training for 2013 tournament
The premeire league for Football is over and Belmopan Bandits has been declared the winners for the 2012 Premeir Le...

Collapsing house causes power outage in Collet Division
While Belize City was largely crime-less over the weekend, there was bad news for at least one family. PLUS News un...

Man in hospital following stabbing incident on Iguana Street Extension
There was another stabbing incident, this time inside a Belize City home. A welder of Iguana Street Extension, was ...

Taxi driver detained as Police investigate a rape of teacher
A taxi driver has been detained in connection to a rape report. A 28 year old teacher of Santa Elen told police tha...

16 year old waitress claims she was raped
A 16 year old waitress of Las Flores Ares in Belmopan city told Belmopan Police that on Saturday at about 12:30am s...

Home invasion reported in Hattieville on Friday
There was a home invasion reported in Hattieville on Friday. Acting upon information received of an Aggravated Burg...

Family concerned about Police response to missing 15 years-old
A 15 year old girl is missing and her family says the police are dragging their feet in locating her. The Belmopan ...

Conductor prevents robbery of bus passengers
There was an attempted highway robbery on Saturday. Between mile 16 and 17 on the George Price Highway, a Shaw Bus ...

Deposit bag stolen on way to Belize Bank in Belize City
A 42 year old First Class Clerk of Belize City reported that on Friday at about 4:05pm, she walking on Regent Stree...

Laura Caceres charged for Disorderly Conduct after concert at BTL Park
Police have arrested and charged 24 year old Laura Caceres for the offences of Disorderly conduct and Causing Publi...

Mexican gets five years for firearm offences
A Mexican man has been sentenced to five years in prison after he was found with unlicensed ammunition. Yesterday, ...

The Guardian

Winston Dennison gets 18 Years for Sex with 14-Year-Old
55-year-old Winston Dennison was convicted on three counts of carnal knowledge on Monday, December 17th. Dennison is a parolee, who had been convicted of manslaughter in 2000 and served 10 years of his 25-year prison sentence. A mitigation plea was heard for him before Justice Troadio Gonzalez on Friday, December 21st. In mitigation, Dennison maintained his innocence. He asked only about the process of appeal. Justice Gonzalez explained to him that it is his right to appeal and that he has 21 days to do so. Dennison was unrepresented throughout the entire trial. He has the right to appeal the conviction and the right to appeal the sentence handed down by Gonzalez. The 14-year-old, in an in camera testimony, said she had sex with Dennison on August 20th, 22nd and 24th of 2010. Justice Gonzalez sentenced Dennison to 5 years for the first count, 6 years on the second count and 7 years for the third count against the 14-year-old. The sentences are to run consecutively; therefore, Dennison will serve a total of 18 years for his first sex offense. His parole was also revoked; meaning, that the 15 years remaining from the manslaughter conviction will be added back on. Dennison’s last words to the court were, “I am not guilty of this crime.”

Family charged in connection with Murder of Raheem Requena
Jermaine “Horse” Garnett and Kenneth Barrow joined Cassian Bennett on Thursday, December 27th, when they were charged for the murder of 19-year-old Raheem Requena. Requena was gunned down at the corner of Supaul Street and Kut Avenue on December 19th, 2012. He was not known to be gang affiliated and his murder is believed to be a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. On Thursday, Garnett and Barrow appeared before Magistrate Adolph Lucas to hear the charge of murder read to them. No plea was taken since the charge is an indictable offense. They were remanded to the Belize Central Prison until their next court appearance on January 30th. On Monday, December 24th, Cassian Bennett was the first to be charged in connection to the murder of Requena. Also charged in connection with the murder on Thursday were Pamela Garnett, wife of Jermaine Garnett, and her son, Mark Vernon. They were both charged with attempted suppression of evidence. Allegations are that Garnett and her son paid Marie Alvarez $500 on December 25th to refrain from testifying in the murder trial. Both will be remanded at the Belize Central Prison until their next court appearance on January 11th, 2013. In court, Pamela Garnett was represented by attorneys Dickie Bradley and Anthony Sylvester.

