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2/1/2013 to 2/10/2013
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February 20, 2013


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

“Enhancing Belize’s Resilience to Adapt to the Effects of Climate Change”
The Project “Enhancing Belize’s Resilience to Adapt to the Effects of Climate Change”, launched in September 2012 is being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Government of Belize (GoB), and funding of the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance (EU GCCA). The project aims to enhance adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change in national policies and demonstrate action in support of effective governance of climate change and climate change related impacts in the water sector in Belize. As part of the larger project, two activities, namely the “Enhancement of National Capacities to Plan for and to Coordinate a National Response to the threats of Climate Change” and the pilot entitled “Applied Forest Management: Building Capacities for the Restoration of Watersheds Impacted by Natural Disasters” valued at over €865,000 / BZD $2.2m are being executed in partnership with the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development. On Friday, February 15, 2013, three (3) Isuzu DMAX Pickup Trucks, valued at a total of US84,000 dollars were handed over to Minister Lisel Alamilla on behalf of the Ministry, as part of this project, which aims to support the development of a strategic framework for responding to the challenges that climate change poses for sustainable and economic development and to support activities leading to watershed protection, resilience to water quality degradation, and water conservation. It is expected that these motor vehicles will enhance the ability of the project units to create greater public awareness of the effects of climate change and enable restoration activities in sensitive and flood prone forest systems proving for the effective management and recovery of damaged forest stands. They will be able to ensure the mainstreaming of climate change considerations into national development planning and guarantee training of national and community responders and the establishment of a monitoring strategy for long term impacts on biodiversity and water resources.

Pig Roast Fundraiser draws a generous crowd
Isla Bonita All Stars Band-10The community of San Pedro is known for its generous nature and on Sunday February 17th, locals and tourists alike proved that philosophy to be true. A pig roast beach party fundraiser was held at Wayo’s Beach Bar to benefit the Isla Bonita All-Star Marching Band. The Isla Bonita All-Star Marching Band will be attending the Governor General Sir Colville Young’s Band Fest in the coming few months and thus requires funds for traveling and boarding. Another major expense that needs to be met by the band is the purchasing of uniforms for the approximately 60 band members, hence the purpose for the fundraiser at Wayo’s. Isla Bonita All Stars Band-9The event started at noon and went through until after 5 PM and by all accounts the fundraiser was a great success. People got to taste a variety of food and treats there was an assortment of pies and cakes, cheese dip and of course, delicious pig roast on sale. Extra monetary donation besides the food sale was welcomed, and many people pitched in for the worthy cause. Throughout the evening the crowd was entertained by the talented youth from the band. All in all, it was a remarkable evening of support and fun.

El Pescador boasts three new FFF Licensed Fishing instructors
El Pescador Lodge is honored to announce that Captain Luis Paz, Captain Alex Gomez and Isa Rodriguez have each attained the distinction of becoming a Certified Casting Instructor by the International Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF). Both Captain Luis and Captain Alex are 2nd generation El Pescador Guides following in their fathers’ footsteps, Tomas Paz and Nesto Gomez respectively. Luis loves to fish, especially for tarpon, and loves to cast. Alex also loves to fish and enjoys teaching the art of the sport. Isa is the quintessential student and loves to learn; he will be a lifelong student and teacher of fly casting. These 3 anglers join fellow El Pescador guide, Cesar Acosta, as the only 4 Belizean certified casting instructors currently teaching in Belize.

Mark your calendar for the annual 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’sToledo Cacao Festival 121 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. Formerly Machaca Hill Lodge, Belcampo describes itself as: “a 12-room hotel, a 3000-acre farm, planned Agritourism center, and a 15,000-acre rainforest preserve… proud to play a part in the conservation of the marine life of the Belizean reef through sustainable agricultural management and conservation of intact rainforest ecosystems.” Read more: Mark your calendar for the annual Chocolate Festival of Belize - My Beautiful Belize Follow us: @MyBeautifulBze on Twitter | MyBeautifulBelize on Facebook

Ambergris Today

Belize Audubon Society Presents Wildtracks with Conservation Award
Belize Audubon Society proudly announces the James A. Waight Awardee for 2013, Wildtracks. Wildtracks is a non-governmental conservation organization, located in Sarteneja, Corozal. Since its establishment in 1991, co-founders Paul and Zoe Walker have, in collaboration with the Fireburn Community, opened and manage the Fire burn Private Reserve to protect the rich flora and fauna species pre-dominant in that area. Their love for mammal conservation and the need for such facilities, lead them to build a Manatee Rehabilitation Center and Primate Rehabilitation Program. In addition, the Walkers were instrumental in the establishment of the Shipstern Nature Reserve and continue to provide technical assistance and management support for the Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.

El Pescador Lodge Fishing Guides Certified by Federation of Fly Fishers

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize Economic Update and Outlook
Economic activity is forecasted to expand by 2.7% in 2013, as the underlying factors that boosted activity in 2012 are expected to moderate. The projection, which is subject to sizeable downside risks such as commodity price shocks and weather-related setbacks, assumes that the gradual upturn in global growth to 3.5% continues to support the tertiary sector through the tourism channel.

I will write your message in the sand or take a photo of me holding a sign with your message anywhere on Caye Caulker, Belize for $5
Take a photo of your message of up to five words written in the sand on Caye Caulker Beach in Belize, or take a photo of myself holding up a sign with your message of up to 10 words in front of a Caye Caulker, Belize landmark.

I will send you a postcard of a beautiful country called Belize for $5
I will send you a postcard of either rain forest animals in the tropics of Belize, a beach side postcard, or a postcard showing local activities. They're beautiful!

Expressive Talent Night Pictures
One more batch of pictures from the Night of Expressive Talents at the Soul Project. There are lots of pictures from the lyricism part, and Lyric Nation too. Can't wait for the next event at Cayo's Soul Project.

Belize and El Salvador Trade Negotiations
The San Ignacio Resort Hotel is the setting for Beltraide's first round of trade negotiations between Belize and El Slavador. Looks like it's going to be productive. "First Round of Trade Negotiations - Belize & El Salvador, San Ignacio Hotel, Cayo Belize. 18-21 Feb., 2013"

Rebecca Stirm Heading to Jamaica
Rebecca Stirm and Chantae Guy are representing Belize in Jamaica this weekend. If it was judged, they'd surely win. Show 'em what you've got! "Thanks to Belize Bank, Rebecca Stirm will be heading to Kingston Jamaica, along with Belizean headline model Chantae Guy [Miss Belize World 2012], to show her "Pfuma Ye Nyika" collection on the runway this weekend at the Wyndham Wedding Spectacular!"

SHC's Auditorium in a Box
Sacred Heart College's auditorium boxes, big boxes. It's going to be huge, and they needed some huge machinery to deliver it. More pictures coming soon.

BHS Valentine's Fundraiser
The Belmopan Humane Society had their annual Valentine's fundraiser. "A fun way to raise much need funds for the fur babies."

Ducunu Version 2
In this video I do a retake of the Ducunu recipe that's already at the site. This recipe is a little more moist than the original, but still great taste. Spicy, yet a little bit sweet. It goes well with stewed chicken, stewed beef or stewed pork.

Channel 7

Mother Dies After Child Perished in Fire
On February fourth, three-year-old Danely Cabrera perished in a house fire in San Narciso Village. Her mother, 40 year old Romona Cabrera ran out of the house and received 1st degree burns on her face and back and 2nd degree burns to her left and right arm. Well, her burns were serious enough to merit a transfer to the KHMH. And that's where she died yesterday morning. According to a police report, Cabrera succumbed to her injuries while undergoing treatment yesterday morning. A post mortem scheduled for tomorrow should determine the cause of death. The family did not have electricity and used a lamp which fell unto the bed and caused the mattress to catch fire. The three year old's remains were found under her crib.

Unions Will Counter-propose to GOB; Will GOB Accept?
18 days ago in Belmopan, the leaders of the trade unions met with the Prime Minister and his team in the Cabinet Room. They agreed on a package of pay raises contingent on revenue surpluses starting in the fiscal year 2014-2015. The unions' council of management endorsed the proposals the following day - but the membership hasn't been so agreeable. At meetings held countrywide - the various district memberships have said they don't want an "if" proposal - they want a sure thing. Now, the union leadership has taken this input and is ready to back to the Prime Minister with a counter-proposals. But what if the PM's February first offer was a take it or leave it deal? That's what we asked the union leaders today after they appeared on LOVE FM:.. Jules Vasquez "The consultations are finished. Do you all have an answer for the Prime Minister Sir?" Luke Palacio, President - BNTU "We are working on the counter- proposal to the Prime Minister's proposal and those should be presented to him within the next two weeks." Jules Vasquez "As I understand it the deal is not for a counter-proposal. Your Council of Management accepted and I guess it's either a yes or no."

Immigration Busts Human Traffic In Motion by Shooting Out Tyres
Tonight, a van is at the Ladyville police station with four flat tyres. Those were shot out early this morning as police pursued the van which was loaded with as many as a dozen illegal immigrants. Information is sketchy at this time - but we understand the persons entered through the western border on foot late last night and were reportedly facilitated in that by an Immigration officer. From there, they jumped into a van with Orange Walk plates. Police were alerted and pursued the vehicle through the Boom Road where they made the intercept. But it wasn't that simple, they caught five persons, four males and a female, while about eight others escaped. We are told that this afternoon, some of those who escaped - all females - were found hiding out in Los Lagos. We caught footage of them as they were brought to the Ladyville police station at 5:00 pm. Interestingly, this wasn't the only human cargo intercept that was made last night. Earlier on, Immigration authorities also pursed a similar van which was intercepted near Georgeville. The van has been impounded but we understand the passengers escaped and are being sought.

Soldiers Swim to Safety As Their Truck runs Into The River
Tonight five Belize Defense soldiers are lucky to be alive after their L200 BDF pickup ran off the northern highway and into the Belize River. It happened just before 4 this evening. The men were travelling towards Belize City at the time and somehow lost control of their vehicle after attempting to overtake a truck. After the vehicle plunged into the river, all 5 soldiers manage to escape unhurt. 7news was on the scene and spoke to two persons caught in traffic. Luke Collymore - passerby "We were coming down this street this way here and we just saw the dust like something happened. We saw a Mennonite guy looking down in the river with a child. When we came the guys just started to come up from the water. They all swim up and everybody was okay. They got hit by a big truck." Monica Bodden "They were headed to Belize City?" Luke Collymore - passerby "To Belize City, but they overtake a car here but when they came around the lane they saw another vehicle coming really fast, so they decided to pull back, when they did that the big truck hit them in the back - that's the reason why they didn't hit this tree. The truck hit them and that's how they ended up that side."

Wallace Matura Sets The Record Straight
Donald Matura is recovering in the KHMH after he was shot multiple times on Friday night at the corner of Orange Street and East Canal. Last night we reported that Matura was targeted because he had lectured a young man who was roughing up his girlfriend. Well, today he wrote an open letter to the media in which he says, it wasn't the young man's girlfriend, it was a ten year old. In his letter he says, quote, "the only person I intervened to protect that night was a child about ten years old being harassed by an older male whom apparently did not take kindly that I did not allow him to take advantage of this child. I knew the child and her family and could not stand by idly." And the second clarification is that he did not get shot in his testicles. That's what police put out in their official release, but Matura says "I…would want the record to show that I got shot in my stomach and thus had a perforated bowel. I was shot in my left leg and in both arms and believe that the bullet that got lodged in my cellphone may have spared any damage to my organs." And on a final, despairing note, he adds that he received news that during his time at the hospital, his home was cleaned out by burglars. He adds, quote, "I guess people who know me and where I live saw the news that I am in hospital and took advantage of the situation."

Dre Trapp's Mom Not Satisfied With Verdict
On Friday, Nikoli Rhys, the man accused of killing Andre Trapp was found not guilty in Belize's second trail for jury. The case was prosecuted by the DPP herself who called 10 witnesses. But her case was dealt a deathblow when a confession from Rhys was not admitted into evidence. Still, Andre Trapp's family is not satisfied. They believe that the acquittal was a foregone conclusion. Today, speaking to us from the United States - Andre Trapp's mother told us that the case only served to stir up bad memories for her:.. Elizabeth Longsworth, Mother of Andre Trapp "I knew from the outbreak that nothing would have come about this; it's just a front to say that they did something. He literally confessed and they threw it out. They just bring back sad memories to people because we knew that nothing would have come out of this. How in the world something like that could happened in a place like that and nothing come about it? Like I said it was state sponsored."

Superbond 2.0: Creditor Committee Is All In!
The Creditor Committee - whose members hold more than 50% of Belize's original superbond issued a release today saying that, quote "all of its members have agreed to tender their Old Bonds in the exchange offer." In other words, they have agreed to accept the terms of Superbond 2.0. AJ Mediratta, the Co-Chair of the Committee is quoted as saying that "The Committee appreciates the GOB's willingness to negotiate in good faith and to adhere to what was in the end a fair and transparent process." And while the government has already done its P-R on what a good deal it is for Belize; in its own defence, the Committee notes that GOB has agreed to reimburse certain expenses of the Committee, and notes that the terms of the New Bonds contain certain protections for bondholders including "principal reinstatement in the event of a future default," among others.

Restore Belize Teaches The Art Of Peace
In June of last year, 7News told you about the training in which Restore Belize and the US State Department collaborated on to teach Belizeans the art of conflict mediation. It was a major part of Restore Belize's intervention in the warfare between gangs, and one of the techniques employed to try to maintain the gang truce. Well, Restore Belize is expanding the conflict mediation training for the next 2 years, and they've decided to include educators, seeing their opportunity to de-escalate situations in the classroom environment. Today, 7News stopped by the ITVET to witness the training being conducted with the educators, in which the Belizean s who participated in last year's session where now the facilitators. Here's what one of those trainers told us about the sessions so far: Pamela Dyer, Facilitator - Conflict Mediation Training "Basically we are doing the same training that I received sometime last year and I believe it is a asset for any organization or any institution and even for you own personal self to acquire this level of training which is Conflict Mediation. At the end of the day they will understand what it is to be a mediator and the skills that they will need to carry through with the process."

Ports Commissioner Leaves, Abruptly
Ports Commissioner, Major John Flowers term has come to a rather abrupt end. We understand that Flowers' contract expired at the end of January, and on Monday he reportedly handed in a letter saying that he is not interested in a renewal. Additionally, we understand that he handed over to a senior manager today - since no new Commissioner has been named. From our reports, it seems Flowers and his Minister Edmund Castro could not get along - culminating recently in a heated exchange when Flowers reportedly went to some lengths to not hire one of Castro's relatives. However, reports say that Government also had issues with his style of management. Despite best efforts, we could not reach Flowers for comment.

They Guyan-isation of Belize's High Courts
Yesterday, 7News told you about Justice Minnet Hafiz-Bertram, who was sworn in as a newly appointed Justice of the Belizean Court of Appeal. Her appointment to the post is notable because she becomes the first woman judge to be elevated to that high court. Another trait of note is that she is a Guyanese National, and she shares her place of birth with 4 other high court judges who are currently serving on the Belizean Judiciary. Her other brother judges and countrymen are the Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin, and Justices Oswell Legall, Dennis Hannomansingh, and Courtney Ashton Abel.

Paving Freetown Road Finished, North Front Next!
Belize City residents are just recovering after Freetown Road was closed in different areas for construction and piping work that lasted three months. It's finished and the concrete surface is great, but are you ready for another major artery to go under the cement scalpel? Today, a portion of North Front Street was closed to traffic: that's the area from Mapp Street to the corner of Bel China Bridge. According to the Council PR representative, the process won't take as long as Freetown Road. In fact work is expected to be concluded in a week's time:..

Nat'l Football Team Coach Glad To Be Back
3 weeks ago, 7News told you about the incident in Costa Rica in which newly appointed National Team Coach, Leroy Sherrier, was threatening to cut ties with the team and with the Football Federation of Belize. It came as a surprise to the nation because he had just led the national team to its best performance in the 2013 UNCAF Copa Centroamericana games by qualifying for the Gold Cup. A few days later, FFB President Ruperto Vicente called a press conference in which he explained that there was electronic mischief afoot to defame Coach Sherrier, but that he and the Federation had mended fences. He arrived back in Belize a week ago to reclaim the post as head coach and today 7News caught up with him to ask him if he is here to stay. Here's what he had to say: Leroy Sherrier, Head Coach - Belize National Football Team "My plan was to work until the Gold Cup but I was surprised yesterday by Mr. Vicente the President that told us that he wants me and Charlie on a long term contract because he needs us to do a lot of work here in Belize and I am very happy for that to hear that form him and the federation. I think you will have Leroy here for a good while. Work in development, work in coaching, work in courses - a lot of thing we got to do."

Channel 5

Creditor Committee accepts new bond offer
There has been a breakthrough in the superbond restructuring. The Belize Coordinating Committee has announced that all of its members have agreed to tender their old bonds for the new exchange offer. According to AJ Mediratta, Co-Chair of the Committee, “The Committee appreciates the Government of Belize’s willingness to negotiate in good faith and to [...]

Unions wrap up consultation on salary adjustment
The Belize National Teachers Union, the Association of Public Service Senior Managers and the National Trade Union Congress of Belize sat with the Prime Minister inside the cabinet room in the capital on February first to discuss how salary adjustments for union members could be achieved. The agreement has been taken to the union members [...]

Unions to make recommendations to P.M.
Myvette says that in two weeks, the union leaders will collate the response from their membership and then they will meet with the Prime Minister. Part of their response to the PM’s proposals, will include a minimum salary adjustment figure.   George Myvette, Immediate Past President, APSSM “The salary adjustment basically takes place over three [...]

Separate busts of illegal immigrants
There are two cases of suspected human smuggling to report tonight. Two vehicles were pursued by police on the highways: one near Georgeville and the other at the Burrell Boom junction. Both looked alike and were carrying illegal immigrants. The first vehicle sped away and when the police caught up with it, only the driver [...]

Will you support taking the unfounded Guatemalan claim to the ICJ?
The October sixth referendum to take the Guatemalan claim to the ICJ has moved up to the front burner. So tonight we ask: Will you support taking the Guatemalan claim to the ICJ? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our e-poll at You can [...]

B.D.F. truck and soldiers take dive in river
A group of five men traveling inside a pickup truck, the property of the Belize Defense Force, narrowly escaped with their lives this afternoon when their vehicle careened off the Phillip Goldson Highway and plunged into the Belize River.  The pickup, driven at the time by Sergeant Major Michael Belgrove, was en route to Belize [...]

Driver of B.D.F. truck traumatized by crash
Former area representative Michael Hutchinson, who was also traveling to Belize City came upon the scene of the accident shortly afterwards.  According to Hutchinson, the driver of the pickup truck was visibly shaken up following the ordeal.   Michael Hutchinson, Witness “Well I was just coming along, heading towards Belize City and I passed this [...]

First 3 year old, now mother dies from fire burns
There is another tragedy the Cabrera family of San Narciso is enduring. Earlier this month we told you about the tragic death of three year old Danely Cabrera during a fire at her house in the village. Her mother, Ramona Cabrera and the neighbors could not save the child’s life as the wooden structure was [...]

While in prison, his house was burglarized
Also up north, a Corozal man who was remanded to prison since November eleventh 2012 was robbed of a number of items at his property during his stay at the prison. Sixty-two year old Lenard Walker, a resident of Santa Rita Heights reported to police that while he was in jail, he left the keys [...]

Burglary and stolen goods case flops in court
  Two Belize City men, who appeared before Justice Adolph Lucas, were acquitted this morning for the offenses of conspiracy to commit burglary and handling stolen goods. They are twenty year old Lloyd Parchue, who is presently on remand for burglary and twenty-two year old Wayne Herrera. Police stated that on July seventh 2012, the [...]

Esperanza accident; two men injured
There was a traffic accident late this evening in the village of Esperanza. Just after five this evening, Allen Obando and Devon Harris were heading home on their bicycles when a van carrying tourists, belonging to a tour agency, knocked down the men. A report from Esperanza says that the impact sent Harris to the [...]

Conflict mediation in session
A group of professionals are receiving training on conflict mediation organized by Restore Belize along with the US Embassy.  The training will equip the participants to go back to communities and work with vulnerable youths to resolve conflict. Restore Belize believes that this is a way to stop rise in violence. News Five Isani Cayetano [...]

P.M. says don’t believe the rumors about his health
During the United Democratic Party convention at the Andres Campos Civic Center in Corozal Town, Prime Minister Dean Barrow addressed rumors that he may not lead the U.D.P. into the next General Elections. He said the rumors about his health are false and he will continue as the party leader.   Prime Minister Dean Barrow [...]

FIFA upgrades Belize’s football ranking
The national football team recently gave a phenomenal performance at the Copa Centro Americana Games.  The world took note of our players as they beat Nicaragua in a hotly contested game. On the heels of their hero’s welcome, the International Federation of Association Football, (FIFA) has rewarded Belize by shooting up higher on the world [...]


Neighbors Are Fustrated With Block Factory: Too Much Noise!
Where there is fire there is smoke and where there is noise it spells pollution which means that people are being affected. For months now residents living in the Lower Halls Layout area of Corozal have been in a constant battle with the owners of a block factory located on 12th October Street, Halls Layout, due to the level of noise that is being produced by the machines. While residents of the immediate area have written a formal letter dated January 8th 2013 to the Corozal Town Council, an answer is still forthcoming. The letter reads quote “The problem that has ensued for the neighbours of the aforementioned area is the level of noise emanating from said location. This involves extremely loud metallic noises etc. and heavy vibrations at all hours during the day, seven days per week. In addition, stone dust from the site threatens the health of most immediate neighbours of this factory.” End quote. Residents of the area say they have been trying to live with the situation but enough is enough.

Ramona Cabrera Succumbs To Injuries
A few weeks ago we brought you the tragic story of 40 year old Ramona Cabrera and her 3 year old daughter Danely Cabrera who lost her life in a house fire that occurred in the wee hours of February 4th in the Village of San Narciso. While Danely passed away, Ramona suffered 1st degree burns to her face and back and 2nd degree burns to her left and right arm. Tonight we are sad to report that Cabrera, who was recuperating at the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital, succumbed to her injuries yesterday morning at around 9:00.According to family members, doctors at the KHMH were positive that Cabrera was on the way to recovery. But the 40 year old suffered a stroke yesterday which proved fatal. As was previously reported, February 4th’s fire was caused by a lit candle which was near the bed. At the time of the incident family members told CTV3 News that as Ramona tried extinguishing the fire, she instructed Danely to run outside. When the fire got out of control, Cabrera ran outside not noticing that baby Danely stayed inside the zinc house. The body of Danely was found underneath a metal crib where it is believed she hid to avoid the fire.

Family Offers Reward For Missing Loved One
Today makes six days that 87 year old Mamerto Castillo from the Village of Yo Creek has been missing and tonight family members are greatly concerned about his whereabouts. Castillo, better known as Don Mito, was last seen by family members on Wednesday February 13th around 9:30am when he left home. The octogenarian told them he was going to gather some wood near the Village of San Lazaro. But several visits to the area have proven futile as Castillo is nowhere to be found. Tonight, as the family hopes for the best expecting the worst, a reward of U.S$200 is being offered to anyone who has information on Castillo’s whereabouts. Reports are that the 87 year old has been spotted in the Village of Chan Pine Ridge. Castillo left home wearing a light pink long sleeve shirt and kaki long pants. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Mamerto Castillo is asked to contact the nearest police station or call 303-2047 or 629-1688.

Caught With 0.4 Grams Of Cocaine, Charged!
And while police investigate the report of the missing items a man has been arrested for drug possession. At around 6:30pm on Monday February 18th, police were on mobile patrol on 9th Street South Corozal Town when their attention was drawn to a male Hispanic person standing on the street side. Upon sighting the police mobile the male individual, later identified as 29 year old Carlos Cantun, placed an object in his mouth only to dispose of it moments later as he was approached by officers. A search conducted in the area led police to the discovery of a clear plastic bag containing 0.4 grams of suspected cocaine. As a result, the 29 year old Belizean Mason of Rainbow town Corozal was arrested and charged for possession of a controlled drug.

The Launching Of A Partial Scope Agreement With El Salvador
Today Belize launched the first round of negotiations for a Partial Scope Agreement with El Salvador. These negotiations will address a range of issues including market access for agricultural goods and products, investments, cooperation, and legal and institutional arrangements. The agreement is also expected to create export opportunities for several industries and contribute to overall economic growth by promoting trade, foreign direct investment, employment and revenue generation. In addition, the Partial Scope Agreement will serve to deepen trade relations with El Salvador allowing for greater market penetration into Central America. According to the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Mike Singh, the private sector is encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity for engagement and partnership with El Salvador in areas of Investments and Market access. The private sector is also encouraged to mediate with the Ministry of Trade to access business opportunities arising from this agreement both for import and export purposes. The first of three rounds of negotiations concludes on Thursday of this week with the signing of an Aide Memoir between the two countries.

He Was In Prison While Robbers Were In His House
He was sentenced to do time at the Hattiville Prison but the 62 year old Belizean retiree lost more than his freedom after his neighbor took possession of his personal belongings. The 62 year old resident of #27 Santa Rita heights Corozal Town reported to police that before being sent to prison on the 9th of December 2012, he secured his residence. The man reports leaving his house keys with his neighbor and his two bank cards with a female friend from the Village of Calcutta. The woman was also asked to pick up the keys from the neighbor and to stay at the residence while the owner was away. But according to the 62 year old, while at prison he received a call from his neighbor stating that he had taken out items from inside the house and was in possession of his F150 pickup truck. On the 30th of November 2012 the inmate received another phone call this time from his female friend who informed him that the neighbor had ordered four men to remove some furniture from inside the residence. The owner of the house, only identified as Mr. Walker, was set free on February 15th and when he arrived home he noticed that a number of times including jewelry were unaccounted for. The missing items are valued at a total of two hundred and sixty two thousand five hundred and fifty Belize dollars. Police are investigating.

Pallotine Sisters Celebrate A Century In Belize
This year the Pallotine Sisters will celebrate 100 years of presence and outstanding services in Belize. The centennial of the arrival of four German sisters in Belize on March 17th is being celebrated under the theme “Grateful for the Past Hopeful for the Future.” Presently there are 21 Pallotine Sisters in the country who will be paying tribute to their work with a number of activities taking place country wide. Here in Orange Walk and exhibit has been set up at the Banquitas House of Culture by the Pallotine Sisters. The exhibit, which was officially opened yesterday, speaks about the life of Vincent Pallotie and the work of the Pallotine Sisters in Belize. Carmelita Perez reporting… Imprinted in these photographs is the life of Vincent Pallotie the founder of the Pallotine Sisters. On the other hand these photographs speak about the years of work carried out by the Pallotine Sisters in Belize. While the pictures portray the life of different people, they have one thing in common. They are all on display at the Banquitas House of Culture in celebration of the Pallotine Sisters 100 years of presence in Belize.

The Deer Dance: A Multi Chapter Cultural Play
In last night’s newscast you saw the men and women of the Pueblo Viejo Deer Dance Group from Punta Gorda, blessing the recently inaugurated mural at the Orange Walk Town Council. But the cultural group was in Orange Walk for much more. After the mural was official inaugurated, the group, along with members of the council, danced through the principal streets of town showcasing what is known as the deer dance. Hipolito Novelo reports… Hipolito Novelo reporting They hail from Punta Gorda in the Toledo District and they are known as the Pueblo Viejo Deer Dance Group. The group has been in existence for about 5-6 years and much of the deer dancing is performed by men- 23 of them to be exact. Synchronized with marimba music dancers tell the tale of the importance of preserving culture.The dance is broken down in different chapters and according to group leader, Steven Sho, it holds a vast amount of history and significance. Steven Sho, Pueblo Viejo Deer Dance Group “In the first lead it would be the deer dance. We have four sets of deer and four antelopes. Then we have the four captains and the four Spaniards. Then we have spider monkeys on either sides and we also have the jaguars on either side. Then we have the old man, the old woman along with the dog. That is what comprises the group.” Hipolito Novelo, Reporter “Okay, let’s talk about the significance of the deer dance.”

UDP Supports ICJ Referendum
During the UDP’s Convention in Corozal on Sunday resolutions to the party’s constitution were passed in regards to the age range that a person can join the party. It changed from fifteen to thirteen. But there was also another important issue that was voted on. Former Party Chairman, Doug Singh, asked UDP supporters and delegates whether or not they quote, “agree that any legal claim of Guatemala against Belize related to land and insular territory and any maritime areas pertaining to these territories should be submitted to the International Court of Justice for final settlement and that it determine finally the boundaries of the respected territories and areas of the parties” end quote. According to Singh, the party’s central executive and the national party council has decided to vote yes to the referendum and take the issue to the International Court of Justice. The referendum is set for October 6th and once the majority of voters decide to take it to the ICJ then there is no turning back. At the moment, both Guatemala and Belize have embarked in an education campaign to bring awareness to residents of both countries. But while the United Democratic Party says yes to the ICJ, the social activist group, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA, rejects that notion and has been very vocal about their position. And just to show you what Guatemala wants, just weeks ago this image appeared in Guatemala’s newspaper in which it highlights the area that Guatemala is claiming; most of which is from Belize City southwards.

Break Through In Super Bond Restructuring
The Government of Belize approved a bill on February 12th at the House of Representative regarding the restructuring of the $550 million superbond. After almost a year of heated negotiations between GOB and the creditors committee, members unanimously agreed to swap their old U.S. dollar bonds for new bonds with a maturity date of 2038; an extension of 9 years. Under the deal offered by GOB, creditors would write off 10% of the value of the bonds which is far less than the 45% that government had previously proposed in the original restructuring option. According to joint chair of the committee and co-president of the Greylock Capital Management, AJ Mediratta, the committee appreciated the willingness to negotiate in good faith and adhere to what was in the end a fair and transparent process. The interest rate on the bond was also reduced from 8.5% to 5% for the first 4.5 years and 6.788% for the remaining years. Belize's chief debt negotiator Mark Espat said the committee's position would make it easier to achieve the 75 percent participation rate the government is targeting. That would trigger a collective action clause, intended to make it easier to restructure government bonds in a crisis.


UB Board of Trustees issue statement
The Board of Trustees of the University of Belize today issued a statement assuring faculty and staff that it has noted the concerns raised by UB’s Faculty and Staff Association and is dealing with these concerns with appropriate regard for due process. The board statement says that the trustees are committed to accountability at the national university and proof of that is demonstrated in the fact that after not producing independent audits for the first six years of its existence, the University of Belize now has up to date audits, enabling scrutiny of the use of its finances. The statement goes on to say that a payroll audit is currently being carried out by an independent external audit firm and that after reviews of a number of draft reports submitted by the audit fir, the president will table the final report from the auditors subsequent to clarification being sought on a number of points. The UB Board of Trustees statement ends by saying that the national university should demonstrate a respect for due process and natural justice in its governance as these attributes are essential to ensuring that the university can attract talented Belizeans to work with the university or become partners in helping the university to fulfill its potential and its role in the development of Belize.

New Justice of the Belize Court of Appeal appointed
A new justice of the Belize Court of Appeal has been appointed. Fifty one year old former Supreme Court judge Minet Haffiz-Bertram took the oath of office this morning from Governor General Sir Colville Young at Belize House in Belmopan. Justice Hafiz-Betram who is originally from Guyana, has serves as a Supreme Court judge since 2007. She was worked in the judicial system in Belize, serving previously as Registrar General and Registrar of the Supreme Court. She has also served as a Crown Counsel in the Attorney General’s Ministry. She studied law in Guyana and at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago where she earned her legal education certificate in 1997. Justice Hafiz-Bertram’s appointment as a Justice of the Court of Appeal is effective February fifteenth and will last until she attains the age of sixty five years old. Present at this morning’s swearing-in ceremony were Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin and Justices Denis Hanomansingh, Michelle Arana and Courtenay Abel.

UDP holds national convention in Corozal; approves policy positions
The governing United Democratic Party held its national convention on Sunday in Corozal town. Love TV’s Ava Diaz Sosa and video journalist Brian Castillo traveled north for the event yesterday and bring you the following report. UDP issues policy positions: During its national convention the United Democratic Party presented its policy statements on a number of issues. As it relates to youth the party says it will continue to recognize and encourage youth leadership by appointing them to decision making bodies of government in which their position will be afforded legitimate and equal power. The statement on the upcoming ICJ referendum was also released. The UDP says it supports both the referendum process and a yes vote on referendum day. However the party says while it supports a yes vote, this does not restrict supporters from voting their conscience. The party has repeatedly come under fire for lack of women on the frontline. In its policy statement the party says it will put mechanisms in place to achieve gender equality or equity within the party. The party says it looks to have 30% of women in leadership of the party and in local and national elections as well as introduce a national gender policy. In its statement on crime the UDP says it supports the government initiatives which include the restore Belize strategic plan, the establishment of the special gang unit among others.

Vaccination campaign against Equine Encephalomyelitis starts
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority has begun a vaccination campaign in the north and western parts of the country, following an outbreak of Equine Encephalomyelitis. According to a press release issued at the weekend, BAHA has confirmation from the USDA laboratory that the Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis virus is currently circulating in Belize, with outbreaks detected in the Corozal and Cayo districts. Love News spoke with Dr. Miguel DePaz who is the director of animal health at BAHA and asked him to explain what Equine Encephalomyelitis is. There are no reported cases of the viral disease being contracted by humans in Belize; but Dr. DePaz says measures must be taken to ensure the safety of animals and people. Measures to prevent mosquito bites, including the use of repellents and protective clothing are also being recommended to reduce the risk of infection in humans.

Red Cross holds annual general assembly
The annual general meeting of the Belize Red Cross was held this past weekend in Belize City. During the course of the AGM, reports were presented on the work of the service organization last year. Lilly Bowman is the director general of the Red Cross. During the election of officers, Hugo Lopez was selected as the new president for the Belize Red Cross, while Nigel Ebanks was elected as an ordinary member of the executive. Bowman says there are exciting plans for the Belize Red Cross going forward. Bowman says there are six main branches of the Belize Red Cross around the country, with some sub-branches in particular areas. Total membership of the service organization numbers around two thousand, but Red Cross officials say of that number about five hundred and very active; and about three hundred are extremely active members.

Double murder in Munoz Alley
A spate of weekend violence in Belize City has left two persons dead and several others injured. Love TV’s Marion Ali reports.

From the police blotter
There was a sequence of shootings that took place over the weekend, one of which happened about twenty minutes to ten on Friday night and left three persons injured. 48 year old Wallace Matura was standing at the corner of Orange Street and East Canal, and housewife, 26 year old Carmita Chan and 32 year old Alchea Harris, a mentally challenged person were walking on Orange Street when the incident unfolded. Police say that a man came from the direction of East Canal and fired about eight shots towards Matura, hitting him in the abdomen, testicles, left hand, right hand and left leg. Chan got hit in her left buttocks and Harris was grazed to his left hip. Matura is said to be in a critical condition while Chan and Harris were treated and released from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Matura issued a statement this evening asking the media to focus their attention on the true heroes in the situation including the medical personnel, law enforcement officials and those who assisted in saving his life by taking him to the hospital in a timely manner. Meanwhile, on Sunday evening at around twenty minutes to seven, Randy Harris, a 19 year old resident of Neal Pen Road was shot to the right hand, while 24 year old Deon Gibson, a construction worker was shot to the left hand and 39 year old Orlando Velasquez of Rivero Street suffered gunshot wounds to the left thigh. Police say that the three were standing in a yard on Kraal Road when a man entered and fired several gunshots in their direction. Vasquez is being hospitalized in a stable condition while Harris and Gibson were treated and released. Earlier on Sunday, sometime after four in the morning, 47 year old Mario Ramos, a mason of Mayflower Street was hit to the right hip and right thigh as he sat on his bed. Ramos told police that he heard four shots and then realized that he was shot. He is in a stable condition. Lastly, last Thursday in Corozal, a sixteen year old labourer of San Narciso Village was shot in his left instep and the left side of the back at 4:30 that afternoon. The youth told police that he was selling oranges at the Corozal Free Zone and had left to go home, but upon reaching the road that leads to the new bridge, and shortly thereafter he saw some Custom Officers shouting. That was when he heard several gunshots and realized that he was shot. The youth remains in a stable condition. Police continue to investigate these incidents. Forty-six year old Luis Romero, a.k.a. “Show”, who allegedly stole assorted jewelry and money amounting to $1,250.00 from the house of Belize City Council Traffic Manager Kevan Jenkins, was charged with burglary when he appeared in court today. Romero pled not guilty to the charge. The prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds that the offence has become prevalent, that the offence is of a serious nature, that the accused has convictions for theft and handling stolen goods and the investigation is still ongoing. Romero did not give Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith a good reason why he should be granted bail so she upheld the objection and remanded Romero into custody until April 4. The incident occurred on January 28. Jenkins reported to the police that while he was at work someone broke into his house and stole assorted jewelry, a pair of shoes and $150.00. Police say that a scenes of crime technician processed the scene and lifted fingerprints that matches with Romero’s fingerprints.

Ambulances donated in the US arrive in Belize
The Southern Regional Hospital will soon have the use of two new ambulances donated by a group in the United States. Our Stann Creek correspondent Harry Arzu reports.

Research equipment installed at Calabash Caye
The Calabash Caye Field Station, CCFS, is Belize’s first Nationally owned and managed marine research facility located in Calabash Caye on the Turneffe Atoll. The CCFS was established on September 27th 1995 and in 2009 the Environmental Research Institute of the University of Belize took Charge. On Friday, reporter Natalie Novelo and Videographer Brian Castillo visited the facility in a UB sponsored trip, to learn more about the station and the new equipment which will help in its expansion.

Firemen back home after regional training course
A group of fourteen firefighters from Belize returned to the country on Sunday following a one week training course in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The training course was made possible by the United States Southern Command and was designed to assist fire fighters from the Central American region to network and improve their operational capabilities. The Tegucigalpa training course, dubbed Central American Sharing Operational Knowledge and Experiences Exercise, promotes peace, growth and stability throughout the region through peacetime engagement to improve capabilities and strengthen regional partnerships. Among the topics covered in the exercise was the use of personnel protective equipment, self-contained breathing, fire hose evolutions, helicopter fire operations and automotive live fire operations. The returning Belizean fire fighters also received training on handling structural fires, and medical procedures including cold and hot loading procedures for medical evacuation.


