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2/1/2013 to 2/10/2013
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February 10, 2013


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The San Pedro Sun

Rose’s Bar and Grill in Caye Caulker denied liquor license over a street side grill
The owner of a renowned establishment on Caye Caulker is at odds with the Caye Caulker Village Council. Eduardo Arceo has been operating Rose’s Gill and Bar for the past 13 years but is now unhappy with the local authorities after his restaurant’s liquor license was denied. The reason for the liquor license denial is over a grill located outside of the restaurant on the street-side that the establishment has been using since its inception. The Caye Caulker Village Council has indicated that the only way they will allow Rose’s Grill and Bar to get a liquor license is if he relocates his grill. The local authorities say that residents in the area have been complaining of the smoke from the grill.

Our Lady of Fatima to visit San Pedro on February 11th
On Monday February 11th, the second Pilgrimage of the Travelling Statue of Our Lady of Fatima to Belize will arrive in San Pedro Town. The statue is scheduled to arrive at 4:00 pm at the John Greif II airport. The general public is invited to witness the arrival of Our Lady of Fatima. The coronation of the statue will take place at the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church at 4:45 pm followed by a rosary. At 6:00pm there will be a mass honoring Our Lady of Fatima followed by a candle light procession along the main streets of San Pedro Town.

Dates are set for the 5th Annual Tres Pescados Slam Tournament
The 5th Annual Tres Pescados Slam Tournament is set for August 15-17, 2013. Tres-Pescados-2As in previous years, the event will be a three-day catch and release fly-fishing tournament for the grand slam species bonefish, permit and tarpon. We will have a Pro division only, with all Pro Teams guided by a licensed BTB fly fishing guide. This year will see changes in the format of the tournament, mostly in point allocations. We still have sponsorship slots available. Simms Fishing Products have already secured a presenting sponsorship position, leading the way for another fantastic tournament in 2013.

Misc Belizean Sources

Photos from last nights San Pedro Carnaval Celebration

SI United vs. BDF Today
The San Ignacio United take on the BDF tomorrow night at Broaster Stadium at 3:30pm. The Premier League of Belize kicks off this season tomorrow. Good luck, guys!

Bob Marley Tribute Pictures
Rotaract raised funds at the Bob Marley Tribute last night. They also got a few really nice pictures. When Catch and Emmanuel Mangar play, it's always a great show. "Fundraising at a very positive, community oriented event!"

Soul Revolution Exhibit Launch at Soul Project
Last night the Soul Project launched the Soul Revolution Exhibit. It'll start at 6pm, and at 8pm, Walter Castillo will be performing some 'songs of revolution.' Cayo's newest and best cultural center has live music and art most every weekend. "PERFORMING AND EXHIBITING NEW PAINTINGS Walter Castillo SONGS OF THE REVOLUTION, Walter will be performing classic protest songs of the Central American 80s Cultural Revolution music starts at 8 pm this sat."

Tourism Statistic Summary for 2012
Great news for Belize: according to BTB numbers, overnight tourists are up almost 11%, bringing in quality tourism dollars, and cruise tourists are going down, meaning less deterioration to the reef. Yes, 2012 was exceptional for tourism, especially overnight tourism, which had an overall 10.7% increase from last year. In 2012, there were 26,872 more visitors than in 2011: 277,135 visitors for the entire year. Cayo has obviously been busier in regards to tourism. "The Belize Tourism Board wishes to extend hearty congratulations to all Belizeans, our partners and stakeholders. It is through continuous hard work, collaboration and dedication that we are able to achieve such impressive results. We look forward to an even greater year in 2013!"


Ministry Of Health Deals With Hepatitis A Outbreak
Our news room’s phone line has been busy in the past days. We have been receiving calls from residents in the village of Cristo Rey and nearby communities of an infestation in the area. We visited the village this morning where we were alarmed to hear the confirmed cases of Hepatitis A in the village by Public Health Inspector for Corozal Horris Patten since November of last year. As a result of the high amount of cases, the Ministry of Health has been mobilized assistance for villagers in efforts of preventing the further spread and cure of this disease. Horris Patten- Public Health Inspector “We have a problem in Cristo Rey and nearby villages. The problem is hepatitis A. The ministry of health Corozal has created a list of agenda and we are carrying out the list of agenda from day to day to prevent the spread of Hepatitis A and contained the disease.” Due to the nature of the disease and the social stigma attached to it, we couldn’t ascertain much information, but what you must be aware of is that hepatitis type A can be transferred through various means, including contact with someone infected, eating filthy food and improper hygiene, just to mention a few. If you have been experiencing yellow eyes better known as jaundice, abdominal pain, nausea or tiredness then you must visit your nearest health centre as soon as possible since these are symptoms caused by hepatitis type A.

Juan Carnaval Arrives In Corozal
The Corozal House of Culture has recently been on this newscast featuring the “Back in the Days” exhibit among many others. Well, tonight they are once more in our newscast, but this time, for an event that has almost been forgotten. The Corozal House of Culture will be presenting an almost forgotten event titled “Juan Carnaval.” This is because the tradition of Juan Carnaval has been hidden for quite some time now and the House of Culture has tasked themselves on reviving this celebration, hoping that it remains an annual event. Director of the Corozal House of Culture Deborah Wilkes, tells us more. Deborah Wilkes – Director, Corozal House of Culture “We have a stage presentation with four different groups here in Corozal. Each different group is performing different dances. We have a wide range of cultural groups from different villages and schools. We have San Narciso RC School and they are performing two dances and a Maya Poem. Here in Corozal Town we have Our Lady of Guadalupe and they are strictly a cultural group. They will perform two dances. We have pre-school teachers from Corozal Town and district and they come together every year in preparation for stimulation month. So this year being our first Juan Carnival, it will become an annual event and will grow each year. At the end we will do a traditional burning of Juan Carnival.”

Unborn Baby Dies At The NRH! Family Blames Nurse!
On this newscast we have brought you all the stories concerning the Northern Regional Hospital and allegations of mal practice and negligence. Last night we were the first to report on the most recent case involving the death of an unborn baby. Another baby died at the Northern Regional Hospital on Monday night inside of his mother’s womb. The would-have-been mother says that everything was fine with the pregnancy, until she was admitted to the hospital. According to the mother, there were no signs of complications until Monday when she felt something was wrong and when they arrived at the hospital, they noticed that the baby had no heartbeat. The mother spoke to us this evening under the agreement of anonymity and here is how she explained the most unfortunate incident. “I went Thursday evening to see the gynecologist and she told me that according to me glucose test she will keep me in for Friday morning and a c-section the test was normal so they gave me another date which was Monday so that I can get the c-section on Tuesday morning, She told me that by Monday 1 o’clock I should be at the hospital. So I went at 1 o’clock. At ten o’clock at the night when they when to check the heart beat of my child it was normal- 138 beats per minute. after they came an hour after they didn’t find the heart beat. They took me to the back and from then I told the nurse that she should call the gynecologist because the gynecologist said if there is any problem that we should call she right away. But the nurse said that no because she has to find the heart beat then she will call but she didn’t call almost two o’clock in the morning.”

Multiple Sclerosis Changes Marlyn's Life
Today an Orange Walk Family is asking the public for assistance for their loved one who is battling multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis is a serious disease that doesn’t have any cure. The disease affects the ability of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other effectively. In Multiple Sclerosis, the body's own immune system attacks and damages the nerves paralyzing parts of the body. Twenty-two year old Marlyn Zul was just recently diagnosed with the disease and doctors say that if the family had waited a little bit longer, then it would have been fatal. Mutliple Sclerosis has now completely changed Marlyn’s life but there is hope that she can get better. Marlyn Zul’s mother Marcelina Zul tells us more. “This started like a month ago. She started to lose sensation on the right leg first. Then about a week after she started losing strength on the left foot and gradually it went up to the waist right now. We have been seeing doctors, they took out blood test and urine test but no one could have told us what she had until we were referred to a neurologist. the neurologist made us do a MRI test and through a lumber puncture. The neurologist said that he is 90% sure that she has that condition; multiple sclerosis. It was devastating because no one expected this. We knew something was wrong with here because losing her sensation on her right foot. Up until the last week she was diagnosed with it. She has difficulty urinating and the doctor says that she need a lots of therapy. She is on medication also so we are hoping that she gains back something although doctors told us that she will probably no gain 100% percent back.

Baby Danelly Died Of Excessive Smoke Inhalation
On Monday’s newscast we brought to you the story of a house fire in the village of San Narciso which left a mother suffering from severe burns and a three year old infant dead. The incident occurred sometime around 4:30 in the morning of Monday, February 4th when forty year old Ramona Cabrera was woken up by the smoke and heat from the fire coming from the mattress of her bed. According to Cabrera, she woke up her three year old daughter, Danelly Guadalupe Cabrera, and told her to run outside of the house. The mother attempted to pull the burning mattress outside of the house, but the heat and flames were too much and left her suffering from severe second and third degree burns. According to reports from the fire department, once the fire was extinguished, the heartbreaking and tragic discovery was made when the charred body of three year old Danelly Cabrera was discovered beneath an iron crib. Speculation is that when her mother told her to run outside, the infant became scared and decided to hide from the fire under the crib. The post mortem examination has been conducted on the body of Danelly Cabrera by Dr. Hugh Sanchez. Dr. Sanchez determined the infant died as a result of Asphyxia due to smoke inhalation. What this means is that Danelly Cabrera passed away due to the smoke inhalation to her lungs before she was burned. Preliminary reports indicate that the fire was started by a candle which was lit by the bedside as the house did not have electricity.

2012: A Remarkable Tourism Year For Belize
2012 has been dubbed as a remarkable year for the Belize Tourism Industry. Belize was at the centre of the Maya Apocalypse 12/21/12 phenomena that attracted tourists from around the world. Overnight arrivals saw an overall increase of 10.7%, in comparison to 2011 arrivals. In 2012, there were 277,135 visitors for the entire year which is an increase of 26,872 from 2011. The American market made up 63.7% of this total, while Canadians made up 8.7%. Airport arrivals saw a 16.3% increase in 2012, having 211,747 tourists arriving at the Philip Goldson International Airport; therefore, making up 76.4% of the total overnight arrivals. These arrivals were the highest in March and December with over 23,000 visitors. But on the other hand, cruise arrivals were down by 12%. Despite that figure tourists arriving in cruise ships totaled over 640,000 last year. According to the Belize Tourism Board, they have been assured from cruise partners that Belize will see a major growth in the cruise industry in the near future. According to the release, Belize was a strong competitor when compared to other tourism destinations in the region.

BSCFA Gives Back To The Community
On February 28th of 2008, 6,000 small scale growers in the Belize Sugar Cane Farmer’s Association were the first to benefit from the Fair Trade Premiums of USD $60 per ton of sugar generated. This figure was courtesy of Tate & Lyle, which was once a great part of the sugar industry in Belize but these days, they focus their operations in Europe. Since then, a close relationship has been cultivated with the ultimate objective being the production of quality sugar at the best prices. That agreement is now in its fifth year and Cane farmers continue to see the benefits. As a means of a continuous betterment for the country of Belize, in particular the Belizeans in the north, today the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association held a special gathering at the Libertad Community Centre to issue cheques to students, the elderly and principals of the three primary schools in the village. The total sum issued via cheques amounted to $53, 509.98. The breakdown for the distribution of the checks include 111 student grants, 62 welfare grants catered to the elderly and 75 arm chairs for the three schools in the village. The beneficiaries are more than glad to have been chosen at a much needed time. Present at the ceremony was Chairman of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Corozal Division Arturo Olivarez, as well as Chairman of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association Alfredo Ortega. The Libertad Sugar Cane Farmers Branch approved the Student Grants, School Grants and Welfare Grants at a meeting held in November of 2012. According to Villanueva, today’s ceremony is expected to be repeated next year when commuters can expect to be the beneficiaries of the Fair Trade Premium Funds.

Leases Issued Out In Xaibe
This afternoon, UDP Minister Hugo Patt held a ceremony at the Xaibe Health Post for the distribution of land leases to 176 residents which a multitude attended dressed in their party colours. Even though Patt says that he had invited the entire village, it is a comment that Chairman of the village questions. Chairman of the Village Daniel Tuzl says that is not so and today when we visited him he was in the company of villagers who also allege they were not invited to the disbursing of land leases today. Neither the Chairman nor residents were happy about it. Area Representative for Corozal North Hugo Patt explained to us today’s activity. “We are handing out the leases for the expansion that we had here on Friday. This is the second expansion that we are doing in our constituency. We will be issuing 176 leases. This is only for Xaibe- well t is an expansion for Xaibe village alone. We have spoken to the Deputy Prime Minister and he has assured us that their needs to be a clear message given to Xiabe and the entire country. For us herein Xaibe this is not the last expansion that we are going to do. If need arrives just as in every community we will make sure that the government identifies the piece of land so that the people in the area who have not yet attained a piece of land can do so in the future when the time present itself for that.”

Early Morning Robbery
Orange Walk Police continue their investigations into an early hour robbery that occurred in Trial Farm Village in the wee hours of Saturday, February 2nd. Police received the report on Saturday morning, but for some odd reason, which we won’t speculate on at this moment, the information was released until this morning in the Belize Police Department’s daily media sitrep. According to the report, sometime around 3:45 of Saturday morning, sixty-four year old Jose Ernesto Garcia of a San Martin Street address in Trial Farm Village went to his business to open it for the day. When Garcia entered his establishment, he made his way to the back of the counter where he was quickly detained by an individual that placed a firearm to his neck. Seconds after he was stopped with a gun to his neck, another individual jumped over the counter with a knife and placed it to his stomach. Both men demanding money of which Garcia quickly complied with. He handed the two men his wallet which contained $920 Belize dollars, $550 Mexican Pesos and personal documents. The armed men demanded Garcia hand over more to them and so Garcia had his gold chain snatched from around his neck. The chain is valued at $4,000 Belize dollars. According to Garcia’s statement to the police, both men wore long sleeved shirts and masks on their faces which made it difficult for him to identify any visible traits as the room was also dark. Police continue their investigation and both robbers are still at large.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Successful fundraiser for The Caye Caulker Animal Shelter
The February 2nd. fundraiser for The Caye Caulker Animal Shelter, hosted by the Barrier Reef Sports Bar, met its goal. After serving 32 plates of food for a $20 dollar donation each, receiving an additional $205 donation, and handing out tickets for the raffle for a $5 dollar donation each, volunteers were able to raise a total of $860. The raffle was made possible thanks to the generous donation of the fundraiser’s sponsors through gift certificates. The money raised will be used to feed 20 cats, five dogs and three iguanas at the shelter located on Avenida Hicaco, between Rainbow Hotel and Payless Grocery Store. The shelter is run by Kenny Samson and anyone is welcome to visit and get to meet his four-legged family first hand. For progress on how donations will help feed and care for the cats, dogs and iguanas, please follow the Facebook page “The Caye Caulker Animal Shelter.”

The Belize Times

THE MAD KING – Gang Minister Mark King charged for assaulting and threatening a Police Officer
The Princess Hotel and Casino’s 10th Anniversary celebration held on Monday, January 4th, drew a packed crowd of local and tourist partygoers who went to enjoy some of Belize’s top entertainers such as Supa G and the Gilharry 7 Band. But instead, they were treated to an episode of terror and panic when UDP Minister of Gangs Mark King and his entourage got into a physical and near deadly confrontation with the casino’s security guards. This morning King was escorted to the Corozal Magistrate’s Court and arraigned for three criminal charges. he was given bail of $4,000 and ordered to return to court on April 16. On Wednesday afternoon, Corozal Police charged the first-time UDP Lake Independence politician with Aggravated Assault, Threatening Words and Disorderly Conduct after Police Corporal Nelson Ramos reported that King turned violent on him as he carried out his job to maintain law and order.

No Salary Increase! – Barrow wants Unions to Imagine the Possibilities
Prime Minister Dean Barrow rejected the Unions’ request for a salary increase for teachers and public officers for this year when they met inside the Cabinet room in Belmopan last week Friday, February 1st. This is ...

The Opposition People’s United Party has described Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s response to King’s lawless behaviour as “feeble” and a “slap on the wrist”, and has called on Barrow to remove King from office immediately. Barrow has ...

The Facts As They Are
By G. Michael Reid Aside from being published in the BELIZE TIMES, I have a few internet lists and forums to which I post my articles. I get feedback; some folks agree and some folks disagree. Such is the nature of the game. I always enjoy hearing from my readers whichever ...

The moral squalor and crime-ridden sink hole in which our country Belize finds itself today is unprecedented in the thirty one years of the post-independence era. We now have a Minister of State in the Barrow government with special responsibility for gangs who himself behaves like the leader of a criminal gang. At around 3 am in the early hours of Tuesday morning Mark King and some of his fellow gang members including one Diego Witz were involved in a criminal rampage at the Princess Casino in the Corozal Free Zone. The place was trashed. The police were called to quell the drunken brawl. Minister King reportedly objected and tried to prevent the police from taking Witz from the premises into their police vehicle. A firearm was drawn and shots fired. When the dust settled, Witz was arrested and later charged in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court. Minister King was not however detained. He was granted a police bail and served with a summons charging him with aggravated assault of a police officer, disorderly conduct and use of threatening words. The Cabinet had its usual Tuesday meeting. A press release was issued. King was suspended from his ministerial duties for three months. On Wednesday morning the Prime Minister was on the radio, defending his Minister as “an extremely self-contained” person who deserved “a second chance”. In any self-respecting civilized country, a Minister behaving in such unruly violent behavior defying the police in their enforcement of the law, would have been called upon to resign, failing which he would have been removed permanently. ...

Wesley girls bomb Excelsior 3-1 in GM2
The Wesley College girls are No. 1 entering the high school football finals, after defeating Excelsior High School 3-1 in Game 2 of the playoffs. Goals were scored by Kimberly Garcia, Imane McKenzie and Shanice Neal. Wesley had also won Game 1, 2-1 at the M.C.C. Grounds on Friday. The unexpected withdrawal of the No. 2 seed Ladyville Technical High School girls from the playoffs allowed the Excelsior girls to advance to the playoffs. Wesley’s goalie was surprised by a long shot from outside that beat her to give the Excelsior girls a 1-0 lead up to the half. Wesley’s Erica Milligan and Elisha Bernardez led a furious counterattack, and Erica Milligan soon equalized and Elisha Bernardez scored the 2nd winning goal and the Excelsior girls never recovered. ...

Belize Bank Bulldogs win annual canoe race
The Belize Bank Bulldogs Armin Lopez, Amado Cruz and Daniel Cruz won Saturday morning’s annual Haulover to Burrell Boom to Manatee Lookout canoe race organized by the Belize Canoe Association as a warm-up for the 14th ...

Female National Football Team prepares for International Matches
Belize’s Female Football National Team is in training for a series of international matches scheduled for mid-February and March. 24 athletes have been called by the Football Federation of Belize to try-out for the national squad that will play international friendlies in Merida, Yucatan on February 15th and then the official in San Jose, Costa Rica from March 3 to 17. The BELIZE TIMES wishes out national team the greatest success as they represent the jewel ...

$540,000 for Sugar Roads Vanishes
After months of pleading to Central Government for urgent repairs to devastated sugar roads, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association had to travel to Belmopan to twist the Prime Minister’s arms and demand assistance with road rehabilitation in order for the 2012-2013 crop to commence. The Association learnt that over half a million dollars were eventually allocated for sugar road repairs for both Orange Walk and Corozal District. But like with everything, it seems the UDP found a way to hustle. Inside sources indicate that a certain Minister pushed for his supporter to be awarded with the contract, presumably to have the favour returned in the form of support in an upcoming UDP convention for Deputy Leader. In December 2012 the company owned by the UDP crony was awarded the contract. This UDP crony is a failed candidate who ran against the Hon John Briceño in Orange Walk Central and has now been named as Caretaker of the constituency. ...

Two Murders in 12 Hours
The city went into panic on Monday January 4th when two residents were murdered in shootings that occurred within eleven hours from each other. 17 year old high school student Eddie Soriano ...

LIFE GETS WORSE This is a terrible indictment and a failure of leadership and Government. It is said that figures don’t lie. The Statistical Institute has released some information on the key economic indicators. Unemployment has not gone down, not by an inch or a single person. Instead it has reached the highest levels ...

Border Dispute
A couple years ago, our Standard 6 teacher gave us a task to build some projects. My good friend and I decided to go to a popular company in Belize and get a few phones and different internal parts such as the wires, etc for our assignment. Both of us ...

In my perspective – Stand for something!
by Rayford Young In the early 1970s, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward broke the Watergate story for The Washington Post and set the standard for modern investigative reporting. Their investigations into the scandal of the Nixon administration brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon. I remember these two young reporters as if ...

Banks’ Fire Sale Auctions – Shooting themselves in the leg
The banks in Belize are the largest advertisers in the weekly newspapers....promoting the auction of peoples’ hard earned assets....avoiding acknowledgment of Belize’s depressed economy....and the need to refinance most sectors of a structurally, increasingly uncompetitive economy....which is the primary cause of decline in real incomes for individuals and ...

Big money politics
UDP inside sources tell the BELIZE TIMES that they expect anywhere between one million to two million dollars to be spent in the upcoming convention for Deputy Leader. “Money will be rolling,” said the insider. But why will so much money be involved in an inter-party election that ...

JP Association condemns actions of Mark King
The Association of Justices of the Peace & Commissioners of the Supreme Court condemns the behavior of the Hon. Mark King. Mr. King is a Justice of the Peace who was appointed through the association. The Association believes that as a Justice of the Peace Mr. King ...

Area Representatives and Ministers… for whom?
Queen Square, Mesopotamia, Collet and Port Loyola are four divisions on the Southside that voted red in the last general election. In those elections the victorious candidates were Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Michael Finnegan, Patrick Faber, and Anthony “Boots” Martinez. I contested the Port Loyola Division and ...

Of this and that…
RACIST BELIZE? February is Black History Month. It is celebrated because of blacks in the USA. Black people celebrate the dignity of their culture. The power structure is wicked. February is the shortest month. That is the month they gave blacks. They took the rest of months. What a thing. The UDP ...

Four Weeks Later, and still nothing…
On the serene morning of Tuesday 8th January, 2013, the residents of Dean and George Streets awoke and busied themselves as is their daily routine. The stillness in the air (which in retrospect now should have been a foreboding of things to come) was abruptly ended with ...

Racist Barrow?
A nasty racial tension is brewing in the United Democratic Party. The cause is Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s remarks on national television that he supports Gaspar Vega in the January 17th convention for UDP Deputy Prime ...

Drug Racket in Health Ministry?
There are strong allegations coming from a songbird in the Ministry of Health, and independently backed-up by two members of the Belize Medical and Dental Association (BMDA), that some very senior officials in that Ministry are moonlighting in a drug racket, in which they are raking in thousands, if not millions of dollars. Our Ministry of Health source says that this high-level hustle began recently after the Inter-American Bank (IDB) provided money to the Ministry of Health, through a bi-lateral agreement between the IDB and the Government of Belize, to fund a Health Information and Management System. This system includes programmed assistance in the monitoring, procurement and distribution of pharmaceuticals throughout the government-run national health services, including hospitals and clinics. This includes the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize City. This hospital, about two years ago, was engulfed in a similar drug procurement racket involving cronies of the UDP government, and more specifically, Cabinet Ministers. It was a doctor and whistle blower, who is also a member of the BMDA that blew the lid on the mismanagement and corruption at this hospital. This stink embarrassed the government and forced the Prime Minister to appoint a Commission of Inquiry. ...

PUP Calls for Mark King’s Removal
The People’s United Party (PUP) voices its concern over the gravity of the unlawful behaviour of the Minister of State, Mark King and the feeble response of the Prime Minister to Minister King’s conduct. Following a criminal altercation that took place at the Princess Casino in the Corozal Free ...

PUP continues to assist family of slain cane farmer
PUP Leaders gathered in San Victor today for a special occasion; to continue respecting the life and sacrifice of cane farmer Atanascio Guttierez, who was killed by security forces during a cane farmers’ protest at the BSI Tower Hill entrance on February 2, 2009. To pay tribute, PUP leaders Hon. Florencio Marin Jr, Hon. Ramiro Ramirez, Hon. Jose Abelardo Mai and Hon. Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez visited Atanascio’s widow and family in San Victor Village.

Remembering Thomas Francis Martinez
Dear Editor, I am very happy that in your Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 edition you chose to highlight the life of one of Belize’s most respect but least known Union leaders – Thomas Francis Martinez. I would appreciate the opportunity to share with your readers what was my personal remembrance of Tom with whom I had the privilege of working. Thomas known to a lot of us a “Tom” served the General Workers Union (GWU) in various capacities and later as the President up until the time of his retirement from trade unionism. Among some of his many achievements were seeing through the amalgamation of two fragmented unions to become the largest and most active and progressive unions in the history of Belize, in the 70s and into the 80s. Tom was a small man in structure and build, but when it came to championing workers’ rights, he was tall and fearless. He was deeply involved in the workers’ struggle no matter if it was the sugar industry, the rice industry, citrus and even Belize Electricity Board. Despite the setbacks caused by a lack of resources, Tom never relented. His fight for social justice accomplished many positive changes in the trade rules, many of which are being eroded today. I consider Tom as a powerful giant in unionism. We owe him respect and gratitude for his selfless work. We thank his family too for supporting him as he devoted time to the country. I am personally grateful for the humility, instructions, mentoring and guidance given to me. ...

Belizean-American Dr. Angela Banner-Joseph writes on crime and violence
Dear Editor, Each day in Belize, we experience a large number of crimes that seriously affect our community. There is no doubt that Belize is becoming more violent. We need to create real-world strategies to strategically address the problems that plague our community and families. It saddens me that the criminal offenses ...


Ultimate Hot Wheels
Some of the cars I see in San Pedro remind me of Hot Wheels racers as you will see in my pictures below. For me it is a reminder that life in Belize is not the same as it was back in Canada. Seeing Hot Wheels cars around town always puts me in a good mood, similar to how I think living in a tropical climate and being a 10 minute walk from the Caribbean Sea is better than Prozac. I was planning to do this post when I got home last night but tv and a program on Nat Geo about Egypt and King Tut secrets caught our attention and I never made it back to my laptop. Here are my TGIF moments from yesterday: - Surprise of our house guest Dennis returning from the mainland early because he had to get his passport stamped at Immigration. - Getting a nice scalp massage at CG Esthetic when I went to get my hair done.

6 Photographs That Prove Belize is Pretty Awesome
Here are some of our favorite photos that prove Belize is pretty awesome for a vacation destination. The Belize Jaguars can be found throughout Belize in the lowland forests and along the coasts. According to the Belize Zoo Director, Adult jaguars are solitary and only come together for a short time to breed. We selected this photo because we believe that Jaguars are one of the most beautiful creatures to see in Belize. Caracol ( the snail in Spanish) is an important Maya site in western Belize and is located deep within the Chiquibul Nature Reserve. According to Jaime Awe, the Director of Archaeology in Belize, Caracol was the center of one of the largest Maya kingdoms in Mesoamerica and up to now, it contains the extant remains of thousands of structures. The reason why we selected this photo is because historically, Caracol has a very deep and interesting history and is a must see attraction in Belize. Rio On Pools are located on the road to Caracol Archeological Site and features a wide, open expanse of pine forest, and small waterfalls that cascade over large granite rocks, ending in round pools connected by natural waterslides. The reason why we selected this photo is because these pools and waterfalls are situated in a scenery not common in Belize.

What’s The World Famous Chicken Drop?
Chicken security, bring me my CHICKEN! That’s a sentence that only makes sense if you’re in a hyperbolic parallel universe or in San Pedro, Belize. San Pedro has made a fun tradition of gambling on chicken poop. Yes… you bet on a spot where you hope the chicken will poop and win you some money. $100 BZD to be exact. The game, which is hosted every Thursday starting at 7:00pm at Wahoo’s Lounge, looks almost like a bingo game without the golden age crowd and with a lot more booze. As a player, you bet on a number between 1 and 100, and the rest is up to the chicken. All you have to is cheer and lure the chicken to “drop” on your number. Now, here’s how the game goes…

I believe in MIRACLES!
It is not often that you genuinely believe that you have witnessed something short of a miracle but I feel that this week has been one of those instances. One of Caye Caulker’s greatest characters, Ras Creek (Bert Nicholas) fell into a coma last Saturday. He had been complaining of headaches and had not moved out of bed for three days and by Saturday his girlfriend realized something was far from correct. Creek was moved to the hospital where it was discovered he had not one but two blood clots on his brain and he was operated on. Doctors removed the clots successfully but felt that his prognosis was not good due to the injury and they worried that he perhaps would at least be disabled or even die. On Wednesday morning the Doctors decided to ‘wake’ him up and by the afternoon he was singing and making jokes in the hospital bed!! Improvements have been so speedy that Doctors are now confident that Creek will have a full recovery!! For me, this is a miracle – this and coupled with the amazing strength and resilience this true champion, pulled Creek from a desperate situation back to life!!! Or perhaps it was the power of prayer – Creek rightly so (due to his enormous heart and his impossibly infectious character) is a minor celebrity and is loved all over the world. The outpouring of international love that were willing him back to health was truly for that of a superstar – truly amazing! He and his rasta boat is synonymous with Caye Caulker and life without here would not be the same. We do not need to consider life without Ras Creek because as of today he is out of intensive care and on the long road to recovery – and that I feel is a miracle!!

Perfect Day
As has become the Saturday routine for me since the beginning of last August, I spent the greater part of the morning watching football. Started off with ESPN watching Spurs get the three points (ouch) by beating Newcastle United. This was followed, with a channel switch to Fox Soccer, at 9 am by watching Arsenal (with ten men for most of the second half) beat Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. A perfect start to the day (well for me at least). After taking care of one or two chores – I don’t just sit around watching football all day – Rose and I went to go look and see what was going on at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and we got there around 2 pm. Walking from the road to the house we could see that the guys had been making good use of the hoist to move a load of concrete blocks upto the First Floor.

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Saturdy n' Julie's Kitchin
T' photo above is mah kitchin, but I don’t want t'ell y'all about mah kitchin today. I want t' reminisce about Saturdy n' mah Mom’s trayler wen I wuz growin up. Saturdays were rigidlee set as t'Mom’s ordr uf thangs and ‘Saturdy wurk’ fallerd t'same routine week aftr week, year aftr year! Mos Mennonite homes would have bee much t'same. Saturdy wuz always a preparashun day with Sundy n' mind. T' trayler needed t'be cleend.. top t'bott'm. Everthang that could be, wuz dusted includin t'baseboards. I remembr t'baseboards bein one uf mah furst cheres as a youngn and I remembr crawlin' roun on mah hands and knees makin shure thay were all a'loose uf dust and ever uther week washed. Floers were scrubbed , and ever uther Saturdy were also waxed and polished. Everthang wuz tidied and put away. Beds were stripped and changd, ever uther week, reddy fer Mundy warsh day.

International Sources

The 2013 Sony World Photography Awards
The Sony World Photography Awards, an annual competition hosted by the World Photography Organisation, has recently announced its shortlist of winners. This year's contest attracted more than 122,000 entries from 170 countries. The photographs are being judged in six different competition categories, including Professional, Open, and Student Focus. The organizers have been kind enough to share some of their shortlisted images with In Focus, gathered below. Winners are scheduled to be announced in March and April. [40 photos]

Mount Mercy MBA students apply business lessons in Belize
Group partnered with local merchants, assisted with development strategy. A group of Mount Mercy University students last month partnered with small entrepreneurs in Belize and found that good business practices are often universal — what works for the largest operations can be translated to a mom-and-pop shop. “For us, it was very neat to see how the things that we learn when we talk to corporations … can be brought down to a small company that had basically just this man and his wife,” said Jesse Weyant, a Mount Mercy master of business administration student from Center Point. “It’s neat to see that the same things apply, just on a little smaller scale.” Bob Walker, associate professor and business department chairman, and Celina Peerman, adjunct professor of the MBA program, led the trip, taking 16 MBA students for a week in Punta Gorda, Belize, in January. The students partnered with small businesses in the community of about 5,500 people. The five businesses included a drum school, a gift shop and an Internet cafe. Weyant and two other MBA students on her team helped a small organic dried fruit business. The owner wanted to seek investors and begin exporting his fruit to Guatemala and the United States. But the students helped him see that he was overlooking his local market, team member Bob Heubner said. By the time the team left when their week was up, the business owner had sold out of his inventory. “We explained to him how it would be easier to focus on the local market, build his production process as efficiently as he could, then we built costing spreadsheets to help him determine his costs and prices,” said Heubner of Springville. “Based on our recommendations he actually went out and hired a person to help him ramp up production, to get sales and marketing in the local areas.” Another student team helped owner Emmeth Young with his Maroon Creole Drum School. The business was still organizing and unpacking after a move from a different town, and many of the former advertising and online efforts had fallen by the wayside. Young gives drum lessons but also sells homemade drums at his wife’s cafe, which was a business paired with a different MBA team. “That’s a classic business problem — you’ve got to have a sign,” said MBA student John Schroeder of Cedar Rapids. “He just had the drums kind of scattered around the cafe, some of them were priced and some of them weren’t. “Tourists would come in and didn’t understand.” So the students helped reorganize the drum display, show better pricing and helped with a logo and signs. Within the week, Young sold five drums, an amount it typically took him a month to sell, Schroeder noted. They also recommended he make a portfolio so interested customers could see what drums he has in stock.

VIDEO: The Science of Caves from’s “New World, New Millennium”’s Kat Lonsdorf visits Rio Frio Cave in Belize to learn how caves are formed.

VIDEO: Composting & Organic Farming from’s “New World, New Millennium”’s Kat Lonsdorf visits Chaa Creek to learn about organic farming and composting.

The World Didn’t End: Maya in Belize
“It looks fake,” says the Canadian, peering through his sunglasses at a reptilian hump in the distance. Our paint-flecked boat – Mrs. Cristina – glides closer, nosing marshy reeds. Captain Ignacio cuts the engine, and water ripples gently over the ridged torso, which remains motionless. “Yeah, it’s just a piece of driftwood,” says the New Yorker, handing the binoculars over. And with that, the baby crocodile pushes off with a muscular thrust of its tail, leaving a solitary, expanding water ring in its wake. It’s a prescient sign – we’re floating down the New River to the Maya site of Lamanai, whose name comes from “submerged crocodile.” Like many of Belize’s Maya ruins, Lamanai lies deep in the jungle – but it also overlooks the New River Lagoon, so most visitors journey here on a riverboat from Orange Walk, just as we were doing. The river waters are eerily placid, but the jungle along its banks are not: Howler moneys scamper overhead, emitting guttural howls, while a great blue heron extends its long neck, and flaps into the sky. As we float near a strange black cluster quivering on a tree branch, the swarm disbands, and hundreds of bats fly off every which way. An old barge, heavy in the water with its load of molasses, slowly drifts past us. On the deck sit three sun-browned beefy locals in sunglasses who raise their hands in unison. Around a bend, in the distance, lies the Dutch Mennonite settlement of Shipyard. It’s both a strange and beautiful image: Men in wide-brim hats and women in ankle-length dresses, hoeing the soil and hanging up laundry, against the tropical backdrop Belize.

Take Action–Belize: Our Life, Our Lands — Respect Maya Land Rights
In southern Belize, Sarstoon Temash National Park holds within its 42,000 acres the most pristine rainforest in the country. Its primary forests have been attributed by National Geographic as remnants of the ancient Maya’s agroforestry systems, and today continue to be sustainably maintained by the Maya peoples of Southern Belize. The Supreme Court of Belize ruled in 2007 and again in 2010 that the Maya who have ancestrally cared for these forests shall hold the legal titles to these lands. This court ruling, along with national and international laws, mandates that Indigenous Peoples must give their Free, Prior and Informed Consentbefore any development project that may affect them. But that right has been trampled on again and again by the Texas-based oil company US Capital Energy, which received a concession from the Belize government to extract oil in Southern Belize beginning in 2001. In further flagrant violation of the Maya land rights under national law, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and recommendations by the Inter American Human Rights Commission, the government has now granted the oil company permits to move to the second phase of exploratory drilling in the park and on Indigenous territories. US Capital Energy has so far cut over 200 miles of seismic trails for oil exploration in the national park and on communities’ traditional lands, also causing forest fires destroying 400 acres, including the unique ecosystem of the sphagnum moss, the last of its kind in Central America.

Adopt a Jaguar
Once ranging from the southwestern United States to northern Argentina, jaguars currently inhabit Central and South America, and can be found in wet and dry forests, savannahs and shrub lands. These versatile carnivores feed on medium and large sized mammals, reptiles and birds. The third largest cat in the world, jaguars may weigh more than 300 pounds and are strong swimmers and climbers. Habitat loss and retaliatory killing continue to threaten the survival of the species.

February 9, 2013


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Specials and Events

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

Controversy continues over Guatemala’s INGUAT map claiming Belize
Guatemala-Tourism-Publication-Map-2The story of Guatemala’s territorial claim over Belize is only getting bigger. After The San Pedro Sun story of that country’s tourism publication INGUAT featuring Belize as a part of Guatemala hit the web, there is even more to report. The San Pedro Sun can confirm that Tourism Minister of Belize, Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. was gifted a signed copy of the publication, and upon being notified of the offending map, has officially written his Guatemalan counterpart. The matter of the map has been brought up at a Cabinet meeting, and it was agreed that a formal complaint be launched at the next SICA level ministerial meeting. While that venue has not been determined, Heredia is officially filing a complaint/protest at the next meeting scheduled within the next few months.

Alleged police brutality lands popular Caye Caulker Tour Guide in critical condition
The Professional Standard Branch Unit of the Police Department has launched an internal investigation into an alleged case of police brutality on the island of Caye Caulker. Well-known tour guide, Bert Nicholas, also known as “Ras Creek”, remains in a critical condition at the Intensive Care Unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH). It is alleged that his injuries came about after a January 11th confrontation with police that resulted in several head injuries on Nicholas. The injuries went unnoticed until Thursday, January 31st when he began complaining of severe headaches. His common law wife Ann Sanson told The San Pedro Sun that Nicholas was onboard his boat, Heritage Cruze 2 and was brought in from the Caye Caulker Shark Ray Channel to a dock on the island by officers. Sanson went on to say that when Nicholas and his tourists were brought to the dock, a confrontation with members of Tourism Police Unit erupted, eventually leading to the police executing a beating on Nicholas. “He took out a tour around the island because it was one of the tourist’s birthday…The tourism police spotted them on the front dock and that is when he was beaten and taken to jail. He was beaten to the head and lips. He stayed two days in jail and then the police officers decided to take him to court on Tuesday (January 15th). He was not taken to a medical doctor he was just taken to jail… He never did tell me he was hit on his head. It was until Wednesday (January 30th) that he began complaining of a bad headache and that is when he said he was hit on the head,” said Sanson. She explained that the following day Nicholas’ headache got worse to the point that he became unconscious and by Saturday he had to be airlifted to Belize City for medical attention.

2012: A Remarkable Year for Belize’s Tourism Industry
2012 was an exceptional year for Belize’s Tourism Industry, particularly for overnight tourism. Overnight arrivals saw an overall 10.7% increase, in comparison to 2011 arrivals. In 2012, there were 26,872 more visitors than in 2011, recording 277,135 visitors for the entire year. The American market made up 63.7% of this total, while Canadians made up 8.7%. Airport arrivals saw a 16.3% increase in 2012, having 211,747 tourists arriving at the Philip Goldson International Airport; therefore, making up 76.4% of the total overnight arrivals. The total airport arrivals for 2012 were 211,747. Reflecting the overnight arrivals, airport arrivals were at its highest in March, with 25,982 visitors, and December followed with 23,312 visitors.

Looking back at Carnaval, through the eyes of Mrs. Tomasita Gomez
Tomasita Gomez“Carnaval is not really carnaval without the painting,” said the 84 year old Tomasita Reymunda Guerrero de Gomez on a warm Monday, January 4th afternoon as she sat on her couch in her living room. Señora Tomasita was reminiscing on her childhood and teenage days in the fishing community, back when the island had not more than 500 residents altogether. “There were only two roads and the beach front. The fishing community was from the primary school to near the community cemetery. Our yards were larger and our homes, mostly huts, were far apart and the use of firewood was common and its smoke formed a thick blackness on the pots,” said Mrs. Tomasita, as she explained that with the influx of people to the island, the fishing community slowly began changing, growing, developing and so did the traditions of the island.Carnaval-6 With a very clear and accurate memory of various events on the island, Mrs. Tomasita recalled the days that the island would host celebrations unique to the island; those that were a part of the settlement since the days of her great grandparents. One such event was the island’s carnaval celebration – one that Mrs. Tomasita said the island looked forward since it brought “alegria en el corazon” (joy to heart) of the children, adolescent and even the grown adults. “It was a festivity of painting that children and adults looked forward to. The parents would give their kids powder to go and paint and they would say to us ‘here go paint dad, go paint your brothers’ and it’s something that became a part of us. We all used to paint each other,” said a very cheerful Tomasita as she flashed back with a smile. She remembered the instances when, as teenagers, they would run through the outdoors kitchen huts to paint their peers.

Teachers without Borders work at island schools
Teachers-Without-Borders-5The Masters of Arts in Teaching Program at Christopher Newport University, located in Newport News, Virginia, USA is a rigorous program that serves to educate future teachers. One of the courses that the University offers is a trip to Ambergris Caye, Belize to engage in a multicultural teaching experience for two weeks. During our stay we were assigned to three different schools: San Pedro Roman Catholic School, Holy Cross Primary Anglican and San Pedro High School. At these three schools we were to observe how class was conducted as well as bring our own techniques and incorporate them into lessons. Some of the things that we saw when we arrived were the eagerness of the teachers to receive new ideas and learn from us. They asked us ways of teaching, ways to involve the students and ways to be a better teacher. The children were also very receptive of us being there. They were energetic and truly interested in learning.

Ambergris Today

Belize Boasts Remarkable Year for Tourism Industry 2012
The Belize Tourism Board has just released statistics for the country’s tourism arrivals for the year 2012 and is boasting an exceptional year for Belize’s Tourism Industry, particularly for overnight tourism. With their new Tourism Action Plan in full force and the launch the country’s identity, including a new logo and look, Belize is looking forward to a promising year for tourim in Belize. Overnight arrivals saw an overall 10.7% increase, in comparison to 2011 arrivals. In 2012, there were 26,872 more visitors than in 2011, recording 277,135 visitors for the entire year. The American market made up 63.7% of this total, while Canadians made up 8.7%.

Video Pick: Tommy Bahama Brand Promotes Belize
It was the summer of 2012 when clothing line Tommy Bahama came to Belize and filmed short promotional videos for the company. Here are two video we found on Tommy Bahama’s YouTube page. “Filmed on the beaches of Belize”, as they were described; they are two great clips that show Belize through the eyes of Tommy Bahama. Take a look:

Belizean Cuisine Amuse-bouche at Portofino Restaurant
Portofino Restaurant on Ambergris Caye Highlights Belize Ingredients with Signature Amuse-bouche It’s called an Amuse-bouche (pronounced a,myz?bush) and probably not too many people in Belize are familiar with it because it is typically done at finer restaurants in France and other parts of Europe. They are similar to hors d’oeuvres but smaller in portion and can be described as more whimsical and unique. One such restaurant on Ambergris Caye, Belize that is introducing amuse-bouche to the country is Portofino Restaurant, which has just recently redesigned its menu and introduced new techniques and products. The appetitive is meant to arouse the sense of taste with intense and distinct flavors. It’s typically the chef’s complimentary welcome and designed to entertain your mouth as a preview to the menu items to come. The Amuse-buoche changes from a day to day basis depending on the specialty of the evening and the chef’s creative flow. Before our evening meal at Portofino Restaurant, we were served the ‘Taste of Belize’ amuse-bouche that consisted of a shot of watermelon, Belize’s Marie Sharp habanero sauce, coconut cream and lime zest. Fresh Belizean flavors with the coolness of the watermelon and coconut cream balancing the sharp habanero sauce. It was definitely the perfect beginning to a wonderful dining experience at Portofino.

Misc Belizean Sources

Grand Caribe Belize Resort and Condominiums Recognized as One of the Top 10 Resorts in Central America
Awards are in season at TripAdvisor and Grand Caribe Belize Resort and Condominiums is proud to announce that they have nabbed a spot on TripAdvisor's list of Top 10 Resorts in Central America. Over the past 13 years, TripAdvisor has established itself as the authority on travel information all over the world. With its current user-base of 100 million travelers, and it’s business listings numbering about half a million hotels and half a million restaurants, it is only natural that their member reviews carry immense weight and help millions of travelers plan great vacations each year. Because the results are entirely user-generated, the site has become the most trusted source of insight into travel destinations and accommodations on the planet. Born out of the need for sites that feature authentic user reviews, TripAdvisor aggregates the reviews of its millions of members to determine finalists for its highly prestigious Traveler’s Choice Awards. Grand Caribe’s very first TripAdvisor review was a five star review on July 13, 2010. With 135 traveler reviews to date, Grand Caribe has rapidly climbed among the ranks of top resorts within Belize and all of Central America to finish among the Top 10 – quite an impressive achievement.

New World chief Kelleher still confident of Belize oil discovery
New World Oil & Gas (LON:NEW) chief executive Bill Kelleher remains confident that the company will discover oil within its Belize acreage. The shares plummeted last week as the Blue Creek 2 well was determined to be non-commercial. The well did, however, confirm that an active hydrocarbon system exists within the acreage, and live oil shows were measured in both the Y3 and Hillbank reservoir targets. This was not enough to prevent a sharp drop for the New World shares, which at one stage had halved in value, but Kelleher remains undeterred. “I’m not hanging my head, in fact I’m encouraged,” he said in a call with Proactive Investors. “I’m incredibly positive [about the project]. We now know that oil has moved through this area, and we know it has accumulated in massive amounts – I’m talking about hundreds of millions of barrels. “And I believe it is just a matter of time before we crack the code on locating traps, and identifying the differences [in our data] between the sealed and the breached traps. “We’ve learned a lot, and the key thing to take away from this result is that we will make a discovery and we will be producing oil - so sit tight.” The problem with the Blue Creek prospect was that the ‘trap’ - the geological structure that would have contained the hydrocarbons was breached, likely as a result of late tectonic activity.

Ramon's Village Resort "Facebook Give-A-Way"

Treat Head Lice in Children
Mami Tree (Pouteria sapota) The Mami tree bears fruits that have a big seed in the center of each. The seed is used to treat head lice in children. Grind the seed and place in a bucket of water, store it and later wash the child's hair with the solution.

Mardi Gras Today on Burns
Tonight, Serendib will be having their Mardi Gras celebration on Burns avenue. There will be some great live music, food, beads, and beer. See you there. Thanks, Serendib!

Midas All White Pool Party
Midas Resort is having their Pre-Valentines Day All White pool party tonight. They have quite a line up: Mistah Geeh, Black Chiney, Tagg International, DJ Gilla, and many more.

King of Diamonds Birthday Bash Pictures
DJ Fingaz had his King of Diamonds birthday bash at Club Next. Once again, Danny Chung was there to get all the great pictures. Caribbean Coolers sponsored this bash too. They have got to get those into stores.

John Paul II JC Launch Promo
Cayo is getting another junior college, in Benque, at Mount Carmel. The John Paul II Junior College is having their official launch tomorrow evening. Stop by MCHS to find out about their Associates degree programs. They have an epic promo video out for the occasion. Well done! "Soon to be open John Paul II Junior College here in our hometown. This formation will produce free persons who, because they possess the intellectual, moral, and theological virtues, as well as professional competency, can direct themselves to their proper end of attaining true happiness and thus contribute effectively to the authentic good of humanity. Video courtesy of Mr David Brokke"

Channel 7

Hon. King And The Chaos He Caused
Last night, 7news showed you exclusive video of Mark King's brawl at the border. This followed the tantrum he is reported to have thrown in the Princess Casino at the border. At the Princess, he is reported to have confronted Casino staff and security, but the border is where he got into it with police. And we don't have to say allegedly in this case because we have the video which shows him wrestling with a police officer. Last night we got that amateur cell phone video just before the news; today, we've had more time to analyses and dissect it. Daniel Ortiz did that this morning - and here's his play by play of that confrontation:

Unemployment Up to 16%
Unemployment went up from 14.4% in April of 2012 to 16.1% in September of 2012. That 1.7% jump represents over two thousand persons. That's the finding of a national labour force survey was conducted in September, 2012. The statistical institute of Belize says that the jump is mostly attributable to downturns in tourism, citrus and sugar industries as well as to an influx of recent graduates into the job market. The Cayo and Corozal Districts have the highest unemployment rates and Maya's have the highest unemployment rate. The unemployment rate for males went up from 9.1 percent in April to 11.9 percent in September while the rate for females remained constant at an alarming 22.4 percent. Young people, those between the ages of 14 and 24 have the highest unemployment rate at 30% - which is almost double the national unemployment rate of 16.1%. It's highest in Cayo where 33.5% of youths are unemployed.

Director Of Immigration Departs Was She Forced Out?
Director Of the Immigration Department Ruth Meighan is director no more. Meighan had her farewell party this afternoon at Immigration Headquarters in Belmopan. Her term came to an abrupt end after Cabinet took a decision on Tuesday to transfer her to the vacant post of Finance Undersecretary. Today we asked Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse whether she was moved because she could not get along with Minister of State Elvin Penner. He told us quote, that "whatever exists between the minister of state and Ms Meighan was not the deciding factor." He said the fact is that there was a senior post open at the Ministry of Finance for which she was a fit. Hulse added that he hates to lose Meighan with whom he had worked on upgrading passport regulations. We also asked whether five visas recently discovered missing at the Westenr border had anything to do with her departure - and he said absolutely not.

GSU Recovers Items Stolen In Home Cleanout
Yesterday police reported that on Tuesday thieves burglarized the home of a 26year old Customs Officer of Almond Hill Estate, in Western Paradise Village. They stole an assortment of electronic items, jewelry, cash, personal documents and household items all valued at $35,180.00 dollars. Well, the Gang Suppression Unit say they have 4 men from the PIV gang arrested for that burglary. 20 year-old Lloyd Michael Parchue, 22 year-old Cilo Leroy Cherrington, 22 year-old Kareem Shakeem Yorke, and a 16 year-old male student were found in a home on Cannondale Drive in the St. Martin's area on Tuesday - the same day as the burglary.

Was Fire At NYCC Arson?
Right now, officials at the National Youth Cadet Corps are trying to determine the value of the damages caused by a fire which completely destroyed a building on their compound at around 7 p.m. last night. Although the youths who go to this facility are often troubled, the manager told 7News this evening that they had nothing to do with this fire. Here's how he described the blaze: William Swan, Manager - National Youth Cadet Services Corps "I was in the southern part of Belize, in PG coming back to Cadet Corps yesterday evening when I got a call from one of my night staff that one of the store rooms is on fire. I immediately told him to call the fire department and the police and he told me that had already done that which was good. On my return to the compound I found the building completely destroyed and I started a small investigation which you know I will leave it to the police to determine what is the cause. I will not point any fingers, but I have some of the cadets who saw two guys running from behind the building onto the village. We have about three cadets who said that they recognize who the guy is. I will not call names nor will I get involve at this moment, let the police take the course of doing their investigation."

No Change In Case For George Street Mass Murder
It's been almost a month since police have given the public an update on the mass murder on Dean Street. Today, at a handing over ceremony which we'll tell you about shortly, Officer Commanding Eastern Division Miguel Segura explained that there's nothing new to report. Miguel Segura, Officer Commanding Eastern Division "As far as I know the investigation Mr. Dawson has it. In fact we had a foreign British fellow who had a look at it but I am not in a position to say if they had made any developments because what we look in any investigation is who did it. There are many challenges when we look at the area because any investigation that we do at the initial stage (what I called the golden hour) is canvasing witnesses and there is deem way to prove it. Some of these are not forthcoming and I work within the frame of the law. I think at the right time there should be an opportunity that the investigator himself could then give you the media a proper update."

The media caught Segura as he was receiving a donation from the US government through its Central American Regional Security Initiative. Ten brand-new fully compact motorcycles were handed over - a total value of eighty thousand Belize dollars. ACP Segura told the media what the department plans to do with these bikes. Miguel Segura, Officer Commanding Eastern Division "First of all I just wish to express our gratitude to the US Embassy through the CARSI project on the donation of these 10 motor cycles. They came at a right time especially when we are seeing that crime is not only in the city - the urban areas but also moving to the rural areas. The deployment of these cycles as we have seen it - some will be in Belize City and some would be deployed to the villages like Maskall and those villages that we are seeing some increase in crimes."

Man Acquitted Of Rape; Victim Refuses To Testify
Moving now to court news….alleged rapist 41 year-old Carlos Matura, was able to go home free today after the victim requested no further action. The victim reported that in January 2012, she was inside her home, when Matura allegedly forced his way into hr home. She said that he threatened her, and raped her at knife-point. According to her, she woke up the next morning, and found the accused lying down beside her, and as soon as he left, she ran to a neighbor for help. His trial started today, but when Crown Counsel Leroy Banner called her as his second witness, she asked that she be excused from the witness stand. When she was asked why she didn't want to continue testifying, she told the court that she wanted no further court action, but she did reiterate that he was the person who raped her.

2 Years For Tush; He Tried To Abduct A Jogger
There's no such luck, for 38 year-old William Tush, a resident of Kelly Street, is spending the second night of a 2-year sentence after he was convicted of aggravated assault yesterday in Magistrate's Court. Viewers may remember that in July of last year, a female jogger was held up on the Northern Highway, near the NAPA roundabout as she took her evening jog. She recounted to 7News how the attacker abducted her at knife point, but she was able to escape and alert a driver who rescued her. Police detained him, and charged him with aggravated assault and wounding because in the process trying to get away, the victim got cut by the knife.

Minor Collision Into Recently Donated Police Mobile
This evening our 7News team happened upon to a traffic accident at the corner of Allenby Street and Amara Avenue. The driver of the red Dodge Durango, seen here, was on Allenby Street was about to cross the intersection, when an oncoming police mobile slammed into its front end. The police mobile was travelling on Amara, and they did have on their lights and sirens to indicate that they were moving with urgency to respond to a report on Jane Usher Boulevard. Also, at that intersection, there is a stop sign on Allenby Street, which indicates that the police should have had the right-away. Fortunately, no one was injured, but both vehicles sustained damages.

Belize Voices Protest of Guatemalan Map
Tonight, COLA is rattling its sabers again after Belize was disrespected at the OAS earlier this week. It happened on Wednesday at a meeting of the OAS Permanent Council when the Guatemalan Representative Jose Rodrigo Vielmann de Leon shared a video presentation on his country. The video was illustrating his nation's readiness to host the forty-third General Assembly of the OAS in June of this year. But the video shows a map - where Belize is part of Guatemala. Belize Representative objected strenuously: H.E. Nestor Mendez, Belize Ambassador to the OAS "When this video was shown in the General Assembly in Bolivia; the delegation of Belize took the floor and protested the use of a map that shows Belize as part of Guatemala. Subsequent to that we were assured by the Secretariat that they would ensure that whenever this video would be utilized again, that image would be removed. Everybody is aware that Belize and Guatemala have a diferendum that it is being dealt with under the auspices of the OAS that hopefully it will be resolved at the International Court of Justice but it is still not yet resolved. The use of this video and this image puts in serious jeopardy the process that we have undergoing with the good offices of the General Secretariat of the OAS and Belize cannot accept the use of that video. We protested it at the General Assembly and we once again protest it."

Mission Milagro Paying Homage
Today the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela held a luncheon at the Biltmore Plaza to pay homage to those who have contributed their efforts to its Mission Miracle Program. Mission Miracle is a social humanitarian program that was designed by the Governments of Venezuela and Cuba in 2004 -to attend free of charge to low income population who are facing health visual problems. The program was implemented in Belize in 2010 and since then over four thousand Belizeans have benefited. Gabriel Sanchez, Charge D' Affaires, Venezuelan Embassy "Basically what we did today is the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela wanted to pay a little homage to all those people who made an effort or who have contributed to Mission Miracle. Mission Miracle is a social and humanitarian program implemented here in Belize in 2010 to help Belizean people with surgical intervention to get eye surgeries. With this homage we wanted to show a little bit of presentation with the figures if three years that we have been working in Belize. What we did was presented certificates to all people who have involve in Mission Miracle to put this all together to get more people to go to Venezuela and also the Mayors because without the Mayors it would be almost impossible to do it. We have the best connection with the Belizean people - the community that are related to Mission Miracle."

Tourism Figures For December 2012
Earlier on we told you about the unemployment figures which show an increase between April and September of last year. And while that's the bad news, the good news is that during that same period overnight tourism arrivals were sharply increased. That's not really a surprise, since we'd been reporting on it all last year - but now, the December figures are in, and they show that the tourism year ended with a bang! December had the second most arrivals with 23 thousand visitors arriving at the Philip Goldson International. Overnight tourism overall saw a 10.7% increase, that's 26,872 more visitors than in 2011. US Visitors made up 63.7% of this total, while Canadians made up 8.7%. And while the numbers have been going up and up for overnight tourism, we can't say the same for Cruise Tourist Arrivals; those have been going down from year to year. Those arrivals decreased by another 12% in 2012.

Hon. Hulse Speaks On Now Former Immigration Director
As we told you at the top of the newscast, Immigration Director Ruth Meighan has been transferred to the Ministry of Finance. She had worked well with her Minister Godwin Hulse, but reports are that she ran afoul of the minister of state Elvin Penner. And so, Cabinet decided on Tuesday to transfer her, and 72 hours later, she was gone. Today in Belmopan, pour colleagues at Plus TV asked Minister Hulse about it: Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration "Actually she is not leaving, she is being transferred to the Ministry of Finance to fill a post that has been vacated by an officer who has resigned and whose last day is Friday. so Miss Meighan will be filling that post and we will be upgrading somebody within the department to take the directorship that she will be leaving. That has not been determined yet, so we don't want to disclose who that person will be and who the deputy or others will be. That is really the only change. Any other rumors that are circulating are nothing more than just rumors because you know when there are these changes, there are all sorts of things circulating over the place. The fact of the matter is that she is going to the Ministry of Finance to fill that post and so we have to fill her post in the department of Immigration. There is no other change in the ministry whatsoever. Minister Penner remains the Minister of State and I remain the substantive Minister."

A Look-Back At Hon. Mark King's Public Life
Hulse's Cabinet Colleague Mark King, now on suspension has been making news all this week. But, in truth, his career in public life, has always been newsworthy. King isn't like any political newcomer we've ever seen: he's brash, bold outspoken, and daring - his critics say, he's crazy. Maybe all those traits led to an embarrassing event at the Princess Casino in Corozal on Tuesday morning… Tonight we look back at his some of his more outrageous moments since he burst on the scene in 2006 - to try and see if Tuesday's events could have been foretold. Jules Vasquez reports:.. Jules Vasquez reporting When we first met Mark King in February of 2006 - he wore a sheepish look - and that's because he was seeking nomination as a city council candidate in a city in which he was not even a registered voter. February, 2006 Stuart Leslie, Chief Elections Officer "Basically Mr. King is registered in the Belize Rural Central Division and so he did not appear on our list for Belize City." Jules Vasquez "Certainly you must have strong words for candidate." Hon. Dean Barrow "Absolutely. I don't how that could have happened but I don't want to make too much of it, all is well that ends well."

Lobster Fest At Bird's Isle
Caye Caulker, San Pedro and Placencia do their Lobster Fest in June, but Belize City has its one in February when Lobster season is about to close. And so, for the last of your Lobster cravings, on Sunday Birds Isle is where you need to be. On Sunday at the third lobster fest, you can choose from over 13 lobster dishes. We spoke with one of the organizers who told us that on Sunday there will be a lot of sun, fun, and fine food. Joe Lawrence, Organizer "Sunday from 11am in the morning until 8pm in the evening. There will be games for the children like tarpaulin; bounce house and water slides; there will be tombola, fish pond, it's really going to be a family affair." Monica Bodden "In terms of lobster; what will there be serving?" Joe Lawrence, Organizer "All the emphasis will be on lobster. This will be lobster heaven except for the lobster, but lobster will be serve in 14 different styles, to name a few there will be garlic lobster, lobster salad, curry lobster, lobster burger, fish cabab - if you are a lobster lover, don't miss Bird's Isle on Sunday." Tickets are five dollars for adults, two for children.

Dara's 11th Annual Tribute to Bob Marley
And while they are catering for those who can afford Lobster Grassroots Philanthropist Dara Robinson is fundraising for the less fortunate. This weekend he is having his 11th annual Bob Marley Birthday tribute concert. The concert is not only to celebrate the life of the reggae icon - it is to also raise money for needy families. On Wednesday he held a food drive that he say turned out to be successful. But with all that he is still urging everyone to come out to the concert this weekend and donate at least one can of food. The Tribute to Bob Marley Concert will be back to back - with Saturday night in Orange Walk and Sunday night in Belize City. Dara Robinson "First I want to thank God most of all because the visions I got to do it the Wednesday on Bob Marley birthday and separated from the concert was the best idea. I have never yet over the six years of doing food drive receive so many food and still it continue coming in. There are so many other businesses, schools, common people, everybody is chipping in. I guess after I brought the message and they heard it more - from the teachers conscious that the situation is grim but I am grateful to do my part and get my support." "Like I said this is my 6th year that I am doing the feeding program. Whatever we could share meaning I look for single mothers; like a granny who may need stuff and sometimes even the kids parents benefit from the program. Majority of the items we will use at the program."

Channel 5

Guatemala’s other map usurps Belize
The road to the October referendum should be one filled with education and awareness about the unfounded claim to Belize’s territory by Guatemala. But that campaign will be on a bumpy road as provocative images place Belize as part of Guatemala. On Wednesday, the Guatemalan Ambassador to the OAS, Jose Rodrigo Vielmann de Leon, showed [...]