Woman Police Officer Charged for Aiding Prisoner’s Escape
On Thursday, December 27th, Special Constable, Lisa Cayetano was formally arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate Court for aiding the escape of a detained woman, Pamela Garnett, on Christmas Day. Garnett, who is the wife of Jermaine “Horse” Garnett, was detained for allegedly threatening a witness to a murder. No plea was taken from Cayetano since the prosecutor indicated to Magistrate Adolph Lucas, Jr. that they are not certain of the DPP’s position on the matter as yet. Magistrate Lucas then offered Cayetano bail in the sum of $2,000 plus one surety of the same amount. Cayetano, who has been with the department for four and a half years, is due back in court on February 8th, 2013. At the time of the allegation, Cayetano was posted on duty at the Patrol Branch headquarters on Queen Street.

Christmas Brawl in Belmopan City
Belmopan Police are investigating a Christmas day brawl in the Maya Mopan Area of Belmopan City that led to 28-year-old Amancio Ico receiving numerous chop wounds. According to police initial investigation, Ico and a group of men were involved in a fight on Bethel Street in the Maya Mopan Area of Belmopan when he received a large cut wound to the back of his head, a chop wound to the right arm and a fractured skull. No charges have been levied as yet in connection with the incident and police investigation continues.

Daisy Tillett convicted of Crack Cocaine Possession
Cosmetologist and resident of Ladyville Village, Daisy Tillett, was convicted of the possession of 0.3 grams of crack cocaine on Friday, December 21st. On June 21st of this year, Tillett, who was living in Taylor’s Alley in Belize City, was found in possession of the controlled drug after officers of the Gang Suppression Unit conducted a search at her home. Police officer Stacey Smith made the discovery. She said that when she arrived at Tillett’s home she saw her kneeling down in the house and regurgitating the substance. When she checked, it was crack cocaine coming out of her mouth. Apparently, Tillett tried to swallow the substance when she saw the police coming to her home. Tillett put up no defense and remained silent in her trial. Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart found her guilty and imposed a non-custodial sentence; where she was fined $300 plus a $5.00 cost of court. Tillett has until January 31st, 2013 to pay the fine or serve 3 months in prison.

Ibrahim Smith charged for the Murder of William Francis
19-year-old William Felix Francis was murdered on Sunday, November 25th, and on December 24th, police escorted his alleged killer to the Magistrates Court to face a charge of murder. 20-year-old Ibrahim Smith, a resident of Hill View area, Santa Elena Town, appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where he was read the single charge of murder. According to police, sometime between 12 noon and 1 p.m., Francis was talking with his brother inside their house on Mahogany Street Extension, when a dark complexion male, dressed in black clothing, entered the house and pointed a pistol at both of them. The gunman asked for someone and that was when Francis’ brother ran and jumped through the window leaving him behind. The gunman opened fire. Francis was shot multiple times and died on the scene. Police recovered 8 expended shells and a slug from inside the house. Ibrahim Smith was unrepresented in court. Due to the nature of the offense, no plea was taken and bail was not discussed at the Magistrates Court. Smith will be remanded at the Belize Central Prison until his next court appearance on January 31st, 2013. Smith also has a charge of manslaughter in the death of a Sadie Vernon student for which he was out on bail for.

17-Year-Old chopped to Death in Hopkins Village
Police have arrested 48-year-old Wilfred Anthony Garcia, for the chopping death of 17-year-old Dayton Nunez, Jr. According to police reports, Nunez and Garcia were involved in a misunderstanding on the north side of Hopkins Village sometime after 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 26th, and it led to Garcia chopping Nunez to the right side of the chest, center of the head and the upper left side of the chest. Nunez was rushed to the Southern Regional Hospital for treatment but later succumbed to his injuries. Police investigation into the incident continues and Garcia was charged for causing Nunez’s death.