Unions are preparing counter-proposal for Government
Unions preparing counter-proposal to Government. For the last week or so members of the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU), Public Service Union (PSU) and Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM) have been listening to their leaders present the proposal from Government as to how to handle a salary...

Super Bond holders agree to Belize’s new offer
After nearly a year of negotiations, the committee representing the Belize bondholders has agreed to government’s bond offer. This is after the Committee made a unanimous decision to swap their old U.S. dollar bonds for new bonds with a maturity date of 2038. The deal put forward by the...

Leroy Sherrier returns to coach Belize’s national team
Leroy Sherrier Lewis returns to coach Belize. Costa Rica’s Leroy Sherrier Lewis was architect of Belize’s best performance at a regional football tournament ever: 4th place at the Central American Nations’ Cup in January, in which we defeated Nicaragua in a nail-biter and respectably draw with opponent Guatemala while...

CREI initiates Research to find Biological Control to combat Citrus Greening
Biological Control is a systematic method of killing parasites, bacteria and predators using other living organisms. It is an environmentally sound and quite effective means of protecting plants and it has extended to countries all over the globe. Instead of the traditional use of chemically-induced sprays, environmentalists are now...

Belize City and Corozal Police are investigating reports of Arson
Belize City and Corozal Police are investigating reports of Arson. A 23 year old Belizean sales clerk of Belize City reported that at 11:00pm on Saturday, he parked his 2007 pick-up, valued at $45,000.00bcy on Cran Street and upon returning at 2:50am Sunday morning, he saw his pick-up completely...

Busy weekend for fire officials in Belize City
It was a busy weekend for fire officials in Belize City. On Saturday reports came to PLUS News of a fire in the vicinity of Dario’s’ Meat pies on Hyde’s Lane but it turned out to be only a false alarm; fire men found a small brush fire under...

Two teens remanded for firearm offences
In Belize City, Police conducted a search at the home of Aaron Reynolds, an eighteen year old believed to be a member of the Southside Gang. The search turned up a nine millimeter pistol and eight rounds of ammunition. Also present at the residence at the time was nineteen...

UB Student robbed on Belmopan Campus
A 19 year old student of the University of Belize, was robbed on campus last night in the City of Belmopan Campus. The student stated that on Monday the 18th of February, at about 8:45pm he was walking on the University compound beside the Jabirou building sending a text...

The Ministry of Health installs National Communication System
The Ministry of Health installed a National Communication System that will facilitate communication during public health emergencies and disasters. The system, installed last week, is located at the Baldy Beacon, Mountain Pine Ridge and will be used to network with Public Health Providers across the country. This is how...

Wild Tracks wins Audubon Society Award
The Belize Audubon Society yesterday named its 2013 James A. Waight Award recipient. This year’s awardee is Wild Tracks, a non-governmental organization located in Sarteneja Village of the Corozal district. Co-founders of the organization, Paul and Zoe Walker, in partnership with Fireburn Community, opened and manage the Fireburn Private...

Educators in conflict mediation training
Educators in conflict mediation training. RESTORE Belize and the US Embassy are sponsoring a series of trainings in conflict mediation for educators around the country and the latest session took place in Belize City today at the ITVET. We spoke to a participant, Zeni Perdomo of Corozal Community College...

Hotdog vendor robbed at gunpoint
A Hotdog vendor was robbed at gunpoint. 53 year old Bertha Arias, Honduran Vendor of Sarawee Village reported that at 12:25am on Friday Feb 15th, while selling hotdogs in front of Ilagulei Night Club located on George Price Drive, in Dangriga Town, she was approached by a dark complexion...

Ramona Cabrera has succumbed to her fire injuries
On Monday February 4th we told you about a three year old who had perished in an early morning fire in the Corozal district. Her mother 40 year old Ramona Cabrera, also received 1st degree burns on her face, back and 2nd degree burns to her left and right...

More missing BDF Firearms recovered
Firearms believed to have been stolen from the B.D.F have been discovered. Over the weekend, GSU came upon a garbage bag hidden in the sand, in the Seine Bight and Placencia area. A search of the bag led to the discovery of an M-sixteen rifle and a nine millimeter...


Things are fast taking shape for a real renaissance in the sport of boxing in Belize, beginning with this Sunday’s return to Bird’s Isle showcasing a number of young boxers. Manager Frank Martinez of Cayo Lions Den Gym, which will feature 3 boxers on Sunday’s card, is of the firm belief that “we have to start with the development of the youths, from ages 8 to 16 years, if we want to go anywhere in any sport.” He says he has about 25 youths training right now at the gym in Cayo, and his vision, which he shares with manager/promoter Clinton Tucker of the Ladyville Lions Den Gym, is for us to have an active development program going in each district, focusing on the youths. In related news, promoter/manager Clinton Tucker said this morning that a meeting is planned for today to determine the way forward for the Boxing Federation, in light of recent charges against the president Moses Sulph. “As a matter of principle, in light of the present case, we have to take the necessary steps now to safeguard the image of the Federation.”

Week 2 is in the books for the Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2012-2013 Closing Season, and already there are only 2 teams still undefeated – defending champion Belmopan Bandits FC and Belize Defense Force FC. With last season’s MVP Woodrow West exploring his options in the U.S., defending champions Belmopan Bandits turned to seasoned veteran William Johnson, who broke his leg in the first game of a Super League season a couple years ago with City Boys United. And, despite a couple close calls, Johnson and the Bandits are off to a stellar start, being the only team not to concede a goal so far in the competition. On Saturday night at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the home-standing Bandits took advantage of a penalty opportunity, when striker Brandon Peyrefitte was taken down in the eighteen, and David Trapp converted for Bandits at the 27th minute. The equalizer almost came early in second half, when San Felipe defender Andrew Allen sent a swerving center that Johnson had difficulty corralling; but recently inserted San Felipe striker Eder Evans was too eager to strike the high bouncing ball in front of an open goal, and mis-fired. A Brandon-Peyrefitte free kick from the left side in the closing moments found an open Ian Gaynair on the right side, and Gaynair made no mistake, directing his header down in the right corner to close the curtain on San Felipe, 2-nil, at the 89th minute.

UDP Education Minister Patrick Faber’s decision late last year to challenge Natural Resources Minister, Gapi Vega, for the First Deputy Leadership of the ruling UDP and, by extension, the Deputy Prime Minister’s post, was a surprise at the time, and early speculation was that some large force, like Lord Ashcroft, for example, must have contributed to Faber’s decision. The reason for that early speculation was that, while Patrick had always been an acknowledged favorite of Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s, the change in the national political dynamics occasioned by the results of last March’s general elections, suggested that Mr. Barrow would have no choice other than to throw his support behind Mr. Vega. The results of the March 2012 general elections had shown that there was a clear difference in thinking between Belize City voters, who went UDP, and the District voters, who went PUP. Even though the UDP failure in the Districts could be considered, to a substantial extent, Gapi Vega’s failure, Mr. Barrow needed Mr. Vega more than ever, in the wake of the unprecedented March 2012 results, for “ethnic and geographical balance.” A powerful element in the Opposition PUP, which had made up its mind that they did not need Belize City to win the next general elections, welcomed, in fact embraced, the Faber challenge to Vega, because it would prove that the UDP was a Belize City-based party if Faber won, and upset the Prime Minister’s apple cart.

It is in the nature of the situation where a specific group finds itself at the bottom of the socio-economic barrel, that there will be treachery in interpersonal relationships within that group. We usually use the reality of the treachery amongst our people to increase the negativity of our assessment of our situation. But it is not because we are inherently wicked or inferior that we are treacherous: it is because our existence is so marginalized that the self-preservation instinct makes the incidence of treachery higher. The fault lies not in ourselves, but in the harshness of our oppression, that we appear more flawed than our oppressors. There were members of our group who made personal and family progress by becoming loyal and valuable to the colonial masters in British Honduras. In a colonial situation, such opportunities only exist for a minority, who then form somewhat of an elite. If such opportunities were available for the broad masses of the people, then the socio-economic situation of the masses would not be one of colonialism: it would be a condition of liberation. Consider the interpersonal relations on a slave ship. Our ancestors were chained as tight as canned sardines in the dark hold of a sailing ship for the two, three months it took to cross the Atlantic Ocean from West Africa to America. Our ancestors would be expectorating, vomiting, urinating, and defecating on each other, and they would be in a chronic state of hunger and thirst, not to mention claustrophobia. The captain and crew of the slave ship, in a position of absolute power over their human cargo, would be able to tempt individual slaves with offers of more food, more water, more sunshine, a little freedom from the grinding of the iron shackles, whatever … Most individual slaves who yielded to any temptation would rationalize their “selfishness,” and it is not easy to blame them.

The Editor Amandala Sir, For those who are not aware of the limits of our beloved country, which were established more than three decades before the iron-clad 1859 Treaty “was carved in stone” (and which, because of established international law, the ICJ cannot change), the following letter may help to explain. The explanation had to be given to a British-owned company which was operating in Vera Paz, Guatemala, registered as the Eastern Coast of Central America Company, which wanted to make sure they were not trespassing on Belizean territory while doing their farming operation. They had written to His Majesty’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Lord Glenelg.

Anthony told police he is the “boss of the Ghost Town Crips” Today, inside the courtroom of Magistrate Adolph Lucas, Jr., Roger Anthony, 35, pleaded guilty to displaying support for a criminal gang and professing to belong to a criminal gang, namely the Ghost Town Crips gang. According to the report, at 10:00 yesterday morning, members of the Gang Suppression Unit were on mobile patrol on Vernon Street. Upon reaching the corner of Mayflower and Vernon Streets, they stopped their vehicle when they observed Anthony talking to another person. They searched the men, but nothing illegal was found on their persons. However, the officers noticed that the shirt that Anthony was wearing had “GTC” on the collar with “30’s”. They also noticed that the pocket of the shirt had “OG” printed on it, along with the word “MOB.” When police asked Anthony what “GTC” meant, Anthony allegedly replied “Ghost Town Crips,” and that he is the leader of that gang. He allegedly further stated that “MOB” was his alias.

Patrick Faber said that had it not been for the Prime Minister’s “interference,” he would have won Both Alberto August and Fern Gutierrez, who won their posts, ran on Gapi Vega’s slate The United Democratic Party held its National Convention on Sunday, February 17, 2013, in Corozal. The UDP claims that a crowd of over 8,000 attended the event to witness and support the appointment and election of new party officials. Hon. Dean Barrow was endorsed as the party’s leader, and Hon. Erwin Contreras was confirmed in his post as the party’s second deputy leader. Elections for the positions of first deputy party leader, party chairman and vice chairman were held at the bi-annual convention. Votes were cast by 567 delegates, which encompass representatives of the 31 divisions, senators, central executive members, parliamentarians and other senior members of the party. The highlight of the day was the elections for the first deputy party leader, contested by Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega and Minister of Education Patrick Faber. The faceoff between Faber and Vega had received major media attention, as Faber aggressively promoted himself as the better man for the job.

Gunman shot 2 in Muñoz Alley; one died, but other victim killed the shooter Deadly violence from gangland shooters continues to rock the mean streets of the city. This time it was Majestic Alley figure Lincoln “Kilo Boy” Allen, 39, the father of 11 children with ages 3 months to 17 years, well known to police, who lived in the Majestic Alley hutments of the city. The shooting was the third in a record weekend that saw 12 people shot in the city in different shooting incidents, with two dead and a number of victims in critical condition. A gunman approached Allen, listed as a laborer by police, in Muñoz Alley, in the same vicinity as Majestic Alley, and shot him in the head and mouth at about 1:34 Saturday morning, February 16. Also dead is Allen’s shooter, Devon Dean Saldano, 23, of a West Street address, who was shot in the back of the head by someone he shot and injured — Derek Cervantes, who was in Allen’s company. Police say that they found Saldano’s body about two feet away from Allen’s body.

Trapp was shot and killed in historic fashion at the steps of the courthouse Today, Nicoli Rhys, 22, was found not guilty by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin for the murder of Andre Trapp, the reputed leader of the South Side Gang. Readers will recall that the gang boss had been shot and killed, of all places, on the steps of the courthouse in Belize City. At 10:00 a.m. on June 10, 2010, Trapp had just left the Magistrate’s Court and was speaking with an old classmate. After their conversation, Trapp was walking toward his vehicle when gunshots rang out in the parking lot of the court. After everything settled, Trapp lay dead on the side of the steps leading to Courtrooms 1 and 2. In the trial which started on January 29, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, in her opening statement, informed the court that her case against the accused was based on circumstantial evidence. She also made reference to an oral confession allegedly made by Rhys to an officer who responded to the shooting.

Apart from the shooting deaths of two persons and the hospitalization of another victim, which are reported on the front page of this issue, there were four other shooting incidents that left nine other persons injured or hospitalized over a bloody weekend. The shootings began at about 3:30 p.m. on Friday, February 15. Police said that Kenroy Tillett and Alton Roches were repairing Tillett’s truck in front of his house at the corner of Neal Pen Road and Monroe Street, when a gunman approached and opened fire on them. Reports are that the gunman rode up from Monroe Street into Pen Road, where the men were working on the vehicle, and fired about 12 shots at them. In their attempt to escape the gunfire, they tried to run into the house, but the gunman shot at them several times and then rode away on his bicycle, disappearing into the area of Kraal Road. The white Ford Ranger single-cab pickup, owned by Tillett, was seen with bullet damages on it. Bullet holes were in the back and front windshields and in both the passenger and driver side doors.


See a Beautiful Day in Placencia Belize
The above photo was posted by @Earth_pics on twitter and has been re tweeted 543 times. It represents an amazing sunrise in Placencia Belize. Placencia, Belize, is one of the most laid back, pretty and interesting places in the Caribbean. This friendly little village situated on the tip of a long sandy peninsula in south eastern Belize is an affordable, uncrowded little gem of a tropical paradise.

Kayaking with Purpose
While Caye Caulker is well known for its laid back and slow pace, it is full of active water sports and activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and many more. During my visit to Caye Caulker, one of the activities that caught my attention the most was kayaking. But not just any kayaking, it was kayaking with Ocean Academy. Since Caye Caulker is a small island with a small population, it didn’t have the means to provide for a public high school – so all kids had to either drop out or go to San Pedro to continue their education. Education in Belize is not free, and for some families this is an expense outside their limited budget. But in September 2008, Ocean Academy –a non-profit community high school– opened its doors to provide a high school education to local residents. While the school is much more affordable than going to San Pedro, students still need to pay for their education, either with paid tuition or with tuition credits like community service. And, here’s where kayaking comes in… As a way to earn tuition credit and gain valuable job training, many of the 60 students of Ocean Academy volunteer to guide visitors around Caye Caulker; either by foot, bicycle, or kayak.

Harlem Shake Belizean Style [VIDEO]
So I finally found two Harlem Shake Belizean Style video. HAHA! These guys are studying at UWI and are from Belize. These ones look like local Belizean kids: These one are from Orange Walk:

BCCI – Professional Etiquette Training in Belmopan City
Feb 20th, George Price Center. Facilitated by Ms. Mapye Smith. $300 + GST

First Round of Trade Negotiations – Belize & El Salvador, San Ignacio Hotel, Cayo Belize. 18-21 Feb., 2013

Power Failure
Had been out on the veranda around an hour when there was a heavy downpour at around 6.15 am. It didn’t last long but came down heavily enough to ‘force’ me inside. Good opportunity though to replenish my cup with coffee. Resettled I proceeded to catch up with the news via my The Times on-line subscription and was enjoying the read when the rain came down again at around 7.15 am and it coincided with a power failure which took out the Internet. It only lasted around 10 minutes but power outages are something that if you are contemplating relocating to Belize occur reasonably frequently (eg we had one last Saturday as well). After finishing off The Times (or did it finish me off?) it was time for a quick shower before heading over to the Belikin/Crystal Water depot to get a 5 gallon water bottle (BZ$3.50 if you have your own bottle). The depot is conveniently located now but when we move to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize I will probably get five or six bottles per trip ( for this I will have to pay a refundable BZ$25 deposit per bottle). Rose and I then spent a little time finding storage space for some of our stuff to create space for the visit that some friends of ours are going to make. They will arrive three days before we set off on our trip to Dallas and will stay at the condo we are renting. We then get to spend a further three days with them when we return before they head off home. Works for all of us. We get someone to ‘condo sit’ and they get a relatively inexpensive holiday. Around 12.05 pm we had another power failure but fortunately like the previous one it didn’t last long and we continued clearing space until the Arsenal Champions League game versus Bayern Munich commenced and that’s when I wouldn’t have minded another power failure . Quite simply it was men against boys and now in only February Arsenal have a season with only forth place to play for.

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Applecrisp Cheeseecake
Whut do y'all do wen y'all have guest fer dinnr? Do y'all make t'entire meal er do y'all ast 'um brang sumthin? It varies fer me. Sumtimes I like t'do t'entire thang, and sumtimes t'guests contribute. That way we share t'cost and preparatyuns t'ease t'event fer t'hostess. I luv that air friens enjoy contributin' t'hat kine uf dinnr. It shure makes it easir, and thay knoe that wen it is thar turn t'host, we all brang sumthin n' return as well. Mah cuzin Deris brung thishere deliciyus cheeseecake fer deessert that I jes had t'share with y'all! Nex time y'all air ast t'brang deessert sumwhars, cunsidder thishere Apple Crisp Cheeseecake. Mmm,so good! Thanks Deris.

International Sources

Arctic sea ice volume now one-fifth its 1979 level
The stunning loss of Arctic sea ice extent in recent years is undeniable--satellite measurements have conclusively shown that half of the Arctic sea ice went missing in September 2012, compared to the average September during 1979 - 2000. But the extent of ice cover is not the best measure of how the fire raging in Earth's attic is affecting sea ice--the total volume of the ice is more important. But up until 2010, we didn't have the measurements needed to say how the total volume of ice in the Arctic might be changing. Scientists relied on the University of Washington PIOMAS model, which suggested that the loss of Arctic sea ice volume during September might be approaching 75% - 80%. The model results were widely criticized by climate change skeptics as being unrealistic. However, in April 2010, a new satellite called Cryostat-2 was launched, which can measure ice volume by beaming pulses of microwave energy off of the ice. With two years of data to Cryosat-2 data to analyze, the results of the PIOMAS model have now been confirmed by a study published on-line in February 2013 in Geophysical Research Letters. In a University of Washington news release, co-author Axel Schweiger said, "people had argued that 75 to 80 percent ice volume loss was too aggressive. What this new paper shows is that our ice loss estimates may have been too conservative, and that the recent decline is possibly more rapid."

Real Estate Sales in Belize Increase Due to McAfee Publicity
The tiny Central American country of Belize made headlines around the world recently after Belizean authorities embarked on a nationwide manhunt for software antivirus pioneer John McAfee, and some Belizean companies say business has increased as a result of the massive international exposure. "When that whole debacle started with McAfee all of the huge media outlets like CNN, ABC news, NBC news, the Associated Press, Reuters, you name it, they all started covering it," said David Gobeil, owner of Belize Property Agents Realty, located in Dangriga Belize. "Not because an expat sadly died in Belize, but because a world-famous individual like McAfee was implicated," he said.

Belize bondholders group agrees to superbond exchange
A committee representing Belize bondholders said on Tuesday its members agreed to a debt exchange on the country's $550 million superbond, after almost a year of often heated negotiations. Committee members agreed unanimously to swap their old U.S. dollar bonds for new bonds with a maturity date of 2038, the group said in a statement. "The Committee appreciates the (Belize government's) willingness to negotiate in good faith and to adhere to what was in the end a fair and transparent process," said AJ Mediratta, joint chair of the committee and co-president of Greylock Capital Management.

UTSA International Trade Center hosts delegation from SBDC Belize
The International Trade Center in the UTSA Institute of Economic Development hosted a delegation Jan. 22-25 from SBDC Belize, a newly launched Small Business Development Center (SBDC). During the four-day visit, the delegates met with directors and staff of the various centers and specialty centers with the Institute for Economic Development and Southwest Texas Border SBDC Network. Best practices and practical direction were provided to give SBDC Belize the best chance to succeed in creating economic impact in Belize. "We had frank conversations about the realities of running a high-performing SBDC and SBDC Network," said Albert Salgado, director of the South-West Texas Border Small Business Development Center Network. "Our South-West Texas Border SBDC Network has been very successful, but it is because we strive to meet the demands of the small-business community and prepare our advisers with professional development and resources to provided relevant services. We want SBDCBelize to succeed in the same way."

Cookbook Review: The Flavors of Belize May Not Be Perfect, But It's Hard Not to Love a Fried Breadfruit (!) Recipe
A good cookbook collection does not look like it came straight out of a food stylist's studio. Sure, it will include several near-perfect volumes, those monumental titles that still capture your attention. But some cookbooks, like Flavors of Belize, will sport a few flaws. You might keep them because there haven't been many cookbooks on the subject. Or because within their pages, you can find recipe ideas for obscure stateside ingredients like breadfruit (get a recipe for fried breadfruit after the jump). You can overlook the minor annoyances, like the promotional tone of many of the restaurant/chef listings in the glossary and specific products. In the recipe for "Belikin beer bread" ("the beer of Belize") any light lager would likely work fine; those fish panades (similar to fried empañadas with a crispy corn shell) call for Quaker brand masa harina mix.

Belize Bondholder Group Agrees To Restructuring
A group representing a majority of Belize sovereign bondholders has agreed to a restructuring that will give the country nine more years to pay off some of its debt. The Coordinating Committee of Belize Bondholders said in a statement Tuesday that its members agreed unanimously to exchange their old dollar-denominated bonds due 2029 for new ones that fall due in 2038. The negotiations that began late last year led to "what was in the end a fair and transparent process," said AJ Mediratta, co-president of Greylock Capital Management and co-chairman of the bond holder group, referring to a series of announcements the Central Bank of Belize made along the way concerning its progress. Under the terms of the debt exchange, the Belize government will reimburse the committee for certain expenses, including reinstating principal in the event of a future default. Belize has $548 million of dollar-denominated bonds outstanding.

Belize bondholders group says members agree to superbond exchange
Feb 19 (Reuters) - The Belize bondholders group said it members agreed to a debt exchange proposed by the Belize government, a statement from the committee representing the majority of bondholders said on Tuesday.

Letter: Questions for the government of Belize on the Guatemala-ICJ issue
Dear Members of the Belize Referendum Commission, I am thanking you in advance for better equipping me to participate in the upcoming decision-making process through your clarifications on my few remaining questions: 1. What is Guatemala’s official position as to how much of the territory being claimed? How can we know determine if the rewards will outweigh the risks if the risks haven’t been clearly or at least officially specified? 2. How was the budget for the ICJ education campaign in Belize derived and mechanisms are in place to supervise the use of funds? 3. What will be the content of Guatemala’s message in its half of the education campaign and what are some of the ways it might affect the on the ground relations between the people of our two countries? What might be the result of 40 million dollars being spent on ‘educating’ Guatemalans of the strength of Guatemala’s claim to Belize? 4. Detail the actions we should expect the Guatemalan government to take to reduce border incursions should the ICJ decide in our favour?

Honeymoon Planning Spotlight: David & Brandi in Belize
One of the best parts about my job is being able to help match my clients to the perfect destination for what they’re looking for. I love getting to know couples and planning an itinerary to fit their every need. My absolute favorite part of the job, though, is to receive feedback upon their return about how the trip was exactly what they were looking for. That’s why I’ve decided to start sharing some of the feedback and hand-crafted itineraries so you can get a better idea of my travel planning from start to finish! When David and Brandi were originally referred to me, they had their minds set on a honeymoon to Argentina. After bouncing around a few ideas and exploring the Argentina idea a bit more, they were hesitant as to whether the destination would be a good fit for what they were looking for in a honeymoon. So, I got to the core of their search: they wanted sightseeing and adventure with a nice balance of relaxation. They weren’t the type to sit at one resort for the duration of their stay – they wanted to explore about 2-3 cities within the destination.

200 Countries & 200 Years in 4 Minutes, Presented by Hans Rosling
Hans Rosling, a professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, focuses on ‘dispelling common myths about the so-called developing world’ (as his TED bio well notes). And he has established a reputation for presenting data in extremely imaginative ways. Just watch the video above, an outtake from the BBC show “The Joy of Stats”). In four minutes, Rosling visually traces the health of 200 countries over 200 years, using 120,000 data points, and we end up with a little reason for optimism. Great stuff…

The River of Myths by Hans Rosling
Hans Rosling shows how measurement reveals incredible progress in saving the lives of children in what were once labeled "developing countries". If the few countries that still have high child mortality rates can follow the path of Ethiopia, preventable child deaths may be history by 2030. We must continue to closely measure this progress. Video created in partnership between The Gates Notes and Gapminder.

February 19, 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 latest Tia Chocolate column is ready for reading!!!
Dreams: It happened again. The dreams have become a part of my life. This one was particularly heart-wrenching. Usually I am justthislate. I am always running trying to catch something. And my life, especially my work life, gets in the way. An obstacle pops up, my schedule is interrupted, and I cannot get to her in time.

The San Pedro Sun

Ministry of Health installs first historic National Communication System
The Ministry of Health has installed a National Communication System at Baldy Beacon, Mountain Pine Ridge to enable communications during Public Health Emergencies and Disasters. This is the first time that the Ministry is establishing a national communications system to network with the Public Health Providers across the country. The system, installed last week, includes a Digital Repeater, a Digital EOC Head and four VHF Mobile Radio Base Stations which will be distributed amongst the Ministry of Health headquarters in Belmopan and the Regional offices in Dangriga, Orange Walk Town and Belize City.

Belize moves up in FIFA ranking
The International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) announced via its website that Belize has gained a total of 32 points and now rank #132 in the entire world. Belize has also gained grounds regionally and now ranks 20th in the region. The improvement in country’s FIFA rankings is a direct result of Belize’s performance in the Central American Cup (UNCAF) in January of 2013. Belize’s ranking leapt from 164 to 132, and for the President of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) Ruperto Vicente, it serves as motivation. “It means a lot. We were expecting that our ranking would improve based on the performance of the national team in Costa Rica and the fact that we are working hard to improve football in Belize. The improvement in ranking is an indication of hard work that the federation is doing with the national team and football in this country,” said Vicente. He further explained that the improvement in ranking at the UNCAF level directly allowed for FIFA to improve its ranking.

Ambergris Today

Destination Belize Magazine 2013 Showcases: The Best of Both Worlds
The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) launched the exciting 2013 edition of the Destination Belize Magazine on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:00a.m. at the Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina - Caracol Room. As the official visitor magazine of the Belize Tourism industry Association and Belize's #1 marketing collateral piece on travel for the past 16 years, the Destination Belize Magazine is an annual publication dedicated to ensuring that traveler's enjoy the most exciting, adventurous, breath-taking, tranquil, exotic and relaxing experience that Belize has to offer. With stunning imagery of the entire country, comprehensive tips, articles and editorials by local and international writers, a break-down of Belize's yearly activities and a complete listing of industry partners and BTIA members, the Destination Belize Magazine is definitely the premier source for travel information about Belize.

U.S. Ambassador’s Fund Awarded to Santa Rita Archaeological Park
On Wednesday, February 13, U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Margaret Hawthorne and Public Affairs Officer Eric Heyden traveled to the Santa Rita Archaeological Park near Corozal to meet with Dr. Jaime Awe, Director of the Institute of Archaeology, to tour the archaeological park and learn more about the site’s ongoing restoration. Each year since 2001, through its U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Cultural Heritage Center has assisted eligible countries in preserving their cultural heritage. The AFCP awarded BZ$100,000 to the National Institute of Culture and History’s Institute of Archaeology for the conservation of Santa Rita in recognition of its cultural importance.

Flashbacks: Laid Back San Pedro
You have always heard it said that San Pedro was a laid back quaint fishing village. Well, this is what they were referring to. The photo is not very clear but I think it was the best instamatic camera used back then and sometimes the film was not fresh. The photo was taken from in front of Milo’s Store and Hotel at the northern end of Barrier Reef Drive. As we move away we can see Mrs. Peggy Hancock going for a short walk with her grandchildren probably Mike and Kathy Hancock. It is a fully sand street with small rolling hills build up with wind erosion. Farther down at the light post we can see Hotel San Pedrano and across the street a small pick up truck parked in front of what is now the spanking edifice of Belize Bank. Still farther up the sandy street is a big tree in the middle of town. Well, that was there for ages as the fence of the Lions Den. Not many vehicles- it was laid back. Not many tourists- it was still a hidden secret. Not much hustle and bustle- it was a quaint fishing village. We told you it was a laid back San Pedro!

25 Years Ago: Belize City Scouts' Summer Days in San Pedro
When is the last time you saw a group of Scouts in San Pedro and in uniform engaged in some activity? Years ago in San Pedro we used to enjoy their company for an entire three week period right here in the village. They came here to enjoy the sea and Island life, but we, the children of San Pedro enjoyed them just as much. Where was their headquarters? The San Pedro Roman Catholic Church was a wooden building with a U-shape facing the sea. The left side was the church; the middle the kitchen and dorms; and the right side was called the Scout Room appropriately named because it was their headquarters. It was locked up when they left the San Pedro and we got to use it for about one entire year as our classrooms when Hurricane Hattie destroyed our school in 1961.

Romantic Couple's Massage in Paradise, San Pedro, Belize
There is always time for a little relaxation when vacationing in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. It may be taking a walk down the beach or looking up at the stars from your room. But taking time to enjoy a soothing massage takes relaxation to another level. Here we see a couple enjoying the very best of Victoria House resort in Ambergris Caye. They are heading to the beach with their robes to enjoy a romantic couple's massage; cant get more relaxing than that!

Misc Belizean Sources

VIDEO: Active adventures at The Lodge at Big Falls
With nearly a mile of riverfront, guests at The Lodge at Big Falls can embark on kayaking and tubing adventures right from the grounds of the lodge. There are a plethora of adventurous activities just minutes away including cave-swimming, zip-lining and hiking the lush lowland forests observing incredible flora and fauna while searching for ancient Mayan ruins.

Police Minister Awards Cayo District
Great news for Cayo, with the crime rate down over 40%. "Police Minister Awards Cayo District Zone and San Ignacio Formation For Best Performance in Crime Reduction in January of 2013. On February 13, 2013, Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar presented awards to officers commanding the Cayo District Zone and the San Ignacio Formation for their performance during the month of January in reducing crime within their jurisdiction. Crime Statistics for the month of January, 2013, show an overall reduction in crimes committed countrywide, the largest reduction being in the Cayo District Zone where crimes went down by 41.51 percent. Within that zone, the San Ignacio Formation recorded the largest reduction during that month."

Mr. and Ms. Succotz Festival 2013
The Succotz Festival Drum Corp had their Mr. & Ms. Succotz Festival pageant Saturday. Congratulations to all participants! "OFFICIAL PAGEANT RESULTS: MR & MS Succotz Festival: Alex Orellana And Daniellie Guiterrez MR AND MS CONGENIALITY: Farid Guillen And Daniellie Guiterrez MR AND MS DEPORTE: Farid Guillen And Betty Chaman MR AND MS PHOTOGENIC: Farid Guillen And Rianne Gutierrez CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL CONTESTANTS! FINALIST AND WINNERS!"

Galen Wins ATLIB Basketball Championship
Congratulations to the Galen Eagles for winning the 2013 ATLIB Basketball Championship that was held in San Pedro over the weekend.

Red Carpet Affair Fun
Some early pictures from Rotaract's Red Carpet Affair on Saturday. "Joint fundraiser between Rotaract San Ignacio & Rotaract Belmopan. Our sponsors included Meluchi's, The Dollhouse l Emmanuelle's Skincare & Beauty, Hode's Place, Vanessa Awe Makeup Artistry, Mr. Greedy's Pizzeria, Nine Belize Ecocultural Tours, Rolson Cocina, DigiCell, Print Belize Limited, Costless Mart Wine House, Recino's Imports Ltd, Benque Resort & Spa. Proceeds will be used by Rotaract San Ignacio for the provision of gift baskets to deserving families & a river clean-up campaign. Rotaract Belmopan will utilize the funds towards their initiative called 'Project Cure' (rehabilitation of a ward at the Western Regional Hospital)."

DEADLINE: February 21, 2013, 4:30PM (AST) CARIBBEAN EXPORT DEVELOPMENT AGENCY REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS NOTICE TITLE: TRAINING IN INVESTOR FACILITATION FOR CAIPA MEMBERS (BASED ON THE FINDINGS OF THE GLOBAL INVESTMENT PROMOTION BEST PRACTICES 2012 REPORT) CONSULTANT 1. Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), in collaboration with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA), invites proposals from qualified contractors to provide consultancy services for the development and delivery of a customized training programme for CAIPA members on Investor Facilitation. The programme will be based on the findings of the Global Investment Promotion Best Practices 2012, which is published by the World Bank Group and will be executed in close collaboration with the World Bank Group. Based on the requirements outlined in the below Terms of References (TOR), contractors are invited to submit a technical and financial proposal.

Tell it Like it is
Back to normal today. On the veranda with my cup of coffee just after 4.30 am. Much better because I really do not like sleeping in. Only do so when the body -for whatever reason – tells me that I need to do so. And yesterday – if you read the previous edition – was one of those days. A few editions ago a reader of this blog asked if I could include a map that gives a better idea of exactly where our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize is. Well, I have had a rummage ( yes, I know, not the correct word to describe trawling over the Internet) and have had an attempt at meeting the request. Not the best bit of work is it? I am just saying what you are probably thinking but I think you have to tell it like it is.

VIDEO: Mr. Courtney on the ineptitude of Belize Minister of Foreign affairs
Who in their right mind would tell their enemy where their weak spot is?

US Military to spend time in Belize
Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern), in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy and the government and defense forces of Belize, will conduct an event called New Horizons in the spring. The exercise is an annual event conducted to train military civil engineers and medical professionals to deploy and conduct joint operations. Construction equipment and materials for a joint U.S. – Belizean exercise is scheduled to begin arriving into ports in Belize in the spring for New Horizons 2013, a major event that will test U.S. military members’ ability to deploy while building partnerships with host-nation medical and civil engineering experts. The exercise itself, overseen by U.S. Southern Command and planned by Air Forces Southern, is slated to last approximately 90 days with several construction projects to add new classrooms and buildings to existing schools with manpower provided by both U.S. and Belizean military engineers. In addition, combined U.S. and Belizean medical teams will conduct multiple medical events to provide medical services to Belizeans.

Belizestagram! The Best Photos Of The Week
Here’s another weekly mashup (February 11 – 17) of the best Belize Instagram photos. All these photos are personally taken by the individuals in Belize. If you want your photos to be included, remember to tag them using the hashtag #Belize.

Channel 7

A Clash Of Competing Ambitions At UDP Convention
The UDP held its national convention on Sunday in Corozal Town. It was a much hyped event because party Chairman Patrick Faber dared to do what had never been done before in Belize's political history: he challenged the sitting Deputy Prime Minister for his post as party leader. The result of that challenge was a tough and acrimonious campaign - and the ambitions of Vega and Faber collided in a political crescendo on Sunday. When it was done: only one would be deputy and the other would be staring into the political abyss. High stakes, and 7news was there to tell you how it all played out. Jules Vasquez reports:.. Jules Vasquez reporting Patrick Faber invested his money in signs - like this larger than life one that stood at the western edge of the Andres Campos Civic Center - serving as a backdrop for the event. Vega's side wasn't as heavy with the signage. His were just regular size billboards - which projected the fact that he had an endorsement from the party leader. Interestingly all the t-shirts we saw were for Vega - Faber didn't invest in a single one for the convention- and those we saw were leftovers from the general election. The stage was on the grounds of the Andres Campos Civic Center. All 31 standard bearers and caretakers were seated as thousands of supporters stood in the cool air of the open field.

Kilo-bwai Killed, And So Was His Killer
Between Friday afternoon at 4:00 and last night at 7:00, ten people were shot in Belize City and two were killed. That's a lot of bloodshed in just 51 hours - and the most serious event happened early on Saturday morning. That's when 39 year old Lincoln Kilo-bwai Allen was killed, not far from his Pink's Alley home. In the 90's he was a legendary name on the streets - and he used to run with George Junie Balls McKenzie. Mckenzie was killed at the entrance to Pink's Alley in 2007, and on Saturday Allen was killed around the lane from the Alley where both men grew up. But the Allen story is complicated because the man who killed him - was also killed on the spot by a second person who was caught in the middle and had a licensed weapon. Monica Bodden has the story of one shot and two dead:..

Three Injured in Wild City Shooting
But the Kilo Bwai Allen incident was the third shooting in less than 12 hours. First, Kenroy Tillett and Alton Roches were shot on Friday afternoon, and then on Friday night at 9:40 three people were shot. It happened at the corner of Orange Street and East Canal. A gunman let off with 8 shots at 48 year old Donald Matura injuring him to the abdomen, left hand, right hand, left leg and his testicles. Two other persons who happened to be walking past the very busy area were also shot. They are 26 year old Carmita Chan was shot to her left buttocks while 32 year old Alchea Harris, was grazed to his left hip. We spoke to both of these victims of a shooting targeting someone else: Alchea Harris - shooting victim "I was walking over the bridge and the gunman just came and stop and started to shoot."

Mayflower Man Shot; So Was His Dog!
A 47 year old man from Mayflower Street was shot inside his home early Sunday morning. The incident happened at around 4:20am. While Mario Ramos was checking on his sick grandbaby - a bullet came flying through his bedroom wall. He felt the burning sensation and that was when he realized he had been shot. He told Monica Bodden what happened. Mario Ramos - Shot inside house "About 4:30 Sunday morning, one of my grandchildren was vomiting. What I did pick up my granddaughter and I put my hand down her throat and decide to take out the vomit. After that I put my grandchild back on the bed, while doing that I heard shots started to rang out. When I heard that I ask my wife to check if anyone of the grandchildren got shot because I got shot already. I told her not to make any noise because we don't know if the said person is still around who was shooting."