Fire at Youth Cadet Corps guts building
A fire broke out on Thursday night at the National Youth Cadet Service Corp Compound at mile twenty-one on the George Price Highway. No one was injured, but an entire building was reduced to rubble. Early investigations point to a disturbing sign that the fire was deliberately set. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.   Duane [...]

Another lukewarm B.N.T.U. consultation in Dangriga
Word coming out of Dangriga after Thursday night’s union membership meeting is that teachers and public officers are not exactly jumping up and down with joy over G.O.B.’s salary adjustment proposal. News Five understands that only a little more than one hundred union members attended the meeting, primarily teachers, and the reception of the proposal [...]

Contraband and clashes with Customs
Contraband and clashes with Customs – those are two of the staples in the rural northern Belize way of life. On Monday evening, one man from San Victor in the Corozal District had a brush with a Customs patrol which landed him in the hospital. He claims that he accidentally ran into the back of [...]

Director of Immigration moving to higher heights
For the past week the rumor mill has been buzzing busily and viciously after word that Director of Immigration Ruth Meighan was being removed from her post. Meighan gained recognition for her tenure at the Elections and Boundaries Office and, previous to that, she worked with the Transport Department. Perhaps because while she was Immigration [...]

No nationalized Guatemalans without proper measures
In December 2012, Minister Hulse did something which had never been done by his predecessors. For the first time, Guatemalans will not take part in swearing in ceremonies for new citizens to Belize. Today, Minister Hulse told News Five that he was not satisfied with the process through which Guatemalans renounced their citizenship and alliance [...]

Top cop says showing video of Minister could hurt case
Minister of State Mark King was charged for Threatening Words, Disorderly Conduct and Aggravated Assault in the Corozal courtroom of Magistrate Clive Lino for an incident that occurred after his friend, identified as Diego Witz Junior was ejected from Princess Casino at the Corozal Free Zone. There is cell phone footage showing King and his [...]

Still on danger list, barrier reef visit wrapped up
Belize which boasts one of the world’s wonder’s, the Barrier Reef, was given more prominence when it was declared a World Heritage Site. But soon after in June 2009, UNESCO included Belize on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger.  Commercial land sale and development within sensitive parts of the reef along with site [...]

Boat captain acquitted of rape
  Forty-one year old Carlos Matura, a Dive Master and Boat Captain of Belize City, was acquitted of a rape charge when he appeared before Justice Troadio Gonzalez this morning. Two witnesses had already been called to testify by prosecutor Leroy Banner, but the case fell apart when the complainant informed the court that she [...]

18 months in the slammer for stolen lumber
  Unlike Matura, forty-three year old Leandro Roches will be serving an eighteen month jail term effective today following his conviction for the offense of burglary.   Roches, who was on remand at the Belize Central Prison, was accused of burglarizing and stealing, on the night of October thirty-first,  2012, three pieces of lumber from the [...]

GSU recovers stolen items
The Gang Suppression Unit is reporting that it has recovered a list of items stolen from the Hattieville police Station which included one thousand eight hundred and ten dollars in US currency, a laptop, cell phones, an X-Box and watches. The treasure trove was found this past Tuesday during a search of a house on [...]

CARSI revs up with 10 motorcycles for police
The Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) has donated close to thirty vehicles and twenty motorcycles to the police department. Earlier today the U.S. Embassy another donation via the CARSI program, ten Honda XR-250 motorcycles valued at eighty-two thousand dollars.  The motorcycles will be deployed in Belize City and rural areas where violent crimes such [...]

Are U.D.P. delegates coerced to vote for Vega?
The United Democratic Party will hold its National Convention on Sunday, February seventeenth, and all eyes are on the prize of first Deputy Leader of the party. The incumbent is Gaspar Vega, who is considered a party heavyweight in the north. He is being challenged by current U.D.P. Chairman, Patrick Faber, who is considered a [...]

Venezuela honors the Mission Miracle helpers
Mission Miracle is the Venezuelan humanitarian program that started back in 2010; some seven hundred and nine persons have received eye surgeries, free of cost, under the program which extends to eleven other countries of the region. Today, the Venezuelan Embassy held a luncheon at the Biltmore Plaza to honor coordinators and mayors from the [...]

Tourism stats show 10% increase
The Belize Tourism Board has released its tourism arrival numbers for 2012. On the bright side, there is an upward trend in overnight stays, but numbers went down in cruise ship arrivals. But generally, the industry notes a ten point seven percent increase overall. Duane Moody reports.    Duane Moody, Reporting A remarkable year for [...]

Teaching guides and mariners to protect manatees
In some parts of the world, manatees are endangered species. Belize enjoys a healthy manatee population, but mariners who speed along the coast and mangrove regularly come into contact with the mammal. The Sea to Shore Alliance and the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute have been recording deaths caused by boat collisions. The organizations [...]


Public Consultations Kick Off On Human Rights
The human rights of people has made it to many a roundtable and increasingly so over recent years. Many groups rely heavily on the argument of their human rights to state their case or make their claim, whether it is the indigenous of the south, immigrants and refugees, or the ga...

Arson Suspected At The National Cadet Service Corps
For the past 14 years, the National Cadet Service Corps located across from the Youth Hostel off the George Price Highway at mile 22 has been offering remedial services to youths considered to be at risk. But on Thursday night the management of the institution found itself fighti...

Ministry of Health Starts Health Information System
The Ministry of Health has started a project to expand the health information system in the western and northern parts of the country. A contract was signed on Thursday with the Belize City-based company Fultec for the provision of just under sixty thousand dollars worth of computer ha...

Belize City Council Announces Street Closure
The infrastructural work on Freetown Road has taken quite a few weeks complete and it has caused a few street closures on other arteries leading to and from that thoroughfare. Before we can all enjoy a fully resurfaced Freetown Road and surrounding streets, motorists will have to...

Senior Citizen Robbed At Gunpoint
Orange Walk Police are investigating a reported case of robbery in the Orange Walk District. 64-year-old businessman Jose Ernesto Garcia told police he arrived at his business place just before four o’clock on Tuesday morning to open for the day when he felt someone put a g...

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Comment On Guatemala's Presentation at The OAS
Yesterday we reported on an incident during a Permanent Council Meeting at the office of the Organization of American States in Washing, D.C. on Wednesday. It occurred when Guatemalan Ambassador to the OAS, Jose Vielmann De Leon, during a presentation, used a map of Guatemala tha...

First Murder Trial Without Jury Scheduled For Next Week
The Chief Justice, Hon. Kenneth Benjamin, has set February 15 as the date when he will sum up the case and give his verdict in the trial of 22 year old Nicoli Rhys, charged with the murder of Andre Trapp. It is the first murder trial that is being held without a jury. Trapp was gunned ...

Young Couple Says Hospital Was Negligent Resulting In Their Baby's Death
The Northern Regional Hospital has once again come under fire as a family is alleging negligence at the institution. Reporter Dalila Ical has the story. DALILA ICAL A young couple calls out the Northern Regional Hospital on negligence as another baby’s death is reco...


Guatemala provokes diplomatic incident with erroneous map at OAS
A diplomatic incident has erupted at the Organization of American States involving Belize and Guatemala. And it stems from a provocative map used by Guatemala in a video presentation showcasing our neighbor to the west where the OAS General Assembly will meet later this year. The incident happened on Wednesday at the OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C. and Belize’s permanent representative to the hemispheric body did not let it slip. He protested immediately and got the Guatemala representative at the permanent council to offer an explanation for the use of the provocative map. We’ll show you what happened during the meeting shortly; but this afternoon, Love News spoke by telephone with Ambassador Mendez from his Washington D.C. office and asked him about the context in which the erroneous map was used by Guatemala. And while going forward Ambassador Mendez does not see any significant impact of the Guatemalan diplomatic misstep, the incident is important to note, given that the education campaign has started leading up to the October sixth referendum on whether or not the unfounded claim by Guatemala should be referred to the International Court of Justice in the Hague for final arbitration. That is why as soon as the erroneous map was shown, Ambassador Mendez registered his disapproval before the permanent council. Following Ambassador Mendez request for clarification, the Guatemalan representative gave a somewhat vague explanation. And to emphasize the importance of the diplomatic misstep by Guatemala, Ambassador Mendez emphasized his objection to the offensive man for a second time during yesterday’s meeting. Prensa Libre The simultaneous referendum to determine whether or not Guatemala’s unfounded claim to Belize should be referred to the ICJ for final arbitration will take place on Sunday, October sixth. [VO STARTS] And while the education campaign leading up to the historic day is ongoing, Love News has gained possession of a document dating back to September of 1967 in which a British foreign ministry official was quoted in the Prensa Libre as saying that the British government was reaffirming its refusal to cede Belize to Guatemala. The British government spokesman in 1967 told the Prensa Libre newspaper that the possibility of ceding the territory of Belize to Guatemala was never discussed in London, even as the movement to Independence for Belize was starting.

Lake I representative arraigned on criminal charges
Lake Independence area representative, thirty eight year old Mark King, was formally arraigned this morning in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court on three criminal charges. When he appeared before Magistrate Clive Lino, King was read charges of aggravated assault, use of threatening words and disorderly conduct. King pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on a bail of four thousand dollars, plus a surety of the same amount. He was ordered to return to court on April 16. The charges stem from a “breach of the peace” incident inside of the Corozal Free Zone, on Tuesday morning.

Comatosed man wakes up
Two weeks ago, on January 11th, a Caye Caulker tour guide had an unpleasant experience with a tourist police officer who allegedly lost control and allegedly hit him in the head shortly after he had completed a tour at the Caye Caulker Water Taxi dock. Forty-nine year old Bert Nicholas started to complain about an excruciating headache last week and it got worse with each passing day, until eventually he slipped into a coma. From all accounts, there were several eyewitnesses, who were tourists on Nicholas’ boat, but his common-law wife told us today that those visitors have long returned to their countries and alleged that the police had them delete the video footage of the incident they had recorded. But while Nicholas’s family and friends hoped for the best at his bedside, on Wednesday, they got the first sign of good news when he awoke from his coma. Nicholas, also known as “Ras Creek”, continues to receive intensive care at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. His common-law wife, who spoke to us on the basis of anonymity, said that he is alert, recognizes his relatives and friends and is able to move his hands and legs. Nicholas has been a tour guide for at least 20 years and his family and friends fear that the severity of the injury will inhibit his ability to continue in that demanding field of work, which requires underwater diving and snorkeling. They are contemplating possibly taking the matter to court.

Man jailed for attack on woman who was out jogging
Thirty-eight year old William Tush, a resident of Kelly Street who attacked a woman with a knife, was sentenced to 3 years in jail today by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser after he pled guilty to aggravated assault and wounding. The incident occurred around 5:20 p.m. on July 22, 2012. The complainant, 47 year old Desiree Adolphus, reported to the police that she was jogging on the Northern Highway heading towards Belize City when she was accosted by Tush who came up behind her and put a knife to her throat. The woman said Tush began to drag her to an unpainted building and that she struggled with him. During the struggle she was cut on her thumb finger but she managed to get away. Adolphus said that she ran on to the highway and she stopped an approaching vehicle and she told the driver what happened. She said that shortly after that she saw a police vehicle coming from the direction from which she came and Tush was inside the pan of the vehicle. Tush said that he was drunk when he committed the offences and he was sorry for what he did. He asked Senior magistrate Fraser to be lenient with him and asked for a fine instead of prison time. But Magistrate Fraser told him that she cannot impose a fine and she gave him the custodial sentence.

Consultations on salary adjustments start in Belize City
The Unions have begun the process of informing its general membership about the salary adjustment deal agreed on last week by the Councils of Management for the unions and government. One of the first public consultations was held on Wednesday evening in Belize City and while no official information on how the meeting went has been made public, Love News understands that the public officers in attendance at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall had some serious concerns about the proposed deal. Love News understands that an expected vote on whether or not to accept the deal was not held and has been deferred to another date, possibly this weekend. As the Prime Minister explained when he appeared on the Love FM Morning Show yesterday, the agreement to give the teachers and public officers their salary adjustment is hinged largely on am expected revenue surplus; but this appears to be of grave concern to the teachers, at least in the early going.

Minister comments on illegal Rosewood harvesting
Since the Minister of Forestry, Lisel Alamilla, signed a Moratorium banning the harvesting of Rosewood in Belize, extractors have not stopped in the illegal trade and a number of seizures have been made. One was made in January just before making it on the dock for shipment near the Customs compound on Caesar Ridge Road. The containers were confiscated and held for an investigation to proceed. Today reporters caught up with the Minister of Forestry, Lisel Alamilla, who on one occasion ordered the symbolic burning of a load of the precious wood to discourage further illegal harvesting of the product. So far it appears that that act has had very little success in achieving its goal. Today Minister Alamilla gave us an update on the confiscated product near the Customs compound while the Chief Forest Officer, Wilbur Sabido, explained the background of the incident, and revealed that there were other types of forest products in the container. Meanwhile the Forest Department is also dealing with more flitches of Rosewood confiscated in Benque Viejo and Medina Bank in southern Belize last month. Sabido said that the seizure of the one in western Belize is of a more sophisticated nature. Minister Alamilla could not say what they will do with the rosewood seized, but admitted that the Forestry Department continues to make discoveries of harvested Rosewood, and clarified that one of the persons who held a license to harvest forest products and who also bears the same last name as she does, is not her relative. Meanwhile, a Forest Officer who was stationed in southern Belize has been transferred after evidence suggests that he was involved in wrongdoing. Minister Alamilla assured that the Forestry Department is currently investigating the employee’s involvement.

UNESCO team in Belize to assess world heritage site
Belize Barrier Reef For some time now, the treasured Belize Barrier Reef has been on UNESCO’s list of endangered World Heritage Sites and faces the possibility of being permanently delisted as such, due to licenses granted for the exploration and drilling of petroleum. Currently in Belize to conduct an assessment of how far Belize has advanced in taking corrective measures is a UNESCO team. Minister Alamilla shared the latest on that with us. Meanwhile, Fisheries Administrator, Beverly Wade, who was late last year appointed as Belize’s representative on the UNESCO mission, was candid in her views about what we as a country need to do to ensure that development and conservation go together. Concerns over catfish invasion On a separate but perhaps as damning an issue environmentally is the threat that the armoured catfish or devilfish poses to Belize. Wade says this free-roaming marine predator has the potential to cause problems even to the tilapia, which is responsible for the dwindling numbers of other local fish stocks. Fisheries Administrator, Beverly Wade.

Government seeks to reduce dependence on fossil fuel
The Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities today launched its first of three forums which look to engage the private sector into looking at the possibility of changing from the use of fossil fuel to renewable energy. But just to be clear at what MESTPU is trying to get at, it is important to understand what renewable energy is, and that is explained by Minister of MESTPU, Joy Grant. Grant also told us about what today’s forum would be featuring. And while the forum is geared at having the participation of the public sector in renewable energy initiatives, Grant explains why MESTPU decided to venture into that area. The forum was officially launched with an opening ceremony which featured the welcome address by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Santiago Castillo who said that MESTPU has the support of his ministry in this initiative. This would be followed by various presentations as explained by Minister Grant. Most importantly, Grant told Love News who was attending the forum. Two similar forums will take place soon in the North and South of the country.

Upgrading of PG streets begins
Infrastructure works have begun on streets in Punta Gorda town. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

Minister Herman Longsworth on nationwide tour
The junior minister of Education, Youth and Sports today continued his nationwide tour in the south. Our Stann Creek correspondent Harry Arzu reports.


Party Leader meets with UDP delegates
We’ve been covering the race for first deputy leader in the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) between incumbent Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Natural Resources and Orange Walk North Area rep for two terms, and incumbent chairman and Minister of Education Patrick Faber, who has been representing...

Minister of Immigration speaks on the Director of Immigration post
The Director of Immigration has been transferred to Ministry of Finance. Plus news received reports earlier this week that Cabinet had made a decision on Tuesday of this week to remove Mrs. Ruth Meighan from her position as Director of Immigration. It was a report we couldn’t confirm and...

New reform laws for Immigration coming
Minister Godwin Hulse is preparing to launch new reform laws for Immigration coming March the 1st. SI No. 16, being “THE PASSPORTS REGULATIONS, of 2013 was signed on the 17th January; these amendments are intended to strengthen the application process and to ensure that persons applying for passports are...

Fire in Hattieville
There was a fire last night in Hattieville. It happened at about 7 o’clock at the National Youth Cadet Corp located at mile 21 on the George Price Highway. A 24 by 18 feet board structure with cement foundation and zinc roofing became engulfed in flames. Workers at the...

Gruesome Quadruple Murder Case Going Nowhere Fast
Today marks a month since the gruesome discoveries of four bodies of young men living in an apartment complex at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets. Their throats had been slit and bodies stabbed as many as 22 times each. It was a horrific sight and the mere...

Orange Walk Business Robbed
An Orange Walk business was the target of a robbery. 64yr old Jose Ernesto Garcia, a Belizean Businessman of Trial Farm Village, reported that on Tuesday of this week at 3:45am he arrived at his business place to open for the day and went behind the counter when he...

Another Unsolved Police Case
Another recent crime that Police needs help on is the recent home invasion against foreign nationals in the village of Boston on the Old Northern Highway. On Sunday three armed masked men stormed the house and held its seven occupants hostage, sexually assaulting at least one person and pistol-whipping...

CARSI Donates ten New Motorcycles for Belize Police
CARSI donated motorcycles to Police today. Last June the Police Department received a big boost in its crime fighting capabilities in the City with the donation of ten trucks from the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), a partnership between Central America and the United States of America. Today...

Venezuela rewards Belizean officials for “Mission Miracle” cooperation
Venezuela and Belize have long had a special relationship, most typified by the Mission Miracle program which provides free transportation and care for patients with diseases of the eye such as cataract and pterygium. Today, the important people in charge, the Mayors of Belize’s 9 municipalities and local coordinators...


William Tush, 38, pleads guilty to attacking woman, 47, while she exercised on the Northern Highway. Today, William Tush, 38, a resident of #21 Kelly Street, was sentenced to a total of 3 years in prison after he changed his not guilty plea to guilty for the charges of aggravated assault and wounding. According to police, at 5:20 p.m. on July 22, 2012, Desiree Adolphus, 47, was exercising on the Northern Highway heading south toward Belize City when, as she arrived in front of an abandoned building situated between Gonzalo Quinto & Sons and Matus Brothers, a Hispanic man with long hair grabbed her from behind and put a knife to her neck. He then told her “Let’s go.” He then dragged her to the side of the abandoned building, but Adolphus started struggling with Tush and she grabbed the knife. As a result of the struggle, Adolphus cut her thumb on the knife, but managed to free herself from Tush, run to the roadside and flag down a vehicle and related her story to the driver.

Belize Ambassador to OAS, Nestor Mendez, will formalize protest in writing to OAS. Guatemala Ambassador says dotted line that separates Belize and Guatemala on map is “adjacency line” At a conference of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington on Wednesday, February 6, 2013, Permanent Representative of Belize to the OAS, His Excellency Nestor Mendez, protested against Guatemala’s use of an erroneous map of Guatemala that features Belize’s territory in the same color, as if Belize were a part of Guatemala. The map, which has been used by Guatemala before, was shown in a video presentation by Guatemala Permanent Representative to the OAS, His Excellency Jose Rodrigo Vielmann de Leon. The map showed Belize separated from Guatemala only by a dotted line. The inference, obviously, was that Belize was a part of Guatemala. Ambassador Mendez protested, for a second time, the use of the map. Ambassador Mendez’s response to the use of the map was as follows: “When this video was shown in the general assembly in Bolivia, the delegation of Belize took the floor and protested the use of a map that shows Belize as part of Guatemala. Subsequent to that, we were assured by the secretariat that they would ensure that whenever this video was utilized again, that image would be removed.

Jones was accused of killing Cameron Blease, 18, and Jermaine Trapp, 29. Shaquille Jones, 21, who was accused of the double murders of Cameron Blease, 18, and Jermaine Trapp, 29, in December of 2008, walked away a free man after Justice Troadio Gonzalez upheld a no-case submission by Jones’ attorney, Arthur Saldivar. According to police, in the early morning hours of December 26, 2008, Blease and Trapp were socializing at the Princess Hotel and Casino on Newtown Barracks. They both got into a car which was parked on the compound, and while inside, they were ambushed and shot multiple times. Trapp died on the spot, but according to police, Blease, who died several days later on January 5, 2009, was able to give them a statement in which he told them that Jones was the person who shot them. Police said that that statement was then read back to Blease, after which he signed it with an “X”.

The Lake I area rep charged with aggravated assault, threatening words and disorderly conduct for Corozal Free Zone “ministerial tantrum”. Shortly after 10 this morning at the Corozal Magistrate’s Court, Hon. Mark King, area representative of the Lake I constituency and Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation, was arraigned on charges of aggravated assault, threatening words and disorderly conduct. The charge of assaulting a police officer was brought against him, but this was withdrawn by the prosecution, because the aggravated assault charge already covered that offense. He pleaded not guilty and was released on bail of $4,000 and ordered to return to court on April 19, 2013. He was represented by attorney Ellis Arnold, who, when King was being taken to the police station to sign his bail, told his client not to speak with the media. King had to wait for a man from Orange Walk, one Martin Hernandez, to travel to Corozal to sign the surety for the bail, before he was released. While waiting for his surety, the Minister did not have to wait in the discomfort of a holding cell. Rather, he was kept in the court building office. After he was released, he left in his private vehicle en route to Belize City.

Faber is accused of stabbing Corrington Villanueva, 32, at Carmita’s Bar. This morning Rudy Faber, 29, a construction worker of Biscayne Village, was taken before the Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith and charged with attempted murder and use of deadly means of harm. According to police, at 6:30 on Monday evening, they visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and saw Corrington Villanueva, 32, a resident of #12 Bride’s Alley, suffering from a single stab wound to his stomach. After conducting their investigation, police learned that at 5:00 that evening, Villanueva was at Carmita’s Bar, aka “Bucket Bar”, which is located at the foot of the Swing Bridge, having a drink when Faber entered the bar. According to Villanueva, Faber then just walked up to him and stabbed him, for no apparent reason.

In times past, our typical sporting Sunday in Belize City would begin at 11:00 a.m. with either basketball or boxing at Bird’s Isle, then, after a quick lunch, it was over to the MCC at 3:30 in the afternoon for football “Fire on the Barracks.” Semipro football returns to the MCC this Sunday, February 9, with F.C. Belize hosting FC San Felipe Barcelona in the start of the Premier League of Belize 2012-2013 Closing Season tournament. With both F.C. Belize and the Police United FC teams using the MCC Grounds as their home field this season, fans can look forward to Sunday afternoon football at the Garden each week for the next few months. Whatever the plans for basketball, in a couple weeks time it will be like old times again, as the Belize Boxing Federation and Lions Den Promotion will be hosting a 9-bout card of amateur boxing at Bird’s Isle on Sunday, February 24. Lions Den Boxing Gym manager Clinton Tucker visited our sports desk this morning along with two of his boxers, Alex Neal and female boxer Shenique Michael, who will be among those featured on the card.

Even the ducks ran for cover last Saturday, but a hardy (or some might say foolhardy) bunch of golfers donned their wet suits and played the second tournament of the year for the Belize Amateur Golf Association (BAGA). Congratulations to Lorenzo Forbes who filled his basket with awards on Saturday. Thanks to the players who donated prizes. Alan Graham, who added the Bogey Man award. The Southern Possie added the usual chip-in prize, with Rob Lee and Bill McKenzie donating golf balls. We appreciate all these and thank everyone for that. The next tournament is on February 23. This is the Belize Jungle Dome 2-Person Scramble. All are welcome. This is a 2-player team event. Results from February 2nd Tournament: Gross – Without HDCP: 1st Andy Hunt – 66; 2nd Bill McKenzie – 67; 3rd Tim Heath – 72. Net – With HDCP: 1st Lorenzo Forbes – 64; 2nd John Sansone – 68; 3rd Steve Hack – 69. Senior – With HDCP: 1st Steve Maestre – 69.

The Belize National Cricket team played their first game in the (ICC) International Cricket Council’s Americas Division Two Tournament, which is being held in Nassau, Bahamas. Team Belize batted first with a score of 116 runs with loss of nine wickets. Conway Young top scored for team Belize; he batted 34 runs, and Mykelt Anthony batted 12 runs. Mykelt Anthony and Keve Flowers both took four wickets for Belize. Panama beat Belize by a score of 118 runs for 6 wickets in nineteen overs…. Wed. Feb. 6, 2013 …Team Belize took the field and held Bahamas to a score of 149 runs in twenty overs. Belize took to bat but was only able to muster 86 runs all out in 14.5 overs, with Herbert Banner batting 19 runs and Jermaine Pook 14 runs. Kenroy Roca and Dirk Sutherland took two wickets each for Belize…

Our sources say that a couple prominent Belizeans in the United States were not pleased with our Tuesday editorial on Belizeans in the diaspora. (That editorial is reproduced in this issue.) Our position is, at least there was a response. We’re not going to take anything personal where Belizeans in the diaspora are concerned: they are in a position where they can save us from Guatemala, but if they believe themselves unable or unwilling, for whatever reason(s), we’ll just do what we have to do. A Belizean friend of ours in the diaspora has pointed out that the older generations of Belizeans in the United States have largely died out, and the younger generations are not well versed on the Guatemalan claim to Belize, and its history where Belizean politics is concerned. Let’s see if we can address that lack of historical information. Around 1938 or so, Guatemala was being run by a military dictator named Jorge Ubico, and he saw that Great Britain was tied up with the threat being posed by the German Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler. So, he took that opportunity to revive the Guatemalan claim to Belize. Note that amongst the neo-European class which runs Guatemala, there is a substantial German element. This Guatemalan claim to Belize is supposed to be something they inherited from Spain, after Guatemala became independent from Spain in 1821. Spain in theory owned Belize, but Spain never exercised control over Belize. This was a land of the Maya, and then European pirates, mostly British, began using Belize as a base in the seventeenth century. From here they raided Spanish shipping between Spain and New Spain (Cuba, Texas, Mexico, etc.), and afterwards they became woodcutters, cutting and shipping logwood to Europe. In order to expand the woodcutting, they began bringing in African slaves, which is where we Belizeans “of dark complexion” entered the picture. Today, we say the country belongs to us, but Guatemala is demanding that we prove it.

Compared to the Mississippi, the Rio Grande, which separates the United States from Mexico, is not a wide river. So, if you are travelling by road west to El Paso, Texas, on Interstate 10, when you are approaching El Paso at night on your left you can see the lights of the Mexican city across the river. That is Juárez. If you have a kilo of cocaine in Juárez, all you have to do is get it across the Rio Grande to El Paso, and that kilo will increase in value maybe forty times. In a nutshell, this is how the trade in illegal narcotics becomes so violent. Because of the incredible “value added” between two cities which are physically close to each other, a man will do anything he has to do to protect his kilo as he moves it from Juárez to El Paso. And conversely, another man will do violent and dangerous things to separate him from that kilo. The owner of the kilo will be more exposed, more at risk, as he travels from Juárez to El Paso. Juárez is an extremely violent city, because Juárez is so close to the American market, where illegal narcotics skyrocket in value. Some of the cocaine which reach Mexican/U.S. border points, from Texas all the way west through New Mexico and Arizona to California, has passed through Belize by land, by sea, and by air. Cocaine is not going to increase forty times in value between its arrival in Belize and its departure into Mexico. But, there are occasions on which people have managed to move the narcotics directly into the United States from Belize, and those narcotics do take on the phenomenal value added. If the value added from Belize to Mexico is only five or ten times, say, there is still a lot of money to be made, much more than in legitimate business, in the transshipment of drugs through Belize.

by Andy Jones Dear Sir, I write this letter with a humble heart and all the respect due to your office and your country. I write regarding your claim to our wonderful country of Belize. I am a descendant of the original settlers of Belize. Please can you tell me and my countrymen why exactly you wish to take away our country from us? We are a God-fearing people and have never threatened you or any other country. We try to live in peace with all our neighbors here and abroad. I will be honest with you that I am very scared of your country taking over. Many people in Belize are scared of what Guatemala will do to us. We have seen how you treat your own people in the past. The stories of what you have done to them and their families are still very fresh in most people’s minds – stories of whole families killed or disappearing, all done by your government.

by Hakeem Bush Dear Editor, I must agree in your editorial with Mr. Welch supporting football in Belize. As an attorney, he’s one of the few putting back finance in the league. He’s a truly good Belizean. Big up, Mr. Welch. He stayed in the saddle and supported the sport. I wish others would follow. Hakeem Bush

To begin with, Guatemala does not have a claim against the sovereign nation of Belize, which is a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and of the United Nations. We are a sovereign country because we belong to the British Commonwealth of Nations and, our titular Head of State is Queen Elizabeth II. Guatemala declared its claim to the territory that now forms the nation state of Belize, which was being administered at the time by the British Government. It based its claim to the lands formerly owned by Spain and recognized as such by the Catholic nations, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany and Russia, which ruled the world, on a doctrine called “uti possidetis.” The doctrine posited that Guatemala was the successor to Spain in the New World, and inherited her possessions. Britain rejected Guatemala’s claim, which gave rise to the British/Guatemala dispute. The dispute was apparently settled by the 1859 Treaty between the two countries, where a boundary was drawn between Guatemala and the disputed territory then known as the settlement of Belize. Subsequently, Guatemala declared that the 1859 Treaty was invalidated because Britain failed to comply with one of the conditions agreed and re-advanced its claim to all of British Honduras, which Belize was named when it became a Crown Colony in 1860. Since then, Guatemala has advanced a claim to smaller and smaller portions of British Honduras, in pursuit of its dispute with Great Britain up to 21st September, 1981, when Belize became an independent nation/state.

It will soon be a year since a moratorium was placed on rosewood extraction and the wood became a regular topic in the news. The outcomes of the most recent incidents involving the uncovering of illegal operations having to do with the extraction, storage or transportation of the timber have for the most part been unknown. Well, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Hon. Lisel Alamilla, along with Chief Forest Officer at the Forest Department Wilber Sabido, has addressed that issue. Sabido said that the department is dealing with two cases involving rosewood being found in containers. One of them came to their attention when they received a report in December 2012 that there was a container carrying what was suspected to be rosewood. He said when they did the inspection, the wood in the container turned out not to be rosewood, but a mixture of different types of timber. “The situation with that is that the exporter had reported that they wanted to export only grenadine; however, when we opened the container and we found zericote in round or log form, that is against the law essentially,” Sabido said. “The zericote is a protected species that can only be exported as a value added product. So in that particular instance, we seized the produce from the container,” he explained. Sabido said that the exporter, Anita Lui, is a known exporter to them, who was originally exporting out of Roaring Creek, but later moved to Orange Walk.

by Miriam Longsworth. Oceana Belize and representatives for the Ministry of Natural Resources met in the courtroom of Supreme Justice Oswell Legall on Tuesday, February 5, for the complete hearing of environmental group Oceana’s ongoing fight against offshore oil drilling in Belize. Oceana Belize, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), and the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage were represented by Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith and the GoB was represented by Senior Counsels Denys Barrow and Naima Barrow. Both sides gave their oral arguments in a lengthy hearing that lasted about four hours. Oceana Belize is challenging the validity of Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) that were part of the offshore drilling contracts which the Ministry of Natural Resources granted to Island Oil Belize Ltd., Tropical Energy Ltd., Petro Belize Co Ltd., Princess Petroleum Ltd., Providence Energy Belize Ltd. and Sol Oil Belize Ltd. The contracts, which were made in 2004 and 2007, are for blocks of land ranging between 200,000 acres and two million acres in size. The environmental groups’ arguments included the assertion that the contracts for the PSAs were granted in breach of regulations and that they violated the Environmental Protection Act, the Fisheries Act and the National Parks Act. They also argued that the entities to which the contracts were granted did not carry out specific requirements.

The Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU), the Public Service Union (PSU), and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM) held a meeting yesterday, Wednesday, with their Belize City membership to present the proposal given by the Government of Belize with regards to salary adjustments. It was expected that about 600 union members would be present at the meeting; however, only about 150 attended the meeting at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall. Amandala understands that it was speculated that the turnout was due to the time of the meeting, which was scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., and a number of members could not make the meeting. Others speculated that some of the membership was disappointed in the proposal because they were expecting something more concrete than what the government has offered. Those with that concern said that the proposal entails too many “ifs.” Those “ifs” relate to the fact that the salary adjustment is dependent upon the government’s recurrent revenue. If the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) results in a growth in recurrent revenue, then there will be financing to provide the salary adjustment. That conditionality seemed to not have settled well with the membership.

Wade is accused of carnal knowledge with a minor, 15, and impregnating her. Today, inside the courtroom of Justice John Troadio Gonzalez, newly appointed prosecutor for the DPP’s office, Leroy Banner, made a nolle prosequi motion in the case of Yannick Wade, 26, a Police Constable. Wade, in July of 2011, was charged with six counts of carnal knowledge after it was learned that he had engaged in sexual intercourse with a minor, 15. According to the reports, Wade started a relationship with the minor when she was only 13, but it was not until the minor got pregnant by Wade, and the pregnancy became visible, that the report was made and he was charged. The minor told police that she and Wade had been in a relationship since June of 2009 until March of 2011. She also told them that during that time, they engaged in sexual intercourse a total of 6 times, and that sometimes she would go to his home. When Wade was arraigned, it was because the minor, who described Wade as her boyfriend to the police, had just given birth the day before.

Marilyn Matus, the complainant, requested no further court action. In June of 2012, Constable Norman Bol, 29, was charged with extortion after Marilyn Matus reported to police that she paid Bol $400 for the release of her husband, Roberto Matus. PC Bol, when he appeared for his arraignment, pleaded not guilty to the charge and his attorney, Kareem Musa, had requested that disclosure be provided to his client two weeks before the trial. But when they arrived at court this morning for the trial, Marilyn Matus appeared before the court and requested no further court action in the matter. When the incident allegedly occurred in June, 2012, Roberto Matus had been detained, pending charges of threatening words. When Marilyn Matus went to the police station, according to her report, PC Bol told her that if she paid him $400, her husband would be released and no charges would be levied against him. Matus said she paid PC Bol the money and they left, and she then reported the matter to police.


A Tale of Five Cities: Birds of Mexico
Before we head back to Belize, this seemed as good a spot as any to share the photos of birds we saw in various spots in Mexico. Although this was not a trip where we focused on birding, as some of our mainland Belize trips have been, we did bring our binoculars (of course!) and managed to see some beautiful birds. Several species we'd already seen in Belize (or in the US), but we managed to snag a few new ones for our life lists. The following birds were all seen in the beautiful Orquideas Moxviquil botanical garden, which we previously blogged about. This was a real haven for hummingbirds, thrushes, and flycatchers especially.

The Most Exotic Foods to Eat in Belize
Apart from the white sandy beaches, phenomenal flora and fauna and friendly people, the country of Belize also offers a potpourri of delicious fare for locals and visitors alike. Belizean cuisine has been described as an amalgamation of all ethnicities since the food is some of Central America’s most varied. When you visit Belize, a distinctively noticeable characteristic is the countless influences that are incorporated into the food. Offering an eclectic fusion of Caribbean, Mexican and European cuisines — food in Belize is fit for any appetite. Check out our list of the best foods to eat during your visit –

Interesting Facts About The Ancient Maya
Often misunderstood for savages, the ancient Maya were a fascinating civilization. At the height of their empire, they had the five fundamentals aspects of culture: food, art, customs, language and religion. A few of their achievements are the creation of massive architectural wonders, extensive travel and trade routes, and usage of an advanced system of writing and mathematics. Here are a few interesting facts about the ancient Maya: 1. The Maya would drastically enhance their features in search of beauty. They were known to flattening their forehead, sharpen their teeth pointy, create holes in their teeth and fill them with jade, and deliberately crossing their eyes. 2. The Maya loved getting high. According to mayanist Mark Van Stone, ingesting hallucinogenic drugs was an important part of many ancient American indigenous religious ceremonies. Interestingly enough, in preparation for rituals, one of the favorite ways the Maya got into trance was by licking the back of Cane toads (bufo marinus).

Getting Better
Having witnessed the progress that has been made on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize during the last few days it is extremely difficult to keep our expectations under control. Not to expect too much. Keep our feet on the ground. Rome wasn’t built in a day, not to run before we can walk, etc. Well we are trying and trying hard. But it is difficult, bloody difficult. We have to remember that progress was stunted recently by the heavy downpours. There is still a long way to go and there could be another hiatus or two before the house is complete and we can move in to our new home in Ambergris Caye, Belize. We are quietly confident, however, that Daniel Camal, our building contractor, will finish ahead of the scheduled forty week completion date of 11 August. We feel this because every day we visit it’s getting better all the time. But not wishing to be like the idiom ‘counting your chickens …’ we have extended the lease of the condo we are renting with the understanding that we can extend again if we need to. Anyway enough of the idioms, proverbs and my musings and on with the reason why the vast majority of you bother to use your valuable time visiting this blog – our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Abstract of Statistics Belize 2012 Volume 1
Have you ever wondered which Immigrant group has the most population in Belize? We did, and here are the numbers that answer that question.

International Sources

Venezuela sharply devalues its currency
Venezuela's government announced Friday that it is devaluing the country's currency, a long-anticipated change expected to push up prices in the heavily import-reliant economy. Officials said the fixed exchange rate is changing from 4.30 bolivars to the dollar to 6.30 bolivars to the dollar. The devaluation had been widely expected by analysts in recent months, though experts had been unsure about whether the government would act while President Hugo Chavez remained out of sight in Cuba recovering from cancer surgery. It was the first devaluation to be announced by Chavez's government since 2010, and it pushed up the price of the dollar against the bolivar by 46.5%. By boosting the bolivar value of Venezuela's dollar-denominated oil sales, the change is expected to help ease a difficult budget outlook for the government, which has turned increasingly to borrowing to meet its spending obligations.

Mexico Screening Horses for Virus at Belize Border
Inspections of horses are being stepped up along Mexico’s border with Belize to prevent animals infected with equine encephalitis from entering the country, the Agriculture Secretariat said. The “preventive measures are being taken on the southern border strip” due to outbreaks of the highly contagious disease in two areas, the secretariat said. Officials have sent National Food Health, Safety and Quality Service, or Senasica, specialists to the border region to help identify the viral strain involved, the secretariat said. Animals susceptible to infection will be vaccinated under the Binational Strategic Cooperation Plan for Health Matters and Trade, the Agriculture Secretariat said. Epidemiological monitoring in the region has been expanded and horse owners have been asked to notify officials if any animal begins exhibiting neurological problems, the secretariat said. Suspicious cases in vulnerable equine populations are being investigated in southern Mexico, the secretariat said.

Cool cats of Belize
Close encounter with jaguar highlight of Island Expeditions tour . ’m having second thoughts as I hear the clink of the cage being locked. I’m inside — along with four other people — waiting for a wild animal to be let loose. “He’s stalking us,” says Jamal Andrewin, an environmental educator at the Belize Zoo. Sitting with a bucket of chicken feet, Andrewin calls for the animal to come closer. Next thing I know, there is a 115-pound jaguar just inches from my face and I can’t help but feel like a scared caged animal myself. I’m in the Belize jungle with Island Expeditions, which specializes in adventure tourism to this country and parts of Mexico. I am learning about the history, culture and environment of the Central American nation first-hand on the Canadian travel company’s 10-day Glover’s Reef and River of Caves tour. A group of seven of us, ranging in age from late 20s to 60s, spent the morning scaling ancient Mayan pyramids. We are spending the afternoon getting up close and personal with native Belize animals.

February 8, 2013


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The San Pedro Sun

Guatemalan 2012 tourism publication map shows Belize as part of Guatemala
Guatemala-Tourism-Publication-Map-1The Tourism Institute of Guatemala (INGUAT) published a destination book with a map of the country in which Belize is featured as part of Guatemala. The 2012 edition of the publication entitled “Guatemala – Heart of the Mayan World… 2012” is similar to Belize’s “Destination Belize”. The book was distributed by the Guatemalan Government to members of a Belize delegation during a media conference on January 14th. The conference was organized by the Central American Tourism Integrated System (SITCA) which falls under the Central American Integrated System (SICA). Page 26 of the book shows Belize as part of a state (departamento) indicating that in such region, four languages are spoken mainly English, Spanish, Mopan Maya and Garifuna. As part of the geographical description of Guatemala, the book explains that they have two coastlines consisting of the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean.

National News: Mark King suspended over early morning casino altercation
An elected member in the Executive Arm of the National Assembly was disciplined by the Prime Minister of Belize Hon Dean Barrow after he was booted out by security officers at a Casino in the Corozal District for apparent unruly behavior. The incident occurred in the wee hours of Tuesday February 5th at the Princess Hotel and Casino outside of the Corozal Free Zone. The minister being singled out is Mark King, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation. According to first official police report sent out on Tuesday February 5th it indicated that, at about 2:30AM on the givenMark-King date, a uniformed police officer was on duty at the Princess Casino located at Santa Elena Northern Border. The officer was standing outside of the casino when he noticed that the security guard from the casino was escorting a male person out of the casino. That person was later identified to be 22 year old Diego Witz, a business man of Punta Gorda Town. According to the police, the security guards escorted a second male person out of the casino since he was “behaving disorderly.” While the name of the second person was not released by police, they indicated that Witz came back to where the second male person was being escorted out and attempted to hit one of the security guards. “The police then intervened and Diego Witz reportedly pushed and punched him (the Police) in the face. A struggle ensued where Diego Witz Jr. was subdued. He was cautioned of the offence committed of assaulting a police officer.”

The BTB Conducts Horse and Buggy Training
On February 7th and 8th, 2013 the Belize Tourism Board will be hosting a Horse and Buggy Training at the Samuel Haynes Institute in Belize City. The exercise is expected to include the participation of horse and buggy owners and handlers working in the Fort George Tourism Zone, along with Belize City Traffic Officers. Facilitators of the training, Marjorie Olson and Stephanie Lupp, will kick off Thursday’s session at 9 a.m., with presentations on the current Horse and Carriage regulations. The participants will also learn commonly used terminology in the business, interactive training on handling horses and carriage maintenance, as well as routes and other procedures to be followed when working in the Fort George Tourism Zone. On Friday, the second day of training, the workshop will conclude with a veterinary inspection of horses. In addition, traffic officers will be equipped with skills and knowledge on how to detect horses that are in distress, fatigued, injured, or overworked, as well as being able to recognize and identify carriages which surpass the weight restrictions outlined by the Horse and Buggy Regulations. This training forms part of a training series being offered through Belize Tourism Board for the improvement of standards and quality of service in the industry. For more information on the Horse and Buggy Training, contact Mrs. Shola Babb, Compliance Officer via e-mail at [email protected] or via phone at 227-2420.

San Pedro Lions Club receives 700 pairs of prescription glasses
Lions-Club-Glasses-Donation-2The glasses included everything from bifocals, reading glasses, single prescriptions glasses and sunglasses with prescription. According to the Secretary of the San Pedro Lions, Bonnie Musbach, the glasses will be distributed throughout the country with 100 pairs being given to each zone president. Further to this, Musbach will be trained through the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired BCVI to administer primary vision tests. With this skill, she hopes to travel to the southern districts along with President Murlene Spain and past president Melanie Paz where they will be issuing tests and glasses to those individuals in need. The team plans on hitting areas such as Punta Gorda, Placencia, Seine Bight and Dangriga among other places in the south. President Spain is very excited for the donation and assures Kerensted that the glasses will certainly reach the individuals that need them the most. The San Pedro Lions Club hosts eye doctors from BCVI the first Wednesday of each month. The doctors will be back on the island on March 6th and 7th when they will be offering free eye exams and services.

Ambergris Today

“Charmed” Actor Brian Krause Filming in Belize
San Pedro, Belize has been getting quite a lot of visits from famous actors. The most recent actor to be in our beautiful shores is famous actor and screenwriter, Brian Krause most popularly known as “Leo Wyatt” of the famous TV Series “Charmed”. Brian Krause was at one of San Pedro’s premier resorts, Captain Morgan’s Retreat, this week and took time to take a picture with staff members of the resort. Brian celebrated a Belizean birthday this past Friday, February 1, 2013, as he is in the country filming a Sci-Fi movie titled Poseidon Rex.

Misc Belizean Sources

Nature's Lullaby - A tour through Belize City, Belize in Central America
This is a video of the tour that tourists are taken on when they go cruising to Belize. It is about an hour long.

Foreva Fancy EXCLUSIVE FASHION SHOW Spectacular!
Foreva Fancy EXCLUSIVE FASHION SHOW will be an event you will not want to miss. On Sat, March 2nd our beautiful island of Ambergris Caye will be storming with Gorgeous Models as they display the latest in High Street Fashion 2013. Loads of Giveaways... Time: 7:30pm sharp Location: Sands Villas Pool Area (New White Condo Building South of the Belize Yacht Club).

From my point of view, G. Michael Reid
Aside from being published in the Belize Times, I have a few internet lists and forums to which I post my articles. I get feedback; some folks agree and some folks disagree. Such is the nature of the game. I always enjoy hearing from my readers whichever way it comes and am not one to confuse opinion with judgment. One reader wrote to me recently and had high praises of how I wrote. It was what I wrote about that had her dander raised. She suggested that I obviously write about the things I do because I am a PUP. I gave it some thought and came to this conclusion. I do not write about the things I do because I am a PUP. On the contrary, I am a PUP because of the way things are that spur me to write about them. Sometime aback, someone coined the term PUDP to suggest that there was no difference between Belize’s two political parties. I beg to differ! There are profound and distinct differences between these two parties.

NEMO gets visit from CDEMA
Today 7th, February 2013, Mr. Jeremy Collymore, Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), visited The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO). During his visit he met with the Senator Honourable Godwin Hulse, Minister responsible for National Emergency Management along with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the National Emergency Coordinator (NEC). In their meeting they discussed the various disaster initiatives and actions, including; the framework for regional centers of excellence and the governance structures and operational efficiency of CDEMA, resource mobilization and ongoing activities and support for Belize through CDEMA advocacy initiatives in disaster management. Belize is one of the eighteen (18) member countries of CDEMA. Mr. Collymore will return to CDEMA Headquarters Barbados, tomorrow.

Grand Caribe Belize Resort and Condominiums Holds Very First Facebook Contest
Grand Caribe Resort & Condominiums in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, has launched a photo contest on its Facebook page. One winner and a companion will enjoy: - A 3-night stay in a luxurious 1-bedroom suite - Welcome drinks upon arrival - American-style breakfast daily - Roundtrip flights on Tropic Air from the Belize International Airport to the San Pedro Airport. - A snorkeling tour of the world-renowned Shark Ray Alley within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. - Access to all amenities, including 3 swimming pools, 2 hot tubs, and the onsite pool bar and grill To enter, contestants are required to submit a photo entry using the ‘Photo Contest’ tab on the Grand Caribe Facebook page.

Belize over Turks and Caicos
Congratulations to Team BELIZE who defeated Turks and Caicos in the Division 2 International Cricket Tournament!!! Go BELIZE!!!!!

Valentines Sailing Regatta Feb 10
The San Pedro Sailing Club will be holding a “Valentines Sailing Regatta” in celebration of our love for sailing. All are invited down to Caribbean Villas, Sunday 10th February, were the race preparations will start shortly after 9am. The junior sailors will be racing Optimists in the morning and adults Hobies in the afternoon. Come join the fun! Live music and a delicious beach BBQ will be on hand for your enjoyment.

Inspired To Ride: La Ruta Maya
The La Ruta Maya, the canoe race from Cayo to Belize City, is only a month away. It starts on Friday, March 8th, under the Hawkesworth Bridge. Here's a video from last year's race, when paddle boards were first allowed. "Shane Perrin attempts to make history by solo paddling the 179 mile La Ruta Maya Belize river challenge on a stand up paddle board. His heroic journey commemorates the tenth anniversary of his second chance at life."

Bob Marley Tribute at Falcon Field
The Purple Movement, as part of their Heart Connection Tour, is having a tribute to Bob Marley at Falcon Field tomorrow evening. There will be live music, food, drinks, games, and a 5 on 5 football marathon. "Five-A-Side Football Marathon (Open) TO ALL Friday, February 8th, 2013 Falcon Field (Double Court), San Ignacio, Cayo Start Time: 6:00 P.M. Registration Fee: $30 per TEAM (only 8 players per team) Prize: Cash Prize and Team for 1st place team, Team Certificate for 2nd and 3rd place teams. 8 Team Marathon, so register in advance…… Contact: Erwin “Papo” Gillett @ 631-4107"

Red Carpet Affair Promo Mix
The Rotaract Club of San Ignacio is having their Red Carpet Affair on February 16th, at Meluchi's. They've got their promotional mix on Soundcloud; over an hour of mixed music that you'll hear at the party. "Come support a worthy cause. Proceeds will go towards the provision of gift baskets for families, river clean up campaign and Project Cure (rehabilitation of a ward at the Western Regional Hospital) SPONSORS: MELUCHIS, PRINT BELIZE LTD, DIGICEL, MR. GREEDY'S PIZZERIA, BENQUE RESORT AND SPA, RECINO'S IMPORTS, HODES PLACE,Vanessa Awe Makeup Artistry,The Dollhouse, Rolson's Cocina"

Traditional Herbal and Medicinal Exhibition Launch
Last night the Benque House of Culture launched their Traditional Herbal & Medicinal Exhibition. The exhibition runs through March 4th. "Exhibition 2013, join us as we unveil the wonderful properties of the traditional & natural medicines in Belize, by our expert naturalist Mr. Harry Guy Sr. Please note the time starts at 7:00 p.m. Save the date Thursday February 7th,2012"

Potentialists Tour at SIRH Today
The San Ignacio Resort Hotel will host the Motivational Missionaries Potentialist Motivational Tour tomorrow. Thanks, SIRH. "San Ignacio Resort Hotel is excited to participate by hosting the San Ignacio Youth Seminar Portion of the tour, here in the Bedran Hall, on February 8, 2013."

Howler Monkey Leaves BWRC for Wildtracks
Feelgood news of the day. The howler monkey that the Belize Wildlife Referral Clinic has brought back to a healthy state was transferred to Wildtracks. It got to have an exciting flight. Thanks, BWRC, for all the amazing work you do saving Belize's wildlife. "Talk about V.I.P. (primate) treatment, this recovering Howler monkey with the help of Lighthawk received free air transportaion to Wildracks for further rehab and hope to be reunited with her troop in the future."

Creamy Cheesy Mac & Cheese
My kids love Mac & Cheese, but only when it's creamy and has tons of cheese. If you hate Mad & Cheese from a box, you will absolutely love this dish. It uses very few ingredients and very simple to make, but it is delicious.

Hon. Julius Espat on Belize – Guatemala – ICJ
I have looked at the two sides of the issue when it pertains to Belize and the ICJ, and I am convinced that the risk of loosing any part of our territory is too much to take. We have already gone through the difficult process of obtaining our Independence with our territory defined. This was unanimously agreed to by the vast majority of nations of the world. We cannot ignore this great achievement by our forefathers. Let the United Nations seek an opinion from the ICJ on our behalf, but not a judgement. - Julius Espat A strong stand on behalf of the people of Belize. One must always put their nation and people first, it is an oath that each and every Belizean MUST put into action I, do swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to Belize and will uphold the Constitution and the Law of Belize and that I will faithfully and conscientiously contribute to the development of Belize and discharge my duties and responsibilities as a Belizean citizen. I will further respect the history and culture of Belize and refrain from any anti-social or criminal activities and devote myself to the service and well-being of the Belizean people. I pledge that I will do everything in my power to promote and strengthen democracy and the rule of law in Belize and will do everything to promote the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belize. So Help Me God.

Mennonite Whoopie Pies
1 cup whippin' creem 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract pinch salt 4 cups all-purrpus flour 1 tsp. bakin' powdr 1 tsp. bakin' sody Fillin: 1 cup buttr, softened 2 cups sifted icin' sugar 2 tsp. cocoa powdr 3 cups marshmalloe “Fluff”* (stere bouite er homemade) 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract Whisk togethr aigs, creem, sugar, vanilla and salt. Whisk togethr remainin' ingredients. Add dry ingredients t'wet, one cup at a time, mixin' t'form a soft dough. Divide into acoupla parts. Wrap each n' plastick. Refrigerate t'chill. Preheet ove t'350 F. On a floured surface, roll out dough t'half-inch. Cut cookies usin a medium roun cuttr.

Channel 7

Amateur Video Shows The Momentary Madness Of Mark King
The video of Mark King throwing a tantrum at the Princess Casino exists but Casino management isn't even admitting anything happened din there, much less sharing the video. But tonight, 7News has obtained amateur video footage of the fracas at the border crossing, where king followed police after they picked up his associate on Tuesday morning at 2:30 am. As you may be able to make out in the footage, Mark King is the man in the maroon and white shirt being pulled by his shirt collar by a woman. One of King's companions is trying to block the photographer from videoing the scene. If you look closely, he is in a confrontation with a police officer, and other bystanders are trying to get him under control. He is swinging his hand at someone in the background, and as the frame cuts, you may notice that police are trying to talk him down. He is eventually placed into the pan of a pickup truck, and that's where the person with the camera ends the footage.

Hon. King Arraigned In Court
Today, that Mark King Saga ended up in court, 2 days after the minister of state was charged for an incident that started at the Princess Casino near the Corozal Free Zone and ended up at the border crossing. During that time King is accused of throwing a wild tantrum in the casino and then assaulting police as they tried to arrest one of his friends. Today he became only the second sitting member of cabinet in memory to be brought up on criminal charges as he was escorted to the Corozal Magistrate's court. Daniel Ortiz was there and he has this rpeort:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting King arrived at court promptly at 9 a.m., and along with his entourage, went directly inside the building. In his haste, trying to elude the cameras, he ended up dodging into the clerk of court's office. He quickly realized that he was in the wrong area, and he then moved to the court room area. It is customary that Magistrate's Court starts with older matters where adjournments are dealt with first. But not today, Magistrate Clive Lino called up King's matter as soon as he formally opened the session.

Bze District Teachers Did Not Vote On GOB Wage Proposal
Last night the Belize District Unions meeting lasted more than three hours - and tonight, the news is that at the end of it they didn't vote on whether they would accept government's proposal. But we can report that the sentiment of those who spoke at the meeting was that they didn't like the proposal. They object to it because it is based on what they call an "if" - referring specifically to government's proposal that "if" there is a revenue surplus then they will get a raise. Those who spoke at the meeting say they don't want an "if", they want a number, a minimum figure, what they call a floor. Again, no vote was taken, so we can't say if that was the position of the majority of the 120 or so persons who attended the meeting. Those who attended though, say that was the overall sentiment. The union's leadership will now continue their consultations in the districts and answer the Prime Minister - most likely by next week. But, government sources say the Prime Minister is not likely to agree to a minimum figure, or what the unions call a floor, so things could be heading for another impasse. We'll wait and see.

Man Beaten By Police Comes Out Of Coma
On Monday, we told you about Caye Caulker tour guide Bert Nicholas, known as Ras Creek. He was allegedly beaten by a tourism police officer on the island and ended up in a coma requiring emergency brain surgery. Tonight, the good news is that he is out of that coma - but still in the hospital. Monica Bodden spoke to his girlfriend who spoke to us off camera and said she wants justice:.. Voice of: Girlfriend "Right now Creek is still in the ICU but he is doing better. They woke him up yesterday and so far he seems to be good; his legs and hands are moving and his brains seems to be working as well. He recognizes us and we can talk about thing she knows about and people that he knows." Reporter "It must be great relief given the fact he has been in a coma for quite some time." Voice of: Girlfriend "Definitely, I was not expecting such a fast recovery."

The Fates Of Various Rosewood
Tonight two containers of Rosewood are sitting at the Forestry Department compound in Belmopan. And then there's also the container sitting at the Benque Viejo border. And so, today, after a morning show appearance, the Chief Forest Officer gave the full rundown on those two containers plus one more we reported on a month ago. That one was confiscated at the Port of Belize, because it was believed to have undeclared logs inside. Turns out it did have zericote logs. Wilbur Sabido explained:.. Wilbur Sabido "However, when we opened the container and we found the Zericote in round or log form - that is against the law essentially. Zericote is protected species; it can only be exported as a value added product. So in that particular instance we seize the produce from the container. The exporter is a known exporter to us. He goes by the name of Anita Lou based originally out of Roaring Creek and now operating out of Orange Walk. The other situation is one that is more known which was about a month or so ago where we got reports that there were two containers in Belize Engineering yard that had rosewood in it and we contacted Police, Customs, BAHA and all the law enforcement agencies and it was so we actually had a 20' and 40' container that we took to our compound and when we off load it, it was a total of about 15,000 board feet that we were of rosewood that we were able to document. That particular exporter goes by the name of Kambokin. The two persons that registered that particular company - I can only recall the name of one; it's Pererra. In this particular instance we have only manage to make contact through the broker Mr. Raul Cawich. It's through him and with the DPP we are working to see how we can make contact with the actual owner of the material."

Belize Accounts For World Heritage Sites
The team from the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development also spoke about the UNESCO team that's in Belize to address issues with our World Heritage Sites. There are seven sites in Belize that have been given World Heritage designation but a few of them have come under review for violations. The UNESCO Mission is in Belize to see if corrective actions have been taken. Alamilla explained that the Belize sites are in danger:.. Minister Lisel Alamilla "Where we are right now is that we are in danger. So it means that you have to address some of the challenges of ensuring that the integrity of that world heritage site is maintained." Jules Vasquez "One of the sustain threats to integrity or one of the pursuits that is inimical with world heritage sites is offshore drilling. We do have world heritage sites; the government seeks to pursue offshore drilling. How will those two things be reconcile?"

Setting Standards For Horses And Carriages
The Horse and Buggy has become a staple attraction for cruise tourists visiting Belize City. But training for the horse and buggy operators is also important - both in terms of the image of Belize's tourist product and for the humane treatment of the animals. Training has been ongoing, but it's a growing industry and new employees are coming in every day. That's why today the Belize Tourism Board organized a Horse and Buggy Training at the Samuel Haynes Institute in Belize City for 40 persons involved in the industry. Shola Babb explained that they are trying to improve standards:.. Shola Babb, Compliance Officer - BTB "Today they are going over the general welfare and the care of the horse, what the police needs to look at when they are giving tickets, what the drivers should be doing while driving the cart or while carry off their tours." Stefanie Lupp, City Resident "The training is about the healthcare, the driving, how to fix horse shoes and how to keep a horse and how to feed a horse."

Armoured Catfish Prowling Northern Belizes Riverine Territory
The armoured catfish first reared his very ugly head in the Rio Bravo Area of Belize back in November, 2012. Now, there are concerns that the invasive species of fish may be making deeper inroads into Belize. Today the Director of Fisheries outlined the threat:.. Beverly Wade, Fisheries Administrator "The Armored Catfish for Devil Fish; there are several names for it, is really a species that is a very robust specie. In Northern Mexico it actually displaces Tilapia, so it has that potential in places like Florida. If you do some research, it's actually the cause of a lot of - it undermines the foundation of these beautiful houses that are along water ways because it digs a hole about this big, its burrow; it digs a hole into these banks. The burrows are about 3 meters long. It's very destructive to your natural environment and it's very robust. A specimen was caught last week by a fisherman in a little bit further down south in the Rio Hondo. It is an indication that it is here in that particular watershed and there is a need for us to now put in place an action to how to deal with it." "Our local species are already under stress by the Tilapia invasion - it competes for them like the Bay Snook and these species that naturally nest - they create nest. These fish just literally marginalize them and push them out and displace them."

Profile of An Educator
Tonight's profile is about Alma Eiley, a career educator. But more than just being a teacher - which she did for 50 years, Eiley also served as a scout leader for 27 years. IT'S voluntary work but in tonight's profile, she explains that the reward she got out of it was far greater than what money could buy:..

KHMH Goes With Courts
The KHMH received a huge donation this afternoon. As part of the hospital's Adopt-A-Ward program, Courts Belize Ltd and one of the institution's very own doctors Jose Guerra, made a cash donation and also furnished and renovated two rooms in the Maternity Ward. A short appreciation ceremony was held at the KHMH and 7news was invited. Dr. Francis Longsworth, CEO - KHMH "This particular project had to do with renovating two private rooms in the maternity ward and we approach Courts Belize Limited to assist and we mentioned it to Dr. Guerra that we were planning to do this and he immediately jumped on board and said that he would donate towards this cause. Of course he is one of our more prolific gynecologists, so he just loves the idea that we would have this type of amenity available to patients who would want to access it. You can see the room, it's nicely decked out. We have all the amenities; TV, fridge, lounge, couch, recliner, bedside tables and bathroom."

Science Minister Wants Less Reliance On Fossil Fuels
The Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities wants Belize to burn less fossil fuels. That's the subject of a trio of meetings with the Private Sector. Minister Joy Grant explains that they want to find out about best practices with alternative energy because Belize needs to spend less money buying fossil fuels:.. Minister Joy Grant "We have had presentations for many in the private sector who are currently utilizing solar and hydro and we've had a quite interesting discussion and we are going to continue that this afternoon so that we could determine what it is that the government of Belize can do or must do to make it easier for people to get investment in this sector and to also ensure that it is a profitable investment." Reporter "Is there anything that we can do that will have meaningful impact globally?" Minister Joy Grant "First I want to go back nationally because what is so important here today is to recognize that majority of what we spend as a country we spend on fossil fuels, so as I said this morning if we could reduce that bill then the amount of money we save we could use it for development projects and we all know that Belize needs to have development projects so we could employ people."