Cashawn Gentle Charged for Murder of Raheem Requena
Cassian Bennett, 23, known as “Cashawn Gentle” of Ceasar Ridge Road, was charged for the Wednesday, December 19th, murder of 19-year-old Raheem Requena on Monday, December 24th. Bennett appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where he was read the single charge of murder. He was unrepresented and since the charge of murder is an indictable offense, no plea was taken. He will be remanded to the Belize Central Prison until his next court appearance on January 30th, 2013. Raheem Requena was a 4th form student at Excelsior High School. He was gunned down at the corner of Kut Avenue and Supaul Street at about 8:10 p.m. According to reports, Requena was riding his bicycle on Kut Avenue while heading to his grandmother’s home on Supaul Street when he was shot 6 times. The fatal shot made its mark in his chest. Requena was not known to be affiliated with any gang and his murder is believed to be a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Reynard Grinage charged for Keeping Unlicense Firearm
While conducting patrol on Queen Charlotte Street at about 9 p.m. on Christmas night, December 25th, police conducted a search on 39-year-old Reynard Grinage of Faber’s Road Extension. The search led to the discovery of a chrome and black Luger 9mm pistol with a magazine containing fifteen 9mm live rounds. Grinage was subsequently arrested and charged with keeping a firearm without a gun license and keeping ammunition without a gun license.

Another Murder in Ladyville
Police are investigating a shooting incident in Ladyville Village, which claimed the life of 21-year-old Allen Davis. Reports indicated that on Thursday, December 27th, 2012 at around 7:30 pm, a gunman approached a group of people who were socializing at a residence in the Milpa area of Ladyville and opened fire. Reports indicate that the gunman, who was wearing a blue shirt and blue 3/4 jeans pants, shot into the crowd hitting Davis to the head, chest, his private area and both legs. He died while undergoing treatment at the KHMH. Also injured was a 4-year-old child who received a graze to the left hand. 25-year-old Jamie Chavarria also received a gunshot to the left leg. Two other young women who were in the crowd were grazed as a result of the shooting. Police have retrieved two slugs along with four S&B,three Aguila and five Luger 9 millimeter expended shells from the scene. Preliminary reports by police indicate that the intended target of the shooting was Rene Chavarria Jr. who is the brother of Jaime Chavarria.

Ernest Thurton Jr. and Jasper Brannon charged for Murders of Frank James and Robert Young
Police have cracked a double murder case that occurred two months ago. On Monday, December 24th, 20-year-old Ernest Thurton Jr. and 22-year-old Jasper Brannon, appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where they were read two charges of murder in the shooting deaths of Frank James and Robert Young which occurred on October 25th, 2012. No plea was taken since the charges will be dealt with on indictment and bail could not be offered at the Magistrate’s Court. Thurton and Brannon were remanded to the Belize Central Prison until their next scheduled court appearance on January 31st, 2013. The murder of James and Young occurred just before 11:00 p.m. at a dockyard near the Northern Fisherman Cooperative on New Road. Residents of the area said they heard several gunshots and when police arrived at the scene they found the bodies of 35-year-old Frank James on the side of the street and 43-year-old Robert Young in the dockyard. According to police, James was shot once to the left side of the abdomen, twice to the right calf and once to the left wrist. Young was shot to the left ear, right side of his head and right side of his neck.

Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow New Year's Message
My Fellow Belizeans, From time immemorial, each New Year brings with it a rekindling of hope and a renewal of optimism. For Belize in 2013, there will be a very early realization of this promise of brighter prospects. Our national reset will receive an immediate stimulus by the signing, in the first part of January, of a legal agreement that will resolve once and for all the crippling commercial debt burden that has threatened to turn Belize into an economic basket case. The settlement we have reached with our Superbond holders is on terms very favorable to us. And the relief we have been able to secure amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars. For a physically and economically tiny country, for an Administration and a people unfairly saddled with a monstrosity not of our making, this is an accomplishment of historic proportions. And it is a great way to underline the annual refresh with which we mark every January 1.

Added Security for Bullet Tree Falls
A Yamaha motorcycle was handed over on December 27th by the Cariddi Family to the Bullet Tree Falls Community in the Cayo District. The keys were handed over by Christopher Cariddi, a representative of the Cariddi Family, to Victor Pott, President of the Bullet Tree Falls Neighbourhood Watch Committee.