The First Female Judge On the Court Of Appeal
One month ago, on January 14th, the Supreme Court opened up with Justice Minnet Hafiz-Bertram attending as one of the Justices of the Supreme Court, but tonight, she is now a newly appointed Justice of the Court of Appeal. She was sworn in this morning at Belize House in Belmopan by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young. In attendance for her elevation were the Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin and Justices Denis Hanomansingh, Michelle Arana and Courtney Abel. 51 year-old Justice Hafiz-Bertram has been serving the Supreme Court of Belize since 2007, and her appointment to the Court of Appeal is expected to last until she reaches the age of 65. She joins Justices of Appeal Sosa, Awich, Morrison, and Mendez. She becomes the first woman to serve on the Court of Appeal, and the third Belize Supreme Court judge to get promoted, with tenure to the Court of Appeal.

Belizean Shoplifter Busted In Wal-Mart Chetumal
Wal-Mart in Chetumal - after a payday like we had last week - you can always expect to find scores of Belizeans shopping there. But this weekend, a pair of Belizeans was caught shoplifting at the department store. According to Por Esto newspaper out of Quintana Roo, Elizabeth Linda Chavez and a companion were caught on security camera trying to leave the store with a pair of headphones and a watch. The items cost 598 pesos or about ninety-five Belize dollars. The pair were given the option of either paying three times the value or go face the judge. They paid the triple value of about 280 Belize dollars and were set free.

Alleged Belizean Drug Runners Sent To Mex Jail
And there's no such option for two Belizeans caught with a hundred pounds of crystal meth. We first told you about Hugo Cassanova of Corozal and Ermelindo Vasquez of Orange Walk who were caught in Chetumal in the home of a known drug boss Carlos Cabanas Catzin where 45 kilos of crystal meth were stored in an icebox. Cassanova, Vasquez and Catzin were arrested along with five other men. Well Mexican news outlets are reporting that they have been formally charged in the Sixth District Court. With that they were remanded to the Cereso prison where they now await trial.

GSU Recovers 2 Weapons Stolen From BDF
Tonight, 2 Belize City men are in prison, and 2 weapons believed to have been stolen from the BDF weapons cache are in the hands of law enforcement after an operation by the Gang Suppression Unit. On Saturday, February 16, GSU officers conducted operations in Seine Bight, and the Placencia area in the Stann Creek District. At around 4:15 p.m., the team searched an area near the Seine Bight cemetery, where they found a garbage bag buried. Inside that bag, the officers discovered a disassembled Colt brand M-16 rifle without a magazine, and its serial number filed off. They also discovered a 9 mm pistol, also with its serial number filed off, and an empty magazine.

The Dispute In Arenal Village
On Thursday, we told you about the dispute in Arenal Village where the construction of a football field led to the destruction of a woman's home. Tonight, we've put together a more in-depth story to examine the broad outline and the finer points of this village dispute. Daniel Ortiz has that report: Daniel Ortiz reporting The smoldering remains on this patch of earth are the only things which can attest to the fact that there was a house sitting here. That house used to belong to Sarita Lara, and it was destroyed because she was squatting, but she claims that she was living there off and on for over 10 years. The rest of Lara's belongings - spared from the blaze - were unceremoniously dumped in a heap. And in the distance, the excavator works on the hilly sections of the terrain to level it out for a new football field, which is in Belizean territory. No one can deny that it is an important development, but Lara says that the Arenal Village Council destroyed her home to make way for that field.

Man Remanded For Burglary
Tonight, 47 year-old Luis Romero is at prison tonight after he was taken to court for allegedly burglarizing the home of the manager of the Traffic Department. According to police, on January 28, he broke into Kevan Jenkins' home and stole several pieces of jewelry, a pair of shoes, and $150 in cash, all to a total value of $1,250. And the reason that police believe it was him is because Scenes of Crime Personnel lifted finger prints from the scene, and ran it through their AFIS system. It was a match for Romero, who is known to police, and as a result, he was charged with burglary. He was arraigned today before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith, who remanded him on the strength of the prosecution's objections. He will return to court on April 9, 2013.

Abandoned Home Burnt On Vernon Street
Authorities at the Fire Department continue to investigate an early morning fire which destroyed the upper flat of a Belize City house. At around 1:25 a.m., officials were called to the residence at the corner of Lindo's Alley and Vernon Street. The firefighters found the upper flat of this pink house, made mostly of wood completely ablaze. They got in operation, and were able to extinguish the flames very shortly, but it did major structural damage to that section of the structure. The Fire Department continues to investigate the origins of this fire, which is proving a bit difficult because it was abandoned for about 2 years. It also had no electricity running to it, so it is leading investigators to believe it may have been a criminal act.

Car Burnt On Cran
And while that fire claimed that house, there was a fire, which completely destroyed a vehicle on, around 23 hours earlier. The owner of this red Honda Ridgeliner pick-up, seen ablaze here, said that he parked it at around 11:00 p.m. on Saturday on Cran Street. He left it there and when he returned at around 4 hours later, he found it completely destroyed. The authorities believe that someone intentionally lit the $45 thousand-dollar vehicle on fire, and as a result, they are investigating the arson angle.

BZE Firemen Train With US And Regional Counterparts
And speaking of fires, A contingent of Belizean fire-fighters just returned from training with the US military. The training held in Honduras was called CENTAM - or Central American - SMOKE. According to a release from the US Army Southern Command CENTAM SMOKE is a week-long exercise that comprises firefighting training in areas such as structural fires and aircraft fires. It allows U.S. and Central American firefighters a chance for team-building and training.

The First Election For Olympic Committee In Decades
The Belize Olympic And commonwealth Games Association may be the most important sporting body in Belize. That's because at one point or another, every association and Federation from the mighty FFB to the fledgling Fencing Association has to go through the Olympic Association to get funding for travel or training. And perhaps because of that paramountcy and virtual unassailability - the Olympic Association has - for decades - defied every norm of democratic governance. President Ned Pitts was president for 42 years and did not face an open election in decades - in fact, no one can rightly recall when the last election was held! But no one in the sports world complained - or at least not very loudly, so the ailing Pitts got to demit office on Saturday on his terms. 7news was at the Radisson for the historic event of the Olympic Association's first election in a while!: Jules Vasquez reporting After more than 50 years as executive and founding member of the Belize Olympic Association and 42 years as president, Ned Pitts - now in poor health - stepped down at a Special meeting of the National Olympic Committee.

Ghost Town Gang Boss Charged For Gang Insignias
33 year-old Roger Anthony, the reputed boss of the Ghost Town Crips, is free tonight after he pleaded guilty to a minor charge. According to police, officers were on patrol on Vernon Street at around 10 a.m. on February 15. They decided to stop at the Mayflower Street intersection, where they saw Anthony and another man. Both men were searched, and nothing incriminating was found on either of them, but the officers noticed that Anthony's Shirt had graphics which said "30's" and "OG" printed on them. When the officers asked him what they meant, they claim he told them that he belongs to the Ghost Town Crips Gang, and that he was the gang's leader with his alias, MOB. He was arrested and charged with 1 count of professing to belonging to a gang, and 1 count of displaying support for a criminal gang. He was arraigned before Magistrate Adolph Lucas today, where he pleaded guilty and was fined a total of $1,000 which he must pay by June 14, 2013, or he will spend 10 months in prison.

National Communication System For Health
The Ministry of Health has set up its own Communication System to make sure it stays connected during Public Health Emergencies and Disasters. The backbone of the system is this antenna at Baldy Beacon in Mountain Pine Ridge which facilitates communication between the Ministry of Health headquarters in Belmopan and Regional offices in Dangriga, Orange Walk Town and Belize City. The system is designed to work during power outages that occur in natural disasters. Work will commence shortly on the second phase, which will include San Pedro Town and the Western Region. PAHO provided funding of $28,000 dollars.

BGYEA Will Protest
BGYEA and other Associations will be leading a protest next week in Belmopan to coincide with cabinet day. BGYEA's President Nigel Petillo came to our office on Friday to encourage everyone who has an issue with land to come forward and join in the chorus:.. Nigel Petillo, BGYEA "This week the CEO of lands department went to the media saying that they had the rest of documents waiting for us and all we have to do is go to the Lands Department. When I went there today only to find out that no documents are not there." "We are continuing with our demonstration. We are calling out on the general public to come out especially those who know of these frustrating cases where they went to Lands Department. Am I the bad one now b3ecause of speaking about it? Am I the bad one way because I am not afraid to say that it has to stop? It's got to stop!. Will my kids go through this too?"

Channel 5

Double murder during weekend and 12 persons shot
The bloodbath started on Friday afternoon following the acquittal of Nicholi Rhys for the murder of Andre Trapp, the reputed leader of the Southside Gang. By the time the weekend was over, a total of twelve persons were shot; two did not survive. The double murder of Lincoln “Kilo Bwai” Allen an alleged affiliate of [...]

Shooting victim speaks from hospital bed
Late this evening, News Five spoke to Cervantes from his hospital bed at Belize Medical Associates Limited. Cervantes says that the area was so dark that he could not see who their assailant was.   Via Phone: Derek Cervantes, Shooting Victim “I di go home, but then somebody mi ask me fi wah lee plate [...]

The other shooting victims
Derek Cervantes remains hospitalized in a stable condition at Medical Associates Ltd, but nine other persons were injured in separate shooting incidents over the weekend. The urban warfare started late Friday afternoon on Neal Penn Road in south side Belize City.  Alton Roches and Kenroy Tillett were hit to various parts of their bodies. Six [...]

Bloodiest weekend in February
The violence continued on Sunday; six other persons were hospitalized after they were injured in separate shootings in the south side of Belize City. Just before dawn on Sunday at around four-twenty a.m. Mario Ramos was inside his room at his residence on Mayflower Street when four shots rang out. Ramos later realized that he [...]

Justice Minnet Hafiz Bertram sworn in as New Justice of Appeal
Turning to the courts, a new Justice to the Court of Appeal has been named in time for the March twelfth sitting of the Court of Appeal. Judge Minnet Hafiz-Bertram took the oath this morning before Governor General, Sir Colville Young, at Belize House in Belmopan. The new justice was joined by Chief Justice, Kenneth [...]

U.D.P. convention winners, Gapi Vega and Alberto August
A red tidal wave swept through Corozal Town where the national convention of the United Democratic Party took place on Sunday. The headliner was the fight for the post of deputy party leader; Patrick Faber took the unprecedented decision to challenge the incumbent, Gaspar Vega who is also the sitting deputy prime minister. The Prime [...]

U.D.P. central executive and national party council support yes vote for referendum
The convention also served as an occasion for the U.D.P. to conclude party affairs. In addition to changing the age of which a person can join the party from fifteen to thirteen, an important decision was taken regarding the Belize/Guatemala Referendum, although to a quieter audience. Former U.D.P. Chairman Doug Singh announced that the party [...]

Foreign Ministry responds to Attorney’s border comments
Last Friday and again on Sunday at the U.D.P. convention, News Five asked the Foreign Minister Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington to respond to a letter penned by former attorney general and foreign  Minister Eamon Courtenay who had taken issue with certain comments by Elrington to News Five. Courtenay was critical that Elrington had exposed publicly that [...]

Sickout fizzles; teachers and students healthy for UB classes
Teachers at the University of Belize, the country’s largest and only national tertiary level institution, staged a sick-out across its campuses today.  The organized absence from work succeeds a demonstration held at UB’s main campus in Belmopan last Thursday, during which members of the Faculty and Staff Association expressed concerns over the findings of a [...]

APAMO supports UB Board in waiting for complete audit
The release from the Board of Trustees further stated that the unsupported statements and criticisms directed towards them may have been an attempt to deter the board from acting in the best interest of the university.   Selwyn King “We have always said and I’ve indicated that universities throughout the world have always provided the [...]

Busted for admitting to being gang member
  A resident of Crooked Tree told the court this morning that he is leader of the Ghost Town Crip gang.  Roger Anthony aka MOB, was picked up by police over the weekend in the area known as “Ghost Town” aka “Bailar” and today he was arraigned on two criminal charges for Professing to Belonging [...]

Stealing hundred dollars puts you in jail
  A man with previous convictions is behind bars tonight for allegedly burglarizing the house of Kevon Jenkins, a traffic officer of Belize City in January. Forty seven year old Luis Romero appeared before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith on charge of Burglary. The incident occurred on January twenty eighth at Jenkins’ house on Lumber [...]

Somebody torched his pickup truck
Police are looking for a resident of San Victor Village, Corozal for the crime of Arson. Fulgencio Mendez, owner of a pickup truck, reported to police that early Sunday morning, while socializing in the village, he was approached by a group of men, which included Benito Cawich. An altercation began between the men when Cawich [...]

Building catches fire on Vernon Street
An overnight inferno in Belize City gutted an abandoned property at the corners of Vernon Street and Lindo’s Alley.  Sometime after one o’clock this morning officials from the National Fire Service were called to the scene of a raging fire where they found the two-storey structure engulfed in flames.  While the cause of the fire [...]

Rotary and the Gift of Live
Rotary’s Gift of Life Clinics got underway this morning at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and will continue for the rest of the week. The cardiologist, Jeffrey Delaney is once again heading the team of doctors who will be attending to children with heart conditions. News Five Isani Cayetano reports.   Isani Cayetano, Reporting Dozens [...]

GSU unearths weapons
  The Gang Suppression Unit made a major discovery over the past weekend. On Saturday, GSU officers were conducting an operation in the Seine Bight and Placencia area where they discovered weapons believed to have been stolen from the B.D.F. At the Seine Bight cemetery the GSU discovered a garbage bag buried under the sand [...]

James Adderley’s moments in sports
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   Week 2 of the PLB Season saw the Placencia Assasins roll into the Norman Broaster Stadium yesterday to take on the Belize Defence Force. After last week’s 3-1 loss to Police United, the guys from the peninsula were certainly looking to avoid an 0 [...]


United Democratic Party Holds Convention For Deputy Party Leader and Chairman
The United Democratic Party held its national convention on Sunday. We have more in this report. AVA DIAZ “The Andres Campus Civic Centre compound in Corozal Town was the venue for the United Democratic Party’s National Convention. It was a sea of red as...

Police News
Earlier on Sunday, sometime after four in the morning, 47 year old Mario Ramos, a mason of Mayflower Street was hit to the right hip and right thigh as he sat on his bed. Ramos told police that he heard four shots and then realized that he was shot. He is in a stable condit...

Sunday Evening Shooting Leaves Trio Injured
Meanwhile, on Sunday evening at around twenty minutes to seven, Randy Harris, a 19 year old resident of Neal Pen Road was shot to the right hand, while 24 year old Deon Gibson, a construction worker was shot to the left hand and 39 year old Orlando Velasquez of Rivero Street suffered g...

Friday Night Shooting Leaves Three Injured
There was a sequence of shootings that took place over the weekend, one of which happened about twenty minutes to ten on Friday night and left three persons injured. 48 year old Wallace Matura was standing at the corner of Orange Street and East Canal, and housewife, 26 year old Carmit...

Mural Inaugurated In Orange Walk Town
The Orange Walk Town Council has inaugurated a new mural. Reporter Dalila Ical has the story. "This past Saturday, the Orange Walk Town Council inaugurated a new mural on Queen Victoria Avenue which was built directly onto the fence of the town hall. The mural which is r...

Man Acquitted for Burglary
Edward Williams, a.k.a. “Willie Boy”, charged with burglary, was acquitted of the charge today by Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith. Chief Magistrate Smithy dismissed the charge after she upheld a no case submission that was made by Williams’ attorney, Brian Neal. Nea...

Belize City Man Remanded After Allegedly Stealing From City Council Manager
Forty-six year old Luis Romero, a.k.a. “Show”, who allegedly stole assorted jewelry and money amounting to $1,250.00 from the house of Belize City Council Traffic Manager Kevan Jenkins, was charged with burglary when he appeared in court today. Romero pled not guilty to the...

Duo Charged After Claiming to Be Members of Criminal Gang
Two men, Roger Anthony and Eugene Tillett, were charged with displaying support of a criminal gang and professing to be a member of a criminal gang when they appeared today in the Magistrate Court. Anthony pled guilty to the charges. Magistrate Adolph Lucas Jr. fined him $500.00 for ea...


Two Belizeans In Chetumal Suffer The Consequences After They Try To Steal
A Belizean couple escaped from being placed behind bars in Chetumal Quintana Roo after they were caught stealing at Wal-Mart located in the Plaza Bahia. Thanks to the surveillance cameras, the securities on duty were able to observe when 42 year old Linda Elizabeth Chavez and a male individual attempted to leave the store with unpaid items. As a result Mexican police were called in and when the couple was searched they were found in the possession of one pair of headphones and one female wrist watch, valued at a total of 598 pesos. The stores management informed the couple that unless triple the amount of the value of each item was paid, they would be free to go without any charges levied against them. Preferring their freedom the Belizean couple paid a total of one thousand seven hundred and ninety four pesos and were allowed to walk out of Wal-Mart, of course without the items they attempted to steal.

Warrant Secured For The Arrest Of Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict the XVI stunned the world on February 10th when he announced that he would step down on February 28th. Now, eight days after the announcement was made, more shocking news is coming out of the Vatican as reports are that Pope Benedict is seeking Immunity from Prosecution for mishandling child sex abuse allegations. The story starts to unravel on the heels of a statement issued by the International Tribunal into Crimes Against Church and States (ITCCS) that detailed the legal situation that surrounds the Pope and the Vatican. The international press is reporting that an unnamed European country and the ITCCS have started a campaign to hold the Pope accountable for the Vatican’s alleged cover up of child sex crimes. In their statement the ITCCS is quoted as saying that on the basis of evidence provided by their affiliated Common Law Court of Justice, an agreement was made with representatives of a European nation and its courts to secure an arrest warrant against Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict 16th, for crimes against humanity and ordering a criminal conspiracy. Of note is that the name of the European Nation is excluded. The intention of both the ITCCS and the European nation is to take a lien against the property and wealth of the Catholic Church, beginning on Easter Sunday March 31st, by when a new pope should have been elected. The “Easter Reclamation Campaign,” as how both parties are calling the move, involves citizens seizing the assets of the Church under international law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

G8 Meth Bust, lncluding Two Belizeans, Will Go To Trail In Chetumal
News coming out of Chetumal Quintana Roo tonight is that Orange Walk resident Ermelindo Vasquez and Hugo Cassanova of Corozal Town, along with the alleged Mexican drug lord of the Pelones in Chetumal Carlos Cabañas Catzin aka “El Monstruo”, Nestor Alberto Catzin Cabañas, Luis Juárez López, Alejandro Lugo Courtenay, Fabiola Lopez Juarez and Patricia Rosa Morales Olán will face trial for the charge of drug possession for the purpose of sale. Upon expiration of the constitutional term extension that requested to resolve the legal status of the accused and after analyzing in detail the case file, the Judge of the Sixth District Court found sufficient evidence to prosecute the eight alleged drug smugglers. As a result, at midnight on Friday, the Sixth District Court issued a warrant for the arrest of the eight individuals who will now remain in prison until the end of their trial which has no date for commencement as yet.

16 Year Old Allegedly Shot By Custom Officer
Officers of the Customs Department are on the news again tonight, this time for their alleged involvement in the shooting of a 16 year old minor who is recuperating from a gunshot wound at the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital. The 16 year old, who hails from the Village of San Narciso, reported to police that at around 4:30 on Friday he was selling oranges at the Corozal Free Zone when he decided to head home. Little did he know that his usual routine would be interrupted by gunshots. Chan reports that upon reaching the road that leads to the new bridge he saw a Hispanic male person carrying two boxes of cigarettes. The 16 year old report’s seeing Custom Officers shouting at the individual shortly after. This was followed by several gunshots. Fearing for his life the 16 year old dashed into some nearby bushes seeking refugee without realizing that he had already been hit on the left instep and the left side of the back. With the assistance of a taxi driver the 16 year old was transported to the Corozal Community Hospital. He was later transferred to the KHM where he is admitted under stable condition. Police are investigating the matter.

22 Year Old Caught With Drugs, Charged!
A 22 year old resident from Corozal Town has been detained by police for possession of controlled drugs. Yesterday 22 year old Jeron Williams and a group of individuals were hanging by the seaside in Corozal when they were approached by police. As cops walked towards the group, Williams made his way behind a boat and dropped a transparent object to the ground. Aware of the act police searched the area and discovered a transparent plastic bag containing 12.9 grams of suspected cannabis. The 22 year old of San Andres Road Corozal Town appeared before the Corozal Magistrates Court this morning where he was formally charged for possession of controlled drugs.

Pickup Truck Goes Up In Flames
A red Mazda single cab pickup truck went up in flames in the wee hours of Sunday morning. But this was no accident. According to the owner of the pickup truck, Fulgencio Mendez, at around 7:30 on Saturday night he was hanging out with some friends in the Village of San Victor in Corozal when he was approached by Benito Cawich who was accompanied by a group of men from the same village. An altercation ensued shortly after which led to Cawich allegedly setting the pickup truck ablaze by throwing gasoline inside the cab hours after. Police are now looking for Cawich pending investigations.

Caught With 16 Gauge Shot Gun, Charged!
On Sunday February 17th, Corozal Police were on Mobile Patrol in the Finca Solana Area when they intercepted a Grey Toyota Camry Car bearing License Plate CZL C- 14456 with one male occupant inside. A search was conducted in the vehicle and on the back seat police found a16 gauge shotgun containing one 16 gauge cartridge.


Lobster season closes
The Fisheries Department today announced that the Lobster season has been closed. The closure effective today continues through to the middle of June. Ramon Carcamo is a fisheries officer employed by the government of Belize. Carcamo says that in order to protect the lobster fishery, there is a strict enforcement of the regulations, which is Chapter 210 of the Fisheries Act. Carcamo says fishermen who still have traps in the waters of Belize will be assisted to get them removed so that they are not found in contravention of the fisheries regulations. For more information on the closure of the Lobster season, you can call the Fisheries department during normal working hours.

Police release comparative crime statistics
The Police Department today released a set of comparative statistics for the month of January of last year and this past January. The statistics deals with the major crimes and gives a break down as follows: this past January was three times as deadly as 2012 when the murder statistic is compared. Last year four persons were killed in January, while last month recorded a total of twelve homicides according to the police figures. We note that our records show that there were thirteen murders last month. Last year saw two more rape cases reported than this year January; robbery and burglary also say decreases this year when compared to last year. There was a reduction in theft as well, where last year there were eighty eight cases reported, while only sixty two cases were reported last month. Carnal knowledge saw the number of reported cases more than double this January compared to 2012. This year, fourteen cases of carnal knowledge were reported in January, whereas only five were reported in 2012. On the arrest side, police say their statistics show more arrests this year January compared to 2012. Six murder arrests were recorded last month, whereas only two such arrests were made in 2012. Twenty persons were arrested for robbery, thirty eight for burglary and twenty one for theft in the month of January this year. In 2012 there were only sixty nine arrests made. When it comes to the issue of firearms and ammunition: ten weapons were seized by police last month, along with one hundred and thirty three rounds of ammunition. Comparatively speaking, the police seized one more firearm this year than they did in 2012, but one hundred and seventy seven fewer rounds of ammunition. On the issue of arrests for firearms and drugs arrests, police say that there were sixteen forearms arrests last month, an increase over January 2012. There were fewer arrests for drugs related crime this January when compared to 2012. The comparative statistics bulletin released today was prepared by the Joint Intelligence Coordinating Centre.

Twenty two year old man freed of murder charge
The high-profile case alluded to in the lead-in to the previous story involves twenty two year old Nicoli Rhys. He was charged with the June, 2010 murder of south side Belize City gang leader Andre Trapp and was the first person to be tried for murder without a jury. That trial ended with an acquittal after Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin determined that the evidence presented by the prosecution was weak and that there were no eye witnesses. The Chief Justice also determined that the evidence of the police constable Arnold, who testified that he saw the accused running from the scene, was not credible. The prosecution, represented by the Director of Public Prosecution, Cheryl -Lyn Vidal, had sought to get an oral confession by Rhys admitted as evidence but Chief Justice Benjamin did not accept it because it was given while the police officers had their guns pointed at Rhys. Rhys was represented by attorney Simeon Sampson.

Shooting incident leaves two people injured
A late afternoon shooting incident in Belize City today has left two men hospitalized. We can’t say for sure; but this afternoon’s shooting has all the characteristics of exacting street justice after a high profile case ended with an acquittal in the Supreme Court just hours before. Love TV’s Marion Ali reports. Indications to Love News are that Tillett is listed in critical condition at the KHMH.

Jamaican national guilty of fraud crime
Thirty-seven year old Jamaican national Lawrence Walcott, charged with 2 counts of using a document he is not entitled to use, was fined one thousand dollars for each count yesterday after he pled guilty to the charges. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser who imposed the fines, ordered Walcott to pay forthwith, in default, 8 months imprisonment. On February 14, Walcott went to the Immigration Department and tried to get a Belizean passport by using a birth certificate and a social security card in the name of Jamal Walton. Immigration officers investigated and found out that the birth certificate and the social security card did not belong to Walcott.

PG coast awash in debris
The accumulation of debris on a part of the shoreline in Punta Gorda town has raised concerns about the need for early removal. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

Churches invite the public for community prayer service
Residents of Belize City are invited to be part of a community prayer service on Sunday. President of the Council of Churches, Reverend Roosevelt Papaloute told Love News this is the first of a series of community outreach initiatives. The service begins at five o’clock on Sunday evening on Dean Street between Euphrates Avenue and Tigris Street.

Announcing the launch of Destination Belize magazine
The magazine, Destination Belize, has been a staple tourist’s companion for the past 15 years for travelers who come for the sand, sea and fun that our jewel offers. But what’s new about the 16th edition is that its publishing was done by a Belizean company. IdeaLab Studios put together the 146-page piece, which highlights some of the countless breathtaking sites, appetizing dishes and assortment of entertainment, balanced off by a collection of features and informative pieces of literature. Today, the owner of IdeaLab Studios, Damien Solano, explained that his company’s role marks a new focus for the publication. Destination Belize is a private sector initiative and is the main collateral tourist document that markets and promotes Belize as a tourist destination.

New vehicles for government ministry
The Ministries of Forestry, Fisheries, and Sustainable Development today received three new vehicles. Correspondent Fem Cruz was at the special handing over ceremony and filed this report.

New president for the Veterinary Association of Belize
Dr. Henry Canton is the president of the Veterinary Association of Belize. The new executive for the association was held during its 22nd Annual General Meeting. Dr. Victor Gongora is the Vice president, Secretary, Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand; Treasurer, Dr Jane Crawford and members Dr. Floyd Bennett and Dr. Martha Hernandez-Mena. Outgoing president, Dr. Michael Tewes urged the membership to continue to support the new executive and fellow colleagues in order to advance the profession and so be of benefit to the community of Belize. The Veterinary Association of Belize is an organization made up of graduate veterinarians and its objectives are to strengthen the cooperation and communication within the veterinary community and the general public, facilitate information sharing, networking and continuing education, and be the catalysts to improve animal health, public health and animal welfare in Belize.

US olympian in Belize to talk with local athletes
Over this weekend, former US Olympian, Cory Hicks, will be meeting with Belizean student athletes whose interests and ambitions are to one day bring back a medal from that fiercely competitive world-class sporting event. His particular focus will be on track and field talents and today, he and the Minister of Sports, Herman Longsworth, met with the media to lay down the start of what will be a good opportunity for young Belizean runners. Minister Longsworth invites everyone, especially the business community to be a part of the effort and support the young athletes in realizing their dreams through sponsorship.

Public appeal successful; woman getting new house
A Belize City woman who was appealing for help to get a new house is finally having her dream answered. Love TV’s Natalie Novelo reports.

Love FM anniversary celebration continues
The celebration of the twentieth anniversary of Love FM continues this weekend with the signature event called Another Night to Remember. The event will be held at the Belize Biltmore Hotel beginning at nine o’clock on Saturday night. On Thursday an open day was held at the station’s headquarters on Slaughterhouse Road where the general public got the opportunity to meet and greet the staff and tour the facilities at the RSV Media Centre. Love News spoke with some of the staff of Love FM about their involvement in the work of informing, entertaining and education the nation. Love FM was established on February fourteenth, 1993.


Twelve shot in Belize City this weekend, two fatalities.
It was a violent weekend in Belize City. There were twelve shootings reported, reulting in two deaths. The murders happened on Saturday morning at about 1:30 am. In Munoz Alley, in Belize City, 39yr old Lincoln Allen, was to the back of the head and to the mouth. 23yr...

Belize City Police investigate Sunday shooting incidents
Belize City Police are investigating shooting incidents which took place yesterday. At 4:20 yesterday morning, 47yr old Mario Ramos was shot to the right hip and right thigh. Ramos was reportedly sitting on his bed in his home when he heard four gunshots and realized he had been hit....

Gaspar Vega retains position as Deputy Leader of the UDP
The ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) held its much anticipated national convention on Sunday in Corozal Town. The big news going into the convention was the race for first deputy leader between incumbent Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega of Orange Walk and party chairman and Education Minister Patrick Faber...

Hon Gaspar Vega said he had nothing against his younger colleague
Speaking after Sundays UDP Convention, Hon Gaspar Vega said he had nothing against his younger colleague and insisted they could work together. Here is his assessment of the campaign. 1 Vega also dismissed suggestions that he had lost support in the North, or that the Prime Minister’s endorsement or...

Minister Patrick Faber believes “interference” cost him
Minister Patrick Faber believes “interference” cost him. The losing candidate appeared resigned when reporters caught up with him after the convention. According to Faber he has lost no standing as a result of his bold gamble. 1 Faber boldly stated that he will aim even higher next time. 2...

UB Staff on “Sickout”
Belize’s National University; the University of Belize is highly trafficked by students and teachers with much ongoing activity. However when Plus news visited its central campus here in the City of Belmopan, empty classrooms, parking lots, and students wandering around or just walking around aimlessly was the scene. As...

UB Board of Trustees says draft audit requires management input
For the past week, we have been hearing concerns from the University Of Belize Faculty and Staff Association regarding the recent UB payroll audit. The association has voiced its unease with the payroll audit report, which they claim contains financial and managerial irregularities involving the Board of Trustees. And...

APAMO supports UB Board of Trustees
The Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations has come out in support of the Board of Trustees. In a press release from APAMO late this evening, the organization, who has a representative on the university’s Board of Trustees, says it stands behind the Chair and the board. APAMO says...

Three injured in a Friday night shooting
Three persons were injured in a Friday night shooting; 48yr old Wallace Donald Matura was shot to the abdomen, left hand, right hand, left leg and his testicles. 26yr old Carmita Chan, was shot to her left buttocks and 32yr old Alchea Harris suffered from a gunshot graze to...

Two shot attempting to flee onslaught of bullets
The Brother of Shelton “Pinky” Tillet was shot on Friday as well. At 3:40pm on Friday Feb 15th, 34yr old Kenroy Tillett and 32yr old Alton Roches, were doing repairs on pickup parked on Neal Penn Road. A dark complexion male person rode up on a bicycle and fired...

16 year old minor of San Narciso Village was shot
There is also a shooting incident to report from the Corozal District. In this Saturday afternoon incident, a 16 year old was the victim. The 16 year old minor of San Narciso Village, was shot to his left instep and the left side of the back. The minor reported...

Police report shows startling increase in murder for last month
The crime statistics for January 2013 are in. The stats, provided by the Police Department, shows a startling increase in murder for last month with 12 recorded cases, when compared to January 2012 which saw 4 murders. Of the 12 murders for last month, 11 occurred in the Belize...

PM says he will lead the UDP to victory at next General Election
At Sunday’s UDP convention, the party spent the morning showing off its relative youth and diversity with four young speakers, Juan de Dios Moguel Jr. of Orange Walk; Mayor Darrell Bradley of Belize City; Councilor Shary Medina of San Ignacio/Santa Elena; and former Councillor Earth Lopez of Dangriga. In...

BAHA is calling for horse owners to vaccinate their horses
BAHA is calling for horse owners to vaccinate their horses against a debilitating and sometimes fatal virus circulating in the country. The release issued by the Belize Agricultural Health Authority strongly recommends persons who have horses, especially in the northern and western regions of the country, to vaccinate their...

UB have ambitious plans for Calabash Caye Field Station
The press were hosted by the University’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI) on a field trip to the Calabash Caye Field Station in the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve, located 33 miles east of Belize City. It is UB’s oldest property, started in 1995 under the University College of Belize. It...

Coral Reef Early Warning System installed at Calabash Caye
Another mechanism for getting the latest atmospheric data to researchers was installed at Calabash Caye. It is the Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS), a project of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC). Dr. Leandra Cho-Ricketts of the University...

Justice Minnet Hafiz-Bertram is New Justice of Appeal
Justice Minnet Hafiz-Bertram was sworn in as New Justice of Appeal. Justice Minnet Hafiz-Bertram was today sworn in as a Justice of the Belize Court of Appeal by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young. Justice Hafiz-Bertram who is originally from Guyana, has served as a Supreme Court Judge in...

The Reporter

Rosewood plunder continues undeterred, despite Moratorium
Almost a year ago, Minister of Forestry, Lisell Alamilla, signed a Moratorium banning all harvesting of Rosewood from Belizean jungles, and, following a sizable find in January, she burned several flitches of the precious wood. Alamilla has earned a few choice nicknames since the controversial burning, but she has stood her ground where the wanton harvesting of the precious wood is concerned. Yet it appears that the symbolic destruction was nothing more than just that because in an interview with reporters, she admitted: “We continue to find Rosewood. There are regular reports. We’re confiscating 20, 30 flitches at a time, so the amount of Rosewood that we have on our hands is increasing almost on a weekly basis and we definitely have to put something to Cabinet for them to consider, so that decisions won’t lie with just my Ministry.” The Forest Department still has two container loads of illegally harvested wood on its compound awaiting the completion of investigations. Wilbur Sabido, Chief Forest Officer, said that in one of the containers, confiscated in January from the Port compound, were found Zericote “in round or log form. That is against the law, essentially. Zericote is a protected species; It can only be exported as a value -added product. So in that particular instance we seized the wood in 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.”

New ‘superbond’ saves millions, Barrow says
The terms for the re-negotiated US$544 million “superbond” were presented to the House of Representatives Tuesday, where Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced principal savings of more than BZ$100 million. Barrow said, “There is a 10 percent principal haircut off the top, so immediately approximately BZ$108 million dollars is to be written off the current super bond indebtedness.” He explained the modifications to the bond’s 8.5 percent coupon (interest) rate has resulted in even more cash-flow savings. The initial coupon rate is for 5 percent for the first four and half years. This will step up to 6.788 percent for the remaining life of the new bonds. Barrow said the estimated debt “service reductions” resulting from the new terms negotiated by GOB are … BZ$22 million in 2012; BZ$66 million in 2013; BZ$236 million during the 5-year period 2013-2017 and BZ$494 million during the 10-year-period 2013-2022.”

Belmopan UB lecturers plan “sick out” for Monday
Teachers at the University of Belize Belmopan campus demonstrated on Thursday against their administration and are threatening to hold a “sick-out” for Monday. Between 30 and 40 of the teachers at the campus held an hour-long demonstration on the UB compound, based on the findings of a recent audit which they claim is shrouded in financial and managerial irregularities. The demonstrators contend that their concerns intensified when they asked for an investigation into the audit and found out that the UB Board of Trustees would conduct that investigation. They say that they have written to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Education requesting an independent commission to deal with the audit and that the investigation be taken out of the hands of the Board. But that request has gone without a response so far. Lecturers base their request on what they claim is a conflict of interest since the Board is also the appeal body for UB. The turnout, according to Allison Crawford, a Science Teacher at UB, in Belmopan, represents the majority of teachers and staff members. She blames the absence of others on alleged intimidation.

Mexican Navy nabs two Belizean businessmen in major drug bust
Two Belizean businessmen were arrested in Mexico for their alleged role in transporting $1 million worth of Crystal Meth into Chetumal last week. Mexican media reported that Milin Vasquez, of Orange Walk, and Hugo Cassanova of Corozal, were among the eight persons arrested during last Thursday evening’s Mexican Navy raid on the home of reputed Mexican drug dealer, Carlos Cabañas Catzin, known as “the monster.” According to reports in the Mexican newspaper Dario de Quintano Roo, both Casanova and Vasquez – who are considered to be major players in the drug underworld – are the ones who transported the drugs into Mexico. The arrested men and women were placed on a military aircraft and flown to Mexico City, where they were handed over to the office of Specialized Investigation of Organized Crime. The Diario de Quintano Roo reported that a judge in the Sixth District will determine the legal status of the eight persons.

Butane prices down
The controlled price of 100 lbs of butane went down to $117.00, the Belize Bureau of Standards announced on Wednesday. That is one dollar down from the last price of $118 announced last November 12. That $118 price is for butane imported from Mexico. Retailers have been selling the local butane gas for as little as $112 per 100 lbs. This is because the Bureau of Standards is in the process of establishing a quality standard for all butane sold in Belize, to be at least 60 percent butane and 40 percent propane. These regulations, however, are still very much in the planning stage, and have not yet been passed into law. In fact the draft legislation has not yet been presented to the House of Representatives. In the meantime, the regulated price for a 100-pound cylinder of butane outside Belize City will be $117 in Corozal, $118 in Orange Walk, $119 in Belmopan and San Ignacio, $121 in Dangriga, and $122 in Punta Gorda Town. It’s the first price cut since the price fell to $97 for 100 lbs last July, then slowly crept back up to $109 by August..

Sulph charged with rape
Former President of the University of Belize’s Student Government, Moses Sulph, 36, was today arraigned in the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court on a charge of rape. The community activist is accused of having forcible sexual relations with a domestic worker at the home of one of his friends on Professor Street in Belmopan on Tuesday. The Reporter has been reliably informed that Sulph visited the house on Tuesday and that on that same day the friend left Sulph alone at the house to attend classes at UB in Belmopan. Police are alleging that it was during the time he was alone at the house with the domestic that Sulph attacked her. Magistrate Aretha Ford offered Sulph, who is a naturalized Belizean, bail of $5,000 plus two sureties of the same amount, which he promptly met, and ordered him to return to court on May 10th. She informed him that because the matter is an indictable one, she was unable to take a plea.