Channel 5

A King charged in court
Minister of State Mark King this morning finally had his day in court. Cabinet, on Tuesday, issued a release stating that Corozal Police would charge King for Threatening Words and Disorderly Conduct for his involvement in a brawl in front of the Princess Casino. But on Wednesday, Police issued a release stating that King had [...]

OAS meeting with Belize as part of Guatemala map
A public awareness campaign was recently launched for the October referendum in which Belizeans will vote on whether Guatemala’s claim to Belize will be decided by the International Court of Justice. But today, Belize is sending a formal note of protest to the Guatemalan government for including Belize in its official map. A diplomatic spat [...]

Foreign Affairs C.E.O. supports diplomatic protest
Late this evening, News Five spoke to the C.E.O. of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexis Rosado. Rosado said that he was aware of the incident at the OAS headquarters in Washington D.C. He told News Five via phone that he fully supported the protest lodged by Ambassador Nestor Mendez.   Jose Sanchez “Despite the [...]

Belize City teachers say too many “ifs” in salary proposals
The Belize District Branch of the Belize National Teachers Union expected six hundred of its members to show up at the first consultation with its leaders for the presentation of a government proposal for salary increments for the years 2014 to 2017. The maximum salary adjustment in any of the three years would not exceed [...]

Illegally harvested Zericote shipment found
The Ministry of Forestry has been clamping on the illegal but lucrative harvesting and exportation of rosewood. But despite a moratorium in place since last year, the illegal activities have continued at a brisk pace and containers of the precious wood have been seized in the south, at the western border and adjacent to the [...]

Rosewood still being cut during moratorium
As for the rosewood at the western border and the two containers stored and confiscated at Belize Engineering Limited adjacent to the customs compound in Belize City, the Chief Forestry officer says the D.P.P. is looking into the matter.   Wilbur Sabido, Chief Forest Officer “The other situation is the one that is more known [...]

Tush given 2 years for attacking a jogger
  In the Magistrate Court this morning, a Belize City man went on trial for attacking an evening jogger who was exercising on the Phillip Goldson Highway in July of 2012. Thirty-eight year old William Tush appeared for charges of Aggravated Assault and Wounding upon forty-seven year old Desiree Adolphus. At the start of the [...]

Ras Creek emerges from coma
There is good news tonight in respect of the health of Bert “Ras Creek” Nicholas, the Caye Caulker tour guide who slipped into a coma last Saturday and had to be airlifted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. “Ras Creek” regained consciousness on Wednesday and is recovering slowly. Family members say that while he is [...]

Finding alternative sources of energy
Twenty-seven percent of energy consumed in Belize is acquired from Mexico. The rest is obtained from fossil fuels, biomass and hydro, while the use of solar energy is growing. The Ministry of Energy believes that renewable energy resources can be exploited to reduce dependency on fossil fuels. The savings, says the Minister of Energy, Joy [...]

Courts and K.H.M.H. get a good deal
Aside from cutting edge technology recently donated to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, expecting mothers can now look forward to delivering newborns in modernized maternity units. The nation’s referral hospital today showed off spiffy new units that were renovated with the assistance of Courts Belize. Duane Moody reports.   Duane Moody, Reporting Expectant mothers who [...]

Healthy Living zooms in on medical imaging
The advancement of technology with new smart phones and tablets has significantly impacted on our lives specifically in carrying out our day to day routines. This rapid technological development has not been exclusive to our personal devices. In fact, with new developments in medical technology, the machinery and information obtained from diagnostic tools have become [...]


Tour Guide's Hospitalization May Be The Result of Police Brutality
Two weeks ago, on January 11, a Caye Caulker tour guide had an unpleasant experience with a tourist police officer who allegedly lost control and allegedly hit him in the head shortly after he had completed a tour at the Caye Caulker Water Taxi dock. Forty-nine year old Bert Nich...

Diplomatic Incident At The OAS As Guatemala Flashes Map Inclusive of Belize As Part of Its Territory
A diplomatic incident has erupted at the Organization of American States involving Belize and Guatemala and it stems from a provocative map used by Guatemala in a video presentation showcasing our neighbor to the west where the OAS General Assembly will meet later this year. The ...

Minister of State Arraigned on Three Criminal Charges
Lake Independence area representative, thirty eight year old Mark King, was formally arraigned this morning in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court on three criminal charges. When he appeared before Magistrate Clive Lino, King was read charges of aggravated assault, use of threat...

Minister Says Illegal Harvesting of Rosewood Continues Despite Moratorium
Since the Minister of Forestry, Lisel Alamilla, signed a Moratorium banning the harvesting of Rosewood in Belize, extractors have not stopped in the illegal trade and a number of seizures have been made. One was made in January just before making it on the dock for shipment near ...

Streets Upgrade Begins In Punta Gorda
Work has begun on upgrading of two streets in Punta Gorda. Information from the Social Investment Fund Office here confirmed that work on Punta Gorda streets upgrading project commenced this week with work crew of contractor Imer Hernandez Development Co. Ltd. of Bengue Viejo. &nbs...

Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Upgrades Private Rooms in Ward
Two years ago the KHMH started a campaign that appealed to the public to adopt its wards for better upkeep and to help the hospital have more aesthetical appeal. Over that period a number of businesses and anonymous donors have come forth and taken on the challenge. The aim...

Belize City Resident Sentenced After Attacking Woman
Thirty-eight year old William Tush, a resident of Kelly Street who attacked a woman with a knife, was sentenced to 3 years in jail today by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser after he pled guilty to aggravated assault and wounding. The incident occurred around 5:20 p.m. on July 22, ...


Charges laid against Lake I representative
Twenty four hours after a “breach of the peace” incident inside of the Corozal Free Zone, police have brought formal charges of aggravated assault, use of threatening words and disorderly conduct against Member of Parliament Mark King. The thirty eight year old first time area representative was given a 3-month suspension from Cabinet by Prime Minister Dean Barrow after it was confirmed that he was involved in an early Tuesday morning brawl at the Princess Casino in the Corozal Free Zone. Up until the time of his suspension, King was the junior minister of Human Development and Social Transformation. Minister King was one of two men who were thrown out of the casino around 2:30 am Tuesday after a disturbance involving a member of his entourage broke out inside of the establishment. According to police reports, twenty two year old Diego Witz, Junior, who was a member of Minister King’s group got into a physical confrontation with security personnel for the casino as they were escorting him off the premises. A police constable, identified as Nelson Ramos, intervened and Witz reportedly punched the law enforcement officer. That resulted in PC Ramos placing Witz under arrest. But the police report says that Minister King intervened and tried to get the police to release Witz. Officer Ramos would have none of it and the official police report says that the Lake Independence area representative then climbed into the pan of the police mobile pickup truck. While inside of the pan of the police mobile, according to the official police report, Minister King threatened and assaulted Constable Ramos. As we noted before, Minister King was charged by police for the crimes of aggravated assault, use of threatening words and disorderly conduct.

Autpsy shows girl died of smoke inhalation
The results of an autopsy on the body of three year old San Narciso village resident Danelly Shanairy Guadalupe Cabrera have been released. The child perished in an early morning fire on Monday. According to pathologist Dr. Hugh Sanchez, the post mortem examination reveals that Cabrera died as a result of Asphyxia due to smoke inhalation. The child’s mother, forty year old Ramona Cabrera remains hospitalized with severe burns to her hands, face, chest, throat and back. Fire officials in Corozal have concluded that the cause of the blaze early Monday morning blaze was from a burnt plastic hose attached to an open gas tank.

PM says budget preparation well underway
The annual exercise known as the budget preparation is well underway in Belmopan. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow today confirmed that the numbers are being compiled and that in the coming weeks, he will be going to parliament to lay out the government’s fiscal plan for the next financial year starting on April first. The Prime Minister says he will have to do some domestic borrowing to plug expected budgetary shortfalls. The budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 is tentatively scheduled for presentation to the House of Representatives on March first, with the debate expected to take place just before the Easter holidays at the end of next month.

PM says salary adjustments for teachers hinge on government revenue surplus
The leadership of the Belize National Teachers Union has begun the process of explaining a proposed agreement for salary adjustments to their general membership. Meetings are scheduled across the country where the Union representatives on the joint negotiating team will divulge the details of the deal agreed on in principle by the unions at a meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow on Friday of last week. When he appeared on the Love FM Morning Show today, Prime Minister Barrow told the nation that given the fiscal constraints of Central government, the agreement hammered out in last week’s meeting is the best that could have been offered at this time. Prime Minister Barrow emphasized that in order for the agreed salary adjustment to become a reality next year, both government and the Public Service Union must work together to ensure that there is improvement in the government’s recurrent revenue.

PM says suspension of Mark King is political punishment enough
The involvement of Junior Minister Mark King in a self described “breach of the peace” incident in the wee hours of Tuesday morning in Corozal continues to be the focus of discussions around the country. Today, Prime Minister Barrow told Love News that bearing in mind that court system will be allowed to run its due course, the swift political punishment he meted out on Tuesday morning is sufficient enough, given the gravity of Minister King’s transgression. While King is suspended from Cabinet, he remains the duly elected area representative for Lake Independence. The Prime Minister says that the fact that he acted swiftly to deal with the situation is an indication that his government does not sanction misbehavior by elected officials. Mr. Barrow says that he expects that at the end of the suspension period, Minister King will resume his official duties. One person has been formally arraigned as a result of yesterday’s incident at the Princess Casino in the Corozal Free Zone. Twenty two year old Diego Witz Jr was arraigned on a single charge of assaulting a police officer. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, was released on a bail of four thousand dollars and ordered to return to court on April sixteenth.

Our Lady of Fatima pilgrimage going to Punta Gorda
Preparations have been finalized to receive and host the pilgrimage of the statue of our Lady of Fatima tomorrow in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

Tryouts begin for the King James basketball tournament
Young high school basketball players are being invited to try out for the opportunity to be a part of the team that will be travelling to Ohio, USA later this year to participate in the King James Basketball Tournament. Coach Bernie Tarr says they are looking forward to see as many high school players as possible at the try out sessions. Coach Tarr says they are seeking sponsorship for the upcoming tournament and the feedback from the business community has been great.

Police officer walks free of carnal knowledge charges
In 2011 Police Officer Yannick Wade was charged with six counts of carnal knowledge. It was alleged Wade had sex with a then thirteen year old girl on six different occasions between June 21, 2009 and March 2011. Today Wade walked out of court a free man after the charges were withdrawn after the prosecutor entered a nolle prosequi. Justice Troadio Gonzalez informed Wade that since the case against him ended in a nolle prosequi, it is possible that at any time, the charges can be brought back against him. Prosecutor Leroy Banner informed Justice Gonzalez that they have been unable to locate the crown’s two main witnesses being the minor and her mother. He said he believes the two have been deliberately been hiding from the police and so they were not served their summons to appear in court. Earlier this morning, Prosecutor Banner had empanelled a jury of 9 persons, 4 men and 5 women to hear the case in anticipation that his witnesses would show up. This is the first nolle prosequi case for the January session of the Supreme Court which commenced on January 16, 2013. Wade was represented by attorney Arthur Saldivar.
It is a popular Belize City restaurant and since robbers targeted its deliverymen over the past few years, Chon Saan Restaurant on Kelly Street has excluded some areas of the city’s south side for delivery orders at night. But that exclusion did not include the George Price Highway and on Tuesday night, two armed men came up with a plan that worked. The men, who reportedly wore ski masks, reportedly called into Chon Saan Restaurant, pretending to live at a house near the Lord Ridge Cemetery, which is normally dark at night. They placed an order for food amounting to thirty-three dollars and fifty cents and instructed the restaurant to have it delivered and to send change for a hundred dollar bill. But when the deliveryman arrived in the area, he instead got a rude awakening when he was ambushed by two men dressed in ski masks and armed with guns, who took away the food, the sixty six dollars and fifty cents in change, the deliveryman’s wallet and the motorcycle that he used to deliver the food. Despite the loss, Chon Saan Restaurant confirmed to Love News today that while they no longer offer delivery service to extension areas past the Central American Boulevard at night, they continue to offer nightly delivery service as far as the Burton Bridge on the George Price Highway. People who live on the south side in the extension areas past the Central American Boulevard can still place delivery orders at night, but those orders need to be picked up on the Boulevard.
There was a stabbing incident in Belize City on Monday evening. The victim has been identified as thirty two year old Corrington Villanueva. Police say Villanueva was socializing at a bar on Regent Street West around five o’clock on Monday evening when he was stabbed to the left side of his abdomen by another man. The suspected knife-man has been identified as twenty nine year old Rudy Faber, a resident of Biscayne village in the Belize district. Faber was arrested on Tuesday afternoon and charged with the crimes of Attempted Murder and Use of Deadly Means of Harm.
Police have classified the discovery of a body hanging in a house on George Street as an “unnatural death.” Acting upon information received, police say that around six-forty on Tuesday evening they went to the house and found the partially decomposed body of twenty four year old Jeffery Flowers. Flowers’ body, according to police, was found hanging from the beam of the house with a cloth tied around his neck. The last time Flowers, who worked as a deliveryman, was seen alive was on the night of February 1 by his mother. Police say no sign of physical injury was observed on Flowers’ body. A post mortem examination is pending.

Millions of dollars worth of narcotics destroyed
Millions of dollars worth or narcotics went up in smoke this morning in Belize City. It was a deliberate destruction carried out by law enforcement authorities. Love TV’s Marion Ali and video journalist Myles Gillett witnessed the destruction and bring you the following report.

Banquitas House of Culture hosts bird exhibition
A photography exhibition has opened in Orange Walk town. Correspondent Dalila Ical has the details.

Dara Robinson food drive a huge success
On Tuesday’s newscast, Love News reported on the food drive spearheaded by Joel “Dara” Robinson which took place today at the MCC tennis Court. And by all accounts, the exercise was a big success. Robinson explains. Love News spoke with some of the donors to the food drive, which included students from Ebenezer Primary School. Robinson will be at the Banquitas House of Culture in Orange Walk town on Saturday for the continuation of the food drive. Meanwhile, today is Bob Marley’s birthday. Decades after his death, Marley is still a prominent reggae icon and one supporter of today’s food drive spoke with Love News about the significance of the message that Marley’s music carries. Bob Marley died on May 11th 1981 in Miami, Florida at the age of 36. He would have been sixty eight years old today.

PM says talk of an American military base in Belize is not true
An American anti-war group is reporting on its online blog that the United States military is building bases in Central America, including Belize. Railing against what the group calls the US’s continued militarization reach into Latin America, the group is claiming that the Obama administration is spending enormous amounts of cash, much of it on the war against narco traffickers in Latin America. But while the nations with a common coast along the Caribbean Sea which is seen as a transshipment route for North America-bound narcotics, Prime Minister Dean Barrow says he knows of no impending US military base being set up in Belize.

UDP leader ready for convention to elect senior deputy
The United Democratic Party’s convention to choose a deputy leader is set to take place in the next week and a half in Corozal. Collet area representative Patrick Faber is challenging the incumbent, Orange Walk North representative Gaspar Vega. Intra-party campaigning has been going on for the past several weeks and with the convention date so close, party leader Dean Barrow says all systems are a go for the UDP to carry out a democratic election of its senior deputy party leader. Prime Minister Barrow says that should Faber succeed in unseating Vega as deputy leader of the UDP, it will not immediately trigger a Cabinet shuffling of portfolios. The UDP’s deputy leader’s convention will take place on Sunday, February seventeenth in Corozal town.


Belize to submit diplomatic note of protest to OAS
Yesterday February 6th, the Organization of American States (OAS) held a permanent council meeting at the OAS Headquarters in Washington DC. In that meeting, during a video presentation by the Guatemalan representative; he presented a map of Guatemala which shows Belize as a part of their territory. It’s not...

Mark King appeared in Corozal court
Mark King appeared in Corozal court this morning. Suspended Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation & Poverty Alleviation, and cabinet member, 38 year old Mark King stood on the witness dock inside the courtroom today, where he was formally read charges of a criminal...

Minister Alamilla speaks about ongoing issues within her Ministry
The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development continues in an almighty battle with illegal exporters of the precious commodity rosewood in the South. After numerous busts and one very controversial burning, the Ministry can report some success, but there is still much work to be done. First, Minister...

Forum highlights Renewable Energy
The Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities hosted the first of three private sector fora at the Belize Biltmore Plaza this morning, focusing on importing and championing renewable energy sources in Belize. Opening the event, was Minister of State for Economic Development, Santino Castillo, who pledged his...

Some oil drilling contracts will not be renewed
Belize’s Barrier Reef, it is one of our primary attractions and UNESCO has made it a World Heritage Site. But concerns over offshore drilling have led some to question whether it will stay that way. Today, Minister Lisel Alamilla suggested that concerns over the current production sharing agreements covering...

Catfish is spreading in the Rio Hondo
The invasive armoured catfish is reportedly spreading in the Rio Hondo. Many have heard about the lionfish or tilapia – invasive marine species that has threaten to take over whole populated areas of marine ecology. Last year another such species, the armoured catfish, was sighted in the Rio Hondo...

PM says COLA has a right to protest
The unceremonious removal of activists Giovanni Brackett, Wil Maheia and Albert Cattouse, all representing COLA – Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action from the official launch of the ICJ referendum campaign at the Radisson on January 23 made the news that day. Brackett, Maheia and Cattouse unfurled and displayed...

Police recover stolen handgun
On Monday we told you about a licensed gun which had been reported stolen. Police say, that they have now recovered the handgun. According to Police, on Monday at about 6:00pm Crimes Investigation Branch personnel visited Lavender Street, in Belize City where they recovered the black CZ brand, 9mm...

BTB holds training for horse and carriage operators
The sight of tourists going around and seeing the sights of the Old Capital on modified vehicles pulled by horses may seem unusual, but is also a big money-maker in the tourism industry. However, concerns have been raised about the level of safety and care for the four-legged transport...

The Guardian

Two Cops charged with Theft
Carolee Castillo-Samuels, wife of Belize City Councilor Dean Samuels, filed a theft report against two Belize City police officers, PC Phillip Swift and PC John Galvez. In her report to police, Samuels said that at about 1:20 p.m. on November 16th, 2012, she dropped her purse in front of Oxygen Boutique on Freetown Road. Reports are on that same day her purse was found, allegedly by police. At about 3:20 p.m., some 2 hours later, she received a call from police informing her that her purse had been found. When she went to retrieve her purse she realized that it was empty and her cash, $525 and 120 pesos, were missing. Police investigation into the missing money led to the arrest and charge of Swift and Galvez. On Tuesday, February 5th, both interdicted police officers appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where they were read a single charge of theft. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charge and there was no objection to bail; however, court prosecutor Sgt. Egbert Castillo asked the court to set conditions to bail. As a result, both were offered bail in the sum of $2,000 each. The Chief Magistrate ordered that they pay $500 in cash forthwith and the balance of $1,500 in a signed surety. They were both ordered to surrender all travelling documents and stay away from the virtual complainant. Their case was adjourned for April 9th.

Eight charged for 62 Grams of Weed
Eight members of a family that were found in possession of 62 grams of weed on Saturday, February 2nd, were before the court on Monday, February 4th, to answer to the charge of drug trafficking with intent to supply another. They include Patricia Anne Wayne, Mark Anthony Wayne Betson, Clifford Betson, Ludrick Wagner, Giovanni Barrella, Natasha Gilbert, Gilbert Lightburn, and Stafford Young. Police say that at about 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, they conducted a search at #52 C Dean Street where all the defendants were present. A search on top of a wooden table, which was being supported by pint bottle crates inside the yard, resulted in the discovery a black plastic bag which contained some green leafy substance which proved to be cannabis. In court, Mark Betson claimed the cannabis and pleaded guilty with an explanation to drug trafficking while the others pleaded not guilty. Betson told Magistrate Adolph Lucas, “The drugs was not for distribution. I had it for my own use. My family did not know it was there so I beg the court for leniency.” He claimed the weed was for medicinal purpose since he had lost a foot. Betson, who already has a conviction before the court for possession of a controlled drug, was spared from going to jail when Magistrate Lucas imposed a non-custodial sentence and fined him the minimum sentence of $10,000 fine plus $5.00 cost of court which he has until December 31st, 2013 to pay or serve 3 years imprisonment. The charge was withdrawn from the rest of the family.

Extortion Charge dropped against PC Norman Bol
On June 14th, 2012, Police Constable Norman Bol was charged with extortion upon Marilyn Matus. According to police, Matus claimed that on June 3rd, 2012 her husband, Roberto Matus, was being held pending charges of threatening words. However, PC Bol approached her and told her that if she paid him $400, he would release her husband and no charges will be levied against him. Matus paid the $400 in exchange for her husband’s release but later reported the incident. On Tuesday, February 5th, the charge was withdrawn against PC Bol when Matus sent a letter to court stating that she does not want further court action. Bol’s attorney, Kareem Musa, told court reporters that he plans to file a civil suit against the Belize Police Department for “malicious prosecution” against his client.

Rudy Faber, charged for Attempted Murder
A man was stabbed whilst at a local bar named Carmita’s Bar also known as “Bucket Bar”, located at the foot of the Swing Bridge, and police have charged 29-year-old Rudy Faber for attempted murder.

Charged for Tax Evasion
Businessman, Thomas Gomez Jr., who is the owner of a lumber yard in the Faber’s Road Area, was picked up on the strength of a bench warrant on Tuesday, February 5th, and escorted to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court where he was read 8 counts of failure to file General Sales Tax. The Department of GST claims that Gomez has yet to file his taxes for the lumber business from April to December of 2012. In court, Gomez pleaded guilty to the charges and Magistrate Adolph Lucas, Jr. ordered him to pay $700 for each offense, totaling $5,600. He is to commence payment on the fine with 8 monthly installments of $700 starting at the end of March 2013. However, GST legal representative, Jaqueline Meighan, pointed out to the court that Gomez already has a previous conviction for tax evasion in which he pled guilty to 17 counts on February 22nd, 2012. He was ordered to pay $8,500 and has not paid a cent of the fine. To avoid jail time, Gomez requested an extension to pay the fine but offered to pay $5,000 immediately. Magistrate Lucas granted his request but warned of a prison sentence if payments are not made consistently.

Shaquille Jones walks from Double Murder charge
On Tuesday, February 5th, 21-year-old Shaquille Jones, who has been on remand since he was 17 years old, was acquitted of charges of murder upon 29-year-old Jermaine Trapp and 18-year-old Cameron Blease. Jones was accused of killing Trapp and Blease shortly after 3 a.m. on December 26th, 2008. According to reports, the men were just leaving Club Next located inside the Princess Hotel and Casino when they were ambushed by a gunman while heading to Trapp’s vehicle, which was parked in the hotel’s compound. The gunman opened fire at the men. As Trapp tried to drive away, one of the bullets struck him in the shoulder and the other to the back of his head. Blease was shot once to the hand and once to the chest. Trapp immediately succumbed to his injuries while Jones died ten days later. Police later arrested and charged 17-year-old Shaquille Jones for the murder of both men. According to police, it was Blease, who identified the gunman while on his hospital bed. The murder case began on Monday, January 28th, 2013 before Justice Troadio Gonzalez in the Supreme Court and prosecutors Kayshia Grant and Leroy Banner called 6 witnesses to testify. There was no witness to point out Jones as the gunman; therefore, the prosecution relied heavily on the statement allegedly given by Blease from his hospital bed. When the prosecution closed its case, Jones' attorney, Arthur Saldivar, made a no case submission to the court. He argued that Blease never signed the statement since there was only an “X” marked for the signature. Saldivar pointed to Blease’s mother’s testimony in which she said that she was with her son while police came to speak with him and she didn’t see him sign any statement. After considering the entire case before him, Justice Gonzalez upheld Saldivar's submission, and directed a jury of 12 to return a verdict of not guilty. Jones was allowed to leave the court a free man.

Romel Palacio, Jr. found in a Shallow Grave
On Thursday, January 31st, about 5:00pm acting upon information received from the Hattieville Police Station, Crimes Investigation Branch personnel visited Mile 12 on the George Price Highway, Belize District, where they excavated a shallow grave situated about 30 feet off the right hand side of the road when travelling from Belize City to Hattieville Village. In the grave, police discovered suspected human remains including flesh and bones. Also found in the grave were a sock, a pair of boxers, a glove and a black wrist watch. The remains along with the other items were collected and transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital morgue. Upon examining the remains police determined that the body was that of Romel Palacio, Jr. who has been missing since December 6th, 2012. Investigators found a piece of flesh which had a cannabis leaf tattooed on it along with the word 'Jacqui'. This verified that the body was that of Palacio, Jr. who had the tattoo on the left upper arm. The wrist watch was also identified as one which belonged to Palacio. Romel Palacio Jr. had been missing since December 6th of 2012. At the time family members suspected that he had been kidnapped, killed and buried but could not confirm their theory. They reported the matter to the police who have been investigating the missing person report since then. Speculation at the time was that he was killed because he was a main witness in a murder case in which Mitchum Heredia was killed on April 10th, 2006.

Gary Bowen Gunned down on Partridge Street
Three days after celebrating his 33rd birthday, Gary Bowen lay dead on the Partridge Street sidewalk in Belize City on Monday morning, February 4th. According to reports, Bowen left his home on Morning Glory Street to purchase food for him and his family to have breakfast. It was on his return at about 8:05 a.m., that he was riding his bicycle on Partridge Street when a gunman rode up beside him, pulled out a handgun and fired three shots at him. Bowen fell to the ground and the shooter rode away from the scene. Two of the bullets struck Bowen in the head and one in his left foot. He died on the scene. Gary’s parents, siblings, common-law-wife and 8-year-old son are left to wonder why would anyone so ruthlessly kill their loved one. He is remembered as a jovial individual who doesn’t give trouble or hang with trouble makers. Information suggests that Bowen was killed because of a petty dispute that took place minutes before his murder. Police investigation continues.

Nicholi Rhys tried for Andre Trapp’s Murder
On Monday, February 4th, Nicholi Rhys’ attorney, Simeon Sampson, presented a no case submission on his behalf who is being tried for the murder of Andre Trapp. On June 10th, 2010 Trapp was gunned down in broad daylight just after exiting the Belize City Magistrate’s Court. The case against Rhys is being tried without a jury and his fate will be decided by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. In response to Sampson’s no case submission, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lynn Vidal maintained her position that while the evidence against the accused is circumstantial, the sequence of events that occurred leading to the execution style death of Andre Trapp points to Nicholi Rhys. In his no case submission, Sampson submitted that the identification of his client by PC Alrick Arnold should be classified as a fleeting glance because in his testimony, Arnold told the court that he had only seen Rhys for a few seconds. Sampson further stated to the CJ that there is no evidence that Rhys was seen with a gun at the material time and that the Crown failed to prove the identity of the shooter.

Family flees after 17-Year-Old Eddie Soriano’s Murder
Seventeen-year-old student and resident of #27 Banak Street, Eddie Nelson Soriano, was shot dead on the street just outside of his house at about 7 p.m. on Monday night, February 4th. According to police, Soriano was walking on Banak Street when two men rode by on separate bicycles. One of them pulled out a handgun and opened fire at Soriano. He was shot four times to the upper part of the body, including the head and chest. The men then rode off but quick police response resulted in the detention of four suspects, who police believe can assist in the investigation. Immediately following the incident, Soriano’s family moved to a temporary location with plans to move out of the neighbourhood permanently. They said that they always knew they were living in a bad area but Eddie did not deserve to die because he was not a bad person. The family wanted to move out a long time ago.

Interdicted Police Officer escapes Carnal Knowledge Charges
Interdicted police officer, Yannick Wade, a resident of the Faber’s Road area of Belize City, was told he was free to go at about 1:48 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon when the DPP withdrew 6 counts of carnal knowledge against him after entering a nolle prosequi. The defendant was informed though that since the case against him ended in a nolle prosequi, it is possible that at any time, the charges can be brought back against him Back in 2011, the officer was accused of having sex with a then 13-year-old girl on six different occasions between the period of June, 2009 and March 2011. The sexual encounters is allege to have begun back in 2009 when the female was only 13 years but no report was not made until 2011. By this time, the girl was 15 years and allegedly pregnant, carrying a child for the officer. It was not until days prior to her giving birth, that charges were levied against the officer. The case ended in nolle prosequi for newly appointed Prosecutor, Leeroy Banner who informed Justice Troadio Gonzalez that the prosecution and police were unable to locate the crown’s two main witnesses being the minor and her mother. He informed the court that he believes that these witnesses have deliberately been hiding from the police hence they were not served their summons to appear in court today. In light of that, he was force to enter a nolle prosequi, concluded Prosecutor Banner. A jury of 9 persons, 4 men and 5 women had already been empanelled to hear the case.

Who are You to point Fingers?
Minister of State Hon. Mark King has been suspended for three months without pay from his duties as Minister of State. An incident at the Princess Casino at the Corozal border prompted this decision by the Prime Minister. Charges are also being brought against Hon. King for aggravated assault, threatening words and disorderly conduct which he is prepared to defend.

General Jones assumes Command of BDF
Minister John Saldivar promotes David Jones to Brigadier General On Friday, February 1st, military commanders from numerous countries assembled at Price Barracks for the change in command of the Belize Defense Force. After four years as Commandant of the BDF, Brigadier General Dario Tapio transferred leadership of the force to 22-year veteran, David Jones. Jones became familiar to the public in recent years for his work as an explosives expert dealing with grenade attacks or discoveries. However, he has long been held in high regard by soldiers of the BDF for his communicating and organizational skills. Jones will be responsible to lead the force through a time of transformation.

New Logo for Belize Bureau of Standards
The Belize Bureau of Standards is pleased to introduce its new logo to the public. As the Bureau enters a new stage in its development, it wishes to re-emphasize its commitment to serving as a lead institution in establishing a national quality infrastructure for the country. In its resolve to drive a culture for quality in Belize, one which it expects will unflinchingly meet the challenges of a competitive global market and fulfil consumer expectations on quality, health, safety and the environment, the department, through this design, aims to feature the corporate interplay between the key elements of quality infrastructure: Metrology, Standards, Testing and Quality (MSTQ). With a positive outlook on its future development, the Bureau believes its new logo will set the stage for this new chapter in its existence, as it charts a new course which it envisions will improve the socio economic well-being and quality of life for all Belizeans.The Bureau hereby informs that the old logo will run concurrently for a period of 18 months and until such time will remain in circulation.

Minister Joy Grant’s Address at Private Sector Forum on Renewable Energy Initiatives
My Ministry is a young, multi-faceted organization, which has been entrusted with responsibility for the areas of energy, science and technology and public utilities. Although distinct, these are all inter-related in that they are central to the future economic and social development of Belize, and play, or have the potential to play a significant role in the daily lives of our people. Today, we are focusing on energy in view of its importance as the driver for all sectors of our economy and thus of the economic and social development of our country. Improving our energy security and ensuring access to affordable and reliable energy are critical prerequisites to securing the future well-being of Belizeans.

Corozal Free Zone Incident Involving Minister
Cabinet was briefed on an incident that occurred early Tuesday morning, February 5th, 2013 at the Princess Hotel & Casino in the Corozal Free Zone, and it was reported that the Hon. Mark King was involved in behavior not consistent with his obligations as a Minister of State.

Oceana’s Moral Victory?
On Tuesday, February 5th, arguments were concluded in the court room of Justice Oswel Legall on Oceana’s challenge against six Production Sharing Agreements (PSA) granted to various oil exploration companies between 2005 and 2007.

Unions consider Salary Adjustment Proposals
On Friday, February 1st the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow met with union representatives to discuss a way forward in their request for salary increases for members of the public service which includes the membership of the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM), the Belize National Teacher's Union (BNTU) and the Public Service Union (PSU). The meeting was a cordial one in which there was a proposal for salary adjustment.

Three-year-old burns to death
A 3-year-old toddler lost her life in a house fire which took place in the early morning hours of Monday, February 4th. According to fire authorities, they received information of a house fire sometime around 4:10a.m. on Monday in the village of San Narciso in the Corozal district. Upon their arrival, they saw a wooden house with zinc roofing measuring approximately 22ft by 26ft which had been completely burnt. What remained of the fire was extinguished and fire personnel conducted a search inside the remains of the house where they found the charred body of a 3-year-old baby girl identified as Danely Shaniri Guadalupe Cabrera. The child's body was found under a metal crib and was later transported to the Corozal Community Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Holy Redeemer, St. John Vianney, Salvation Army and St. Martin De Porres win in Primary Schools Softball
The Belize City Primary Schools Softball Competition continued at the Rogers Stadium over the last week of play with a number of games on the schedule. On Friday, February 1st, in the first of two games played in the girls’ competition, St. John Vianney School defeated Salvation Army School by the score of 16-4. The winning pitcher was Princella Samuels and the losing pitcher was Britney Meighan. In the second girls’ game, Muslim Community School defeated Buttonwood Bay Nazarene by the score of 17-1. The winning pitcher was Essenie Ciego and the losing pitcher was Shenelle Magandi. In the first boys’ game played, St. Mary’s School defeated Salvation Army School by the score of 10-3. The winning pitcher was Gilbert Cal and the losing pitcher was Keron Patnett. In the second game, it was St. Martin De Porres won over Queen Square Anglican by the score of 30-0. The winning pitcher was Derrick Martinez and the losing pitcher was Ashton Lawrence. The competition continued on Thursday, January 31st, in the first girls game played, Unity Presbyterian blanked Wesley Upper School by the score of 7-0. The winning pitcher for Unity Presbyterian School was Alison Arnold and the losing pitcher was Brianna Gillett. In the second girls’ game, Salvation Army School edged Central Christian School by the score of 14-2. The winning pitcher was Britney Meighan and the losing pitcher was Hannah Usher.

Wesley College Girls to play for Central Region Football Title
The 2012-2013 Central Region Secondary Schools Football Competition is fast coming to an end at the MCC Grounds. The semi finals series continued at the MCC Grounds on Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 with game two in both the female and male series. In the female series, Wesley College eliminated Excelsior High School by the score of 3-1. The goals for Wesley College were scored by Imane McKenzie, Kimberly Garcia and Shanice Neal. Meanwhile, the scorer for Excelsior High School was Dayna Miguel. In the male game played, Excelsior High School defeated St. John’s College by the score of 3-2. The goals for Excelsior High School were scored by James Fitzgibbon while the goals for St. John’s College were scored by Tarique James. On Friday, February 1st, in the first female game in the semi-final round, Wesley College blanked Excelsior High School by the score of 2-0. The goal scorers for Wesley College were Erica Milligan and Elisha Bernardez. In the male game, St. John’s College defeated Excelsior High School by the score of 5-3. The goals for St. John’s College were scored by Dimitri Fabro (3), and Raheem Flowers (2). Meanwhile, the goals for Excelsior High School were scored by Kareem Flowers (2) and Tyrone Gabriel.

Telemedia to defend Interoffice Softball Title
The Regular Season for the 2013 Belize City Interoffice competition is scheduled to commence this Friday night at Rogers Stadium with 2 games on the schedule. The regular season will utilize the Double Round Robin Format with the top four teams advancing to the playoffs. The Playoffs will utilise the internationally used “Page System.” The teams participating in this year’s competition are Telemedia (defending champion), Baby Ruth Baaba Shap, Kit Kat Baaba Shap, KHMH, BTL, Guardian/NSC, Tuff “E” Nuff, Belize Bank and BWSL.

Orange Walk Football finals this weekend
The 2012 Orange Walk Football Association 1st Division Opening Tournament will enter its championship round on Sunday, February 13th, 2013 at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk Town. In U-17 division championship game which is scheduled to commence at 1:30 pm, it will be White Eagles FC going up against San Lazaro Young Stars FC. In the main match of the day, it will be Guinea Grass United FC against the San Estevan FC. In the semi finals round that came to an end on Sunday, February 13th, in game one, San Lazaro Revolution FC and San Estevan FC played to a 4-4 draw. The goal scorers for San Lazaro Revolution FC were Aris Serrano in the 20th minute of play, Carlos Jones in the 40th minute of play via a penalty kick, Darwin Sosa in the 65th minute of play, and Edil Tzi in the 73rd minute of play. Meanwhile, the goals for the San Estevan FC were scored by Edwani Munoz in the 17th, 46th, 78th and 83rd minutes of play. In game two, Guinea Grass United FC defeated Progresso FC by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Hugo Canul in the 24th minute of play.

Premier League Competition begins This Weekend
The Premier League of Belize announces that its 2013 Closing Season Tournament is scheduled to commence on February 9th, 2013, with eight teams participating in this year’s competition. The teams participating are the Belmopan Bandits (National Champions), Police United (National sub-champion), Placencia Assassins FC, Belize Defence Force FC, FC Belize, Verdes FC, FC San Felipe Barcelona and San Ignacio United FC.

High schools softball competition opens
The Central Region Secondary Schools Softball Competition opened on Wednesday, January 30th at the Rogers Stadium. On Wednesday, January 30th, in the female game played, Nazarene High School upended Pallotti High School by the score of 28-0. The winning pitcher was Ashley Lucas and the losing pitcher was Marlette Martinez. On Thursday, January 31st, in the only male game played, Anglican Cathedral College edged Maud Williams High School by the score of 9 - 7. The winning pitcher was Devaun Zuniga and the losing pitcher was C. Olivera. The competition then continued on Friday, February 1st, 2013 with two more games in the female competition. In the first game played, Maud Williams High School forfeited to Edward P. Yorke High School. In the second female game, Ladyville Technical won over St. Catherine Academy via the forfeiture route. On Saturday, February 2nd, in the only game played in the female competition Wesley College defeated Anglican Cathedral College by the score of 14 - 4.

What’s with Castellanos?
He rose to prominence in the collective bargaining agreement negotiations as the 'numbers' man for the unions. He could calculate GDP, and projected revenue from GDP growth faster that the smartest among us, but there was something that simply was not adding up with the President of the Association of Public Service Senior Managers. On Thursday of last week, he fired off a letter to the Prime Minister, before the a scheduled meeting between the PM and the union leaders. In the letter, he claimed that he was being intimidated and alluded that his two-year tenure with the APSSM would be difficult. Lo and behold, there was something amiss; months before he even became the president of the APSSM, he had applied to be declared medically unfit. The request was done in August of 2012 and by September the Ministry of Agriculture and its CEO had looked favorably at the request. Then in October, he became the President of the APSSM. During this tenure, a medical board had approved his request and it was recommended that he be allowed to collect his benefits.

Massive Erosion in Dangriga
A concerned resident of Dangriga Town forwarded to The Guardian newspaper pictures of what appears to be massive erosion taking place in that town. According to the resident, he casually took the first picture of the beach in front of the Grace Ramirez Park in Dangriga Town on July 22nd. At the time, he thought nothing of it but was shocked and concerned when he visited the very same park at the very location and realized that the sea had eroded a significant chunk of beach, so much so that a park table which was once on solid land ended up being washed into the sea. One hydrologist, whom we forwarded the images to, indicates that the damage being done to the beach was considerable considering the space of time. Since the erosion has been taking place, there has been some level of intervention taking place to minimize the amount of damage that is being done to the beach. Residents have taken it upon themselves to begin to throw old car tires at the point of erosion in an effort to prevent any more from taking place.


A Tale of Five Cities: San Cristobal at night
Although we tend to turn in pretty early (especially by Mexican standards!) we actually did venture out after dark in San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico. It's a very lively city at night, and the lights for the holiday season made it especially festive. This building with its colored lights, rotating through a rainbow of colors, was one our favorites. One of the highlights of our time in San Cristobal, and indeed on our entire sixteen-day Mexico trip, was happening upon a paper lantern ceremony purely by chance. I'd seen pictures and video of such ceremonies in Thailand, but never dreamed of seeing one in person in Mexico. It was a small gathering and not very organized as the lanterns were sent up at all different times, but it was still beautiful and magical. I can only imagine what a very large lantern ceremony would be like (for example, see these amazing images). Our pictures are not very good quality, but hopefully you will get the idea. It was much better in person with everyone cheering and pointing. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Texas Tech Independent School and San Pedro Sailing Club news
Homeschooling abroad is an option many expats who move to Belize consider for their kids. A group of people on the island decided to come together and form a new kind of high school for kids who are taking courses from Texas Tech Independent School. The kids will be supervised and socialized getting the ‘high school experience’ but in a smaller group setting. The Board of Directors for the newly formed Ambergris Caye High School invite you to a Parent/Student information meeting; Monday, 25 February 2013 at 7:00 PM upstairs at Fido’s. Ambergris Caye High School is a private, Texas Accredited, Online School. Enrollment for the Fall semester is limited to 15 and spots will fill up fast. ACHS has a longer school year, 208 days, and a longer school day, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. In addition to offering all of the academic courses necessary to receive a diploma from the Texas Tech Independent High School District, students will have ample opportunity to participate in sports (sailing and SCUBA diving) and community service. If you are looking for an alternative high school for your child, come to the meeting and get all of your questions answered. Ambergris Caye High School could be just the solution you are looking for.

Top 13 Places to Visit in Western Belize
Jungle Rivers, hidden waterfalls, mysterious ceremonial caves, ancient Maya cities, picturesque mountains, easy living and quaint villages are all tucked into the beautiful Cayo District in Western Belize. With an estimated population of about 75,000 people, one of Cayo District’s most important industries is eco-tourism. To experience Cayo you can Hike, Canoe, travel by Horseback, or tour in a comfortable air-conditioned van. Whatever your preference, prepare yourself for the ultimate in an “up close and personal” experience. Below are the top 13 places to visit in the area:

Belize-Guatemala Diplomatic Incident
Guatemala has provoked a diplomatic incident by using a map of Guatemala showing Belize as a part of their territory at an Organization of American States (OAS) Forum on Wednesday. At the OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C., Belize's Ambassador to the OAS Nestor Mendez objected strongly to the use of the map and indicated to the forum that Belize plans to file a formal protest before the OAS general assembly over the continued use of the erroneous map by Guatemala. Belize has fired off a strongly worded diplomatic note to the OAS and circulated to member nations of the hemispheric body, protesting Guatemala's use of an erroneous map showing Belize as a part of Guatemala.

When we arrived at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize on Wednesday afternoon the first thing we noticed ( one of the problems of a muddy building site is that you spend a lot of time looking down to make sure you obtain safe footing) was a hoist at the top of a scaffold tower from ground level to the First Floor. We saw very quickly that they were using this to lift concrete blocks and cement and Daniel Camal, our building contractor, was supervising things. I was going to continue this edition by including more of the photos we took when we went to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize on Wednesday but when we went there today I decided to go for the more up-to-date news. We saw the early signs of walls yesterday but as we got closer to the house we wonder(ed) how big the walls had grown. A quick walk up our new stairs and we saw just how much.

Belize Bird Video: Collared Aracari family at Lower Dover Jungle Lodge
Since we posted the bird pics of the Social Toucanettes eating last week, we decided to try our hand at some video. I was watering the garden in the afternoon and the birds flew so close to my head I could hear their wings. They were hungry! You can hear me sneaking off to turn the water off 30 seconds into the vid…I’m not sure they even cared.

International Sources

VIDEO: Boating Fail
Dedicated to my mom who suggested I should that I should make this video.

Belize protest Guatemala video
You should watch this very short clip of the Belize Ambassador in Washington lodging verbal protest to the Guatemalan Delegation to the OAS video that shows no border between our two countries. Listen from 2:13:00 to 2:32:00 to the protest by the Belize Ambassador Mendez. You cant say you didn't know. This clip isn't even 24 hours old. It was yesterday.

New World chief Kelleher still confident of Belize oil discovery
New World Oil & Gas (LON:NEW) chief executive Bill Kelleher remains confident that the company will discover oil within its Belize acreage. The shares plummeted last week as the Blue Creek 2 well was determined to be non-commerical. The well did, however, confirm that an active hydrocarbon system exists within the acreage. And live oil shows were measured in both the Y3 and Hillbank reservoir targets. This was not enough to prevent a sharp drop for the New World shares, which at one stage had halved in value. But, Kelleher remains undeterred. “I’m not hanging my head, in fact I’m encouraged,” he said in a call with Proactive Investors. “I’m incredibly positive [about the project]. We now know that oil has moved through this area, and We know it has accumulated in massive amounts – I’m talking about hundreds of millions of barrels. “And I believe it is just a matter of time before we crack the code on locating traps, and indentifying the differences [in our data] between the sealed and the breached traps. “We’ve learned a lot. And the key thing to take away from this result is that we will make a discovery and we will be producing oil - so sit tight.”

New World Oil & Gas CEO: Belize still ‘extremely exciting’
New World Oil & Gas (LON:NEW) chief executive Bill Kelleher still has high hopes for Belize despite the recent well disappointments there. Last week, the stock took a pounding, down as much as 45% as investors reacted to the news the Blue Creek 2A ST well in Belize had been plugged and abandoned due to insufficient quantities of moveable hydrocarbons. In a conference call with investors today, chief executive Bill Kelleher stressed that the well confirmed his belief of an active hydrocarbon system, while live oil shows were measured in the Y3 and Hillbank formations. “Although we are disappointed with the results we have confirmed that there is a working hydrocarbon system in Blue Creek and the West Gallon Jug licence blocks,” said Kelleher. The chief executive had said that it is only a matter of time before the company locates a trap of significant size in north-west Belize, which he believes is the key element for success there. “Trap development and timing of trap formation relative to the timing of oil migration remains an open issue and will remain an open issue until we drill the well,” he told investors today.

Bahamas Sees Off Belize
The Bahamas moved to 2-0 in the International Cricket Council’s Tournament of the Americas Division II competition. #After they survived with a 14 run victory over Argentina to highlight day one action, the Bahamas returned yesterday to top Belize at Haynes Oval. #The Bahamas batted first and scored 149runs in 20 overs. #“The team played exceptionally well, better than yesterday and they seem to be improving a lot more,” BCA Executive Greg Taylor said, “They still need to improve the batting and they should be alright as they progress in the tournament.” #The Bahamas will have the day off and return to competition tomorrow at 2pm. #The Bahamas previously captured the ICC Americas Division II title in 2010, despite losing a thrilling final match to Suriname by three wickets, so the Bahamas looks to be one of the major players, and are thus far living up the expectations as favorites in the tournament.

Mexico Expands Inspections on Belize Border Amid Equine Encephalitis Outbreak
Inspections of horses are being stepped up along Mexico’s border with Belize to prevent animals infected with equine encephalitis from entering the country, the Agriculture Secretariat said. The “preventive measures are being taken on the southern border strip” due to outbreaks of the highly contagious disease in two areas, the secretariat said. Officials have sent National Food Health, Safety and Quality Service, or Senasica, specialists to the border region to help identify the viral strain involved, the secretariat said. Animals susceptible to infection will be vaccinated under the Binational Strategic Cooperation Plan for Health Matters and Trade, the Agriculture Secretariat said. Epidemiological monitoring in the region has been expanded and horse owners have been asked to notify officials if any animal begins exhibiting neurological problems, the secretariat said.

VIDEO: Protecting Reefs, Protecting Economies
Marine Protected Areas are an important management tool that can be used to not only preserve rich marine habitats, but also to protect local economies. Established in 1996, Belize's South Water Caye Marine Reserve functions to protect the rich habitats and biodiversity of the Belizean Barrier Reef and the researchers at the Smithsonian Institution's Carrie Bow Cay field station have been studying the changes in the marine life since the establishment of this reserve. The knowledge gained from this research could help enhance our understanding of marine ecosystems globally and aid management in making more successful marine protected areas.

February 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

The San Pedro Sun

Jorge Olivares wins the San Pedro Sailing Club’s upper division winter racing series
This winter the ranks of the San Pedro Junior Sailing team swelled to 30, with more to follow, They were divided into two fleets. Fifteen relative newcomers form the Tarpon Fleet, while fifteen who have been members from the beginning are the Barracudas. For the past 10 weekends, each fleet raced elimination heats and finals. The heats were necessary because the team has only 7 Optimist dinghies. For those 7 boats, the team is extremely grateful to the sponsors: Ambergris Lakes Vilas, Caribbean Vilas, Catamaran Beach Bar, Palapa Bar, the Pearce family’s Palo Alto, Playa Blanca, and San Pedro

Volunteer dentist improve smiles at the San Pedro Smile Center
It can’t be stressed how important dental hygiene is, especially for children, and this is why a volunteer team from the United States has been giving their services free of charge to the complete student body of Holy Cross Anglican School. For about six years volunteers, Dr. Walt Linville, Mrs. Deas Linville, Dr. Alex Willis and Mrs. Nancy Willis, have been visiting Holy Cross annually to provide dental services to the children. Holy Cross Anglican School has a completely well-equipped operational Dental Clinic ready to service the students. Holy Cross is the only school on the island – probably the country – that has a fully operation dental clinic on the school’s campus. The San Pedro Smile Center, the name given to the dental clinic at Holy Cross, was made possible by the initiative of Francis and Vernon Wilson along with generous benefactors and donations to the school. The benefit of having this clinic installed as part of the school is that the children get necessary treatment to promote healthy dental care.

Ambergris Today

National Neighborhood Watch Tour Urges for More Members
In an effort to increase the safety of all residents in San Pedro and to curb the issues of crime on the Island, Mr. Steve Spiro arranged for the National Team in charge of Community Policing to visit San Pedro. The meeting was convened on Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at the Town Hall with the presence and participation of all the Neighborhood Watch Presidents, educators, councilors, SPADAI, Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Hon. Manuel Heredia, and Ambergris Today as the media. Members of the National Team first addressed the proper formation and effective implementation of the neighborhood programs including Mr. Carcamo, Officer Commanding Community Policing Unit; Ms. Cris Garcia, Head of Crime Stoppers Belize; Mr. Gilbert Pitts, National Neighborhood Watch Coordinator; and Mr. Douglas Hyde, National Youth program Coordinator. After their presentations several issues were addressed.

Miss Costa Maya 2012 Weds, Possible Crown Replacement
Ambergris Today has come to find out this week that the reigning Miss Costa Maya 2012-13, Natalia Villanueva Denis (Miss Mexico) just recently got married in her hometown of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Natalia married to fiancé Jonnathan M Montes De Oca V. Ambergris Today and friends from San Pedro extend congratulations to the newlyweds. Natalia May Lose the Costa Maya Crown But knowledge of Natalia’s wedding might mean that she will have to step down as the reigning Miss Costa Maya. Rules of the pageant prevent contestants/reigning queens from being married and or having children; thus holding the title as ‘Miss’.

Daddy Rocks Club Addresses Murder Case at Establishment
To my fellow citizens of San Pedro, Tourists and Patrons of Daddy Rocks, Over a week and half ago a tragedy took place in the community that must be clarified and explained. I know many people here in our fine town have head many reports from several newspapers and media outlets as to what occurred, however, I would like to set the record straight as the real events, because the truth will help get rid of this offensive fossip that has caused a lot of damage to not only my business, but to others in San Pedro. It has been stated by one media source that there was no explanation as to how the “knife” that killed this young man was able to get into my establishment. However, this is simply not true; because the people who committed this heinous act pushed their way, pass the security team and were not able to be searched, which is standard operating procedure had they not acted violently toward our security team. After the perpetrators of the crime bypassed the security team, the police were immediately called however the murder took place in such a short amount of time, the authorities could not respond in time to prevent this murder form taking place.

Isla Bonita All Star Marching Band Performs at Captain Morgan's
After making numerous appearances on stage or in parades, The Isla Bonita All Star marching Band has become San Pedro’s most popular marching band! On Sunday, February 3, they entertained the guests at Crazy Canuck’s on invitation by Bob. Then on Monday February 4, they led the parade for the San Pedro Cancer Society commemorating World Cancer Awareness Day. On Tuesday, February 5, Isla Bonita All Star Marching Band sailed away all the way to Captain Morgan’s for their popular Caribbean Night and there they entertained a full house of guests receiving the applause of the guests and patrons as well as donations in the form of tips. Captain Morgan’s Resort will also give the Band a donation in preparation of their trip to Belmopan for the National Marching Band Festival. On February 17, the All Stars will be performing at Wayo’s during the afternoon from 12 noon to 5pm for a Pig Out Beach Party. Be sure to join in!

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize - Contributions To Real GDP Growth

Fundraising Gala w/ Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow, Sat. Feb. 16, Ritz-Carlton Washington, D.C
Dear Fellow Belizeans: This Valentine’s Day weekend, join First Lady of Belize Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow, Mistress of Ceremonies, ABC 7 News Primary Anchor Maureen Bunyan, and Nestor Mendez, Ambassador of Belize, at a one of a kind “Gala to Benefit the Children of Belize: Inspired to Love.” Mr. Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, and his wife, Linda Potter, will be Honorary Patrons of the event. It will be a celebration like no other and will take place on February 16, 2013 at the Ritz-Carlton Washington, D.C. (1150 22nd St. NW). The night will start at 7pm, with a reception featuring exclusive Belizean dessert wines especially imported from the wine producers in Belize, and tropical Belizean cocktails. For dinner, we have enlisted a Belizean chef to present a menu of delectable Belizean-inspired cuisine and dessert plates, to be accompanied by the Diamond Collection of Francis Ford Coppola fine wines. Following the formal program, there will be a live auction of premium, tailored vacation packages to some of Belize’s finest and most renowned resort getaways, unique Belizean paintings and hand-made Belizean wooden carvings.

Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism 'stepping up' with new strategic plan and communication strategy for 2013
The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) has a new and improved Communication Strategy, incorporating international best practices, as well as a new 8-year Strategic Plan, both of which were finalised last week in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, at meetings attended by key fisheries stakeholders. The very comprehensive Strategy document was finalised at the ACP Fish 2/CRFM regional technical consultation, Strengthening the Capacity of CRFM and its Member States for Information and Knowledge Sharing on Sustainable Management of Fisheries in the Caribbean Region, held on January 28 and 29, at the Sunset Shore Beach Hotel in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where the CRFM’s Eastern Caribbean Office is located. “The notion of using ICT [Information and Communication Technology] is not new to us,” Milton Haughton, Executive Director, CRFM Secretariat, said at the opening ceremony. “Since the inception of the CRFM in 2003, we have been very interested in promoting the use of technology to improve our operations. Today, however, marks a significant milestone. We are stepping up our efforts to introduce and facilitate greater adoption and utilisation of Information and Communication Technology to improve capacities in all areas of the work of the CRFM, including our Member States and partner organisations and the fisherfolks.”

Second Cheese Making Class a Success
They had another cheese making workshop at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch, and it was fun and informative for all. Belize now has some great cheese to choose from. "In September, 2011, I travelled to Warren, Vermont (pop. 302) and took a two week cheese making course offered by Dr. Larry and Linda Faillace of Three Shepherds Farm. 16 months later, our cheeses are being recognized by International cheese makers and holding our second International Cheese Making Workshop.. and its only getting better from here."

Raggamuffin Awards 2013
Ok so here it is the party of the century – but I have to apologize as you are not invited!! Yearly we have a crew party (generally around Xmas) and within the party we give out Awards to reward those have over achieved over the past year. This year at Xmas there was no time and importantly no budget for a Raggamuffin party – not in the style that the crew demand, so on Monday 11th Feb we will be date for the Raggamuffin Awards 2013. The party will be hosted at Paradiso’s Cinema as it will be closing its doors for the occasion and crew and their significant others are invited. The evening will be one to allow the entire crew to celebrate our success together at one time (as there is very rarely a time when all of us are together due to the overnight tours) and of course for a few to receive their Awards. This will all be washed down with plenty of drinks and a delicious dinner – and I promise we will fill you in with photos afterwards!!

SBDCBelize and DFC presents: Financial Statement Analysis workshop

Back on the Chain Gang
Now where was I? Oh yes, Rose and I had just got to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize after having breakfast at Lily’s Treasure Chest restaurant. If you have not been to Ambergris Caye this is what you need to look for. And if you have, then here is a reminder. Anyway back to the build. When we got up to the First Floor on Tuesday we found the plumber/electrician and his mate hard at work finishing the running of the pipe work.

I previously discussed the current need for providing guidance and professional mental health assistance to Youth in Belize to help them cope with ever-increasing stress triggered by constant violent events around them: shootings, bombings, murders, and vicious gang killings. On an almost daily basis we see and hear of people being found chopped to death, gunmen opening fire on others, bodies being found, homes being invaded, and multiple gang murders along those lines – on television and computer screens everyday. Young people as well as adults respond stressfully to continuous reports of such violent traumatic situations. Feelings of confusion and fear pervade. Our younger population must learn constructive ways to vent their feelings and respond to all this graphic violence. I urge families, schools, and communities to provide support systems that give young people permission to seek and get help when they feel overwhelmed. Continuous violence, whether directly around us or reported by media, triggers feelings of anxiousness in all of us for our own safety and security.

Channel 7

King Apologizes Again, but Maintains No Wrongdoing
Mark King is expected to appear in Corozal Magistrate's Court tomorrow - 48 hours after police assessed him with three charges. Those are aggravated assault, disorderly conduct and threatening words. The charges arise out of a bizarre event that unfiled at the Princess Casino at the northern border early Tuesday morning. According to reports, King became enraged that a member of his entourage had been thrown out of the Casino and eyewitnesses say he exploded into a wild tantrum - which continued all the way to the border station where he confronted police. Today King sent out another apology on Facebook. His first - official - one didn't show much contrition, in fact he said he did nothing wrong. And his second - unofficial one posted on his facebook page at 11:00 am said, quote, "A big thank you to all those who…supported me and didn't judge me. For those of u who did, I accepted to be charged as myself or no one is above the law. I remain firm and sincere with my apology to this nation where the peace was breached..."

PM Lays Bare APSSM Pres Castellanos Manuevers
Right now at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall, the PSU and BNTU union leaders are meeting with their general membership to ask their support for the salary adjustment package put forward by the government last week Friday. The union Executives voted with an overwhelming majority to adopt it at a joint council meeting last Saturday in Belmopan. This round of consultation with general membership in each district is the last stage in what has been a contentious negotiation over a salary increase. And while it could go either way from here - the temperature and the tone of the rhetoric on both sides has cooled substantially since last week's protest in Belmopan. On the government side, the strong talk came from John Saldivar and Patrick Faber. And while it made for a tense week, the Prime Minister says that strategically, it may have been opportune: Prime Minister Dean Barrow "Maybe what happened before there was the meeting at my level was just as well because it meant that I could then intervene in a way which would dial down the rhetoric, and which would convince the unions that at my level - and clearly, the buck stops with me; I'm the ultimate backstop - I was absolutely serious about treating them as full and equal partners, and trying to work through this thing with them, on the basis though, of what was real. So, all's well that ends well."

Home Invasion Terror In Tiny Boston Village
The residents of tiny Boston Village on the Old Northern Highway, are trying to recover from a frightening home invasion which occurred late Sunday night. At around 10:00 p.m., 3 armed masked men invaded the home of 34 year-old Russian National Andrey Borisov who was entertaining 6 guests at his farm. The men ordered the guests, who included females, to undress at gunpoint, and they took Borisov upstairs flat of his house, where they robbed him of a sling purse which contained an undisclosed amount of cash in US, Belize, and Mexican currencies. Before the men left, they reportedly sexually assaulted the females, after which they escaped into the darkness of night. Police are investigating, but Borisov, his wife and their child are now traumatized. Borisov's wife had a small business in which she provided lodging and small tours for her guests. The family has been living in the village for just over a year, but because they've been targeted in this fashion, they've decided to move out of the village post-haste.

Chon Saan Delivery Man Robbed By Not One, But Two Men with Guns
A 19 year old delivery man for Chon Saan Palace in Belize City was robbed last night by armed men pretending to be customers. They called the restaurant before 8 and placed an order for food amounting to thirty three dollars and fifty cents. The person asked for the food to be delivered at the three story peach house at the corner of Cemetery Road and Vernon Street and for the delivery man to bring change for a hundred dollar bill. 19 year old Daniel Lopez was the delivery man who responded to the call. He told police that when he arrived at the address at 8:20 a man came down from the second floor of the building and told him that the person who will be paying for the order went to the shop and will be back shortly. A few minutes after, another man wearing a mask came up with a gun and pointed it to the left side of Lopez's face. The other man with the food took out another handgun and pointed it at Lopez.

Chiquibul, The Wonder Of It All
Last week, in part one of our Chiquibul series, we took you to the western edge of Belize, the South Chiquibul Enforcement Unit stationed at the Ciebo Chico Conservation Post. That first story focused on the law enforcement pressures facing the area - as Guatemalans continue to press into Belize for Xate, timber, farm land…and now, gold. But amidst all the enforcement pressures and the treacherous terrain are the impressive natural wonders of a place few Belizeans ever get to see. Janelle Chanona made the arduous trek and along with camera-man Codie Norales, she captured the raw beauty of Chiquibul: Any novice nature guide will tell you a noisy tractor is not the best way to spot wildlife but in the Chiquibul Forest, it is one of the limited options.

Old Evidence Up In Smoke
This morning members of the Belize police department in the presence of a Magistrate and Clerk of Court gathered at the Belize City Landfill - for the destruction of drugs in cases where they are no longer needed as evidence. An estimated hundred pounds of cocaine and a hundred and thirty pounds of assorted crack cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine were burned. 7 news and other media houses were there to witness the event. Mario Bustillos - National Exhibit Keeper, Police Department "We're destroying concluded evidence and found property which includes mainly drugs. We are destroying crack cocaine, marijuana, and cocaine in its other forms. While I can't tell you a specific number, it's an estimate of a hundred pound of cocaine was destroyed just now, and 130 pounds of assorted crack cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamines have been destroyed.