Cayo Central Christmas Football Cup
On September 19th 2012, 8 teams from Santa Elena Town participated in a football marathon held at the Santa Elena Football Field, to kick off the Cayo Central Christmas Cup Sponsored by Hon. Rene Montero, Area Representative for Cayo Central And Minister of Works & Transport. This past Sunday was the Finals for the competition and the Trapiche Team and the Hillview team played an exciting and competitive game and exhibited discipline and excellent sportsmanship.

Lee Mark Chang’s and the UDP Freetown Christmas Party
It is the fourth year Lee Mark’s UDP Freetown Committee has organized a Christmas party for 250 needy children in the Freetown Division. This year was no exception. The event was held in the Belama Phase I Community Park on Saturday, December 22nd. It was a true Christmas blessing to see children of very unfortunate situations having the time of their lives and the positive attitude for this Christmas season.

Primer Ministro Hon. Dean Barrow Mensaje Ano Nuevo 2013
Mis compatriotas Beliceños. Desde tiempos inmemorables, cada Año Nuevo trae consigo un renacer de la esperanza y la renovación del optimismo. Para Belice en el 2013 [dos mil trece], habrá una temprana realización de esta promesa de prospectos brillantes. Nuestro reinicio nacional recibirá un estímulo inmediato con la firma, en la primera parte de enero, de un acuerdo legal que resolverá, de una vez por todas, el peso paralizante de la deuda comercial que ha amenazado en convertir a Belice, económicamente, en un ‘caso perdido’. El acuerdo a que hemos llegado con los titulares del [la deuda] el ‘super-bono’ tiene condiciones favorables para nosotros. Y el alivio que hemos logrado asegurar equivale a cientos de millones de dólares. Para un país, física y económicamente pequeño, para una administración y un pueblo injustamente embarcados con una monstruosidad, , es un logro de proporciones históricas. Y es una gran manera de subrayar el renacer anual con el cual marcamos el primero de enero.

Year in review 2012
There’s not just one word to summarize the year 2012. It was a historic year in the world of Belizean politics and in the nation’s fight against crime. 2012 has also seen development of exponential proportions – particularly in regards to infrastructure -- in all the major municipalities across the country, but it hasn’t been short of some controversy. All that aside, it has also seen the testament of the human spirit and how far one person’s vision can inspire an entire country to become juxtaposed and moved together for a singular cause. 2012 could be considered a year that truly has left some impact on us all. Let’s take a look back at the year that has gone by.

The Year that was in Sports 2012
The 22nd Annual Krem Sugar and Cream Cycling Classic have now etched its way in the pages of Belizean Sports annals.

$300 Million in Savings from Superbond
It’s perhaps the best Christmas Gift that the country could have gotten when Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow made the announcement on Friday, December 21st that there was a breakthrough in the negotiations of the Superbond. PM Barrow called a press conference at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza where he made the announcement. The Prime Minister stated “Belize has reached agreement in principle with its bond holders over the re-structuring of the super bond. This agreement is comprehensive, it is sustainable and it will provide well in excess of 150 million dollars in relief to Belize.” The relief is in excess of 300 million Belize dollars. Under the old arrangement, the Government and people would have paid a total of U.S. $794,295,350, of that the principal payments represent U.S. $546,800,000 and interest alone would have been U.S. $247,495,350. Simple mathematics applied on the figures would suggest that the relief is in the region of almost 19% of the total. According to the Prime Minister, the negotiating team and the bond holders will now be working at a schedule of payment. These terms are expected to be drafted by the middle of January. Lead Negotiator, Ambassador Mark Espat explained that by February and no later than the end of the first quarter of 2013, the entire term sheet would have been completed.

Contract Signed for Construction of Paediatric Intensive Care Unit
On Thursday afternoon, the office of the Special Envoy, the Ministry of Health, KHMH Authority and Challenge Gobie Foundation celebrated another milestone in the establishment of the new Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) with the signing of the contract for the first phase of the construction works. Signing the contract was Mr. Javier Gutierrez, Managing Director of Gutierrez and Associates Architecture, whose company won the bid for the construction of the PICU, and Mr. Alan Gobie, founder of the Challenge Gobie Foundation, who fundraised the initial one million dollars for the start of construction. Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow and Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Peter Allen signed as witnesses. The PICU project is being spearheaded by Special Envoy for Women and Children and Lifeline Founder/Director, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, KHMH Authority, Challenge Gobie Foundation and the Oak Foundation. This new unit will provide services to critically ill children and babies who presently cannot be treated in country and whose parents have to seek services abroad. As such, this new wing is expected to greatly aid in the reduction of mortality rates among critically ill neonatal and paediatric patients. Construction of the new wing will commence in January 2013.