CARSI invests in Belize’s security
The mobility of the Belize Police Department has increased with ten new motorcycles donated by the Central American Regional Security Initiative. The Honda XR-250 motorcycles, valued at BZ$82,000.00, were handed over at the Queen Street Police Station last Friday. Sources inside the police department say that while internal discussions on the distribution of the cycles have been made, none have been officially assigned to a specific branch. Police Press Officer Rafael Martinez has confirmed that some will be deployed into several district police formations. CARSI is a program out of the USA’s State Department to combat the negative effects caused by the drug trade in Central America. Official US State Department statistics state that since the program’s inception in 2008, the US has spent over US$496 million throughout Central America, upgrading law enforcement and investing in community programs for the regions’ at risk youth. In Belize between 2011 and this February, CARSI has spent over BZ$22 million on equipment to the Belize’s security forces. CARSI has also funded a number of community programs, including the Youth Success and Drop-in Center located on the second floor of the Commercial Center, and the YWCA snack-shop, which opened last December.

Rasta gets 3 month suspended sentence for “ lashing” 2 school girls gets 3-month suspended sentence for it
Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer gave a Port Loyola man a three-month suspended prison sentence, after he pleaded guilty to disciplining two primary school girls. In handing down the sentence, Frazer explained to Benjamin Chaplin, 49, a plumber of 2 Fabers Road, that if he gets into any more trouble with the law during the next 12 months, he will automatically begin to serve the three-months prison sentence. On Saturday, February 9, sometime around 10:15 a.m., Chaplin took it upon himself to “lash” two primary school girls, who threw stones at him while he was at work on a building on Cemetery Lane. Police reported that Chaplin followed the girls to their school, jumped the school fence and entered the classroom, where he reportedly took off his belt and began to discipline the girls. He was unable to leave the school after the lashing however, because some people from the neighbourhood detained him until the police arrived and arrested him.

Belize’s legal position Part 1 The autonomous life of our borders with Guatemala
In early January, the Government of Belize—through its Referendum Committee that is led by Ambassadors James Murphy and Stuart Leslie—launched its educational campaign on why the Belize-Guatemala dispute should be taken to the International Court of Justice as a final attempt to settle, once and for all, The Republic of Guatemala’s specious claim that half of Belize belongs to them. The educational campaign is set to lead us up to the simultaneous referenda, which is scheduled for October 6th, 2013. So, once again it’s up to the Belizean citizens to weigh the facts and decide how they will vote. While this newspaper has no intention of attempting to persuade or dissuade anyone’s decision, we do believe it is imperative that all Belizeans know what our legal arguments are. This article then is the first part to a series of such didactic features to explore Belize’s legal position. Overview of Three Pillar Arguments In November 2001, the Belize government contracted the services of four mavens in international law to give their legal opinion of Belize’s legal chances. In the document entitled “Legal Opinion on Guatemala’s Territorial Claim to Belize,” those four had this to say: “We have been asked to consider whether Guatemala can validly question the sovereignty of Belize over the whole or any part of its territory.

What’s the dirt on hand santizers?
Americans spend $175 million on hand sanitizers that claim to kill 99.9 percent of germs, but all too often, we’re not getting the protection we’re paying for. Studies show that sanitizers aren’t very effective against some of the germs we fear most, including colds, flu and the nasty stomach bug norovirus. However, there’s also research showing that alcohol-based sanitizers can reduce overall rates of GI infections, cut the number of days kids stay home sick from school, and lower illnesses among college students living in dorms. New studies also raise concern about potential health risks from a widely used hand gel ingredient—and there’s also evidence that many of us use these disinfectants incorrectly. To sift through the confusion, I talked to several infection-control experts. Hand gels don’t cut through grime. “Dirt, especially proteins or fatty materials, reduces the effectiveness of hand sanitizers, so alcohol-based hand sanitizers are not suggested if hands are visibly soiled,” says Dr. Daniel Uslan, hospital epidemiologist at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. Wash instead with soap and water.

If Mom liked you best, everyone loses
Parents may not admit it, but picking favorites among their children is a fairly common practice. Now, new research reveals that this pattern – known as differential parenting – is not only detrimental to the child who receives the negative feedback, but also the entire family. Additionally, this new study shows that the more drastic the parenting styles between children, the worse the outcome of the mental health of all the children. “This was really surprising,” said Jenny Jenkins, professor in the department of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the University of Toronto and lead author of the study. “We expected differential parenting to operate stronger within the parent-child dynamic. However, differential parenting had a stronger effect on the entire family.” “Differential parenting”- giving mostly positive feedback to one child while mostly negative feedback to another – has long been linked to negative effects for the targeted child.

Wesley College girls win football championship
The girls of Wesley College triumphed over the girls of St. Catherine’s Academy 3-0 to win the Belize District High Schools Football Championship at the M.C.C.Grounds on Monday evening, February, after the St Catherine’s girls had held them to a scoreless draw in the first game of the finals last Friday evening, February 8. Shanice Neal and Elisha Bernardez spearheaded the Wesley offensive, but the SCA defense anchored by Diedra Gill and Samarie Samos, with the help of Darian Avilez and Jannel Meighan held off their attacks to the end of regulation time. SCA’s speedy striker Jada Parchue almost secured the win for the convent girls with a late shot on goal that the Wesley goalkeeper, Latesha Hughes only managed to deflect. The game went into overtime in which Erica Milligan converted a penalty for the first winning goal, and Shanice Neal added a second goal in the second overtime period. Elisha Bernardez made doubly sure with a third goal. The St. Catherine’s girls had eliminated the girls of Anglican Cathedral College 2-0 in a penalty shootout after regulation time ended with SCA winning 1-0 over ACC.

Ladyville Tech girls, SJC & ACC boys win high school softball
The girls of the Ladyville Technical High School and Nazarene High School and the boys of Anglican Cathedral College and St. John’s College are leading the Belize City high schools softball competition organized by the Central Secondary Schools Sports Association at the Rogers’ Stadium and the Lord’s Bank field on Saturday, February 9. It was a duel of two high-powered pitchers both of whom have led national teams in Central American competition as the Nazarene High girls walloped the Ladyville Tech girls 7-2 at the Rogers’ Stadium last Friday evening. Ashley Lucas struck out eight batters and scored two runs for Nazarene High while Amber Wade struck out six batters and scored Ladyville Tech’s only two runs. Lucas also led the Nazarene High girls to their first victory, completely shutting out the girls of Pallotti High School 28-0, as her teammates scored 16 runs in the first inning and 12 more in the second. Amber Wade led the Ladyville Tech girls in a 16-1 romp over the girls of Maud Williams High School in Lord’s Bank on Saturday. Catcher M. Audinett scored Maud Williams’ only run, while pitcher Ashley Bailey shutout the Ladyville girls in the first inning, but the Ladyville girls scored 10 runs in the second and six more in the third. Wade also led the Ladyville girls to their first win 5-0 over the girls of St. Catherine’s Academy who were forced to forfeit when one of their players had to leave, with Ladyville already leading 8-0 in the first inning.

Jamaica in second crisis debt-swap plan
Jamaica has announced plans for its second debt swap in three years in the face of a “serious economic crisis”. Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is taking measures to reduce its debt, which currently stands at 140% of gross domestic product (GDP), one of the highest ratios in the world. “If this debt is not reduced, Jamaica faces a dismal future,” she said. The move is aimed at satisfying conditions demanded in a deal with the International Monetary Fund. About 55% of government spending goes towards paying the nation’s debt, while 25% goes on wages. That leaves just 20% for everything else – including education, security and health. In a televised address, Ms Simpson Miller, who belongs to the People’s National Party (PNP), said a national debt exchange would be launched. The administration will offer a swap of higher-interest debt for lower-cost debt and will require “significant sacrifices” from financial institutions and domestic bond holders. The move follows an earlier debt restructuring in 2010 under the previous Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) government.


Surprised??? You bet she was.
A great way to score brownie points with your longtime wife is to plan a surprise wedding vow renewal on the beach in Belize. Bill did just that for Mary and pulled off an amazing job with the help of many people, especially Jan, Gail and Becky. It was a perfect day for a beach wedding, Caribbean Villas did a lovely job on decorating and Eiden did a great ceremony as always. Mary was very surprised by it all – especially that friends and family back home were able to keep the secret so well. Thanks for inviting us to be a part of your special surprise Bill.

7 Unbelievable Waterfalls from Around Belize
Waterfalls in Belize are among the consummate hang out places for spending an impeccable Belize vacation. The pristine beauty and the tranquil atmosphere in the area of waterfalls are a special treat to the eyes. Below are 7 unbelievable waterfalls from around Belize:

International Sources

See orca give birth to 300+ lb. baby
Kasatka gives birth to her baby orca during one hour of labor at SeaWorld San Diego.

Belize Invites You To A Wild Animal Escape
Escape to the private and remote paradise, Belize! Located in the heart of Central America, and is bordered by Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the west and south. Breathtaking Belize consists of a land area of 8,867 square miles and is known for having the longest living Barrier Reef in the world that stretches out along the Eastern Coast of Belize. One of Belize’s main must-see attractions is The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary dedicated to the preservation of the native Jaguar. This spectacular sanctuary consists of forests, fauna and watersheds approximately 400 square kilometers located at the eastern slopes of the Maya mountains. Established in 1990, there is over 128,000 acres of lush jungle ringed by the spectacular Cockscomb Mountains.

February 18, 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

Doctor Love: Ultimatum
A 26 year old woman is giving her 28 year old boyfriend an ultimatum: Marriage and Kids, or the highway. He's not reacting. Now what?

Police claim alcohol abuse is cause of death of Luis “Hule” Daniels
Luis-HULE-DanielsLate last year, the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) and the Police Department, working along with substance abuse advocacy groups, made a decision to round up members of the community and incorporate them into a rehabilitation program. It was a decision made in an effort to reach out to those members who have been taken over by alcohol and drugs and whose health was deteriorating because of substance abuse. 57 year-old island resident Luis Junior Daniels, AKA ‘Hule’, was one such individual. On February 9th Daniels succumbed to his alcohol addiction when he died of cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol abuse. Sometime before 2PM on Saturday the 9th, the body of well known “Hule” was found on the first floor steps of a concrete three storage building located on the beach behind the San Pedro Town Council building. The body was found in an advanced stage of decomposition and had to be quickly removed to an isolated area for an onsite postmortem examination. The deceased is originally from the Corozal Town but had been living at an unfixed address in the San Pedrito area in San Pedro. Daniels was unemployed and many that knew him were aware of his struggles with alcohol addiction. Doctor Giovanni Solorzano certified his death as being cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis is a deadly disease which can be caused by a number of factors, including years of heavy drinking.

Wolfe’s Woofer: A Room for the Night
Mark sleeps through the night in a hotel room with a snorer the way only a Worthington would - using wit and brains.

Miss (Linda) Blease – spinning to the top
MBB: You grew up in Caye Caulker, but now live in the city (kindly confirm) and travel quite a bit with your (amazing) deejay career. A lot of people grow up in a small place, and head out searching for a better life. You have succeeded in so many ways, creating a path where there was none, and making big strides for yourself. Bravo! How does a Caye Caulker chick do it? Linda: Thank you very much, yuh made me feel like I da like supawoman jus now *chuckles*. Yes I did grow up in Caye Caulker; that is my home ground. I’ve never been someone who felt that the world was this HUGE AND DIFFICULT place to live in. I always believed in the idea of six (6) points of separation, which implies that everyone is only six (6) similarities away from the other person. I think that perspective helps me to zone in and focus on what I want and head towards that angle, building my way there, improving in the process, and gaining a lot of loyal friends all over the world, especially in the entertainment business. Anywhere you go people appreciate hard work; I think I am a hard worker. I also feel that some people in smaller populated and unexposed countries like Belize underestimate their pull and the value of being a professional in this country – in succeeding in this country in whatever they are pursuing. I never felt “you have to leave to ‘make it’.” I guess it’s peoples’ glamorous impression of what they see worldwide that blinds them to success in their own country. When you are in a bigger industry or country, it is harder for you to meet the right people and it is a harder struggle to get where you want to. Unlike in Belize where you have an easier time getting established in your profession, thus building a solid portfolio and value. After that the rest is all publicity and exposure. Read more: Miss (Linda) Blease - spinning to the top - My Beautiful Belize Follow us: @MyBeautifulBze on Twitter | MyBeautifulBelize on Facebook

Misc Belizean Sources

Rotary Finishes Bathrooms at Eden and St. Andrews
Feelgood news of the day. Thanks, Rotary, for doing so much for the Cayo community! "On the last two weekends members of the Rotary Club of San Ignacio as well as teachers, parents and other volonteers painted the two brand new bathroom facilities at Eden SDA Primary School and St. Andrews Anglican School that are about to be finished very soon. These modern toilet blocks will serve approximately 900 students and were built with the generous funding of Canadian Rotarians, the Rotary Foundation and with local contributions. The projects have a total volume of almost 110.000 BZ$ and are managed by the Rotary Club of San Ignacio. The two structures are numbers 6 and 7 in a row of bathrooms that were built for Cayo schools during the last years."

Night of Expressive Talents
It was a spectacular turn out for the night of music, poetry, and artistic expression at the Soul Project Friday night. Lyric Nation, from Belmopan, recited some deep poetry. There were many singers and guitarists throughout the night on the stage. Emmanuel Mangar, Catherine Garnett, Peter Enriquez, the Blue Grass Dudes, and many more. Thank you, Soul Project, for doing it right, and bringing culture, art, and great music to Cayo.


Playful prank or malicious intent?
See that black fishing line in the photo above? It looks pretty innocuous, right? Like it couldn't hurt a flea. I can only assume that that is what a prankster thought when he strung it tightly across the cart path up near Indigo and Grand Belizean Estates this morning. It was a splendid Sunday morning after a cold front passed through Belize yesterday. Bright sunshine, low humidity, and a moderate north breeze made for a perfect morning for bicycling. We rode north up the beach in great spirits. I even sighted and stopped to snap a photo of this Black-Headed Trogan right by the White Sands Dive Shop. I couldn't believe how close he let me get. I wish you could see his distinctive light-blue eye in this photo. With Indigo condominiums up ahead, we turned sharply left and rounded the curve on the cart path, heading to Grand Belizean Estates. Before I could even process what was happening, I heard Barry yell out "woah" or something similar. I was close behind him, and almost right as I heard him yell, I felt something hit me full-on in the face. It stopped me and my bike immediately in my tracks, and the next thing I knew, I crashed down on my right side (the same side I went down on and fractured my pelvis when road riding in North Carolina in 2005). Moments later, we realized what had happened. Some Darwin-award contender had strung a piece of strong black braided fishing line tautly across the path, a booby-trap for anyone coming by with any speed at all. Since Barry has flat bars on his bike, he was leaning slightly forward, so he hit the line right above the brim of his ball cap, which thankfully he was wearing or his scalp would have been hit full on. I, on the other hand, was sitting upright. And before he could warn me, the line caught me right across the mouth. It did not break the skin, but it stung like a sonofagun. And I was banged up from the fall as the sand is very hard there.

Turn up the Heat please
I am finding it hard to believe the current temperature is 72.8f or 22.6c, it feels much colder inside and that is with most of our windows closed. I am wearing a thick hoodie, jeans and socks, hoping it will be warmer out in the sun when we go to town later. Dennis and I are preparing for a food cleanse this week and while we are both looking forward to it, we have both been bad and are not wanting to give up all the junk food we have been enjoying. As you can see by the 3 pics I chose today I totally have food on the brain big time. Trying to convince Dennis and Paul to go to Estel’s for breakfast and bacon talk not doing as well as I had hoped, in fact it only seem to be making me hungrier and having no effect on the boys ha ha.

Jaw Dropping Photography from Around Belize
Here is a gallery of gorgeous photographs from around Belize. Which photo is your favorite?

Bang Bang
Woke this morning much, much later than normal. The consequence of going on a Poker Run last night when we were joined by Frank, visiting Ambergris Caye for the weekend from his regular base of Price Barracks (Frank is serving a three year posting as a member of BATSUB). It took a couple of hours to feel like I had rejoined the land of the living. Felt a lot better but still not quite firing on all cylinders. Rose felt the same way too. Neither one of us is equipped to keep up with an army guy when they go for a beer. To clear the cobwebs we decided to take a drive to see how much more the guys had done on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize after we had left them yesterday afternoon. The drive there felt invigorating because there was a chilly breeze. When we got there it was good to be able to walk around freely and not have to worry if we were standing in the wrong place and disrupting the workflow. It also meant that we could get to areas that we hadn’t been able to access the previous day.

International Sources

India gifts 50 computers to college in Belize
India has presented 50 computers to St. John's College in Belize City, the largest city in this Central American nation, a "timely gesture", a college official said, that would help the institution realise its dreams of becoming the premier educational institution in the country. Indian ambassador to Mexico Sujan R Chinoy, who is also the high commissioner to Belize, made a major donation of 50 computers and related peripherals to the St. John's on February 14, said a statement. The assistance was given under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme, to establish the "India-Belize Friendship Computer Centre". Addressing those gathered on the occasion at the Fordyce Memorial Chapel, Chinoy said: "India extends assistance to friendly countries with whom we have good relations, and countries like Belize with which we want to deepen our engagement, including at the people to people level."

Chocolate Festival of Belize, May 23 - 28, 2013
Belize describes itself as “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret!” With a population of just over 300,000 and around 40% of its land area under protected status, Belize is a hidden gem in Central America. Sparsely populated and ethnically diverse, the country is rich in natural wonders from the barrier reef and coastalcayes to the Maya Mountains and inland rainforest. The southern district of Toledo is the Mayan heartland of Belize and the home of cacao (cocoa) from which chocolate is produced. This is the seventh year in which the people of Toledo and Belize join to celebrate the history and tradition of chocolate making and its contribution to the livelihoods of the Mayan farmers.

February 17, 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 17th, 2013 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Pineda In Critical Condition At KHMH:
    A Honduran man today is in a coma on life support at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. The incident which landed the man in the hospital is reported to have occurred inside Las Ninfas de Mariana Bar, located at #23 Back Street in San Ignacio which is operated by the victim’s estranged common law wife from whom he has been separated for about two months. When police arrived on the scene at around 2:00 am on Sunday, February 10, 2013, they first came upon a male person of Hispanic descent sitting on the ground in the yard. His face was swollen and blood was coming from the nose and mouth. He was identified as Jose Santos Pineda the estranged common law husband of the bar operator, Mariana Galvez.
  • Benque Teen Drowns:
    The body of Rodney Javan Guerra, 15, the victim of a drowning incident on Sunday afternoon, February 10, was laid to rest today in his hometown, Benque Viejo Del Carmen. It is reported that after having dinner at around 3:00 pm Guerra left home on a bicycle in the company of a younger brother. About an hour after leaving home, the family was notified of the tragedy which reportedly occurred in a popular swimming area of the Mopan River just behind the new clinic in Benque Viejo Town.
  • Another Man Is On Life Support At The KHMH:
    Another man from San Ignacio, suffering from a blow to the back of the head with a blunt instrument, is on life support at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. It was around 2:00 am on Sunday, February 10, 2013 when the police was summoned to the emergency unit of the San Ignacio Community Hospital where they encountered a male Hispanic person, with an injury to the head, undergoing emergency medical treatment. A male youth who was present at the hospital identified the patient as his father, Pedro Choc, a taxi operator. The 16 year old boy told the police that, after the close of the Blue Angeles Night Club, his father was on a job transporting three male persons to Bella Vista Street just off Bullet Tree Road also in San Ignacio.
  • Who Is LyIng?:
    One incident, two exact opposite pronouncements. A vehicle, admittedly the personal property of the Cayo North PUP elected Area Representative Joseph Mahmud was photographed with the front driver’s side wheel, on top of a 17 year old boy. The politician confirms that he is the owner of the vehicle but that he was neither in the vehicle nor on the scene of the incident. The child’s aunt who was the first responder is adamant as she continues to insist that the politician was on the scene and that when he and his associate refused to assist in getting her nephew for under the weight of the politician’s vehicle, she reportedly began hurling curse words in their face.
  • Editorial: The Days Of The PUP Are Numbered:
    The House of Representatives met last Wednesday during which Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced to the nation that the dreaded PUP Super Bond has been successfully renegotiated just like he publicly promised in the days leading up to the March 7, 2012 general elections. Wednesday, February 13, 2013 was just another day in which another possibility was transformed into reality. While economies of regional states are crumbling around us, Belize is recording unprecedented economic growth. While neighboring nations states are announcing tax increases, the cutting of thousands of jobs (aka retrenchment) occasioned by the inevitable entering into stand by arrangements with the dreaded International Monetary Fund, the Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow stands proud, beats his chest and tells the IMF to go fly a kite.
  • Jamaica In Crisis Debt-Swap Plan:
    Jamaica has announced plans for its second debt swap in three years in the face of a "serious economic crisis". Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is taking measures to reduce its debt, which currently stands at 140% of gross domestic product (GDP), one of the highest ratios in the world. "If this debt is not reduced, Jamaica faces a dismal future," she said. The move is aimed at satisfying conditions demanded in a deal with the International Monetary Fund. About 55% of government spending goes towards paying the nation's debt, while 25% goes on wages. That leaves just 20% for everything else - including education, security and health.
  • Do You Have A Favorite Child? You Should Read This:
    It is perhaps motherhood's dirtiest little secret: Favoring one child over another. Favoritism is usually not intentional and can happen for a variety of reasons. Maybe one kid is the most well-behaved in the brood, especially talented, has an inexplicable bond with a parent. And often times the opposite can be true: If one child has behavioral problems, he can become the favorite because he requires extra attention. And while moms may objectively realize that favoritism isn't ethical or even a conscious act, a new study published on Tuesday in the February issue of the journal Child Development shows that showing more love to one kid harms more than just the "naughty one"—it damages the entire family unit, causing increased mental health problems in children such as aggression, attention, and emotional problems.
  • Learn These Basic CPR Steps:
    CALL 911 FIRST!Check the scene for immediate danger. Make sure you are not putting yourself in harm's way by administering CPR to someone unconscious. Is there a fire? Is the person lying on a roadway? Do whatever is necessary to move yourself and the other person to safety. Assess the victim's consciousness. Gently tap his or her shoulder and ask "Are you OK?" in a loud, clear voice. If he or she responds, CPR is not required. Instead, undertake basic first aid and take measures to prevent or treat shock, and assess whether you need to contact emergency services. If the victim does not respond, continue with the following steps. Call 911, give the dispatcher your location, and notify him or her that you are going to perform CPR. If you are alone, get off the phone and start compressions after that. If you have someone else with you, have him or her stay on the line while you do CPR on the victim.
  • Chicago Names Joaquin Guzman Public Enemy No. 1:
    The city of Chicago has named its first public enemy number one since Al Capone - a drug cartel leader who lives in a mountain hideaway in western Mexico. Joaquin Guzman is the leader of the powerful Sinaloa cartel, which is suspected by federal agents supplying the bulk of narcotics sold in Chicago. The Chicago Crime Commission has named other public enemies, but the 1930s gangster was the only prior number one. The US has offered a $5m (£3.2m) reward for Guzman's capture. He has been indicted on federal trafficking charges and US officials want him extradited if he is ever captured, said on Thursday.
  • Oscar Pistorius: Olympian and Paralympian faces murder charge:
    South African Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius is facing a murder charge after his girlfriend was shot and killed at his Pretoria home. His arrest over the death of model Reeva Steenkamp has stunned the country where he is considered a national hero. The 26-year-old is due to appear in court on Friday. Pistorius made history in London last year when he became the first double-amputee track athlete to compete in the Olympic Games.
  • Six Arrested Over Rape Of Spanish Tourists In Acapulco:
    Six men have been arrested in Mexico in connection with the rape of six Spanish women near the holiday resort of Acapulco last week, officials say. Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said the suspects had confessed. The women were raped by masked gunmen who had broken into their bungalow. The police said they were looking for one more suspect. Acapulco is one of Mexico's most famous beach resorts, but it has recently suffered from drug-related violence. The brutality of the case shocked Mexicans and foreigners living in Mexico alike.
  • Bolivia: Morales Criticises Chile Over Sea And Soldiers:
    Bolivia's President Evo Morales has renewed his calls for the release of three soldiers arrested in Chile. The soldiers were arrested in January after crossing the Chilean border carrying an assault rifle. In a speech marking the 134th anniversary of the war in which his country lost access to the Pacific Ocean, Mr Morales called the men "great defenders of the sea". It was the first time in decades that a Bolivian leader celebrated the event. Chile says the men were detained after entering the country illegally, while Bolivia argues they were following car smugglers as part of an army operation.
  • Pope Benedict Hints He Will Retire Into Seclusion:
    The outgoing head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, has hinted he will withdraw into seclusion after stepping down at the end of this month. "Even if I am withdrawing into prayer, I will always be close to all of you... even if I remain hidden to the world," he told a meeting of Roman priests. The pontiff, 85, shocked the world's biggest Christian Church on Monday when he announced his resignation. He cited his advanced age as the reason for resigning. The Pope appears to be planning a complete retreat from the public eye, the BBC's Alan Johnston reports from the Vatican.
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The San Pedro Sun

Wildtracks, protecting our vulnerable species
Wildtracks 4Belize is a natural jewel housing some of the most extraordinary flora and fauna. With the immense square footage of forest and marine waters it is almost impossible to properly protect our natural resources. With the increasing amount of hunting and boat activity, some of Belize’s once thriving species are now dwindling in numbers. Three species that have been placed on the endangered list are the Manatee, Howler Monkeys and Spider Monkeys. These animals are continuously being further endangered because of deforestation, fast boating and poaching. As such, it is extremely necessary for immediate action to be taken to alleviate the problem. Wildtracks Conservation, Education and Research Center is working tirelessly toward sustaining the natural resources of Belize and has been since 1996. Wildtracks is a non-profit organization supported fully by volunteer workers and donations by generous sponsors. Their facility is based in the Corozal Bay Wildlife Reserve south of the nearby village of Sarteneja in the Corozal District. Wildtracks goals include the rehabilitation and release of rescued manatees and monkeys to the wild in order to sustain the population.

Cayo District Zone/San Ignacio Police Formation awarded for Crime Reduction
Saldivar-Addresses-Zone-Branch-CommandersOn February 13, 2013, Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar presented awards to officers commanding the Cayo District Zone and the San Ignacio Formation for their performance during the month of January in reducing crime within their jurisdiction. Crime Statistics for the month of January, 2013, show an overall reduction in crimes committed countrywide, the largest reduction being in the Cayo District Zone where crimes went down by 41.51 percent. Within that zone, the San Ignacio Formation recorded the largest reduction during that month.Zone-and-Branch-Commanders Guzman-Receives-ChequeThe awards, which will be a monthly feature, consist of a certificate of appreciation to the outstanding formation and a cash reward of $1,000 to the winning zone for the month in question, funds which will be used as the Officer Commanding that zone and his team determine as they continue to step up efforts to provide better safety and security in their respective jurisdiction.

Eight more murders in January 2013 than January 2012
The Belize Police Department today Friday February 15th, released the crime figures for the first month of 2013. While overall crime showed a decrease in most categories, the most notable and significant increase is in murder. There were a total of 12 murders, eight more than the four recorded in the month January of 2012. Of the 12 murders committed in January 2013, 11 were in the Belize District while one was from the Cayo District. Rape, robbery, burglary and theft saw moderate decreases, but carnal knowledge saw a spike of over 100%, increasing from five cases in January 2012 to 14 cases for the same period in 2013. The report also indicates that police continue to make little progress in overall arrest figures. The following is a breakdown of the statistics submitted by the police for the entire country.

Misc Belizean Sources

Expressive Talent Pictures
It was an amazing night of music, poetry, and artistic expression at the Soul Project last night. Lyric Nation, from Belmopan, recited some deep poetry. There were many singers and guitarists throughout the night on the stage. Emmanuel Mangar, Catherine Garnett, Peter Enriquez, the Blue Grass Dudes, and many more. The Soul Project is really doing it right, bringing culture, art, and great music to Cayo. Currently, the exhibit on display is the Soul Revolution exhibit, but the Soul Project will be closed until Tuesday to edit all the great video that was captured last night.

Belikin and La Ruta Maya
Only 20 days until La Ruta Maya. It starts on Friday, March 8th, at the Hawkesworth Bridge. Belikin is a proud sponsor, and you'll see their tents at every stop. They'll also be at the Cayo Welcome Center on Thursday, March 7th for the pre-LRM Culture Night.

Mr. and Ms. Succotz Festival
Last night was the final show of the Mr. and Ms. Succotz Festival. It happened at the Cancha San Jose Succotz at 7pm. See who'll represent Succotz.


More On Meth Bust In Chetumal
Belizeans Ermelindo Vasquez of Orange Walk and Hugo Casanova of Corozal, have been detained at the Centro De Readaptacion Social in Chetumal Quintana Roo since Sunday February 10th. As we enter the weekend the men are hopeful that that the Sixth District Court will resolve their legal status after their lawyers requested the extension of the constitutional term of 72 to 144 hours, to prove their innocence. The 144 hours ends on Sunday when the Judge, based on the evidence provided by the Mexican Navy, will determine whether Vasquez, Cassanova, and six other Mexican individuals are guilty of drug possession for the purpose of sale or will be set free. The arrest of the men comes as a result of a raid conducted by members of the Mexican Navy at the home of Carlos Cabañas Catzin, alias “El Monstruo” described as being the Mexican drug lord of the Pelones in Chetumal. During the sting operation 45 kilograms of suspected crystal meth valued at close to one million U.S dollars were confiscated. Fifty thousand doses of the drug were ready for distribution and retail marketing. Inside the residence police found Carlos Cabañas Catzin, Nestor Alberto Catzin Cabañas, Luis Juárez López, Alejandro Lugo Courtenay, Fabiola Lopez Juarez, Patricia Rosa Morales Olán, Hugo Casanova and Ermelindo Vazquez who all pled not guilty to the charge. We’ll bring you the verdict on Monday’s newscast.

Teenager Reported Missing For More Than Two Weeks
While 87 year old Mamerto Castillo has been missing since Wednesday, a 15 year old boy from the Village of Libertad in the Corozal District has been missing for two weeks now. According to 45 year old Belizean housewife Olympia Bull, her nephew, Hilmar Ical, left home on January 31st to sell homemade bread in Corozal Town. He was accompanied by his uncle as is usually the case. But while the uncle returned home, the same cannot be said for the 14 year old who is nowhere to be found. Despite the fact that the minor went missing two weeks ago, the report was recently made at the police station. Ical is described as being of Mestizo descent, brown complexion; 5 feet in height, medium built and weighs about 85 lbs. If you know the whereabouts of Ical you are asked to call 911 or the nearest police station.

Problems At Temporary Bus Terminal
The bus terminal located adjacent to the Ministry of Works here in Orange Walk was to be a temporary one yet there seems to be no movement forthcoming in order for busses to be relocated. And while time goes by, complaints about the terminal keep rolling in especially from vendors who rely on their everyday sale to make ends meet. Today we were once again called out to the terminal and when we arrived we found vendors up in arms. Hipolito Novelo reports. Just beside the entrance of the Orange Walk Town Bus Terminal are four vendors who every day struggle to make ends meet. Today; however, they are up in arms because of a construction that is taking place inside terminal grounds. The benches located under the shed are being upgraded in order for commuters to lean their back. While commuters applaud the initiative, those on the other side of the fence say it will affect their sale and are asking for an open space to be left between the benches in order for buyers to have easier access to their products.

They Did It For Peace
This afternoon the future leaders of the country sent a strong message to the criminal elements-they want peace. Students of La Inmaculada Primary School took a stand against crime as they walked through the streets of town with placards in hand sending out a message of hope. Hipolito Novelo reporting… The entire student body of La Inmaculada Primary School rallied together to send one message- they want peace. Manuel Polanco, Principal “It’s a response from our Bishop. Our Bishop has called on all catholic groups and communities to do something and get involve seeing how together we can assist to finish off with crime and violence in our country and bringing peace to Belize. The children were tasked with the idea of coming up with their own message through banners, posters, plackers and to display out there and let the public see those messages that the children are calling for.” After the short rally, students took to the streets of town where they spread the message of hope. And while one might think that walking for peace will not solve the rampant crime plaguing the country, Principal Manuel Polanco says it’s a start.

Yes Or No To The ICJ?
Belize and Guatemala agreed to conduct a simultaneous referendum on October 6th, 2013 to decide if Guatemala’s territorial claim against Belize should go before the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Presently an educational awareness campaign is being carried out in both countries. All indications are; however, that the ride towards the referendum will be a bumpy one. First it was a map of Guatemala showing Belize as part of its territory and now Guatemala’s President Otto Perez Molina says that Belize should restore its referendum law to what it was in 2008 if it wants to save the 6 October 2013 referendum. As the law stands, 60% of the electorate must participate in the referendum in order for it to be binding. Fifty one percent will have to say yes to go to the ICH. This is contrast to Guatemala’s referendum laws which provides for a simple majority of the electorate to make a decision. Pérez Molina considers that the percentages in Belize are too high and that the ratification is in danger. According to the Prensa Libre Newspaper, Perez Molina told the Associated Press in Madrid that Guatemala will not spend 240 million quetzals, which translates to $40 million in a referendum that is pointless because of the high voting percentage level in Belize.

In Corozal- Art In The Park
Art in the park is an event that has been gaining popularity in Corozal Town as it exposes the talent of many artists. The idea is one that was conceived by Photographer Debra Wilkes Gray, the now director of the Corozal House of Culture. In 2009 Gray presented her idea to the Institute of Creative Arts at a Corozal Committee General Assembly. Of course, members of the committee embraced the initiative and immediately the work began with the first Art in the Park being held on September 12th 2009. To date Art in the park has become one of the main attractions in Corozal both for locals and tourist. And if for some reason you have not been to one of the events then you have an opportunity to do so tomorrow when another edition of Art in the Park is scheduled to take place at 7:00pm. Art in the Park has brought much richness to Corozal as talented artists are exposed, at the same time receiving the recognition they deserve. Without a doubt the event provides a permanent exhibit space for young visual artists.

Octagenarian Has Been Missing For Three Days
Today marks three days that an 87 year old man from the Village of Yo Creek has been missing. His family is distressed and appealing to the public for their assistance in finding their loved one. Mamerto Castillo, better known as Don Mito, was last seen on Wednesday February 13th around 9:30am when he left home to gather some wood in an area close to the Village of San Lazaro. He has not been seen or heard from since. According to family members they have searched the areas that Castillo often frequents but to no avail. Castillo was last wearing a light pink long sleeve shirt and kaki long pants. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Mamerto Castillo is asked to contact the nearest police station or call 303-2047.

Responsible Leadership in Diversity and Dialogue
From February 27th to the 28th, the 5thGlobal Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations of the United Nations, preceded by a Youth Event on February 26th will take place in Vienna, Austria where more than 1000 political leaders and civil society representatives will meet to discuss the topic of “Responsible Leadership in Diversity and Dialogue”. This time round Belizeans can take heed to a very unique opportunity. On this occasion, a photo exhibition at the conference venue will visually display different perspectives on the topics of the conference. An invitation is opened for photo shoots to be submitted on one of the following three categories: Perspectives on Religious Pluralism, Freedom of the Media Matters and a new Narrative on Diversity Conditions for applying are the following: participants must be under the age of 35; photographs must be in digital format and submitted as electronic attachments via e-mail at [email protected], only one photo can be submitted per person. All submissions must include the photographer’s name; date of birth and email address; as well as a short explanation of the photograph (no more than 10 sentences). Submitted photo files must be minimum 1MB, maximum 5MB; 2000x2000pixels (with minimum 150 DPI). The best photos will be displayed at the conference venue as well as on the homepage of the UNAOC Global Forum 2013 while the top 5 photographs will be printed on postcards and distributed among those attending the Global Forum. Deadline for submissions is Sunday February 17th, 2013.

Juan Carnaval Burns Through Schools
Last week Friday you heard Debra Wilkes Gray from the Corozal House of Culture explain the celebration of Juan Carnaval. The celebration is a Mestizo tradition that takes place before the beginning of the Lenten season. Today, in order to keep the custom alive, members of the Banquitas House of Culture visited numerous primary and secondary schools in Orange Walk taking along with them Don Juan Carnaval. We met the group at La Inmaculada Primary School and joined in the festivity. Hipolito Novelo reporting… Many might have an idea of what the celebration of Juan Carnaval is all about. But truth of the fact is that the Mestizo tradition is dying and that is where the Banquitas House of Culture comes in. Yvette Torres, BHOC “Juan Carnaval is a tradition which was adopted by the Spanish and the Spaniards and the Indians. This is an old tradition that has been done in the pass and we want the schools and even the high schools and children to know that this is part of our tradition and we want to instil it in them. This year we did a twist to our actual Juan Carnaval which we normally do at the House of Culture for the past two years we have been doing the revival of Juan Carnaval at the House of Culture. So this year we are talking it, the re-enactment, to the schools.”

The Belize Times

Who is Laying the Pipe at BWS? – Union silent amidst string of firings & resignations
On Wednesday February 6th 2013, four employees of the government-owned water company, Belize Water Services, were given their marching papers. Collin Morrison, IT Support Technician; Don Gillett, Senior Customer Service Representative; Charlett Barnett, Customer Service Representative; and Mark Menzies, lab technician were all fired. All of them are members of the Belize Water Services Workers Union. A memo issued out a day after, on Thursday February 7th by BWS’ Chief Executive Office, Alvan Haynes, stated that the terminations had to do with “confidentiality of information, failure to cooperate fully with the investigation, including providing false information or withholding information”. This “investigation”, pointed out in the CEO’s memo, was regarding “a number of malicious letters which contain slander, gossip, and misuse of information”. The BELIZE TIMES has obtained copies of the “malicious letters” which all carry the signature of the company workers’ Union President, Lorelei Westby, but do so falsely, we are told. The letters, prepared by an anonymous author, make scandalous allegations against managers and employees at BWS. It spills out highly controversial “bedroom business” about who is sleeping with who and inside which office at BWS; political cronyism that is affecting the efficiency of the company; and the many instances of abuse and waste of company resources. The letters hit hard – naming executive and senior managers, as well as regular employees. It has made executives nervous and has turned BWS upside down as it was sent to the Prime Minister and also to the spouses and families of those named in the information.