Accused Gang Boss Killer Rhys Speaks In His Own Defence
22 year-old Nicholi Rhys, who has been on remand awaiting trial since June of 2010 when Andre Trapp was murdered, was finally able to give his version of events to the court. On Monday, his attorney, Simeon Sampson, made a no-case submission on his behalf asserting that the Director of Public Prosecutions was unable to provide any evidence which linked his client to Trapp's shooting death. Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, who is conducting the trial without any jury, denied that request and ruled that Rhys did have a case to answer. So Rhys took the stand today in his own defence. He told the court that on the day of the murder, he was walking along Southern Foreshore alone. He said that when he arrived at the Prince Street intersection, he heard gunshots, so he took cover in a yard on Prince Street.

Remanded For Stabbing
Tonight, 29 year Rudy Faber, a resident of Biscayne Village, is at prison after he was accused of a stabbing. According to police, at around 5:00 p.m. on Monday February 4, 2013, 32 year-old Corrington Villanueva was socializing at Carmita's Bar on Regent Street West, when Faber approached him and stabbed him in the left abdomen for no known reason. Police charged Faber with attempted murder and use of deadly means of harm. He was arraigned today before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith, who remanded him until March 22, 2013. Villanueva maintains that he doesn't know why he was attacked.

Two Hours Into Meeting, No Decision Yet
As we told you at the top of the newscast, the general memberships of the PSU and BNTU are meeting right now at the Parrish Hall in Belize City. No cameras are being allowed inside to tape the event - and we are told that no interviews will be given after because they don't want the decision of this branch to affect the other branches that are yet to vote. They are there to consider the proposals for a salary increase made by government and approved by their union executives. As we have reported, that proposal is to base the Proposed Salary Adjustment on a surplus in government revenue. The proposal is explained in detail in a one page flyer that has been circulated to the membership - about 120 of them attended the meeting. We note that the attendance at today's meeting is far less than what we saw a few weeks ago when they voted to protest and strike, if necessary. That may have to do with the fact that half day was not given for today's meeting - which started at 5:30 pm. Right now they are still in the question and answer session and no vote has been taken. We should know the result by tomorrow.

Calling All Ballers
The Belize Basketball Association is looking for the best basketball players under the age of 19 to take to Cleveland Ohio for the King James Tournament. Last year, in national tryouts, they picked from 220 of Belize best teenaged basket-ballers, and now, this year's recruitment process has commenced. Coach Bernie Tarr says he wants the best to come out starting tomorrow in San Ignacio: Coach Bernie Tarr - Recruiting Highschool Basketball Athletes "We start in San Ignacio, 5 o'clock in Falcon Field. We'll hit all the districts. And again, it's for any boy high school basketball player who wants to try out. It's an open try out. And from that list, we'll narrow it down. Last year, we had close to about 220 athletes who tried out district-wide, and we want to pass that number. I am always about improving and getting better, so I want to see as many kids out as possible. The King James Tournament is one of the best recruiting tools if your goal and dream is to play college basketball. It is open to Division 1, Division 2, Junior College scouting services that attend these games. In the footage that I gave you, you'll see a line of college coaches along the baseline, probably about 30 to 40 coaches who watched us and followed us throughout the tournament last year. So, if you want to get recruited, this is the best way it do. Last year, we faced teams who was six-eleven, six-ten, six-eight, very skilled teams, very organized, a lot of structure. There were two teams from Canada which also came, so we were only the first truly international team which participated. The level of competition is going to be best, and that's why all the college coaches go to this event."

PM Makes Nice With COLA
Two weeks ago when the ICJ campaign was launched - a trio of COLA activists were thrown out of the event - when it appeared that they might be making some kind of No-ICJ protest. It was a non-event really, but today Geovannie Brackett - the COLA President who also doubles as a PLUS TV journalist got a chance to advance his self-interest and press the Prime Minister for an explanation. On the day of the event the PM said he knew nothing of it, but today it seemed he had been briefed and was ready to joust: Reporter "Anti-ICJ forces were apparently tossed out of the gathering, I think that you said at the time that you had not -" Prime Minister Dean Barrow "That includes my good friend Geovannie? Was he there as a member of the media, or as a protestor? [That is] a very important distinction. Please proceed."

Channel 5

Why isn’t Mark King criminally charged in Court?
Minister of State Mark King is officially on three months suspension without pay after a brawl which occurred at the Princess Casino in the Corozal Free Zone early Tuesday morning. King has been charged by the police with the serious criminal offense of Aggravated Assault of uniformed police officer, Nelson Ramos, as well as Using [...]

Salary adjustment depends on surplus
After meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow last Friday, leaders of the Public Service Union, Belize National Teachers Union and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers agreed on a proposal set forward by government to resolve the salary adjustment dispute. On Saturday, those leaders took that proposal to their wider executive bodies and again, [...]

Hundreds of Belize City B.N.T.U. meet discuss salaries
As we said, Prime Minister and union leaders emerged from a meeting last Friday with a tentative deal for salary increments that relies on a surplus in the government revenues. The deal will now be decided by the respective unions and the first joint meeting is underway. News Five spoke earlier today with Kathleen Flowers, [...]

Prime Minister calls union’s economist ‘off’
On February first, union leaders met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow, but they did so without an integral part of the team. Just one day before the meeting, president of the A.P.S.S.M., Jose Castellanos—the man considered the numbers guru and firebrand of the team—withdrew. There have been reports that his sudden departure from the scene [...]

Prime Minister juggles national issues
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has been juggling enough balls on a number of national issues. Most recently, the dilemma has been keeping the unions at bay while trying to re-structure the five hundred and forty-four million U.S. dollar superbond. Going into the meeting with union leaders last Friday, all eyes were on the leader of [...]

Mayor to withhold license renewal for hard pay
The Belize City Council is deferring from legal advice provided by the Ministry of Labour and Local Government in respect of renewal of licenses. Mayor Darrell Bradley intends to improve collection by implementing an action that would withhold essential services until residents can agree to a payment plan on outstanding taxes. The advice from Minister [...]

Roundabout to be upgraded
‘An active maze’ is one way of describing the road works that have made motorists search for alternate routes to reach their destination in Belize City. That is because today’s route to work may not be open this Thursday, as the repairs to the city streets are being carried out at a furious pace. The [...]

Cop survives carnal knowledge case
  Police officer Yannick Wade was free to go today after charges of carnal knowledge were withdrawn against him. Wade, who was represented by attorney Arthur Saldivar, appeared before Judge Troadio Gonzalez and was informed by prosecutor Leroy Banner that since the two main witnesses in the case against Wade could not be located; the [...]

Delivery man robbed of everything
A nineteen year old delivery man of Chon Saan Palace in Belize City was robbed at gunpoint just after eight on Wednesday night.  It happened when Daniel Lopez made a food delivery at a house located at the corner of the George Price Highway and Vernon Street. When Lopez arrived at the house, he handed [...]

High School All Star Team scouting begins
An all star high school basketball team will be heading to the U.S. in April of this year to participate in the 2013 King James Classic in Ohio. Twelve students from high schools countrywide are hoping to make the cut that will land them an opportunity to win a basketball scholarship.  The selection will also [...]

How to motivate prisoners
Regardless of creed, gender, religion or race; everyone has potential—and it is up to you to know and acquire your full potential. That is the message which the Motivational Missionaries Tour Belize 2013 is instilling in Belizeans from all walks of life.  Over the course of this week, Bert Oliva and Robin Korth, also known [...]


Belize's Ruling Party Prepares For Convention For Deputy Party Leader
The United Democratic Party’s convention to choose a deputy leader is set to take place in the next week and a half in Corozal. Collet area representative Patrick Faber is challenging the incumbent, Orange Walk North representative Gaspar Vega. Intra-party campaigning...

Prime Minister Explains Deal With The Unions
The leadership of the Belize National Teachers Union has begun the process of explaining a proposed agreement for salary adjustments to their general membership. Meetings are scheduled across the country where the Union representatives on the joint negotiating team will divulge t...

Prime Minister Speaks on Minister's Suspension and Involvement In Altercation
A government minister was involved in an early morning incident in Corozal yesterday which has resulted in criminal charges. Reporter Dalila Ical filed this story yesterday. DALILAH ICAL Northern Correspondent “An altercation at ...

Food Drive Receives Tremendous Support
On Yesterday’s news broadcast, we reported on the food drive spearheaded by Dara Robinson that would be taking place today at the MCC tennis Court. This afternoon, Love News stopped by shortly after the food drive began to see how well it was going. Robinson told us t...

Robbers Concoct New Strategy For Food, Cash and Vehicle
It is a popular Belize City restaurant and since robbers targeted its deliverymen over the past few years, Chon Saan Restaurant on Kelly Street has excluded some areas of the city’s south side for delivery orders at night. But that exclusion did not include the George Price...

Photo Exhibit Launches In Orange Walk
A photography exhibit is now open for the public in the Orange Walk District. A small exhibition titled “Birds and Animals of Belize” makes its way to the Banquitas House of Culture in Orange Walk Town. The exhibit is the work of Noel Escalante, who ha...


Customs Official Make A Police Report On Contraband Incident; No Mention Of Shooting!
On Monday’s newscast, you heard Lisa Cawich complaining that customs officials roughed up her uncle, Benito Cawich, after they chased him at the junction of the Phillip Goldson Highway and the Village of San Victor. According to Cawich, after the customs officials abruptly stopped her uncle they assaulted him causing injuries to his face. Cawich says that her uncle tried to run but the police officer that was present shot at him. According to Romario Cawich, that bullet that was fired ricocheted hitting him on the leg. That was the story given to us by Benito Cawich’s family on Monday, but today police are saying a totally different story. According to the official police report, the customs officer identified as 36 year old Evan Cassanova was at the check point situated at Buena Vista Village accompanied by his colleague Clevon Baizor and a police officer. The report further explains that sometime around 4:30pm, Cassanova observed a black ford pickup travelling at high speeds. Cassanova says that he signaled the vehicle to stop but the driver, assumingly Benito Cawich, continued almost knocking them down.

Belizean Man Charged With Murder In The US, Sentenced To Life!
A Belizean man has been sentenced to life in prison in Pearland, Texas in the United States. Twenty one year old Hermilo Moralez has been convicted by a Brazoria County jury for the 2010 murder of 18 year old Josh Wilkerson. Moralez was identified early in the investigation as a person of interest when he was observed loitering in the area of Josh Wilkerson’s abandoned vehicle. When questioned, Moralez provided false information relating to his identity. When his true identity was discovered, he was taken into custody and charged with Failure to provide proper identification. His bond on that charge was set at $2,000 US dollars. As the investigation progressed, Moralez agreed to cooperate with search and rescue teams on the ground, which were actively looking for Wilderson’s body. Moralez was handcuffed and walking with detectives through a field when the group arrived at a fence. As investigators made their way over the fence, Moralez attempted to pull a detective’s weapon from his holster. Moralez was immediately restrained and returned to the city jail. As a result, Moralez was charged with Attempting to Take a Weapon from a Peace Officer. His bond on that charge was set at $30,000 US dollars. A motive for the killing has not been identified and no details regarding Joshua Wilkerson’s remains are being released.

Corozal Man Lucky To Be Alive After Vehicle Flips Over
A Corozal man is lucky to still be alive tonight. Reports to our news room indicate that just before the lunch hour this morning, a white van belonging to flipped at least two times on the Philip Goldson Highway before coming to a stop. Resident of College Road in Corozal Town, Mario Leal was driving at the time when suddenly one of his van’s front wheels came loose and flew off causing Leal to lose control just before entering the village of Biscayne on the Philip Goldson Highway. As a result, Leal sustained minor injuries and was taken to the Northern Regional Hospital and released shortly after midday. Mario was on his way to Belize City to pick up a group of tourists but never reached the old capital. This evening when we called the owner of the company, George Moralez, he confirmed the incident and didn’t elaborate, other than everything was under control. We here at CTV-3 wish to remind drivers to conduct proper inspections of vehicles on a monthly basis, and for vehicles that travel the highways on a daily basis, we recommend a weekly inspection in efforts of avoiding accidents.

PM Barrow Weighs In Mark King's Actions
The country of Belize was inundated yesterday with the headline story of Minister of State Mark King’s altercation at the Princes Hotel and Casino at the Santa Elena Border. King was involved in an incident which led to him being thrown out of the Casino along with this entourage of friends. In what has left many media houses in the country perplexed, the Government Press Office issued a release stating the charges that King would be levied with, but no mention of the Minister of State was done in yesterday’s Police Report much less, the mentioning of any charges against him. An official press release from the Government of Belize stated that it was pretty much satisfied with its preliminary investigation and that Prime Minister Barrow has suspended King from his ministerial duties effective immediately for the next three months without pay. The incident unfolded sometime around two of Tuesday Morning as the Casino was celebrating its tenth anniversary. One of the Minister’s friends was caught in the bathroom having sex and was immediately escorted out of the casino but not without a fight. King noticed that his friend was being kicked out of the Casino and decided to exert his presumed Ministerial Clout but he quickly realized that he had none. He along with his entourage was escorted out of the Casino. Once outside, twenty-two year old Diego Witz Junior observed that King was being taken outside by Casino Security which prompted him to attack the security. An on duty officer was on hand and quickly attempted to calm the situation, only to receive a punch from Witz. Witz was quickly subdued and detained. Witz was placed in the pan of the police vehicle and King joined him willingly.

Horizon Partners Are In Belize For Medical Mission
Horizon Partners for Belize Medical Mission have been visiting Belize offering free health services and surgeries to Belizeans for a number of years now. Nurse Lupe Ack has been the key person in organizing the yearly event. Since the group will once again be in Belize, today we decided to drop in at the Northern Regional Hospital to speak with nurse Lupe Ack who shares what the surgeries will be for and how Belizeans in the north can register. Lupe Ack- Coordinator Horizon Partners for Belize “Tomorrow we have the ENT’s; air nose and throats plus plastic surgery. Plastic surgeries include cleft lip pallets, ear reconstructions, and the removal of cist, ganglion, warts and body masses. The persons need to come in and pre-register. With the pre-registration that we do it makes things easier for me since I am doing this by myself. SO I pre-register and do their paper work. So when they come in I have their paper work done and that makes the process easier. And then they go to the doctor, the doctore checks them and if they need any surgery they are told when they will be schedule and when it will be. The surgery days will be on Saturday, Sunday Monday and Tuesday.”

Football Sensation Deon McCauley On His Way To The Big Leagues
Belize’s World Cup goleador is making history as he has joined the ranks of a Major League Soccer club in the US being the first Belizean to play in the MLS. Well, the journey is not quite yet complete for Deon into the big leagues as he is currently practicing with USLPRO team Los Angeles Blues. The LA Blues are the B Team of the LA Galaxy and a preseason game was held yesterday where the Galaxy defeated the Blues three to nothing. Deon McCauley took to the field against world class players such as Robbie Keane from Ireland, Jose Villarreal from the US National Under-21 team, Brazilian player Marcelo Sarvas, and Gyasi Zardes who just recently transferred from English soccer team, Liverpool. McCauley will be working out with the LA Blues until he can elevate his level of play from Semi-pro to professional. Deon McCauley was scouted during the UNCAF Copa Centroamericana games that were played in Costa Rica in mid-January of this year. McCauley scored the winning goal against Nicaragua giving Belize its first historical victory against any Central American Team in dramatic fashion. Deon McCauley was recognized as the goleador for the World Cup qualifiers for this region. As a note, the last big name superstar football player to play for the LA Galaxy was David Beckham who opted to trade out of the team about two years ago. We here at CTV-3 are rooting for Belize’s top ranked player Deon McCauley and with him all the best.

The Art Of Acrylics
As of recent, we have been noticing many workshops and seminars geared towards women who are seeking ways of earning a way of life and most importantly, being self-employed and not having to depend on anyone. These types of workshops and certificate programs were started in efforts of assisting battered women, single mothers, and women with limited income resources. Programs have been held in beading, jewelry making, soy milk production, jam production, dried fruits, among many others, so that these women would move forward in life. Added to the long list of programs already conducted, a course will be offered this weekend at the Banquitas House of Culture focusing on your fingers. A workshop on manicures will take place starting this Saturday and will be hosted by Belizean Nail Technician, Erika Vega. Vega says that the core focus of the program will be manicures, acrylic nails, nail polish, and designs for nails. Vega says that conducting the seminar will be renowned Mexican Manicurist Ricky Lara from Monterrey City, who will ensure that anyone that is currently doing nails as a hobby can turn it into a small business. Erika Vega explains.

Belize Set To Participate In Regional Pageant
In last night’s newscast we told you about two Orange Walk Rotaractors that are going to represent Belize in Central America in the coming months. Stephanie Acosta and Victoria Urbina are going to participate in the 2013 Central American Rotaract Conference in Honduras. And while those two are heading south, there is another Orange Walkeña that will represent Belize internationally. Grisel Carballo is heading north to the City of Merida in Mexico where she will compete in the La Diosa Maya Internacional 2013 Pageant. Presently Carballo is in Belmopan attending school at UB and we spoke to her today where she was still feeling the excitement of when the news was broken to her. Ms. Carballo says that she, and we quote, “will give my heart and soul in representing this beautiful country Belize. I must say I am excited and can’t wait to showcase what our exotic paradise has to offer.” The pageant is expected to be held on March 16 of this year. Last year’s La Diosa Maya Internacional pageant was won by Shirley Nicole Velásquez from Honduras. We here at CTV-3 wish Ms. Carballo all the best in this Pageant. We will follow Grisel Carballo’s journey as she prepares for the journey to Merida City in Mexico.


Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Fatima arrives in Belize
A pilgrimage involving Our Lady of Fatima has arrived in Belize. Love TV’s Natalie Novelo and video journalist Brian Castillo was the airport for the arrival and bring you this report.

Police officers accused of theft
Two police constables were charged with the theft of $525.00 Belize currency and 120 Mexican pesos when they appeared in Court. They are 23-year-old Phillip Swift and 23-year- old John Galvez. They pled not guilty to the charge and they were each offered a bail of $2,000.00. Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith stipulated that $500.00 of the bail must be cash. She adjourned their case until April 9. The incident occurred around 1:20 p.m. on November 16, 2012. The complainant, Carolee Samuels, reported to the police that she dropped her purse in front of Oxygen Boutique while she was walking on Freetown Road and when she went to Queen Street Police Station about two hours later her purse was returned to her but there was no money in it. She told police that her purse contained $525.00 Belize currency and 120 Mexican pesos.

Youth walks free of double-murder charge
Twenty-two year old Shaquille Jones, charged with 2 counts of murder, was acquitted of both charges today by a jury of 7 women and 5 men. Jones was charged with the murders of 29 year old Jermaine Trapp and 18 year old Cameron Blease, who were fatally shot on December 26, 2008, in the parking lot at Princess Hotel and Casino on Newtown Barracks. After the prosecution closed its case having called 6 witnesses, Jones’ attorney, Arthur Saldivar, submitted that the evidence of identification was poor and his client does not have a case to answer to. Justice Troadio Gonzalez upheld the submission and he directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty. The prosecution, represented by Crown Counsel Kaisha Grant and Leroy Banner, had relied mainly on a statement given to the police by Blease shortly after the shooting. Blease in the statement identified Jones as the person who shot him. But Justice Gonzalez in his ruling said that Blease was not in a position to register and recall the features of the assailant and his identification could not be relied on. Trapp, with Blease in the front seat beside him, had just driven into the parking lot in a car when the gunman fired several shots. Trapp was shot in the back of his head and he died on the spot. Blease was shot in his right shoulder and chest. He was found alive the following day over the fence of Princess. He succumbed to his injuries on January 5, 2009 at the KHMH.

Teenager murdered near his home
A Belize City teenager was gunned down last night in the old capital. Love TV’s Marion Ali and video journalist Myles Gillett worked the crime beat today and file this report.

Crooked Tree villager wins big Fantasy 5 jackpot
Cordell Rhaburn, a 74 year old resident of Crooked Tree Village today collected his bounty of $320, 875 after taxes when he showed up at the Fantasy 5’s offices for his prize. Rhaburn is Fantasy 5’s latest lotto winner. Public Relations Officer with Caribbean Gaming Company, Karyl Wallace, told Love News, that since Caribbean Gaming Company initiated Fantasy 5 in December of 2011, the company has given out over two million dollars. And since the other two games, Lotto and Mega Bingo have gone on pause, Wallace says that their sales have stabilized. Rhaburn is single and lives alone. His original prize was $377, 500 before taxes.

Tribute to Bob Marley planned by local fan
While the United States of America Celebrates Black History Month in February, we are reminded of those who have fought for the betterment of mankind. Tomorrow February sixth marks the Birthday of Legendary reggae Icon Robert Nesta Marley, or Bob Marley as we mostly refer to him. To coincide with his birthday, Dara Robinson is closing in on preparations for the annual tribute concert and food drive for the icon. It all kicks off with the food drive which will be held tomorrow. This year Robinson says he’ll be traveling to the Banquitas House of Culture in Orange Walk for both the food drive and concert. As to the concert, it will take place at the MCC Tennis Court in Belize City on Sunday February tenth and Robinson says it is an event for the entire family. According to Robinson there will be security but he says that since Bob Marley’s music inspires peace love and unity among others, he hopes there is no disruption. Tickets for the concert in Orange Walk and Belize City are valued at five dollars each.

Investigators probe fatal Corozal fire
Investigations continue to try and determine the exact circumstances that led to the death of a three year old girl in a house fire in the Corozal district on Monday morning. Love TV’s Marion Ali reports.

OCEANA-Belize challenge to oil concessions goes to hearing
A little over a year ago OCEANA and co-Claimants Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA and the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage filed a case challenging the validity of six offshore production sharing agreements. After many preliminary objections the hearing finally took place today. According to a press release from OCEANA quote, “In arguing the claimants’ case, Mr. Godfrey Smith, SC stated the PSAs were granted in breach of the provisions of not only the Petroleum Act, but also in contravention of the Environmental Protection Act, the Fisheries Act and the National Parks Act. He also argued that in the case of the PSAs that have since been renewed, that renewal happened despite the fact that the concessioners did not adhere to the very conditions laid out in their original concessions, which required payment of rental and administrative fees, relinquishment of part of their blocks, and that specific activities be undertaken over the life to the original contracts” end quote. Love News today caught up with Vice President of OCEANA in Belize, Audrey Matura Shepherd who told Love News about the outcome of the hearing. Matura Shepherd says that no matter what the judge’s decision is, that will still leave option for appeal and although she hopes everything is positive for OCEANA she is firm that as Belizeans we must be aware of the importance of the natural wonders of waters. Representing the defendants were Senior Counsel Denys Barrow and attorney Naima Barrow.

Junior Minister Mark King suspended from Cabinet
The news broke while most Belizeans were sound asleep. A pre-dawn ruckus near the Belize-Mexico border this morning had all the trappings of a low-budget Hollywood movie. Only thing is the star was one of Belize’s very own in the person of Junior Minister Mark King. The result of the ugly incident has left a trail of embarrassment stretching from Corozal … to Lake Independence … to Belmopan. Our coverage starts with a report from Love TV’s Dalila Ical in Corozal. By mid-morning today, the office of Prime Minister Dean Barrow fired off a press statement describing the incident as behavior on the part of the Lake Independence area representative as not consistent with his obligations as a Minister of State. The government statement says that while charges of disorderly conduct and threatening words will be levied against King and the matter allowed to go through the court system, the Prime Minister was satisfied that the Junior Minister’s involvement in the incident constituted, “at the very least, unbecoming conduct.” The statement goes on to say that after consultation with King, Prime Minister Barrow, quote: has decided on an immediate three-month suspension without pay from his duties as a Minister of State.” The official statement ends by saying that the Prime Minister and Cabinet were expecting that Mark King would issue a statement of apology to his constituency, colleagues and the country. That expected statement of apology from the Lake Independence area representative came by mid-afternoon today. King described the incident he was involved in as a, quote: breach of the peace, end of quote. Before offering the apology requested by the Prime Minister, King said that he makes no admission of wrong-doing and will be taking all necessary steps to be properly represented at the trial. Then he said, quote: I want you all to know that I am very sorry and deeply regret that this incident occurred.” End of quote. The statement from Mark King ends by saying, and we quote: I apologize to you, the Belizean people, members of my constituency and to all my Cabinet colleagues for this unfortunate incident, end of quote.


Prime Minister Barrow speaks about Hon. Mark King’s behaviour
This morning Prime Minister Dean Barrow appeared on the LOVE FM Morning Show and has become usual after such appearances, the rest of the press awaited him outside for an impromptu news conference. High on the agenda this morning was yesterday’s abrupt suspension of Minister of State Mark King,...

Updated Police Report includes Minister Mark King’s name
The Police Press Officer today sent out a more detailed report which included the Minister Mark King’s name and his involvement in the incident that took place at the Princess Casino early yesterday morning. Today’s report stated that a Police officer reported that on Tuesday morning at about 2:30am...

PM says proposals made to Unions are reasonable
Another major crisis on the Prime Minister’s hands is the recently concluded negotiations with the major trade unions for a 30% salary adjustment over the next three years which Government had initially stated, they simply cannot afford it. The unions’ leaders have accepted a proposed increase beginning in 2014...

PM says Castellanos wanted to leave because of a medical problem
Policy analyst for the Ministry of Agriculture and Former Union Negotiator and President of the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM), Jose Castellanos, has gone AWOL since writing to the Prime Minister last week to announce he would resign from those positions because of alleged intimidation. Today, the...

Belize City Police distroy illicit drugs
This morning in Belize City at an undisclosed location, representatives of law enforcement and the judiciary as well as PLUS News were on hand to witness the destruction of quantities of various illicit drugs. It happens occasionally and today we spoke with Mario Bustillos, exhibit keeper for the Police,...

Rudy Farber charged for Attempted Murder of Corrington Villanueva
Belize City Police made an arrest today in an attempted murder case. On Monday February, 4th 32yr old Corrington Villanueva of Brides Alley, Belize City was stabbed to the left side of his abdomen. At the time, Villanueva was socializing at Carmita’s Bar, when one Rudy Farber approached him...

Deliveryman for Chon Saan Palace, Belize City, robbed
A 19 year old deliveryman for Chon Saan Palace Belize City robbed. The 19 year old reported that on Tuesday night at about 8:20pm he made a delivery at house located at the corner of the George Price Highway and Vernon Street, Belize City. Upon arrival he met a...

Unnatural Death in Belize City
Police are also investigating a case of UNNATURAL DEATH. Last night just before 7pm, police were called to a house on George Street, Belize City. Inside the 10 X 12 Plycem structure located at the back of the yard, the partially decomposed body of a 24 year old Jeffrey...

Aggravated burglary and sexual assault in Boston Village
An aggravated burglary and sexual assault were reported. The incident occurred on Sunday February 3rd, shortly before 11 pm. Ladyville Police visited ROMASH KA FARM in Boston Village, which is located approximately 6 miles on the Old Northern Highway. 34yr old ANDREY BORISOV, of Russian nationality reported that around...

PM says Government will resist Arbitration Award to Belize Bank
In December of last year, the London Court of International Arbitration awarded the Belize Bank a judgment of over $30 million in relation to the Universal Hospital Affair. GOB has long resisted such awards and today the Prime Minister told reporters that this one will be resisted too. DEAN...

PM says Superbond deal is nearly done
Super bond for Valentine’s Day? A few days ago AJ Mediratta, Co-Chair of the bondholders’ credit committee for Belize’s half a billion dollar Super bond, visited Belize and with the Prime Minister told reporters that the deal was nearly done. In responding to a question on whether the agreement...

PM will accept Court decision in OCEANA case
We told you last night about the OCEANA Oil concession case that wrapped up in the Supreme Court yesterday. The environmental organization is challenging concessions to six companies based on various breaches of contract and local law. The Prime Minister, who has previously supported offshore drilling, was very short...

Donation will assist Belize Cancer Centre to acquire land for new facility
World Cancer Day was celebrated on February 4. In commemoration of the day, numerous activities have been held countrywide to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. Two persons have taken that awareness further by donating 50,000 dollars to the Belize Cancer Centre in... =============

Union leaders support Government’s salary adjustment proposal
On Friday, February 1st, members of the Joint Negotiation Team for the Trade Unions, met with the Prime Minister and the relevant Cabinet Ministers. This past Saturday, the Joint Councils of the three unions APSSM, BNTU and PSU, met to consider the proposals that were crafted at that meeting. President of the Public Service Union Mr. Marvin Blades ...

OCEANA challenges six Oil concessions in Court
Justice of the Supreme Court Oswell Legall has reserved judgment for a future date in claim no. 810 of 2011 featuring OCEANA in Belize, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), and the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage claiming against Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Hon. Gaspar Vega in regard to six oil c ...

17 year-old Eddie Soriano murdered in Belize City
There was another murder last night in Belize City. Shortly after 7:pm, Belize City Police visited an area on Banak Street, where they saw the motionless body of 17 year old Eddie Nelson Soriano with 4 gunshot wounds to the upper section of his body. Police investigation revealed that Soriano was walking on Banak Street, when two male persons rode ...

Details of Union’s Salary Adjustment Proposal released
After the Joint Councils of the three unions; APSSM, BNTU and PSU met with the Prime Minister of Belize and the relevant Cabinet Ministers on Friday of last week to consider a salary adjustment; features of the Salary Adjustment Proposal were released. The main ones being: 1) Proposed Salary Adjustment will be based on a formula of actual recurren ...

Minister Mark King makes apology for incident
Earlier we told you about Cabinet’s press release in which Prime Minister Dean Barrow suspended Hon Mark King for 3 months from his duty as Minister of State. Late this evening the Minister sent out a release saying, and we quote, “My fellow Belizeans, by now you would have learnt through the media that I was involved in an incident whi ...

Mark King to be charged for assault of Police Officer
Mark King is to be charged in connection with an ongoing assault of a Police Officer investigation in the north. Earlier today at about 2:30am a uniformed police was on duty at the Princess Casino located at the Northern Border. While standing outside of the casino, he noticed that the security guard from the casino was escorting a male person out ...

Our Lady of Guadalupe High School holds a Business and Science Fair
Our Lady of Guadalupe High School held a Business and Science fair today. Students from Forms 1-4 were required to create some sort of business or science experiment; majority of the students had business stalls where they sold a variety of food items. Plus news visited the fair and spoke firstly with a group who called themselves Tuti Fruti Explo ...


A Tale of Five Cities: San Cristobal Churches
One notable architectural feature of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico is the many beautiful churches that grace the city. Barry made it a personal goal to photograph each one of them within walking distance of our hotel. Here are the results of his efforts. The church above had a very pretty adjoining garden: The next church required quite a climb of switchbacked steps to reach. My quads were still sore from Palenque, so I only made it to the top once. I think Barry made the climb at least three times!

10 Medicinal Plants of Belize that Can Save Your Life
Bush Medicines of Belize Thousands of trees, plants, fruits, roots, and vines can be found in the pristine rainforests of Belize which have been used traditionally for medicinal purposes. Before modern medicine developed laboratory drugs, our ancestors, the world over used herbs and weeds for health. Using a combination of medicinal plants and prayers, shamans and healers treated both the physical and spiritual ailments of their communities. Today the knowledge is all but lost; however, scientific communities from the western world have shown a new interest in the medicinal properties of tropical plants. For example, the National Cancer Institute started the Belize Ethnobotany Project, which has sent of 2,000 species back to the NCI to be studied for cancer fighting properties. The Belizean government has also recognized the importance of these plants, and in 1993 set aside 6,000 acres for the Terra Nova Medicinal Plant Reserve to transplant potentially valuable plants from areas of jungle in danger of development. At the moment, many Belizeans continue to use rainforest plants for medicinal purposes in the same way the Maya did thousands of years ago. Here are ten medicinal plants that are widely used by the Belizean population;

Junior Minister Mark King Suspended From Cabinet-Belize
According to an official statement, King was suspended from his duties as a Minister of State for three months without pay. In the official government statement it was announced that Cabinet was briefed on the incident at the Princess Hotel and Casino in the Corozal Free Zone and that King’s behavior was “not consistent with his obligations as a Minister of State.” Cabinet was also informed that the police, based on their preliminary review of the facts, will be bringing charges of disorderly conduct and threatening words against Minister King.

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Homemade Flour Tertillas
I had bee tole that tertillas were easy t'make..and noe I knoe that thay air! Fresh flour tertillas rilly taste bettr thun stere-bouite. These a'ken be made n' a cas arn er a non-stick fryin pun. I used mah trustee old cas arn fryin pun and t'ertillas turnt out greet. Ingredients: 2 cups flour 1/2 teespoon bakin' powdr 3/4 teespoon salt 1/4 cup vegetabull shertenin' 2/3 cup hot watr

International Sources

Edward J. Wisniewski passes away, co-owned "Bob's Paradise"
, Edward J. (E.J.) Wisniewski, 68, of Deerfield Beach, passed away on Sunday, January 27, 2013 of ALS a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's Disease. He passed at the home of his former wife, Bonnie and Salvatore W. Tripi, in Ocala, Florida, who cared for him in his last months. His profession and his love of fishing also led him to many places afar such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the Eastern Caribbean Islands, Panama, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Alaska, and of course, his favorite place, Belize. He co-owned Bob's Paradise, a mini-resort on the coast of the Caribbean (accessible by boat only) in the Monkey River area of Belize, Central America. Unfortunately, the resort was destroyed by Hurricane Iris in 2001. He made many lifetime friends on his travels and revisited quite often. He one day hoped to retire in Belize and just fish.

Belize to join T&T at Gold Cup
Underdogs Belize secured their biggest ever football achievement last week when they qualified for the 2013 Concacaf Gold Cup. Belize hosted T&T in a friendly in 2010 and the Russell Latapy-coached team was heavily criticised after being held to a 0-0 draw. However, the Central Americans have been improving and qualified for the semifinals of the Central American tournament in Costa Rica. They were narrowly beaten 1-0 by El Salvador in the third place playoff last Sunday. Belize, along with Central American champions Costa Rica, runners-up Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico will join T&T at July’s Gold Cup in the USA alongside the host nation, Canada, Haiti, Cuba and Martinique. T&T co-head coaches Hutson Charles and Jamaal Shabazz were in Costa Rica last week to view games involving T&T’s possible Gold Cup opponents. “We had the opportunity to see some of the teams we may be coming up against and it proved to be a worthwhile trip,” Shabazz said. “We were able to see styles of play. We’ve met these teams before, but it’s good to stay abreast of what they are doing. They will also be looking at what we do before the Gold Cup,” Shabazz said. The Gold Cup will be played from July 7-28.

Top 4 Foodie Adventures in Belize
It's not every day that you enjoy experiences like lunching in a Mennonite community, making silky chocolate out of cacao beans, and drooling over the offerings in a jam-and-hot-sauce factory. But that's the kind of culinary day-to-day you get when you're in Belize. Top it all off with tasty fry jacks and bottles of Belikin beer. Deep within this tropical, English-speaking country—an easy three-hour flight from Dallas-Ft. Worth International—with around 300,000 residents are adventures that will surprise even the most sophisticated foodie, from small towns in Northern Belize on down to Punta Gorda near the Guatemala border.

This week Prospect Journal is publishing a series of photo journals about international travel – join us as we explore a diverse set of countries by reading our “Changing Perspectives: Journalism Through an International Lens” series! I spent two weeks with family in Belize, a small country in Central America near Guatemala. This is the view from our front door in the small town of Dangriga. Belize is the only country in Central and South America where English is the official language, although Spanish and Creole are more commonly spoken by the natives. While there, I was able to travel throughout the country, including the capital, Belmopan.

February 6, 2013


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Specials and Events

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The San Pedro Sun

Candles shine bright at annual Cancer Walk
On Monday February 4th, millions of persons around the world held events honoring the people that have battled, lost or triumphed over cancer. To celebrate the day, the San Pedro Cancer Society held their annual lighted candle walk. The walk commenced a little after 6:30PM with a massive crowd gathered at the Central Park. According to Miguel Perez, president of the San Pedro Cancer Society, this was the biggest turn out in the short history of the walk. With candlelight illuminating the streets of San Pedro, the procession made its way through the main streets accompanied by the Isla Bonita All Star Marching Band. Individuals that have lost their family members and friends to the disease c arry their memories alive, and on that evening, they honored them with a lit flame and printed photos.Even visitors joined the walk as it passed by. It was an amazing sight and a wonderful show of a town’s solidarity and togetherness.

Isla Bonita All Stars gearing up for Band Fest 2013
Isla Bonita All Stars Band-1The children of San Pedro are expressing their musical talent in The Isla Bonita All Stars Marching Band. Over 60 participating members are gearing up to compete in the Governor General Sir Colville Young’s Band Fest that will take place on March 23, 2013 at Belmopan. The band is comprised of students from Isla Bonita Elementary, San Pedro R.C. School, Holy Cross Anglican School, St. Peter’s Elementary and San Pedro High School. Teaching the children is John Thompson, who has been doing his utmost best to have the band ready to go for Band Fest. Since early November of 2012, a committee of local volunteers and supportive parents has been holding fundraisers in hopes to raise enough funds to cover travel expenses for the band. As any competitive group, uniforms are essential to distinguish the group and to give them an identity. Not only does the Isla Bonita All Stars Marching Band require uniforms for all the members, but travel and accommodation expenses for the trip to Belmopan need to be covered. The band committee Isla Bonita All Stars Band-11has estimated that the total cost amounts to a little over $26,000. The committee has held many successful fundraisers such as raffles, a radiothon and a couple of $1 drives. Generous donors including Mayor Daniel Guerrero and Minister Manuel Heredia Jr. have brought the Isla Bonita All Stars Marching Band closer to Band Fest.

GOB takes action on Corozal Free Zone Incident Involving Minister
Cabinet was briefed on an incident that occurred early Tuesday morning, February 5, 2013 at the Princess Hotel & Casino in the Corozal Free Zone, and it was reported that the Hon. Mark King was involved in behavior not consistent with his obligations as a Minister of State. Cabinet has been informed that the police, in consequence of their preliminary review of the facts, will be laying charges of disorderly conduct and threatening words on Hon. Mark King. Those charges will be dealt with in the court. However, the Prime Minister at this point is satisfied that Honorable King’s involvement in the incident constituted, at the very least, unbecoming conduct. Accordingly, the Prime Minister, after speaking with Hon. Mark King has decided on an immediate three month suspension without pay from his duties as a Minister of State. The Prime Minister and Cabinet also expect that Honorable King will issue a statement of apology to his constituency, colleagues, and the country.

Honorable Mark King issues statement regarding Princess Hotel & Casino Incident
My fellow Belizeans, by now you would have learnt through the media that I was involved in an incident while socializing at the Princess Hotel & Casino in Corozal, which resulted in a breach of the peace and the imposition of charges against me by the Police. While I make no admission of wrong-doing and will take all necessary steps to be properly represented at the trial of those charges, I want you all to know that I am very sorry and deeply regret that this incident occurred. I apologize to you, the Belizean people, members of my constituency and to all my Cabinet colleagues for this unfortunate incident.

Ambergris Today

Hon. Mark King Pending Charges in Corozal Free Zone Incident
Belmopan - February 5, 2013. - Cabinet was briefed on an incident that occurred early Tuesday morning, February 5, 2013 at the Princess Hotel & Casino in the Corozal Free Zone, and it was reported that the Hon. Mark King was involved in behavior not consistent with his obligations as a Minister of State. Cabinet has been informed that the police, in consequence of their preliminary review of the facts, will be laying charges of disorderly conduct and threatening words on Hon. Mark King. Those charges will be dealt with in the court. However, the Prime Minister at this point is satisfied that Honorable King's involvement in the incident constituted, at the very least, unbecoming conduct. Accordingly, the Prime Minister, after speaking with Hon. Mark King has decided on an immediate three-month suspension without pay from his duties as a Minister of State. The Prime Minister and Cabinet also expect that Honorable King will issue a statement of apology to his constituency, colleagues, and the country.

Toledo Cacao Festival Renamed Chocolate Festival of Belize
The Toledo Cacao Festival was born in 2007 and has been celebrated each year on the same Commonwealth Day weekend towards the end of May. It attracts hundreds of visitors from around Belize as well as overseas. In 2013 the festival falls on the weekend of May 24-26. This lively festival has helped Toledo shed its worn out image as “the forgotten district” and establish it as one of Belize’s vibrant and growing tourism destinations. It also celebrates the tremendous contribution to development in the south made by the Toledo Cacao Growers’ Association (TCGA) and its hundreds of farmer members. The Toledo Cacao Festival worked well as a name within Belize but many people do not understand the story that links cacao to cocoa and chocolate, which in the end is the real attraction. Likewise Toledo, Spain and Toledo, Ohio are better known internationally than Toledo, Belize. So this year the festival organizers are announcing their ambition to capture international attention by re-branding the event as the Chocolate Festival of Belize. The festival has many devoted followers who return each year to sample the chocolate delights available and to find out what’s new in the world of chocolate making. The elegant wine and chocolate evening kicks off the weekend’s events as usual. This year it will be hosted by Belcampo Lodge and Farm.

25 Years Ago: Alberto Receives his Letter of Acceptance
So the custom 25 years ago was to write a formal letter requesting permission to visit a girl at her home and the father would write back either with a letter denying that permission or accepting. Finally, here is the long awaited approval letter about a week or two after it was mailed, I mean after it was sent with a little boy. Incidentally it cost 25 cents special delivery- the same of a local stamp today. Here is approval letter: Boy oh boy! Alberto is so glad to receive the news on Saturday night that he invites his friends for a "parranda" (spree). He buys a bottle of rum and some Coca Colas, and his friends meet at Skin Diver’s Club. There is fun and laughter and a lot of jokes made on Alberto. Later that night they go on a "serenata" (serenade). Angel is there to strum the guitar and lucky for them, Felipe and Roberto, Junior and Adolfo are there and they know a lot of songs (rancheras). They take their "serenata" to and Dianita, Yoli and Carmelita and all the other "novias" of the crowd, but not to Angelita. You see, Alberto does not want his fiancee and especially the future "suegros" (in-laws) to know that he was in a "parranda". He wants to be his best self for at least one more month or two to gain the respect and esteem of his in-laws.

The Emergence of San Pedro’s Fishing Co-operative
We go all the way back to 1963 when the fishing co-operative was founded in San Pedro. And listen to the conversation of the three gentlemen in the photo. (James Howel Blakc, Dimas Guerrero and Efrain Guerrero) “So what do you think of our fishing cooperative?” asked Chairman Efrain Guerrero enthusiastically. “Well, this is the best thing that has ever happened to San Pedro,” exclaimed Mr. Dimas Guerrero who was a fisherman since 1950. “Don’t you think so Papa Blake? Even though you do not need to work, don’t you think this is good for San Pedro?” “Well, yes it is very good for everyone,” commented Papa Blake. “Now that the coconut industry is dying, at least every Sanpedrano will be able to make a decent living by fishing? Are you going to dive, Dimas?”

Dorian’s Angels Join Cancer Awareness Walk
On Monday, February 4, 2013, the San Pedro Cancer Society held its annual Light The Night candle lit walk in observance of World Cancer Awareness Day. Members of the Cancer Society along with other businesses and members of the community hit the streets of San Pedro to support the cause. Dorian’s Angels did not fail to show their support as they joined the crowd with their candles and walked in solidarity with all those who have been affected by cancer or have lost relatives. The Isla Bonita All Star Marching led the parade and behind them followed a large crowd with candles on hand from Barrier Reef Drive up to the roundabout into Pescador Drive and ending at the Central Park.

Misc Belizean Sources

BELTRAIDE launched the first Business and Investment Magazine "INVEST BELIZE" on January 30th 2013
The Invest Belize magazine showcases Belize in a progressive light for what it represents: an investment destination. This publication features the major investment opportunities, while providing up to date information on policy, trade agreements, statistics, trade and projections to the investment community in Belize and abroad. Go to the following link to download and read a copy of this interesting magazine.

DJ Fingaz Pre-Birthday Bash Pictures
Danny Chung was at the Wing Stop in Belmopan for DJ Fingaz pre-birthday party where he got some great pictures. Island Time Beverages sponsored the event, and had their new Caribbean Coolers there for everyone. They have 3 different flavors: Rumango, Coco Pina, and Rum Punch.

John Paul II JC Launch
Mount Carmel High School has launched their junior college. Saturday night, they launched Cayo's new John Paul II junior college. They'll offer English, Business, and General Studies Associates degrees.

Galen at COBEC College Fair
The Consortium for Belize Educational Cooperation College Fair is tomorrow evening at ITVET in Belize City. Schools from all over Belize, and many universities from the U.S. will be there. It's a great opoortunity to learn about other schools, and do research on study abroad programs. Galen University is offering discounts on their application fees.

Rotaract's Intercitadina
The Rotaract Club on San Ignacio has been keeping busy. They had their Intercitadina this weekend. Congratulations to all the new members. "Congratulations to Asuncion Martinez & Frankie Montero on having been inducted as Rotaractors at Intercitadina 2013 this past weekend. Welcome to the Rotaract family."

Belizean Sere
Sere or Seree is a milky,spicy soup that is made with fish and ground foods like taro or cocoa, cassava or yuca and sweet potatoes. This is a native dish of Belize and is eaten usually with white rice.

NEW LOGO – The Belize Bureau of Standards
The Belize Bureau of Standards is pleased to introduce its new logo to the general public. As the Bureau enters a new stage in its development it wishes to re-emphasize its commitment to serving as a lead institution in establishing a national quality infrastructure for the country. In its resolve to drive a culture for quality in Belize, one which it expects will unflinchingly meet the challenges of a competitive global market and fulfil consumer expectations on quality, health, safety and the environment, the department, through this design, aims to feature the corporate interplay between the key elements of quality infrastructure: METROLOGY, STANDARDS, TESTING and QUALITY (MSTQ). With a positive outlook on its future development, the Bureau believes its new logo will set the stage for this new chapter in its existence, as it charts a new course which it envisions will improve the socio economic well-being and quality of life for all Belizeans.

Channel 7

Hon. Mark King Caught Up In Corozal Casino Chaos Gets Suspended w/o Pay!
Lake Independence area Representative Mark King rose to public prominence for his volatile public behaviour - and tonight that volatility has him in the Prime Minister's dog House and facing multiple criminal charges. Last night King was caught up in what might be called a "hot mess" at the Princess Casino near the Belize Mexico border. 7news has been following the story since morning and Jules Vasquez reports:.. Jules Vasquez reporting This is the Princess Casino just outside the Corozal Free Zone and right next to the Belize Mexico Bridge. It's the last stop before you get to the bridge - and reports say this is where Mark King and a number of associates were this morning at 2:00 am. That's when one of his male associates was reportedly caught with a female in the men's bathroom - and that man was ejected from the Casino. Reports say that King became incensed at this and had a temper tantrum - ripping down decorations inside the casino, berating staff and even assaulting the manager. We are told King ended up sitting on the floor of the Casino. Eventually he and his companions were thrown out - which is when multiple reports say shots were fired outside the casino as an act of defiance. We stress that the Casino management denies that anything happened inside - and pointed us to this police booth where they say most of the acting up happened.

17 Year Old Dead; Wrong Place, Wrong Time
As we told you when the news ended last night, there had been another murder in the city - the second in less than 12 hours. The victim was a 17 year old student Eddie Soriano. Reports are that was socializing near his home with a group of men when two men on separate bicycles rode past and one of them opened fire. Soriano was shot 4 times to his upper body. The student was rushed to the KHMH where he was pronounced dead on arrival. So far police have detained 4 persons in the investigation. Many believe that Soriano was not the intended target and say he had just recently moved into the neighborhood and is not known to be gang affiliated. He did live close to the Meighan house, which has been targeted by shooters very many times. His family could not be reached - as reports say they picked up and left in terror immediately after he was killed.

Man Acquitted of Double Murder
21 year-old Shaquille Jones, the man who was accused of the December 2008 double murders of 29 year-old Jermaine Trapp and 18 year-old Cameron Blease, was acquitted today in the courtroom of Justice Troadio Gonzalez. Viewers may remember that at around 3 a.m. on December 26, 2008, Trapp had his blue Toyota Camry parked outside the Princess Hotel and Casino on Newtown Barracks. That's around the time when Blease was fleeing from a gunman who was chasing him, and he jumped into Trapp's vehicle only to have the gunman follow him immediately. Trapp, realizing the danger he was in, tried to drive away, but that gunman opened fire on the vehicle, and shot him in the back of his head. He died instantly, and this caused the vehicle to crash into a concrete wall. 2 of those bullets from the barrage of shots caught Blease in the chest and hand, and immediately after the gunman inflicted the injuries, he fled the scene. Blease was rushed to the KHMH, where he was put into an induced coma, until he later passed away from that injury to the chest 10 days later.

Police Constables For Theft
Tonight, 23 year-old Police Constable Phillp Swift and 23 year-old Police Constable John Galvez are trying to meet bail after they were taken to court for theft. According to police, Carolee Samuels, wife of Belize City Councilor Dean Samuels, reported that at around 1:20 p.m. on November 16, 2012, she dropped her purse in front of Oxygen Boutique on Freetown Road. 2 hours later, police contacted her, and told her that they recovered her purse, but when she went to retrieve it, she realized that her money, which amounted to a little under $600, was missing. Police investigated the report, and they eventually arrested and charged Swift and Galvez with theft. They were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith this afternoon, and they both pleaded not guilty to the charges. Chief Magistrate Smith granted them bail of $2,000, five hundred of which they had to pay up front as cash. She has adjourned their case until April 9, 2013. Up until this evening at around 4 p.m., they still hadn't met bail.

OCEANA Against PSA's
We've been reporting for months now on Oceana Belize's challenge to 6 offshore oil drilling contracts - or Production Sharing Agreements - which the Government of Belize entered into between 2005 and 2007. Those contracts currently exist with the entities: Island Oil Belize Ltd, Tropical Energy Ltd, Petro Belize Co Ltd, Princess Petroleum Ltd, Providence Energy Belize Ltd and Sol Oil Belize Ltd. Well, after months of preliminary adjournments, the substantive matter which was brought by Oceana Belize, COLA, and The Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage was heard to completion before Justice Legall. After a lengthy 4 hours of arguments from Senior Councils Denys Barrow and Godfrey Smith, the hearing came to an end, and 7News spoke to both sides. Here's how they outlined their legal arguments: Denys Barrow - Attorney for GOB "The case seeks to challenge 6 contract agreements for petroleum operations over different large blocks of land in Belize ranging from 200,000 plus acres to 2 million acres. These contracts were made in 2004 and 2007. The essential point we made is that it is far too late to be challenging these things now especially since they are seeking to challenge not the decision making but the lawfulness of the contract and in our view that is something which is beyond the level at this stage."

Abandoned Lots Loaded With Illegal Stuff
The Special Branch recovered this gun, a 40 caliber pistol On the afternoon of Friday February first. IT was found in an abandoned lot on Jasmine Street, in the Lake Independence Area of Belize City. And then yesterday - police, based on special branch intel - searched another abandoned lot, this one on Elston Kerr Street, and found 870 grams - about two pounds of cannabis. And then, this afternoon at 12:30pm, police searched another abandoned lot - this one on Regent Street West where they found one black plastic bag stuffed with 27 smaller bags of suspected cannabis. IT all weighed about 4 kilos - or about nine pounds, along with .5 grams Crack Cocaine.

GST Dodger Fined
45 year-old businessman Thomas Gomez Jr., a resident of Fabers Road, dodged jail time today after he committed to pay a substantial amount of fines for failure to file his taxes to the GOB. Gomez was arraigned today before Magistrate Adolph Lucas Jr. for 8 counts of failure to file GST returns in relation to his lumber business, which is named after him. According to the GST Legal Representative Jacqueline Meighan, these charges originate from unfiled returns between the months of April 2012 to December 2012. But according to Meighan, he is a repeat offender because back in February 2012, Gomez pleaded guilty to 17 counts of failure to file GST returns. The sitting magistrate in his arraignment on those charges sentenced him to pay a fine of $8,500 for those 17 counts. But to date, Gomez has not paid anything toward that fine, and Meighan characterized him as a difficult tax payer. In his explanation, he told the court that he is always on the road driving his truck, and that he has filled out the tax returns, but he has not taken them to the tax office. He also pleaded guilty to those 8 counts, and he was sentenced to pay $700 for each count, to a total of $5,600. He told the court that he was able to pay $5,000 of that previous 8 thousand dollar fine. Magistrate Lucas informed him that if he does show good faith and pay that money today, the court will be will to accommodate him with an extension on the balance.

Will "New" Bureau Of Standards Have Teeth?
We haven't heard anything from the Belize Bureau of Standards - ever since we made a complaint for a refund in early 2011. That was when we were claiming back our money after being shorted by multiple butane companies. We never got our refund. But today the Bureau popped back unto our radar, proudly announcing that it has a fancy new logo. A release says that the logo signifies that the burea is "entering a new stage in its development; a new chapter in its existence" According to the wordy write-up, the design, quote, "aims to feature the corporate interplay between the key elements of quality infrastructure: METROLOGY, STANDARDS, TESTING and QUALITY." We're duly impressed, but would rather see a logo with some teeth on it.

Crooked Tree Man "Straight" With A Few Hundred K
Tonight 74 year old Cordell Rhaburn is the lucky fantasy 5 winner. The elderly man made his way from Crooked Tree this morning into the city to collect his winning cheque of three hundred and seventy seven thousand, five hundred dollars. It was an unexpected win, and Rhaburn told us why he took almost 2 weeks to claim his prize. Cordell Rhaburn "I just took my time." Marion Ali, reporter "You had to process the winning?" Cordell Rhaburn "Yeah, I just waited a while and see what's going on." Monica Bodden "So, you knew you were the winner?" Cordell Rhaburn "Yeah, I already have it budgeted; I am going to put some apart for my children and use some to finish my house." "I just bought the ticket. The night when the number was going to play I put on Channel 22 and before the guy started to put out the numbers the electricity went off, so the next day I went to Orange Walk and I ask the guy for the numbers and when I got home I check it and it was all there."

Mark King, A Slight Look Back
And as we close tonight, we recap our headline story: Mark King, the minister of state in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation, Poverty Alleviation and Peace in Progress is on three months suspension without pay form Cabinet. He is also facing two, possibly three criminal charges for a bizarre tantrum he threw at the Princess Casino at the Corozal border early this morning. Indeed, King has been a loose cannon since he entered political life. In August of 2008, as an elected city councilor, he came out swinging against his mayor Zenaida Moya in a classic, unforgettable interview. For context to his actions early this morning, we air a portion of that:.. "You should stick in news because politics is the business of politics. Maybe I am just Mark King, but I can tell you this that over thirteen residents came out to vote for Mark King in 2006 and if that is nobody to you then I applaud you my brother. What I give you here today has no bearing on what Mayor Moya thinks or feels or what I think or feel of her. this is professionally dealing with the tax payers money of the Belizean public that we were set there to do and we are guided by the City Council Act to do that and now we must go back to the Belizean public, but before the Belizean public go and put that ballot in that box, they would have had all this information."

Channel 5

Gang Minister Mark King suspended for Casino Royale Attack
Self-named Minister of Gangs Mark King is in the political and public seat of shame today after he was allegedly involved in a drunken brawl with Corozal Police. The incident occurred in the early hours of this morning as Minister King and friends partied at the Princess Casino located just outside the Corozal Commercial Free [...]

Minister’s Witz and police fight
  While there was no sign of Minister Mark King near the Corozal Police Station or at the Corozal Magistrate’s Court today, the man he was with when he was escorted to the Police Station very early this morning, was arraigned in Court today. At a little before three this afternoon, twenty-two year old Diego [...]

Zero tolerance? Minister suspended and apologizes
By midday, the Minister of State with Responsibility for Gangs had been suspended from Cabinet for three months, without pay, for his involvement in the brawl with casino security and Corozal police. A cabinet release states that King was involved in behavior not consistent with his obligations as a Minister of State, and goes further [...]

Two killed in less than 12 hours
Two persons were murdered in a span of less than twelve hours on Monday. Around eight in the morning, Garry Bowen was killed on Partridge Street and just after seven p.m., Edinilson Soriano was shot and killed in close proximity on Banak Street. The gunman blasted Soriano on the upper part of his body at [...]

Should Mark King be removed?
The hot button issue last week was about salary adjustments for teachers and other public officers. We asked if our viewers thought that government could find the money to provide the adjustments. An overwhelming seventy-four percent voted yes, while twenty-six percent said no. Turning to tonight’s question: Instead of a three month suspension, should Mark [...]

Petroleum contracts challenged in Supreme Court
The attorney for Oceana Belize, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage concluded oral arguments challenging the validity of six offshore Production Sharing Agreements in the courtroom of Supreme Court Justice Oswell Legall. If the environmentalists have their way, they would have the court quash oil concession [...]

Oceana would have contracts quashed
Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith represented the environmental groups. And Smith argued that the P.S.A.’s breached the Petroleum Act and also contravened the Environmental Protection Act, the Fisheries Act and the National Parks Act. According to Audrey Matura Shepherd, Oceana’s Vice President in Belize, they believe that the renewal of concessions also broke some regulations.   [...]

Police following leads of sexual assault in village
On Monday’s newscast, we told you about a home invasion in Boston Village off the old Northern Highway on Sunday night. Police have been close-mouthed about the case; releasing no names and no details. Today we spoke to Assistant Superintendent of Police Christopher Noble, who is the Rural Executive Officer. He told us that they [...]

Not Guilty of Murder; minor’s 4 years in prison
When he was a minor, Shaquille Jones was charged for double murder. Normally, the name of a minor can’t be used in the news, but Jones was charged as an adult and it has been four years since the murder. The now nineteen year old man had his day in court today. Jones was accused [...]

Beaten to coma: tourist guide victim of officer?
A Caye Caulker tour guide is fighting for his life at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Bert “Ras Creek” Nicholas was admitted this past Saturday after he was beaten allegedly by officers on the island two weeks ago. The motive for the beating is not clear, but his wife says that he slipped into a [...]

Caye Caulker business’ license up in smoke
Rose’s Grill and Bar is one of the most sought after restaurants in Caye Caulker. It has won a major European award and after more than a decade in business, the chances are that most visitors to the island will drop by for a taste of the local grilled cuisine. At the end of January, [...]

Mother is still recovering after losing toddler in fire
The tragic death of three year old Danely Cabrera in a house fire in San Narciso Village, Corozal, has left her family filled with grief.  The fire started at about four o’clock on Monday morning and quickly gutted the family’s house. The family woes are compounded because the mother, Ramona Cabrera, was also injured in [...]

Dara Robinson wants you to come out and give
He is known for his humanitarian efforts and for a feeding program that won him the title as Unsung Hero for 2011. Dara Robinson, for the past six years, has been assisting needy kids from the south side attending school in the King’s Park Area. The students receive daily a healthy meal from the program. [...]


Hearing On The Validity of Several Offshore Production Sharing Agreements Held Today
A little over a year ago OCEANA and co-Claimants Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and The Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage filed a case challenging the validity of six offshore production sharing agreements. After many preliminary objections the he...

Police News
A teenager has become the nation’s latest murder victim. Seventeen year old Eddie Soriano was shot dead as he was walking on the street in front of his house at 27 Banak Street. The incident happened at around seven o’clock on Monday night and Soriano...

Our Lady of Fatima Reaches Belize
Peace. It is what everyone is asking for, in fact most will tell you these are dangerous times in Belize. And the establishment of peace throughout the world is one of the main themes of the message of Our Lady of Fatima, whose image was welcomed to Belize by faithful follo...

Single Senior Citizen Wins Lottery Prize
Cordell Rhaburn, a 74 year old resident of Crooked Tree Village today collected his bounty of 320 thousand, 875 dollars after taxes when he showed up at the Fantasy 5’s offices for his prize. Rhaburn is Fantasy 5’s latest lotto winner. Public Relations Officer wit...

Police Constables Charged With Theft
Two police constables were charged with the theft of $525.00 Belize currency and 120 Mexican pesos when they appeared in Court. They are 23-year-old Phillip Swift and 23-year- old John Galvez. They pled not guilty to the charge and they were each offered a bail of $2,000.00. Chief Magi...

Fire Officials Conclude Investigation Into Fire That Resulted In Toddler's Death
Fire officials in Corozal have concluded that the cause of the blaze on Monday morning that claimed the life of three year old Yaneli Cabrera in San Narciso Village was the result of a burnt plastic hose attached to an open gas tank. Corozal Fire Chief, Carlitos Arnold Vera told ...

Bob Marley Tribute & Food Drive To Be Held
While the United States of America Celebrates Black History Month in February, we are reminded of those who have fought for the betterment of mankind. Tomorrow February sixth marks the Birthday of Legendary reggae Icon Robert Nesta Marley, or Bob Marley as we mostly refer to him....


German Duo Stops In Belize In Their Journey Across The World
Since Amelia Earhart’s accomplishment of travelling around the world in an aircraft, many have tried to follow suit. Many have tried to hike, drive, float in a balloon, among many other vessels to travel around the world and of recent, two men are attempting the challenge. On July 21st of 2012, German adventurers Andreas Zmuda and Doreen Kroeber set out on the 100,000 mile journey that will take them across five continents, seventy-four countries and over three oceans. But what makes this journey so special, well, it’s in the two men’s choice of vehicle. Both men will be riding a converted three wheel motorcycle which is attached to paragliding wings. The motorcycle is ultra-lightweight and can take off and land in virtually any runway or landing strip. The two men are tonight in Central Farm where they safely managed to land their flying motorbike. The duo safely flew over Black Man Eddy village and is expected to fly over Blue Creek tomorrow. They will have reached Placencia by this weekend and are expected to fly out of Belize by mid-February when they will travel to Honduras. The German men’s journey of a hundred thousand miles started in Florida and is set to be completed by February of 2016. We here at CTV-3 wish the men all the best of luck.