Belmopan Comprehensive High School is National Basketball Champions
Belmopan Comprehensive High School National Basketball Champions The 2012-2013 National Secondary Schools Male Basketball Competition came to an end on Saturday, December 15th, 2012, at the Independence High Schools Basketball Court in Independence Village. Four schools representing the various regions of the NSSSA participated in this championship. The schools are from the north, San Pedro High School, central, defending champions Sadie Vernon Technical High School, from the west, Belmopan Comprehensive High School and from the south, Stann Creek Ecumenical High School. On Saturday, December 15th, in the male championship game, Belmopan Comprehensive High School defeated Stann Creek Ecumenical High School by the score of 62-49 to regain the national high school basketball title. The top scorers for Belmopan Comprehensive High School were Akeem Watters with 17 points and Kevin Brown with 15 points, while the top scorers for Stann Creek Ecumenical were Quinton Brown with 21 points and Brandon Castillo with 12 points. In the consolation game, Sadie Vernon Technical High School defeated San Pedro High School to finish this year’s competition with the Bronze medal. The top scorers for Sadie Vernon Technical were Jamal Augustine with 20 points and Lincey Lopez with 15 points.Meanwhile, the top scorers for San Pedro High School were Russell Linarez and Jose Guerrero with 13 points each. On Friday, December 14th, in the first male game, Belmopan Comprehensive School defeated Sadie Vernon Technical High School by the score of 45-43. The top scorers for Belmopan Comprehensive School were Akeem Watters with 27 points and Felix Requena with 6 points. For Sadie Vernon Technical High School, the top scorers were Lincey Lopez with 14 points and Deon Roches with 8 points.


Kim Simplis Barrow’s Reflections, Inspiration and Outlook for the New Year!
A YEAR I WILL NEVER FORGET… by: Kim Simplis Barrow 2012 is coming to an end and for many reasons it is a year I truly don’t mind putting behind me. As I sit here reflecting on the year that was, there is no denying that 2012 was a challenging one for me as I spent a great deal of it fighting for my life. I battled cancer the best way I could and just when it seemed that the victory could well be in sight, there was another major struggle to overcome. When I suffered heart failure at the end of May, I couldn’t help but ask, “what the hell is going on?” I really needed answers. Answers I really didn’t get, but I continued to fight and I also continued to hope and pray and believe. It was a tough year as I completed chemotherapy treatments, radiation, and restored my heart to an acceptable beating pulse after a very grim prognosis. Despite the many adversities I had to face, many days I smiled! I smiled at the everyday miracles I experienced. My faith in the human spirit, the goodness and beauty in everything was ever so present. I am forever grateful for all the support and constant prayers that came and continue to come my way. Yes, during 2012 I struggled with my health but nonetheless, I can gratefully say – it was a successful year. Oh yes it was! My daily inspiration: our beautiful Belizean children! They are the ones who gave me the strength and courage to keep working on my Special Envoy projects.

A Tale of Five Cities: Tulum Food, Part 2
We began our second full day in Tulum with breakfast a place that is quite popular with the locals, right on the main street: Don Cafeto's. It was good, but not our favorite meal of the trip, and we were downwind from heavy smokers sitting at the table next to us, so the experience was not the best. But it was reasonably priced and conveniently located right on the main drag. The coffee was really, really strong -- a bit too much for us. They bring you this rather unexpected bowl of pickled vegetables and garlic (!?!) before your meal arrives. I don't know if this is supposed to be a hangover cure or what, but it didn't hold any appeal to us in the morning, and we left it untouched. The homemade salsa, however, was nice, and Barry enjoyed it on his omelet. For lunch after our long bike ride, we were pretty hungry. We decided to try Charlie's on the main street through Tulum, which we'd heard was good. It really was! We had the place to ourselves as Mexicans tend to eat lunch much later than we do (like 2-4 pm, with dinner correspondingly late).