Farrakhan re-schedules visit to Belize
The BELIZE TIMES has confirmed that Leader of the Nation of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan, has re-scheduled his visit to Belize, after cancelling an on-going Caribbean tour in December last year. According to the local coordinator, Nuri Muhammad, Minister Farrakhan will arrive in Belize on March 4th ...

World-renowned Grill targeted by UDP Chairman
By Mark Paulson Alberto “Betito” Villanueva, the failed chairperson of the Caye Caulker Village Council, appears to have stolen a page out of Darrell Bradley’s book of political victimization. Readers may recall that late last year Darrell Bradley forced well-known DJ ...

Oceana Seeks Permission to Appeal Referendum Strike-out Decision
Oceana et’al has applied for permission to appeal against the decision of Justice Michelle Arana, which resulted in the dismissal of the case against the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) and the Governor General on the basis ...

Do You Smell Smoke
We have acres of beautiful land in Belize. I remember one evening while returning to the city on the western road I could not help but notice dark, thick smoke floating in the sky. As we drove further we could see fire all over the bushes for miles and miles. ...

PUP condemns GOB’s divisiveness
On February 7, 2013 the Clerk of the National Assembly of Belize wrote to PUP Members of the House of Representatives and Senate advising that the National Assembly would meet on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13, 2013 for Special Sittings on a “Government of Belize Restructuring Motion.” That ...

In my perspective – What does it take to be a Minister in Belize? Not much
by Rayford Young As I have said many times in this column, growing up in Corozal was a joy. My childhood experience was a pleasant one. One of the more exciting times in Corozal was when the circus from Mexico came to town. The elephants, tigers, riding the merry- go-round and ...

How to fix the economy!
Part I by Richard Harrison Belize is 31 years into Political Independence. It finds itself in a position where unemployment is over 18%, with an even higher unemployment among the young population. Poverty is over 40%, as more and more the middle-class is being wiped out. GDP growth is below the ...

UDP buying votes with land in Xaibe Village – Residents given promissory notes which take effect if the UDP wins
On Friday afternoon February 8th, 2013 Hugo Patt, the Corozal North UDP Representative and the UDP slate running for the Xaibe Village Council headed by one Leidy Trimminius held a ceremony of their UDP Cronies in ...

SCALES OF JUSTICE – Why Mark King should have been remanded!
If a “normal person in Belize” had done and said what the Minister of Gang, Mark King is alleged to have done and said to Police Constable Nelson Ramos, he would have been immediately carted off to prison. And, he would have gotten some serious licks from ...

Marion Jones Complex Workers No Pay & No Job!!
The definition of Nepotism is the exploitation of power and authority to provide a job or favor to a ...

Union Leaders Eat Cake – Get Zilch, Nada!
Contributed As the Prime Minister crooned, in B Flat minor, Happy Birthday to George, in the Cabinet room, poor George swooned and began to blush, and even flush. It was beginning to look like a really gay convention, or perhaps just ...

Mr. Guatemala
In the days of Mr. Goldson and Mr. Price, any politician smooching up to Guatemala would be met with some heavy public tongue lashing and perhaps lynching. Both national heroes have left us, but we Belizeans still don’t trust Guatemala. So why are the Mayor of ...

Hon. Joseph Mahmud, Cayo North Area Representative, clarifies media allegations
It has been brought to my attention that there is a photo circulating on the social media purportedly showing a vehicle owned by me and indicating that this vehicle was used to deliberately run over a young man on Saturday night. This defamatory story has also been run ...

BGYEA plans land demonstration in Belmopan
The Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association is planning a national demonstration on Tuesday February 26th to protest the disrespect shown by the Ministry of Natural Resources to their efforts to empower poor ...

Cabinet roots out Immigration Director
With so many scandals rocking the Barrow Administration, one would wonder why it is that the UDP Cabinet has busied itself creating more controversies. On Tuesday last week, Cabinet issued a directive for the ...

Let’s take the Mayor to Court
Dear Editor, Should the Mayor of Belize City Darrell Bradley be taken to Court? The answer is yes, on behalf of all residents who are hurting over his administration which has introduced more taxes to fulfil his ambitions. In fact, even the Minister of Local Government Godwin Hulse is hinting that ...

Liberty Children’s Home Director Delfena Mitchell Says Farewell
Dear Liberty Children Home’s friends and supporters, I am writing this letter to thank you for your support over the past six years and let you know of my resignation as Director, Liberty Foundation, effective 31 March, 2013. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the children and staff at Liberty ...

Belize may be the only country in the world where its Government can still try to dope its population with sedative doses of “political coincidence”. For Belizeans, the downside of our warm, friendly and peace loving nature is that quite often any critical historical or socio-scientific analysis is either swallowed by the stubbornly recurrent priorities of daily living or suffocated by the power structure who thrive on the scarcity of relievable data. We have been cultured to readily and willingly forgo the tediousness of uncovering the correlations between social, political and religious events especially if that exercise temporarily leads us through a valley whose dark trials are crowded with hurriedly developed conspiracies. Deep scrutiny is extremely important, however, because contemporary Belizean politics is surely not linear in its progression. As a young Belizean population matures through political puberty, we must be thankful for the information revolution, increased literacy and an unrelenting wave of high stakes issues. Whether it has been territorial integrity, oil explorations, LGBT rights or Constitutional metamorphoses, our people have been forced to shed their naivety. Healthy socio-political consciousness demands that we recognize that the only constants are that: appearances deceive; conspiracies and political scheming drive history; power, greed, fame, money, and sex account for all and, most importantly, nothing is haphazard. This brings us to Sunday. ...

Wheel and come again
By G. Michael Reid The disagreement between the teachers of Belize and the government seems far from being settled and might yet reach the point of confrontation. The Prime Minister thought he had worked his magic when he was able to win over union leaders with a cake, a song and ...

BNTU branches reject GOB’s salary proposal – “What IF the PM is lying?!” ask teachers
The members of the Belize National Teachers Unions (BNTU) have scoffed at Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s proposal to consider giving them a meagre salary increase in 2014 if government’s revenues show any signs of life. The general ...

NO MORE SUPER BOND EXCUSES – PUP Leader tells Barrow to “Get the work done!”
For the past five years, the “Superbond” has been used as the UDP’s excuse for not growing the Belizean economy. The Superbond, which was a highly-applauded re-financing of Belize’s external debt with terms that gave enough ...

UDPs Caught in Major Drug Bust! – Officials suspect US$1M crystal meth was transported from Belize
Two Belizean businessmen, who openly supported and campaigned for the United Democratic Party in the northern districts, Ermelindo “Melin” Vasquez of Orange Walk Town and Hugo Cassanova of Carolina Village in the Corozal District, were caught ...

ACC leads high school softball games
The Anglican Cathedral College boys, St. John’s College and Nazarene High School boys all enjoyed big wins in the first week of the high school central division softball competition at the Rogers’ Stadium and the Lord’s Bank field last Friday and Saturday, February 9th. The ACC boys outlasted the Nazarene High School boys 12-9 on Saturday. First baseman Rene Flowers led ACC with 3 runs and Devon Gabourel scored 2 runs, while Nazarene High’s Anfernee Brooks, Bruce Hilton, Jerry Cassasola and Raheem Brooks scored 2 runs each.

SJC topples ACC for football nationals bid
The St. John’s College won the 2013 high school central division football finals by outgunning the Anglican Cathedral College boys 3-2 in a penalty shootout on Monday evening, February 11. In Game 2, Tarique James set table beautifully for Raheem Flowers to tap the ball into the empty goal, only to see Flowers dump his shot over the crossbar. Regulation time ended nil-zip so it came down to penalties. ACC’s first 2 kickers applied for a pilot’s license and Tyler Luis stopped ACC’s 4th try, so only Sergio Luna and Devaugn “Beckham” Zuniga scored for ACC.

Wesley girls are central football champs
The Wesley College girls won the 2013 female high school central division football finals 3-0 against the St. Catherine’s Academy girls at the MCC garden on Monday evening, February 11th. In Game 1 of the finals last Friday evening, February 8, the Wesley girls had struggled to a nil-zip draw with the SCA girls. In Game 2, speedy Shanice Neal and Elisha Bernardez sled the Wesley attacks, but the SCA defenders held them scoreless to the end of regulation. Jada Parchue almost scored the winning goal for SCA late in the second half, but Wesley’s goalie Latesha Hughes just barely averted that disaster by deflecting Parchue’s shot away from goal. She and Julia Arzu had led the SCA offensive with the help of midfielders but the Wesley defenders would have none of it.


Delightful "Valentine's Day" dinner at Aji
We rarely go out on Valentine's Day any more since most nice restaurants do special (i.e., more expensive) menus, and we also prefer to avoid crowds. So we decided to have our "Valentine's" dinner out two nights before the actual day of hearts and flowers. It's just a day, right? We hadn't been to Aji in a long time, and it couldn't be more convenient since it's in very close walking distance of our condo, so off we went. We had a lovely table in the garden with a view of the sea. And once the sun went down, the twinkling white lights combined with the clear, starry night sky provided the perfect setting. There was a good breeze so no bugs bothered us, an added bonus. We started with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and our cute waiter, Rudolph, brought us a plate of bruschetta to accompany the wine. It tasted like parmesan cheese bread, homemade of course. Yum. We both ordered the special, Tropical Snapper. Rudolph commented that he could tell we'd been married a long time since we ordered the same thing. We laughed and told him how we did that so often in Mexico -- I'd order from the Spanish menu, and Barry got very good at saying "lo mismo" (the same)! We really do enjoy most of the same foods and accuse each other of "copying" in restaurants quite often.

The War Against Time – The Secrets Of The Incas
The Inca Empire, at its peak, was the largest kingdom on Earth. The Incas were known as master builders, fearsome warriors, and practitioners of human sacrifice. Yet in the year 1532, this mighty state was conquered, overnight, by fewer than 200 Spanish adventurers. How could this happen? Step by step, clue by clue, Sullivan decodes the myths of the Incas to reveal that they embody an astoundingly thorough record of astronomical events – a record so precise it can be checked against a modern computer program. And he uncovers the Incas’ tragic secret: they knew they were doomed. As they watched the skies for over a thousand years, the priest-astronomers of the Andes came to believe that great transitions in the heavens foretold great transitions here on earth. In the fifteenth century, they read the sky and saw the signs of an apocalypse. So the Incas took a desperate gamble: if events in the heavens could influence those on earth, perhaps the reverse was true. Their rituals of warfare and human sacrifice were nothing less than an attempt to stop time, to forestall the cataclysm that would sweep their world away. The Inca gamble failed, for just at the time the prophecy predicted, the Conquistadors arrived. Yet even as their world collapsed, the Andean shamans set their wisdom afloat in the waters of time, aboard the vessel of myth. In this book, after four centuries of oblivion, their message has been received.

O, Land of the free by the Carib Sea, Our manhood we pledge to thy liberty No tyrants here linger, despot must flee This tranquil haven of democracy The blood of our sires which hollows the sod, Brought freedom from slavery oppression’s rod By the might of truth and the grace of God. No longer shall we be hewers of wood. Arise! Ye sons of the Baymen’s clan, Put on your armours, clear the land! Drive back the tyrants let despots flee- Land of the free by the Carib Sea! Nature has blessed thee with wealth untold, O’er mountains and valleys where prairies roll; Our fathers, the Baymen, valiant and bold Drove back the invaders; this heritage hold From proud Rio Hondo to old Sarstoon, Through coral isle,over blue lagoon; Keep watch with the angels, the stars and moon; For freedom comes to-morrow’s noon. Arise! Ye sons of the Baymen’s clan, Put on your armours, clear the land! Drive back the tyrants let despots flee- Land of the free by the Carib Sea!

Things Can Only Get Better
Got up this morning slightly later than usual at 5.45 am to find that there was no power (subsequently found out that the power loss occurred just before 5 am). Bummer. No electricity meant no coffee. No Internet. No The Times. Not a great start to the day. With power returning at around 8.30 am I thought things were looking up but they just got worse. Arsenal played Blackburn Rovers (a team one division below them) at home in the fifth round of the FA Cup and with home advantage should have breezed through. Ninety-four minutes later after huffing and puffing but not more than that we are out of the ‘Cup. And with Bayern Munich on Tuesday in the Round of 16 of the Champions League it looks like another trophy less season for us again. Nor feeling particularly ebullient Rose and I (more Rose than me it has to be said) focused on producing ‘minutes’ of the meeting we had with Daniel Camal, the building contractor for our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize, yesterday evening. The meeting lasted just over an hour and we focused on window types (need to be ordered any time now) just to be certain that Daniel and us are ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’. Pleased to say that his detail matched ours. We then moved on to discussing the railings we want for the veranda walls and were able to provide Daniel with a photo of exactly what we are looking for. He confirmed he can give us what we want.

International Sources

Milwaukee County Zoo displays new jaguar cubs
The Milwaukee County Zoo is displaying jaguar cubs for the first time since 1975. Visitors had only previously been able to watch the three-month old brothers through a web camera. They made their debut on Wednesday. They are important because they're introducing new genes to the endangered species' captive population. Unlike most zoo babies, their father, Pat, was born in the wild. He was captured in Central America after being deemed a problem for attacking cattle. He also has a book named after him, "Pat the Great Cat: A Jaguars Journey," which was written by children in Milwaukee and Belize as part of a literacy program. One cub will be named in a local contest and the other will be named by children from Belize who helped with the book.

Belize fundraiser a stylin’ event
From all appearances, the Best Western Lodge in Nederland appeared to be hosting a cocktail party. On a cold, February Saturday night, one could hear the Celtic music squeezing through the door into the night, smell the aroma of spaghetti sauce simmering, see the delicate, scrumptious desserts and the guests chatting, wineglasses in hand. It was much more than a party. The group of folks at the Best Western was there to donate to sending a group of Nederland High School students to Belize, where they will fix the floors of a schoolhouse and paint it, but it will be much more than a remodel. As the students work, they will become ambassadors, will hang with the Belize students and share stories of their lives. They will represent the goodwill and caring nature of Nederland as well as the United States. Diversity teacher and trip organizer Lori Kinczel said the event was just one of the activities planned to ensure that every child will have the means to make the trip. This year 22 high school students and two 20-something young adults will accompany five staff members to the poverty-stricken town of San Ignacio. The floors of the school are made of particle board and the people have been stepping through the weakened wood. Under the guidance of a muralist, the Nederland youth will also join forces with the Belize students to create a mural. The kindergarten through eighth grade school children loved the Nederland students in their first trip to Belize last year. It wasn’t all about work. The teens also read to the students, played soccer, rapped and sang.

Expressive Talent Pictures
You don't necessarily have to strap on gas tanks to see spectacular sights beneath the waves. In some places, all you need are a mask, flippers and a snorkel. This lack of cumbersome equipment can be liberating. It encourages a long, languorous approach to underwater exploration, stretching it out over a day rather than compressing it into an hour or so. These places, some of the finest places to snorkel in the world, also happen to have beautiful coastlines as well. 2 Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Belize The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef, extends through Belize, Guatemala, the Honduras and Mexico. Belize is good for English speakers because its official language is a Creole dialect of English. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve, a few kilometres from the town of San Pedro and about 15 minutes by boat, is perfect for a day trip snorkelling on the reef. The reserve is divided into different zones according to its different habitats. The reef channel is home to a wide variety of fish including jacks, snappers and barracuda, as well as turtles and dolphins. Manatees - also known as sea cows - swim in the seagrass beds.

February 16, 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

Equine Encephalomyelitis Outbreaks in Belize
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) strongly recommends to all horse owners throughout Belize, and especially in the Northern and Western Regions, to vaccinate their horses against Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis. BAHA has confirmation from the USDA laboratory in Iowa, USA that the Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis virus is currently circulating in Belize. Outbreaks have been detected in the Corozal and Cayo Districts. The viral disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and alternate infection of birds or rodents and mosquitoes maintain the virus in nature. Equine Encephalomyelitis viruses can also cause infection in humans.

An Excellent Opportunity for Marco Gonzalez Project
An excellent opportunity has come along for the Marco Gonzalez Project – the designing of a Visitor/Educational Center by the 2013 graduate students at the University of Puerto Rico/School of Architecture. Nine students have been chosen by their Grad. Program Coordinator Ms. Anna Georas to undertake this design work as their final assignment before being able to graduate. These students may need an excellent grade to compliment work towards their Masters Degree or thesis for future Doctorate work. Whatever level of study is involved, they will put heart and soul into this work to achieve their level of excellence for future employment as well. This opportunity came about quite by surprise. Let me explain, please. Some of you in San Pedro in 2011 and 2012 had the pleasure to have one of BTB’s “Road Warriors” visit your business, experience what you had to offer the public and then the Warrior would blog about it – internationally. I, too, took several Warriors through the Marco Gonzalez Maya site. About a year after Mr. Figueroa had been to the site, completed his Belize adventure and gone home, I received an email from him.

Belize Rural South will be “neutral” in UDP National Convention
Belize Rural South Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr says he will take a neutral position in the United Democratic Party’s (UDP) national convention scheduled to take place in Corozal Town on Sunday February 17. The main item on the agenda during the convention is the election of a Deputy leader of the UDP, Chairperson of the Party and vice Chairperson of the Party. Party members from all over Belize, including Belize Rural South, will be able to vote for one of two delegates that have decided to contest for the party’s position. The two candidates contesting the position for Deputy Leader of the UDP is the current Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, Minister of Natural Resources and Area Representative for Orange Walk North, Gaspar Vega and the current Chairman of the UDP, Minister of Education and Youth and Area Representative for the Collet division, Patrick Faber. Political observers in Belize say that the convention will be hotly contested, since the election amounts to a challenge of a sitting Deputy Prime Minister, something not often seen especially in modern politics. For that reason the two candidates have been canvassing the country to garner as much support from the delegates that will be voting from all 31 divisions.

Gambling charges against Peter Lawrence dropped
All three gambling charges have been dropped in the San Pedro Magistrate court against businessman Peter Lawrence. Two of the charges were dropped based on technicalities while the third was dropped due to the police prosecutor’s failure to appear in court. The charges brought against Lawrence were based on a police operation back in July of 2012 in which the Gambling Control Board of Belize had suspected that the businessman was conducting illegal gambling at Pedro’s Inn. According to Lawrence’s Attorney Aldo Reyes, his client was charged for two offences under the gambling prevention act and one under the gambling control act. “Two weeks ago, the two charges pursuant to the gambling prevention act were dismissed by the magistrate because the proper protocol was not followed by the police when initiating these proceedings.

Congratulations Etel & Luis
Aji Tapas Bar & Restaurant was the scene of a surprise wedding for Etel Meyer and Luis Soler. Witnessing the ceremony was Puri Soler, Alfredo Meyer, their adorable son Eloy and of course, Hugo and Victoria Meyer of Aji. Congratulations to the happy couple!!

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Library Writing Competition Announces Winners
The San Pedro Library held its writing competition where a total of 55 entries were submitted by students from Island Academy, San Pedro R. C. School, Ambergris Caye Elementary, Caye Caulker R. C School and Holy Cross Anglican School. Rules that were considered by the team of judges. 1. 150 - 200 words 2. At least 3 paragraphs 3. Understanding the writers writing 4. Story (composition) must have a Beginning - Middle - Ending 5. Indicates much as possible that it is the child's own idea and performance. (Teacher's encouragement accepted) 6. Plus all grading rules as given by the librarian of San Pedro Town Library. Winners 1st. Dianela Hancock - San Pedro R. C. School, Teacher- Roberto Gongora 2nd. Litzy Baeza - San Pedro R. C. School, Teacher - Roberto Gongora 3rd. Lizbeth Calix - San Pedro R. C. School, Teacher - Roberto Gongora 10 consolation prize winners

An Excellent Opprtunity For Marco Gonzalez Project
This out-of-the-blue suggestion was very exciting. A “non-profit” is always grateful for help where offered, especially when the cost to us is free and the value to the community would be tremendous. After conferring with the Board, NICH, Institute of Archaeology and Minister Heredia/BTB, we accepted their offer. The travel plans were made for a representative to visit San Pedro and Marco Gonzalez Archaeological Reserve to get a feel for our past and present culture. Mr. Tom Marvel, Professor of the Grad Program/UPR/SA, was on island a short time, but the conversations were non-stop with meetings everywhere. Mr. Marvel’s trip ended with a working dinner with SP Mayor Guerrero, Culture Committee Chairman Paz, members of the MGMSAC, Ltd Board – at the expense of the Board, not the Mayor, by the way. Unfortunately, Minister Heredia was off island and could not attend.

Painting Party at San Pedro Carnaval
Every February on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize, islanders and visitors celebrate Carnaval. There is much dancing and partying in a unique way. By unique I mean, going out on the town and painting one another. Painting at Carnaval is spread into three days. The first and second day is for the children and lastly is a mixture of children and adults. On the third day at approximately five-thirty in the evening is when everybody heads to the central park to get their paint on. This year I set a goal to get the best footage of our unique Carnaval for all of you to enjoy. “Painting and partying, genius combination!” stated a tourist. This unique tradition has been going for many years, back in the day powder and lipstick was used and now has evolved into waterproof paint. As a Sanpedrano I am a huge fanatic of painting. I enjoy watching tourists getting the chance to experience our tradition.

Misc Belizean Sources

Central Park Facelift
Central Park gets a facelift after all the paint madness from Carnaval.

Carnaval Painting Party San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
Every February on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize, islanders and visitors celebrate Carnaval. There is much dancing and partying in a unique way. By unique I mean, going out on the town and painting one another. Painting at Carnaval is spread into three days. The first and second day is for the children and lastly is a mixture of children and adults. On the third day at approximately five-thirty in the evening is when everybody heads to the central park to get their paint on. This year I set a goal to get the best footage of our unique Carnaval for all of you to enjoy.

Oil, for frying 2 green plantains, peeled 2 limes, zested and juiced Salt Preheat 1-inch of oil in a deep sided skillet over medium-high heat to 360 degrees F. slice plantains into 1/8-inch thick ovals on the diagonal. Carefully add plantains to the oil in batches and fry about 1 minute. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle lightly with lime zest, lime juice and salt. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.

Rotaract's Red Carpet Affair

Motivational Missionaries Tour @ SIRH
The San Ignacio Resort Hotel hosted the Motivational Missionaries Tour when they were in Cayo. "'Make it Happen, I am Belize' was the mantra shouted by the students of San Ignacio who attended the finale of the Motivational Missionaries Tour 2013. The children were motivated and inspired to follow their dreams by using unconventional team building methods, the speaker Bert of the Potentialist’s, called breakthroughs. These breakthroughs included, bending 3/8 steel with your throat, swallowing fire and walking across broken pieces of glass."

SHC Honor Roll Awards
Sacred Heart College had its first semester honor roll awards. Mssrs Juan and Canto awarded a lot of bright students. Congratulations to all.

Channel 7

Alleged Gang Boss Killer, Nikolai Rhys, NOT GUILTY!
On January 29th Nikolai Rhys became the second person to be tried without a jury. And today, 18 days after his trial started, it ended. He was pronounced not guilty of the murder of Andree Trapp. And so after more than two and a half years on remand, he was set free. 7news was at the courthouse and here's the story: Daniel Ortiz reporting 22 year-old Nicholi Rhys stood before the Chief Justice, in a case prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecutions, and was still acquitted today of one of the biggest murder trials in Belize's history. His mother, a senior police officer, was no doubt happy to see his son freed, and to have her family's reputation remain untarnished. For the first time in more than 2 years and 8 months, Rhys was able to leave the court house, and go home with his family a free man. And they took advantage of that freedom in its fullest and vacated as quickly as possible to get away from the cameras. But the road to that freedom today was a tedious one in which Rhys and his attorney, Simeon Sampson, had to defend against all the evidence put forward to the court by DPP Cheryl-Lynn Vidal. After all, he was accused of the sensational street execution of Reputed SSG Leader, Andre Trap on June 10, 2010.

Younger Brother of Slain Gang Boss Shot
And tonight, the man who was originally charged with Rhys in 2010, Alton Buju Roaches is in a critical condition after he was shot today. It happened this afternoon, and it could have implications in the gang underworld. Roaches was along with Kenroy Tillett, the younger brother of slain gang leader Shelton Pinky Tillett. It happened at about 3:45 as they pulled up at Pinky Tillett's former home at the corner of Neal's Pen Road and Monroe Street. According to reports, a shooter drove by in a car and opened fire on the white Ford Ranger Roaches was driving. That is the same Ranger that Pinky Tillett was driving when he was killed last year. Today, the younger Kenroy Tillett was shot inside while Roches tried to make a dash for the house but he was shot and collapsed on the street before he made it. One bystander told us off camera what he saw: Voice of: Eyewitness "I heard like dynamite was bursting. I saw thw man ran out of the car and he got 4 shot. He was shot in his stomach. Three ran roll up and he got frighten because he recognizes one of the men. That is all I know."

BWS Fires Another for Talking to 7news?
Today, Belize Water Services fired another employee in its ongoing purge. This particular employee had 24 years working at the utility. Just like the others, his letter said he was being released because restructuring had found him redundant. But behind closed doors he told us he was accused of feeding 7news information about the terminations. IF that is so, we can assure you he did not - and in fact - this newsroom has not been in contact with any staff of BWSL. But in the past 9 days, six have been fired and one more was reportedly forced to resign a month earlier. According to the CEO in a memo to all staff- it's because they breached the company's confidentiality and failed to cooperate in an investigation into the source of three scandal sheets that have made broad allegations of wrongdoing and improper behavior against BWSL staff. We have been informed that a number of the staffers - who were all told they were being made redundant - have now retained an attorney. Two of them wer eon the union executive.

Police and BDF In Serious Brawl
There is a criminal story that didn't make the police press release this week. It involved a police officer and two Belize Defense Force soldiers. The incident happened at a club in Ladyville early Thursday morning. From what we have gathered so far is that two off duty BDF soldiers were socializing at the Blue Club in Ladyville along with a police officer who is on long leave. The two soldiers got into an exchange with the police officer and shortly after they left the bar. It is alleged that the 2 off duty BDF soldiers drove off in an army vehicle -while the police rode off on a bicycle. While the police officer was riding his bicycle on the Old Airport Road that leads to Price Barracks, the BDF soldiers followed and intercepted him near to the BTL's substation on the Old Airport Road.

Putting his Money Where his Mouth is: Shyne Returns with $$$$
We haven't heard from Belize's Cultural Ambassador Moses Leviy, better known as Shyne in a while! In fact, after he gave us an extended interview in August of last year, he took off for Europe. Well, now he's returned home and this time, it's with a substantial donation. At a ceremony at the House of Culture this morning Shyne handed over a check for $100,000 dollars. It's a donation from the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein foundation which Shyne secured for three youth oriented programmes: the Belize National Youth Orchestra; the Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence Youth Programme and the Belize Youth Apprenticeship Programme. He explained this morning that it's all about the kids:.. Moses Leviy "This is something that I've always wanted to do as far as handing over these funds. I've been working for the last couple of years since put in a position to do - handing over. I am just grateful to be here because the kids are just like me. A lot of the kids feel that there is no hope, they feel 'what am I going to do,' they feel that they are not born with a silver spoon in their mouth if they don't have the financial means by which to attain the dream life that that's it. That is not the case. It really isn't and I am here to represent that and to champion that - all the kids in the audience, all the kids in Belize and all the kids in the world you guys can accomplish any and everything that you imagine. Gang banging and a life of violence and a life of dormant is not the only option. They are people like me and even greater than me those are here to see you through, here to assist you and here to help you. I believe in you, I believe in Belize and I believe in the kids in Belize and this is why I have done everything I can and could to raise the funds."

Most Major Crimes Down
The national crime statistics for January 2013 have been released and it shows that apart from murder - which went up by 300% in the first month of the year - other major crimes were down. Rape, robbery, burglary and theft all went down - while carnal knowledge went up - almost by 300%.

Destination Belize, Edition 17
The Belize Tourism Industry Association today launched the 2013 edition of the Destination Belize Magazine. As the official visitor magazine for the past 16 years, Destination Belize Magazine is a big deal in tourism circles because it's a major part of how potential visitors find out about Belize. The publisher told us about what's included in the 2013 edition. Demian Solano, Publisher "When this concept came about I said they are perfect and it took several months trying to coordinate but we finally did it. I will show you how this cover is done; basically they had a bit of a two-step dance about 100 times. That's what it took. I want to thank them for their patience in working with me on the cover and I think that it does bring this message across. We presented it to all the key stakeholders and the decision makers and I think that it was agreed that - two things; never before was the cover shoot - it was always trying to compile data like trying to come up with something. Starting last year we said that the cover requires attention, it's the most important piece in the book and decide to shoot. This year I think that everybody agreed that this is what we've been trying to do for a very long time - finally it's something that works well and it has good acceptance, so we are very happy about this."

UB Monitoring The Seas
Today, the University of Belize invited the press out to its Environmental Research Institute at the Calabash Caye Field Station in the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve. That's 33 miles southeast of Belize City and it's a place where important marine study occurs - including checking up on lobster populations. Dr. Leandra Cho Ricketts explains:.. Dr. Leandro Cho Ricketts, Admin/Science marine Director "We've been monitoring the eco-systems and their health for the last three years and that information allows us to know what's happening, so we know what happening with the reefs, we know the state and the health of the reefs. We always monitor for coral bleaching. We can detect and note when corals are bleaching when they are being stressed by high temperature. We are monitoring lobster and conch populations." Hani Salazar, Field Technician "This survey is done twice at the beginning of the lobster season and at the end. Last year we conducted the survey right before the beginning and we found that the lobsters - we are starting to find them in deeper waters. Throughout the year while we are conducting different studies for instance coral bleaching and different fish surveys. Again it's been observe that we are finding them in deeper waters. From what I've personally observed where we find a lot of lobsters are actually at the northern side of the atoll along the patch reefs. It looks like there is a high abundance in the high end of the atoll." Reporter "What does that mean ecologically for that species?" Hani Salazar, Field Technician "It probably means that the area is better suited for the species. What I am noticing from other data is that a lot of fish are out here right now."

The Cathedral Of History
St, John's Cathedral in Belize City is entering its third century and one devoted Anglican, who's been a member of the church for over 70 years is seeking to put it in historical perspective. Marlene Leslie has written her second book. It's called, "The Cathedral Church of St. John The Baptist Through the Ages, 1812-2012." She says that the importance of the book is that in the history of the Church, we will find the history of the nation. It's a grand claim, but this proud Anglican gave an ample defence of it:.. Marlene Leslie, Author "This Cathedral is Belize's history. I would like everyone who reads the book or who attends the launching remember and I should say all of Belize needs to remember that this is about Belize, not the Anglican Diocese or the Anglican Church. Our history starts here."

Fort Barlee's History
And another structure which may share an odd historical tie with St. John's is Fort Barlee in Corozal. As we told you last night, that was one of the forts erected in the mid 1800's to fend off the attacking Maya Indians from Santa Cruz, Mexico. Well, just like St. John's it was built of bricks brought to what was then the settlement of Belize as the ballast for ships. Now, what left of those brick forts is being restored. IT'S part of the same effort that's being put into the Mayan site at Santa Rita Corozal. This is from another era in history, but as we found out it is equally fascinating. Dr. Awe explains:.. Dr. Jaime Awe, Director, Institute of Archaeology "You can see here on the tower these are some gun slits where the people inside could have put their guns to look and shoot at anyone attacking the Fort." Jules Vasquez reporting Looking through the gun slits in Fort Barlee today you might only see a pair of school children walking down First Street North in Corozal town - but 150 years ago you might have seen an attacking whorde: Dr. Jaime Awe, Director, Institute of Archaeology "There were several forts like this one that was constructed in northern Belize for the purpose of defending the colony against some of the Maya who were moving in from the Yucatan during the Cast Wars. We know that the Cast War was probably at its peak around the late 1840s to 1850s. The forts were built a little bit after that. Today all that remains of Fort Barlee in Corozal like I said are the 4 corner towers."

World Class Athlete In Belize
Author, motivational speaker, and Decathlon champion Corey Hicks is in Belize for the next 2 days. Hicks who is also a motivational speaker and a coach in the US will be meeting with sport coordinators and track athletes over the weekend. His trip is to help develop the athletic program for Belize which he plans to work closely with the Belize Sports Council. Today a press briefing was held and 7news was there. Corey Hicks "First of all I would just like to thank you. This is an excellent opportunity to be able to come here first of all just to access and see just the many opportunities you have here in the City of Belize. One of the things that I really and truly like is that we had the opportunity to go by the track and the track is definite top-notch track. I was sharing with the Minister that that particular track was the same track that Flo Joe set the world wide record on it in Indiana. It's a very fact track. It opens up the door for many opportunities. I am very excited to be here just to see the many talented youth that I see walking around. The key thing is about putting individuals in a position to be successful and when you put then in a position to be successful it opens up many doors of opportunities whether it is the opportunity to go to the states or go to a school. We don't necessarily know what those opportunities are but the resource and the foundation has to be established before any of that can occur."

Playing Games With Immigration Identity
In the last few months, the Immigration Department has been trying to crack down on violations, and tonight, 2 men stand convicted due to their efforts. 37 year-old Jamaican National Lawrence Walcott was caught in an identity theft scam, in which he was aided by a Belizean national. According to Immigration officers, in January of this year, Walcott came to the Immigration Office to apply for a passport in the name of Jamal Walton with the help of 36 year-old Belizean Nigel Flowers. But as with the routine procedure with the department, a thorough check was launched into the particular information given on the documents and that's when officers saw some discrepancies.

Channel 5

Acquittal for murdered south side gangster boss
Tonight, two well-known street figures are in critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after they were sprayed with bullets at a home on the corner of Kraal Road and Benbow Street in Belize City. The shooting shatters the fragile peace on city streets since the two murders last week of Gary Bowen and [...]

Gangland shooting in late afternoon
And that brings us to today’s brazen broad daylight shooting on the corner of Benbow Street and Kraal Road. At about three-thirty this afternoon, shots rang out and shortly after residents saw two men stagger out of a house pouring blood. News Five was on the scene and freelance reporter Mike Rudon has this story. [...]

Attorney believes Foreign Minister erred on Guatemala statement
In the next eight months, Belizeans are expected to take the most important national decision on whether the International Court of Justice will be called upon to define Belize’s borders. The national psyche is now focusing on the October referendum. On Monday, the Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington told News [...]

2 B.D.F. and 1 police brawl in Ladyville
Police are investigating an incident in Ladyville in which it is alleged that two soldiers of the Belize Defence Force assaulted an off-duty police officer attached to the Special Patrol Branch of the department. The incident happened just after one a.m. on Thursday when the bar was forced to close by Ladyville police. Police officer [...]

Stalwart party hopefuls compete for deputy
The leadership of the United Democratic Party will be realigned in the next forty-eight hours. At the Andres Campos Civic Center in Corozal Town on Sunday, the party will hold an election for the next Party Chairman and Deputy Party Leader. The incumbent Chairman is Minister of Education, Patrick Faber; he is vacating that post [...]

U.D.P. Sunday convention brings changes to party
With Faber leaving the post, the chairmanship is up for grabs. Roosevelt Blades and Alberto August are throwing in their hat. Blades, a stalwart supporter and a former senator of his party is from the north of the country and he has aligned himself with Faber. They both travelled the country in a bid to [...]

Crime stats for January 2013
The police department has released the crime statistics for January 2013. The most startling figure in the district comparison to 2012 is that there were three murders for Belize City in 2012 and that skyrocketed to eleven in 2013. There was only one other murder in the entire country outside of the Belize District. Only [...]

Accused robber hops into court
There was a brazen robbery of a local Chinese businessman, Jian Guang Li, and his wife by six men on January twelfth at their store on the corner of Mahogany and Mopan Streets. It ended with a shootout with the police. Five suspects were arrested following the crime and today the last of six suspects [...]

Harmonyville group ready for land protest
The Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association (BGYEA) which organized the formation of Harmonyville, a community at mile forty one on the George Price Highway, has been constantly on the airwaves regarding the issuance of titles for its members. Recently they claimed that there was at an impasse with the Lands Department. Earlier in the week, [...]

Guatemala demands, but no changes to Referendum Act
As we reported on Thursday, the president of Guatemala Otto Perez Molina has come out publicly to say that Guatemala is asking Belize for a reversal of the referendum act to where it was in 2008 thereby removing the sixty percent requirement of voter participation to give the poll validity. Guatemala only requires a simple [...]

U.S. Olympiad meets with local athletes
The Ministry of Sports is conducting a track clinic at the incomplete Marion Jones Stadium in Belize City. Track and field athletes between the ages of fourteen and seventeen from the Belize Amateur Athletics Association, the National Secondary Schools Sports Association as well as individual track athletes are invited to the two-day clinic by former [...]

Outbreak of Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis
There is an outbreak of the Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis which is a mosquito borne viral disease that can affect humans and equines. VEE is also known to be severely debilitating and can be fatal. The virus that causes VEE is transmitted primarily by mosquitoes that bite an infected animal and then feed on another animal [...]

No looking at the tail as lobster season closes today
The Belize Fisheries Department reminds fisher-folk that the lobster season closes today and continues through to June fourteenth. According to fisheries, the law states that no person shall catch, buy, sell or have in their possession the spiny lobster. To do so would be an offense that is liable on summary conviction. The department also [...]

Destination Belize, the tourism guide for 2013, launched
It was a big day for tourism today as the seventeenth edition of Destination Belize was officially launched. The magazine is the official visitor publication of the Belize Tourism Industry Association and is considered one of the best marketing tools on travel to the country. Destination Belize 2013 was launched under the theme – an [...]


Alleged gunman in the murder of Southside leader acquitted
The allege gunman in the 2010 murder of Southside leader Andre Trapp walks free. Nicoli Rhys, accused of pulling the trigger that took the life of the notorious gang leader was acquitted of murder today in the Supreme Court. From the start of the trial, which began on February...

UBFSA members organizing sick-out day from University
The University of Belize Faculty and Staff Association is currently at odds with the University’s Board of Trustees. For the past week, the association has voiced its unease with the UB payroll audit report, that they claim contains financial and managerial irregularities. The association says that despite taking their...