Hon. Mark King On 3 Months Suspension Without Pay!
And while Hon. Mark King was being hidden from our cameras and given preferential treatment by the Corozal Police Department, Prime Minister Dean Barrow was not quite as nice. The Government of Belize issued a press release this morning titled, “Corozal Free Zone Incident Involving Minister” in which it says, and we quote, “it was reported that the Hon. Mark King was involved in behavior not consistent with his obligations as a Minister of State.” End of quote. The release further states that all cabinet members have been informed by the Police Department of the incident and as a result of their review of the facts, charges have been filed against the Minister of State, Mark King. Those charges are disorderly conduct and uttering threatening words. According to the Belize Press Office release, King will answer to those charges in a court of law. Well, this is where the release gets interesting as it states that Prime Minister Barrow is satisfied with the preliminary reports and finds his Minister of State’s involvement as unbecoming conduct. As a result, we quote, “the Prime Minister, after speaking with Hon. Mark King has decided on an immediate three-month suspension without pay from his duties as a Minister of State.” End of quote. The release ended with a statement of expectation that King would issue an apology to the people of his constituency, colleagues and the country of Belize.

Minister Mark King's Fun Night Turns Criminal
Minister of state is in trouble tonight after being involved in an altercation at the Princess Casino at the Northern Border. Reports to our newsroom in the wee hours of this morning, are that a major incident occurred this morning in front of the casino in which Minister of State Mark King was detained and taken to the Corozal Police Station. Reporter Elmer Cornejo and Cameraman Kenrick Simpson returned from Corozal not to long ago and filed the following report. The Princess casino located at the Corozal northern border celebrated its 10th anniversary of existence in the gambling business in Belize. However, as is almost usual, the Belize party resulted in an altercation this time, involving a minister, the minister of state. Reports are that the Minister of state, Mark King had gone to the casino to have a spree time with a group of his friends. One of his friends, 22 year old Diego Witz business man of Punta Gorda, was caught having sex in the bathroom inside the casino. This was reported to the casino’s security which in turn ensued to the bathroom in search of King’s friend. In the process of handcuffing King’s friend and escorting him outside the casino, King decided to fluff out and use his position as the minister. He exchanged words with the security officers of the casino saying that if his friend would be kicked out, then he would also be forced to leave the casino and as a result the security would lose their jobs. Just then, King’s friend swung a pistol at the officers causing the party at the casino to end almost instantly. One security officer then slammed King to the floor and took him outside the casino. By this time, emotions soared both from king and his group as well as from the security officers of the princess casino.

Luciano Osorio Wanted By Corozal Police
Tonight, Corozal police are looking for a man who tormented his wife on Saturday February 3rd and Sunday, February 4th. According to the report made by a thirty-eight year old female from Baeza’s layout in Corozal Town, she was at home sleeping on said dates when sometime around ten in the night, her husband arrived and began acting disorderly. Her children were also asleep at home when they were awoken by the noise being caused outside by the husband. According to the woman, she had already obtained a protection order against her husband, namely Luciano Osorio. She obtained the protection order on the fourth of October of 2012 and was due to expire on the third of October of 2013. The thirty-eight year old female says she was surprised to hear her husband banging on the door in an extremely inebriated state. As a result of the police report made by the female, Corozal police are tonight looking for Luciano Osorio of Corozal Town, to answer to the charge of breach of protection order.

Orange Walk Rotaractors Bring Back Award
Over the weekend Rotaractors from across the country converged in Belize City for the two day Rotaract National Assembly 2013 better known as Intercitidina. This year’s Intercitadina highlighted the vast amount of work from the five clubs which come from Orange Walk, Belize City, Belmopan, Dangriga, and San Ignacio. The five clubs have engaged and contributed various community projects in their respective communities. School and book grants for students, park rehabilitations, school supplies donations, elderly assistance, among many more were featured in the presentations made by each club representative. But the most anticipated part of the conference was the presentation of various prestigious individual and clubs awards. The Orange Walk Club brought back two awards; Victoria Urbina was awarded Miss Rotaract 2012/2013 and Stephanie Acosta was awarded Rotaractor of the Year 2012/2013. Stephanie Acosta tells us about the highest honour bestowed upon her by her Rotaract colleagues.

Back In The Day
Sugar cane production has been in the jewel as early as the 1800’s. Few know the history of this and hence why the exhibition is up at the Corozal House of Culture titled, ‘Back in the Day’, where it tells the story of economic and social development in Corozal for the most part. We decided to take a look at the sugar production of the exhibits display and our reporter Elmer Cornejo tells us more. Between the Spanish Conquest and 1848, the Corozal region was virtually uninhabited. The British were interested only in its timber resources which depleted soon after and in turn forced them to venture into sugar cane production. In 1857, a hundred barrels of sugar produced in British Honduras were sent from Belize to Liverpool. During these early years sugar cane was planted, much by small growers in rural Corozal. During the 1860's several British investors established sizeable estates in the Corozal region which, in contrast to the earlier mestizo haciendas, may be referred to as plantations. During the 1870's and1880's these estates gave the haciendas serious competition. The latter continued to plant and process cane for both rum and sugar, but the British planters moved decisively into the export market. Twelve estates were established; three of these were near Orange Walk. While the earlier haciendas were operated by animal power with the simplest of machinery, these estates were steam driven, mechanically sophisticated, and quite large. The plantations, like the smaller haciendas, cultivated both sugar cane and sufficient subsistence crops especially corn to feed the owner and labourers. The British plantations in Corozal were short-lived. From a record of two and a half million pounds of sugar in1882, exports fell to about 200,000 pounds in the early 1890's.In the early 1900’s the establishment of the Corozal Sugar Factory was the result of the colonial government's concern over the declining level of exports. The original plans for the factory called for a central processing plant to be located in a central location, Pembroke Hall, to which would be attached a plantation owned by the same company.

Unions' Membership Has The Last Say On GOB's Proposal
Last night you heard President of the Public Service Union Marvin Blades explain government’s proposal to the unions in respect to salary adjustments. As a result of government’s proposal, the APSSM, BNTU and PSU’s council of management met over the weekend to discuss the positions. Some of the features of the salary adjustment proposal are: 1. that the maximum salary adjustment in any single year would not exceed 10% of the Wages and Wage Related Grants. 2. That the salary adjustment payout will commence in July 2014. And, 3, that the current annual increment will continue and will be for all teachers, public officers and pensioners. As Blades noted yesterday, the membership of all three unions must be informed of the proposal and what it entails and so the membership has the final decision. Otilio Muñoz is the Orange Walk Branch President of the BNTU and his branch met yesterday with their executive. According to Muñoz, the date for the membership to meet has not been set as yet, but he expects it to be by early next week. Munoz also took the opportunity to make it clear that the proposal has not been agreed on.

The Beautiful Birds And Amazing Animals
Belize boasts one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. From the very stunning jaguars to the most timid tapir, Belize prides itself in the biodiversity that makes it a true world destination. One of the creatures that we see daily but rarely notice is the bird. Belize has about 587 species of birds and a number of those birds were on display at the Banquitas House of Culture today. The exhibit is called “Birds and Animals of Belize” and the exhibitioner is long time photographer, Noel Escalante from Belize City. Our news team of Hipolito Novelo and cameraman Fernando Sanchez were on hand for the opening ceremony this morning and filed the following report. For many the most popular known bird with significance would be will our national bird, the Keel-billed Toucan. But this portrait of the toucan is accompanied by 69 more portraits of Birds and Animals of Belize. Noel Escalante is the photographer behind the camera and has been for many years. Escalante took an interest in birds and other animals and put together this exhibition with its core focusing in Belize beautiful wildlife.


Crooked Tree villagers go on an outing to Punta Gorda town
Audubon hosts PG trip. A group of visitors from Crooked Tree completed an environmental Tour on Saturday to the Toledo District. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.

CNN features tourism destinations in Belize
Our Jewel Belize has found itself on the worldwide map again. Just last week we told you about Belize being featured in United Airlines’ in flight Magazine “Hemispheres” which would make Belize known to millions of readers. This time, Belize was featured on the Atlanta-based Cable News Network, CNN’s domestic service. Director of Tourism at the Belize Tourism Board, Laura Esquivel Frampton told us how Belize gained a spot for this feature. Esquivel-Frampton went on to describe just what CNN found to talk about Belize. We already mentioned that the feature puts Belize on the map, but Esquivel-Frampton explained what other effects it will have on the jewel. According to Esquivel Frampton, there are a lot of positive things waiting to happen in Belize’s Tourism Industry.


Texts to Rise and Shine Morning Show RE: Minister John Saldivar Teachers’ Union comments
Below are the Text messages sent in to PlusTV's Rise and Shine morning Show based on the following comments By Min...

Union leaders support Government's salary adjustment proposal
On Friday, February 1st, members of the Joint Negotiation Team for the Trade Unions, met with the Prime Minister a...

33 year-old Garry Bodden shot dead in Belize City
Police have not sent out any official report as yet on the incident but there was a murder this morning in Belize C...

COLA makes plans for the future
COLA, the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, held its annual general meeting in Belize City on Saturday...

3yr old child dies in fire
A three year old perished in a fire in the Corozal district. It happened early this morning in San Narcisso village...

Offshore Drilling Case starts Tuesday
Arguments in Case #810 of 2012 is scheduled to start tomorrow, Tuesday, February 5th, in the courtroom of Justice O...

Drug Trafficking charges levied on three persons
Drug Trafficking charges were levied on three persons after a police bust yesterday. Police conducted a search at a...

World Cancer Day is February 4
World Cancer Day is celebrated today February 4. The day is set aside to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage...

Licensed gun reported stolen
Another licensed gun has been reported stolen. On Sunday February the 3rd, a Security Supervisor reported that at a...

Motivational Missionaries' Tour starts in Belize City
A Belizean consulting firm has partnered with RESTORE Belize and various sponsors to bring a team of motivational ...


Eddie Nelson Sorieno, 17, of Banak Street, was shot down at about 8:00 tonight by one of three men who rode up to him and opened fire as he was walking in front of the Meighan’s residence, just a short distance from his house, located behind the Meighans. Sorieno was going to buy food for his little brother and sister’s children when the attack occurred. He was shot in his head, chest and body six times, and died almost immediately. The killers then rode up Banak Street and disappeared into the area. He is the second person to be shot to death today, within a 12-hour period. Police believe that the shooting was retaliation for the shooting murder of Gary Bowen that occurred this morning after 8 on Partridge Street. Police say that they believe that a killer from the Mayflower Street area shot Bowen, and persons from the PIV area went into the Banak Street area for revenge. Anyone at that time was the target, they say. Sorieno’s sister told Amandala that their little brother, 3, was receiving surgery at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), and that she and her mother remained at the hospital to attend to the child while Soriento remained at home to attend to her two children and their little brother.

The victim, on bicycle, was shot 3 times, then 3 more times as he lay on the ground. Gary Bowen, 33, was shot multiple times on Partridge Street at about 8:20 this morning, a short distance from its junction with Banak Street, while riding his bicycle towards his family home on Morning Glory Street, near the Sadie Vernon High School. A gunman rode up on a bicycle behind him and after a short exchange of words fired three shots at Bowen, hitting him into the back of the head, causing him to fall off his bicycle. The gunman, who was not wearing a mask, then got off his bike, went to his prostrate victim, stooped over him and shot him three more times as he lay on the pavement. Witnesses said that the killer coolly put the gun back into his pants waist, got back on his bicycle, and rode into Banak Street, escaping into the surrounding area. Amandala was told that Bowen had just bought food from a tacos stand near the taxi parking lot at the corner of Cemetery Road and Elston Kerr Street, and had told a woman that a man was following him. After getting served, he crossed into Partridge Street, and before getting too far up the street, he was shot.

$10,000 FOR 62 GRAMS (0.14 POUND) OF WEED
8 family and friends charged; one pleaded guilty, telling the court that he needed it for his amputated foot. Today, Patricia Marie Wagner, 54, an auxiliary nurse of #57 Dean Street; her common-law husband, Gilbert Lightburn, 70, a resident of #20 Cemetery Road; her two sons, Clifford Betson, 33, a technician, and Mark Anthony Betson, 28, a market vendor; Ludrick Wagner, 22; Giovannie Barrella, 29, an employee of the Ministry of Health; Natasha Gillett, 29; and Stafford Young, 23, all of the same Dean Street address, were taken to court and drug trafficking charges of 62 grams of weed were read to them. Sixty grams is the limit for a charge of possession. Anything over that is listed as drug trafficking. According to police, at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 2, police went to #57 Dean Street and conducted a search of the house and premises. When police searched the yard, on a table supported by some soft drink crates, they found a black plastic bag with suspected cannabis inside it.

Main witness in Felix brothers’ murder trial murdered. The worst fears of the family of Rommel Palacio, Jr., 34, of the Jane Usher Boulevard area, who was a Supreme Court witness in the murder trial of Emory and Maurice Felix and who has been missing for nearly two months, since December 6, has been confirmed. Palacio, Jr., was believed to have been kidnapped and killed, and this was confirmed on Friday, February 1, after a decomposed body was found in an area between Miles 11 and 12 on the George Price Highway. The skeletal remains were found in a shallow 2-foot grave that was flooded, among some bushes around 2:00 p.m. on Thursday by three men who were fishing in the area. The men immediately contacted the police. When police examined the corpse, they found that the legs of the skeleton were missing. Police called Palacio’s family, who travelled to the area and identified him. His sister, Dannette, said that he was identified by a tattoo and by his wristwatch. She said that Palacio had a gold crown on each of his front teeth, but his two front teeth were missing and his skull had three dents in it.

The Belize National Cricket Association’s senior men’s cricket team will be attending the ICC Americas Division Two tournament to be held in Nassau, Bahamas from February 5 – 9. The team will be leaving today, February 4, and returning on February 10. Players that were selected to represent Belize at this tournament are: Dirk Sutherland (Captain), Conway Young, Herbert Banner, Howell Gillet, Michael Sobers, Kenroy Roca, Keve Flowers, Andrew Banner, Warren Anthony, Percival Flowers, Jonathan Benjamin, Jermaine Pook, Mykelt Anthony, and Dorian Gabb. (Ed. Note: Notably missing from the national team squad is cricket superstar Kene Broaster of 2012 champions Excellence of Double Head Cabbage. See story “Kene not happy with National Cricket Team program” elsewhere in this issue.)

A national cricket team is leaving Belize today for Nassau, Bahamas, where they will be representing Belize in the ICC Americas Division Two Tournament. (See press release elsewhere in this issue.) There are some of Belize’s best players on the team, and we wish them all the best in the competition; but, however well they do, we have a sinking feeling that Belize could have sent a stronger team. That is because there are no players from national champions Excellence of Double Head Cabbage travelling on the national team to Bahamas. Not even Excellence’s young superstar bowler/batsman/fielder Kene Broaster, who reportedly attended the training sessions for the national team, is on today’s trip to the Bahamas. New Belize National Cricket Association (BNCA) president Leroy Banner returned our call this afternoon, and explained that his committee has been trying to iron out the problems left behind from the last administration. Already, he has secured a check for the traditional cash prize of $1,500.00 for the 2012 national champions, Excellence; and the team trophies for the past season will be arriving during the course of the 2013 competition, which was scheduled to start this past weekend with a marathon. The marathon was cancelled due to the rains, and the regular season is now supposed to start this coming Saturday. He said we should be receiving the schedule for this week’s games by Thursday of this week, so we can have it in the weekend issue of Amandala.

Weekend games set for PLB tournament kick-off At the ninth hour, 9:51 tonight, to be exact, the Premier League Secretariat sent us the Week 1 schedule of games for the new tournament which kicks off this weekend. It was also noted that, with only 8 teams participating, there would no longer be a need for any mid-week games. There is nothing like a tournament kick-off to diffuse the festering discontent of competing clubs with a league executive, and re-direct the energy to football competition on the field. One area of interest going into this new season, is the speculation regarding the destination of a number of quality players whose clubs are not participating in this tournament, and who may therefore become “free agents.” Some fans will be looking to see where their idol goes, before they decide which team they will ride with in the coming competition. So, here goes Week 1 of the PLB 2012-2013 Closing Season: Saturday, February 9 7:30 p.m. – Belmopan Bandits vs Verdes FC – Isidoro Beaton Stadium Sunday, February 10 3:30 p.m. – Placencia Assassins vs Police United FC – Placencia Football Field 3:30 p.m. – San Ignacio United vs Belize Defense Force FC – Norman Broaster Stadium 4:00 p.m. – F.C. Belize vs FC San Felipe Barcelona – MCC Grounds

Beleaguered Belize received its second dose of good news in the last two weeks, following the success of our national football selection in Costa Rica, when negotiations on Friday morning in Belmopan between representatives of the Government of Belize, including the Prime Minister/Minister of Finance, and representatives of the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) and the Public Service Union (PSU), reportedly went well. We have previously explained to you that the BNTU has proven itself to be an irresistible force, while the Prime Minister, constitutionally speaking, is an immovable object. So then, the ingredients for instability and crisis were in place. There is a story in the Old Testament where Joseph, a Hebrew who has been sold into captivity in Egypt, is asked to interpret one of the Pharaoh’s dreams. In that dream, seven fat cows had come out of the river and were grazing on the bank side, when seven lean cows came out of the same river and devoured the seven fat cows. Joseph explained that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine in Egypt. In Belize, we experienced five years of plenty between 1998 and 2003. The years of plenty were a result of a policy of taking on huge loans from financial institutions on Wall Street, which institutions are now demanding their proverbial pound of flesh. Belizeans enjoyed the five years of plenty, to greater or lesser degrees, but by 2004 it had become obvious that there were bills to pay and that Belize could not continue down this road which the ruling politicians were calling “growth economics.” But for the monarchical constitution under which Belize has labored since 1981, the government of growth economics would have fallen in 2005. That government staggered through until 2008, and, truth be said, they made some efforts to mend the errors of their ways.

Maybe a couple hours north of the Gulf port city of Vera Cruz, still in the state of Vera Cruz, there’s a little town on the Gulf of Mexico coast called Casitas. Restaurants line the main street, and when you visit one like El Pirata, where our travelling party had dinner both going to and coming from Texas in May/June of last year, you can look out the windows and see the small river which splits the town in two from east to west. This is the river on which the fishermen bring in their catch from the Gulf. And the fish at El Pirata is as fresh as fresh can be. It’s a treat. As a man with a fishing background, and as a man who is of grandfather’s age, I like going to sleep early and rising in the pre-dawn darkness. But, I would still like to have it so that Belize City has a night life, if I should like to go out, for whatever reason I choose. We used to have a night life in the old capital, and the fact that we now really do not, is one of the precise differences between life here before and after independence. What night life we have now essentially involves our young people going into enclosed clubs after midnight. But the air in the city is usually fresh and clean, with the tang of salt, and sometimes the moon is beautiful in the night sky. We would do well with small businesses of an outdoor nature, like cafés and restaurants, which could ply their trade in the night. As I said before, I am not personally a night person, but on my two trips to Mérida, in 1976 and 1993, the night life was what I enjoyed most in that city of light. There was a relaxed, peaceful feeling, and musicians would be playing in parks and restaurants. Chetumal is also quite enjoyable in the night, although the pace is faster than in Mérida.

A three-year-old girl died today, February 4, after being trapped inside a burning house in San Narciso Village, Corozal District. Corozal police responded to a call around 4:10 a.m. today and found the wooden house completely destroyed by fire. The body of a female child identified as three-year-old Danely Shaniri Guadalupe Cabrera was found under a metal crib, completely burned. The child was taken to the Corozal Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival. The mother, Ramona Cabrera, 40, is a shopkeeper at the Corozal Free Zone. According to reports, Cabrera was sleeping with the child and at about 4:00 a.m. she was awakened by fire on her mattress. The house did not have electricity; the suspected cause of the fire is from a candle that was lit in the room. The fire chief said that the candle fell on the mattress and the mother pulled the mattress away, but it got on top of the gas tank and burst the hose, causing the fire to spread.

A couple weeks ago, we recommended to Belizeans in the United States that they begin to organize themselves as to be empowered to lobby Washington on behalf of Belize. It is well known that one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, and the most powerful lobby from Central America, is the Guatemala lobby. We Belizeans have to find ways to weaken the clout of the ruling Guatemalan classes and increase our influence in the United States’ corridors of power. We are sure that we have been ignored by Belizeans in the American disapora, and this is because we know how scattered Belizeans are in the States. This was the intention of the American policymakers when they opened U.S. doors to Belizeans after Hurricane Hattie in October of 1961. They wanted to absorb us, and they wanted to scatter us. The late Guatemalan president, Ydigoras Fuentes, openly claimed that U.S. president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, had promised to support Guatemala’s claim to Belize in return for Guatemala’s being used as the training base for Cuban exiles who invaded Cuba in April of 1961. We Belizeans didn’t know about that promise when Hattie struck in October that same year. We believed that America was doing us a great favor by offering us refuge, and we loved Uncle Sam for that. Probably, we still do.

Dear Editor, Why do all you employers seek people with no police record? It’s automatically putting a blockage on the young black men of Belize, for they are the ones that are more at risk. If you ask for people with clean records only at all times, what do you expect of the country? What do you expect of those who are being denied another try? To be very honest, I have an Associate Degree, but it’s worth less than zero in Belize, and I feel as if I wasted my money and energy in education in this country. I have little resources and a promissory note to assist in pursuing my Bachelor’s, but I am very much unmotivated in every aspect. I am very, very much heart-broken and frustrated, knowing NO ONE wants to give us a chance. Sometimes you got to do the weighing of the pros and cons to see why they even got the charge or offense. I know no one really wants to hear my story, but I was caught up when I was younger, and even the bigger heads of this country give you no second chances. Unfortunately, I was around the wrong two guys in a vehicle when the police stopped the vehicle and searched it and found a loaded weapon, which was NOT my own or had anything to do with me, but me being the youngest and having had no previous charges, I had to take the charge, otherwise (you know the rest).

Dear Editor, I write today to voice a problem that a lot of drivers are encountering. There is a certain class of drivers that needs to be revised. No sir, that was not a typing error! I am talking about the taxi and bus drivers. The class “C” on our driver’s license refers to the taxi and bus, and there is a test that is taken to get that license. If one was to check, you would see what I am talking about. Article 14 of that sheet states that a driver of a public service vehicle shall get 10 hours of rest in a 24-hour period, and article 23 of that same public service study sheet states that a driver may not pick up passengers at any place. Now the study sheet needs to be amended, because most, if not all taxi and bus drivers, stop any place they are hailed, and I mean any place. I have seen them stop in the middle of the road, on the corner of a busy intersection – just about any place they are hailed.

by Nuri Akbar Editor Sir, I was deeply moved when I got this photo from Mrs. Muriel Laing Arthurs, a cousin of mine who tracked down the grave of my granduncle, Reginald Laing, who was among the young Belizean soldiers who died fighting in World War I. He was just 20 years old when he was killed. Some years earlier I had tracked down the only surviving photo of him that my aunt had in Chicago. I held on to this picture for several years and when I was in Belize in 2008, I met Mrs. Arthurs for the first time. One of the most incredible things happened. After Mrs. Muriel and her husband had moved back to Belize after decades living in NY, they settled on the Laing property on Euphrates Ave. in Belize City. One day while she was digging in her front yard garden, she stumbled upon a metal object buried in the earth. Curious, she took the object into her home and began to clean it. What it eventually revealed was the actual war Medal of Honor that was bestowed upon my uncle, Reginald Laing, in 1916. After she told me of this incredible story I told my cousin I could put a face to this name and medal and produced the World War I picture I had been carrying for many years. The photo, taken in 1916, had a note written on the back which was addressed to his sister, who is my grandmother, Edith Laing.

by Frank Mena Dear Editor, Please allow me to respond to a Letter to the Editor published in your January 30, 2013 edition entitled “Belize really needs an energy policy” in order to inform the general public that Belize has had an official National Energy Policy(NEP) since January 2012. The NEP clearly outlines the important role of energy to Belize’s social and economic development. More importantly, the NEP identifies concrete actions that collectively seek to transition Belize’s fossil-fuel based economy to a low carbon economy by 2030, using domestic renewable energy options such as wind, biomass, hydro and solar energy. In recognition of the catalytic role of energy, science, and technology to national development, the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, established the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU), headed by Senator, the Hon. A. Joy Grant, to promote and champion these issues in our national development discourse. In September 2012, the MESTPU launched its five-year Strategic Plan. As it relates to energy, the Plan focuses on short, medium and long-term actions that seek to improve Belize’s energy security, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and increase the production of clean, renewable energy.


A Tale of Five Cities: San Cristobal Markets (Part 2)
The fruit and vegetable markets in San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico were a feast for the senses! Although we do get some excellent fresh produce in San Pedro, the markets here have limited offerings compared to the bounty available right across the border in Mexico. We wished we could have taken advantage of the many wonderful-looking, healthy foods for sale, but without a kitchen or any form of refrigeration, we savored the colorful produce bounty with our eyes instead of our palates. Still, we thoroughly enjoyed our walks through the markets, dreaming of what we could create with these beautiful, nutrition-packed local foods. Hope you'll enjoy feasting with your eyes as well!

New look for Belize Tourism Board and my Belize Dentist
It is not exactly new news but I decided to blog it anyways because I absolutely love the look. Olsen agency crafted colorful, modern logo with a vintage feel and gave the Belize Tourism Board a new identity that will stand the test of time. I found 3 good examples of the new logo – see pictures below. Yesterday I went to my new Dentist, Dr Julio Lara at Ambergris Hope Clinic and got a chipped tooth filled, he did a good job and the cost was only $80 BZD. I decided to go back this morning to get my teeth cleaned, Dr Julio replied to my text right away and set a 10am apt for me – price for cleaning $150 BZD. I asked about cost of a few other things that are on my 2013 self improvement list, inspired by Dennis who is back snow-birding from Canada and getting his teeth done. I have a crooked front tooth that I wanted to get fixed, he said for braces on the top few front teeth cost will be $1500 BZD and Whitening is $500. To reach Dr Julio Lara for an appointment you can call the office at 226-2660 or his cell 627-0176 Many people come and get dental work done on their Belize vacation because the prices are so good. Here is a good thread on Belize Dental Care recommends from expat blog.

Miracles Do Happen: GingerScoop Tastes The New Belizean-Microbrewed Island Time Beer
Last night, GingerScoop attended a tasting of the new beer by Island Time Brewing. This may not seem like a big deal to those of you who haven't visited Belize...but for YEARS, the only beer available was Belikin. YEARS. It is our national drink. In 2012, after a few years of negotiation, a brewing license was granted to a new microbrewer. Probably the first in 20 years? And there is great excitement on the island, in Belize and...I dare say it...the world. Hip hip hooray...Island Time Brewing is out with their new ale! I can't wait to see the merchandise. But enough from is GS's report. (AND new addition: some comments from Steve, the owner of Lola's Pub at the end with a bit of clarification and detail.) I was lucky enough to be invited to a “special night” with my friends, Adam and Jackie of Casa Picasso Restaurant on Monday night. I was not told where we were going or what we were about to do. The suspense was killing me….. And as we pulled up to Lola’s Pub, I realized I was going to be able to taste a beer other than Belikin for the first time in over a year! That’s right! I was one of the few that was about to experience the first taste testing of one of the new concoctions of brew on the island. Island Time Brewing Company, headed by Jeff and Michelle, is the first in Belize to get a license to brew beer other than Belikin.

Why is the Groove-Billed Ani an Elusive Belize Bird
The Lodge at Chaa Creek in western Belize is home to over 308 species of resident and migratory birds, making Chaa Creek’s 365 private acre nature reserve one of the best bird watching locations in Belize. On our daily guided tours you will have a chance to see birds like the Keel-billed Toucan, Blue-Crowned Mot-Mot, Violaceous Trogan, Grey-necked Wood-Rail, Collared Forest Falcon, and a host of parrot species. And then there is the groove-billed ani, an elusive and mystery bird. The above photo is of the groove-billed ani, Crotophaga Sulcirostris, a bird of savannas and open spaces. It has a fairly general diet and feeds on fruits, seeds and insects. The groove-billed anis is an unusual bird because they live in small groups consisting of one to five breeding pairs. As a group, these birds defend their territory, and they also lay eggs in one communal nest where all of the group members incubate the eggs and care for the young. A medium-sized black bird with iridescent blue and green overtones, the groove-billed ani has a very long tail (half the length of the bird) and its bill is huge with arched ridge and narrow grooves. When the groove-billed ani is flying, their long tail, which appears as if on a hinge, swings up and down and from side to side like a pendulum, and looks as though it might drop off. Its membership in the cuckoo family is revealed by its two-toes-forward, two-toes-back foot arrangement. Groups of anis are collectively known as a “cooch”, “orphanage”, and “silliness” of anis.

Belizestagram! The Best Photos Of The Week
Here’s another weekly mashup (January 28 – February 03) of the best Belize Instagram photos. All these photos are personally taken by the individuals in Belize.

VIDEO: PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy, Advanced Open Water Course
Check it out at our open water classroom on The Belize Barrier Reef. Want to get PADI Certified? For more info send us an email with your request. The diving here is UnBelize-able! Let's Go!

Chain Gang
Full of anticipation (and if I admit it a fair amount of excitement) I was on the veranda with my mug of coffee by 4 am this morning. With the pour for the First Floor of our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize scheduled for 5.30 am I didn’t want to be at the site when the guys arrived to start work. But, I didn’t want to get there too much after them and miss too much of the action. A bit like a kid at Christmas I suppose. Showered, dressed ( with the boots on) and was at the site by 6.45am and was greeted by the wonderful sound (may have replaced my fixation with rebar!) of not one but two concrete mixers churning away. Look at those two beauties. And note the light in the background for the early start. Daniel Camal, our building contractor, had told us that he would have a lot of guys on site but it still surprised me as I approached our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

International Sources

Wading uncharted waters: The trial of Rios Montt
When a judge ruled last week that former general and Guatemalan head of state Jose Efrain Rios Montt will, finally, stand trial for the crime of genocide, the news resounded profoundly at home and abroad. These events in Guatemala mark the first time a national court, anywhere, prosecutes its own former head of state for the crime of genocide. Several international courts established in the last 20 years have prosecuted people involved in genocide. The events in Guatemala are exceptional because they are happening at home, in the nation where the crimes occurred. Rios Montt, 86, is the latest of several ex-officers in Guatemala to face the law concerning crimes committed during the country's 36-year civil war, which ended in 1996. His arrest in January 2012 - the judge ordered the former army general confined to his home - represented an extraordinary break with impunity in the Central American country; the decision this to proceed with the trial, despite attempts to have the charges dropped, is of even greater significance. No ranking officer has been held responsible for the violence in which some 200,000 people, almost all civilians, lost their lives.

U.S. military expands its drug war in Latin America
As the drug war in Latin America continues to gain momentum, the United States continues to do everything possible to try and combat it. The crew members aboard the USS Underwood could see through their night goggles what was happening on the fleeing go-fast boat: Someone was dumping bales. When the Navy guided-missile frigate later dropped anchor in Panamanian waters on that sunny August morning, Ensign Clarissa Carpio, a 23-year-old from San Francisco, climbed into the inflatable dinghy with four unarmed sailors and two Coast Guard officers like herself, carrying light submachine guns. It was her first deployment, but Carpio was ready for combat. Fighting drug traffickers was precisely what she'd trained for. In the most expensive initiative in Latin America since the Cold War, the U.S. has militarized the battle against the traffickers, spending more than $20 billion in the past decade. U.S. Army troops, Air Force pilots and Navy ships outfitted with Coast Guard counter-narcotics teams are routinely deployed to chase, track and capture drug smugglers.

New World Oil and Gas commences drilling of Blue Creek well in Belize
New World Oil and Gas said it has drilled the Blue Creek 2A ST well to a depth of 11,650ft in the Petén Basin in Northwest Belize. The company has decided to plug and abandon the well due to presence of inadequate commercial quantities of moveable hydrocarbons, after discussing with its partners, Blue Creek Exploration and the Government of Belize. The logs and core samples collected from Blue Creek 2A ST well showed an active hydrocarbon system, while live oil shows were measured in the Y3 and Hillbank formations. The technical data produced by the Blue Creek 2 and 2A ST wells showed that the wells contain productive reservoirs, while the data will be useful to drill company's next well in West Gallon Jug, also known as West Gallon Jug Crest. The company's Rio Bravo 1 well is expected to be drilled in Q1 of 2013 to a depth of about 8,400ft, while the West Gallon Jug Crest prospect has showed P50 un-risked prospective resources of 113 million barrels of oil with a P50 Net Present Value of $2.6bn.

Cindy Moldovan’s Debut New Book Chronicles Life in a Caribbean Paradise
Belize is a little paradise in the Caribbean blessed with lush rainforests, Mayan monuments, mountains, pristine beaches and the second largest unbroken barrier reef in the world. Author Cindy Moldovan spent the first seventeen years of her life in this proverbial Eden, and in her literary debut, shares the experience of Growing Up Third World with readers everywhere. During Moldovan’s youth, in the mid-60s and 70s, Belize was underdeveloped and not quite as well known as it is today, though she remembers fondly her childhood and the times she spent with her family and friends. The nation was, and still is, a melting pot of diverse ethnicities and mixed culture, with the author herself having a heritage of mixed white, black and Mayan Indian, an uncommon blend in a part of the world called home by a vast multitude of peoples. Moldovan acts as a travel guide to her childhood, and to her homeland, as she goes back in time and shares a way of life much different from those most in the West are accustomed to, from the ways food is prepared and cooked, to her days in school, and how it was like to live in a large family with no running water, electricity, or plumbing. Religion, holidays, and farm-life are just a few of the fascinating facets of Belizean life exposed. Growing Up Third World was not something done the short or easy way, but the beauty of Belize is undeniable, and its people fascinating, diverse and kind. All of these formative experiences and years spent in a paradise on Earth coalesce into an unforgettable childhood for Moldovan and an enchanting reading experience for those curious and interested in learning about life in one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world. Growing Up Third World is as unique a chronicle as Belize is a country. For more information on this book, interested parties may log on to

Belize, Air, Car, 5 Nights, From $1,035
Get to know the cities, jungles, and beaches of Belize with this travel package to San Ignacio and Ambergris Caye that includes a two-day car rental. The Real Deal Vacation package to Belize includes airfare from Miami to Beilize City on American Airlines, round-trip domestic flights between Belize City and Ambergris Caye, a two-day manual car rental while in San Ignacio, two nights in San Ignacio at the Table Rock Jungle Lodge, three nights in Ambergris Caye at Mata Rocks Resort with daily breakfast, from $1,035 per person including all hotel and air taxes and fees.

Three Perfect Days in Belize
A mecca for hard-core scuba divers and laid-back beach types, this tiny Central American country on the Caribbean has even more to offer—vast ancient ruins, stunning native crafts and a wealth of exotic flora and fauna—for those who venture off the beaten path. WHEN YOU MENTION BELIZE, most people think of the northeast, home to such well-established stops on the global-traveler circuit as Ambergris Caye, San Pedro, Caye Caulker and the fabled Blue Hole, arguably the world’s foremost scuba destination. But Central America’s youngest country (Belize gained independence from Britain in 1981) offers much more, particularly in the less developed south and west. These regions have everything from pristine beaches, for which Belize is best known, to spectacular Mayan ruins, cathedral-like caves and a variety of ecosystems that can change every few miles: Shoreline is followed by savannah, which itself is followed by subtropical forest; pine forest and rain forest are side by side, separated by only a narrow ridge. What’s more, the once tricky dirt roads here are increasingly being restored and paved, making it easier for curious travelers to explore the other Belize—the indigenous cultures and ecological gems of this tiny Central American nation.

February 5, 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

The San Pedro Sun

Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) re-committed to the development of its membership and the continuous fight against attempted tyranny and misbehavior of leaders and authorities at its annual general meeting held today in Belize City. At the Bishop Sylvestre Memorial Hall in Belize City, members heard from their representatives on the executive as to the organization’s activities in the past year and plans for the year to come. COLA bid farewell to Vice-president Karim Mawema, who is relocating to Los Angeles, California, to work. But his departure is not for good, as he remains committed to the cause and has agreed to open COLA’s first international chapter in the California area for California Belizeans. A second chapter is being constructed on the East Coast in Florida, showing COLA’s commitment to the important Belizean-American voice in national development.

Ambergris Today

Pic of the Week: Gloomy Days in Paradise
Even the pelicans and seagulls look a little lazy as a few cold fronts have been passing over Belize and bringing some gloomy weather and quite a bit of rain lately. Here is a scene from San Pedro's neighboring island of Caye Caulker. - photo by Dorian Nuñez

Ambergris Caye High School Information Meeting
The Board of Directors for the newly formed Ambergris Caye High School invite you to a Parent/Student information meeting; Monday, 25 February 2013 at 7:00 PM upstairs at Fido's. Ambergris Caye High School is a private, Texas Accredited, Online School. Enrollment for the Fall semester is limited to 15 and spots will fill up fast. ACHS has a longer school year, 208 days, and a longer school day, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM. In addition to offering all of the academic courses necessary to receive a diploma from the Texas Tech Independent High School District, students will have ample opportunity to participate in sports (sailing and SCUBA diving) and community service. If you are looking for an alternative high school for your child, come to the meeting and get all of your questions answered. Ambergris Caye High School could be just the solution you are looking for.

VIDEO: Chocolate Boutique Opens in San Pedro
Belize Chocolate Company (BCC), whose brands include Kakaw Belizean chocolate, Wangla bar and Noah Boah's Chocolate Syrup, opened the doors to the first ever chocolate boutique in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize on Wednesday, December 12, 2012. Belize Chocolate Company founded in 2007 has been producing fine chocolate in the form of Kakaw using certified organic fair trade beans from the Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TCGA).

Misc Belizean Sources

The Chocolate Festival of Belize
The Toledo Cacao Festival was born in 2007 and has been celebrated each year on the same Commonwealth Day weekend towards the end of May. It attracts hundreds of visitors from around Belize as well as overseas. In 2013 the festival falls on the weekend of 24-26 May. This lively festival has helped Toledo shed its worn out image as “the forgotten district” and establish it as one of Belize’s vibrant and growing tourism destinations. It also celebrates the tremendous contribution to development in the south made by the Toledo Cacao Growers’ Association (TCGA) and its hundreds of farmer members. The Toledo Cacao Festival worked well as a name within Belize but many people do not understand the story that links cacao to cocoa and chocolate, which in the end is the real attraction. Likewise Toledo, Spain and Toledo, Ohio are better known internationally than Toledo, Belize. So this year the festival organizers are announcing their ambition to capture international attention by re-branding the event as the Chocolate Festival of Belize.

Belize Launches Educational Video on Belize/Guatemala Referendum
October 6, 2013, is the day when Belizeans will go to the polls to vote in the referendum whether we should go to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to settle the old dispute and claim which Guatemala has over Belize. Without a doubt, everyone should try to make his/her vote count. To Vote Yes or No, we all need to be educated on the issue. Here is the first information video that will shed some light on this matter and help you to formulate your questions. Please not only view and listen to it, but study it carefully. LONG LIVE BELIZE!

AJ's for sale
Not So Average Bar In San Pedro For Sale, A local hot spot with a great reputation.... Voted best bar food by reputable blogger. Average Joe's Bar is known for its live entertainment and great food. located just off the beech on one of the busiest streets in San Pedro. We are a busy little bar that all the locals enjoy coming to, we serve the best variety of bar food around.

BCVI at Lions Club for Vision services Feb 6th
BCVI (Belize Council for the Visually Impaired) will be at the San Pedro Lions Den this Wednesday, Feb 6th at 8:30AM - spread the word and let your friends and family know!

1 breadfruit 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk 2 tablespoons parsley (chopped) 1 cup grated “medium” Cheddar 1/2 cup Monterrey Jack Cheese 3 tablespoon butter 3 tablespoons flour 1/2 cup onion, finely diced 1 tablespoon powdered mustard 1/4 jabenero pepper diced fine pinch of nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon black pepper We’ve got to pre-boil the breadfruit before we can assemble it in the pie for baking. Cut off the stem part, then rest that flat side down on your counter and cut into wedges. Then peel the skin off with a potato peeler or sharp pairing knife. The final step is to remove the sort of spongy center (almost like the continuation of the stem), so you’re left with a wedge that all breadfruit meat.

COBEC College Fair Wednesday
This year's COBEC College Fair is Wednesday at ITVET in Belize City. This is a great opportunity for Cayo youth interested in studying abroad. Sacred Heart Junior College is organizing a bus to take students there, and it's around half price. "The Consortium for Belize Educational Cooperation (COBEC) will be having its annual fair at the ITVET centre in Belize City on Wednesday February 6 from 4:30pm - 7:00pm. COBEC is comprised of U.S. and Belize Universities and Junior Colleges that have special agreements for Belizeans to go and finish their Bachelors or Masters degrees in the U.S. Representatives form the U.S. and Belize Universities will be present to give out necessary information. Financial institutions will also be present to give info on student loans."

Channel 7

Union Executive Joint Council Agree To Government's Performance-Based Pay Raise Plan
In our last newscast on Friday night, we showed you the Union Leaders and government making "headway" in negotiations. After a six and a half hour meeting, they agreed on a salary adjustment proposal and the union leaders took that to their executives on Saturday. That joint council meeting was held in Belmopan on Saturday - and what a release calls "the overwhelming majority" of the union executives from the BNTU, the PSU and the APSSM voted in favour of the proposal. Today the PSU President Mervin Blades gave us the rundown on what's in the proposal and what's next: Mervyn Blades, President PSU "Majority of our executive endorses the proposal and so they have us the green light to carry that proposal now to membership. The first meeting being Wednesday in Belize City - as you know as part of the union we have to carry it to membership before we agree with anything because we don't want membership to say that we didn't consult them, so we have to take it although executive represent membership, we still carry it down to grassroots so that they know, they understand the entire thing and then if they give us the green light and say yes, then let us sign and get it going then we can do that. But before that we have to take it to them."

First City Killing In Two Weeks Happened In Front Of A School
January was a deadly month, but, very luckily in Belize City things had cooled down somewhat after the mass murder on Dean Street. But, the calm ended this morning when the city witnessed its first murder in two weeks. And it was another one of those broad daylight killings. Worse, this one happened a block away from St. Martin's De Porres Primary School - at 8:00 am, right when kids were going to school. This morning, Gary Bowen's common law wife and sister had to be escorted off the scene in distress As the 33 year old lay on the ground, dead between the sidewalk and a parked car - the wails of his family still audible. The Bullet markers where the fatal shots hit him.

Man In Coma, Family Says Police To Blame
Tonight, a well-known tour guide Bert Nicholas, known on Caye Caulker as "Ras Creek", is in a coma in the Intensive Care Unit at KHMH. That is after he had to undergo emergency surgery on his brain for injuries he reportedly suffered after getting into a physical confrontation with a police officer attached to the Island's Tourism Police Unit. 7News has been in contact with multiple sources on the Island, including Nicholas' wife, Ann Sanson, who told us that on around 3 weeks ago, he was out on his boat with a number of tourists exceeding the limit of passengers he was allowed to carry. Officers from the Tourism Police Unit stopped the boat, and told him to desist because he was breaking the Tour guide regulations. The information is sketchy at this point, but reports are that Nicholas and that officer got into a physical confrontation in which one of the tourism police officers allegedly inflicted injuries to his head.

Fergala's Family Rejects Police Story
And while he is in a coma, the family of a Canadian man who died from injuries he sustained in custody of Belize police is rejecting the official story. Jeffrey Fergala's family is quoted in a news outlet called Metro in Calgary, Canada as saying that the police story is quote, "unequivocally false." As we have reported, that story is that he fell in the cell due to drunken-ness and sustained a head injury which led to his death three days later. Fergala was a skilled martial artist and was in Belize to help with the construction of a house in Calla Creek.

Family Gets Off Weed Charge After One Member Pleads Guilty
Tonight, an entire family of 6 is back at home after they dodged a drug trafficking charge after one of the members pleaded guilty to weed the found on the family's property. According to police, they conducted a search on a residence located at number 52 C Dean Street on Police say that on Saturday, February 2, at about 5:30 a.m. Present at the time were Mark Anthony Betson, his mother, 54 year-old Patricia Wayne, 22 year-old Ludrick Wagner, 29 year-old Giovanni Barrella, 29 year-old Natasha Gilbert, 70 year-old Gilbert Lightburn, and 33 year-old Clifford Betson. According to the officers, they found a black plastic bag in the yard which contained 62 grams - or 2.19 ounces - of cannabis. As a result, all 7 of the occupants were jointly charged with drug trafficking. They were all brought to court today where they were arraigned before Magistrate Adolph Lucas, where Betson wasted no time and claimed the weed with a guilty plea.

Harnessing The Potential Of Schoolchildren
On Friday's Newscast, we told you about the country-wide tour of motivational speakers, Bert Oliva and Robin Korth, scheduled for this week. The purpose of the tour is to provide youths with a positive outlook on trying to achieve their goals by overcoming fears they may have. Today was the first day of their tour, and we stopped in at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts for at their Seminar this morning. Here's what a few of the participants told us about their experience with the exercises they were encouraged to take part in. Robin Korth "Don't think that you are small. Never think that your life is done or that it's this little, know that you are beautiful and remarkable and amazing and that anything you dream you can do. We always talked about being something, like what you are going to be, we already are, we are amazing creatures on this planet and we just need to know it and put one foot in front of the other and before we know it we have a whole pathway of of stuff that we have accomplished. The other thing that I would like to say is the word "try" - take that out of your vocabulary - it's either do it or you don't right."

COLA Reloads For ICJ Campaign
COLA has been much in the news and on the talk show circuit recently. And on Saturday they held their annual General; Meeting at the Bishop Sylvester Memorial Hall in Belize City. There was no challenge to president Geovannie Bracket, but he did get a new Vice President, Gilroy Usher. He said with the ICJ vote coming, COLA will re-double its efforts:.. Gilroy Usher, elected Vice President - COLA "We plan to continue to build COLA's image and continue to try to work our hardest to ensure that COLA is ready as the leading advocacy group in this country."

Will Walk The Border
And the man who would be in charge of the Punta Gorda Branch is Wil Maheia. He's an activist on many fronts but primarily as an arch nationalist. He's earned raves for his trips to Jalacte to plant the Belizean Flag - and now he has another border project in mind. He wants to mark the Belizean border and it starts with machetes:.. Wil Maheia - PNP "One of the things that we will be starting in 3 weeks' time - we have secured 100 machetes. We will begin to clear the border lines ourselves, just like when we started to place the flag it was one of us; two of us. Rufus when you went down there maybe it was 6-10 of us, now its bus loads. We will start to clear that borderline by had with machetes - one machete at a time and we will start from Gracias Adios, up the Sarstoon River and we will begin chopping and we will chop and chop until we get up to the Chiquibul and Caracol. I don't know how long it's going to take but in a couple of weeks we will start chopping along the borderline."

Indian Church School Gets Solar
In Indian Church Village - their concern is not so much about the far flung reaches of the border as it is with electricity. The remote village behind Shipyard in the Orange Walk District has no electricity - which makes schooling difficult for the young villagers. There are 46 of them in the Indian Church Government School - and now, with funding from the BNE Trust, they have solar panels that provide electricity. The project was formally launched today and the principal explained why it is important. Eukemio Magara, Indian Church Gov't School "This project here is very a generous and valuable gift. When I say that, it's because this area like in Indian Church where electricity is remote, so we welcome that because the children are the ones who benefit the most. This solar system will give us that opportunity to move on with their education as a whole and that means that the children will be better educated in a way and their motivation is very high when it comes to this system."

Child Perishes In Blaze
Tonight a family in San Narciso, Corozal is devastated by tragedy after their three year old burnt to death under her crib. The fire happened at four this morning when 40 year old Ramona Cabrera awoke to find her mattress on fire - caused by a kerosene lamp that had fallen over. She got badly burnt trying to put out the fire and that's when she dashed out of the house, leaving three year old Danely Shaniri Guadalupe Cabrera inside. The child perished and Monica Bodden travelled to Coirozal to find out more about what happened: Today the body of 3 year old Danely Cabrera lay at the Corozal hospital morgue -after she was burnt alive inside her home in the village of San Narciso. It happened sometime between the hours of 2am and 3 this morning..

Another Newstime Murder
And before we go tonight, there was a murder in Belize City about half an hour ago - the second in less than 12 hours. This one happened on Banak street around the corner from the scene of this morning's murder. Police are processing the scene and have put down four bullet markers. The shooting happened on the street near the Meighan house - which has been the target of very many shootings over the past year.

Channel 5

Man shot in City
Breaking News: A few minutes ago, gun shots were fired on Banak Street. One person was shot and injured. Our news team has headed to the area and we will have a full report as soon as possible.

Early morning murder on Partridge Street
The first murder for the month of February took place this morning in the height of the rush hour. Hundreds of school children were heading to school around eight o’clock; others were going to work, when shots rang out on Partridge Street leaving residents traumatized. A Mahogany Street resident, Gary Bowen who turned thirty-three just [...]

Foreigners sexually assaulted during home invasion
There are limited details at this time and the Police are not saying much, but News Five has confirmed that there was a home invasion over the weekend in the village of Boston on the old Northern Highway. In the incident, two female foreigners were sexually abused. When our news team visited the site this [...]

N.T.U.C.B. to get salaries adjusted in 2014
At a meeting that lasted for at least five hours on Saturday, the joint councils of the unions discussed in detail a package from the government in respect of salary adjustments. The eight point proposal applies to teachers, public officers and pensioners and is to take effect next year and early indications are that temperatures [...]

Did absence of union member affect negotiations?
Since his withdrawal from last Friday’s meeting with the Prime Minister, the president of Association of Public Servants Senior Managers, Jose Castellanos, has not been heard from. The outspoken economist removed himself on the eve of the meeting after he was pilloried by the government’s mouthpiece, WAVE Radio. His absences from work due to union [...]

Toddler perishes in house fire
A fire in the village of San Narciso ended tragically for the Cabrera family. The inferno erupted around four o’clock this morning and aside from gutting the entire wooden structure, there was loss of innocent life.  A three year old could not be rescued when the fire ravaged through the house; her charred body was [...]

Flat tire gets contrabandistas busted
While our news team was returning from an assignment in San Narciso, they captured a scene that had the appearance of an accident. A pick-up truck with a blown rear right tire was being towed. But the people towing the vehicle were from the Customs Department. Apparently, they caught someone traveling from the San Victor [...]

Busted burying crack cocaine
Before noon on Sunday, Corozal police were in Calcutta village to carry out an anti-drug operation. When police arrived at the house of thirty-two year old Donovan Tillett, they found him with a shovel in hand and acting suspiciously. Donovan quickly placed the shovel down and police found nothing incriminating on him. They then turned [...]

Absent witness and loophole ends murder case
  There is justice for twenty-one year old Timroy Neal. After spending six years behind bars, Neal was acquitted of the murder of Elriquez Orellano which occurred on December twenty-first, 2006. Neal was only fifteen years old when he was charged for the gruesome murder of sixteen year old Orellano. In the Belmopan Supreme Court [...]

Rose’s Grill faces off the menu problems
Rose’s Grill and Bar has become an institution on the island of Caye Caulker and an internationally renowned favourite of locals and tourists seeking some authentic Belizean grilled flavor. But the grilling, which earned the thirteen year old establishment its fame, is also currently the source of its problems. The Caye Caulker Village Council says [...]

B.D.F. day; a family success
The Belize Defense Force celebrated the changing of the guard as Commander Dario Tapia handed over the reins of power to Brigadier General David Jones. In Friday’s newscast, we showed you the ceremony, pageantry and protocol inherent in such significant events. But what would a B.D.F. bash be without a display of its military might, [...]

COLA reboots with reelection
COLA, the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, held its AGM this weekend at the Bishop Sylvestre Memorial Center. The primary purpose of the meeting was the election of a new Executive Committee, and that was handled speedily with the re-election of President Giovanni Brackett and his team. Brackett also took the opportunity to update [...]

James Adderley groundbreaking highlights on Sports Monday
Good evening I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   The Orange Walk 1st division football competition completed its semi-final round yesterday at the Louisiana Football Field as the two teams to advance to the championship series emerged. In the nightcap, Progresso FC and Guinea Grass United clashed for the last time this season. [...]


Toddler Dies In House Fire
A three year old girl lost her life during a fire early this morning in the Corozal District. Police reports are that just after four o’clock this morning they received reports of a house fire in San Narciso Village in the Corozal District. On arrival they saw a woode...

Police Launches Community Initiative
The police department today launched a community initiative in Belize City, designed to assist primary school children in staying in classes. The Healthy for Life Feeding Program is an initiative of the Community Policing Unit and targets one hundred and fifty selected needy stud...

New Addition to The Bar Association In Belize
A new attorney has been called to the Bar in Belize. Oscar William Selgado was admitted to the Belize Bar on Friday of last week, before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. A petition for admission was made on behalf of Selgado by Senior Counsel Said Musa, and supported by atto...

Motivational Speakers Tour The Country Under Restore Belize
A team of motivational speakers has begun a tour of the country to dialogue with young people. Bert Oliva and Robin Korth today embarked on the week-long Motivational Missionaries Tour and are expected to make contact with over six thousand Belizeans by the time the program ends. ...

Virgin of Peace Comes To Belize
About six years ago, the Virgin of Fatima visited Belize in her mission to promote peace. Once again the Virgin of peace will visit Belize and will be arriving tomorrow. Maria Chebat, one of the coordinators of the visit told us who the Virgin of Fatima is: "Virgin...

Belize Cricket Team Heads To World Cup Qualifying Tournament
Belize’s National Cricket Team is today traveling to Nassau, Bahamas to take part in a world cup qualifying tournament. The games start on Tuesday and continue through to Saturday. Fourteen players, representing all of the cricket teams in Belize have been chosen to p...

Vegetable Vendor Fined 10K For Cannabis
Twenty-eight year old Mark Betson, a vegetable vendor of Dean Street who has one leg, was fined $10,000.00 in court today after he pled guilty to drug trafficking for 62 grams of cannabis. Magistrate Adolph Lucas, who imposed the fine, gave Betson until December 31, 2013, to...

World Cancer Day Observed Today
World Cancer Day is being observed today under the theme” Cancer: Do you know? Get the Facts!”, which according to Clinical Director for the Belize Cancer Society, Ivorine Bulwer, among other things, focuses on prevention. It is no surprise then that the Belize Ca...

Belize Zoo Donates To The Cancer Centre
The Belize Zoo has made a contribution of two thousand, five hundred dollars to the Belize Cancer Centre. According to a statement, the money was raised though a special effort where gate receipts from a number of days at the Belize Zoo along with a ‘meet and greet’ i...


Bishop's Walk For Peace Passes Through Orange Walk
The Bishop’s Walk for Peace commenced on Friday from the Rio Hondo River at the Corozal Border and arrived in Orange Walk Town on Saturday morning. The peace walk was organized by the Saint Martin Diaspora Church in Belize City in hopes to inspire others to join in the fight against violence and crime. Hipolito Novelo was present at this leg of the walk and here is that report. Students from various Catholic Denominations gathered in front of the Orange Walk Town Council to be part of the first ever Bishop’s Walk for Peace. The peace walk comes in response to the bloody year that 2012 was. There were a total of 145 murders in Belize out of which 90 were committed in the Belize District alone. Those statistics prompter Tanya Usher, one of the organizers of the walk, to undertake a country wide initiative that will take them all the way down south.

Romario Cawich: Customs Shot Me!
Contraband is practiced in almost every part of Belizean society. While some get away with their goods at the border entries, some take other alternative forms of crossing there goods, such as by the rivers especially in the north. This evening just after 4pm, customs officers accompanied by police men ensued a chase after a pickup that was thought to have unaccustomed goods. According to reports, the chase began in San Pablo Village in the Orange Walk District. The pursuit ended on this feeder road that leads to San Victor Village in Corozal District. However, it was almost fatal. Lisa Cawich told us what happened. Lisa Cawich, Complainant “I was coming into the village and I saw the accident and I stop by and saw that it was my uncle. But he is a guy that will only stop at the junction to pick up people and take them to the village. By the time he was going back to the village the customs overtook him and stop in front of him because they thought he was taking contraband. So he stopped behind them and they knocked him. All his face was burst up. I just saw blood. I just stop and asked what happened because he was walking asking for help and the customs did not pay him. He came and drop here where the blood him. I saw him asking for help. This is the taxi that took him to the hospital.”

Duo Charged For Drug Trafficking
Tonight, three persons are facing charges of drug trafficking after one man thought he would be smart enough to trick the police. On Sunday, February 3rd, Corozal police conducted a search at a residence in the village of Calcutta, Corozal. When police arrived at the residence they saw a male person acting suspiciously and at the time of their arrival, had a shovel in his hand. Police then approached him and conducted a search for drugs and illegal firearms. Officers found nothing on him, but the search was not over yet. An area freshly dug, was seen by officers who proceeded to uncover it. And bingo, a transparent container was found containing 4 parcels wrapped in Aluminium foil which contained suspected cocaine. Police continued searching and dug up a second area close by. This time a glass container was found. It contained 4 transparent plastic bags with 3 parcels wrapped in Aluminium foil which when opened had a substance suspected to be crack cocaine. Police escorted the male person into his residence where a female and another male were. Nothing was found after the search in the house and all three persons were escorted to the Corozal Police Station along with the findings. As a result, only two of the three were charged. Sixty-seven year old Gilbert Tillett along with thirty-two year old Donovan Tillett, both of Calcutta Village, were charged for Drug Trafficking.

High Speed Chase On The Phillip Goldson Highway?
Tonight, there are unconfirmed reports of a high speed chase occurring on the Phillip Goldson Highway. Reports to our newsroom indicate that in the early hours of this morning, residents waiting for bus on the Northern Highway witnessed two vehicles zip by them, one appearing to be eluding the other. What we can confirm to you is that a champagne colored GEO prism bearing license plate CZL-C-19332 was seen off the side of the road with extensive damage to its rear. The vehicle was abandoned just in front of JAL’s Travel Agency in Corozal Town. Checks with the registration department show that the vehicle is registered to Albino Garcia, but up to news time, there has not been an official report filed to the police department. We will continue to follow this story and bring to you any new developments

Multiple Person Injured In Traffic Accident
Seven persons in a double cab pickup truck were rammed head on minutes before 2am of Sunday, February 3rd. Corozal Police visited the Pueblo Nuevo Road in the Corozal district sometime around 1:55 in the wee hours of the morning where on arrival a Maroon in color ford Pickup truck with extra cab bearing license plate Czl-C-17308 driven at the time by 21 year old Ivanir Patt was seen on the left hand side of the road. Also a white F250 Ford Pickup truck bearing license plate Czl-C-02707 was seen on the right hand side of the road facing a southwest direction with extensive damages to the front portion, when travelling from the ferry towards Corozal Town. Reports are thdat Ivanir Patt accompanied by Eber Santoya, Abisai Tun, Felix Copo, Julia Pinelo, Edwany Ramos, and Andres Ramos, were on their way to Corozal Town in the maroon pickup truck. They had already passed the Pueblo Nuevo Ferry when they were hit head on by the F250 Ford Pickup driven at the time by 35 year old Alvaro Babb, a fisherman of Chunox Village in the Corozal District. According to sources, Babb was seen swerving along the road before colliding into the Maroon Pickup truck. The collision caused the maroon truck to immediately come to a stop at the left hand side of the road when traveling on a northern direction. All seven passengers of the maroon pickup truck were transported to the Corozal Community Hospital via ambulance shortly after.

3 Year Old Dies In Early Morning House Fire
Early this morning, residents of the quiet and calm village of San Narciso were woken up with the frantic cries of fire. One of the small residences was on fire and it appeared that a three year old girl was still inside of the home. As neighbors began to assist, it eventually proved futile as the entire structure went up in a matter of minutes. Our news team of Hipolito Novelo and cameraman Kenric Simpson visited the scene and filed the following report. This was once a home for a family of two but today this is everything that was left of the 22 by 26ft zinc structure that went up in blaze at about 4 o’clock this morning in the village of San Narciso. Sleeping in the house at the time were 40 year old Ramona Cabrera and her 3 year old daughter Danely Cabrera. The house did not have electricity and the family of two went to sleep sometime around 7 o’clock last night with a candle lit at the bed side. Nine hours later, Cabrera and her daughter were awoken by the fire. Benita Magaña is a neighbor who was one of the first to witness the blaze.

COLA Goes International
Over the weekend Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA, held their annual general meeting in Belize City to reaffirming their commitment to the “NO to ICJ” Campaign. The meeting took place at the Bishop Sylvestre Memorial Hall where members heard from their representatives on the executive as to the organization’s activities in the past year and plans for the year to come. As well it was announced that COLA is going international with a chapter being openned in California for Belizeans living their. The California chapter will be headed by COLA’s former Vice-president Karim Mawema. COLA’s Toledo Leader, Will Maheia mentioned in the meeting that he has plans to personally go out to the Southern Border and clearing it, citing that GOB has neglected it. The main executives were all elected unanimously, with no challenges from the floor. They are: Geovannie Brackett as President, Gilroy Usher Jr. as Vice-President, Alton Humes as the Secretary, Edward Young as Treasurer, and trustees being Ismay Williams, Micah Goodin and Frank Castillo.


Man gunned down on Partridge Street
A man was gunned down in Belize City this morning. Love TV’s Marion Ali reports.

New attorney called to the Bar in Belize
A new attorney has been called to the Bar in Belize. Oscar William Selgado was admitted to the Belize Bar on Friday of last week, before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. A petition for admission was made on behalf of Selgado by Senior Counsel Said Musa, and supported by attorneys at law Phillip Palacio and Ashanti Arthurs Martin. According to a brief statement, Selgado is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, England, and a retired Captain of the Belize Defence Force. He Obtained an LLB with Honors from the University of Guyana in 2010 and a Certificate in Legal education from the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica on September seventh of last year. Selgado is the first student from the Toledo Community College to become an Attorney-at-law and also the first from TCC to graduate from the Norman Manley Law School. He was born into a family of 15 children to parents Gilbert and Leonissa Selgado. Attorney –at-Law Oscar William Selgado says he is thankful to the Government and people of Belize who sponsored his legal education under the Professional & Technical Scholarship Programme, through the Ministry of education.