Happy New Year from Chaa Creek!
Wishing you a Wonderful 2013 With all of the expectations, speculation and anticipation for 2012 finally having come to pass, all of us here at Chaa Creek are once again inviting our many friends and family members from around the world to join us in counting our blessings and renewing our energies as we look forward to a New Year. There’s no doubt it’s been a very big year, and no less so here in Belize, the heartland of the Maya, where world attention was turned to the Maya Winter Solstice of December 21 2012, with some people actually wondering if the so called Maya prophesies were real and if the world was indeed going to end on that date. Those of you who have been following our many blogs and articles knew that there never were any Maya “prophesies” and, in fact, the Winter Solstice of 2012 was celebrated here at Chaa Creek with all the respect and enthusiasm such an event – the culmination of a 5,125 year cosmic cycle – deserved. We’re happy to report it was a hugely successful celebration preceded by a week of education and immersion in Maya culture for our many guests and friends. We think the ancient Maya would have been happy.

Feliz Año Nuevo
As we come to the end of 2012 and week 8, or 20%, of the project time for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize there is still long a long way to go but it has been a great year for us. In seven months ( it seems much, much shorter) we have left the UK and started the build of our new home here in Ambergris Caye, Belize. Something that we dreamt of doing for years. Just goes to show that if you really want to do something and set your heart on doing it, you can. We went to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize today at around 10.45 am not really expecting to see a lot going on. It is New Year’s eve after all. Pleased to say that our expectations were totally wrong. There was lots going on. The fact that there were nine guys on site surprised us . We had thought that at best the number would be between three to four. As we parked the golf cart we could see that the stack of concrete blocks had shrunk materially and when we looked at the build we could see why. They were being stacked in piles on the Ground Floor.

International Sources

The Escape - Part One
by John McAfee. It’s Christmas day and I’m taking a break from the seriousness of my upcoming January 3rd post. I thought I might post the picture story of the first half of Sam’s and my escape from Belize and my eventual arrival in the States. It’s visually interesting and it is mostly a happy story – in line with most Christmas stories. I’ll start with our arrival, undercover, in Belize City a few days prior to our departure on our exit adventure. We had been in hiding for a couple of weeks, living in less than desirable conditions. Sam was eaten alive by bugs and was happy to reach a place with hot water and comfort, as was I: Our plan was simple: Multiple checkpoints had been set up along every highway exiting Belize and all of the border crossings and seaports had been beefed up with police and Belize Defense Force personnel. Air travel was impossible since the few existing airports had beefed up security staff armed with our photos and names. I chose a few very simple social engineering tricks to effect our escape. Social engineering is the art of predicting people’s behavior based on given stimuli. It is the method of choice for modern computer hackers wishing to gain access to sensitive data. Cracking a computer system’s security electronically, for example, can be difficult. Tricking a secretary or systems manager into simply given you the access is simple. It requires only a cute young man, or sexy woman, or a correct role playing scenario, a little software and a little bit of time. Social engineering can be applied to any problem, not just computer hacking problems. Distractions and decoys, for example, have been used for centuries as primitive social engineering tools. We choose to take the Southern Highway to a town at the far southern end of Belize called Punta Gorda. From there we had arranged to take a small fishing boat the thirty or so miles to a border town in Guatemala called Livingston. The Southern highway, we knew, since we had friends driving the full length daily, had three checkpoints along its way. On the day we left we chose, as a decoy, a friend driving one of my high profile pickup trucks. He drove three miles ahead of us and was in constant communication with us. The truck’s documentation was in my name and was with the truck, just in case they failed to identify the truck by sight. The plan was the following: If they stopped the truck I knew the checkpoint officers would be swarming all over it. Subsequent traffic would be likely to be waved on through. For a distraction, I arranged to have my double – a man I have known for over 30 years and who years ago legally changed his name to John McAfee – arrested in Mexico a hundred miles north of the Belizean border. We posted the arrest on the blog and within an hour of the posting radio stations in Belize were broadcasting the arrest.

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