Citrus Growers Association is building the largest green house in the country
This year, the citrus industry in Belize celebrates a hundred years in existence. The industry is a major part of the country’s economy, as it represents 22% of major export earnings and 4% of GDP. It is no question then, that the country relies heavily on the performance of...

Cayo Students March for Peace
The Cayo District has earned the reputation of being a no-nonsense municipality when it comes to crime and violence. Its people have held countless demonstrations, marches, community meetings and they have organized the most neighborhood watch programs in the entire country. And today, they continued their fight against crime...

BGYEA will hold demonstration in Belmopan
We’ve all heard the saying, “Land is wealth,” – and, while that may be true, acquiring a piece of land is not always easy, just ask the folks at BYGEA. Since acquiring over a thousand acre parcel of land in 2010, to distribute to first time land owners in...

Two charged for hiring persons without a work permit
Two naturalized Belizeans are charged, in separate incidences, for hiring persons without a work permit. Both cases were heard by Magistrate Adolph Lucas. The first, fifty three year old Dora Licia de Maria Prado, the owner of Dora Noa Noa Bar in the Ladyville area, reportedly employed three Guatemalan...

Community Care Center unveiled in Dangriga
A Community Care Center was unveiled today in Dangriga. The care center will cater to vulnerable children and is also geared at addressing poverty alleviation and social wellbeing. A well furnished single-storey concrete building was handed over by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to the residents of Dangriga....

Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development receive 3 vehicles
The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, today was the recipient of three vehicles via the UNDP. The initiative is a part of the Enhancing Belize’s Resilience to Adapt to the Effects of Climate Change Project. The project is aimed at ensuring that the Government of Belize is...

Police destroy a marijuana field in Arenal
Police destroy a marijuana field in Arenal. Yesterday morning, the Mobile Interdiction Team conducted a search in the Arenal area of Benque Viejo, where they found a marijuana plantation consisting of over 2,000 plants. The plants which measured some six feet in height were then set on fire by...

Young Belizean ballers will get a chance to showcase their skills
The King James Amateur Athletic Union Classic is here again and like last year, young Belizean ballers will get a chance to showcase their skills at the annual event hosted by Miami Heat NBA star Lebron James. Tryouts began last week Thursday and so far high school students from...


Presently, there is a major storm brewing in the sport of cycling; many people do not understand the components that make up this storm. Hopefully, after they have read this article, they will be left with a clearer picture before the eye of the storm is upon us. It all began in November, 2012, when the President of the Belize Cycling Association (BCA) called elections. These elections have, from time immemorial, been conducted with the registered Belizean cyclists, team managers and team personnel and other members casting their individual vote for either a slate or an individual, resulting in the election of a President and the executive. However, for the first time ever, the members were not allowed to enter the election venue, as they were informed that this election would be by pre-determined delegates. They were shocked to learn that the elections were being conducted as a federation, and not that of an association. That meant that delegates, and not cyclists etc., would be voting to decide who would be responsible to lead cycling for the next two years. The question then was, when did the Association become a federation? To date that question remains unanswered. There is no documentation to reflect a change in name from Belize Cycling Association to Belize Cycling Federation, and there is no documentation, i.e. minutes, to a General Meeting or Special General Meeting to reflect any other change.

On Saturday, February 9, at Buttonwood Bay, the young sailors in the Optimist program of the Belize Sailing Association (BzSA) set sail in their first Regatta of the 2013 season. Under bright sunny skies with the wind in their sails, the competition was tough and challenging for all. In each race the top 4 sailors battled it out, and the sailors, instructors and spectators waited anxiously for the umpire’s results. The scoring system is “low point score,” and the results show just how little separates some of the participants. All scores will be accumulated throughout the year to determine who will participate in the Nationals in December. In first place, gold medalist is Antonio Ricardez, Jr. of Buttonwood Bay Nazarene public school. Antonio placed first in all five races. What a thrilling start for the season for Antonio! In second place and silver medalist, with a 7-point difference, is Carlos Villatoro from the Placencia Sailing Club. Carlos showed that hard work and dedication brings forth the just rewards.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Hon. Herman Longsworth held a press conference at the Sports Council conference room upstairs of the building at Rogers Stadium this afternoon at 4:30 where the Minister reported on his meeting earlier in the day with COPACI President, Jose Manuel Peleaz Rodriguez, to try and put an end to the constitutionala and leadership crisis presently crippling the sport of cycling in Belize. In his address to the media present, the Minister revealed that he was unable to get the visiting official to agree on a critical matter – the constitution under which the Belize Cycling Association should hold its elections, which are now overdue. According to the Minister, “the question is not the contents of the constitution, but the legitimacy of the constitution” that is the impasse between the National Sports Council of Belize and the UCI, whose delegate insists that it only recognizes the last constitution lodged with it in 2006 by past President Emil Moreno. That constitution speaks to a Belize Cycling Federation, but the Minister maintained that it was never lodged with the Sports Council, and up to the present, no one has been able to present the “minutes of any meeting where that constitution was brought to the membership for ratification.” And that has been the contention of most members of the cycling family, who would be barred from voting under the “federation” constitution.

Our sense at this newspaper is that many Belizean people are becoming almost intransigent where negotiations with the Guatemalans are concerned. Belize achieved political independence in 1981 without yielding any of our traditional lands and seas, and despite the controversy of the Maritime Areas Act in 1992, the 1981 status quo remains the status quo in 2013. At this newspaper, we are not lawyers, politicians or diplomats. In fact, outside of the borders of Belize, we do not exist. The power structure in Belize here has made sure of that. The Belizean media is represented abroad in regional and international organizations, and at regional and international conferences, by many different practitioners, but never by Amandala. Yet, there is no doubt that this is the leading newspaper in the nation-state of Belize, and it has been so for more than three decades. We do not normally approach issues cautiously at this newspaper. We are usually forthright and decisive. On the matter of the referendum on whether to submit the Guatemala/Belize differendum to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), however, we have been almost circumspect. This is because the matter is a very large matter indeed, loaded with gravitas, as the attorneys might say, and we appreciate the responsibility which accrues to us. In this issue of Amandala, two of our weekly columnists have taken different positions on whether to go to the ICJ. Editorially, we will not submit our opinion until September. This is a discussion which requires the widest possible airing. It is serious business.

Belizeans in the Diaspora have been controlled by the two major political parties all these decades since the nationalist uprising in 1950. That is the way it used to be in The Jewel itself, but that ain’t the way it is here any more. In Belize, we have several “third” parties, multiple activist organizations, and a powerful, sophisticated media. We laugh at the petty histrionics of PUDP politicians in Belize today. Out there in the Diaspora, some of you are living in the past. The Jewel is different from British Honduras. At the same time, Diaspora Belize has this macro potential power where The Jewel’s future is concerned. There is a need for a data base to be compiled on Diaspora Belize, so that Diaspora Belize can be organized and mobilized. The problem was always how to deal with those of our people abroad who are not documented. But, the bigger problem was always the PUDP politics: the major party politicians have put their party ahead of their country time and time again. Today in The Jewel, we are bigger than that. There were some rights Diaspora Belizeans were seeking a few years ago, but like most things, the issue got caught up in party politics. The UDP were supporting, and the PUP were opposing. The matter of respect and rights for Diaspora Belizeans never got past the quarrel stage. This matter needs to have another and serious airing.

Last week I heard someone on one of the political radio stations saying that the British were “coming back.” When I checked with Bill Lindo over the weekend, he said that David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, had said words more or less to that effect. Then, this week when I checked the Channel 5 website, there was a news story “more or less to that effect.” The first thing I would say is that it is a testament to the increased political maturity, perhaps even cynicism, of the Belizean people that I have not heard many “hip, hip, hoorays” being shouted from the rooftops. The British, who are a nuclear power, have been playing games with our Belizean heads for many years, because they know we are weak compared to Guatemala, and that Belizeans have traditionally considered them to be our protectors. Normally, it is in direct proportion to the extent of Guatemalan saber rattling that Belizeans embrace British military presence here, or a reinforcement thereof. The classic example of this was in 1974, if I remember correctly, when the British dramatically flew in the high-tech Harrier jets to send a message to the Guatemalan generals and to comfort Belizean hearts. The resonant words of the then British Governor, the late Richard Posnett, to Belizeans on Radio Belize were: “Rest easy, and sleep well.” (Posnett, incidentally, is my favorite Britisher. He was a proponent of decolonization.)

Dear Editor, The GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods involve man experimenting with the genetic makeup of plants and animals. However, man’s wanting to experiment with living matter has and will bring devastating results because he is interfering with what the Almighty has perfectly designed. The results of some of these studies concerning GMO foods made by the Institute for Responsible Technology, Your Consumer Safety Partner — May 20, 2009 are: 1 – There are serious health risks, including infertility, immune system problems, accelerated aging; insulin regulation, changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. 2 — World renowned biologist Pushpa M. Bhargava has reviewed over 600 scientific journals, and concludes that GMOs are a major contributor to the sharply deteriorating health of Americans. 3 — David Schubert of the Salk Institute warns that children can be adversely affected by toxins and dietary problems.

Dear Editor, On the Channel 5 newscast for February 11, 2012, Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General, gave an interview in which he once again acted completely contrary to the national interests of Belize. Mr. Elrington said: “But because the land border is already defined and the southern border is already defined, I am confident that nothing untoward can happen with respect to those two. The only place I think there is room for some surprise would have to be in the sea area or perhaps in the insular area, because those are not yet defined.” It is only the Government and people of Guatemala who can draw any comfort from this amazing statement by the official spokesperson of Belize. We are in the midst of a campaign that could lead to the unfounded Guatemalan Claim being submitted to the International Court of Justice. So is Guatemala. And yet, the Foreign Minister has publicly stated that Belize is vulnerable with respect to the maritime and island areas.

Dear Editor, Discounts for the payment of property taxes were established last month (Statutory Instruments 8-15 of 2013) giving 10 to 30% discounts. The only condition is that payment must be made no later than 31 March 2013. Sounds good, right? WRONG. The law does not go into effect until 1 April 2013. Was it an error or a Fool’s Day joke?

Dear Editor, As time passes and I get older, away from my beautiful Belize, I realize how precious The Jewel is. I want to say thank you for being there and for keeping me informed. I’m loving your editorials. Please keep up the good work, especially under the current environment.

Dear Editor, Attached please find a photo of a homeless man who has recently taken up residence on the main street of Dangriga. I am informed that he was recently deported from the U.S. and has family here, but they don’t want to have anything to do with him. He lives on coconuts and fruit which he steals, and , as you can see, leaves all his trash by the side of the road. Numerous requests to the police and other officials have had no effect. All the police say is, “He is not right.” An email to the Town Council received no reply. Everybody I have spoken to agrees that this is a disgrace to our town, but nobody seems to know what can be done about it.

Dear Editor, In a news item this week, an immigrant illegally entered Belize, apparently, not for the first time. He was intent on using Belize’s unmarked, unguarded borders as a stepping stone to Mexico, and on to the United States. Found guilty, he was sentenced to a fine of $1,000, or if not paid (which he can’t), 12 months in jail. That is 12 months (365 days) food and lodging, Bible studies, computer classes, recreation, English lessons, and the rest. All this at our Belizean taxpayers’ expense. No! He should be put to work, with a few others of his kind, under armed guard, and with machete in hand, made to clear the bush along the national border (or adjacency zone), for a distance of 500m on the Belize side of the official boundary, determined by GPS measurements, agreed to, if necessary, by the other side’s officials.

Open Letter To Hon. Dolores Balderamos-Garcia Dear Hon. Balderamos-Garcia, I write to you as a voter in the Belize Rural Central constituency to ask you to declare to me (and indeed all the voters of the Division) what is your position on the referendum being called by the Government of Belize relating to the ICJ. I simply require to know if you support going to the ICJ, or if you do not. I feel it necessary to inform you that out of loyalty to Belize, I cannot vote for an area representative who supports going to the ICJ.

The Government of Belize presented the new Superbond agreement at a meeting of the House of Representatives today, Tuesday, in the National Assembly Building in Belmopan. The new bond motion, called the “Government of Belize External Debt Restructuring Motion, 2013,” encompasses in its payment schedule over BZ$1 billion and features lower interest rates and a longer maturity period than the current bond. The new bonds are expected to be issued by March 31, 2013. The maximum transaction size of the Superbond is US$529,928,800. There are two set interest rates for the new Superbond. For March 20, 2013, to August 20, 2017, the interest rate will be 5.000 percent per annum and for August 20, 2017, to February 20, 2038, it will be set at 6.767 percent per annum. The new bonds will be repaid in equal semi-annual installments starting August 20, 2019. The final maturity date is expected to be on February 20, 2038. The first interest payment will be due approximately five months after the issuance date. The payments will be done semi-annually – at six months interval. The PM said that the restructured Superbond has three key features; the first is that there is a 25-year maturity period which will expire in 2038. That constitutes an addition of nine years to the period of repayment that was set out for the current maturity bond, which was to expire in 2029. The second feature is that there is a 10 percent discount off the principal, which means that $108 million will be removed from the current Superbond debt. The third feature is that the initial interest rate coupon is for five percent lasting for four and a half years; stepping up then to 6.788 percent for the remaining life of the new bonds.

Students and lecturers register discontent with inaction about Payroll Audit Report, which reveals a number of “financial and managerial irregularities” Two weeks ago it was the students of the University of Belize who were protesting in Belmopan what they consider to be an unwarranted increase in their fees. Today it was the lecturers and staff members of the national university who felt they had reason to protest. Sixty of them today expressed their discontent on the university’s central campus in Belmopan, carrying placards that read “Vote of no confidence in the UB Board of Trustees” and “Mr. President, join us in the call for an Independent Commission.” At issue is what is called a Payroll Audit Report, commissioned by the president of the university, Dr. Cary Fraser, and done by the auditing firm of Castillo, Sanchez and Burrell. The audit was commissioned sometime last year, and was to cover the period 2010 to 2011.

Guatemalan president says their required percentage for sparking referendum is “around 25,” while Belize’s is 60 percent. He wants Belize law changed. Guatemala president Otto Perez Molina is advising Belize to amend its Referendum Act because he believes it serves as a disadvantage for Guatemala in the referendums in Belize and Guatemala, on whether the countries should take Guatemala’s claim on Belize to the International Court of Justice, which are scheduled to take place in October. Guatemala’s law does not require a minimum percentage of their voting population to participate in a referendum, contrary to Belize’s Referendum Act, which was amended in 2008, that requires that for any referendum to be recognized in Belize, 60 percent of the registered voters must participate. Guatemalan online newspaper Prensa Libre reported on Wednesday, February 13, 2013, that President Perez Molina said in an interview with The Associated Press in Madrid that Guatemala is not going to spend money on a referendum that they find unreasonable. The president added that Guatemala is asking Belize “to reconsider changes to its law with actual levels of participation.”

2 Belizeans and a Mexican walk; police refuse to say what exactly the “powder” substance was... Two Belizeans and a Mexican walked out of the Corozal Magistrate’s Court today as free men after the cocaine drug trafficking case against them fell apart when the police’s National Forensics found that the supposed cocaine was not cocaine at all, but an unspecified powder. The men were charged with trafficking 400 grams of cocaine. The police said that it “was not an illicit substance,” and when contacted by Amandala as to exactly what the powder substance was determined to be, Amandala was told by a high official that no further comment would be made on the matter. The magistrate immediately struck out the case, and Alfonso Iglesias, 51, of Consejo Road Corozal; Jose Nunez, 51, businessman of San Pedro Town; and Mexican National Pedro Alfonso Betancourt Reed, 52, were free to go.

Well-known student activist Moses Sulph, 36, has been charged with rape. He was taken to the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court this afternoon, where the charge was read to him. The prosecution did not object to bail, which was offered in the sum of $5,000. He is to return to court on Friday, May 10. The Magistrate granted him bail amounting to two sureties of $2,500; the sureties are to ensure that he attends court. Sulph is not to interfere with the complainant, and he is to appear at the Queen Street Police Station every Thursday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Also, he is not to appear before the court for any other criminal offences while on bail. Sulph was unrepresented in court today, but did signal to reporters present outside the Belmopan courthouse that he will consult with an attorney before making a public statement, by way of a press release.

Fisherman has a previous conviction for the same offence Samir Rodriguez, a 32-year old fisherman of Trial Farm Village, was charged with possession of undersized conch today, Thursday, in the courtroom of Justice Adolph Lucas, Jr. Fishery Officer Hector Cunningham found Rodriguez with 563 undersized conchs at the Northern Fishermen Cooperative yesterday, Wednesday, around 7:15 a.m. Rodriguez pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined $500 for the offense, plus $5 cost of court. Rodriguez was told to pay $20 for each conch, which totaled to$11,260. Those three fines amounted to $11,765. He was given until February 14, 2014, to pay that penalty. Rodriguez was not allowed to leave the court today, however, until he made a payment toward a sum of $1,035 which he owed the court since 2011 for possession of undersized conch. He told the court that he was unable to pay that penalty before because he has a family to take care of and he had a surgery that he needed to pay for.


Belize is a birder’s paradise, including on Ambergris Caye.
Belize is a birder’s paradise with hundreds of local and seasonal migratory species. The jungle areas of the interior are popular amongst those who are serious about birding, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience some of this nature-loving activity on Ambergris Caye. Over the past 11 years guests from Portofino Beach Resort not only have been enjoying their vacation including diving, sailing, caving and much more. But every day our guests are amazed with all the different tropical birds onsite. Waking up by the sounds of a group of wild red-throated parakeets is a daily happening here at the resort. Located at Portofino’s Restaurant you will find a Zericote, Scarlet Cordia which is a native slow-growing tree that breaks out in blazing orange clusters of flowers, which are very attractive to Hummingbirds. So when our guests enjoy their meals outside the balcony, overlooking the sparkling blue Ocean, they will see very often a Hummingbird.

She came to Belize for a wedding and stayed to volunteer
Hi, my name is Caroline. I came to Belize for a wedding, stayed to volunteer with Central Americas only manatee rehabilitation center (which also happens to have Belize’s only monkey rehabilitation center) and now have come to San Pedro to raise funds to help pay for the increasing food costs for each manatee (2) and monkey (25). Each species is endangered (West Indian Manatee, Spider and Howler Monkeys. (It is on the Corozal Bay.) I would like to invite you to join us for an information talk on Friday night at Wayo’s Beach Bar at 5:00pm (tonight). The organization runs entirely on volunteers. Right now we have about 13 volunteers who live at the center for between 1-4 months working for free from 6am – 7pm each day. The food costs are tough to meet each month, some come from volunteer donations, and the founders do there best to make ends meet.

8 Most Incredible Caves in Belize
Millions of years ago, the majority of the landmass of Belize was covered by an extensive and shallow tropical sea. Limestone, a rock formed of calcium carbonate was one of the major rock types deposited in the sea. This limestone can be origin either from biological materials like dead corals and mollusks, or in some cases the limestone can be precipitated directly from the seawater. Like the modern Gulf of Mexico, this shallow Cretaceous sea was occasionally subject to violent storms that disturbed the floor of the sea. These storms created a distinctive type of limestone rock called a breccia. Breccia is a rock that is made up of angular pieces of other rocks. In Caves Branch Cave for example, angular pieces of rock can be found that are called ìrip up clastsî. These are pieces of rock several inches on a side that were torn up and jumbled about before the clasts or pieces had a chance to harden.

Nothing left to do but leave
I went on an artist date to the Belize Zoo today and, on the bus ride back, saw this adorable little girl who seemed to love gazing out the window as much as I did. I have one day left in Cayo. The next day, I take the bus to Belize City; the next, I take the plane home to Durham. I don’t really say goodbye. I don’t know how. I just leave what I love, and then see if what feels beloved stays beloved. Which is to say, I won’t know if Cayo is my heart’s country unless I leave it for a time. On the bus ride today I tried to think of all the things I’d miss about Belize. And there are far too many…like trying to gather up too many Christmas packages in my arms, and as soon as I pick up one, another slips out. But for some reason I keep thinking of the streams of schoolchildren going home in the afternoon, hundreds of them, all in uniforms that identify their school: pink-and-brown, or grey-and-yellow, or green-and-white. Like I grew up in Annville, they’re growing up in Cayo—but is it their heart’s country? Are we ever born in our heart’s country? Or do some of us have to spend our whole lives searching for the most resonant geography? What if I come back to Durham and find that I’m a dissonant body? What if I come back to Cayo, someday, and find the same? The schoolchildren will always stream home, picking up snacks along the way.

Bits and Pieces
Spent the early (from 5.15 am) part of the morning as I do most days on the veranda with a cup of coffee and my iPad catching up on the news via my subscription to The Times. That done I then switched to looking at the blogs that I read. Started off with Bebelize and then moved on to Tacogirl. It’s good to know what other bloggers are writing about/covering. To finish off my local news intake I visited the Ambergris Caye message board. Fully blogged-up I then moved on to researching hotels in San Antonio for the up-coming trip that Rose and I going to make to Texas. Only now need to draw up the short-list (we will book the accommodation when we get there) for San Antonio and Austin and we are ‘good to go’. Only a couple of chores for me today and got the first one – advising the credit card customer service people of our impending trip to Dallas- out of the way fairly quickly. Don’t want them putting a ‘hold’ on my cards when I need them the most! The second one was even easier ( I like these kind of chores). Just had to put some gas (have given up calling it petrol because too many people look at me strangely) in the golf cart. With a BZ$50 spend (@BZ$11.43 a gallon pump price) I got just over 4 gallons. That should last a few weeks even with the daily trip to our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize.

Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge – Bird’s Eye View
Aerial photos of the Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge and surrounding jungle

Explore The Beautiful Islands Of Belize
Belize has roughly 386 km of coastline and approximately 450 islands and islets that stud the Belize barrier reef – the largest in the western hemisphere. The islands are known as cayes, pronounced “keys” and the most popular ones are Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. If you are looking for a soul-stirring experience, below are eight exquisite and picturesque islands of Belize:

Mah Heert's Dee-Lite: Amish Heritage Recipes
*Preheet ove t'450 Crust: 1/3 C margarine er buttr 1/3 C sugar 1 egg 1 1/4 C flour Creem margarine er buttr with sugar until lite and fluffy. Blend n' egg. Add flour n' small amounts until blended. Pastry dough will be soft. With rubbr r silikune spatula, spred mixture on bott'm and 1 1/2 inches up t'sides uf a 9 1/2 inch springferm pun. Place n' 450 degree ove fer 5 minutes. Set aside. *Lowr ove temperchur t'250.

International Sources

Local woman travels to Belize
At 21 years old, Logan resident Erin DeLong has an impressive resume which not only includes her employment history and accomplishments, but also outlines other aspects of her life. A senior at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, she is majoring in marketing and looking forward to graduating in May. But lately, it’s not so much the future she has been focused on because she just returned from a three-week trip to Belize. She recently returned to Ohio after a unique experience that involved learning the culture while participating in service-learning projects and economic development in the country. “After going there, I think of myself as being selfish and spoiled,” DeLong said. “It’s a most humbling experience. Their culture — everything about their country is so different. Here we are more focused on the fast pace of every day, our appearance and social network.” “They are more laid back, more focused on family. They don’t care if their clothes are dirty or anything like that,” she continued. DeLong traveled to Belize teaching Bead O’ Nomics to more than 200 students and worked on the Clean Water Coalition Project in four villages through a program called Entrepreneurship in Action (ENACTUS).

Belize central bank says launches debt exchange offer
Belize's central bank on Friday launched an offer to restructure a $550 million superbond, and said it would not close it unless bondholders agreed to tender at least 75 percent of the outstanding 2029 bonds. Belize said this week it was confident creditors would accept a restructuring of the superbond, which will mean a longer maturity and lower interest payments. Under the offer, the maturity will be extended by nine years to 2038 and the interest rate will be set initially at 5 percent for 4.5 years, stepping up to 6.767 percent for the remaining term - a reduction from the current 8.5 percent rate.

Equipment scheduled to arrive for joint US-Belizean exercise
Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern), in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy and the government and defense forces of Belize, will conduct an event called New Horizons in the spring. The exercise is an annual event conducted to train military civil engineers and medical professionals to deploy and conduct joint operations. Construction equipment and materials for a joint U.S. - Belizean exercise is scheduled to begin arriving into ports in Belize in the spring for New Horizons 2013, a major event that will test U.S. military members' ability to deploy while building partnerships with host-nation medical and civil engineering experts. The exercise itself, overseen by U.S. Southern Command and planned by Air Forces Southern, is slated to last approximately 90 days with several construction projects to add new classrooms and buildings to existing schools with manpower provided by both U.S. and Belizean military engineers. In addition, combined U.S. and Belizean medical teams will conduct multiple medical events to provide medical services to Belizeans.

A spotted history of Belize
Jaguars lurk near a luxurious forest retreat. Brilliant birds fill the sky above. But which species will Ben Ross add to his Life List? "Calvin Klein's Obsession," said Roni, leaning round from the front seat of the 4x4. "That's what they use in Guatemala. They put it on a tampon and leave it near the camera traps." The car lurched over the pitted, clay-red road and he turned back to squint through the dust-caked windscreen. Scattered pines spiked to the left and right, flame-blackened survivors of forest fires and southern pine beetle plague. Above us, vultures circled. "Seriously?" I asked. "Seriously," he replied.

February 15, 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

Poor and Famous sports Day a huge success
The Poor and Famous Boys Culture Club held an all-day sporting activity on Sunday February 10th. Events at the Boca Del Rio park included sporting activities such as running races, sack races and lime & spoon races for children aged seven through 17. Over 40 island children spent their morning at the park, enjoying the sporting activities outlined for them. Because of the number of children who showed up for the games, organizers had to create two categories: Under 14 and Under 17. The race saw enthusiastic competitors racing from the Boca del Rio Park to the Phoenix beachfront and then back to the park, an approximate distance of one mile. Competing in this race were a total of 22 kids; 13 in the Under 14 and 9 in the Under 17. In the U14 race, 10 medals were given to the top ten runners along with gift certificates. 11 year old Dixon Paguada of San Pedro RC School took first place. In second place was 13 year old Johanne Guerrero of New Horizon Academy and in third place was 12 year old Jason Barrientos of San Pedro RC School. Topping the Under 17 category were 14 year old Kian Ancona followed by 14 year old Byron Lara and 17 year old Alex Pineda. They each took home gift certificates.

Carnaval 2013 ends with the burning of Don Juan Carnaval
The final night of celebration for Carnaval 2013 concluded with a very entertaining ceremony on February 13th. The highlight of the night was the wedding of Juan Carnaval son “Talegas.” Burning of Don Juan Carnaval-7The event, meant to be very humorous, included a reading of Juan Carnaval’s will followed by the traditional burning of Juan Carnaval. It’s a tradition that has been a part of the island for over 100 years and is said that the burning of Juan Carnaval keeps the bad vibes away from the community.

Ambergris Today

New Rules For Belize Passport
The Belizean public will learn the ins and outs of getting a new passport through an education campaign that the Department of Immigration and Nationality will be conducting throughout the country. This campaign will familiarize Belizeans with the changes in the new application form, and the ways in which the application process has been improved. It is expected that the new procedures to acquire a new Belize passport will make it more difficult for non-Belizean citizens to get a passport to which they are not entitled. The minister responsible for Immigration, Minister of Labor, Local Government, and Rural Development Senator Godwin Hulse, signed Statutory Instrument No. 16 on January 17, and it was published in the Government Gazette on January 19.

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye Carnaval 2013 – Keeping Tradition Alive
Carnaval is a great festival in San Pedro and with proper planning and more promotion it can become one of the best festivities in the country. I met a lot of tourists who were having a great time, getting painted and dancing along with the comparsas. There was a young couple from the United States who planned their honeymoon around San Pedro’s Carnaval after doing some research on Ambergris Today’s website. They immediately recognized our staff members and expressed to us how delighted they were of visiting during such a great event in Belize. They urged us to keep the tradition alive as it was something so fun and unique for them. It was very satisfying to see all the tourists and lots of residents enjoying San Pedro’s Carnaval. It would be great for the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) and the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) to work on heavily promoting Carnaval as a major festival/event in Belize. San Pedro can work on fine tuning and organizing more activities during the 5-day celebration and Belize can have and market another superb culturally, historically and ethnically rich festival.

Don Juan Carnaval Gets Burned at Festival’s End

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye Welcomes Valentine’s Day Baby!
It’s a family filled with Love or Valentine for that matter. Valentino Caliz and Robyn McLaughlyn got the best Valentine’s Day gift a couple could receive, a bouncing baby boy! That’s right! How cool is that?! Robyn’s due date was February 9 and didn’t deliver her baby till today, Thursday, February 14, 2013. Valentino and Robyn welcomed their second child at Ambergris Hopes Clinic under the care of Dr. Daniel Gonzalez and Nurse Nathalie Palen. Their baby boy was born at 3:32 a.m. and weighed in at 7.5 pounds. This beautiful baby boy was named Ville Valentino Caliz.

First Ever San Pedro Music Summer Camp
Carlos Perrote, former music director of the late Andy Palacio and the Garifuna Collective will be the teacher at the First San Pedro Music Summer Camp from July 22 till August 9, 2013 at the SPHS. During three weeks children ages 5-18 will learn to play the typical music instruments of the Caribbean. From Monday to Friday during classes of each 90 minutes daily, participants will experience Steel Pans, Garifuna drums, Congas, Batas, Timbal, Cajon, Tamboras, drum sets as well as piano and guitar. When: July 22 to August 9, 2013 Where: At the San Pedro High School Teacher: Mr. CARLOS PERROTE - The Omolewa Osain Project Courses: Steel Drums, Percussion Instruments, Piano and guitar, beginners and advanced Monday to Friday 90 minutes daily during 3 weeks Class 1: 8:30–10 a.m. for participants 5-11 years of age Class 2: 10:30- 12 a.m. for participants 12-18 years of age Class 3: 3-4:30 p.m. Advanced

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize prime minister offers new debt terms on defaulted bond
Final terms for bringing Belize back on track with its debt obligations were announced by Prime Minister Dean Barrow this week as he piloted Government of Belize External Debt Restructuring Motion through the House of Representatives. According to the details within the bill, the Belize government proposes to extend maturities and cut the coupon on the country’s US$544 million of defaulted debt as part of the country’s second debt restructuring since 2007. Prime Barrow announced plans to extend the maturity on the defaulted bonds to 2038 from 2029 and lower the current coupon to 5 percent from 8.5 percent. Barrow, speaking to the lower house in Belmopan, said the agreement would provide the country US$247 million in relief over the next 10 years. “There is no reason to fear that with this massive package of debt relief, there can be any chance of Belize defaulting again,” Barrow said.

Fort Saskatchewan Rotary Club members to bring wheelchairs to Belize
The Fort Saskatchewan Rotary Club is taking the “Rotary International” edge literally. A four-year project is coming to fruition for the local sector at the end of February, when club members will be travelling to Belize to distribute 110 wheelchairs. “We are very excited about this international project,” said Robert Thomas, International Service chairperson. “The club has been fundraising for four years and raised, through donations and matching grants, the $20,000 needed to complete this project.” The wheelchairs were obtained through the Canadian Wheelchair Foundation and have been shipped to Belize, where the Belize City Rotary Club will be receiving the wheelchairs. They will assist the Fort club’s members in distributing them where they are most needed. “Belize was chosen, as District 5370, of which Fort Saskatchewan is a part, has had an ongoing literacy project in that country for over five years,” Thomas said. “We wanted to build off of those efforts.” Four club members will be making the trip down to Belize: Carol Devereux, Ellen Kranz, Jana Rowe and Terry Stacey. An added bonus is that the Belize Rotary District conference is taking place when the four local ladies are down there, so they will be attending that, as well, and will see how Rotarians work in other areas. According to the Canadian Wheelchair Foundation, it is estimated that at least 100 million children, teens and adults worldwide need wheelchairs but cannot afford one. For every donation of $150 raised by the organization, one wheelchair can be delivered to international and national distribution partners.

Europeans flocking to Central America
The number of Europeans visiting Central America totalled 747,712 in 2012, according to new figures. Data from the Ministries of Tourism of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama revealed that this was a 2.4% increase on 2011. Of these visitors, 96,039 were from the UK - an increase of 1.5% on the previous year. Costa Rica was the most popular destination in the region, with a total of 2.3m people coming to the country in the first 11 months of the year. Belize was a particular favourite with Brits, while the number of UK visitors to Panama - famous for its canal - grew by 7%. Central America is renowned for its lush jungles, diverse wildlife, incredible sandy beaches, spectacular scuba diving and Mayan ruins. Some of the most visited sites include the Mayan ruins of Copan in Honduras and the Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica.

Manatee Rehabilitation Centre
Belize is home to the West Indian Manatees (Trichechus manatus). This species ranges from Florida to Brazil, and is divided into two sub-species. The sub-species in Belize is the Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) – Belize is the stronghold for this endangered subspecies, with a population estimated at between 800 to 1,000. The Manatee Rehabilitation Centre has been established to fulfil three primary objectives: To care for all orphaned or injured manatees found in Belizean waters To prepare rehabilitated manatees for reintroduction to the wild To raise awareness of manatees and manatee conservation With the support of a network of manatee vets and biologists, the Manatee Rehabilitation Centre has become well known for its commitment and successes and now plays an active role in the sharing of skills and experiences of its approach.

VIDEO: Carrie Bow Cay Field Station
Located in Belize on the South Water Cay Marine Reserve, the Carrie Bow Cay Field Station is the perfect place for visiting scientists to study a variety of ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrass and coral reefs. Please contact station manager Zach Foltz at [email protected] or visit us at or

St. Ignatius Visits the SIPL
The San Ignacio Public Library hosted some first form students from St. Ignatius. Reading is necessary. "First form visit the SIPL for information & activities"

Mardi Gras on Burns Avenue
Serendib's Mardi Gras celebrations went spectacularly, and they had many different types of music rocking Cayo throughout the night. The World Culture Band played in the back, as did a jazz singer. They had DJ's in the front, and a marching band played too. What a night!

Happy Ash Wednesday
Benque celebrates Ash Wednesday. "Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian calendar. Occurring 46 days before Easter, it is a moveable fast that can fall as early as February 4 and as late as March 10. According to the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke; Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this 40-day liturgical period of prayer and fasting. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a reminder and celebration of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered from the burning of the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday."

Bi-national Tourism working group Belize-Guatemala border zone was formed.
On January 18, 2013, thirty-three members of the public and private sectors in Belize and Guatemala, along with representatives from the local associations and communities in the border area, were integrated into the Bi-national Tourism Working Group Belize-Guatemala Border Zone. This group function is to organize dialogue and inter-sectoral coordination and to promote and include participation of key stakeholders in the management of local development through sustainable tourism. The objectives of the working group are to promote dialogue and partnership between public and private stakeholders involved in tourism in the border zone Belize-Guatemala, to position the region as a competitive tourist destination, and to promote sustainable tourism, taking advantage of the cultural and natural heritage of this border zone. The principles of the working group are consensus, responsibility, complementarity, target approach, reciprocity, equity and sustainability. The work is focused on the implementation of the Joint Agenda for Tourism Development in the Belize-Guatemala Border Zone, which will facilitate the creation of a regional identity among the players and encourage them to develop common actions, based on tourist rates of the services, taking into account “the full experience” and not just the individual provider. Participation in this table is open and inclusive to all governmental, non-governmental and associations related to sustainable tourism and economic development presence in the border zone.

Youth Business Trust Belize
Invites you to participate in a Business Lab/Workshop March 4-8 Univ of Belize Doctoral Room

Channel 7

Moses Sulph Charged For Rape
He's scaled the heights of national prominence as a community activist, but today Moses Sulph hit an all-time low when he was arraigned for rape. 7news was in Belmopan - and Daniel Ortiz reports:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting 36 year-old Moses Sulph walked the gauntlet to the Magistrate's Court today a very quiet and reserved man, a far cry from the firebrand activist we've all come to know. He appeared before Magistrate Aretha Ford where he was read a charge for a single count of rape. His accuser alleges that on Tuesday, he forced her to have intercourse against her will. The prosecutor had no objections to his bail, and asked the court to impose conditions. Magistrate Ford ordered that he must not interfere with the victim, and he must report to the Queen Street Police Station every Thursday. With that, she granted him bail of $5,000, which his associate, Hope Amadi, signed for him to be released.

University Faculty Protests
And while today they were in court, 18 days ago, Sulph and Amadi were on the frontline for UB Student Government - demanding that an increase in registration fees be lifted. Well, they must have inspired the teachers because today, the Faculty and Staff Association had their own protests. Their issues, though, are far deeper than just an increase in fees. They are upset about an audit - which they feel has gone unheeded and has opened the door for greater abuses of the university's funds. 7news was in Belmopan for their protest:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting Teachers and Staff members from the University of Belize gathered under tent near the entrance of the campus. Instead of reporting to their different departments, they decided to make a public statement of discontent they currently have with the university's transparency and accountability mechanisms. They staged a public meeting type setup, in which speeches were made for the preservation of the national university. Allison Crawford - President, UBFCA "You all should be ready to give up a day for a cause. We are at the university level and we are the ones to set the example to this country." According to the President of the UB Faculty and Staff Association, it centers around an audit report which makes certain allegations of financial irregularities within official posts, and within the board itself.

Terminated BWS Workers Told They Were Redundant
Last night we told you about the five BWS employees terminated, basically for a nasty gossip campaign circulated by letter to the Prime Minister and other high officials. That's what CEO Alvan Haynes told employees in a memorandum sent out after the dismissals last week Wednesday. The memo says quote, "the terminations were primarily to do with confidentiality or failure to cooperate fully with the investigation, including providing false information or withholding information." But that's very different from what the employees were told in their letter. Those letters of dismissal have been obtained by 7news and they say, quote, "Due to restructuring your post has become redundant and as a result your services will no longer be required." Now there's a huge difference between redundancy and circulating gossip and confidential information - and it would seem to leave BWSL management somewhat exposed. But, more than that - the real surprise is that one of the persons sent home was the Union Vice President and another was the Union general secretary. The surprise is that their union seems to have not protested their dismissals! It's an odd case - as usually - by terms of the labour agreement - Unions have to defend their members, especially against terminations. And you might think that the union would have worked doubly hard to protect executive members.