Child dies in Corozal fire
A three year old girl lost her life during a fire early this morning in the Corozal District today. Police reports are that just after four o’clock this morning they received reports of a house fire in San Narciso Village in the Corozal District. On arrival they saw a wooden house with zinc roof totally destroyed by fire. Inside the house fire service personnel found the body of three year old Danely Shaniri Guadalupe Cabrera. 50-year-old Ramona Cabrera was taken to the Corozal Community Hospital suffering from first degree burns to her face and back and second degree burns to her arms. Reports are Cabrera was sleeping with the child when she was awakened by fire on her mattress. Cabrera said she ran out of the house to look for help, leaving the child behind. The house does not electricity and the fire is suspected to have started from a lit candle in one of the rooms.

Man pleads guilty, Magistrate imposes a fine
Twenty-eight year old Mark Betson, a vegetable vendor of Dean Street who has one leg, was fined $10,000.00 in court today after he pled guilty to drug trafficking for 62 grams of cannabis. Magistrate Adolph Lucas, who imposed the fine, gave Betson until December 31, 2013, to pay. If he defaults on payment he will serve three years. Seven other persons were charged jointly with Betson but only six of them appeared in court. The charge was withdrawn from the others after Mark Betson’s guilty plea was accepted. The incident occurred around 9:30 a.m. on February 2. The police, members of the GSU, executed a search at the residence and the search resulted in the discovery of a black plastic bag under a black plastic dish that was on top of a wooden table supported by crates of pint bottles.

Firearm reported stolen and Corozal men charged with drug trafficking
A firearm has been reported stolen in Belize City. A supervisor for a security company says the pistol with a magazine containing ten live rounds of ammunition, was stolen from the glove compartment of his vehicle which was parked in the compound at a hotel on the Phillip Goldson Highway on Sunday morning. The supervisors says that he had gone to check on his security personnel and when he returned, found a person he was giving a ride to inside the pickup truck. When he made checks, the supervisor found the weapon missing. The police department has issued an advisory to holders of firearms that their weapons should be properly secured at all times. The police advisory asks holders of firearms not to leave them where others can have ease of access, and to preferably be kept on their person or a secure place. Three persons are in police detention in Corozal pending drug trafficking charges after police officers dug up suspected cocaine from a yard in Calcutta village. Police say that on Sunday morning, when they arrived at the house, they saw a man, with a shovel in his hands acting suspiciously. When he saw the police, the man reportedly dropped the shovel. Police say they informed him of their intention to search him for drugs and illegal firearm, which the officers proceeded to do. Nothing incriminating was found; but officers observed a freshly dug area. They proceeded to search the area, and while digging in the yard, police unearthed a transparent container which had four parcels wrapped in aluminum foil, suspected to be cocaine. Another search made in the area where police again dug up a transparent plastic bag containing a glass container which contained 4 transparent plastic bags with three parcels wrapped in Aluminum foil, also believed to be crack cocaine. The man was then informed of the offence committed and the reason for his arrest, cautioned and escorted inside his residence where a further search was carried out. This afternoon, police updated the release sent out regarding this incident and reported that sixty seven year old Gilbert Tillett and thirty two year old Donovan Tillett were arrested and charged for the crime of drug trafficking.


Mrs. Huldah Neal nee Hill, a long-time teacher and former principal of St. Luke Methodist, was laid to rest this afternoon after funeral services at Wesley Methodist Church on Albert Street. She started teaching at a very early age in Dangriga, before moving to Belize City, and gaining employment at Wesley Middle School. She was later transferred to St. Luke Methodist Primary School in 1979, before being promoted to vice-principal at Wesley Upper School in 1982. Her tenure there lasted 14 years. Huldah was constantly seeking to upgrade herself, twice doing studies at the then Teacher’s College, and later doing a leadership course in administration at the University of the West Indies. In 1996, she fulfilled her life’s mission, becoming principal at St. Luke Primary. But her administration there would only last six years, as in 2002 she had to retire early due to illness, ending a 36-year career as a teacher. In her remembrance it is said that Huldah could not take being at home exiled from teaching, illness and all, and so she continued tutoring children up until 2012, when she just couldn’t anymore. It is said “she loved being a teacher, principal, mentor and member of the Belize Choral Society.”

Main witness in Felix brothers’ murder trial murdered. The worst fears of the family of Rommel Palacio, Jr., 34, of the Jane Usher Boulevard area, who was a Supreme Court witness in the murder trial of Emory and Maurice Felix and who has been missing for nearly two months, since December 6, has been confirmed. Palacio, Jr., was believed to have been kidnapped and killed, and this was confirmed on Friday, February 1, after a decomposed body was found in an area between Miles 11 and 12 on the George Price Highway. The skeletal remains were found in a shallow 2-foot grave that was flooded, among some bushes around 2:00 p.m. on Thursday by three men who were fishing in the area. The men immediately contacted the police. When police examined the corpse, they found that the legs of the skeleton were missing. Police called Palacio’s family, who travelled to the area and identified him. His sister, Dannette, said that he was identified by a tattoo and by his wristwatch. She said that Palacio had a gold crown on each of his front teeth, but his two front teeth were missing and his skull had three dents in it.

$10,000 FOR 62 GRAMS (0.14 POUND) OF WEED
8 family and friends charged; one pleaded guilty, telling the court that he needed it for his amputated foot. Today, Patricia Marie Wagner, 54, an auxiliary nurse of #57 Dean Street; her common-law husband, Gilbert Lightburn, 70, a resident of #20 Cemetery Road; her two sons, Clifford Betson, 33, a technician, and Mark Anthony Betson, 28, a market vendor; Ludrick Wagner, 22; Giovannie Barrella, 29, an employee of the Ministry of Health; Natasha Gillett, 29; and Stafford Young, 23, all of the same Dean Street address, were taken to court and drug trafficking charges of 62 grams of weed were read to them. Sixty grams is the limit for a charge of possession. Anything over that is listed as drug trafficking. According to police, at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 2, police went to #57 Dean Street and conducted a search of the house and premises. When police searched the yard, on a table supported by some soft drink crates, they found a black plastic bag with suspected cannabis inside it.

Eddie Nelson Sorieno, 17, of Banak Street, was shot down at about 8:00 tonight by one of three men who rode up to him and opened fire as he was walking in front of the Meighan’s residence, just a short distance from his house, located behind the Meighans. Sorieno was going to buy food for his little brother and sister’s children when the attack occurred. He was shot in his head, chest and body six times, and died almost immediately. The killers then rode up Banak Street and disappeared into the area. He is the second person to be shot to death today, within a 12-hour period. Police believe that the shooting was retaliation for the shooting murder of Gary Bowen that occurred this morning after 8 on Partridge Street. Police say that they believe that a killer from the Mayflower Street area shot Bowen, and persons from the PIV area went into the Banak Street area for revenge. Anyone at that time was the target, they say.

The Reporter

Rocks, Hard Places, Devils and the Deep Blue Sea…
At a public gathering where he endorsed UDP Chairman Patrick Faber in his run at becoming First Deputy Leader of the Party, former Prime Minister and former leader of the UDP Manuel Esquivel stated that Prime Minister Dean Barrow is currently facing more trials and is under more pressure than any other leader of the country before him. Indeed there is much happening at this time, created, fostered and exacerbated by internal and external factors, and undoubtedly one of the most critical of those pressing issues is the re-structuring and renegotiation of the much discussed Super-bond.

Study: Folic acid cancer risk fears played down
Worries that taking extra folic acid might increase the risk of cancer have been played down by a major study. Following Canadian research linking the vitamin with a small rise in cancer, the study in the Lancet journal looked at data from 50,000 people. It found no significant differences in those taking folic acid.

Is your shower giving you bad skin?
Stepping into the shower to rinse off the sweat, grime, and dirt of the day sounds like the perfect way to end the night. But do you really know what is in that water? Depending on where you live, it might be chlorine. Though it’s not really harmful in small amounts, you might be exposed to it every day and not even realize it.

Wesley girls win through to high schools football playoffs
The undefeated girls of Wesley College won through to the playoffs of the Belize District High Schools Football Competition as the top ranked seed, after their fourth victory vanquishing the hitherto undefeated girls of Ladyville Technical High School 3-0 at the M.C.C. Grounds, made soggy by the weekend’s rains on Monday evening, January 28.

Wesley College boys enter football playoffs
The boys of Wesley College won through to the playoffs of the Belize District High Schools Football Competition, as the second-ranked seed with 11 pts from three wins and two draws, when the boys of Sadie Vernon Technical High School forfeited their scheduled game at the M.C.C. Grounds on Monday evening, January 28.

Will unions strike?
Government of Belize says it cannot afford to accede to the unions’ requested ‘salary adjustment,’ but unions say the GOB can, and has threatened the possibility of further industrial action.

Union president resigns from negotiating team was numbers guru Castellonos victim of union busting?
Jose Castellanos, the newly elected president of the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (A.P.S.S.M.) and the unions’ numbers guru, has resigned from the negotiating team on Thursday.

Accident claims the life of Prison Officer
A collision between a bus and an SUV resulted in the death of Prison Officer, Juvencio Serrano Jr., last weekend. The fatal accident occurred on Saturday, January 26, 2013, at about 7:00 a.m., when a red SUV Forerunner vehicle, driven by Serrano, collided into a Tillett’s Bus which was travelling from Belize City to Chetumal.

Belize featured in Hemispheres Magazine
Belize was recently featured in the February 2013 issue of the United Airlines in-flight magazine, Hemispheres. Belize was chosen for the “Three Perfect Days” article, and appeared on the cover of the magazine. To capture the full authentic Belizean experience, the twelve page spread features a myriad of adventures and gives readers a peek at just what sets Belize apart; the people, culture, food, and landscapes are just a snapshot of what makes Belize the ideal tourist destination. Joe Keohane and Al Argueta take readers on a journey into the heart of Central America, Belize.

Guatemala ex-dictator to stand trial
A former U.S.-backed dictator who presided over one of the bloodiest periods of Guatemala’s civil war will stand trial on charges he ordered the murder, torture and displacement of thousands of Mayan Indians, a judge ruled Monday.

Crime takes toll on Caribbean economies
Crime and violence have had a dramatic impact on women, youth and the economic well-being of families in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to several studies commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

GOB officially launches ICJ educational campaign
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has officially launched its public education campaign on whether or not the Belize/Guatemala territorial dispute should be decided by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The campaign, which was launched at the Radisson Hotel on Wednesday, is geared towards informing the Belizean public of what are both countries’ claims, the merits of their arguments, the risks of going to court, and the importance of voting in the referendum. The Ministry, through it’s Referendum Commission, will be making all information surrounding the issue available to the public through traditional media such as television and news papers, as well as via social media, including Facebook and the Referendum Commissions’ website.


A Tale of Five Cities: San Cristobal Markets (Part 1)
There are several areas in which vendors ply their colorful wares in on the street or in booths in the charming city of San Cristobal, Chipas, Mexico. Today's post features photos from the "merchandise" markets (mostly textiles) from our December trip. The fruit and vegetable markets will be featured in Part 2. I very much enjoyed strolling around these colorful markets and bought a few items at excellent prices. Even Barry seemed to enjoy himself, and he usually hates shopping. Bargaining is expected, though if the first price offered was very low, I usually just went ahead and paid it. These people surely don't live easy lives, and I feel guilty if the price is too low. These markets are just another reason to love Mexico! Some vendors simply set up along the streetside... while others have simple stands to display their wares. I bought a small zippered change purse here, and just look at this lady's smile. Priceless!

2012: The Panama Canal to Two Lobsterfests in Belize to Paddling with Whale Sharks off Isla Holbox, Mexico...Good Times, Part Two
Perhaps you have forgotten there would even BE a part two of this post. There may be a good reason for that...Part One: From Guanaja to A State Fair to Medellin was written over a month ago. December 29th to be exact. How time flies... Panty Ripper...the unofficial official drink of Belize. I'll be back to daily blogging before you know it. But in the mean are the highlights from my pretty great 2012 living in San Pedro, Belize. In no way Beyoncé at the Superbowl great..but pretty cool just the same. I started June by flying into Costa Rica and continuing on to Panama with my friends who are still in the process of driving from Washington DC to Argentina. Sadly, they are getting pretty close to the end now... I am in love with Panama City. Especially the Old Town/Casco Viejo, the Panama canal and the bagels.

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
For readers who live here or visit, DJ’s (owner of the burger restaurant in Boca del Rio) is opening DJ’s Seaside Bar and Restaurant. You can find it on the lower level of what was formerly Oscar’s gym ( just south of the bridge). Always trying to be the optimist I took some solace from the fact that we were not ready for the pour of the First Floor for our build in Ambergris Caye today because it probably wouldn’t have gone ahead anyway. Why? Well because at around 5.30 am the heavens opened and the rain came down heavily. It only lasted for around forty-five minutes but the damage was done. Not at all conducive conditions for wheelbarrow work on an already waterlogged site. I spent a bit of time this morning chasing up on the trip we want to make to look at fixtures and fittings (door knobs, light fixtures, showers, taps, etc) and was really pleased on finding out that United Airlines has allowed us to change the tickets we have for Belize through to London (Heathrow) for two return tickets from Belize (via Houston) to Dallas with the return leg from Houston to Belize being Business Class. And for only US$42.50 each plus some reward miles that we had left over. So from starting the day in a somewhat ‘down’ mood things picked up extremely well. Just goes to show that you should always look on the bright side!

The Five Stages of Drunkenness
Stage #1 — Smart This is when you suddenly become an expert on every subject. You know all and greatly wish to express this knowledge to anyone who will listen. At this stage you are also always right. And of course the person you are talking with is very wrong. You will talk for hours trying to convince someone that you are right. This makes for an interesting argument when both parties are “smart”. Two people talking, in fact, arguing about a subject neither one really knows anything about, but are convinced that they are they complete authority on the subject makes for great entertainment for those get the opportunity to listen in. Stage #2 — Handsome/Pretty

International Sources

When Couples Disagree About Where to Retire
James and Sue were torn. As James prepared to conclude a successful career in the computer industry, the couple faced the big "Where to Retire?" question. James and Sue love the beach and the sea and thought the Caribbean could be their dream retirement location. On the other hand, the couple appreciates the quiet, simple life, and liked the idea of retiring "off-the-grid" in a rural setting. Realizing that the only way to make a decision between these two different lifestyles would be to try them on for size, James and Sue took off for scouting trips in Panama and Mexico, where they looked at both coastal and farm choices. But nothing felt right. Then they planned a trip to Belize. Instantly, they both knew they'd found the country where they wanted to launch this phase of their lives. The fact that English is the primary language in Belize was a real plus. In addition, as James and Sue put it, "We just felt immediately at home." The good and the bad news was that Belize offers both of the two lifestyle options they had been trying to decide between--Caribbean beach and, in the Cayo region, many good choices for a back-to-basics, self-sufficient lifestyle in the country. Again, they were torn.

New World Oil & Gas: City analysts say sell-off is 'overdone'
City analysts believe investors have overreacted to New World Oil & Gas’s (LON:NEW) well result in Belize, and the 45% drop in the share price is ‘overdone’. It was revealed this morning that the Blue Creek 2A ST well had been plugged and abandoned because insufficient quantities of moveable hydrocarbons were found. The company stressed, however, that the well confirmed that an active hydrocarbon system exists, and live oil shows were measured in the Y3 and Hillbank formations. It also says extensive residual oil was present, along with high saturations of formation water. On AIM, New World shares fell heavily, losing as much as half their value in early deals. But, speaking with Proactive Investors, Seymour Pierce analyst Sam Wahab said the share price fall was too much. “Given how bad 2012 was for a lot of exploration stocks, investors can get be spooked by 'dry' wells.” “I think there is a reasonable retail element in the stock at the moment, and at this level, I think we’ll see speculative buying in this stock up into the next well result, especially now that it is so undervalued.” Wahab also explains that the institutions that bought into New World did so primarily to gain exposure to the Danish assets and for them Belize represents additional upside. “It is still there to play for, and at the moment trading at less than 5p a share, it is excellent value where it sits at the moment, especially as the company has got a fully funded programme in place. “The next drilling location is likely to take [this result] into account. The company has got an extensive amount of data that they can read across from. So I wouldn’t say that Belize is a write-off [for New World].”

A PLACE TO CALL HOME: New Albany business gives enough to build home in Belize
A family in Belize will have a roof over their heads thanks to a donation from a business nearly 1,500 miles away. Northern Continental Logistics, a New Albany-based company, gave $6,250 to Hand in Hand Ministries to build its 200th house with the added bonus of some plumbing and electricity. Charles Harrett, president of the company, said giving to the community is a value they embrace. “We try to develop a culture of service and giving with all of our employees,” Harrett said. “I know at Christmastime, it’s been customary to give gifts to your clients, but what we’ve done is donated to specific charities in the name of our clients.” He said after hearing about the Louisville-based charity from other colleagues in industry, he thought it would be a good fit for a donation. Marla Cautilli, CEO of Hand in Hand Ministries, said the home will be a simple structure, 16 feet by 16 feet.

February 4, 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

The February 3rd, 2013 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • No Arrest Yet In The Murder of Steven Valencia:
    An arrest is yet to be made in the shooting death of Steven Valencia, 40, who was fatally shot inside his home at around 8:30 pm on the night of Friday, January 25, 2013. San Ignacio police reports receiving the 911 call from the victim himself who reportedly told police that an intruder was at his back door trying to break it down. Valencia reportedly stayed on the telephone with the officer right up until he was fatally shot and killed by the intruder. While the police rushed to the scene, valuable time was lost as they mistakenly wasted time checking the Pasadita Bar located across the street from Valencia’s residence. By the time the police rushed over to the right location it was too late as they came upon the lifeless body of Steven Valencia, face downwards, in a large pool of blood, on the floor inside his bedroom.
  • Canadian Man Allegedly Falls To Death Inside Police Cell:
    As the police investigate the police, it is reported that an internal investigation has been ordered into the circumstances leading to the death of a Canadian national detained by San Ignacio police. Acting on a report received at around 10:30 pm on Saturday, January 26, of a suspected dead body on the ground in the Savannah Area, near the Welcome Center in San Ignacio, a team of policemen rushed to the scene where they encountered a male Caucasian laying face down on the ground. The man was aroused by the police and, with the high aroma of alcoholic beverage coupled with his inability to stand on his own, was suspected to have been in high state of drunkenness.
  • Laid To Rest Master John Pinelo Sr.:
    It is with profound sadness that we join the community, and indeed the nation, in the expression of sincere condolences as we record the passing of a trade union giant, career teacher and principal, loving father, brother, uncle and true friend, Master John Pinelo Sr., MBE. After battling with cancer for several years, the 64 year old former President of the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) passed away quietly at home in San Ignacio on Saturday, January 26, 2013. John Pinelo was born in Trapiche, Santa Elena, Cayo on November 24, 1948. He attended Santa Elena RC School and started teaching as a Pupil Teacher in 1964.
  • Food For Thought - "To ICJ or Not to ICJ?":
    The question that will be put to Belizeans in the Referendum this October is whether or not to take the still unresolved Belize-Guatemala dispute to the International Court of Justice for resolution. October seems a bit far down the road to some, but just around the corner to others. Somewhat like the threat of Guatemalan military invasion. For many older people, this was just a moment ago. To the younger generation? Ancient history. Something they themselves have no first-hand experience with. But while the historical animosity and failed attempts at diplomatic resolution form part of the collective historical memory for all adult Belizeans, ultimately it will be the ability, or inability, of the older heads to put the territorial dispute to rest. No matter the outcome, this will be our legacy to our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and all future generations.
  • The World Trike Tour Reached Belize!:
    On July 21, 2012 the German adventurers Andreas Zmuda and his partner Doreen Kroeber began there 100,000 miles trip around the world in a three-wheel, weight-shift ultralight plane, a kind of "flying motorbike", aim to set seven world records! There trip is planned to last approximately four years before landing in Sydney on August 31st, 2016. They will cross five continents, 74 countries and three oceans. Right now they make a brief stop till middle of February at Central Farm airstrip in Cayo and Placencia before flying to Honduras. Difficult weather conditions, delays caused by flat tires, a broken radio and long maintenance times have made every day and stage a new adventure. The traveling duo will document their four-year journey in their blog with detailed reports and photos with help from close-to-theaction 3-D cameras on the trike's wings. The trike can also be tracked on their website, Trike-
  • Bidding Farewell To A Friend By A Colleague And Friend:
    BY: Mr. George Frazer, Colleague Educator and Trade Unionist. We are gathered here today-family, past and present educators, trade union leaders, members, sympathizers and friends to celebrate the Life, memory, achievements and contributions of our dear departed Brother, the late, John Pinelo Sr., husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle and friend; a humble, dedicated and great leader…who has inspired and touched many of our lives for the better and who has impacted many positive changes in the education and trade union system and movement of Belize and even beyond. John was a true, committed, visionary and fearless leader; a dedicated, loving and trusted familyman and friend, who, many times, went beyond the call of duty, even at great, personal sacrifice and that of his family to see and get things done.
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The San Pedro Sun

Wolfe’s Woofers: Organic Vegetables
Don't Panic! It's Organic! Buying vegetables gets complicated when having to explain what organic means.

Doctor Love: Competition between friends
The scenario: 2 friends, and 1 always copying what the other does. Should the first friend speak up?

Misc Belizean Sources

A Tribute To The Late Belizean Mayan Activist Julian Cho
In 1996, Belizean Mayan activist Julian Cho visited Washington in the United States to draw attention to the plight of the Belizean Mayans and to stop 17 logging concessions that that the Belize government under the Esquivel Administration had granted to international logging companies, one in particular, the Malaysian logging giant Atlantic Industries, to log on Mayan ancestral lands. A law suit was filed against the Belizean government to stop the logging but Cho who died mysteriously afterwards did not live to see the fruits of his struggle as the Belizean Mayas won an unprecedented victory against government in the Belize supreme court a few years later. Today illegal logging continues to plague Belize's Ministry of Natural Resources and its forestry department under the Barrow administration. The documentary celebrates the struggle of this Belizean revolutionary.

Exclusive Economic Zone (Maritime) BELIZE ?
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm in the north, 3 nm in the south; note - from the mouth of the Sarstoon River to Ranguana Cay, Belize's territorial sea is 3 nm; according to Belize's Maritime Areas Act, 1992, the purpose of this limitation is to provide a framework for negotiating a definitive agreement on territorial differences with Guatemala (source CIA factbook-1999)

Commentary: The ICJ and the Belize-Guatemala issue: A den of strategy and deceit
By Frank Edward Paco Smith, Jr., JP This past week the government of Belize (GOB) launched its “(mis)education campaign” involving the push to take the matter of Guatemala’s unfounded claim on Belize’s sovereign territory to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a supposed “final determination”. I have pulled no punches in terms of my assessment as to why those vested with the responsibility of governing and ensuring the well-being of Belize have embarked on this illogical and seemingly detrimental path for the nation. Simply put, sound reason has given way to the self-interests that accompany the prospects of obtaining a fair share of upwards of US$15 million in order to engage and facilitate the aforementioned campaign, as well as to carry out the referendum. With that said, this article deals with other salient issues that accompany the potentially treacherous and highly questionable path on which the GOB seeks to guide the nation of Belize.

Belize Cancer Society AGM
The Belize Cancer Society is having their 15th annual general meeting today at the George Price Centre in Belmopan at 7pm.

John Paul II JC Launch
The John Paul II Junior College at Mount Carmel High School had their launch last night for the MCHS graduates. "MCHS requests the presence of Mt Carmel graduates at the launching of the John Paul II Junior College. The evening will include a presentation followed by entertainment and refreshments. Hope to see you there!"

Bang the Drum All Day
First of all I want to apologise for including the same photo twice in yesterday’s edition. I know quite a few of you love (sic) the rebar photos. And you cannot have too much of a good thing! But it was just plain sloppiness on my part. Rainy spells for much of the morning allied to the fact that the dreaded Spurs stole ( OK I am a little biased) three points from West Bromwich Albion made for an uninspiring morning. That was until I heard the sound of drums in the distance. I got my camera and went to sit on the veranda and very shortly after this the cause of the drumming appeared, it was the Island Bonita Marching Band on a charity drive on the beach to raise funds to buy uniforms. Where else but Belize can you sit on your veranda and see sights (and hear sounds – but cannot share these with you) like these?


Unions Tight Lipped About Meeting With Prime Minister
The Prime Minister of Belize met his promise of meeting with the teachers and unions for dialogue today in Belmopan City. As was expected, everyone was anxious to get the ball rolling and both sides described it as cordial, amicable and respectable. This meeting was requested after a massive demonstration on Tuesday of this week in which Minister of Education Patrick Faber calls it notable. Teachers were requesting a 30% salary increment. Well, tonight word is that agreements were met between the unions and the government, even though the Belize National Teachers Union seemed to have had a setback when their union representative, Jose Castellanos, did not attend the meeting today. Suggestions and concrete proposals were made but neither side went into detail. “It was a cordial meeting, a lot of suggestions and concrete proposals were presented. We cannot go into the details of those proposals until we’ve discussed it with our membership. But we must say we want to thank the Prime Minister for having this cordial meeting. And it was a mutual respect on both sides and so we’ll go back to our people before we dispel anything to the media.” Luke Palacio, president of the Belize National Teachers Union, stated that a way forward was agreed to.

Corozal Resident Sentenced To 5 Years In Jail
Corozal resident Natalie Coleman has been sentence to five years in prison. Coleman was charged on January 23rd, after she was found guilty of keeping unlicensed ammunition consisting of (4) 16 gauge cartridges. According to reports, officers searched the house of 22 year old Randy Dominguez in Biscayne Village, sometime last December. Dominguez is Coleman’s boyfriend and reports are that when police arrived at the house, Dominguez ran out through the back door leaving Coleman to face the police alone. Officers searched the house and found the ammunition in one of the bedrooms and since Coleman was the only person present at the time, she was arrested and consequently charged for the offence. In her defence, Coleman told the court that she was simply visiting and that she does not reside at the house but rather in Libertad, Corozal. The judge did not buy into the explanation and served Coleman with the maximum penalty which is 5 years in jail which she began serving immediately.

Bridge Linking Mexico And Belize Complete
A new bridge at the Belize/Mexico border has been in works for years. The commencement of the construction was dated to initiate in 2007 by both Mexico and Belize. Mexico started construction of their side of the bridge and has completed their task four years ago in 2009. Belize however began construction on our side of the bridge way back in 2007 as was agreed and still could not complete their part of the task in 2012. That is until recently when Mexico turned into the Good Samaritan. The Quintana Roo Ministry of Communications and Transport decided to pick up the slack and invested four million dollars to complete the infrastructure at the border providing all labour and materials. Today we took a tour to the work site.

Three Students Charged for Drug Trafficking
In last night’s newscast, we brought to you the story of the group of students from Orange Walk Technical High School that was arrested by Orange Walk Police about 3:40 in the afternoon. According to reports, school officials called the police because they believed that the group of students was in possession of drugs on the compound. When police arrived minutes later they noticed the group acting suspiciously and so proceeded to conduct a search on the group which led them to the discovery of about 9 grams of marijuana. Reports are that some of the drugs was already bagged for sale. Of the group only three students were charged including a female student who attempted to escape from police. The trio, who are all 14 years old were charged for drug trafficking.

Family Of Luis Sosa Claims He Was Given Bogus Charges
The last we reported on 26 year old Jose Luis Sosa was on Tuesday when he handed himself over to Orange Walk Police in the presence of his lawyer, Kevin Arthurs. According to police, Sosa was wanted in connection to a recent burglary that occurred in Belize City. Arthurs told us that police told him that Sosa will be transported to Belize City Police Station to be question and that police had 48 hours to charge him with a crime. Two things to note: Sosa was charged but he was never taken to Belize City and it didn’t take police 48 hours to charge him. In fact he was charged that very Tuesday morning. According to family relatives, three of the four police officers made an official complaint stating that Sosa tried to hit them with a blunt object. And so, Sosa was charged with what the family calls bogus charges. However it is still unclear if the family will pursue the possibility of suing the Orange Walk Police Station for the lethal force used on Sosa. Sosa was shot on the right leg by a junior officer when the four policemen went to detain him at his residence at San Lorenzo Housing Site on Thursday January 24th.

Belize Medical Mission Offers Services In Corozal
As the teachers are currently in the negotiating process of obtaining a salary raise, Belizeans on a whole are finding it difficult to make ends meet. With the price of every day groceries at an all-time high, the buying power of a dollar is no longer what it used to be. In order to make these ends come close to meeting, many Belizeans sacrifice many things for that to occur. Many families give up family trips, vacations, new clothes, among many others things. One of the major sacrifices which households make is that of receiving proper medical attention. Whenever illnesses or health complications arise, parents would quickly self-medicate rather than going to the hospital and paying for proper medical services. Only when the pain cannot be medicated, will Belizeans then seek a doctor’s assistance.

Walk For Peace Held In Corozal
2012 has been a very bloody year in the country of Belize with murders made the news headlines almost every other day. Last year recorded an unequalled number of homicides occurring between January first and December thirty-first giving it the most murders in a year. As a result Belizeans have come to adopt an uneasy stance of fearing for their lives. The government of Belize has attempted to change that scheme of things by maximizing on the number of police patrols and implementing healthy programs. However, it is still not enough hence why today an initiative in order to invite peace to our country with the Bishop’s Walk for Peace. The walk for peace started off at the Rio Hondo in the north and is intended to end at the Sarstoon River Banks on February 13th. “It began this morning a little after six o’clock at the foot of the bridge which is intended to go to the Sarstoon River. The objective this morning it to bring awareness, to promote this culture of peace because ther is space for peace here in Belize and with the crimes that is going up there is a bigger need to bring awareness of this culture of peace that we are losing.”


New Commander for the BDF
A new commander of the Belize Defence Force has been installed. The former Lieutenant Colonel David Jones is the new Brigadier General of the BDF. He took over command of the BDF today from retired Brigadier General Dario Tapia. Brigadier General Jones takes over command of Belize’s military as the BDF celebrates 35 years of service to the nation. Love TV’s Natalie Novelo and video journalist Myles Gillett report from Price Barracks, Ladyville.

New rules to obtain a Belize passport
The passports regulation has been revised and amended to take effect on March 1. According to the Ministry of Immigration and Nationality, the amendments are intended to strengthen the application process and to ensure that persons applying for passports are who they say they are and are Belizeans. The Department of Immigration and nationality will be conducting a countrywide campaign to introduce the new process to the public.

Trade Union leaders and government meet in Belmopan to discuss salary adjustments
Three days after threatening to strike if their memberships did not get their salary increase, today the Presidents of the Belize National Teacher’s Union, Luke Palacio and Marvin Blades of the Public Service Union were giving signals of a different tone. They, along with the President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, Dylan Reneau and lead BNTU negotiator, George Frazer met today with the Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, and the entire Cabinet in the Cabinet Room in Belmopan and started what was the first in a series of meetings towards reaching common ground. Noticeably absent from the discussion was Jose Castellanos, the President of the Association of Public Service Senior Managers, who earlier this week had presented to the media, figures showing how the Government could afford the raise. He has not availed himself to the media or his fellow union leaders, who today could not answer our question of why he opted out of the negotiations at the eleventh hour. But the meeting did proceed along as planned and during the lunch hour, the PM invited the media in for a briefing on how far they have reached. The mood seemed cordial and indeed, even though they could not give definitive outlooks, when they spoke, there was no visible tension. PSU and BNTU Presidents, Marvin Blades and Luke Palacio spoke first. Prime Minister Barrow also did not delve into the details of the discussion in light of the fact that the negotiations are ongoing. A couple of the proposals that the unions had on their list going into the discussions included, among others, a more airtight system within the General Sales Tax Department that would improve revenues by around 30 million dollars per annum, trimming the size of the Cabinet, which would result in significant savings. Coupled with these, the unions were also relying on the 2014 projected growth of the Gross Domestic Product. As BNTU President, Luke Palacio said, the union leaders will meet with their Councils of Management at the Belmopan Convention Hotel on Saturday to go over what strides were made today.

Acquittal, drug trafficking and theft on the crime blotter
Twenty-one year old Timroy Neal, charged with the murder of Enrique Orellano, was acquitted of the charge today in Belmopan Supreme Court. A confession statement that Neal allegedly made was not admitted as evidence because it was obtained from Neal, who was only 15 at the time, in the absence, of his mother. As a result, Justice Denis Hanomansingh directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty. The incident occurred on December 27, 2006, in Roaring Creek Village. According to the evidence, Orellano and another person had an altercation and during it Orellano was stabbed in his heart. Neal was represented by attorney Bryan Neal. Senior Crown Counsel Cecil Ramirez represented the prosecution. Twenty-seven year old Daniel Flowers, one of four persons charged with drug trafficking for 428 grams of cannabis, was fined $10,000.00 today after he pleaded guilty to the charge. He was given until April 30 to pay. If he defaults on payment he will serve four years. Flowers also pled guilty to possession of one gram of cannabis. He was fined $400.00 and he was given until April 30 to pay. If he defaults on payment he will serve four months. The sentences are to run consecutively. The charge of drug trafficking against the others was withdrawn. They are Daryl Mayen, Godfrey Jones and Evan Neal. Mayen was also charged with the possession of two grams of cannabis, a charge to which he pled not guilty. He was released on a bail of $1,000.00. The bust occurred around 4:30 p.m. yesterday. Members of the GSU went to a house on Lizarraga Avenue and when they searched it they found the cannabis in a garbage bag in a garbage bin. Twenty-five year old Nyokia Smith, who was convicted of theft of a ball of Dutch cheese from a supermarket, was charged with the theft of a box of cool aid from Bottom Dollar Store when she appeared in court today. She pled not guilty to the charge and she was released on a bail of $2,000.00 and her case was adjourned until March 4. The incident occurred yesterday. A Security guard at the store reported to the police that he saw Smith take the cool aid from the shelf and he detained her until the police came and took her to the police station.

Passenger bus runs off the George Price Highway
There were two accidents at night this week that reportedly involved trailers that were not outfitted with reflectors. On Thursday night, a commercial bus ran off the road and crashed into a pole before coming to a halt in what could have easily ended in a mass fatality situation. Love News spoke with Andy Shaw, the owner of Shaw’s Bus Line, who told us what happened. Shaw said that the loss alone in terms of the value of the buss is around 22 thousand dollars, plus the commercial runs that it provided.

Pediatric clinic held on Sunday in Belize City
A free clinic for children suffering from bone problems will be held on Sunday in Belize City. The orthopedic clinic is being carried out as part of the World Pediatric Project, Belize Chapter. Khandice Tillett is the local project manager. The clinic will be held on Sunday at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Tillett says those seeking to take advantage of the free service should come early and bring along their Social Security Card. The clinic is scheduled to start at eight o’clock on Sunday morning and continue through to five o’clock in the evening or until all the patients have been consulted. Tillett says that the surgery schedule will be released on Sunday evening.

Nutrition program under review in Toledo
Officials of the Ministry of Health and representatives of the World Bank Japanese Social Development Fund Grant met yesterday with members of the Toledo District Health Council. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.

Our Lady of Guadeloupe High School holds science fair
It has been around for ten years now and today, Our Lady of Guadalupe High School on the George Price Boulevard in Belmopan set aside today to showcase what its students have learned in the areas of Science and Business. Love News stopped in and found out that there were also incentives for the winning groups. The school has an enrollment of about 4 hundred students.

Toledo community group elects news executives
A community group in Punta Gorda town has chosen its next set of leaders. Our Toledo correspondent Paul Mahung reports.


Touring Marco Gonzalez Maya Ruin with Jan Brown
I will leave you with lots of pictures and a A few facts I pulled from Marco Gonzalez Maya site. - Marco Gonzalez the first Maya Site National Park on Ambergris Caye. - Local Sanpedranos and visitors have known about the 7.57 acre site for many years. - in the summer of 2010, an archaeological field school led by Dr. Elizabeth Graham and Dr. Scott Simmons caused the need to build a temporary footbridge over a quarter of a mile into the site. - Ambergris Caye was home to an estimated 20,000 Maya traders at the height of their occupation of the island. - Pieces have been identified from a span of 200AD to 1500 AD. Larger pot fragments can be seen which have remains of painting whereas others are decorated with typical Buk-Phase-style incised designs. - Many of the pieces excavated during the 1980s indicated trade connections with Lamanai. - This eco-tour is unlike any other as you walk through history, walking the grounds is like a step back into time. The black soil is blanketed by broken pottery many centuries old. It is an awe inspiring experience to be so close to the ancient Maya, to imagine platforms supporting houses with thatched roofs, to visualize the making of jewelry from Queen Conch and sea shells and shark’s teeth. A sharp eye may see pieces of obsidian and flint used as cutting tools or a stone ax and spearhead. - Future plans, on-site Visitor Center containing artifacts and exhibits of island lifestyles. Educational Center with classes and tours for the over 2,000 school children on the island of Ambergris Caye. Guided tours through the archaeological site and eco-tours including birding, animals and creatures found within the Site.

Is a Tomato a Fruit or a Vegetable?
When it’s locally grown, it not only tastes better, but also supports the lives of many in the community. Mr. Mick Fleming holds his hand out and displays the seeds he has picked up from the Chaa Creek Maya Farm on the 365-hectare private reserve in western Belize. Mr. Mick, his wife Lucy and their Maya Farm staff have been farming on this land on and off for over 30 years. Every living thing has a life story, and the life story of a tomato can be very different depending on where they are grown and for what purpose. The biggest differences between a tomato grown on the Maya Farm and a tomato that is imported is the quality of the nutrition and taste it provides to our guests, the consumer. We do our very best to produce the most natural tomatoes you can find in our area! The Aztecs and ancient Maya of Mesoamerica used the fruit in their cooking. The exact date of domestication is unknown but by 500BC, it was already being cultivated in southern Mexico and Belize. The pueblo people are thought to have believed that those who witnessed the ingestion of tomato seeds were blessed with powers of divination. The large, lumpy tomato, a mutation from a smoother, smaller fruit, originated in Mesoamerica, and may be the direct ancestor of some modern cultivated tomatoes.

International Sources

Do A-Rod & Other MLB Stars Have Ties with Grads of Belize Offshore Med School?
Bosch started a number of failed medical businesses before returning from Belize in 2009 with a degree from the Central America Health Sciences University, according to Miami New Times. He wore a white lab coat with “Dr. Tony Bosch” embroidered on it, the article said, and a medical degree from the university hung on his wall. Many believed he was a medical doctor, including Romero, and by looks alone, he played the part well. He was smart and sounded well informed when he spoke about treatment, Romero said.

Family of Calgary man who suffered fatal injuries in Belize not buying police story
Family members of a Calgary father who suffered fatal injuries while in police custody in Belize have deemed police claims about what happened “unequivocally false.” Jeffrey Furgala, 35, was found badly hurt in his jail cell early Jan. 27 after being taken in by police, who claim they found him heavily intoxicated the night before. He died in hospital Tuesday. But claims from local authorities published by Belize media that Furgala slipped or fell are not true, reads a statement provided to Metro on Sunday. “The family has been apologized to by the Belize media for this statement, and they have since retracted it,” the statement continues. Furgala was remembered by friends last week as a skilled martial artist who was always there to lend a hand to others. Police are expected to shed new light on their joint civil-criminal investigation Monday, according to Patrick Jones with Belize media outlet Love TV. But while one claim about Furgala’s death appears to have been diffused, Jones told Metro a police source close to the investigation has now informed him that the Calgarian was not alone in his holding cell as previously thought. “There are so many questions still at this point,” Jones said, adding a number of people have been harmed while local police custody in recent months. “There is a lot of mistrust with the local authorities.” Media in Belize are reporting an autopsy conducted on the body of Calgary father Jeffrey Furgala on Friday determined he suffered a fractured skull and concussion that could be consistent with a fall. Some members of Furgala’s family have journeyed to Belize and are working with authorities in their ongoing investigation, a friend who requested their name be withheld said Sunday.

February 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

The San Pedro Sun

Tom Marvel to create plan for Marco Gonzalez Visitor center
marco-gonzalez-maya-site-25The groundwork has commenced for the Marco Gonzalez Archaeological Site to get its welcome center. Visiting from San Jose, Puerto Rico, Architect Tom Marvel was on Ambergris Caye canvassing the site and getting acquainted with the island in preparation to create what the new Visitor’s Center will be. At the end of his visit, he was hosted by Mayor Danny Guerrero and wife, plus members of the Board of Directors of the Marco Gonzalez Archeological Site, to dinner at Elvis Kitchen on Saturday January 26th. Speaking of his experience on the island, Marvel stated; “You have a very interesting town here. Very Caribbean. Very lively, lots of things going on, I think it is very impressive – extremely highly developed.”

Former BNTU President and activist John Pinelo passes
John PineloJust as the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) was set to hold a national protest in Belmopan to demand a raise in salary, they also prepared to lay to rest one of their most powerful former presidents. John Pinelo, one of the BNTU’s longest serving presidents, passed away on Saturday January 26th after losing his battle to cancer. He was buried in his home town San Ignacio Town on Wednesday January 30th. The 64 year old former teacher-activist leaves behind a legacy, having led the country’s most influential union in some of its biggest protests in recent memory. Pinelo taught in various high schools across the country and went up the ranks in his teaching profession, eventually becoming the teachers union’s president in 1984, leading it for 19 years up to 2003. He then continued to be an active member until 2012. His genuine concern for his fellow teachers, as well as his humble personality, kept him in touch with the reality in Belize, championing the causes alongside his friend George Frazer, also a unionist, for years.

San Pedro BTIA elects new board of directors
The San Pedro Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) on Wednesday January 30th met to elect a new Board of Directors. The election was conducted during a meeting at the Blue Water Grill and had the presence of the newly appointed national President Herbert Haylock and BTIA Executive Director Efren Perez. The meeting also served to bring its membership up to date with the fundraising efforts of the local chapter as it related to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Poly-Clinic II. The local chapter was briefed on the work that BTIA has been doing in other parts of the country. With the primary objective being the selection of a new board, an election was held amongst the members that showed up to the meeting. Re-elected as Chairman was Mukul Kanabar of The Phoenix Resort, and Vice Chairman is Gary Greif of Tropic Air. Also elected are Treasurer: Javier Williams of Victoria House, Secretary: Enes Ramirez of Belize Diving Adventures, Member-at-Large: Ovel Leonardo of Las Terrazas, and Julie Babcock remains as past Chair.

Referendum Committee visit SPJC students
SPJC-ReferendumFor many years The Republic of Guatemala has asserted its claim over portions of Belizean land. In 1859 the Anglo-Guatemalan treaty was signed between the Queen of England and Guatemala. In the treaty Guatemala accepted the British Colony (years after renamed Belize) and its boundaries and in return a “cart road” was to be erected from Guatemala to Punta Gorda to allow Guatemalans access to the sea. With the road never being constructed, in 1940 Guatemala claimed that the treaty of 1859 was void due to the failure to comply with the regulations under Article 7 of the treaty. Since then many attempts for reaching a peaceful settlement between the two countries through diplomatic arrangement have been made. Little has been achieved from them as attempts have been fruitless. Over the years Belize has received support from the United States of America, Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba and Panama in its negotiations for a peaceful solution to Guatemala’s claim. Guatemala has also continuously, over the years, changed the area of land being claimed. The last claim made in 1999 included the area from the Sibun River to the Sarstoon River and all the cayes, with the exception of St. George’s Caye. The government of Belize and its people remain firm in their intent to not compromise even one square inch of Belizean land to be handed over to the Guatemalans.

Ambergris Today

San Pedro BTIA Elects New Board Members
Members and invited guests of the San Pedro Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) met yesterday, January 30, 2013, at the Blue Water Grill where the election of their new board members took place. President of the BTIA National, Herbert Haylock and BTIA Executive Director Efren Perez were also in attendance. Mukul Kanabar of The Phoenix once again took the position of Chairman of the San Pedro Chapter of the BTIA and the following five board positions were filled: Vice Chair - Gary Greif, Tropic Air Treasurer - Javier Williams, Victoria House Secretary - Enes Ramirez - Belize Diving Adventures Member at Large - Ovel Leonardo, Las Terrazas Past Chair - Julie Babcock, Caye Casa

The Belizean Greasy Pole Challenge
The Greasy Pole Challenge has always been a crowd-pleaser and a fun activity at various festivals and celebrations around Belize. Seems simple enough - It’s a 30-foot + pole all greased up with cooking lard. On top, a flag that is waiting to be fetched; of course it takes more than one man to complete the task. Oh and there is a cash prize for the winning group. The secret is a strong base of men who can withstand the weight of all the others who climb on top of them and fast and light climbers. It’s a slippery situation, but a fun attraction that we are glad to see it not ‘slipping’ away from our celebrations!

BELTRAIDE and Idealab officially LAUNCH Belize’s First Investment Magazine!
The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) and Idealab Studios launched the Inaugural Issue of Belize’s First Business and Investment Magazine “INVEST BELIZE”. The Launch took place on Wednesday, January 30, 2013, at Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza. Invest Belize will be used as a promotional tool to showcase Belize in a progressive light for what it represents: an investment destination. The magazine is strategically featured to aggressive investors who are seeking to invest in new dynamic markets, such as Belize. This publication features the major investment opportunities, while providing up to date information on policy, trade agreements, statistics, trade and projections to the investment community in Belize and abroad.

5th Annual Tres Pescados Slam Tournament
The 5th Annual Tres Pescados Slam Tournament is set for August 15-17th, 2013. As in previous years, the event will be a three-day catch and release fly-fishing tournament for the grand slam species bonefish, permit and tarpon. The tournament will have both a Pro division and an Amateur division. The team structure will be the same as last year, with all Pro Teams guided by a licensed BTB fly fishing guide, and all two person Amateur Teams without a guide. The Amateur division is open to all. Entry fees must be paid on or before April 1, 2013. Pro division team spots are limited to 20 boats. At least one team member, anglers or guide, must attend the Casters Meeting banquet on Wednesday evening August 14th, 2013 to receive the latest tournament updates and catch and release packet.

Belize Luxury Resort El Secreto Celebrates with Beach Party
Guests were greeted with a delicious island buffet, tiki bar filled with tropical cocktails and musical entertainment by Barrington & the Islanders. It’s usually quiet and serene at El Secreto, but the evening called for a celebration of their opening. Special invited guests of the evening were San Pedro Mayor Daniel Guerrero, his Town Councilors and Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism, who both welcomed the El Secreto team to Ambergris Caye and wished them much success. The evening ended with a big dance party and limbo competition on the beach with some great El Secreto prizes for a few lucky guests.

Misc Belizean Sources

Commentary: Belizeans abroad should be given the right to vote on the ICJ referendum
One of the most fundamental rights of any citizen is the right to vote for their elected representatives and on issues that are of major importance to them. Since Belizeans were granted dual citizenship status by the United Democratic Party in 1984, they have been denied this right by the two major political parties when governing Belize. The excuses I have heard coming from the representatives of the two major political parties -- UDP and PUP -- for not granting Belizean citizens abroad the right to vote by proxy is that it is too expensive and it will be difficult to make it transparent. Belizean politicians from both political parties used to travel from Belize to meet with Belizeans in all the major cities looking for political contributions and support. After the 1990s, many Belizean Americans came to the conclusion that the Belizean politicians were making too many false promises and when they were elected did nothing during their five-year terms to address their needs.

Documentary Filming in Belize Course
For Summer 2013 ISIS, the Institution for Sustainable International Studies, will be having a course on filming art, culture, and wildlife documentaries in Belize. "This is an introductory course for students to learn how to tell a visual story, using video, on aspects of culture and nature history against the background of the neotropical country of Belize. The knowledge gained and the practical field experience will be a valuable tool for students needing to promote future projects with powerful visual media. It will also provide core knowledge for those considering becoming professional documentary filmmakers in the fields of nature, local culture and biology. The course is taught by Emmy(r) Award winning videographers, Carol and Richard Foster, and Danny Valesquez."

The Soul Project Stage
Last night, the Soul Project had some amazing live music. Emmanuel Mangar was there, on guitar, and he had Catch and Deyanie do some singing, along with many others. During a break, Ricky Galvez played some origianl material. Cayo's live music scene is really taking off.

ATLIB Basketball Moved to UB
The ATLIB basketball regionals have been moved to the University of Belize's Jaguar Auditorium tomorrow due to the weather. "Please be informed that the venue has been changed for the ATLIB Basketball Tournament due to weather conditions. It will now be held at UB's GYM IN BELMOPAN; opening ceremony starts at 8:30 am being led by the Galen Eagles band."

Galen Partners with Fairleigh Dickinson University
Galen has signed two academic cooperation agreements with Fairleigh Dickinson University. The Two-Worlds program is for FDU students that want to do a few years abroad. The Global Opportunities program is for Belizean students who want to spend a year studying abroad. Congratulations, Galen!

Channel 7

GOB & Unions Breakthrough: PM Convenes Cordial Meeting, Union Says "Giant Leap Forward"
Today was d-day in Belmopan: the labour unions and the Prime Minister convened a pivotal meeting to discuss the pay raise they have demanded. The meeting was held in the Cabinet Room at the Sir Edney Cain building. The union leaders from the PSU, the BNTU, The APSSM and the NTUCB all arrived at the same time. The APSSM contingent notably did not include President Jose Castellanos - who had been the numbers guru for the union side. But with past president George Myvette acting as their representative, they proceeded to meet the government side. That included ministers Patrick Faber, Charles Gibson and Godwin Hulse as well as Financial Secretary Joe Waight and Economic Ambassador, Mark Espat. The meeting started promptly at ten and by 12:45 the Prime Minister walked downstairs to personally invite the 13 waiting media personnel from 6 media houses upstairs for a briefing. He gave the unions the floor - and here's what they said:.. Mervyn Blades, President PSU "As you know we have a joint council along with the Prime Minister and we want to express that it was a cordial meeting, a lot of suggestions and concrete proposals were presented. We cannot go into the details of those proposals until we discuss it with our membership. However we must say that we want to thank the Prime Minister for having this cordial meeting and it was a mutual respect on both sides and so we will go back to our people before dispel anything to the media."

3 Months Later: Romel Palacio Found Dead
On December 11 of last year, 7News told you about Romel Palacio Jr., the man who went missing earlier that month, and who was believed by his family to have been killed. His father was killed in June of 2011, and the family believes that they were after Palacio Jr., but they mistook his father for him when they killed the elderly man inside his home. Well, the decomposed remains of Palacio Jr., who was being targeted for being a witness to a crime, was discovered in a shallow grave between miles 11 and 12 on the George Price highway yesterday evening. His grieving family spoke to us at our office this morning, and they told us that although it's painful, it's validation of their suspicions, and they can finally get closure. Here's what they told us about giving him a proper burial: Dawnette Palacio - sister of deceased "Yesterday evening when I was about to leave work I received a phone call from the police officer informing me that they found a body or the remains of a body up on the George Price Highway at about 12 miles and they ask if one of the family member could come in and identify the body or the remains because they believe it to be the remains of my brother who went missing on the 6th of December."

BDF Gets New Commander
Today, command of the BDF was handed over from General Dario Tapia to the General David Jones. It was an elaborate ceremony in which dignitaries and members of the high command all the security forces who collaborate with the BDF, along with other distinguished guests witnessed General Jones' ceremonial installment. After the 2 hour event, 7News spoke with the Minister of National Security, and the new commander, and both men underscored what the change meant to the direction of the BDF. Here's how they described it: Hon. John Saldivar "It was a very impressive ceremony, a very important and symbolic ceremony as we see the retiring of general Tapia and the assuming of command of General Jones. A very important time in our country's history, it is timing that we are getting new blood, new direction for the BDF also." Daniel Ortiz "Sir, tell us what's your impression of the outgoing commander's performance for the 4 years that he has lead the Belize Defence Force?" Hon. John Saldivar "In the one year that I have been associated with him, I've been very impressed. I've also been very impressed with his leadership of the BDF but also with the BDF in general - the level of discipline and commitment that I see in our soldiers."

Prosecution Closes Case In Rhys Trial
And if you noticed in that ceremony of the BDF change of command, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin also took part in Brigadier General Jones' elevation to the head of the nation's military force. That's because Nicoli Rhys' murder trial in which Chief Justice Benjamin is sitting as judge has been adjourned until Monday because the Director of Public Prosecutions closed her case today. If you tried to move through Regent Street in the near vicinity of the court house this morning between 10 o'clock and 11 o'clock , you may have encountered traffic personnel redirecting the flow. That's because the murder trial had a locus visit, which simply means that the Chief Justice and all the attorneys involved visited the area where Andre Trapp was gunned down.

Saldivar Explains Anti-Union Rant
Yesterday morning on WAVE Radio, Police Minister John Saldivar seemed to publicly take on the unions when he said, if necessary, he would go all over the country making Government's case to teachers - and let those who call him a union buster be damned. Well, judging from the initial reports on the outcome of today's meeting, it seems that tour de force won't be necessary - but, all the same, we asked Saldivar to modify or elaborate on his comments today: Hon. John Saldivar "It's amazing for me how simple this thing can be taken out of context but I believe that the union leadership in trying to encourage their members to demonstrate against my government and to perhaps even strike against my government involves every one of us as members of Cabinet who have made that decision along with the Prime Minister that we have made which is to say that at this time we cannot afford the increase. The Prime Minister is currently meeting with them and trying to negotiate but if they cannot come to an agreement I have promise and I have said that I will take the government's position to the membership which I believe has not been properly informed by their leadership and that is all that I have said. We've all got to be men and women and be mature enough to understand each other's role. I am a member of the Cabinet; a member of the government that is in negotiation with the unions and I believe that our position as government has been misrepresented by the unions and I see nothing wrong in my saying I want to explain my governments' position."

Speaking Of Motivation..
And while Saldivar has motivation aplenty to defend what he describes as "his government" - for those not quite so headstrong and self assured, a group of high powered motivational speakers are in the country. They will be making presentations for hundreds of young people in the upcoming week. Bert Oliva and Robin Kirk along with their team will be touring the country holding motivational sessions. These sessions will be conducted under the theme -The Potentialist- and focuses on finding an individual's true potential. Today the crew stopped by our studios to share more with us. Dr. Dionne Miranda - Managing Director, Chamberlain Consulting "Yes, actually we partnered with RESTORE Belize and Bert Oliva and Robin Kirk motivational speakers and their team have volunteered their time to come into to Belize and speak to our teenagers and at the same time do a cooperate session because that is their real jobs but they fall in love with our country and the last time that they were here and they want to give back and they want to give back more so they are coming in to finished up what they started." "We have a full schedule; on Monday we do Belize City at the Bliss starting at 8:30am - that's the grand opening and Minister Faber will be there to open us up, that's one session in the morning and one in the afternoon at 1pm - that's for Belize City teenagers. On Tuesday, we are heading to Orange Walk in the morning and that's going to be at the multi-purpose complex. In the afternoon, it the Andre Campos stadium at 1pm, then on Wednesday we go to the prison and we do all of the inmates at the prison. In the afternoon we do a cooperate session at 1pm and after that we moved on, on Thursday to Dangriga, that's going to be at the Parish Hall in Dangriga. On Thursday we moved on to Belmopan in the morning and that's the UB Gymnasium and at that one we are going to be doing both kids from Sacred Heart College and the Belmopan area because the venue in Cayo wasn't large enough for us."

Fergala Family Shuns Media, Police Mum On Post Mortem Results
35 year old Canadian visitor Jeffrey Fergala died earlier this week at the KHMH. That's after he sustained a head injury while in police custody. Police said he was very drunk when they picked him up on Saturday night. They say he fell when he tried to stand up in his cell. That was around 1:00 am on Sunday, but police did not take note of his condition until 6:00 am - by which time he was already motionless in his cell. He died two days later at the KHMH. His family - who came to Belize for the body - has told the media that they don't want to do any interviews - and they ask that the media leave the story alone until the investigation is complete. Well, they probably don't know that some investigations are never complete - and police haven't even released the result of his post mortem! They have however given the standard undertaking to conduct criminal and internal investigations. But some new information on Fergala is coming from CTV News in Canada. Here's the report they put together:.. The image of him presented in that story differs sharply from the one provided by police - who somehow seemed to know of him as a heavy drinker. Fergala was in Belize for two weeks building a home in the Calla Creek Area.

The Sherriff Of Punta
He is known as the Sheriff of the town - even though he's not a real sheriff. But that's a title that Taprick has earned for himself by being one of Belize's foremost musical entertainers. With hit songs such as Tip Pan Yu Toe and Gimmie Gimmie, this punta artist has made his name well known on the airwaves. Just recently back from a Punta Tour in the US, Taprick paid us a visit today at 7 news to promote his latest album called Sheriff in charge of haters. Taprick - Belizean Artist "Punta is everything that is on the album." Monica Bodden "How long did it took to get everything together for this album?" Taprick - Belizean Artist "I was working on it from last year. It took me a little while, at least about 6 months." Monica Bodden "How many tracks?" Taprick - Belizean Artist "Fifteen." Monica Bodden "What's the favorite track - the best song that you'd say you put your all into?" Taprick - Belizean Artist "I would say "do the dip." That song is about action and thing." Monica Bodden "How can people purchase this album?" Taprick - Belizean Artist "For them to purchase the album, they can call me at 634-1507." Taprick's new album can be had by calling 6-3-4-1-5-0-7.

Recruit #56 Struts Its Stuff
And that's the news tonight - thanks for joining us, I am Peta Gaye Levy. We close with images of the show put on by recruit intake number 56 this evening at the BDF Change of Command. They showed they are combat ready, and ready for prime time. Here's how they showed off their acrobatic abilities culled form hours of training drills that form part of their daily physical training. Thanks for watching, and join us back here on Monday.

Channel 5

P.M. and N.T.U.C.B. harmonize at negotiations
At about one o’clock this afternoon, Prime Minister Dean Barrow personally came downstairs of the Sir Edney Cain Building to escort the media into the cabinet room where he had been meeting with the Belize National Teachers Union, the Public Service Union and the Association for Public Service Senior Managers, via the N.T.U.C.B. A proposal [...]

National Security Minister insists on taking on teachers
While the Prime Minister was meeting with the unions in Belmopan, at Price Barracks, the Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, was playing gatekeeper of the government. On Thursday morning, the very vocal Saldivar received national media attention when he took on teachers and the union during an appearance on the U.D.P.’s WAVE Radio. Taken [...]

Eyewitness to murder found in shallow grave
As we reported on Thursday night, a body was found in a shallow grave between miles eleven and twelve on the George Price Highway. The family of Rommel Palacio Junior painfully identified his remains this morning through a tattoo as well as a watch found near the remains. Palacio went missing in December last year [...]

Soldiers mount up; B.D.F. gets new recruit
The Belize Defense Force celebrated its thirty-fifth anniversary today in grand style at Price Barracks by welcoming a new Commander. And in addition to welcoming that new Commander, the force also celebrated the graduation of Intake number fifty-six comprising of forty-five new recruits. These recruits will join fellow officers in preserving our territorial integrity at [...]

Brigadier General David Jones now in charge of B.D.F.
Before assuming his new post as Brigadier General, Lieutenant Colonel David Jones, gained much public recognition for his expertise as an explosive specialist when grenades first became a real threat on Belize City streets. And with the rank just bestowed, Jones has taken up the reins as Brigadier General Dario Tapia who leaves on retirement. [...]

B.D.F. invites public to its Open Day
As part of its thirty-fifth anniversary, the B.D.F. is having its annual Open Day this Saturday at Price Barracks. Held under the theme, “Discipline Patriots serving with pride and integrity,” the event is for the entire family. The activities include a bash with Tagg International and artist, Sweet Pain. Pilot at the Force, Adran Ramirez, [...]

How did Canadian national die in police custody?
The Canadian press has been reporting extensively on the demise of Jeffrey Furgala who died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital on Monday night. Furgala was hospitalized for less than twenty-four hours after he was found unconscious inside a cell at the police at the San Ignacio Station. The thirty-five year old resident of Calgary, [...]

Three cases of carnal knowledge in court
  There are three cases of carnal knowledge to report tonight. The first happened up north in 2011; it involved two girls, one who was nine and the other who was ten years old at the time of the crime.  The allegation is that between January 2011 and July 2011, sixty year old Lazaro Amaya, [...]

B.D.F. and Police officer rumble
The Belize Police Department and the Belize Defense Force – they’re forced to work together in close quarters and on a daily basis as part of the anti-crime initiatives in place since last year. But it’s no secret that the two branches of government’s law enforcement and national security arm do not always see eye [...]

Job opportunities available for Belizeans in Canada
Late last year, the Actyle Group, a Saskatchewan-based recruitment firm, recruited hundreds of Belizean to take up jobs with a number of businesses such as McDonalds in Canada. This week, the recruiting company was back in Belize, but this time they headed over to Belmopan where they held three days of interviews with graduates and [...]

Local artist finds Jesus
Call the name Troy Busano and most people might not know who you’re talking about…but say Taprick and instantly the songs Tip Pan Yu Toe and Ride Like Wah Jockey come to mind. This young Belizean sensation is well known for his fast paced tunes which have become local dance hits. And apart from taking [...]

Foreign News organization features vacations in Belize
A short item on Belize was recently posted online by CNN. The Belize Tourism Board has shifted its motto from “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret” to “Belize: Discover how to be.” CNN’s Holly Firfer put together a short video on how to travel in one of Central America’s best destinations.   {Highlight of Feature…}   [...]


Prime Minister Meets With Union Leaders
Three days after threatening to strike if their memberships did not get their salary increase, today the Presidents of the Belize National Teacher’s Union, Luke Palacio and Marvin Blades of the Public Service Union were giving signals of a different tone. They, along with t...