Two Cayo Men Still Critical
Two Cayo men continue to cling to life after being struck in the head in separate incidents over the weekend in Cayo. The first is Jose Pineda -seen here on a stretcher at the San Ignacio hospital. He is a DJ who was beaten at his ex-common-law wife Mariana Galvez's bar in San Ignacio early on Sunday morning. His family says he was taken there to be killed, while Mariana Galvez told us he came there and tried to cut out her tongue. He is still in critical condition on life support. And, an hour later, Cayo taxi driver Pedro Choc, was beaten by 3 men who asked to be taken to a Bar. He also remains in a critical condition at the KHMH. No one has been charged for either incident.

Crime Down Sharply In Cayo
And despite the violence over last weekend in San Ignacio - that formation has been the most peaceful in the first month of 2013. According to statistics presented to formation commanders in Belmopan yesterday - in Cayo, crime went down by 41.5% in January. And within Cayo, the San Ignacio formation had the largest reduction. In the new performance-based police command performance assessment, that's worth money and recognition. And so, Officer Commanding Cayo, Senior Superintendent Aaron Guzman and Officer Commanding San Ignacio, Superintendent Ralph Moody were given a certificate of appreciation and their Zone received one thousand dollars to be used as they see fit. The commander says the formation will decide collectively how to use it.

The Secrets Of Santa Rita Unearthed
Belize's most famous Maya Temples are Altun Ha in the Belize District, Xunantunich in the Cayo district and Lamanai in the Orange Walk District. Corozal and Toledo don't factor into the popularity picture probably because they are too far from the main tourist hubs - and, so, sites like Lubantuun and Nim Li Punit in Toledo and Cerros and Santa Rita in Corozal don't get the amount of attention and restoration that sites in the central areas do. But that doesn't mean that they weren't important political and trading centers. That's especially true for Santa Rita which sits just outside of Corozal Town. It was once the capital of Chetumal - and now its pre-eminence is being restored through an effort by the US Government and NICH. Yesterday, Dr. Jaime Awe hosted US Embassy staff at the site and explained the newfound treasures of Santa Rita:.. Jules Vasquez reporting The Santa Rita Mayan Site on the outskirts of Corozal was once the Capital of Chetumal. But that was in Ancient Mayan history when Santa Rita enjoyed prominence as a trading center due to is proximity to the Rio Hondo River. But for the past century Santa Rita and its glorious past had been mostly buried beneath rubble - the product of raiders in the form of Caste War Refugees and amateur archeologists like Thomas Gann who dynamited the site to look for treasures of antiquity.

The Anger In Arenal
Yesterday, 7News told you about the situation in Arenal Village in which a woman's home was destroyed to make way for a football field. It sparks from an issue in which the village's only football field, which is well-known, sits on both Belizean and Guatemalan territory. The village chairman told us that whenever they've tried to organize sporting events on the field, Guatemalans living near the area cause big problems for the village. So, they've resorted to building another football field in which the entire length and breadth in Belizean territory. They had plans for years to create that field, but when they started to bring those plans to reality, they realized that one female resident of the village was squatting on public land. And when they started working on the field, they destroyed her entire development on the land, which included trees and plants, and her house which was burnt down. That's right, they burnt it down!

India Donates Computers to SJC
This morning St John's College received a generous donation from the Government of India. Fifty computers and printers were handed over to the institution under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation program. Under the ITECH program, India extends assistance to countries like Belize with which it enjoys a good relationship. And so this morning, students and teachers gathered inside the Fordyce Memorial Chapel to receive the donation. H.E. Sujan R. Chinoy, Commissioner of India to Belize "This is gift from the Government and people of India to the Government and people of Belize. It's a gift of 50 computers, printers and associated peripherals under the Indian Technical and Economic Program which is well known by its acronym ITECH and under the ITECH Program India extends assistance to friendly countries with whom we have good relations and countries like Belize which we want to deepen our engagement including people to people level. It's also under the ITECH Program that we just got a senior police officer from India on secondment and loan to the Government of Belize. Some of you might have heard that we have Mr. Chan who is also going to be here for a year on loan to the Commissioner of Belize. He will work in consultation with his superiors here. That's the kind of program we have - the ITECH Program under which its very broad-based, it ranges from outright aid and assistance of this order to for instance cricketing gear which gifted in 2010 for the people of Belize. On another occasion we have gifted medicines after the natural disaster in 2007. We have also gifted for instance 3 wheeler scooters in the past 16 of them. I see some of them between Chetumal and the Corozal area. That the kind of range we cover and there are scholarship we offer under the ITECH Program to Belize students and officials going to India." The ITECH program also covers scholarships for Belizean students.

PROFILE: Dionne Burns.
Tonight's profile is about Dionne Burns. You may not know his name, but a part of his story is familiar. He grew up in Belize city, lost interest in school and then turned to a life of crime. That landed him in jail - which is where his story took a turn. Today he's a productive citizen and a site supervisor for Cisco Construciton. Tonight he explains how he got over and how he picked up an ethic of hard work:

"Konshens" Cometh For A Concert
Like his song says, Dancehall superstar Konshens is a world citizen - and today he proved that by visiting Belize for the third time. He's here to perform at an event called Bubbling Valentine at the Riverside Tavern. He told 7news he will be performing just about everything for his fans. Konshens "This is the third time, Belize is the first place in the Caribbean outside of Jamaica that I have performed." Monica Bodden "Tell us a little bit of what your fans can expect from you at the show?" Konshens "Just none stop vibes. All the songs from then to now you will hear it." Monica Bodden "What is the show called this weekend." Konshens "I don't even remember the name of the show. Somebody give me the name, Bubble Valentine. So girl will bubble. Big up all the single girls that will come out." Monica Bodden "Tell us some if the songs that you will be performing." Konshens "Everything like from that song to that song."

Frequent Winners With Fantasy Five
Last week we showed you the 74 year old Crooked Tree man who walked away with a checque for three hundred and twenty thousand dollars from the Fantasy 5 jackpot. One week later, there is another Fantasy 5 winner. Today Sandra Garbutt travelled from Corozal Town to collect her winnings of one hundred and seventy five thousand dollars. 7news was there to capture it. Sandra Garbutt, Fantasy 5 Winner "When they played the lottery I heard the number and they said that they had a winner, so I check my ticket and that was the lucky number there." Monica Bodden "What was your reaction right away?" Sandra Garbutt, Fantasy 5 Winner "I got happy, I couldn't believe I win it." Monica Bodden "Was it a quick pick or selected numbers?" Sandra Garbutt, Fantasy 5 Winner "It was a quick pick." Monica Bodden "It's a game that you play regularly?" Sandra Garbutt, Fantasy 5 Winner "Regular, every time it plays I buy. I am planning to build my house with it and I have a child that is in school, so I have to have money to send her to college."

The Perpetual Optimists
Over the weekend, the young sailors of the Optimist program of the Belize Sailing Association had their first Regatta of 2013 in the waters off Buttonwood Bay. Under clear skies and with good winds, in each race, the top 4 sailors competed and after a close competition, Antonio Ricardez Jr. of Buttonwood Bay Nazarene displayed his dominance and placed first in all five races. With 7 points less, the silver medalist was Carlos Villatoro from the Placencia Sailing Club. Rupert Garnett from Liberty Children's Home Sailing Club won the bronze. This was Rupert's last regatta as he and his siblings are moving from Belize. Tropigas sponsored the event.

Channel 5

Moses Sulph charged for rape
Activist Moses Sulph is in the news, and this time it has nothing to do with the Belize/Guatemala dispute, offshore drilling or the dozens of other issues he’s taken a stance on. This morning, he was arraigned at the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court on a single count of rape. A woman claims that she went to [...]

UB faculty protests audit irregularities
On Tuesday, the University of Belize Faculty and Staff Association held an open forum with members and the decision was taken to demonstrate. And today, on Valentine’s Day, they did. The primary source of the discontent is the Board of Trustees. The Association alleges there are financial and managerial irregularities in an external audit released [...]

UB President says audit not complete yet
Late this evening News Five asked University of Belize’s President Dr. Cary Fraser to offer an official comment or position on the allegations being levied by the university’s Faculty and Staff Association. His position is that he was hired at the university to reform the institution academically and administratively, and reform will inevitably create conflicts. [...]

Cyclists may suffer association’s problems
Jose Manuel Pelaez Rodriguez, President of the Pan-American Cycling Confederation, left Belize today after an unsuccessful meeting with Minister of Sports Herman Longsworth on the cycling controversy. Longsworth held a press conference on Wednesday at which he revealed that the discussion with Pelaez Rodriguez had fallen apart and there was the real threat of international [...]

Varying figures for 2013’s economic growth
The Belize Central Bank has issued the latest economic update.  A perusal of the document shows inconsistent figures with previous projections from other official sources.  The most important forecasted growth is the Gross Domestic Product, (GDP). The Central Bank points out that in 2013; economic growth is expected to be two point seven percent, just [...]

Guatemala wants Belize to restore 2008 Referendum Act
  The President of Guatemala is currently on an unofficial visit to Spain. According to today’s Prensa Libre, Otto Perez Molina says that Belize should change its referendum law to level the field in respect of the October sixth referendum which will decide if Guatemala’s territorial claim should be determined by the International Court of [...]

SJC gets donation from government of India
The computer lab at Saint John’s College was enhanced today through a donation by the government of India on the occasion of the visit of its High Commissioner. Aside from the computers and accessories, the High Commissioner also announced that a senior police officer from India has been deployed to work along with the police [...]

Oceana wants to appeal Referendum case
Oceana Belize has applied for permission to appeal the dismissal of their case against the Chief Elections Officer (C.E.O.) and the Governor General (G.G.) on the basis of a technicality. In the original case, Oceana sought judicial review of the decision of the C.E.O. to disqualify eight thousand and forty-seven petition signatures collected as part [...]

Not guilty of 20 pounds of cocaine in vehicle
Fifty-two year old Franz Hamilton, an electrician, is free tonight after a jury of nine found him not guilty of drug trafficking with the intent to supply. The case goes back to April twenty-third, 2010, when police searched an SUV which Hamilton was driving.  There were two other passengers travelling to Orange Walk Town with [...]

Guilty of hiring foreigners without work permits
  Two naturalized Belizeans are facing charges of employing persons without a valid work permit. Fifty-three year old Dora Licia de Maria Prado, a resident of Ladyville and also owner of Dora Noa Noa Bar located on the Phillip Goldson Highway was accused of employing three Guatemalan nationals without a work permit. Prada appeared before [...]

6 years for burning lover’s house
  Twenty-four year old Keisha Banner, who was found guilty of arson on January twenty-second, is back behind bars.  Banner was sentenced on Wednesday by Justice Troadio Gonzalez, and handed a six year jail term. Banner was found guilty of burning down the house of Dishon Rowland, her estranged boyfriend. On January thirtieth 2011, witnesses [...]

Love is in the air on Valentine’s Day
Commerce normally picks up for most businesses at Christmas time, but Valentine’s Day is almost an exclusive economic season for florists.  And across the City today, the hustle and bustle of cash for symbols of affection was blooming in red.  Some were looking for chocolates and sweets and others for stemmed roses. News Five’s Carla [...]

Live comedy at the Bliss
Some promoters try to keep you stable in your seat in a theatre but performers at Friday night’s show hope you will fall out of your seats with laughter. “Drama meets Stand-Up” is a comedy show organized by local stand up comedian, Dillon Jones.  The event intends to merge traditional drama and stand-up comedy for [...]

Caribbean artist Konshens promises a great show
“Gyal a Bubble,” “Stop Sign” and “Represent” are among his most popular songs and today, Jamaican Artist, Konshens, arrived in the Jewel. Twenty-eight year old Garfield Spence has developed his talent and music that is world renowned with a large fan base in Europe, Japan, Guyana and the Caribbean including Belize. The reggae and dancehall [...]

Healthy Living’s broken heart episode
We’ve heard in sad love songs. We’ve seen in dramatized in movies. We’ve even heard anecdotes of someone who knew someone who died of a broken heart. While many of us can identify with the real-life heartache of losing a loved one or love loss, it seems incomprehensible that this very common obstacle in life [...]


Love FM Celebrates Its 20th Birthday
Love FM is celebrating its 20th anniversary today. The company first opened its doors on February 14, 1993 and was succeeded by Estereo Amor, More Fm and Love Television all which make up R.S.V. Ltd. The founder and owner of Love Fm, Rene Villanueva Sr. shared his feelings ...

Veterinary Association of Belize Has New President
Dr. Henry Canton is the president of the Veterinary Association of Belize. The new executive for the association was held during its 22nd Annual General Meeting. Dr. Victor Gongora is the Vice president, Secretary, Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand; Treasurer, Dr Jane Crawford and membe...

Two Employers Charged For Employing Immigrants Without Proper Documents
Two persons were charged with employing persons not in possession of employment permit when they appeared in Court today. They are 47-year-old Jose Linares, a naturalized Belizean originally from Guatemala who is a building contractor and 53-year- old Dora Prado, a naturalized Belizean...

American National Charged For Cannabis
Yesterday was their anniversary and 56-year-old American national Sandra Knight brought five point one grams of cannabis with her to Belize City from Florida for her to celebrate with her husband. But Knight never got a chance to smoke the cannabis and celebrate. When she got off the c...

Housewife of Corozal District Wins Fantasy Five Lottery Game
It’s not every time that someone gets one hundred and seventy five thousand dollars in exchange for two dollars. But that is what happened to Sandra Garbutt, a housewife and mother of two from the Corozal District and that’s because she bought a FANTASY FIVE ticket an...

Police Discovers Marijuana Plantation In Toledo
Police have discovered a half acre marijuana plantation in the Toledo district. According to officials, members of the anti-drugs unit carried out an operation two kilometers north east of Indian Creek village between four o’clock and eight o’clock yesterday morning.&...

Police Reveals Details On Body Found At Flag Monument
Police have released further details about the body of a man found at the flag monument at the northern entrance to Belize City on Wednesday. Initially police had named the person as 39 year old Joe Arconilla. But today’s police press bulletin identifies the victim as...

National Garifuna Council Prepares To Hold 29th Convention
The National Garifuna Council will be holding its 29th Annual Convention early next month. This year’s convention will be held in Hopkins Village from March 8 to 10. According to the coordinators the major highlights of this year’s convention will include funding oppo...

Police Officers Receive Citations For Outstanding Performance
Minister of National Security John Saldivar has given public citations to the officers commanding the Cayo district Zone and the San Ignacio formation for their outstanding performance last month. According to an official statement, the two units were recognized for best performa...

Oceana Belize Pursues Case of Disqualified Signatures
Oceana Belize is continuing to pursue the case of the disqualified signatures which resulted in the failure by opponents to meet the threshold for triggering a national referendum on offshore oil drilling. Oceana-Belize, which was later joined by Audrey Bradley and Tom Greenwood,...

Woman Gets Six Years For Setting Boyfriend's House On Fire
Twenty-three year old Keisha Banner, who was convicted of arson for setting fire to her boyfriend’s house, was sentenced to six years today by Justice Troadio Gonzalez. The maximum sentence is life imprisonment. Before he decided on the sentence, Justice Gonzalez heard...

Decrease Reported In Butane Price
The Belize Bureau of Standards today sent out a brief press release announcing that effective February, ninth, there is a small decrease in the price of a one hundred pound cylinder of butane gas. The government release did not specify if the decrease is across the board or just ...


Fire Burn Heats Up With Excitement Over Play Ground, It Means a lot To Students
If you visit many of the primary schools here in Orange Walk Town you might have noticed that most of them boast of a play ground for their students. In the Rural communities play ground sets are not very common at the schools. But that scenario changed today at least for students of Fire Burn Primary School who inaugurated their new play ground this morning. Hipolito Novelo has that story. Hipolito Novelo reporting... If you have travelled to Fire Burn Village then you already know that is in the Orange Walk District, just south from Shipyard, and that the road is extremely bumpy. The Village consists of a population of approximately one hundred persons who make up 19 families. The community also has one primary school which was founded back in 1982. To date the school has an enrolment of 32 students, students who often at times found themselves with nothing to do during break time. But as of today these bright young minds will be able to have some extra fun while at school as they make good use of their brand new play ground.

Burglars Get Away With 7K!
Tonight a man from the Corozal District is out of more than $7,000 worth in cash and items after his home was burglarized. Between the hours of 7:30pm on the 12th of February and 12:30am on the 13th someone entered the home of twenty nine year old Hensleigh Ryan Jones located in the Village of Ranchito and stole $3000.00 in cash in different denominations, one 14K Gold Ring valued at $115.00, four bottles of liquor valued at $196.00, one 42 inch flat screen television valued at $4000.00 and one black L.G. Touch Screen cell phone valued at $300.00. Police are investigating.

Traffic Mishap Leaves 3 Persons Injured
There was a traffic accident in Orange Walk last night which left three persons injured. CTV3 news understands that at around 7:30pm Raju Ranjwanie, his wife Perla and son were traveling back to Corozal from Belize City when upon reaching the round about by Establo Restaurant, Ranjwanie lost control of the vehicle and ran off the highway. We understand that while Ranjwanie was able to make it out of the vehicle on his own, the same cannot be said for his wife who suffered severe injuries. Reports are the woman’s head went right through the windshield and she was complaining of pain on her arm and stomach area. The child also sustained injuries but not as severe as his mother’s. Today we were informed that while Ranjwanie sustained a broken finger and foot, his wife Perla ruptured her liver and broke one of her feet and one of her arms. As for the couple’s son, he sustained injuries to the face. CTV3 News has received reliable reports that the police arrived at the scene approximately 12 minutes after the accident occurred and the ambulance arrived 17 to 18 minutes after. Police are investigating.

Another Consultation Meeting Turns Sour; BNTU Corozal Rejects GOBs Proposal
Yesterday evening at 5:30 members of the Belize National Teacher’s Union Corozal Town and Corozal Rural Branch convened at the Corozal Community College Auditorium. This was to meet with representatives from the Belize National Teachers Union, the Public Service Union, and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers in order to discuss Government’s salary adjustment proposal. As was the case scenario in Orange Walk, and most of the branches across the country, last night’s meeting was poorly attended. Between both branches there is a membership of 250 teachers. Nonetheless, a merely eighty plus members attended yesterday’s meeting echoing the same message, teachers were not pleased with Governments proposal. Estevan Cruz, President of BNTU Corozal Branch, preferred to speak to us off camera. Cruz says that the proposal was questioned by members. The main concern was the adjustments in fiscal years. Teachers are requesting that instead of having the adjustment in fiscal years 2014-2015, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 that it commences from 2013. In other words teachers want to see a salary adjustment this year no if’s or buts’. Now we all know what the sentiments of the Prime Minister are when it comes to that request. In fact, in case you might have forgotten, teachers will receive a salary adjustment from 2014 to 2017 only if there is a surplus of revenues. In total BNTU has ten branches country wide. So far consultations have taken place with the Belize City Branch, two branches from Punta Gorda, two branches from Corozal and the Orange Walk and Dangriga Branch. All consulted branches have rejected the proposal. The consultation now moves on to San Ignacio, Benque Viejo and Belmopan.

Angel Cahueque Charged For Theft
While police investigate this latest burglary they have been able to arrest one man for theft. Based on their investigations, police detained 19 year old Belizean laborer of Hall’s Layout Angel Cahueque after he was accused of snatching a chain from 19 year old Belizean mason of San Antonio Village Corozal, Francis Hall. Hall reported to police that while riding his bicycle on College Road around 12:45pm on Tuesday, someone grabbed his silver chain valued at $110.00 from around his neck. Hall was able to identify the person as Angel Cahueque who he has known for more than ten years. As mentioned Cahueque has been charged for theft and is expected to appear before the Corozal Magistrates Court tomorrow.

Sugar Production Is Good So Far
Here at CTV3 News we have been following the progress of the 2012/2013 crop season since it officially got underway in the month of November last year. Today we can say that based on the reports released by the Belize Sugar Industry Limited, the 2012/2013 crop season is expected to be a bright one. The latest report speaks about the 11th week of crop. So far four hundred and fifty five thousand five hundred and one tons of cane has been milled, that’s a difference of six five thousand nine hundred and sixty nine tons compared to last year. If we take a look at sugar production, forty five thousand three hundred and fifty seven tons of sugar has been produced, that’s much more compared to last year when thirty seven thousand four hundred and 16 tons was produced during the same time frame. This week it took 9.28 tons of cane to produce a ton of sugar and overall TCTS stands at 10.04%. Last year it stood at 10.41%. Presently we are looking at a mud extraction of twenty three thousand eight hundred and four tons. That’s less than last year. As for factory performance and efficiency, the factory is grinding at a rate of 305 tons cane per hour and its time efficiency is at 94.66%.

Career Day At Belize Adventist College
Career Day often refers to a day in high school where students learn about different careers and vocations. With the objective of planning for the future, yesterday the Belize Adventist College in the Village of Calcutta Corozal hosted Career Day for 361 students enrolled at the school. Reporter Elmer Cornejo stopped by the high school yesterday and found out more about the activity. Celia Clarke-Principal BAC “Every year we have a career day in which we invited different professional to sensitive students to the different opportunities so that they can be successful.” Elmer Cornejo, reporter “Has it been successful so that it can be a yearly event?” Celia Clarke-Principal BAC “Yes it has been because usually we would ask student as to what they want to do. So they would say the profession but that opinion would change. So that tells me that the information on career day influence them. So that they can see the different people that work. So when we choose a day they can ask the question and receive their answers. I must say that so far it has been successful and being exposed to the different opportunity and we have 300 and add students.”

Happy Valentines To You!
As you may all know today is Valentine’s Day; the day to tell that special person that you love them. The history of Valentine's Day--and the story of its patron saint--is shrouded in mystery. So who was Saint Valentine? One legend contends that Valentine was a priest in Rome during the 3rd century. Saint Valentine ran into some trouble when Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, so he outlawed marriage for young men. And this is where Valentine becomes the saint of love. Realizing the injustice of the decree, Valentines defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

NICH Gets 100K To Conserve Santa Rita
Since 2001 the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Cultural Heritage Centre has assisted eligible countries in preserving their cultural heritage through its U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP). Last week Belize became one of those lucky recipients as the AFCP awarded BZ$100,000 to the National Institute of Culture and History’s Institute of Archaeology for the conservation of Santa Rita in recognition of its cultural importance. In sight of the donation, representatives of the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), accompanied by the U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Margaret Hawthorne and Public Affairs Officer Eric Heyden, travelled up north to Corozal today to meet with Doctor Jaime Awe, Director of the Institute of Archaeology. As the team toured the Santa Rita archaeological park, they found out more about the site’s on-going restoration.


Teachers in Orange Walk express concerns over salary adjustments offer
Teachers in the Orange Walk District came out on Tuesday to hear the Government’s proposals as it relates to the salary adjustment. Members of the union negotiating team traveled to Orange Walk to make the presentation. Love News spoke with President of the Orange Walk branch of the BNTU, Otilio Munoz.

Teacher certification discussed in Belize City
There been enough talk about primary school teachers who don’t yet have a certificate in their field of work. While many of them do have degrees, their lack of pedagogical training prompted the Ministry of Education to introduce a certificate in primary education program. Almost five years later, four cohorts have passed through the program. Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Chris Aird told Love News that of the 850 teachers who need their certification, some 200 are left to enroll in it. Meanwhile, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, facilitated the program with funding from the Japanese Government. UNESCO’s Education Program Manager, Robert Parua, said that teacher education is one of the core areas that the organization tries to advance on. Aird says that the Ministry of Education will carry out the programme until all uncertified teachers get their certification. The Japanese Government provided 200 thousand dollars for the project.

New butane prices announced
The Belize Bureau of Standards today sent out a brief press release announcing that effective February, ninth, there is a small decrease in the price of a one hundred pound cylinder of butane gas. The government release did not specify if the decrease is across the board or just for butane imported from certain markets. According to the new price list, a one hundred pound cylinder of butane now costs one hundred and seventeen dollars in Belize City and Corozal. Consumers in Belmopan and San Ignacio are paying one hundred and nineteen dollars; while consumers in Benque Viejo del Carmen are paying one hundred and twenty dollars. In Orange Walk it is one hundred and eighteen dollars, one hundred and twenty one dollars in Dangriga and one hundred and twenty two dollars in Punta Gorda.

Ash Wednesday observed
Today is Ash Wednesday, marking the start of the Lenten Season, an important part of the Christian calendar. One visible symbol of Ash Wednesday is the marking of a cross in ashes on the foreheads of the faithful. According to a theological offered by Mary Fairchild, quote: “Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter. Sundays are not included in the count. Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ – his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection,” end of quote. Fairchild’s explanation of Lent goes on to say that not all Christian churches observe Lent as it is mostly observed by the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican denominations, and also by Roman Catholics. Eastern Orthodox churches observe Lent or Great Lent, during the 6 weeks or 40 days preceding Palm Sunday with fasting continuing during the Holy Week of Orthodox Easter. The Bible does not mention the custom of Lent, however, the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in five different passages of Christian.

Alleged child sex abuse reported in Orange Walk
Another alleged case of child sex abuse has been reported. A fourteen year old girl, accompanied by her mother, went to the Orange Walk police station to report that a forty one year old man from Yo Creek village has been sexually abusing her from when she was twelve years old. According to the girl, at age twelve, she visited a friend in her home village and when that friend went to buy snacks, a man in whose company she was left alone, took her into a room and had sexual intercourse with her. The girl says that the same man repeated the sexual abuse when she was thirteen years old. The latest incident is reported to have happened on Monday night. Police say they have detained a forty one year old man from Yo Creek village pending charges. On Tuesday we reported an incident which happened early Sunday morning in San Ignacio town and left a man on life support at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Today, police announced that they have arrested and charged Israel Betancourt Perez for the crime of attempted murder. The incident happened around two thirty on Sunday morning when a fight erupted at Mariana’s Bar on Back Street in San Ignacio. The brawl left Jose Santos Pineda seriously injured and police reported previously that he was on life support at the KHMH.

Woman jailed on arson conviction
Twenty-three year old Keisha Banner, who was convicted of arson for setting fire to her boyfriend’s house, was sentenced to six years today by Justice Troadio Gonzalez. The maximum sentence is life imprisonment. Before he decided on the sentence, Justice Gonzalez heard pleas for mitigation from two character witnesses and attorney Simeon Sampson who represented Banner at the sentencing. Both character witnesses testified that Banner was a nice and responsible person who was not really a trouble maker. The incident occurred on January 30, 2011. Banner set fire to a plywood house at 69 Vernon Street, the property of Deshon Rowland. Banner borrowed a box of matches from a neighbor and lit the fire. The house and its contents were completely destroyed. Rowland estimated the cost of the damage at $20,000.00. Rowland and Banner had a misunderstanding and he left the house and went up the street to a friend’s house. Shortly after that Rowland was told that his house was on fire. Crown Counsel Leroy Banner represented the prosecution.

Walk for Peace concludes in Punta Gorda
The cross country walk for peace ended on Tuesday in the Toledo District. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.


Moses Sulph appears in Belmopan Court on charges of rape
Moses Sulph has been charged for rape. Yesterday we told you about well known Belize City activist Moses Sulph who was in the custody of Belmopan Police pending the outcome of a rape investigation. Sulph was walked over from the Belmopan Police Station this morning, in the company of...

University of Belize Faculty and Staff Association calls for change
“Vote of No Confidence in the UB Board of Trustees!” – That was the tune of today’s demonstration at the University of Belize. The University of Belize Faculty and Staff Association came out with placards and force, calling for the resignation of the current UB Board of Trustees. Among...

Arenal Village Chairman tears down and burns home of local villager
Sara Marisol Laura has been living in Arenal for the past 14 years but yesterday when she returned home, her house had been destroyed and many of her items had been set on fire. Plus news traveled to Arenal and we were made to understand that the house was destroyed...

No foul play in death of homeless man
We have an update on a story we aired last night. Police have released more information on a man found dead yesterday morning in Belize City. The man, initially ID’d as Joe Arconilla is 40 year old Benito Chub Sr. Police say that sometime late Tuesday night, Chub was...

Minster of National Security awards Police Officers in San Ignacio Formation
Even though the year started off a bit rocky, as it relates to criminal activities, these last couple of weeks have seen a decrease in crime, with the Cayo District Zone seeing the largest reduction of 41.51 percent for the month of January. Within that zone, the San Ignacio...

Marijuana plantation discovered in Indian Creek Village
Early yesterday morning, while conducting a search in Indian Creek Village, the Anti-Drugs Unit came upon a marijuana plantation with about half an acre of marijuana plants – that’s 1,100 mature plants. Also discovered on the property were a shed containing 86lbs of processed marijuana and 3.25 lbs of...

Burglary in Corozal District
Tonight, Police are investigating reports of a burglary that occurred in the Corozal District. The owner of the home, 29 year old businessman Hensleigh Jones, reported to Police that sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, someone broke into his home and stole $3,000 in cash, a 14K gold...

Two vehicles were involved in a small collision
Two vehicles were involved in a small collision this afternoon near our studios. This afternoon an Astro Van was travelling on Rio Grande Avenue, when at the same time, a Toyota Hilux was exiting the 99 Cents store. The two met head first. Fortunately none of the occupants of...

Donation to NICH for development of youth
We haven’t heard anything from Belize’s Musical Ambassador Moses Michael Levi (formerly known as Shyne) since his appointment and so it came as a surprise to learn today; via a press release that The Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Foundation along with H.E. Ambassador Moses Michael Levi will tomorrow hand...

The Guardian

Cop on Trial for Perjury
It’s been more than 6 years ago since a police officer was accused of perjuring himself whilst on the stand in a case of murder involving a well-known businessman Chayben Bou-Nahra. The case got started in Supreme Court Before Justice Troadio Gonzalez on Wednesday, February 13th, 2013. A jury of 9 persons has been empanelled to hear evidence against police officer, 46-year-old Anthony Polonio. At the time of being charged, he was stationed with the Crimes Investigation Branch office in Belize City. He was one of several officers who had responded to the scene of a murder in which Shawn Copius had been shot and killed. Allegations being made against PC Polonio are that on October 24th, 2007, whilst giving testimony under oath in the case of the Queen versus Chayben Bou-Nahra, he intended to obstruct the course of justice; he testified that he would be able to identify Bou-Nahra knowing that he could not. Prosecutor in the case is newly appointed crown counsel, Leroy Banner while PC Polonio is being represented by Senior Crown Counsel, Simeon Sampson. Banner’s first witness to the case is attorney Tracey Sosa. Sosa at the time was the then crown counsel for the DPP’s office who had prosecuted the case in which PC Polonio had testified in. While Sosa was giving her testimony, Sampson objected since he did not have material which was being discussed. The objection was upheld until the material could be made available. The matter was adjourned until Thursday, February 19th, 2013 at 9:00 a.m.

From the Bizarre PUP World - Scorfulous - Morally Bankrupt
Dolores Balderamos-Garcia stood up in the National Assembly to object to the Prime Minister's use of the word ‘scrofulous’ because she considered it insulting. Word of advice Dol, if you don't know the meaning of a word there is no reason to object to its use. All you needed to do is find yourself a dictionary and look up the meaning. But then again the translation of your name from the Spanish language to the English language would explain your behavior. Said Musa got up on a point of order to clarify that the money he used to pay the Universal Health Services debt was in fact a grant (free money) and that it was not a loan. Well, all the worse for him! He actually admitted to using money that was a gift to the Belizean people to pay off a private debt. And there he was saying that he did not want to be a part of the debate because he had nothing to contribute. Admitting that you squandered the people's money is as good a contribution to the discussion on the Super Bond as we could have expected. Thanks for the honesty Said, for once the truth flows from your mouth, even it if was by mistake. Mike, Mike, Mike, the full bred Espat. The Champion defender of the Super Bond; for once there is a PUP brave enough to get up and say the Super Bond was a good thing, even if it was a good thing only for the PUP. Maybe Mike should consult with Johnny to try and find the millions stolen from the people. A report has it that 250 million dollars from the Super Bond proceeds is unaccounted for. Is this the reason why Mike was so eager to stand up and defend it? Maybe he personally benefitted from it!

Chan Pine Ridge elects UDP Candidates for Village Council Elections
On Monday, February 4th, 2013, members of the United Democratic Party gathered at the residence of Mrs. Elvia Tzul in Chan Pine Ridge Village to elect the UDP team that will contest the upcoming Village Council Elections.

What about Mahmud Francis?
The People's United Party was quick to condemn the actions of Hon. Mark King for having been involved in an incident at the Princess Casino at the Northern Border. In fact, they went to great lengths claiming that the Prime Minister was not stern enough with King; if a 3-month suspension without pay and criminal charges being brought is not stern enough, given the circumstances, then we'd say we don't know what else could have been done. The shoe is now on the other foot and now one of the PUP area representatives is involved in an incident which really pales in comparison to the one Hon. King was involved in. Would you know, there is not a peep coming from the PUP, not even a word has been said and we'd hazard a guess that nothing will ever be said about it.

Mahoganies for the City
Belize City Businessman, David Gegg, handed over 110 mahogany trees to Belize City Councilor with responsibility for beautification Roger Espejo, on Monday, February 11th. According to Gegg, the trees range in price from 5 to 50 dollars depending on their size. He added that he was impressed by the work the Belize City Council was doing in beautifying the city that he was compelled to assist. It is the second time that Gegg has made a contribution. Earlier on in the beautification project of Belize City, he donated 100 mahogany trees which have also been planted across the city. He chose to make the donation because he says the Mahogany tree is very important to our history. Councilor Espejo explained that similar to the past contribution by Gegg, these trees will also be planted across the city. He commended the gesture and said that this is the kind of partnerships with the private sector that the Council seeks to make in order to make Belize city a better place. In planting the trees, they will be done in areas designated as tourism routes and will be an added feature for tours in Belize City. Gegg says he grows mahogany trees at a far he has in Sandhill. He adds that over the years he has donated thousands of trees to various organizations, among them the Forestry Department. He also noted that he has been planting trees himself in the Peccary Hills area to embellish it with logwood features. Unfortunately, he added, a fire a few years ago burnt most of the trees and he is once again embarking to replant the area with mahogany trees. The trees planted in Belize City will be cared for by the Belize City Council. Residents will also be asked to assist in keeping them alive.

Our Middle Name
Approximately half a decade after the UDP swept the 2008 General Elections the work continues, the reversal of the PUP’s mismanagement and corruption tide progresses and as PM Dean Barrow once put it in a budget speech, “our finest hour is yet to come”. Indeed, looking at it carefully, one’s finest hour should always be ‘yet to come’ for it is in the relentless pursuit of improvement that we deliver greatness. One reason for UDP’s greatness continues to be Democracy. After all, it is‘our middle name’.

New Computers for Ministry of Health
On Thursday, February 15th, the Ministry of Health and Fultec Systems signed a contract for the supply of $59,000 worth of Computer Equipment under the Grant for Salud Mesoamerica Project. The Salud Mesoamerica Project aims to close the gap in health equity for the poorest twenty percent of the population in Mesoamerica. This will be achieved through an expansion in the coverage and utilization of reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child basic health (RMNCH) services; including, nutrition, immunization, reproductive health and maternal and neonatal health for women of reproductive age and children under the age of five years.

Parenting: The Cornerstone of Development
The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation is collaborating with the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) to host a three-day parenting workshop at the Best Western Biltmore Hotel. The workshop is entitled “Parenting: The Cornerstone of Development”.

Restore Belize Improving Literacy and Numeracy in Belize
On Wednesday, February 13th, twenty-five individuals from various organizations completed a three-day training session on a computer-based literacy and numeracy software. The training is Restore Belize’s response to the Literacy Assessment (2011) conducted by the Ministry of Education which revealed that many children in primary schools are struggling to attain the basic literacy skills appropriate for their age.

San Narciso UDP Village Council Candidates ready for Elections
Supporters of the United Democratic Party held a divisional meeting in San Narciso Village in the Corozal Southwest constituency where a slate was selected to contest the upcoming Village Council elections. The meeting, which was held on the night of Sunday, February 10th, was attended by party supporters who selected 7 people to represent the UDP in the village council elections. Elected as the candidate for Chairperson was Emair Correa. Councilor Candidates selected were Laura Patt, Romel Ek, Adair Dominguez, Jesser Patt, Veronica Ortega and Leovijilda Patt Cob.

Dates for Agric Show announced
The National Agriculture and Trade Show Committee has announced that the planning an preparations has commenced for this year's show. It announced that the show will take place from May 3rd to the 5th. Also announced was the Ministry of Agriculture's commitment to make this year's show focus more on agriculture and agro-industry. There will also be zoning taking place at the grounds to have better control of the number and distribution of bars.

Remembering Celia - Celia Adeline Albertina McDougall (March 17th, 1955 – February 16th, 2003)
Henry Ward Beecher wrote these immortal and apt words: “No grief has a right to immortality. That ground belongs to joy, to hope, (and) to faith.” I would openly and candidly admit that these words have guided my family throughout these years after Mother passed.

Used a Baby to try to smuggle Weed Seeds into Prison
Santa Margaret Villager, Maria Alicia Reyes, 20, appeared in Magistrate’s Court on Monday, February 11th after she allegedly tried to smuggle weed seeds into the Belize Central Prison. She appeared in Magistrate’s Court where she was charged with possession of a controlled drug. She pleaded not guilty to the charge before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart where there was no objection to bail and she was granted it in the sum of $800. She is to put $300 up front and the balance of $500 as a signed surety. She is not to interfere with the prosecution’s witnesses. Reyes is to reappear in court on March 15th, 2013. On Saturday, February 9th at about 11:20 a.m. prison officer Tanisa Dawson conducted a search on Reyes and found nothing incriminating. She then proceeded to search Reyes’ 1-year-old baby. The search led to the discovery of a transparent plastic bag in the back pocket of the child. Further inspection revealed that the plastic bag contained suspected cannabis seeds. Hattieville Police were called and the mother and child were taken into custody where the mother was charged.

Fisherman caught with Weed
On February 11th, 34-year-old fisherman, Ramon Avila, appeared in Magistrate's court before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges. Since he has no previous convition, he was fined 10 thousand dollars plus 5 dollars cost of court. He was ordered to pay 2 thousand dollars forthwith or in default 6 months imprisonment. The balance is to be paid by April 30th, 2013. Police say that at on Monday, February 11th, 2013, Avila was seen riding a bicycle contrary to the flow traffic on Victoria Street and when he was stopped, a search was conducted on him which led to the discovery of a bag of weed weighing 119 grams. It was inside a bag he had in his possession at the time.