Woman Fined 2K For Stealing Kool Aid
Twenty-five year old Nyokia Smith, who was convicted of theft of a ball of Dutch cheese from a supermarket, was charged with the theft of a box of cool aid from Bottom Dollar Store when she appeared in court today. She pled not guilty to the charge and she was released on a bail of $2,...

Belizean Fined 10K for Cannabis
Twenty-seven year old Daniel Flowers, one of four persons charged with drug trafficking for 428 grams of cannabis, was fined $10,000.00 today after he pleaded guilty to the charge. He was given until April 30 to pay. If he defaults on payment he will serve four years. Flowers also pled...

Young Man Acquitted of Murder In Belmopan
Twenty-one year old Timroy Neal, charged with the murder of Enrique Orellano, was acquitted of the charge today in Belmopan Supreme Court. A confession statement that Neal allegedly made was not admitted as evidence because it was obtained from Neal, who was only 15 at the time, ...

Belize Defense Force Strengthens With Additional Soldiers
New soldiers are joining the ranks of the Belize Defence Force today. A passing out parade is scheduled for this afternoon at the Sir Colville Young Parade square at Price Barracks, in Ladyville. Over forty men and women will graduate this afternoon, having completed the re...

Change of Command In The Belize Defense Force
The Belize Defense Force is celebrating its thirty five year anniversary this year and today one of the highlights of the celebration was showcased as Price Barracks in Ladyville came alive with the official ceremonies which included the Change of Command and Passing out of Recruit Int...


Another Life Claimed By The Philip Goldson Highway
Over the past week, the Northern Highway has seen one too many road traffic accidents in which several individuals have been severely injured. In the stretch from Orange Walk to the Mexico border, there have been three major accidents with the latest one occurring late last night. Sometime before nine yesterday evening, residents of the quiet village of Concepcion were startled to hear a loud collision. An SUV had collided into the side of a cargo truck. Reporter Elmer Cornejo and Cameraman Kenric Simpson were on the scene and filed the following report. When we arrived at the sight of the accident Corozal Police had already responded along with the fire department and two ambulances from the Corozal Community Hospital. As you can see, the grey in colour 2007 Ford Escape with license plate CZL C- 02623 driven at the time by 56 years old Marcelo Riverol slammed into the side of the Volvo white with red and black Towhead attached to a 53 feet long trailer bearing license plate Czl A 4266 which was perpendicular to the highway driven at the time by 27 year old Blas Alcoser, also from College Road in Corozal Town. The bang was loud causing neighbours to respond immediately quickly going to the scene of the accident. Witnesses who live close by say that the loud bang alerted them to a major accident but what they could not understand is why they didn’t hear the screeching sound of tires braking before the collision.

Corozalena Charged For Assaulting A Police Officer
Assaulting a police officer is not a wise choice to do and a woman from Corozal Town learned the hard way. According to police reports, sometime around 6:30 yesterday evening they were called out at #2 2nd Street North and upon arrival they observed two women arguing. One of the women identified as 25 year old Edita Felicia Medina was reportedly attacking the other woman. Medina then quickly turned her attention to a female police officer and began to insult the officer and then later attack her. Medina was then placed in handcuffs but that didn’t stop her from continuing to insult and threaten the officer. Medina was informed of the offence committed and cautioned but that did not calm down the enraged woman. While Felicia Medina was being placed into the police vehicle to be transported to the police station, Medina kicked the female officer in the face causing her jaw and lower lip to swell. The police officer received medical treatment and a doctor certified the injuries as wounding. As a result, Medina was charged for wounding, assaulting a police officer, threatening words and insulting words.

Man Charged For Two Counts Of Carnal Knowledge
Tonight, there are two reports of carnal knowledge to report coming out of the Corozal District. The first was reported on Tuesday January 29th, when a 14 year old minor of Paraiso Village was accompanied by her mother and visited the Corozal Police Station at about 5:40pm of said date. The minor reported to police that between September 18th of last year and January 24th of this year she had been having sexual intercourse with 34 year old man at her own free will. According to the report given to police by the minor, the man was identified as Aldo Alan Moreno. A medical examination conducted showed that the minor had been carnally known and as a result police have since arrested and charged Moreno for the Crime of “Carnal Knowledge”. The medical examination not only revealed that the minor was carnally known but that she is also three months pregnant.

2.1 Grams Of Marijuana Led To Him A Charge
Two point one grams of marijuana leads a Corozal man to be arrested and charged for possession of a control drug. Yesterday, sometime around 3:30 in the afternoon, 36 year old Jason Nunez was riding his bicycle along G-Street in Corozal Town, when he saw a patrol unit coming his way. Officers noticed that Nunez was behaving rather suspiciously and decided to exit the patrol vehicle and approach Nunez. According to the report, while officers were approaching Nuñez, they observed that he quickly threw an object to the ground. The object which was discovered to be a piece of paper was retrieved and found to contain suspected cannabis. Nunez was informed of his offence, arrested and escorted to the Corozal Police Station where he was charged for possession of control drugs. The 2.1 grams of marijuana was placed in a white empty envelope, sealed and labeled as exhibit.

Leroy Sherrier Is Back As Coach Of Belize's National Team
The National A-Selection of Belize returned home on Monday to a welcome fit for royalty as they have proven worthy of. For years, decades to that fact, Belize has been one of the teams that other Central American countries consider the easy win. Belize had walked off the field in past tournaments with sometimes 8 to 10 goals scored against them. But that was not the case in this past UNCAF Copa Centroamericana. Belize made history this tournament by qualifying for the first time to the Copa Oro in the US and by qualifying to the semi-finals round in the Copa Centroamericana. With the defeat against El Savlador in the match for third place, Belizeans were shocked to hear that head coach Leroy Lewis Sherrier had resigned. Speculations were abounding as to the reasons of his quick and untimely departure but in a press conference in Belize City, the FFB Executive said, Sherrier is coming back. Accodring to the President of the FFB Ruperto Vicente, Lewis’ resignation was all a big misunderstanding and that he is returning to the team.

Youths Invited To Attend Youth Rally
The Milwood Christian School missionary group from Alberta, Canada, is leaving the country next week but before they do so, the group has decided to hold a youth rally in Orange Walk Town. In yesterday’s newscast, we brought to you the stories of the musical instruments donation to the Louisiana Government School Music Group and the Dental services provided to the children of that school as well. It’s the 6th time that the group is in Belize and hosting the group is Pastor Antonette Young from the United in Christ Church. The youth rally will be held tomorrow at the Orange Walk Multi Purpose Complex and Young shared why you should make an effort to be part of the event. Antonette Young, Pastor “We are inviting all the young people and even the adults young at heart to please come out and support them emotionally and to be at the youth rally where these young students will come out and perform, it is an event of inspiration for our young people here in Orange Walk and the neighboring villages and also Corozal or wherever they are hearing this.”


Belize takes part in DNA mapping exercise
Belize is participating in a population genetic data study. The exercise was carried out by the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. The ground work for the study started today with the collection of samples from random people on a voluntary basis. This is being done all day today by personnel of the Belize National Forensic Science Service. Diana Bol Noble is a Forensic Analyst. The process is quick and painless. Noble emphasizes that after the swab of the mouth is taken, there is no way the sample can be linked to anyone. After the sample is taken it is sealed and at the end of the day will be sent to the University of Texas for inclusion in the study. Noble says that with Belize moving towards establishment of a DNA laboratory, today’s exercise is a helpful step in the right direction. Noble stresses that the samples collected today will be used strictly for research purposes and will never be searched in any database or compared to any forensic casework sample.

Taxi drivers get clarification of schedules
Regent Street at its junction with South Street was unusually crowded today when a group of about 40 taxi drivers decided to hold a brief protest in front of the Belize Tourism Board’s office. The taxi drivers are members of the Tourist Village Taxi Association and their President, John Pollard, explained why on a busy cruise ship day like today, they felt compelled to stage a protest, albeit short-lived because Pollard said it was merely a matter of miscommunication. As we said, the taxi drivers left and returned to the Tourism Village to resume their services.

Mayor Bradley addresses infrastructure projects in Belize City
The busy round-about at the northern entrance to Belize City yields to thousands of vehicles traversing in and out of the commercial centre on daily basis. Coupled with that, vehicles negotiating their way to their various destinations at the round-about itself, and pedestrians moving about wantonly, add to the chaos on any given weekday. But the Belize City Council has devised a plan that should create a degree of ease. Today, Mayor Darrel Bradley told reporters that pedestrians will be required to use the overpass built 16 years ago for the exact purpose. And while pedestrian will have a longer route to walk at the Pallotti intersection, drivers, at least those who have not paid their trade or property taxes may find themselves laid up for a while. That’s because Mayor Bradley says that he and the City Council is right within the purview of the law when they refuse to renew their drivers’ licenses for having outstanding arrears with the Council, even if the Minister of Local Government disagrees.

Traffic accident in Camalote village, Cayo
A traffic accident early this morning in Camalotte Village left the occupants of a vehicle with varying degrees of injury. Love News spoke with the driver of the vehicle 20-year-old Leonel del Valle who told us it was a combination of the road conditions and an inconsiderate oncoming driver that contributed to the accident. Before the vehicle came to stop in the drain it tore off a piece of a building that houses a church in the village.

Man killed in road traffic incident in Concepcion village, Corozal
Corozal Police have one man detained pending investigations into a traffic accident in which a man lost his life. Reporter Dalila Ical has the story.

Mexican artist to display works at the Mexican Institute
The Mexican Institute at Newton Barracks in Belize City delighted audiences with a variety of art exhibits featuring local, regional and international artists last year. And tonight, the first exhibit for 2013 is starting. It is featuring the latest work of Mexican artist Enrique Hernandez. Public Relations Officer for the Mexican Embassy, Marcelino Miranda says that through the art Hernandez is in one way showing his talent and in the other, his love of Music. The exhibit will be showcased at the Institute of Mexico in Belize City for two weeks before moving to the George Price Center for Peace and Development in Belmopan on February twenty first. Entrance is free of cost.

Art exhibit to open at the Image Factory
The Image Factory on North Front Street will be showcasing its first art exhibit for the year. The artist to be exhibiting is no other than Briheda Haylock who wowed many when she and one of her friends put out the exhibit, society killed the teenager last year, but this year she’s doing it alone, she told us more about her pieces. The opening will take place at 7 pm on Friday at the Image Factory.

Belize to be featured in an in-flight magazine
The little third world country that once couldn’t find itself on the map of the world, Belize, is now the place that everyone’s talking about. The latest milestone for the jewel is being featured in the February 2013 issue of the United Airlines in-flight magazine, “Hemispheres”. Director of Marketing and Industry Relations at the Belize Tourism Board, Alyssa Carnegie, told Love News that the magazine is included in all United Airlines flights worldwide. Carnegie gave us details about Belize’s feature in the magazine. According to Carnegie, the magazine is very influential for Belize’s tourism market because a feature like this is estimated at about half a million U.S dollars and Belize has limited promotional resources in comparison to other destinations. And with the estimated twelve million people per month that board United Airlines, it’s bound to get us noticed.

BELTRAIDE holds training workshop
Belize Trade and Investment Development Service, BELTRAIDE today held a consultancy workshop. According to Executive Director, Nicholas Ruiz, the concentration is on the Business Process Outsourcing or BPO industry. Mario Umaña from the Integration Trade Sector of the Inter American Development Bank, IDB in Washington D.C, says he was presenting the preliminary results and making diagnostics and recommendations of the Integration Trade Factor Consultancy in hopes of preparing a strategy and road map for the development of the BPO Industry in Belize. Meanwhile Diego Morris from Compete Caribbean which is a forty million dollar program funded by the Department for International Development, the Canadian International Development Agency in collaboration with the IDB, says this is one of the first projects approved by them in 2010 and this being his third visit, is very exciting because at first everything was just an idea, but now it’s already trying to balance on two feet. The Consultancy workshop took place at the House of Culture on Regent Street in Belize City and included participants from the University of Belize, the University of the West Indies, as well as representatives from the BPO sector.

Mayor Bradley back from Guatemala working visit
Belize City Mayor Darrel Bradley has been busy spearheading Municipal Development projects around the old capital. And while he is cracking down on people who wander into traffic at the Pallotti intersection, he is also building relations with a number of neighbouring municipalities in Mexico and in Guatemala. Mayor Bradley has just returned from a visit to San Benito Poite in Guatemala and today told reporters what that trip and the sister city ties aim to accomplish.

Duo arrested in a series of carnal knowledge reports
A Belize City man has been arrested and charged after he was caught with a thirteen year old girl. Police say that on Tuesday morning between eight thirty and nine forty in the morning, they were alerted of an underage girl with a man at a house on South Creek Road. When officers arrived at the house, they found the thirteen year old girl and twenty three year old Enfield Fitzgibbon inside a room. They were both escorted to the police station and later, the girl was taken to the hospital where a medical examination was conducted. That examination revealed that the girl was carnally known. Police then arrested and charged Enfield Ervin Fitzgibbon for the crime of Indecent Assault. They have also arrested and charged twenty two year old Ryan Alvarez for the crime of carnal knowledge. Both men were arraigned today in the Belize City Magistrate’s court. No plea was taken from Alvarez because the offence is indictable. Fitzgibbon pleaded not guilty to the charge. They were denied bail and were remanded into custody until March 20. Two other cases of carnal knowledge have been reported, this time in the Corozal district. On Tuesday evening, a fourteen year old girl accompanied by her mother, went to the police station to report that earlier this month, she had been having sexual intercourse with a man since September of last year. Although the girl claims that the sexual contact was consensual, she is a minor and as such, the man, thirty four year old Aldo Alan Moreno was arrested by police. A medical examination of the girl revealed that not only has she been carnally known, but she is now three months pregnant. Moreno has been charged for the crime of Carnal Knowledge. The third incident was reported yesterday and involved an eleven year old girl. The incident was reported to the authorities by the mother of the child who told authorities that between January and July of 2011, a man identified as Lazaro Amaya was having sexual intercourse with the minor. The sexual assault, according to the child’s mother, would happen inside of a van when Amaya would take the girl and her sister to a park in Corozal town. But the sexual assault of the eleven year old is not the only crime that Amaya is accused of. He is also accused of having sexual intercourse with a ten year old girl, also related to the eleven year old. A medical examination was conducted on both minors confirming that they have been carnally known. Sixty year old Lazaro Amaya has been arrested and charged with two counts of Carnal Knowledge.

Berne Velasquez stars in another Hollywood sci-fi movie
He is one of Belize’s most prolific artists. And today Berne Velasquez continues to blaze a path to stardom that few other local talents have approached with as much energy and excitement. Velasquez is starring in the latest motion picture being filmed on location in Belize. It is a project called Poseidon Rex and this afternoon, Velasquez told Love TV’s Patrick Jones about his involvement in this latest movie. Velasquez says the on location shooting of the 90-minute movie has been ongoing for the last two weeks. Friday is scheduled to be the last day of production work in Belize. Velasquez says he is enjoying putting Belize on the Hollywood map. According to the movie trailer, the plot of the film is centered on a mythical ancient evil creature disturbed by a team of underwater cave explorers plumbing the depths of Belize’s world famous blue hole. The movie falls under the Sci Fi genre and is being produced by the Tital Global Entertainment, an independent distribution and production company based in Los Angeles, California.

BDF prepares to celebrate 35th. anniversary
The Belize Defence Force is preparing to celebrate two very important milestones. This weekend, the Force will hold its annual BDF Day and that follows the change of command on Friday. Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Ortega will move up in rank to Colonel, second only to the incoming Brigadier General, David Jones, who takes over from outgoing General Dario Tapia. When we visited Price Barracks this week, Love News observed soldiers rehearsing for the two big events and Lieutenant Colonel Ortega explained that process. Meanwhile, Saturday’s event open day will feature military tattoos, raffles, and family-oriented activities.


Negotiating Team meets with Prime Minister
Leaders of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize along with a ministerial committee comprising of Charles Gib...

Resignation of APSSM President, Jose Castellanos came as a surprise to the media and unions as well
Yesterday we told you that APSSM President, Jose Castellanos officially wrote to the Prime Minister Dean Barrow - r...

BDF soldier walks away from sex crime charge
A BDF Soldier, Leon Lopez, saw a sexual offense case withdrawn today when the female victim could not be located. B...

Nicli Rhys on trial for the murder of Andre Trapp
On June 10, 2010, there was the brazen murder of Southside Leader Andre Trapp. The trial for the accused Nicli Rhys...

Our Lady of Guadalupe High School holds a Business and Science Fair
Our Lady of Guadalupe High School held a Business and Science fair today. Students from Forms 1-4 were required to ...

Burglaries in Belize City and Belmopan
A burglary results in the intruder being apprehended by the home owners. 30yr old Roni Valladarez of Belize City re...

Cannabis found on Toledo Community College student
A high-school student was handed over to police for drug trafficking on campus. On Wednesday afternoon, Punta Gorda...

New commander of the Belize Defence Force is installed
The BDF is celebrating 35 years of service to Belize. Today, a new commander of the Belize Defence Force was been i...

Cola continues its no ICJ campaign
Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) is a non-governmental organization that was birthed five years...


Minister of National Security John Saldivar announced today, Thursday, on Wave Radio’s talk show “Fus ting da mawnin,” that if after the meeting on Friday, February 1, with the Prime Minister and the negotiating teams in Belmopan, the teachers and public officers insist on saying that the government can afford to give a salary increase at this time, he will take matters into his own hands and make a countrywide tour to personally reiterate the government’s position. “If they are not able to reach a satisfactory conclusion tomorrow Fonso, I will travel this country with government’s position. I am telling you from now. So Mr. Palacio if you want call it union busting you can call it weh you want. But I am going to travel the entirety of this country, meeting with teachers. And if they no want come da meeting, I gwine to their house. I will find a way to meet them. So they know the facts of my government’s position is, what we are offering, because these leaders have a political agenda. I like it when they have a political agenda because it brings them in my arena. Because my arena is politics. And so if they think they can play politics better than me then we will get in there and rumble. We wah rumble. They want to shape people’s minds against my government in a certain way. Well I gwine out deh go counter that. And as soon as I hear the outcome of the meeting tomorrow.” To recap Saldivar’s position in this matter, last week the Minister was given permission by the Ministry of Education to cancel afternoon classes and call a meeting with the teachers in Belmopan to address the salary adjustment matter.

Teachers and public officers protest denial of raise-a-pay. For those who held their breath wondering about the outcome, the teachers and public service workers successfully pulled off their peaceful demonstration and rally on the steps of the National Assembly Building on Tuesday, January 29, 2013. The crowd of about 3,000 teachers and their supporters demonstrated through the streets of Belmopan and around the National Assembly building singing songs, carrying placards, and chanting, all in their determination to convince the government to grant them a salary adjustment. The crowd shouted statements such as “Mr. Prime Minister, with no apologies, just adjust the salaries,” “Minister Faber, remember when you were a teacher,” “Cost of living is killing us” and “Who is emptying the pie pan? Not I. My salary is not that high.” After the crowd marched around the National Assembly once, they proceeded to the steps of the building where they began a ceremony in which several members and affiliates of the unions spoke on behalf of their colleagues on the matters at hand. Though the word choices, tones and speaking styles of the speakers were different, all the speeches had one message in common — the teachers and public service workers want their salary adjustment, and they “want it now!” Teachers and public service workers from all over the country were present at the demonstration. They were passionate as they marched, sang and chanted in solidarity. Belize National Teachers’ Union President Stann Creek Branch Nadia Caliz said she believes that the turnout was great. Caliz said that from Dangriga alone, there were 512 teachers who shared eight buses.

Every civilized country in the world has laws regarding firearm possession, and Belize is no exception. It is quite easy and reasonable to think that clamping down tightly on firearms will reduce crime. Since the mid-December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the US Government is strongly looking at very strict gun control laws. The Government passes laws banning various types of firearms and “bullet-proof” vests. People celebrate. Then something interesting happens: crime rates go up instead of down! Then the Government is pressed to do something else, to pass more laws. Things still don’t improve. What is going on? Criminals use firearms to commit armed robberies, rape, and murder innocent civilians. Criminals are already breaking various laws. They are not afraid to possess and use an illegal firearm. Hanging. A life sentence. Fifty years. Ten years. It doesn’t matter to the criminals. If the deterrents on the law books don’t stop the criminals from robbing, raping, and murdering, they won’t stop them from possessing guns illegally either. Who do the laws stop from owning guns? Law-abiding citizens. International studies have shown this. Smaller studies in the USA have shown this also. States in the US which are big “Second Amendment” (i.e.: the right to bear arms, as stated in the second amendment to the US Constitution) states, typically have lower crime rates than other states which prefer more legislation.

Belizean musician and actor Berne Velasquez is no stranger to the media. The Belizean artist has produced his own songs and has been featured in several films. Berne is to star in his fourth international movie called Poseidon Rex. Berne said that the movie is based on some tourists who came to Belize on vacation. The group decides to go on a diving trip to the Blue Hole with their tour guide, Berne’s character. While on their trip they come across a person who they will rescue and take back to safety, but not before enduring some riveting adventures. Amandala spoke to Berne today, Thursday, and he said that he was thrilled about his role in another movie. He said that he couldn’t give too many details of the plot, but can assure that the movie will be filled with excitement. “Crazy things will be happening down on the bottom of the Blue Hole,” he said. “A lot of excitement and craziness happens to the crew as they dive the Blue Hole and rescue the body they found.” Berne said that movie was being filmed over the past two weeks at locations all over the country. He said that the movie will be rated G and that it features other Belizean actors as well as Hollywood actor Brian Krause who starred in the popular television series Charmed. Berne said that he feels blessed to be able to have all the opportunities given to him thus far.

by Kenneth Gale Dear Editor, When the bodies of four George Street gang members were found with their heads nearly cut off, without any supporting evidence the hue and cry went up that the near decapitations were the work of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU). If one looks at the manner of the killings, such near decapitation has never been a method of killing used by the GSU. However, decapitation is clearly the method of killing (MO) used by the enforcers for the Mexican drug cartels. In Mexican towns that border the US, bodies with their heads cut off are frequently found. There have been as many as a dozen bodies found at the same time at the same location, with all with their heads cut off. Decapitation is the MO of the Mexican drug cartels, not the GSU. The cartel’s enforcers are primarily former special service soldiers of the Mexican army, trained to kill. One will recall that, about two years ago, three armed Mexican nationals were arrested in Belize. They produced evidence that they had been, or were, members of the Mexican Army. The then Minister of National Security, citing an absurd reason, ordered their release. Presently, there is a Mexican national in Belize custody that was caught coming into Belize with cocaine and a large numbers of guns. He had obviously brought the guns into Belize for distribution to those involved in drug trafficking, together with the cocaine to pay for a prior trans-shipment of cocaine to the cartels. Cocaine is the manner in which the cartels pay for such trans-shipments that come through Belize.

by Larry Vernon Dear Editor, Very frequently we hear words being mispronounced during professional speaking engagements, by announcers, and by interviewees. Although professional people try their best to pronounce words and idioms correctly some still become accustomed to pronouncing a word incorrectly, and until someone corrects them the error is perpetuated. One such word is ‘sovereignty’. This word does not have an extra ‘i’ and should not be pronounced ‘sovereignity’.

by Russell Czarnecki Dear Editor, I don’t know why, but while having lunch today, it occurred to me that in the years I’ve been reading the Amandala (and the Reporter as well), I couldn’t really recall more than one or two instances of anyone being prosecuted for white collar crime. Does my memory fail me? Is this not a problem in Belize? Am I losing my mind?

by Cynthia Pitts Dear Editor, Last week I read in your newspaper that Dr. Atanacio Cob’s home was burglarized and household articles to the value of $5,520.00 stolen. I have also been a victim of burglary. My house in Belmopan was burglarized in the latter part of last year and household articles stolen. My loss was much more. It was approximately $15,000.00. I have always wondered how this type of news gets into the papers. Is it the person who has been burglarized who sends a report to the newspaper? Is it the police who inform the paper? Is a report made on the basis of the magnitude of the value of the loss? If on the basis of the value of the loss, then I thought mine should have certainly hit the papers as it was much more than the burglaries of which I have been reading in recent weeks. I have decided to publicize my burglary because even if nothing is gained by the publicity, it should let us reflect on where we are in law enforcement. The house was fully furnished but was unoccupied following the departure of its tenant. I do not live in Belmopan so was unaware of the burglary until sometime after it had happened. The neighbors saw the articles being taken away in “broad daylight,” but assumed that I knew what was happening.

by Lawrence Denig Dear Editor, When is the journalism community going to investigate the issue of the millions of dollars of unaccountable (and taxable) sales receipts that never get recorded on a cash register, and instead are just placed in the infamous “Belize wooden drawer system of accountability” through hand-to-hand cash transactions? If the drawers were eliminated and these million-dollar merchants were forced to use a cash register w/receipts on ALL sales transactions, GOB could tap into a sizeable taxable revenue stream to DOUBLE teacher’s salaries, fix an existing school infrastructure in serious disrepair and also pay police officers a liveable wage. Assign an aggressive investigative bulldog to dig into this matter. Trust me, savvy merchants nationwide have figured out this loophole. They abuse this system on a daily basis, laughing all the way to the bank with a sack-full of unaccountable profits. Who needs an accountant when government provides a gift that just keeps on giving? Food for thought.

by David Nunez Dear Sir, The British left us 32 years ago. That’s the age of a grown man and more. How in goodness name can we continue blaming the British? I think you do this because of the black/white mentality. Sir, the Guatemalan issue could have been solved had we not chosen our own destiny. History does not support what you say. The claim is an ancient claim being made by a country warped in its understanding. That is not the British problem. It is the Guatemalan problem. We are independent and we must settle the matter. If it was a British problem, why did we take independence? Why did we not make it a condition before? Sir, respectfully what you continue to postulate does not make sense and you owe the readers a right to clarify. David Nunez (Ed. NOTE: As we understand it, the PUP leaders moved on to independence because the British wanted Belize to cede land to Guatemala in order to settle the claim. Belizeans were overwhelmingly rejecting land cession. Belizeans worked for centuries to enrich Great Britain, and our ancestors fought in Britain’s twentieth century wars. It was because of the white/black mentality that our ancestors were kidnapped and enslaved. Perfidious Albion!)

A caller on KREM’s WUB morning show on Tuesday morning made the point that the new national heroes of the Belize football selection now had the responsibility of behaving like role models for the young boys and children who are now looking up to them for example. It was a good point the caller made, but life is often more complicated than it appears. For example, I happen to know that one of our new national heroes went through an extended period where he, just a teenager, was being threatened by violent gang forces because of one of his close relatives. The close relative was involved with the neighborhood gang reality, and the hero, as a consequence, received death threats which were absolutely frightening. Stress like this can affect your behavior, and you really can’t go public to complain or explain. I want to tell you about an episode of betrayal which took place when I was just 17 years old. I’m not going to use that episode to excuse any “misbehavior” for which I have been responsible through the years, but the time has come for me to tell it like it was. The important thing today is that I have reached the point of being able to forgive, and it took a long time getting here. It took 47 years, more or less. Before 1964, Sixth Form studies at St. John’s College were always a two- year process, and the Advanced Level studies took place in the same campus buildings where the high school was located. 1964 was the year when the Government of Belize arbitrarily changed the school summer holiday months from April and May to July and August, and so our Sixth Form class was the one, I think the only one, which did the “A” Levels in a year and a half instead of two.

Editorial: BIG UP, MR. WELCH
The newspaper wishes to recognize the effort of the attorney Lionel Welch in financing semi-pro football teams and working with our youth. This is by contrast with the other attorneys of substance, who ignore the community where they made/make the millions and live the lives of the rich and famous. One of the reasons Mr. Welch has sustained his program is because of direct management involvement. There has been a failure in Belizean sports where middle management is concerned. By “middle management,” we are referring to the individuals who are given the responsibility of handling the financing offered by big business. Middle managers have too often given in to the temptation to siphon off resources for their own personal benefit, instead of forwarding the resources to the players. Belize football took a step forward this week in the Copa Centroamericana, and there is presently an atmosphere of optimism in football circles. For us to continue forward, football has to continue weeding out people who are corrupt and entitled. We just came out of fifteen years of that. Belize is a small society, and everybody knows everybody else’s business. Nobody’s perfect, but in sports, as in politics, there are people who are almost incorrigibly selfish and insincere. When such individuals attain positions of power, resentment and ill-feeling begin to grow amongst the people at the base.

The teachers of Belize came from all over the nation on Tuesday morning to march in Belmopan and show their strength. As we pointed out in an editorial on Tuesday (reproduced in this issue), we have a constitutional crisis in Belize. Theoretically, the Government of Belize (specifically the Prime Minister) has de facto absolute power, but the disciplined power of the teachers is real, and it is too easy for things to get out of hand if a situation like the present one reaches as far as a strike. In March of last year the ruling UDP were returned to office by a narrow margin in seats, 17-14. The Opposition PUP were very frustrated, because of the closeness of the defeat and other circumstances we will not discuss at length here. The teachers did a remarkable job on Tuesday, because there was no evidence of significant PUP infiltration of their demonstration. It is not a comfortable situation the Barrow administration is in, because the teachers can go back to Belmopan after soliciting more support from their fellow unions, and after creating space for the Opposition to be involved. If the teachers decide they have to go back to Belmopan, the constitution of Belize allows the Prime Minister to use the security forces if a larger, more militant crowd misbehaves in any way.

This morning, my dad, C.B. Hyde, remarked on the situation of our history-making national football team at the Copa Centroamericana (formerly Nations Cup) in Costa Rica, where Belize yesterday clinched, for the first time, a spot in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the most prestigious football tournament in the North American region of CONCACAF, which takes place in July of this year. Despite their being obviously handicapped in preparation for this level of competition, he felt that our players must have been inspired by the absolute “joy of playing on a ‘billiards table,’” which the impeccable green surface of the Estadio Nacional resembled. For the past week, footballers on our national team have been experiencing something which is indeed a joy, but also one that takes getting used to – being able to play the game they so love to play, on a surface that allows the ball to roll true each time you kick it. There are no unpredictable bounces or sudden changes of direction as it lands in a hole or hits a lump in the field, something that they have become accustomed to on the fields back home. A bad pitch discourages confidence in the ground passes, and lends to more of the long-ball style, which is not the most effective on a “billiards table,” where the opponent is taking full advantage of all the ball has to offer – “let the ball do the work.” Like a long caged dog, who is at first fearful when offered a chance to venture into unknown spaces, our Belize team has been tentative at employing the full offensive potential of the ground passing game, but they are getting more confident and effective with each outing.

Jaguars are the third largest feline species in the world. They are also the biggest cats in the Americas, well known for their speed and strength. Thus, it is only appropriate that our Belizean national team is juxtaposed metaphorically to such a resilient and sagacious animal: they are young, strong, united, disciplined, courageous, trendsetters, but most importantly, they are our national heroes. It is quite amazing what our Belizean national team accomplished, not only because they qualified to the Gold Cup, but also because they were triumphant in a situation where failure seemed inevitable. For the first time in the history of international football, Belize qualified to the UNCAF Gold Cup that will be held in the United States during the summer. As wonderful as this is, it is not what made my day. For the first time in the history of football, so many Belizeans are supporting our national team. Whether it is “liking” a picture on Facebook, posting a comment, sending a text, or simply just watching the game on television, my point is that Belizeans at home and abroad are extremely supportive. This is not mere support: it is nationalism/patriotism at the highest level. There is no politics or racism, just optimistic Belizeans in every barbershop, hair salon and living room, cheering the Jaguars on. The Jaguars united our nation! This mass support was not from the genesis of the tournament; it started after we drew our second game with Guatemala, and exploded during the qualifying game against Nicaragua. Our victory ultimately secured us a seat in the 2013 UNCAF Gold Cup. The entire Jewel detonated with love, excitement, joy and nationalism when Trevor Lennon struck first blow with a left foot from above the eighteen-yard box. Hope seemed distant when Nicaragua tied the game at 1-1, but then there was Deon McCaulay, FIFA’s Global Top Striker and Belize’s most prolific goalscorer, who scored the winning goal in the final minute of the extra time to seal our spot in the Gold Cup.

The 2nd Annual SJC Table Tennis Club Tournament took place this past Saturday, January 27, at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium, “the home of table tennis….!!” Games kicked off at approximately 1:30 p.m. with some 42 students participating in three categories – ADVANCED, INTERMEDIATE & BEGINNERS. In the ADVANCED category, 12 of the top players from SJC competed in Round Robin competition, with the top 8 finishers advancing to a FINAL Double Elimination competition. Top seed, Harim Ochaeta advanced to the finals by defeating Leo Carballo, Gian Lisbey & Fabio Carballo; while Fabio Carballo also advanced to the finals by defeating Daniel Sanchez & Mishek Musa. In the Final match, Harim Ochaeta emerged the CHAMPION by defeating Carballo by a score of 3-1.

The Belize Times

Reliable sources have informed the BELIZE TIMES that Prime Minister Dean Barrow has refused to give the requested 30% salary adjustment to the Unions when the parties met today in Belmopan. The meeting followed days of tension between the Government and the largest and most powerful Unions who have used up their patience for a salary increase promised to them by Prime Minister Dean Barrow when he was the opposition leader five years ago. That tension between the Unions and GOB has been at an all-time high, with Ministers launching personal attacks against Union leaders on the UDP radio station, several Politicians using intimidating tactics to scare Union members, and the Government abusing its authority in the public service to punish Unions leaders who have been instrumental in building momentum for the workers. ...

UB Students Protest Subsidy Cut
About 300 students walked out of their classrooms at the University of Belize Belmopan Campus on Monday January 28th morning to participate in a protest against the Ministry of Education’s recently announced subsidy cut to the ...

Unions say Salary Increase is Possible! – APSSM President Jose Castellanos exposes misuse of millions
The Unions have had to show the Barrow Administration how the salary increases for teachers and public officers can be a reality. President of the Association of Public Service Senior Managers Jose Castellanos has proven that the ...

Education frustration
By G. Michael Reid “Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.” - Aristotle This Dean Barrow government seems to be attacking education from both ends. They are charging the students more and ...

Editorial: Lesson In Fear
“Governments should be afraid of their people. People shouldn’t be afraid of their government.” This is how Alan Moore saw it; while Thomas Jefferson preferred to warn that “A government afraid of its citizens is a Democracy. Citizens afraid of government is tyranny!” The UDP is not afraid of the people. If ...

San Estevan defeats San Lazaro 4-2 in football playoffs
The San Estevan football team leads the playoffs of the Orange Walk Football Association first division competition after a 4-2 victory over San Lazaro at the People’s Stadium on Sunday, January 20. Edwani Munoz scored a ...

Harim Ochaeta wins SJC table tennis tournament
Harim Ochaeta won the advanced division and Daniel Echeverria won the intermediate division when the SJC’s 2nd annual table tennis tournament was held at the Belize Elementary School auditorium this past Saturday, ...

A Hero’s Welcome – Belize National A Team returns from Central American Cup
Team Belize returned home to a hero’s welcome after qualifying to this summer’s Gold Cup tournament in the United States after finishing 4th in the UNCAF’s Copa CentroAmericana in San Jose, Costa Rica. The GolTV famed “President”, ...

Coach Sherrier returns
In the middle of celebrating our National Football Team’s victory and historic placement in the July 2013 Gold Cup, Belizeans were stunned to learn that the man who played a critical role in the team’s success, ...

PUP soldier Steven Valencia murdered inside Cayo home
The year 2012 ended with a record number of murders, and it seems the New Year is well underway to matching up. There have already been 13 murders so far in January and no adequate response ...

“Dara” reaches out for help – Seeks help to make 6th Food Drive successful
Community activist Joel “Dara” Robinson has launched an appeal for support and assistance, in advance of his first charity event for the year. On Sunday February 10th, Dara will hold the 11th Annual Tribute to Bob Marley, ...

Life Without a Plan
I remember being sent by my mom to a corner shop and as I was skipping along, minding my own business, when I was attacked by a stray ‘pat-licka’ dog. I ran with all my might but realized I was too slow for the four-footed beast. I resorted to hurling ...

Energy Saving Tips
With the ever-increasing cost of living in Belize, and most recently, the crippling, Government-approved raise in BEL fees and rates, more and more Belizeans are looking at ways to save money. One way Belizeans can offset the increased electricity rates is by practising Energy Saving Tips. Over the next few ...

In my perspective – We are winners!
by Rayford Young In life there are people we all would love to meet and spend a day with. For me one such person is Mr. Nelson Mandela. Here’s a man that spent half of his adult life in jail because he spoke out about injustice and racism towards his people ...

If I were negotiating on behalf of teachers & public servants
by Richard Harrison …I would put the following things on the table. Firstly, push for progress in the process to transition away from personal income tax and towards consumption recommending a lower, broader-based GST (10% across the board)...and personal income tax rate of 10% on incomes over $18,000 per annum...with provisions ...

Concerns about “development” in Consejo Village
Dear Sir, I am writing this letter because I am concerned about the future of my country when I see what is happening with Canadian citizens coming to the Consejo Village area. I do not understand why these people are allowed to work and make money without having the right to do ...

A Place Without Justice – The Case of Natalie Coleman
News reporting of cases in the courts of Belize is at times bogus. Wittingly or unwittingly, at times stuff is reported in the media which is inaccurate or stretches of imagination. Such news reporting naturally incense and “hype up” the populace because of what is perceived by them ...

Stop the corruption – Pay the teachers!
The teachers of the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) are right. They are underpaid by international standards. The government owes them and they must be paid. If not, they should strike. This is yet another opportunity to force the Prime Minister to eat a heavy dose of ...

Finnegan calls money for Gangs “chump change”
UDP Housing Minister Michael Finnegan has defended the Barrow Administration’s spending on gang members. According to him, the millions which the Government spent on gang members to keep a fragile peace truce going is “chump change”. The Government of Belize has not fully disclosed how much money ...

House of Rep. Mace bearer shows no respect
While the Belize City Council is preparing to impose new laws and penalties to force pedestrians to use the overpass at the Phillip Goldson entrance, there is a great need for the elected body to enforce ...

PUP congratulates teachers
The People’s United Party congratulates the teachers of Belize on their successful demonstration which took place on Tuesday the 29th of January, 2013. The demonstration was respectful and peaceful, yet a powerful show of people power and unity. The People’s United Party (PUP) stands in solidarity with all teachers, ...

Dolores – Always with the People!
Belize Rural Central Area Representative Dolores Balderamos Garcia continues her outreach within her constituency. On December 12, 2012 Dolores ...

San Pedro resident fatally stabbed in nightclub
San Pedro Police officials are investigating the case of a vicious stabbing that occurred inside a nightclub on the island in the early morning hours of Saturday, January ...

Who let the dogs out?
Dear Editor, In all forms of government and particularly in democracies the State holds a monopoly on the use of force. The right to use deadly force is afforded to ordinary citizens in a very narrow set of circumstances such as self defence and the defence of one’s property. Since it ...

No excuses, give the teachers what they deserve!
Dear Editor, Recently, I read some comments/blogs written by some individuals who apparently do not understand that the jewel is currently experiencing a very serious leadership crisis. We have leaders with no representation of the populace. A classic example is the current state of affairs of the educational system. It is ...


A Tale of Five Cities: San Cristobal Dining (Part 2)
For our third and final night in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, we decided to go for broke and hit happy hour before going to the restaurant we'd decided on for dinner. Woo-hoo! As we were walking around checking our options, this sign touting two for one margaritas for $70 MX (approximately $5.60 US) lured us right into Ay Dolores! for a couple of drinks and appetizers before dinner. We tried the tamarindo margaritas, which were excellent. Here's one of my favorite photos of the whole trip, which you'll recognize if we're Facebook friends. To accompany our drinks, we ordered some of their delicious guacamole, fried cheese, and quesadillas. I loved that the guac was made with red onion and lots of cilantro and have since modified my own recipe likewise.

Island webcam temporary new location
It’s official Cowboy Doug and I took over Storm Chaser’s webcam as he and his lovely wife Theresa are m0vng stateside. Todd and I tried to get it set up on the roof at Banana Beach Resort Wednesday afternoon for a lovely sea view. Due to the distance from the office and having to go 3 stories up and to the front of the building, we discovered to make it work we need a wireless transmitter. Since we could not just run out to Best buy or Radio Shack and pick one up, Todd is helping us figure out what will work best and sending me links of what we need to buy and get brought to Belize to make it work. For now taco cam is showing a lagoon / canal view on the island and you will see planes flying by off and on all day. Yesterday I watched our wonderful garbage-men doing routine pickup and helping keep the island clean. My TGIF moment for today is heading to the south end of the island with a few friends for a tour of Marco Gonzalez Maya ruins with Jan Brown.

Breaking the Law
Grey skies for most of the day with occasional showers didn’t augur well for work on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize but given that I can do nothing to influence the weather I had a relaxing time reading the Saturday edition of The Times, a couple cups of coffee and a breakfast of two fried eggs on toast. This filled up the time nicely until the Arsenal game versus Stoke City came on TV at 9 am. I would like to report that I had a thoroughly enjoyable time watching the game but I can’t. Arsenal didn’t play scintillating football and Stoke were as resolute and dour as usual. We got the three points though – courtesy of a deflected free kick by Podolski – and our new full back Nacho Monreal had a promising first game. Pleased with the result I decided to pop down to the Police Station to see if our Criminal Record Reports had arrived from Belmopan (the capital of Belize). When I got there I asked for PC Cho and when he came from his office I sensed from the smile on his face that our ‘Reports were available. I was right because after handing over the receipts for the application fees (BZ$12 each) he gave me two ‘Reports. One for Rose and one for me.

All of the Lights
Back to normal this morning and on the veranda with my coffee just before 5 am reading The Times to be disappointed, but not overly surprised, to read that Arsenal hadn’t splurged massively in the transfer market on the final day of the transfer window. Only the purchase of a full back from Spain. It should mean though that we never have to play Andre ‘who ate all the pies’ Santos again. So it could have been worse. Time to get a monthly Bridge Pass from the Transport Department in town this morning and it seemed criminal not to stop off first for breakfast at Estel’s. Wouldn’t want be a criminal would I? Might prevent a successful application for the QRP(Qualified Retirement Program)! When I got back home Rose and I knuckled down to study the plans to determine what lighting, ceiling fans and light switch placement we want for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. We worked through the plans on a floor by floor, room to room basis making notes as we went along. Using this approach we feel quietly confident that we have identified the type and placement for all of the lights for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Leaf Cutter Ants Harvesting Cashew Leaves at Lower Dover
These Leaf cutter Ants were caught red legged with our cashew leaves the other day! We had to get a camera before spraying our organic poison on them. In a spray bottle mix dish soap, dirt from the ant nest, and water around the base of the tree and on the leaves. This does the trick 90% of the time. Supposedly there is a Maya prayer for the other 10 percent? We have to learn that one!

International Sources

Whale Vomit (Ambergris) Could Spell Fortune for Briton: Video
Ambergris, the more savoury term for whale vomit, has been used in perfumes for centuries and appears in the classic American novel Moby Dick. Now this rare substance, produced only by sperm whales, could make one British beachcomber a lot of money. Al Jazeera's Gerald Tan explains.

Sun writer has to see it to Belize it
Follow Sun Media national online editor Jenny Potter as she explores underground rivers, meets exotic wildlife and tries her hand at sea kayaking in Belize. This month, she'll be travelling off the beaten path with Island Expeditions and writing about her adventures along the way. Belize is steeped in Mayan history and culture as well as packed with lush tropical rain forests filled with wildlife. In her first few days, Jenny will meet face-to-face with the elusive jaguar with the help of a cat rescue program. The largest cat in the western hemisphere, the jaguar populations have dwindled due to deforestation and hunting. Belize is attempting to rescue and preserve the animals who are known to go after livestock.

Taza Chocolate of Somerville prepares for Chocolate Week trip to Belize
This March, Somerville-based Taza Chocolate brings the know-where-your-food-comes-from movement to a new level by inviting chocolate lovers on a cocoa adventure in Belize. Taza’s fourth annual Chocolate Week offers participants a firsthand look into the origin of cacao—the fruit from which cocoa beans are harvested— its history and creation into the final chocolate product. Alex Whitmore, co-founder of Taza Chocolate, said this trip is a way for Taza to bridge the gap between chocolate and its consumer. “Our company is a very mission-driven organization,” Whitmore said. “We’re big fans of know-where-your-food-comes-from and local food, but chocolate is one of those things you can’t really source locally.” For this reason, Taza offers consumers the opportunity to travel to the food. Taza has stake ownership in Maya Mountain Cacao, the farm Chocolate Week visitors will visit during their stay. Whitmore said Taza works directly with Belizean farmers, and that the trip is a great opportunity for chocolate consumers to meet the people who grow the beans.

War On Drugs Draws Canadian Military Focus In Central America
The Harper government’s new focus on the Americas means a dramatic change of effort for the Canadian Forces and an overt participation in the U.S. war on drugs. The commander of Canada’s operational forces, Lt.-Gen. Stuart Beare, says Canada is now focusing new efforts on Central America and the Caribbean. In an exclusive interview with CBC News, Beare said Canada was active in attempts to sever the Central American drug artery pumping narcotics northwards into the United States and Canada. “We’re partnered with our U.S. partners in the counter-narcotic effort on the southern flank, in Central and South America, as the flow goes north,” Beare revealed. For years, Canada has participated in naval operations in the Caribbean Sea designed to thwart narcotics-smuggling efforts. Canada has also provided specialized radar and reconnaissance patrol aircraft to that fight. But Beare suggests much more is being done in the region now than ever before.

5 don't-miss spots in Belize
Protected rainforests, Maya ruins, Caribbean beaches and the longest barrier reef in the western hemisphere. Add English as the official language and the widely accepted U.S. dollar, and you can get a great vacation on easy mode in Belize. Still, with so much to do, it can become a lot of work to fit it all in. Travelzoo editor Andrew Young recommends taking on just a little bit of this country in the heart of Central America at a time, and offers this list of his five top spots to get you started. The Blue Hole, Ambergris Caye, Maya ruins of Lamanai, Caves Branch River tubing, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

New World Oil & Gas: City analysts say sell-off is 'overdone'
City analysts believe investors have overreacted to New World Oil & Gas’s (LON:NEW) well result in Belize, and the 45% drop in the share price is ‘overdone’. It was revealed this morning that the Blue Creek 2A ST well had been plugged and abandoned because insufficient quantities of moveable hydrocarbons were found. The company stressed, however, that the well confirmed that an active hydrocarbon system exists, and live oil shows were measured in the Y3 and Hillbank formations. It also says extensive residual oil was present, along with high saturations of formation water. On AIM, New World shares fell heavily, losing as much as half their value in early deals. But, speaking with Proactive Investors, Seymour Pierce analyst Sam Wahab said the share price fall was too much. “Given how bad 2012 was for a lot of exploration stocks, investors can get be spooked by 'dry' wells.”

Calgary man who died in Belize jail cell slipped and fell while drunk, police claim
An investigation is underway in the Central American country of Belize to determine how a 35-year-old Canadian man died in police custody over the weekend. A statement from San Ignacio Police says Jeffrey Furgala, who is reported to be from Calgary, was detained in the Savannah area of the town Saturday night for public intoxication. Police say he was unable to give an address of where he was staying, so was taken into custody “for his own safety.” The statement says officers found Furgala unconscious in his cell next morning with blood in his nose. Furgala was transported to a community hospital, then to another hospital for surgery, but was pronounced dead on Tuesday. The commissioner of police has since launched an investigation into the events surrounding his death. But the website quotes a police official as saying Furgala caused his own death when he slipped and fell due to drunkenness.

New World Comes Up Dry at Blue Creek
New World Oil & Gas announced Friday that its Blue Creek No.2A side track well in the Petén Basin in northwest Belize has come up dry after the firm drilled to a measured depth of 11,650 feet Jan. 27. The firm said that, after careful analysis, it was determined that insufficient commercial quantities of hydrocarbons were present to merit running casing and well-testing operations. As a result, New World has decided to plug and abandon the well. New World pointed out that data has shown that a live hydrocarbon system does exist in the area and that live oil shows were seen in formations during the drill. Technical data garnered from both the No. 2A side track and the Blue Creek No. 2 wells will now be used during the drilling of the company's next well: the Rio Bravo Well No.1 in the West Gallon Jug. The drilling of the Rio Bravo No. 1 well is expected to begin during the first quarter of this year.

Incentive Destinations: 9 Ways to Explore the Belize Rainforest
As lush rainforest or subtropical jungle cover 78% of the country, incredible rainforest adventures await you in Belize, just 3 hours from New York and 4 hours from Toronto. Under the Tropical Forest Conservation Act, a 2001 agreement with the U.S. Government has preserved the picturesque landscape, secluded beaches, limestone caves and lagoons of the 23,000-acre Maya Mountain Marine Corridor. Toucans (Belize's national bird), macaws, peccaries, howler monkeys, spider monkeys and jaguars have been protected. Here are 9 ways to explore the rainforest. Camping Mountain Biking Cave Tubing: Floating along a river that winds through caves and rainforest on an inner tube is one of the most unique ways to view the Caves Branch Nohuch Che’en Reserve Cave Canoeing and Kayaking Jungle Horse Riding: An adventure starting at Belize Jungle Dome takes riders along riverside trails in the jungle, through teak plantations and Abseiling: One of the most memorable abseiling adventures in the Americas is at Actun Loch Tunich sink hole (Black Hole Drop). Caving: Great places for caving include Actun Tunichil Mucnal, dubbed one of the top 10 caves in the world by National Geographic and Barton Creek Cave, which was a Mayan burial site. You'll travel there by canoe. Zipline Canopy Tour Moonlight Jaguar Quest: Near Blancaneaux Lodge, you will set out with guides in search of jaguars in their natural habitat.

February 1, 2013


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The San Pedro Sun

My Beautiful Belize Visitor Guide
We are delighted beyond words to share with you, dear friends and fans our NEW travel website and monthly publication...My Beautiful Belize! So much more to are invited to take the journey with us and discover beautiful Belize!

Saga Says: It’s Hip to Snip!
05 Hip to SnipStray dogs have been a hot topic for the Saga Humane Society (Saga) and The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) for quite a few years. Visitors and residents alike often complain about the problem of roaming strays who defecate in public areas, spread garbage on the streets and are sickly and/or aggressive. In some areas, even driving or riding a bike becomes treacherous as drivers are attacked by these unkempt animals. The constant danger of disease from dog bites or their waste is at the forefront of the minds of many who encounter them on a daily bases. In early 2012, the SPTC went with the standard, yet controversial method of eliminating stray dogs via strychnine poisoning. Many pet owners and animal lovers joined Saga in decrying the method of stray elimination, labeling the method as inhumane. With the controversy that arose, Saga began working with SPTC to do the more humane “Dog Roundup Program”. The program was designed to pickup stray dogs from the streets and take them to the Saga shelter. The animals could either be re-claimed by their owner (after paying a fine) or adopted to good homes, or if no claims or adoption came through, they would be humanely euthanized. The enforcers of the program knew that it would not completely eradicate the problem, but it provided a more humane way to treat the issue of strays without having the animal suffer a painful death due to poisoning. A total of 180 dogs were taken off the street during the 2012 dog round up program. However, the Dog Round Up program is not a solution to the stray population; it was only to alleviate the problem at the time. That is why Saga has come up with a new project this year to tackle the problem at the source.

“San Mateo is a very difficult area to provide suitable water to… there are significant risks that remain,” claims EWB
Earlier in January, a group of volunteers from the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) were at the San Mateo Subdivision in San Pedro Town conducting a series of tests. The two main tests conducted were soil tests and a community health assessment of the area. The information gathered from the soil test will look at the feasibility of installing passive sewage treatment systems. On the other hand, the information gathered in the community health assessment provides a picture of the community’s health, as well as an indication of current and potential problems. Engineers Without Borders-6 The gathering of information says John Fripp of Engineers Without Borders, “provides a guide to possible solutions.” Fripp explained that health assessments take into consideration a series of factors that are divided into three categories: 1-water quality measurements 2-measures of basic human health and 3- assessment of community infrastructure. “We are unable to sample every household so we tried to look at a distribution of houses. The people of San Mateo were very gracious in answering questions and welcoming us into their homes,” he explained. According to Fripp, as part of the health assessment the team measured body mass index, blood pressure and interviewed household members about their past medical history, noting whether or not anyone had visited the clinic in the past year due to water related incidents. “No one reported going to the hospital due to water contamination. The team did however note rashes on some residents, mostly on children. Chances are the rashes are related to direct contact with contaminated water. A few households reported having diarrhea that they believe to be water related,” Fripp pointed out.

Ambergris Today

Miss Costa Maya 2011 Music Debut

Teen Talk: Teasing
If someone is teasing you because of jealousy then you shouldn’t make that bring you down; it should make you happy because you have something he wants. If this person wants to bring you down because he/she hates you for some particular reason, then there are 2 options for you. You can simply ignore that person or face him. If you have done something wrong, then you apologize. If there is no malice on your part, then you need to confront the person seriously. Now if this person does not really have a reason why he/she teases you then don’t let that bother you because chances are that if he is trying to find the faults in you, he probably has faults ten times bigger than yours.

Misc Belizean Sources

The Devil: Video

VIDEO: Blue Hole Sharks
Diving the Blue Hole with sharks

Cheese Making in Belize
They had their first cheese making workshop at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch. The pictures tell a funny story. "So much fun had by all in our first ever, International Cheese Making Workshop at Caves Branch. Attendees from Bolivia, Belize, US and Canada were on hand for our first class."

Fashion Show Red Carpet
Capture Photography has released pictures from the entry to Rebecca Stirm's Runway Release Autumn/Winter 2013 fashion show. "The fashionable who came out to see Rebecca Marie's fashion show January 26th."

SHC Starts New Auditorium
Sacred Heart College has started on their new auditorium. It should be done in time to have the graduations for the college and junior college. Can't wait to see the finished project.

UB's Commencement Exercises
The University of Belize had 480 happy graduates Saturday at its 16th commencement exercises. Congratulations to all the new graduates! "The University of Belize held its Sixteenth Commencement Exercises on Saturday January 26, for students, who successfully completed their course of study at the University’s Central Campus, Belmopan. The graduates received their diplomas at the Associate, Bachelor, Certificate and Diploma levels. Of the total number of 480 graduates 330 were females and 150 males representing 68.75 and 31.25 per cent of the total graduates respectively."

Channel 7

Castellanos, Key Union Negotiator Reportedly Bails On Negotiations
Tomorrow morning the Unions' negotiating team will meet with the Prime Minister in the Cabinet Room in Belmopan. The buildup to the meeting has framed it as a pivotal event, which could determine whether the next few weeks will see strike action or an orderly resolution. And while the stakes are very high, reports say that the union is going into the meeting without an important member of their team: numbers guru Jose Castellanos, President of the APSSM. Immediate Past President, George Myvette told us this evening that Castellanos has submitted his resignation from the collective bargaining negotiating team and he will not be a part of the team when they meet tomorrow. But te odd part is that Myvett told us he hasn't been able to reach Casteallnos and has not seen any letter formalizing the resignation. Myvette told us Castellanos sent it to the Prime Minister's Office, but we could not confirm that - and senior sources in that office deny it. So, what's behind the resignation? And is it really a resignation? Well, we'll have to take Myvett's word - he is, after all, the past president. But as to what's behind it, Myvette would only hazard a guess that it may be because of intimidation. He had not gotten that from Castellanos though - as he has gone incommunicado with his union brothers. Castellanos works in the policy section of the Ministry of Agriculture. We don't need to underscore it, but his absence is considered critical since tomorrow's meeting will center on the state of the government's finances - and whether it can or can't afford a raise - and as the economist Castellanos would have been central to that discussion. We'll see how it goes and have that report tomorrow night. But Minister of National security John Saldivar is making news about unions tonight. Last week he was accused of an attempt at union busting - and this morning on WAVE Radio - where - out-spoken-ness is encouraged - he said plainly, he won't stop:..

Man Killed As He Crashes Into Unlit Trailer
A man died in a fatal traffic accident last night on the northern highway between miles 76 and 77. At 9:00 pm, 56 year old Marcelo Riverol was driving a Ford Escape when he crashed into a towhead's trailer that was being reversed into a feeder road. The mini-SUV ran under the trailer and was crushed beneath. Riverol - a resident of Corozal town - received massive injuries and died on the spot. The driver of the tow head has been served with a notice of intended prosecution. The trailer was fully across the road and did not have any reflectors - so it's safe to assume Riverol did not see it. The head did have lights, but that was off the road. No one was killed in another accident - this one happened early this morning in Camalote village where this SUV ran into a building - and half of it is a church. Well, the SUV took out the church section, knocking out some of the posts for the church and a few tables -= and then proceeding to roll over a few times. Reports are that the driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

High Times At High School
Tonight six students from Orange Walk Technical High School are in police custody after they were caught selling weed on the school compound. Reports are sketchy but they say that police visited the compound today and found the students - all minors in possession of marijuana. Some of the weed - 9.8 was bagged off to sell, and some of it was loose, and that is reported to be a much larger quantity. One of the accused is a female who ran from police - and had to be chased down before she was caught. She was reportedly purchasing when the police arrived. Only three are in custody tonight - as three of the young men have been released. It's has similarities to a story police are reporting in Toledo where an 18 year old student, Mario Baki of Big Falls Village was searched and police found a 24 grammes of cannabis was found in his tennis shoe. Baki was charged for Drug Trafficking.

Bogus Hospital Pretends to Be In Belmopan
The Belize Healthcare Center - looking at the spectacular images on its website, you'll probably be asking where is it? And indeed it looks out of this world because it is! The Healthcare Center says it is on Floral Park Road in Belmopan but when we checked the map on the hospital website - that address is for the US Embassy - and there's no hospital there! But it is an elaborate scam - the website has all kinds of confidence inspiring pictures - and we would wish they are real, but it's all bogus! And so what's behind all those pretty pictures? Well, it's an employment scam. The hospital recruits workers, promises them a salary of four thousand US dollars a month - but advises them that they have to pay for processing the form - which is where the scam comes in. Anyone who gets such a mail is advised to ignore it completely.

Two Men Jailed For Sex With 13 Year Old
22 year-old Ryan Alvarez, and 23 year Enfield Fitzgibbon are is prison after a 13 year-old female minor accused them of committing sexual offences against her. Police say that they were acting on information, where they went to a house at #676 South Creek Road on Tuesday at around 8:30 a.m., and they found both Alvarez and Fitzgibbon inside a room with the minor. The minor was taken to a doctor who examined her and certified that she was carnally known. As a result, Alvarez was charged with carnal knowledge, and Fitzgibbon was charged with aggravated assault of an incident nature. They were arraigned before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith, who remanded them to prison until March 20, their next court date.

Confession Thrown Out, But Rhys Trial Proceeds
All this week, 7News has been following the murder trial of Nicholi Rhys, who is standing trial without jury for the murder of Andre Trapp in June of 2010. Today, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, called 3 witnesses to testify against Rhys, which included the officer who caught Rhys on the scene, and who claimed to have gotten an alleged confession statement. As we told you yesterday, that confession statement was thrown out by the Chief Justice. That officer was allowed to finish up his testimony today, along with the arresting officer, and Dr. Mario Estradabran, who certified the death to be as a consequence of gunshot wounds. The DDP's has now called 10 witnesses so far, and tomorrow, the court will move to the scene of the crime, and where Trapp's body was discovered. It will not be a very far move, because as we told you, it happened right in front of the Magistrate's Court.

Bradley To San Benito, Guatemala
Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley and a contingent form the council have returned from a 5 day, three city tour of Guatemala. He went to Melchor de Mencos, San Benito and Almolunga. He told us today that their business was in San Benito where they hope to forge important ties:.. Mayor Darrell Bradley "What we mean to do is exchange formal relations by way if a sister city agreement with the city of San Benito. If you are familiar with that area; its San Benito, Peten and Santa Elena. This is a hour and a half from our border right near to Belie closer than Chetumal. What we want to do is we want to establish trade relations with them and we would want to see how we could cooperate in the areas of culture and sports and economic development, so that we promote Belize and San Benito." "One of the things that were enlightening to me is how much similarities we have with the people of San Benito. When we were there it was the 140th Anniversary of the city and they actually read a declaration to say that San Benito was founded by Belizeans and our Deputy Mayor Dion Leslie - his grandmother is from San Benito and if you would recall the Mayor of San Benito has shared how she spent 15 `years of her life in Belize and she have two sisters that still resides in Belize."

Will Mayor Charge Jaywalkers?
And while we had the mayor we asked him whether pedestrians who jump the new barrier on the first one hundred yards of the northern highway will be charged for jaywalking. That's what we heard form the City's public relations officer last ngith when he said a Statutory instrument was being drafted to make jumping the barrier illegal. They mayor says it is a problem - but they are not going so far - not yet at least. Mayor Darrell Bradley "Of course we have to put in measures if we realize that - that's a serious problem - persons jumping over the barricade or being unruly, then legislation will be there to ensure that we can ticket them - we can arrest them. That is not our primary focus at this point, the primary focus is just on a ease traffic management and we feel that the barricade is sufficient at this point." Marion Ali, reporter "When you deal with the ticketing process, won't it create a bottleneck in terms of getting all these people dealt with and on a timely manner?" Mayor Darrell Bradley "At this present moment there is no plan to ticket pedestrians. There is no plan on the ground where we are looking at a draft SI or where we are looking at anything like that."

Call Center Sector Targetted For Growth
And while the mayor is focusing on the city streets, BELTRAIDE is zoning in on the Business Process Outsourcing Sector - or what you and I know as call centers. That was featured on the cover of their invest in Belize magazine, and it is the focus of a consultant who's coming up with a BPO Strategy for Belize. A workshop discussing that was held today at the House of Culture in Belize City. Nick Ruiz of BELTRAIDE says the idea is to come up with a road map for BPO sector growth:.. Nicholas Ruiz - Executive Director - BELTRAIDE "The consultant is telling us that approximately the BPO sector contributes about 2% of GDP. It has over 17% million US dollars in revenue just in 2011. We are forecasting that in 2015 it will grow from the current 1,800 employees to 3,000 employees. It has seen a 10% growth from last year, so we knew it was growing - it's a vibrant sector. We need to make sure that everybody knows what's going on and how they can participate." "The consultancy lays out some of the current situations, some of the weaknesses that we have and where we need to improve - it's far ranging. It talks about revamping our labor laws to tailor them to this sector. The investments that need to occur in education, more training that needs to happen at the technical school levels; University levels; specifically tailored to the BPO sector."

Profile Of A Fashionista With Humble Beginnings
On Monday, we showed you Rebecca Stirm's breakout fashion show which happened on Saturday at the Princess. Seeing her stylish designs, you might think that she's been to the fashion capitals of New York and Paris. But actually Rebecca grew up without cable or internet - and more than that, she was home schooled. And that's where her talent came from: finding things to do other than watching TV all day - and from having to sew her own cool clothes. It's a quite incredible story - and she shares it in tonight's I am Belize profile

Briheda's Bold Leap Forward
And while Rebecca Stirm has made international waves with her talent for fashion, that's the same thing another talented young woman, Briheda Haylock is trying to do with art. Haylock was featured in the sensational and irreverent show Society Killed The Teenager - which was held recently at the Image Factory. And while we are still recovering from that, she has reloaded with another fearless leap into the unknown. She told us about her bold new show: Megalomania:.. Briheda Haylock - artist "I was just decompressing from a "Society killed the Teenager" I was starting to read again and the books, they were like philosophy books - they were talking a lot of about Sigmund Freud's theories; the id, the ego and the superego and the unconscious mind and it really sparked my interest. I didn't know it at the time when I started painted again that that was my inspiration. When I actually sat back and look at what I did. The thing is I don't plan anything, I do it, it just happens and when I realize I've created a theme I will stay on that theme but I won't limit myself just to that one style."

Berne Snags Another Movie Role
And while those young women are making their name, the next not-so-young man we're going to tell you about, has already made his - and now he's building on his brand. Who else could we be talking about? The multi-talented Berne: he raps, he acts, he shamelessly self-promotes, and he'll take off his shirt at the drop of a hat. He's acting in a new movie being filmed in Belize called Poseidon Wrecks. It's the 4th movie in which he plays a major role - and we spoke with him today, as he was finishing up one of his scenes on a private pier on the northern highway. As usual, he was full of his trademark energy - and he even got one of his American co-star's to do some promotion for him:.. Berne Velasquez, Actor "It was a lot of excitement with Berne. We just got through shooting a big scene and now we are now getting ready to I guess to the next scene. I can see the whole case back there gearing up; cameras getting ready to go on a boat and we probably will be doing another scene in a few."

Channel 5

Minister intends to union bust the country
The ministerial committee comprising Patrick Faber, Godwin Hulse, and Charles Gibson will join Prime Minister Dean Barrow with the leaders of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize this Friday morning following Tuesday’s massive protest. On the table is the collective bargaining agreement and specifically salary adjustments that the teachers have been clamoring for since [...]

Union Rep. Castellanos out of negotiation
  Back to Friday’s meeting between the Prime Minister and the unions and on the heels of Minister Saldivar’s comments on his proposed meeting with teachers countrywide. There is word tonight that the outspoken and highly respected economist, Jose Castellanos, who is the President of the APSSM, has removed himself from the scheduled meeting with [...]

Driver’s fatal crash into trailer across highway
A horrific accident occurred on the Philip Goldson Highway after nine o’clock on Wednesday night. A Corozal resident was killed instantly when his SUV crashed into a fifty-three foot trailer that was reversing from the highway into a feeder road in the village of Conception. Marcelo “Chelo” Riverol, was driving back to his house alone [...]

Student’s serious injury in highway accident
There was a second accident…it happened hours later, but on the George Price Highway. At about four this morning, an SUV vehicle driven by Leo Delvalle crashed into a church in the village of Teakettle. Travelling along with Delvalle were Janine Wade, Jamie Stanley and Danielle Quan. The group was heading from San Ignacio to [...]

Government removes N.T.U.C.B. leaders from Social Security Board
  There is significant news emerging of union representation on the boards of Social Security and B.E.L. News Five has been able to confirm that President, Dylan Reneau, and General Secretary, Elena Smith, have been removed from their positions on the board of Social Security, where they represented the social sector for years. The unions [...]

Body found in shallow grave
A body was found in a shallow grave this afternoon between miles eleven and twelve on the George Price Highway. Police processed the scene and the remains are yet to be identified. But from what we know, the identifying marks on the body are the letters J.A. and a tattoo in the shape of a [...]

DNA now tested in Belize
If you’re a fan of popular television shows like CSI, Criminal Minds or Law and Order, then you probably know all about DNA—or at least, you know that Police can use DNA to solve all manner of serious crimes. If you’ve never watched those shows, but you like the daytime drama of Maury or Jerry [...]

Busted identity fraud while Immigration upgrades policies
A week ago a woman with two aliases was busted in Independence Village in the south. Reports are that Jessica Olivencia obtained a fraudulent birth certificate in the name of Jessica Molina. She allegedly used the certificate to also obtain a Social Security card in the name of Jessica Molina. The police department has not [...]

City Hall and Ministry clash on regulations
Politics in Belize – anyone can tell you it’s not an undertaking for the faint of heart or the weak of mind. In fact it’s always complicated and very often confusing, and our next report illustrates that perfectly. The issue of drivers’ licenses being withheld by the Belize City Council for tax arrears! Government says [...]

Trapp Murder case slipping; statement inadmissible
  On January twenty-ninth, the first murder trial without jury got underway on Tuesday; twenty-two year old Nicholi Rhys is being accused of the murder of reputed gangster Andre Trapp, which took place on June tenth, 2010. When the trial resumed, Special Constable Charles Usher took the stand in what was to be critical evidence [...]

Did Eaton take Carr’s camera?
  A Maskall resident is facing a charge of theft after his friend’s camera went missing. Eaton Carr appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith this morning and was read a single charge of theft. On January ninth, someone stole a nine hundred dollar camera from Herman Miranda. Miranda alleges that he was watching television [...]

Pedestrians don’t walk into vehicular traffic
With the traffic congestion and inconvenience caused by the Belize City Council’s ongoing street rehabilitation project, any street or section of road completed and opened is cause for rejoicing. At the height of the Christmas season, the stretch of the Phillip Goldson Highway in front of the popular toy store A&R was closed to traffic [...]

Sister City relationships with Guate who?
In October Belizeans will go to a referendum to decide if the nation will go to the ICJ to answer a claim by Guatemala. That claim is for roughly half of Belize. If you’re visualizing a map of the country right now, draw a line though Belmopan from one side to the next. Everything below [...]

Harmonyville to Minister: show me land titles
Harmonyville, the grassroots community that initially began by Belmopan residents who wanted to cut out their piece of the Belizean dream, has been going at a steady pace. But one of the developers of the land at mile forty-one on the George Price Highway says that the process for many of the future residents of [...]

Megalomania dripped on canvas at the Image Factory
The Image Factory opens with its first exhibit this Friday night.  Briheda Haylock is returning to the art scene with her second show called Megalomania, which portrays her own emotions as well those from other teenagers.   Briheda Haylock, Artist “The meaning of megalomania is a psychotic disorder—the delusion of power; meaning you are a [...]

Another manatee fatality caused by mariner
The Sea to Shore alliance and the Coastal Zone Institute of Management and Authority have recorded its second manatee death for 2013. The adult mammal was initially rescued in Vista Del Mar in August 2012. With the help of BATSUB and the Belize Coastguard, two manatees were transported to a rehabilitation facility in Sarteneja, Corozal. [...]

Healthy Living prevents the flu
It starts with a sniffle, then possibly a sneeze, by the time the runny nose, sore throat, cough and aches set in; you don’t need a doctor to tell you that you’ve become the victim of the most common viral infections worldwide: the Flu.  Belize’s Flu season is said to start in October and run [...]


Catholic Church Promotes Peace Walk To Start Tomorrow
With so many ailments the country of Belize is facing, a three hundred mile peace walk will kick off tomorrow as an initiative of the Roman Catholic Church to promote Culture of Peace in the country. Auxilliary Bishop to the Roman Catholic Church,Christopher Glancy explained why ...

Two More Cases of Carnal Knowledge Reported
Two other cases of carnal knowledge have been reported, this time in the Corozal district. On Tuesday evening, a fourteen year old girl accompanied by her mother, went to the police station to report that earlier this month, she had been having sexual intercourse with a man since...

High School Student Removed From School For Marijuana Possession
A high school student from the Toledo district was taken out of classes on Wednesday afternoon and handed over to the police. Eighteen year old Mario Baki, who attends the Toledo Community College was found in possession of a small quantity of marijuana inside of his tennis shoes...

Belize Participates In Genetic Data Study
Belize is participating in a population genetic data study. The exercise is being carried out by the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. The ground work for the study started today with the collection of samples from random peop...

Belizean Artist Stars In Sci Fi Movie
He is one of Belize’s most prolific artists. And today Berne Velasquez continues to blaze a path to stardom that few other local talents have approached with as much energy and excitement. Velasquez is starring in the latest motion picture being filmed on location in Belize...

Traffic Accident Leaves Several Injured
Acting upon information received of a traffic accident on Thursday January 31 at 4:05 a.m. Belmopan Police visited between miles 50 and 51 on the George Price highway. Upon arrival a grey Chevy Equinox four door 2005 SUV was seen off the highway extensively damaged. Initial...

Beltraide Holds Consultancy Workshop on BPO Industry
Belize Trade and Investment Development Service, BELTRAIDE today held a consultancy workshop. According to Executive Director, Nicholas Ruiz, the concentration is on the Business Process Outsourcing or BPO industry. Mario Umaña from the Integration Trade Sector of the ...

Duo Charged With Carnal Knowledge On A Thirteen Year Old
Two men have been charged with committing sexual offences on a 13 year old girl. They are 22 year old Ryan Alvarez and 23 year old Enfield Fitzgibbon. Alvarez was charged with carnal knowledge while Fitzgibbon was charged with aggravated assault of an indecent nature. They were arraign...


Belize Is Placed On The International Map As One of the Top Notch Tourist Destinations
Belize has been featured in many magazines in the past recent months and it’s slated to be featured in the February 2013 issue of the United Airlines in-flight magazine titled Hemispheres. Belize was chosen for the “Three Perfect Days” article in which it captures the full authentic Belizean experience. The twelve page spread features a myriad of adventures and gives readers a peak at just what sets Belize apart as an ideal tourist destination. Day One in the article begins at the Blancaneaux Lodge in the Cayo District, and later takes readers into Rio Frio Cave and then on to discover the mysteries of Caracol. “Day Two” journeys along the scenic George Price and Hummingbird Highways to Placencia and is complemented with a stop at the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. The perfect drive is capped off with dinner at a popular local diner, Wendy’s Restaurant. To retire for the night, the writers Joe Keohane and Al Argueta, receive some much needed ‘R and R’ at The Inn at Robert’s Grove. For the final day, day three, the writers take the readers to an underwater snorkeling adventure in the pristine and unspoiled Belizean waters. The final night winds down with dinner at renowned RumFish Y Vino, topped off with drinks, music, and a game at Yoli’s.

Canada To Assist Belize In Combating Drug Related Activities
A press release issued out by the Canadian Government today says that the spillover from Mexico’s violent drug war is prompting the Canadian Government and military to become more involved in helping defend Belize. According to the press release, Canada is assisting Belize in the form of non-lethal equipment for security services and with strategic planning and training of soldiers. The release notes that internal documents from the Canadian Government report that from March of last year the situation in Belize is deteriorating in the face of ultra-violent drug cartels that are battling not only Mexican and U.S. law enforcements but each other as well. Both the internal Defense Department and U.S. experts on drug wars report that Belize has become an important thoroughfare for South American drug cartels. To some extent, the shift in drug routes has almost as much to do with cartels battling each other and smugglers looking for easier laneways with the least amount of law enforcement. The release notes that Belizean security forces are over matched when it comes to the kind of fire power and capacity that the drug cartels are in possession of. It further states that modernization should be a priority for the coast guard in Belize.

P.U.P Applauds Teachers For Their Brave Move
Last night we showed you the thousadns of teachers that gathered on Independece Hill to vetn their furstration at the ruling United Democratic Government. The Belize National Teachers Union along with Public Officers and the Association of Public Senior Service Managers are asking for a salary adjustment but the Prime minister, Dean Barrow and Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, have both said that there is no money to meet the unions’ demands. But in yesterday’s peaceful protest people power spoke and it was very loud and clear: the teachers and other unions are bent on getting their salary adjusted. Today the People’s United Party issued a press release congratulating the teachers on their successful demonstration. In the release, the PUP, and we quote, “stands in solidarity will all teachers, public officers and students and other hard working Belizeans who have had to grapple with unprecedented inflation and a sharp increase in the cost of living, while at the same time seeing no reciprocal adjustments to their salaries”, end quote. This afternoon we spoke to Communications Director for the Party Kareem Musa, who told us that the government needs to cease from wasting tax payers money.

Minister Of Eduction Calls U.B's Hope Amadi A liar
While the teachers wait for Friday for their negotiating team to sit with the Government of Belize in efforts to coming to an agreement, UB students don’t really have that luxury at this moment. Yesterday’s demonstration by the teachers has completely overshadowed the previous protest by the students of the University of Belize. The students were out in moderate numbers on Monday demonstrating against government’s subsistence withdrawal to the National University. During yesterday’s demonstration, Minister of Education Patrick Faber came out of Cabinet Meeting for a quick appearance and Photo-Op. After a salute of hand and smile to the massive crowd of teachers at Independence Hill, Faber was quickly surrounded by members of the media. He was quick to give an interview and in one of the questions posed to him, Faber attempted to clarify the present situation facing the students of the University of Belize. President of the Student Government Association, Hope Amadi, took upon himself the initiative to be vocal as he lead more than one hundred and fifty plus students in a campaign to restore the financial support program for new students which was terminated by the Ministry of Education after advising that it can no longer sustain the financial assistance. However, Faber discharges the comments made by Hope Amadi and his organization titled Nation Builders on the several attempts to meet with him.

Drug Operation Leads Placencia Police To Cannabis
The Special Branch and Placencia Police along with members of the Mobile Interdiction Unit and K-9 Unit conducted an anti-drug operation within the Siene Bight and Placencia Village area. During the operation the units conducted a search on a lot in Siene Bight which led them to the discovery of 24.6 grams of Hydro weed. No one was in the area at the moment and as such the drug was labelled as “found property”. Another lot was searched in Placencia Village which also led the unit to the discovery of 25.6 grams of hydro weed. In the same lot, the units found fifty eight small bags containing a total of 25.6 grams of cocaine. Again no one was around the area and the items were deposited as “found property”.

Louisiana School Receives New Musical Instruments
Many scientific researches throughout the years have proven time after time that Music in School programs have aided students improve their grades drastically. The improved IQ is attributed to the comprehension level reached by the student in order to be able to read musical notes and analysing quickly the various musical symbols. Here in Orange Walk, two schools offer Music Programs, Louisiana Government School and Trial Farm Government School. This morning, a volunteer group from the US attended a special ceremony at the Louisiana Government School in which new musical instruments were handed over to the Music Department. Reporter Elmer Cornejo and Cameraman Kenric Simpson were on hand and filed the following report. The Louisiana Government School is located on Flamboyant Street here in Orange Walk. This morning a special assembly was done at the school grounds as they received a special gift from the Asbury Church Missionaries from the US. The missionaries first travelled to Belize to host Bible School at the church just down the street. After making inquiries, the volunteers learnt of Louisiana Government School’s Music program in which a pledge was made to assist with musical instruments for the children. Pastor Harold Zimmick told us more.

Students Of Louisiana School Receive Free Dental Care
And while the Music Department was receiving those much needed musical instruments, children from all standards at the school received free dental care. As part of the group’s mission to Belize, they brought along with them Dental Hygienists in order to offer free dental care to all of the students. Elmer Cornejo and Kenric Simpson also documented this event and filed the following report. Often times it is commonly thought that getting old or major trauma are the main reasons for losing your teeth. Truth is that poor oral hygiene can cause you to lose permanent teeth at any age. If proper care of the mouth is not practiced losing your teeth may be the end result. Dr. Emily Muller- Dental Hygienist “We are trying to help children basically we really, really want to save their permanent teeth, their molars especially what we are looking at, often time the cavity starts on the biting surface of the tooth and if it gets really, really deep then the teeth has to get pulled so what we are doing is to try to identify the children that has their brand new first adult molar and see if we can put a protective coating over it called a sealant and preserve the tooth so it doesn’t get cavity, if we see that one already has a cavity we try to filled it while it is small so that the tooth can be saved. In addition to brushing really well a lot of people don’t understand that it is extremely important to floss because you can use the best brusher in the world but it doesn’t matter if it is not getting in between the teeth and getting the bacteria deposits out from in between that we see as well.”


Churches calls for community approach to crime fighting
The Belize Association of Evangelical Churches has issued a statement on the crime situation in Belize. The statement came after the Association’s quarterly meeting on Monday and started by denouncing what the churches called, quote, “the hideous quadruple murders that occurred earlier this month,” end of quote. President of the Association Pastor Eugene Crawford told Love News that the church has been praying persistently and will now be reaching out to the community. The statement from the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches says with eighty five percent of Belizeans professing to be Christians, it is time for everyone to join in the effort to take back the community. Pastor Crawford says that the family unit is at the heart of any effort that will succeed in turning things around. And he says the church is ready to help. The Association statement ends by inviting the community to join in public worshipping every second Friday of the month at the Battlefield Park in Belize City, under the theme: “Together Worship.”

Canadian in police custody dies; police officer accused of extortion
A Canadian national who was taken into police custody has died. Thirty five year old Jeffrey Furgala was reportedly found near the Visitor Centre in San Ignacio town on Saturday night under the influence of alcohol. Reports from Cayo say Furgala was escorted to the San Ignacio police station where he was processed and placed inside of a holding cell. On Sunday morning, officers found Furgala on the floor of the cell block in an unconscious state. The Canadian national was taken to the San Ignacio police station and later transported to the KHMH in Belize City where he died on Tuesday night. Officer in Charge of San Ignacio police Superintendent Ralph Moody says an investigation into the incident is revealing that Furgala fell and hit his head while in the cell block. Twenty-nine year old Clarence Grant, a fisherman of Ontario Village charged with the robbery of $300.00 from BDF Lieutenant Zane Duhaney, was sentenced to seven years today after he was found guilty of the charge. Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith, who imposed the sentence, stipulated that it should run concurrently to a sentence of 3 years and a fine of $10,000.00 Grant is serving for drug trafficking. Thirty-six year Jenny Tanner, a police officer attached to Caye Caulker Police Station, was charged with extortion when she appeared in court today. Tanner pleaded not guilty to the charge. Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith offered her a bail of $2,000.00 She stipulated that $500.00 of it must be cash. The bail was offered on the condition that Tanner must not go near the complainant and she must report to Caye Caulker Police station every Monday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Her next court date is February 28. The incident occurred on December 11, 2012 at Caye Caulker. Canadian dive master Christopher John Graham reported to the police that he was driving a golf cart that was overcrowded when Tanner stopped him and asked him for his driver’s license. Graham said that he could not produce any license and Tanner suggested that he give her $100.00 and two Margaritas and she will not charge him. Graham said he gave Tanner two $50.00 notes and took her to a restaurant nearby and bought the Margaritas for her. Tanner was with a school warden when the incident occurred.

Teachers demonstration recap
On Tuesday morning, thousands of teachers and public officers gathered in Belmopan for a massive demonstration. Love TV’s Marion Ali revisited the event today and here is here report.

Accusations of sexual harassment made against BDF soldiers
In late December Love News broke the news of a number of reports of alleged sexually-related offences made by female soldiers within the Belize Defense Force against male soldiers dating back over the past couple years. One of the alleged incidents happened only two months ago and is so serious, that entailed a female soldier that was raped, reportedly by her superior, who is said to be HIV positive. Since the incident, the female has not reported back on duty. If it is true, it’s a grave situation and when we asked him at that time, the man in charge of those complaints, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Ortega, told us that he was only aware of one case that was two years old under police investigation. With respect to the alleged rape case, he was not aware of the incident but said that the Force was trying to find out why the female soldier has not reported back to duty. Love News spoke anonymously with two female soldiers who say they were subjected to sexual harassment dating back at least a couple years. The concern they brought up is that they were not pleased with the way their cases were handled internally by the Force. One of them said she knows about the incident involving the female soldier who was allegedly raped by her superior and told us about what she knows of that case, as well as her experience. But Lieutenant Colonel Ortega told us that prior to us sharing the information with him of the alleged rape incident, he had no knowledge of it, but he did add that there is an inquiry ongoing now into that rape allegation. Another female soldier who said that she too came under sexual harassment two years ago told us that she too is not happy with how her case was also dealt with by the BDF. BDF Force Adjutant, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Ortega.

Mexican exhibition prepares for opening night
The Mexican Institute at Newton Barracks in Belize City delighted audiences with a variety of art exhibits featuring local, regional and international artists last year. Tomorrow their first exhibit for 2013 will be launched, and the latest work of Mexican artist Enrique Hernandez will be showcased. Public Relations Officer for the Mexican Embassy, Marcelino Miranda says that through the art Hernandez is in one way showing his talent and in the other, his love of Music. The exhibit will be showcased at the Institute of Mexico in Belize City for two weeks, that is until February 15th and will then move to the George Price Center for Peace and Development in Belmopan on February 21st, where it will remain open until March 8th. Entrance is free of cost.

Reality Youth plans weekend concert
The Bliss Center for the Performing Arts will come to Life on Saturday with a gospel concert. The concert entitled Our God is a Consuming Fire and the organizer is well known gospel artist, Reality Youth. Reality Youth says there will be many prizes and giveaways at the concert. The entire family is invited to attend.

BDF prepares for change of command
The Belize Defence Force is preparing to celebrate two very important milestones. This weekend, the Force will hold its annual BDF Day and that follows the change of command on Friday. Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Ortega will move up in rank to Colonel, second only to the incoming Brigadier General, David Jones, who takes over from outgoing General Dario Tapia. When we visited Price Barracks this week, Love News observed soldiers rehearsing for the two big events and Lieutenant Colonel Ortega explained that process. Meanwhile, Saturday’s event open day will feature military tattoos, raffles, and family-oriented activities.


APSSM President Castellanos resigns
On Tuesday, Belmopan saw a massage demonstration as union members converged on the steps of the National Assembly t...

Another fatal traffic accident on the Phillip Goldson Highway
A fatal road traffic accident occurred last night, shortly after 9pm. It happened at mile 76 on the Phillip Goldson...

Road traffic accident on the George Price Highway early this morning
Another road traffic accident took place on the George Price Highway early this morning. A Grey Chevrolet Captiva w...

Numerous Carnal Knowledge reports
Two men have been arrested and charged for carnal knowledge of a thirteen year old girl. On Tuesday morning, someon...

"Mix-up" annoys taxi operators in Tourism Village
Taxi operators in the Tourism Village yesterday were up in arms feeling that their livelihoods were being affected ...

A Belmopan Hospital that does not exist
A case of Health Care Fraud going on in Belize? Well that is just what Plus news is trying to ascertain; www.belize...

Mayor's trip to Guatemala promotes good relations
Today, Mayor of Belize City Darrell Bradley updated the press on recent initiatives of the Belize City Council. As ...

The University of North Texas is collaborating with Belize’s Forensic Science Service to study Belize’s population genetics
A US university is conducting DNA research in Belize. The University of North Texas is collaborating with Belize’s ...

Pedestrians encouraged to use the overpass at the SanCas/Belcan roundabout in Belize City
First built under the administration of Manuel Esquivel in 1996, the overpass at the SanCas/Belcan roundabout in Be...

FFB says they will keep their coach
FFB says they will keep their coach. Football fans have spent most of this week celebrating Belize’s success in the...

BELTRAIDE launches Belize’s first business magazine
BELTRAIDE has launched Belize’s first business magazine. Belize entrepreneurs have reached the heights of Forbes Ma...

BELTRAIDE holds workshop for stakeholders in outsourcing
This morning the Belize Trade and Investment Service (BELTRAIDE) held its latest workshop for stakeholders in the b...

Young painter Briheda Haylock will launch her second exhibition
In news from the art world, young painter Briheda Haylock will launch her second exhibition, Megalomania, at the ...

The Guardian

One Step Forward
I fully recognize that any issue concerning teachers is very sensitive given that they enjoy ample public support in whatever venture they undertake. Many of us know that teaching is referred to as the “noble” profession, and most certainly all of us have been under the influence of teachers at some point in our lives. This time around, however, many opinions hold that teachers are not coming across as balanced as they have in the past, mainly as a result of the extensive demands being made on the Government. In truth, I have heard comments from many persons who have no interest in unions or in politics that the 30% to 36% salary increase is truly unreasonable for any union to put forward in a proposal, or worse even, to threaten industrial action for. Thing is, the Unions are saying that they have not received any “adjustment” in wages since 2005. When asked about the $50 yearly increment, which has aggregated to $350 monthly since 2005, they say that GST eats all of that up. Well, it does that for us out here too, you know; rich and poor, employed and unemployed, we all must face the GST.

Beltraide launches New Magazine
BELTRAIDE, the investment promotion arm of the Government, launched a new magazine called Invest Belize. Ceremonies marking the milestone were held at the Biltmore hotel on Wednesday, January 30th. With a sleek, stylish and glossy finish, the magazine is the latest investment promotion tool being put forward by BELTRAIDE.

No Hope in Amadi - UB Students Serious about Education
Hope Amadi, President of the University of Belize’s Student Government, led a protest in Belmopan City on Monday, January 28th, based on the Ministry of Education’s decision to discontinue the subsidization of fees for new enrollees of the institution. Amadi received little support since the students had been aware of the adjusted fees for over six years.

Belize to Gold Cup 2013
The National Football Team got a welcome back 'celebrity style'. The National Football Team of Belize made history in San Jose, Costa Rica when Deon McCauley sealed a victory over Nicaragua with a second half injury time tiebreaking goal. It was Belize’s first win in the UNCAF Copa Centro Americana Tournament and it secured Belize’s first ticket to the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament. Belizeans looked on with extreme pride as our guys displayed raw athletic ability and natural talent in competitive play against seasoned professionals. Though they only finished in fourth place, the Belize Jaguars were the highlight of the tournament.

Charged for Murder on San Pedro
Edward Barahona, 33, a laborer of the San Isidro area of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, appeared in Magistrate's Court on Tuesday January 29th where he was formally arraigned on charges of murder. He appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where he was read a single charge for the killing of 25-year-old Byron Estrada a resident of San Pedro. Since murder is an indictable offense, no plea was taken and Barahona was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until March 21st, 2013. He was told that his next court appearance will be in the San Pedro Magistrate’s Court. He had to be brought into Belize City because of the unavailability of a magistrate on the island on Tuesday. Byron Estrada, was attacked whilst inside the bathroom of Daddy Rock Night club, on San Pedro Ambergris Caye on Saturday, January 26th, 2013. According to police, they received information of a stabbing incident at the night club. When they responded they found Estrada, bleeding from his neck, chest and back. He received as many as 22 stab wounds. Police report that after he was attacked, Estrada managed to make it outside of the club's bathroom while the partying was still taking place in the establishment. He collapsed from his injuries when he reached the bar area of the club. He was later assisted by persons inside the bar who took him outside for assistance. Estrada was rushed to the San Pedro Polyclinic where he succumbed to his injures at about 4:32 a.m. Of note is that in February 2007, Barahona was convicted of the murder of 25-year-old David Vasquez, who had been killed in June of 2005. He appealed the conviction and his sentence was set aside by the Court of Appeals in June of 2007. Also of note is that Byron Estrada's younger brother, 18- year-old Charlie Espat and his cousin 17-year-old Daniel Alamilla were found dead in Santa Martha Village in June 2012. At the time they were believed to have been the victims of murder as a result of drug dealings. No one has been arrested for those murders.

Second Trial by Judge gets underway
The murder trial against 22-year -old Nicholi Rhys, got underway in the courtroom of Chief Justice Kenneth A. Benjamin on Tuesday, January 29th. The case is one which is being pursued without a jury, the second such case in Belize's history.

Accused of sodomizing 14-year-old Boy
A dispatcher at the Phillip Goldson International Airport, 20-year-old Clinton Roca appeared in Magistrate's court on Friday, January 25th after being accused of sodomizing a 14-year-old boy on three separate occasions. Roca appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano where he was charged with three counts of committing an unnatural crime. No plea could be taken from Roca since the matters are indictable. In court, prosecutor Corporal Noel Muschamp argued against bail citing the serious nature of the offences and asked that the interest of the young boy be taken into consideration since Roca could interfere with him. Countering the arguments was Roca's attorney Lionel Welch, who stated that there is no indication that his client has tried to interfere with the victim and that if the court thinks that that is possible that conditions be set for his bail. After reviewing the submissions, Magistrate Cayetano offered Roca bail in the sum of $5,000 under the condition that he must stay away from the virtual complainant. Roca’s next court date is set for March 26th, 2013.

Man accused of exposing himself
On Monday, January 28th, 42-year-old Mark Anthony Sewell appeared in Magistrate's Court where he was charged with exposing his person in public. He appeared before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart where he was additionally charged with one count of threatening words for allegedly threatening his sister-in-law Margaret Sewell. He pleaded not guilty to the offence and told the Magistrate that incident occurred at a yard where his family house is located and that it was his brother’s yard he was in. He said that he had just come to his family yard after coming from sea and that he went to urinate. He also told the magistrate that he never threatened Margaret Sewell. Magistrate Stuart told him that he need not explain himself at this time as he had pleaded not guilty and that the matter will go to trial. Magistrate Hettie Mae-Stuart offered him bail in the sum of $500 plus one surety of the same amount with conditions that he not interfere with the Seawell and that he must stay 100 yards away from her and if he does not comply with the conditions of his bail, she will revoke his bail and he will be remanded to the Belize Central Prison. Sewell’s next court date is set for March 7.

Canadian Man dies while detained
An investigation has been ordered into the death of 35-year-old Canadian National Jeffrey Donald Furgala, who died while he was detained by police in San Ignacio. A police report states that Furgala had been detained on Saturday, January 26th at around 10:12p.m. He was detained after he was found in the Savannah Area of San Ignacio Town apparently under the influence of alcohol. The report continues to state that he was detained for his personal safety after he was unable to give an address where he resides. He was then placed in cell no. 3 at the San Ignacio Police Station. The police report continues to say that on Sunday, January 27th at around 1:00 a.m. they heard a loud noise, which sounded like someone falling and thereafter, a loud snoring coming from the cell.

Two Teenagers Arraigned for Murder of Maskall Villager
On Thursday, January 24th, 19-year-old Clive Geban and a 15-year-old, both of Maskall Village, were arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court for the Saturday, January 19th, 2013 murder of 61-year-old Ervin Morales, who was stabbed and chopped to death. The teenagers were escorted in cuffs to Court #1 where they appeared before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. There, they were read two criminal charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Morales. Due to the nature of the offenses, no plea was taken from the teens. They were then both denied bail and remanded; the 15-year-old was sent to the Belize Youth Hostel, while Jones was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until March 7th, 2013. On Saturday, January 19th, 2013, Morales was stabbed then chopped several times to the head and body. His attackers, believed to be a group of three, then wrapped his body in a sheet and then placed him on his bed and left him there to die. The motive of the murder is said to be robbery as Morales’ wallet, which contained money, was stolen during the murder.

Mexico presents in Belize the art exhibition “Jazz and more”
The Embassy of Mexico invites the public to the opening of the art exhibition “Jazz and more” by the Mexican artist, Enrique Hernandez on January 31st, 2013 at the Institute of Mexico in Belize City.

Dara and Another Food Drive
Dara Robinson is making the rounds once again and he stopped by our offices on Wednesday, January 30th to ask the public to assist him in his ongoing feeding program which he runs at #6 Dunn Street in the King’s Park area of Belize City. Dara’s feeding program asssits 40 children from primary schools in the area and in order for him to maintain the daily program, he does fund raisers. This year, on the occasion of Bob Marley’s birthday, Robinson will once again hold a food drive. He will be at the Princess Margaret tennis court from 1 to 10 p.m. where he will place a barrel for anyone to contribute non-perishable food items. These items will be used for his feeding program and whatever he is unable to use there, he distributes in the community to needy families. Dara says that in the past he held the food drive along with the Tribute to Bob Marley but the tribute overshadows the food drive so this year he has opted to separate the events and hold the tribute on a different days and locations. He added that this year’s tribute is the 11th running and will be held on February 9th at the Banquitas House of Culture in Orange Walk starting at 8p.m. A second one will take place on February 10th at the Princess Margaret drive tennis court starting at 4 p.m. Both these events are also fund raisers for his feeding program and they will be observed under the theme “Belize Unite.”

Drought and Precipitation Statement
Rainfall collected from weather stations across Belize showed that north and inland areas of the country got well below normal rainfall, whiles central coastal and most of the south got normal to well above normal rainfall. Rainfall forecast for the month of December was for normal rainfall for the entire country. These well below normal rainfall totals continue to cause the Inland areas of the country to plunge into severe meteorological drought. Assessment of the drought conditions over inland areas of the country, showed that that part of the country have been experiencing severe meteorological drought conditions since June-July-August and which have progress right through to the October-November-December season. Drought condition in the northern parts of the country started in August-September-October season, as slight meteorological drought and reached severe drought in September-October-November season, but have lessen to slight meteorological drought in the October-November-December season.

Seasonal Drought Likely for Belize
Earlier this month, the Climate Section of the National Meteorological Service Drought and Precipitation Statement forecasts “… Northern and Inland areas (can) expect Moderate drought to persist during the January-February-March season.” and “No drought is expected for the entire south and central coastal areas”. It also forecasts Normal rainfall country wide during January to March 2013. The Climate Section also reported that most of Belize experienced varying degrees of meteorological drought throughout most of the 2012 dry and the rainy seasons. The statement provided the following details on drought during 2012: 1. Inland areas experienced Severe Drought conditions June to December; 2. In Northern areas Drought commenced in August and became severe September to November; 3. Coastal areas were under moderate drought conditions September to November; 4. The southern areas (near South Stann Creek) experienced serious to severe drought conditions during June to August; and 5. Extreme southern areas did not experience drought conditions. The Climate Section defines Meteorological Drought as “…a deficiency of precipitation over an extended period of time, usually a season or more.” Other types of drought are Hydrological, Agricultural, and Socioeconomic Droughts. Like the small craft warnings, no one pays heed to the Meteorological Office cautions and statements, and we are surprised when there is a tragedy at sea, flood events, or there is insufficient rainfall for the dams and crops. Maybe that Office needs to trumpet its analyses results a little louder.

Escuela Mexico in Belize celebrates its 30th Anniversary
The “Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico”(ESTM), in San Roman Village, Corozal District, celebrated its 30th Anniversary on Friday, January 25th. The Official Ceremony was headed by its Principal, Carlos Castillo, and the Mexican Ambassador Mario Velazquez. More than 800 people attended, including school officials, teachers, students and their families. The Escuela México is a technical/vocational high school that was built and donated in 1982 by the Mexican Government as a symbol of recognition of the Independence of Belize. In January 1983, formal classes began with an enrollment of sixty-eight (68) students and a staff of five teachers. Since its establishment, the student population has grown considerably. The enrollment now stands over 600 students. In 2006, Mexico donated US$ 700 thousand dollars for the expansion of the school premises, in order to establish the Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College, which opened its doors in September 2007. Today, this institution is managed by a Belizean Board of Directors. Throughout the years, Escuela Mexico has improved its academic standards and has achieved high marks at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC). The school premises are also an important center in the Corozal District for cultural and educational events. In his address, Mexican Ambassador Mario Velazquez highlighted the outstanding contribution that in the last three decades its graduates have made to Belize’s development.

Monthly Rainfall & Temperature Forecast For Belize (January 2013)
Prepared by The National Meteorological Service (Climate Section) Several agro-meteorological stations across the country were used to make the rainfall and temperature forecast for the month of January. This was done by using the data set for the period 1981-2010, along with global models, observations and subjective input. The forecast is issued in the form of terciles probabilities of above normal, normal and below normal. The probabilities add up to 100%. Above Normal - (33% of highest values in the dataset) Near Normal - (33% of middle values in the dataset) Below Normal - (33% of lowest values in the dataset) Thus, based on the dataset 1981 to 2010, along with the other inputs, the rainfall forecast is for Normal Rainfall and Slightly above Normal Temperature for January 2013 for the entire country. Rainfall Probabilistically, there is a 25% chance ...

UN International Year for Water Cooperation
Every year on March 22nd, Belize and the Global Water Community celebrate World Water Day, but this year, The United Nations dedicated the entire 2013 as the International Year for Water Cooperation. Annually, many activities are conducted in the celebrations for World Water Day, and when the celebrations are over, we move on to another event. One of the objectives of the International Year for Water Cooperation is to encourage everyone to be proactive through the incorporation of water and water cooperation issues into their 2013 agenda. This year, Belize will undoubtedly celebrate World Water Day again; however, Belizeans need to become more knowledgeable of the impact of our activities on our water resources and how we can contribute to the sustainable management of this resource. Teachers throughout the spectrum of our educational system can conduct classroom activities, projects, research, literary reviews, guest speakers, etc. to keep water in the limelight this year. The media can play a crucial role in keeping water issues in the forefront through guest appearances on the talk shows, technical discussions, video presentations, trivia, etc. where possible on radio or television programs.

National Sports Council will not recognise any Cycling Elections until UCI comes to Belize
The National Sports Council informs the public that after the November 24th, 2012, Belize Cycling Association (BCA) Annual General Meeting at which no elections of officers were held, the National Sports Council and the Ministry of Sports had determined that the mandate for the former Executive of the BCA had expired. Acting in good faith, the National Sports Council and the Ministry of Sports instituted an interim committee to be chaired by the Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association to conduct the affairs of the BCA until proper elections for an Executive of the association are held under a mutually agreed (UCI/NSC) conditions. COPACI indicated that they would arrive in Belize on January 20th, 2013 to work with the National Sports Council to chart the way forward for cycling in Belize. The indicated deadline was reached and COPACI did not arrive with no prior communications received to indicate reasons for their failing to show up in Belize. On January 24th, 2013, a correspondence from COPACI’s President dated January 22nd, 2013 was forwarded to the Chairman of the National Sports Council by the former President of the BCA, which indicated that COPACI’s President cannot arrive in Belize until after February 10th, 2013 but appearing to sanction elections for an Executive to be held on Saturday, January 26th, 2013. The National Sports Council and the Ministry of Sports hereby declares that they shall not sanction any elections for an Executive of the Belize Cycling Association prior to the UCI and the National Sports Council arriving at a mutually agreed position on the way forward for cycling in Belize, and therefore, shall not accept the results of any elections held prior to such a position been formed.

FFB calls Female Players to camp for Central American Games
The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) informs the public that for this weekend there will be no training for females and U-20 males. Females are to report to camp on Monday, February 4th and should be at the FFB Headquarters for 9:00am. Camp for the females will be from Monday to Wednesday. Players are asked to bring their own equipment. The following are the players who are to report to camp: 1. Idiana Ramirez 2. Ermin Ferguson 3. Rashida Guerra 4. Zulma Ortega 5. Miriam Villamil 6. Sheran Tracey 7. Jennisha Scott 8. Leonella Chuc 9. Iris Centeno 10.Noemi Magana 11.Samantha Carlos 12.Kaya Cattouse 13.Shirley Codd 14.Shannel Gentle 15.Cynthia Salazar 16.Melanie Bryant 17.Sarah Arzu 18.Rhonda Hernandez Reserves: 1. Ashanti Velasquez 2. Heidi Cob 3. Jaslyn Cadle 4. Iris Galdamez 5. Cindy Bush 6. Beatrice Alfaro

Wesley Girls and Excelsior Boys leads in High School Football
The Central Region Secondary Schools Football Competition continued at the MCC Grounds with a number of games over the last few days. On Monday, January 25th, in the female game played, the tournament’s leading team Wesley College blanked Ladyville Technical High School by the score of 3-0 to finish as the number one team in the girls competition. The goals for Wesley College were scored by Shanice Neal (2) and Elisha Bernardez. In the male competition, Wesley College won over Sadie Vernon Technical via the default route. On Saturday, January 26th, in the female game, Wesley College shut out Excelsior High School by the score of 3-0. The goals for Wesley College were scored by Shanice Neal (2) and an auto goal by Esmeralda Coe (Excelsior). In the first of two male games that were on the schedule, Excelsior High School won over Sadie Vernon Technical via the default route. In the second male game, Anglican Cathedral College edged St. John’s College by the score of 3-1. The goal scorers for Anglican Cathedral College were Devaun Zuniga, Calvin Reneau and Sergio Luna, while the lone goal for SJC was scored by Tarique James.

Central Region Secondary Schools Softball Competition begins
The 2012-2013 Central Region Secondary Schools Softball Competition commenced on Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 at Rogers Stadium with one game in the female competition. This year’s female competition will see the participation of Anglican Cathedral College, Edward P. Yorke High School, Ladyville Technical High School, Maud Williams High School, Nazarene High School, Pallotti High School and Wesley College. The teams in the male competition are Anglican Cathedral College, Maud Williams High School, Nazarene High School, St. John’s College and Wesley College. | The games from Monday-Friday will commence at 4:30 pm at Rogers Stadium while the games on Saturday will commence at 9:30 am out in Ladyville. The competition will continue on Thursday, January 31st, 2013 with one game in the male competition between Anglican Cathedral College and Maud Williams High School. On Friday, February 1st, there will be two games in the female competition. In game one it will be Edward P. Yorke High School against Maud Williams and in the second game it will be Ladyville Technical against St. Catherine Academy.

Telemedia to defend Interoffice Softball Title
The Belize City Interoffice Softball Competition will commence on Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 with the Traditional Showcase Marathon at Rogers Stadium that will conclude on Sunday, February 3rd, 2013. The Marathon Competition will feature 8 teams including the defending Interoffice Champions Belize Telemedia. The other teams that will participate in the Marathon include Guardian/National Sports Council, Baby Ruth Baaba Shap, Kit Kat Baaba Shap, KHMH, Police, Belize Bank, Tuff “E”Nuff, and BWSL. The marathon competition will utilise the Double Elimination Format, and the abbreviated 5 innings or 1 hour whichever comes first rule. The regular season is expected to commence on Friday, February 8th, at 7:00 pm at Rogers Stadium. The playing days for the regular season are Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Saturdays, the games will commence at 3:00 pm while on Sundays it will commence at 1:00 pm.

Passenger’s Account of fatal Road Traffic Accident
The driver of Tillett's bus being pull out of the wreck On Saturday, January 26th, at about 7:00 a.m., a red Toyota Forerunner SUV collided into a Tillett’s Bus, which was travelling from Belize City to Chetumal between Mile 31 and 32 on the Phillip Goldson Highway.

Populists never have to wrestle with their conscience since they never take a principled stand. They merely take a reading of popular opinion and make it their own. It’s easier to be a populist when in opposition because you never have to face the real consequences of popular options. A statesman, on the other hand, sometimes has to take an unpopular position because in his or her considered opinion it is correct. An family analogy would be to compare thoughtful parents who guide their children by example and of necessity take some decisions that are not popular with their children with parents who seek to please their children by allowing them to have their own way at all times. Both the current governing and opposition parties supported a bipartisan approach to the Guatemalan claim. They both supported the process that took us to the agreement or compromis for making a decision to submit the claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Both Belizean parties to the talks agreed that taking the issue to the ICJ was the best option but they also agreed that only the Belizean people could take that decision. The agreement therefore involves holding simultaneous referenda in both Guatemala and Belize on the question of whether to submit the claim to the ICJ. Naturally, this is an issue that is very emotive and many Belizeans feel fearful of possible negative consequences. A vociferous few do not even want to allow Belizeans the opportunity to hear the arguments and make up their own minds. Most of these people have very few strongly held principles except to gain publicity by opposing the government on any and all issues. It is therefore not surprising that they oppose any process that seeks to educate the general public so that Belizeans can take their own informed decision.

Barbed Wire Noose - $1.2 Billion around Tax Payers’ Necks by 2029
Jose Castellanos, President of the Association of Public Service Senior Managers, said they have estimated that their salary adjustment would cost the government an additional $22,500,000 in 2013, $45,000,000 in 2014 and $75,000,000 in 2015. Based on the unions’ estimates by 2029, the final year of the pre-restructured Superbond, the salary adjustments being requested will cost tax payers an additional $1.2 billion. Government has been firm in saying to the unions that tax payers cannot afford to take on the increase at this time but the unions “shall not be moved”. On Tuesday, January 29th, the Belize National Teachers Union held a demonstration in the capital city, Belmopan. Over 2,000 teachers attended and marched around the city’s Ring Road chanting “Solidarity Forever” and “Salary Adjustment”. It was an impressive display of unity as the teachers marched towards the steps of the National Assembly building. They were energetic yet peaceful and effective. The massive crowd stood strong even at the peak of the sun’s wrath as they listened to poems and sang motivational songs. Though many of them were out from as early as 9 a.m., they remained responsive throughout numerous speeches lasting until 2:20 p.m. In their addresses, the union leaders pledged to stand strong in their meeting scheduled with Prime Minister Barrow for 10 a.m. on Friday, February 1st.

Prime Minister to Meet with Union Leaders
The Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow, is scheduled to meet with leaders of the Public Service Union (PSU), Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU), the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM) and the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) at 10 a.m. on Friday, February 1st, to discuss their request of a 30% salary adjustment. The union leaders have justified their demand by pointing to a bigger than expected GDP growth and “savings on the Superbond”. President of the APSSM, Jose Castellanos, is the union’s key economic advisor. His presentations have caused his credibility as an economist to come into question. He speaks of GDP as if it is a calculation of Government revenue. Castellanos said that Government has money because they were expecting a 3.5% growth and the actual figure is closer to 7 %. Therefore, it is 3.5% more than expected which is equal to $35 million. While he may be correct that GDP grew more than Government expected, there is no direct relationship between GDP growth and the public purse. At the introductory level in economic studies, one learns that GDP is calculated by adding consumer spending plus investment plus Government spending and net export to import. In a perfect scenario, that $35 million would come from taxable enterprise from which Government revenue would only amount to a few million dollars.

National Football Coach will stay in Belize
The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) held a press conference on Wednesday, January 30th to announce that Le Roy Sherrier Lewis, the coach for the Belize National team, will continue being the coach. President of the Football Federation, Ruperto Vicente said as much when he went through the entire sequence of events that led the coach to resign and then now, return to his former position. According to Vicente, on Saturday, January 26th, after the Honduras match up which took place on Friday, January 25th, Sherrier accepted full responsibility for the loss as he believed that team Belize could have won that match. Sherrier attributed the loss to tactical changes which did not work out for Team Belize. While in communication with the Federation, Sherrier also gave them the opportunity to review, and reevaluate everything that happened in Costa Rica and left it for the Federation to decide what to do with the coach. He also set up some tasks for the Federation to carry out. Up to that point, the coach had indicated that he would not resign.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Wedding Announcement
Dawn Joseph and Ron Velez


Four of five men who took sexual advantage of little girls have been charged with carnal knowledge and have been remanded to the Belize Central Prison. Two of the men are from Corozal: they are Lazaro Amaya, 60, a jeweler of a College Road address, and Aldo Alan Moreno, 34, of Paraiso Village. Police said that Moreno impregnated a 14-year-old girl. The girl and her mother went to the Corozal Police Station and reported that Moreno took advantage of her many times over a four-month period, starting September of last year and continuing until as recent as last Thursday, January 24. Police took her to a doctor at the Corozal Hospital, where, after she was examined, it was declared that she had been carnally known, and also, that she was three months pregnant. Police immediately went to Moreno’s home and arrested and charged him with carnal knowledge of a child. He was taken to court, yesterday, Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, Lazaro Amaya was taken to the Corozal Magistrate’s Court and remanded on similar charges, although his victims were even younger. Police said that Amaya took advantage of two little girls, ages 10 and 11, who are related. The mother of the 11-year-old, who is also the grandmother of the 10-year-old, took the girls to the Corozal Police Station to report that sometime between January and July, 2011, Amaya took sexual advantage of the two children.


According to Maya wisdom, 2012 completed a significant calendar cycle. Also, in 2012 Belize held General and Municipal Elections and the majority chose to keep most of the same people/party in government. The Minister of Education, his entire ministry, the Chief Education Officer, and Heads of various Churches continue to head/steer our Belizean Education Systems and Programs. However, how many of these leaders work directly with our young people on a day-to-day basis? How do they keep abreast of 21st Century challenges that keep “adding up” in Primary and Secondary schools throughout Belize today? The biggest challenge in this new era continues to be trying to move school boards, administrators, and teachers away from the antiquated, Colonial Era “one-size-fits-all” education philosophy that schools adamantly cling to in Belize. There are many other 21st Century challenges that confront educators and teachers every single school day in our rapidly changing world and new cycle of time. The largest challenge being faced right now is convincing those in charge to pay teachers a decent salary that they can “live on”. Many developed countries are not fully satisfied or totally happy with their Education Systems. Belize is a fairly young (Independence 1981) and developing country, and current Education Systems remain quite under-developed. We have quite a ways to go to catch up with and be able to meet the needs of Youth in 21st Century Belize. Our greatest needs right now (to even approach being considered adequate) include:

A Tale of Five Cities: San Cristobal Dining (Part 1)
I had planned on a blog post on the birds of the Orquideas Moxviquil botanical garden for today, but when I looked at our "birds" photo folder, I realized that it included photos from many different sites on our trip, so I am going to wait and do a bird photos post after the other trip posts, as I have done in the past. So today, instead of birds, you get food! Our favorite restaurant in San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico quickly became the TierrAdentro Cultural Center and Cafe. As I was working on this blog post, I came upon an excellent article providing much information about the restaurant and the center's goals. I didn't know until I read the article that the cafe had been recommended as one of the top five places to eat in San Cristobal by the New York Times. Not bad! In addition to the cafe, there are Zapatista co-operatives selling art pieces and crafts in the same building. As an aside, I knew almost nothing about the Zapatistas until we got home from this trip and I read a little. I didn't much care for history when I was in high school or college, but I'm finding it more interesting now that I'm older. Turns out that we missed a parade of Zapatista rebels in San Cristobal just a few days right after we left. That would have been a unique travel experience.

Making the move to Paradise
Over the years I have met many people in person or via email that have their own version of ‘Living the dream’ and moving to paradise. They all seem to share one thing in common, a thirst for knowledge and finding out how others have gone about doing what they want to do. Today’s guest post comes from Ron who I met while he and his wife Kathy were visiting back in Feb 2012 almost a year ago. Their version of living the dream ended up in Akumal Mexico not far from Belize. As I went back over Ron’s emails to check the month we met, I found a very fitting email signature that he had at the time - 3/4 of the Earth is covered by water and 1/4 by land. Clearly God intended us to spend 3 times as much time fishing and diving than mowing the lawn – I am sure many of you feel same. I would like to dedicate this to John Lori and their one year old Madison who have bought land in south Ambergris Caye and plan to build. He and I have been emailing back and forth all morning about their dream and what it is like here. I put him in touch with John East who writes Belize Building a New Life blog which details their house build in North Ambergris Caye and what it has been like for John and his wife Rose in regards to making their move to Belize.

Let’s talk about the Weather!
All year round we talk about the weather and, when you live on an island that’s lifestyle is so linked to the elements, it becomes the focus of your lives and livelihood!! Dry season or wet season, lets be real, we can receive rainfall at any point in the year – we live in the tropics and for holiday makers expecting perfect weather it becomes hugely disappointing when the weather is less than perfect – we understand!! We live our lives glued to various weather sites, trying to accurately predict the weather for the benefit for both our customers on our sailboats and less so for ourselves. The science of meteorology is not an exact science – that which defines the weather is constantly changing and yet we are considered responsible for the weather changing!!! – Go figure. I can understand it – you save all year for your annual vacation, you strategically plan for your suntan, your idilic photos on the beach and your cocktails at sunset – and when you arrive to when you depart all you see is rain, grey skies and chilly breeze!! It can happen (luckily very rarely), but it can happen!!

February’s Photo of the Month
Somehow this month we have been inundated with some beautiful photography, far more than normal!! It is for that reason that we find it hard to select one photo – but we have! We were very proud to hit the front cover of Budget Travel Magazine last month and for that reason alone, we want our next FB profile to be our front cover – we want never to forget our moment of fame as we very much deserve it!! For those who have not been lucky enough to read the article click here and go to pages 40 – 47!!

Castles made of Sand
Woke up (later than normal) this morning with what can only be described as a sore head. The after effects of drinking a few too many Belikins last night when Rose and I started off the night by going to Legends Burger House to catch the inaugural Blues Wednesday. The place was heaving and the sounds were great. After a few beers there (who was counting) we headed off to the Roadkill Bar to find the place equally as busy. It was packed with the Jerry Jeff Walker Pickin’ Parties who all appeared to want to take part in the karaoke. It was a fun evening but I paid the price in the morning and it took me much, much longer to ‘get in to gear’. I did come around eventually and Rose and I set off to see what was going on at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. As we’re driving down the road we could see a tipper truck parked up. When we got to the site we could see why. Wooden poles needed to be moved to allow the truck access to tip its load of sand for our castle.

International Sources

"CHASING ICE" captures largest glacier calving ever filmed
Largest Glacier-Calving Ever makes the glacier calving we're seen in Alaska look miniscule. On May 28, 2008, Adam LeWinter and Director Jeff Orlowski filmed a historic breakup at the Ilulissat Glacier in Western Greenland. The calving event lasted for 75 minutes and the glacier retreated a full mile across a calving face three miles wide. The height of the ice is about 3,000 feet, 300-400 feet above water and the rest below water. See the through to the end. Some interesting info there. Forget charts, computer animations, etc. Just watch nature at work, as I keep advising which is studiously ignored.

Top Guatemala prosecutor pulls no punches
Claudia Paz y Paz, Guatemala's first female Attorney General, has locked up drug barons and prosecuted war criminals. For as long as she could remember, Claudia Paz y Paz was certain she would become a lawyer. Her grandfather, also an attorney, had inculcated in her that the rule of law was the only way to guarantee people’s rights. Today, she is the first female Attorney General of Guatemala. Inside her office, Paz paces back and forth from her mahogany desk glaring at the computer screen. On a window open to UStream TV, history was unfolding before her very eyes. For the first time in Latin American history, a national court was minutes away from ordering former dictator Jose Efrain Rios-Montt to stand trial for genocide. When Rios-Montt seized control of the country in a March 1982 coup, it gave way to the bloodiest period of Guatemala’s 1960 - 1996 civil war. Paz was 16 years old at the time. “I was in school when he took power. I can’t believe this is actually happening,” Paz told Al Jazeera as she opened her personal purple copy of Guatemalan Criminal Procedure Code. Her name may mean “Peace and Peace,” and her bookish demeanour and curly brown hair could make her pass for a university professor. But Guatemala’s top cop is as tough as they come, even if she is soft-spoken. Since taking the helm of the public ministry in 2010, she’s beaten impossible odds, successfully prosecuting war criminals and putting several of Central America’s biggest drug capos behind bars.

New World plunges on Belize abandonment
New World Oil and Gas (NEW) has plugged and abandoned a well in the Petén Basin in north-west Belize after finding insufficient hydrocarbons to merit running casing and well-testing operations. Shares in the firm lost 44% on Monday morning to make it the heaviest faller on AIM. Interactive Investor users were trading the stock heavily, with twice as many choosing to sell as buy. The Blue Creek #2A ST well was drilled to a measured depth of 11,650 feet on 27 January and logs and core samples were independently analysed, as well as mud logs and all other available data. It was determined that an active hydrocarbon system existed, and live oil shows were measured in the Y3 and Hillbank formations. But after analysis and in consultation with New World's partners, Blue Creek Exploration and the government of Belize, it was determined that insufficient commercial quantities of moveable hydrocarbons were present. The company believes the targeted trap was likely breached as a result of tectonic activity, and extensive residual oil was present along with high saturations of formation water. New World said the significant amount of technical data produced by the Blue Creek #2 and #2A ST wells demonstrates that the company's acreage has received a petroleum charge and contains productive reservoirs. This data will also play a role during the drilling of the explorer's next well, Rio Bravo Well #1, in West Gallon Jug, for which New World is fully funded. The location is drill ready, with a drilling pad, access road, base camp, water well and other infrastructure all in place. It is anticipated that the drilling of the well will commence in the first quarter of 2013.

New World abandons well
Belize-focused New World Oil and Gas (LON:NEW) has decided its Blue Creek well will not be commercially viable. The Blue Creek #2A well was located in the Petén Basin in northwest Belize and was drilled to a depth of 11,650 feet by 27 January. However, after what the company has called 'careful analysis' the decision has been made to plug and abandon the well after it was deemed to hold 'insufficient commercial quantities' of oil. The Blue Creek #2A well had been a sidetrack well drilled following the vertical well had reached its target depth. The news will come as a disappointment after previous updates had determined that an active hydrocarbon system did exist and live oil shows had been measured. The company argued that a potential trap could have been affected by 'tectonic activity'. New World tried to remain positive on the issue by confirming its next well to be drilled in Belize will be the Rio Bravo well #1 in West Gallon Jug for which it insists funding is already in place. Infrastructure is already in the place and drilling is expected to commence this quarter. The planned drilling depth is 8,400 feet. Chief executive Bill Kelleher defended the 'tremendous job' done at Blue Creek, arguing all was not lost as the data 'will now be applied to our next well.' He also insisted that other drill ready prospects at Blue Creek would mark the 'next significant milestones' for the company. Shares plummeted during early trading today by 40.6 per cent to 4.8p, valuing the company at £28.7 million.

Calgary man dies in police custody in Belize
An investigation is underway in the Central American country of Belize to determine how a 35-year-old Canadian man died in police custody over the weekend. A statement from San Ignacio Police says Jeffrey Furgala, who is reported to be from Calgary, was detained in the Savannah area of the town Saturday night for public intoxication. Police say he was unable to give an address of where he was staying, so was taken into custody “for his own safety.” The statement says officers found Mr. Furgala unconscious in his cell next morning with blood in his nose. Mr. Furgala was transported to a community hospital, then to another hospital for surgery, but was pronounced dead on Tuesday. The commissioner of police has since launched an investigation into the events surrounding his death. But the website quotes a police official as saying Mr. Furgala caused his own death when he slipped and fell due to drunkenness. “We have recordings to show that this person was under the influence of alcohol, and he was assisted by two police officers out of the vehicle, into the station, and into the cell block,” Supt. Ralph Moody told the website. “There was no police officer, or no one who caused injuries to that individual, ” added Supt. Moody, who is the officer in charge of San Ignacio

Belize Navidad: A reunion, a wedding, and the world didn't end
Just southeast of Mexico and due east of Guatemala, is the small, but beautiful country of Belize, formally known as British Honduras. From the air, scattered cayes (pronounced keys), some just a few feet above sea level, intermingle with the world's second largest reef, a reef that stretches some 900 miles from Cancun to Honduras. The largest of these islands, Ambergris Caye, is home to the raucous and friendly city of San Pedro. Belize and San Pedro have been highlighted in recent news due to John McAfee, the founder of McAfee, Inc. Although, this is the story that has brought Belize to attention of late, this is not what I focused on while I traveled there this past December. The seats on the plane were large, albeit relatively old, and the leg room spacious. There was plenty of overhead room for carryon baggage. Champagne was poured; a cheese plate was given. First class was the way to travel. A dreadlocked black man wearing charcoal trousers and a suede jacket sat down next to me. His name was Lennox Lamb, and he was soft-spoken and we talked an hour in Spanish and an hour in English. English is the primary language in Belize, but most all Belizeans speak at least a bit of Spanish as well. Over Cognac and after our delicious dinner of halibut, he wrote down all his contact information and said to call him for anything while in Belize.

Belize Grows in Popularity as Spring Break Destination
Belize is becoming increasingly popular as a new Spring break destination with more and more students wishing to mix exotic adventure with the annual ritual of sun, fun and partying, according to The Lodge at Chaa Creeks Bryony Fleming. Ms Fleming, the Belizean eco-resorts food and beverage manager, said that she has noticed a trend towards more adventure and activity-focussed Spring break vacations. There has been a definite increase in enquiries about Spring Break options here in Belize and Im sure word of mouth and social media are driving much of the interest were seeing in recent years, Ms Fleming said. In the past, the most popular Spring break destinations were the beaches of Florida, especially Daytona Beach, and Fort Lauderdale, as well as South Padre Island in Texas. However, since the 1990s Mexico has become increasingly popular, with Cancun hosting huge and often raucous groups of revellers.

Surfer Breaks World Record By Riding Enormous 100-Foot Wave
Garrett McNamara Breaks World Record By Riding Enormous 100-Foot Wave @BISportsPage #Garrett McNamara #World Record #surf #wave #Nazare #Portugal..."Whoa!!"

Google+ surpasses Twitter to take number 2 social network after Facebook
Google+ is the rising star when it comes to global social networking. Twitter, YouTube and Facebook all grew... You really should try Google+, it is so different that Facebook, and I find much more informative. It does take a little getting use to, but well worth the effort. If you join, circle me at:

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