Four charged for Burglary
On Monday, Febraury 11th, four people, including a minor, 16-years, were arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court on charges of burglary and handling stolen goods. Lloyd Parchue, 2Cilo Cherrington, a resident of Nutmeg Street in the Saint Martin’s de Porres area, 22-year-old Kareem Yorke, a resident of Berry Street in Belize City and with a 16-year -old high School Student appeared before Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer where they were jointly charged with burglary and handling stolen goods. Cherrington was additionally charged with an additional count of handing stolen goods after he was found with a gold chain and $1,800 in US currency, proceeds from a burglary in which over $37,590.00 in items was stolen from Phillip Garbutt’s home on February 5th, 2013. Bail was offered only to the 16-year-old minor after his attorney, Lionel Welch, submitted in court that his client has had no run-ins with the law until this unfortunate allegation was made against him. He also pointed out that the minor is a student with no record before the court.

Guilty of stealing a Ball of Dutch Cheese
Delia Young, 46, appeared in Magistrate’s Court in Belize City before Magistrate Dale Cayetano where she was read a single charge of theft for stealing a ball of Dutch cheese valued at $54.50. Young, who was unrepresented, wasted no time and pleaded guilty to the offense. Young, however, asked the court for leniency since she is the mother of two children. She is a first time offender for the crime of theft and as a result, Magistrate Cayetano fined her $300 plus $5.00 cost of court. She was then ordered to pay the fine by the end of April or in default she will spend 3 months in jail. On Friday, February 8th, at about 5:45 p.m., Supervisor at James Brodie and Company, Dion Brooks reported to police that he saw Young when she placed the roll of Dutch Cheese inside her sling bag, which was on her shoulder. She then attempted to make off with it but was caught and handed over to police.

Charged for Public Terror at SCA Fair
Two men and two minors were taken to Magistrate’s court on Monday, Febraury 11th and charged in connection with a fight that occurred at the Saint Catherine’s Academy (SCA) annual Valentine’s fair. Two minors, ages 15 and 17 along with 18-year-old Trevor Brown, of #69 Amara Avenue, and 21-year-old Gilbert Wade, of Ross Pen Road in Belize City appeared before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart where they were jointly charge with one count each of disorderly conduct and one count each of causing public terror. On Saturday, February 9th, 2013, at about 11:10 p.m., the four caused public terror at the SCA Compound on Hudson Street, when they wantonly engaged in an unlawful fight with the intent to cause terror to the public. The four all pleaded not guilty to the two offenses they were jointly charged with. In court, the two minors, ages were read the charges in the presence of relatives. The 15-year-old’s mother was present while the 17-year-old’s sister was present.

Woman found Guilty of Arson
A Belize City woman, who was found guilty of arson 3 weeks ago, learned her fate today in the Belize Supreme Court before Justice Troadio Gonzalez. She was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. 24-year-old Keisha Banner was found guilty on January 22nd, 2013 of burning down her former lover’s home located at #69 Vernon Street in Belize City. The incident occurred on January 30th, 2011. During her trial, Banner was unrepresented and had to defend herself against a single charge of arson and was found guilty. In mitigation, she appeared along with attorney Simeon Sampson. He called two character witnesses including Constancio Perez, a retired teacher and priest with the Anglican Church. According to Perez, who is also her godfather, he said that Banner, whom he has seen grown from a baby, grew up with her father until age 4 when he died in a traffic accident in 1993. He said that the charge of arson against Banner shocked him since he has always known her to be a very loving person, who grew up in a family setting despite the death of her father. Before leaving the stand, Perez asked the court for leniency upon Banner as he does not know her as a trouble maker. Her second character witness was Elroy Wade, 35, a salesperson and ggent for a gas company in the south of the country. Wade told the court that Banner was once her neighbor in Hope Creek village. He said that due to an unfortunate series of events in her life, Banner was forced to leave the village when her home was taken away from her some 3 years ago. He said Banner was liked by his family as she was once a babysitter for his 12-year-old daughter and she quickly became close to their family.

Belmopan Bandits open Defence of Title on the Right Foot
PLB Commissioner Mito Perdomo presenting championship cheque to The first week of the 2013 Premier League of Belize Closing Season is now in the history books. There were 4 games played over the last weekend across the country and all 8 teams in the competition were involved. On Saturday, February 9th, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the defending champions and home team the Belmopan Bandits opened defence of its national title on the right foot when it blasted Verdes by the score of 4-0. The Belmopan Bandits got on the scoreboard when Jerome James scored the 1st goal of the game in the 1st minute of play to give his team an early lead. That lead was further extended when David Madrid scored his team’s 2nd goal of the game in the 19th minute of play to give his team a 2-0 lead. However, the scoring did not stop there as Brandon Peyrefitte scored his team’s 3rd goal of the game in the 33rd minute of play for a 3-0 lead. The first half of the game ended with the defending champions the Belmopan Bandits enjoying a comfortable 3-0 lead at the half. The only goal that was scored in the 2nd half of the game came in the 69th minute of play by Jerome James. The competition continued on Sunday, February 10th, 2013, with 3 more games on the schedule. Out at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, the Belize Defence Force edged the San Ignacio United by the score of 3-2. The Belize Defence Force got on the scoreboard first when Paul Nuñez scored the first of his two goals in the 9th minute of play to give his team an early lead. The Belize Defence Force lead was further extended when Paul Nuñez scored his 2nd goal of the game in the 32nd minute of play for a 2-0 lead.

Wesley College girls and St. John’s College boys are Central Region Football Champions
The 2012-2013 Central Region Secondary Schools Football Competition came to an end on Monday, February 11th, 2013, at the MCC Grounds. In the female championship game, Wesley College defeated St. Catherine Academy by the score of 3-0. The goals for Wesley College were Erica Milligan, Elisha Bernardez and Shanice Neal. In the male championship game, St. John’s College defeated Anglican Cathedral College by the score of 3-2 in penalty shoot out. Dimitri Fabro, Sydney Bradley and Jorge Perez all scored penalties for St. John’s College, while Sergio Luna and Devaun Zuniga scored for Anglican Cathedral College. On Friday, February 8th, in the first game of the female championship, Wesley College and St. Catherine Academy played to a 0-0 draw. In the first game of the male championship game, St. John’s College and Anglican Cathedral College also played to a 1-1 draw. The goal for St. John’s College was scored by Dimitri Fabro while the goal for Anglican Cathedral College was scored by Dejaun Thompson. Wesley College female and St. John’s College will represent the Central Region at the National Secondary Schools Football Championship this coming weekend at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk Town.

Election for Cycling Association will be held shortly
Minister of State in the Ministry of Sports, Hon. Herman Longsworth held a press conference on Wednesday, February 13th in which he announced that elections will be held by the 28th of February for a new executive of the Belize Cycling Association. The elections, says Hon. Longsworth, will be held under the Belize Cycling Association's constitution which was submitted to the National Sports Council on January 30th, 2012. It will be headed under the guidance of an interim executive which will be composed of two members of the National Sports Council, two Members representing Emil Moreno, who says he is the president of the Cycling Federation (the National Sports Council does not recognize this as a legitimate cycling body) and two members representing Dion Leslie who wants to run as president of the Cycling Association. The Interim Committee will be chaired by a well known former president of the Association. The first order of business, stated the Minister, was to call on persons affiliated with the sport of cycling to register as part of the general membership of the association. This is the pool of persons who will be allowed to vote for a new executive who will carry the sport of cycling forward. The move, says Longsworth,will more than likely attract sanctions from the International Cycling Union but this is something he says the sport will have to go through for a properly organized cycling discipline to be established.

Nazarene High School leads in girl's softball
The Central Region Secondary Schools Softball Competition continues at the Rogers Stadium with a number of games played over the last few days. On Tuesday, February 12th, in the first of two girls games, Ladyville Technical High School defeated Anglican Cathedral College by the score of 19-2. The winning pitcher was Amber Wade and the losing pitcher was Chelsea Jex. In the second girls game, it was Wesley College winning over Maud Williams High School by the score of 17-4. The winning pitcher was Breanna Meighan and the losing pitcher was K. Robinson. On Monday, February 11th, Nazarene High School continued on its winning path when it defeated Edward P. Yorke High School by the score of 14-2. The winning pitcher was Ashley Lucas the losing pitcher was Miekah Muhammad Ali. On Saturday, February 9th there were 4 games on the schedule. In the first of two female games, Wesley College upended St. Catherine Academy by the score of 22-1. The winning pitcher was Briana Ara and the losing pitcher was Jacqueline Alas. In the second game, it was Ladyville Technical High School won over Maud Williams High School by the score of 16-1. The winning pitcher was Amber Wade and the losing pitcher was Ashley Bailey.

Belize Bank leads in Interoffice Softball Competition
The 2012 Belize City Interoffice Softball Competition commenced on Friday, February 8th, 2013, at Rogers Stadium with two games. In the first game on the schedule, Baby Ruth Baaba Shap defeated Tuff “E” Nuff by the score of 13-4. Baby Ruth Baaba Shap scored 13 runs on 13 hits. The Baby Ruth Baaba Shap offence was keyed by shortstop Brian Grnat’s 2-run homer. The winning pitcher was Jumoke Castro and the losing pitcher was Rico Black. In the second game of the evening, Belize Bank defeated BWSL by the score of 20-13. The Belize Bank scored 20 runs on 14 hits, while BWSL scored 13 runs on 4 hits. The winning pitcher was Evan Lamb and the losing pitcher was Kareem Thompson. The competition then continued on Saturday, February 9th, 2013, with three games on the schedule. In the first game of the day, KHMH defeated Kit Kat Baaba Shap by the score of 9-2. KHMH scored 9 runs on 3 hits while Kit Kat Baaba Shap scored 2 runs on 6 hits. The winning pitcher was Maria Smith and the losing pitcher was Leonora Morales. In game two, Guardian/Sports Council defeated the defending champions Telemedia by the score of 13-11. Guardian/Sports Council scored 13 runs on 13 hits. The Guardian/Sports Council’s offence was keyed by third baseman Brian “Yellowman” Audinett, who drilled an Emily Turner pitch over the left field fence for a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 4th inning. Meanwhile, Telemedia scored 11 runs on 7 hits. The winning pitcher was Joel Wade and the losing pitcher was Emily Turner.

A Short Take
Balderamos-Garcia is quickly securing the status of being dubbed the schoolmarm of the House of Representatives. Whenever the parley in the meetings gets zesty, she gets up and attempts to reprimand the representatives via a point of order, a move which dampens the entire mood of the visitors in the House. It is as if she considers herself the most senior member of the House, and, by virtue of this deluded perception, feels that she can address other members, including the Prime Minister, in a most condescending manner. For example, during this past Tuesday’s meeting of the House, she totally threw the Prime Minster off track just as he was warming up to lather the former PM on the issues relating to the bundle of loans, which make up the Superbond. I only learnt one word from that exchange, ‘scrofulous’, because Miss Lady got up and gone off, stating that this was “insulting language” and it offended her oh so much! What a spoilsport! Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the PM’s aphorism advising Musa that if he did not want to expose his behind, he should not drop his pants. This came shortly after one of the UDP’s favorite Ministers, Hon. Finnegan, told the chatterer from Toledo East that we will never forget the Superbond till we die! After the meeting, the drama continued in the hallways of the House, where several questions from the media were addressed by the elected representatives, including the issue for salary increases by the Unions. While the leaders of the Unions, BNTU and PSU, have expressed optimism for next year, the rank and file is getting antsy, encouraged by politically motivated branch presidents, like this one here in OW. He continues to prattle on TV about this not being politics, while secretly lobbying for a vote for rejecting GOB’s offer and going on strike.

No Tax Hikes! No Oil Revenue! No GDP Cut! No IMF!!! Legislature approves Restructured Superbond
On Tuesday, February 12th, Prime Minister Barrow introduced a motion in the House of Representative that he refers to as a “promise fulfilled”. That motion is the “Government of Belize- External Debt Restructuring Motion, 2013”, which features new terms to the infamous Superbond. During a speech in San Jose Palmar Village in Orange Walk East on Sunday, February 19th, 2012 Prime Minister Barrow said: “I am serving you all notice. Look out and get ready because Belize is coming. There is no doubt that the People's United Party, in terms of this Superbond, did a horrible thing to the people of Belize. But, I know from a long time that a wise man said it eons ago, 'You can't have a bad borrower, if you don't have a bad lender.' So all of you all out there, who were happy to lend the PUP this money, and burden us until thy kingdom come with this Superbond well hear this: we are coming back to you, and we are telling you that you will renegotiate that. You will take down that interest rate, and you will spread the maturity period out over a far longer time. We will stop paying that 8.5% and 80+ million dollars a year because we need that money to spend on the development of Belize for the people of this country."

Teenager ran over ny PUP Joseph Mahumud's vehicle
“When I arrived at the scene he was under a silver pickup, underneath the tire and Berry and Mahmud was standing right there watching him.” That was the lament of Augustina Molina, the aunt of 17-year-old Michael Valdez as she desperately looked on as a pickup truck was parked on top of her nephew. The front driver’s side wheel was on the young man’s back as he lay on a grassy area on the compound of the Log Cab Inn on the early morning hours of Sunday, February 10th. Valdez explained that he was attending a wedding at the establishment where one of his cousins was getting married but decided to leave sometime around 1 a.m. since there was an altercation at the event. While he was on his way home, two men began to chase him in a gray Isuzu pickup truck. He said he ran into nearby bushes hoping to get away from the men; however, that did not happen. Valdez said he fell down and hit his head; he fainted and only awoke when he felt a vehicle on his back. By this time, his aunt had arrived on the scene and she said she called out for her nephew and was in a state of shock when he replied to her from under the vehicle. She said she immediately asked the men to help her move the vehicle but they were unwilling to do so. She continued to explain that it was not until after she became confrontational with the men that they agreed. With the assistance of other people, who had arrived on the scene, they managed to drag Valdez from under the vehicle and rescued him.

UDP Convention Time
The United Democratic Party will be holding its National Convention on Sunday, February 17th at the Andres Campos Civic Center in Corozal Town. The convention is the party's largest and most important decision making body and will once again be called upon to make important decisions for the way forward for the UDP. During the convention, there will be guest speakers representing young persons actively involved within the party. There will be presentation of amendments to the UDP constitution as well as policy statements on Youth, Crime and Women. The keynote address will be presented by the UDP party leader, Hon. Dean Barrow. This convention like others before is held at two-year intervals and also features the election of officers of the party. On this occasion, the positions for which there will be elections are for the post of First Deputy in which Hon. Gaspar Vega and Hon. Patrick Faber will be contesting. The position of Party Chairman will also be open for contest and contesting that position will be Alberto August and current Deputy Party Chairman Roosevelt Blades. The third and final position up for election is that of Deputy Party Chairman and Belize City Councilor Roger Espejo and Punta Gorda town Councilor Fern Gutierrez will be seeking that post.

The Hostile Forces Women Face
Women are not only generally less physically aggressive than men but are also physically weaker in combat terms. Women and girls have, therefore, always been more at risk of physical and sexual assault. Most agrarian and pastoral cultures, based on a strict gender separation of roles, developed cultural norms that codified this physical imbalance into rules and laws that created an even greater legal imbalance. These laws were often justified on the grounds that they were protecting the “weaker” sex. The majority of current world religions have their genesis during the early development of these agrarian and pastoral peoples and reflect the same basic dominant male bias. They add an additional moral justification for inequality and frequently an unequal level of causation of gender violence. In this world view, gender violence results from the temptation that women pose and it is men who must be protected from these temptations. Thus, the emphasis in many religions for women to cover their hair (or shave it off), dress chastely and even cover their entire bodies. Modern societies are more intellectually and less physically driven, and are gradually moving away from these traditional gender roles. However, even in the most advanced societies not only do the old stereotypes remain, but many of the old safeguards are gone. A few examples suffice to demonstrate how women all around the world are being subjected to increasing levels of sexual and other forms of violence.


A Tale of Five Cities: Return to Belize
After sixteen days of travel to five cities, our last day in Mexico had arrived. It was December 20. We figured if the world was going to end on December 21, we would just as soon be back home with Paisley. (And of course I'm just joking; we never for a minute expected the world to end, but it was fun that we were traveling during the peak of interest in the Maya world and right around such an anticipated date!) We started with a wonderful breakfast in our favorite Tulum breakfast eatery, Azafran. Despite some mosquitoes in the garden, we had a delicious meal, excellent service, and some of the best coffee that we had on our entire trip. This is the only place we got whole-wheat bread in Mexico, and the freshly squeezed OJ was great too. We can't recommend this place enough if you are in Tulum. Barry ordered the same loaded omelet as before, and I tried the fruit crepes. Delish! But this day was not to be without drama and a bit of panic. We had "open date" water taxi tickets back to Belize that we'd paid for as part of the round trip. When we arrived at the San Pedro Water Jets terminal (via taxi from the Chetumal ADO bus station) at 2:15 for the 3 pm water taxi, we were informed that the boat was already full and that we should have made a reservation the day before. Although there are two water taxi companies, and since we last visited Mexico, they have changed to an alternating day schedule, so there was no other boat to take back to San Pedro that day. I strongly question the the alternating schedule since they could certainly fill both boats during high tourist season; though the schedule makes perfect sense during slow season. This was not slow season.

Birding in Belize is Becoming a Fast Growing Trend
Bird watching along the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor is becoming a fast growing trend, with countries like Belize benefiting from an increase in birders taking advantage of the wealth of avian species thriving in protected areas, according to reports from the Belizean eco resort Chaa Creek’s Natural History Centre. However, choosing the proper guide who knows the terrain is the key to a successful bird watching experience, a Chaa Creek birding expert said today. Naturalist guide Miguel Choco said that with such a wealth of avian wildlife in Belize, finding birds is easy. But finding the birds you want is where experience and expertise comes in. “Belize is definitely birding heaven, with over 308 species recorded in the Chaa Creek nature reserve alone,” Mr Choco said. “Even people not generally interested in birding soon become fans just by walking along the miles of trails and spotting the toucans, parrots, falcons and other birds that make their homes here. “But for the keen birder, or someone who really wants an education in the birds of Belize, having a knowledgeable guide with specific experience in birding is essential,” he cautioned.

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
Spent a little time this morning typing the ‘agenda’ for our meeting on Friday afternoon with Daniel Camal, the contractor for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. We believe that we have a far more productive and less time consuming session if we send him outline detail for the things we want to discuss with him in advance of our meeting. This way if there is a need for preparatory work on his part he has time to take care of it. The ‘agenda’ also forms the basis for an ‘agreed action points’ email from us following our meeting. Maybe a little formal for some but this approach helps us to document everything and -we hope- should result in no,or much reduced, misunderstandings between Daniel and us. When you are involved in a costly project like building your next (and we think maybe our last) home one thing is for sure, you don’t want to be misunderstood. After drafting the ‘agenda’ for Rose and I to go through later to amend as necessary I thought I deserved a treat and went to Estel’s for breakfast (I only need a flimsy excuse). Because I am generally a person of set ways it’s got so I don’t even have to order when I go there now. It just appears! When I finished I drove to Fire Coral Street to see how work on clearing our third lot was going . Still some way to go but they have made a good start.

International Sources

Family seeks answers in murder of local man in Belize
Three months after Central Florida builder Gregory Faull was found dead of a gunshot wound to his head at his home in Belize, his family in St. Johns County and other parts of the state are still without answers about what happened. A letter last month from U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., to the U.S. ambassador in Belize said the family felt the investigation into the shooting “has yet to produce anything definitive and has been painstakingly slow.” The family is looking for “some measure of justice for their son,” the letter said. A Department of State spokesman said Friday that it does not have an official role in the Belizean investigation but remains in regular contact with law enforcement there and Faull’s family. In a letter to Nelson provided by Faull’s family, the U.S. Department of State said the embassy was continuing to request updates. While there was no new information, Belizean authorities told the department they were waiting on the analysis of forensic evidence in the case. Once the investigation is complete, the family will be given a copy of the report, the State Department letter said. Police in the Central American country have not responded to a request for information about the progress of the case.

What cruise lines don't want you to know
A Carnival cruise ship was adrift 150 miles off the coast of Mexico after an engine room fire. Cruise passengers were complaining about the lack of air conditioning, hot cabins, cold food and toilets that wouldn't flush. As I watched the news broadcast, I thought it was a documentary about the Carnival Splendor, which suffered a disabling engine room fire in November 2010 off Mexico. But the story was about the Carnival Triumph, which caught fire early Sunday after sailing from Galveston, Texas, with more than 3,100 passengers. The cruise industry says cruise ship fires are rare, but they are not rare. They happen with alarming frequency. In the two years between the Splendor and the Triumph fires, more than 10 cruise ship fires were reported in the media. Several cruise ships were completely disabled, including the Costa Allegra, the Bahamas Celebration and the Ocean Star.

February 14, 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

SPHS boys bring home second place trophy from Northern Regional Football Tournament
A boat load of excited students and teachers left San Pedro on Friday afternoon, en route to Orange Walk Town where they would compete in the Annual Secondary Schools’ football regional competition. The San Pedro High School (SPHS)Girls were first to take the field around 8AM going up against Corozal Community College (CCC). The girls played defensively, standing their ground through the entire game which ended in a nil – nil draw. The game went into penalty kids, and this was where the team couldn’t keep its momentum. The game ended in a 3-1 score in favor of CCC. Even with this loss, the girls managed to take third place by goal differential. With enthusiastic fans that had traveled from the day before to cheer on their San Pedro teams, the boys gave a really good show. The first game for the boys started around 12:05pm and saw them going up against Belize High School for Agriculture (BHSA). BHSA tried to keep our boys down, but in the 50th minute of the game, Jordy Craft landed the first and only goal of the game through a penalty kick, garnering SPHS Boys the win with a score of 1-0. Excited fans became even more energized as the boys prepared for the Championship game.

San Pedro blessed by Second Pilgrimage of the Statue of Our Lady of Fatima
The traveling Statue of Our Lady of Fatima arrived in Ambergris Caye on Monday February 11th at around 3:30PM via Maya Island Air. It was the second visit from Our Lady of Fatima to the island – and the country of Belize. Many Catholic followers made their way to the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church to witness the coronation of Our Lady of Fatima. After the coronation, a rosary in honor of Our Lady of Fatima was held. At 6:00PM the official mass, in both English and Spanish, was conducted in her honor to a great number of the San Pedro Catholics. After a dance presentation honoring Our Lady by the San Pedro Dance Company, the Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, along with her Catholic followers, made their way through the streets. The procession started at 8:00PM and went through the main streets of the town.

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Carnaval Day Three Highlighted by John McAfee Parody
These were some of the lyrics from the McAfee Parody Compara where the men dressed in drag and made fun of the entire John McAfee incident that brought worldwide attention to San Pedro and Belize. Even though the men did not win anything in the comparsa competition because they only came out to dance for the last day of Carnaval, the money they raised was donated to the San Pedro Lions Club. Coming out on top in the compara competition was the San Pedro AIDS Commission that celebrated the last day with a Carnival Samba theme, full with elaborate costumes and enough energy to keep on dancing until next year’s festivities. The group really outdid themselves this year with fantastic costumes, dance routines and entertainment. In second place was Doña Flora Ancona’s Comparsa which brought Panamanian Carnaval spirit to San Pedro on the last day of celebration. Filling the streets with color, dance and joy was their mission, which they accomplished. Taking third place was the Youth Generation Comparsa lead by Francisco Mendez which embraced even the youngest of Carnaval participants, a two-year old girl who had the energy to dance all night long.

Sanpedrana Graduates in USA
Sanpedrana Celia Perdomo has recently graduated with an Associate of Arts Degree in the USA. Celia moved from San Pedro some time ago to live in Los Angeles, California where as a single mother she is raising and educating her four girls who are also Belizeans. This brave Belizean woman has been working as a sales representative for Avon Cosmetics to provide a decent living for her family of four and decided to further her education. Recently she graduated from Los Angeles International College with an AA Degree in Health Care Administration. Ambergris Today, relatives and friends in San Pedro congratulate this brave Sanpedrana woman for her achievement in life and education.

Misc Belizean Sources

Parliament gives nod to restructured super-bond
Parliament has given the nod to the terms of a restructured one billion dollar (One Belize dollar = US$0.49 cents) super-bond even as opposition legislators complained of the “arrogant and reckless” position of the government and being kept in the dark over the new initiative. Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who last December said that an agreement had been reached with the creditors, told Parliament the new maturity date for the super-bond is 2038, “nine years more than the current maturity under the super-bond which expires in 2029”. He said that the new bonds have a maturity trajectory of 25 years and a second “key” feature is a 10 per cent principal haircut off the top. “So immediately, approximately BDZ$108 million is written off the current super-bond indebtedness,” he said, adding that the initial interest rate coupon is for five per cent lasting for four and a half year, stepping up then to 6.78 per cent for the remaining life of the new bonds. “Therefore the new initial interest rate represents a 25 per cent reduction compared to the current 8.5 per cent. There is a grace period of six years before principal repayments commence, even though the bond holders in exchange for the substantial relief argued for earlier principal payments,” Barrow said. He told legislators that the government was able to “hold the line and 2019 continues to be the year when principal payments begin”.

Belize does ‘superbond’ deal with lenders
Belize and its international lenders have reached an agreement on the restructuring of a $550m “superbond”, drawing a line under a debt workout that at times looked like it would devolve into a fierce, ill-tempered legal battle. Creditors led by Greylock Capital, the US hedge fund, were able to negotiate a much better deal than first offered by the government, but Belize still secured a hefty dose of debt relief that will markedly improve state finances. The deal will trim the size, extend the maturities and lower the coupon payments of the bond maturing in 2029 – itself the result of a previous restructuring. Dean Barrow, Belize’s prime minister, on Tuesday presented the restructuring deal to the country’s parliament, which will soon vote on the deal. Mr Barrow told lawmakers that the agreement would save $247m in debt repayments over the next decade. “There is no reason to fear that with this massive package of debt relief, there can be any chance of Belize defaulting again,” the prime minister said. Nonetheless, the restructuring entails a much smaller loss to investors than first proposed by Belize in August last year. Those terms implied writedowns of 70-80 per cent, according to analysts, roughly in line with the painful losses forced on Greek creditors last year and on Argentina’s lenders following its default in 2001.

Happy Ash Wednesday
Benque celebrates Ash Wednesday. Have a great Ash Wednesday. "Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian calendar. Occurring 46 days before Easter, it is a moveable fast that can fall as early as February 4 and as late as March 10. According to the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke; Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this 40-day liturgical period of prayer and fasting. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a reminder and celebration of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered from the burning of the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday."

Valentine Wine Tasting and Wine Baskets
The Costless Mart Wine House is doing their Valentine's Wine Tasting all this week, and if you're looking for the perfect gift for your wife, mom, or girlfriend, they have Valentine's Wine Baskets at a great price. Pictures to come tonight. They are located at 57 Benque Viejo road, right near Joseph Andrews drive. "There's still time to get your bottle of wine for that special date night or break from the norm, give a basket of wine this Valentine. Come try which pleases your taste buds and purchase your bottle. Free tasting from February 12th to February 16th, 2013 at 2:00p.m. to 6:00 p.m. See you there!!!!"

Mardi Gras at Serendib
Happy Ash Wednesday! Here are some more great pictures from the Mardi Gras celebration that Serendib had on Burns avenue. Great food, music - tons of music - and wild times in Cayo.

Into The Chiquibul Wild
Channel 7 has a video showing the trek into Cayo's Chiquibul Forest Reserve. The huge tractor they use has a hard time getting in and out. Big thanks to the BDF and the Friends of Conservation and Development for doing all they can to keep the Chiquibul safe.

Placencia Sidewalk Arts Music Festival
Boasting the best artwork and music Belize has to offer! Join us as we celebrate 10 years of art along the historic Placencia Village beach sidewalk!

Channel 7

Cycling Takes The High Road, But Risks Int'l Sanctions
On Monday, 7News showed you the discontent that some cyclists have with the direction that the Belize Cycling Association has taken under the leadership of Incumbent President, Emil Moreno. Much of the dispute centers over whether the Cycling Association is now a properly constituted federation - as Moreno says, or if it is still an Association - as his opponents contend. Well, this evening, the Minister of State with Responsibility for Sports, Herman Longsworth, announced at a press conference what will be the way forward. And that plan of action is a major upset for the Moreno camp because there will be no Federation recognized for these upcoming elections. Instead, the individual cyclists and other members of the cycling community will decide who will represent them at the executive level - as has been customary in the association. It's a major development - and one that could lead to international sanctions against Belize cycling. That's because the governing regional body for cycling, COPACI recognizes a Federation. The President Jose Manuel Palaez Rodriguez met with Minister of State Longsworth this afternoon in Belmopan where he was given the bad news.

BWSL Sends Home Seven Because Of Scandal Sheets
Last week Thursday BWSL fired four employees - including two prominent union members. The reason? Gossip! Now, in and of itself, gossip isn't enough to get anyone fired, and if it was, people would be losing jobs left and right, from Cabinet to Corporate boardrooms. But this gossip was more than just talk; it was in writing, thousands of words of it sent to the Prime Minister, the Leader of The opposition, the Minister of Energy and filtered through the company in a series of scandal sheets. And when we say scandal, we don't just mean stats about who's hustling the company's assets, or lamping up on the job, we mean sex scandals - allegations of who's doing what to who and where. Very nasty stuff - and after four such letters, it seems the board had had enough. The CEO, Alvan Haynes was tasked by the Directors to investigate who was behind the letters. We don't know if he ever found out definitively, but last week Thursday, he brought down the axe sending home four persons - including one employee with 31 years of service, another with good UDP credentials, and two union members. Another employee was fired on Friday, while another resigned - and yet another had been made to resign in January.

Another Woman To Jail For Messing With Ex
Another woman is behind bars tonight, and she will spend 6 years in prison for burning down her boyfriend's house. A jury found that on January 30, 2011, Keisha Banner burned down her boyfriend, Deshon Rowland's home. The day after the fire, he told 7news what happened: Deshon Rowland - Owner "My girlfriend came and she starts to curse me out, so I push her a little bit and just walk inside the house. She came and pick up some pint bottles, so I just held her from picking up the pint bottles after that she followed me inside the bathroom when I went to bathe. So I went outside the house for a walk to avoid arguments and talking. Then some people came and told me that my house is on fire. She tells my friends to tell me that she is burning down my house. I have to move on from here because she hurt me, this is all I got." The 24 year old Banner was found guilty on January 22 after Rowland gave the jury the same account he gave us two years ago. Today was her sentencing hearing, and Banner called 3 witnesses to testify. All of them spoke of her as a model citizen for her entire life until the charge was brought against her in 2011.

Jamaica's Problems Make Superbond Seem Light!
The centerpiece of the news last night was the final terms of Superbond 2.0 - which will be launched on Friday. The terms are much improved from the original Superbond, as Belize gets a 10% discount or haircut on all debt, and a savings of 43.25% in Net Present Value. Those and many other features make it a good deal for Belize, and the best part is, the deal was done without the IMF. An agreement with the fund would surely have forced tax increases and public sector layoffs. In fact, an instructive example of the level of pain the IMF brings can be found in Jamaica. Almost simultaneous with Belize, that country is going through its own debt restructuring. For context, their debt problems are far worse than Belize's - and now they're going into an emergency restructuring of their domestic debt. The finance mop-up campaign just to get ready for the IMF was launched on Monday in Kingston. We thought it a useful parallel to what's been happening here - and we have the report Kalilah Enriquez prepared for CEEN News: The next bombshell came yesterday afternoon in the Jamaican Parliament when the Finance Minister announced a $170 million dollar new tax package. And again, all this is just to qualify for a loan from the IMF - and that bailout loan will be all for debt servicing. The Jamaican opposition walked out of the house when the new tax measures were announced.

Arenal Football Field Causes Friction
The village of Arenal on the Belize Guatemala border is already famous for its football field: half of it is in Belize, the other half in Guatemala. But it's getting another football field - and according to reports that has amounted to a major problem for one Belizean land-owner. She claims her property is being run over to make room for the field - specifically the south goalpost which falls inside her lot. Today in the village heavy machinery rented by the village council knocked down her plants, and reports say a small thatch house she had was burnt down. We could not reach the Chairman for comment today...

The Other Side Of the Jose Pineda Story
Tonight, Jose Pineda - the Cayo resident from San Ignacio Town - is still in a coma at the KHMH. On last night's newscast we reported that Pineda was badly beaten at a bar belonging to his ex-common-law-wife in San Ignacio Town. According to Pineda's family, he was forced into a vehicle and then taken to the bar where he was beaten in front of his common-law-wife -who did nothing to stop what was happening. But after spending 3 days in police custody, today Mariana Galvez, the ex- common-law-wife of Pineda contacted our newsroom this afternoon - where, via telephone, she told Monica Bodden her version of the story. According to Galvez, even after taking out a restraining order against Pineda, he broke the law when he willfully entered her establishment on Sunday morning and first assaulted a patron and then went after her. Mariana Galvez (Via Phone) "I was serving the last cold beer to a customer inside the bar when I saw my ex-common-law husband coming inside. He started to break bottles on my customers' head. My customer asked me what happened and who that man was. My ex-husband continued to break bottles. So, I came out of the bar, and I ran outside. When he saw that I ran out, he grabbed me by my hair, held me down, and he started to take out my tongue. He had a knife, and because I am a radio announcer, he wanted to cut my tongue, and when I bit him on his hand, he started to try to cut my tongue out.

New Prices Under New Butane Regime
New butane prices were announced today - they are the first under the new pricing regime implemented a month ago. The new prices went into effect over the weekend and they fix the price for a hundred pound cylinder in Belize City at $117.00, $119.00 in Belmopan and San Ignacio, $120.00 in Benque Viejo, $118.00 in Orange Walk, $117.00 in Corozal and $121.00 in Punta Gorda. There is no longer a variable price structure for LPG imported from Mexico, since under the new standards all imported LPG has to be a independently certified 60/40 mix between propane and butane.

Marijuana Fields Burnt In Indian Creek
Early this morning between 4 and 8am, officers attached to the Anti-Drug Unit launched an operation about one mile north east of Indian Creek village in the Toledo District. They came upon a marijuana plantation measuring half an acre. The plantation had one thousand, one hundred mature marijuana plants in it - measuring 2 to 6 feet in height. A shed, with 86 pounds of marijuana and 3.25 pounds of cannabis seeds was also discovered some 50 meters away from the plot of land where the plants were found standing. No one was found in the immediate area at the time of the discovery. The Plants were uprooted and destroyed by fire along with the 86 pounds of processed weed. The 3.25 pounds of cannabis seeds were taken into police custody and labeled as found property.

The Importance Of Parenting
We always talk about the problems with youths displaying anti-social tendencies, but mostly, it starts at home with the parents. That's why The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation is hosting a 3 day National parenting workshop. The idea comes from a national assessment of the parenting landscape in Belize, and over one hundred stakeholders from the government, civil society and the private sector were in attendance this morning at the opening ceremony where we found out more about what they hope to get out of the event: Lliani Arthurs - Acting Director, Human Services "We're having what we called a national parenting workshop, and it actually a process where we're bringing together local and regional partners to begin to discuss where we go as a country in terms of parenting. We recognize family as the cornerstone of our society, and recognize that our families are facing increasing challenges especially where societies are changing. And we believe that parents must be engaged to understand the critical role that they play, in terms of ensuring maximum development for children. And we hope that this workshop will begin that dialog with our partners to identify who is doing what, and where do we go.

OCEANA Takes Its Case To Higher Court
In December, we reported that Oceana Belize's claim before Justice Michelle Arana was struck out. It involved an application to review the disqualification from Chief Elections Officer of 8,047 signatures to try to trigger a referendum on offshore oil exploration. Well, today Oceana announced via a press release that it will go back to court to seek permission to appeal Justice Arana's decision to strike out the case. That matter is scheduled to be heard on April 18...

An Epic Walk For a Profound Problem
From the Rio Hondo to the Sarstoon - we all know those rivers as the northern and Southern boundaries of Belize - and while they roll off the tongue easily enough, imagine walking from one to the other - that's quote a different proposition! But that's just what a small but committed group of individuals chose to do in a 300 mile Walk For Peace. Formally, it's called the "Bishop's March for Peace: From the Rio Hondo to the Sarstoon". It was organized by the Saint Martin De Porres Parish to inspire a call to action against crime and focus on positivity in the different communities they walked through. The participants fell just 20 miles short of their 300 mile goal, but today they came home to a well-deserved welcome from the students of the Saint Martin De Porres Primary School, and 7News was there. Here's what the participants told us: Tanya Usher - Coordinator, Walk For Peace "We were so happy. Every time we got tired, and thought about stopping, we would see a bunch of kids, or some people waiting up in the distance. And we knew that we had to go one more mile, and walk a mile with them. People came out; almost all the primary catholic schools participated. We had schools even on the weekends; we had teachers come out when they didn't have to. We had people who just walked a few miles with us, and that's what we wanted.

Literacy Programme Picking Up Steam
2 Months ago, we showed you an innovative program being launched by Restore Belize which includes using computers to teach students of all ages how to read, or how to read better. It includes the use of computers and a piece of software which is very intuitive and teaches the individual how to use it. Restore Belize has collaborated with the international organization, Literacy Without Borders, to get the program out into the different communities. For the past three days, both of these organizations have been offering training to different outreach organizations who will do the literacy training in the communities. 7News caught up with the organizers at the end of the training today, here's what they told us about how it went: Randy Boissonnault - Executive Director, Literacy Without Borders "Restore Belize and Literacy Without Borders are pleased to be offering 2 and a half days of training for the Academy of Reading and the Academy of Math. It's a computer literacy assisted solution the Government of Belize as able to purchase due to a generous donation from the Government of China/Taiwan. The target groups are adults and younger learners who are struggling with either reading or math. So, those who are not at grade level, we want over time to have access to this to this program

The Power Of The Potentialists
And while this week they were training in Literacy, last week Restore Belize was offering motivational instruction. As we reported, an outfit of motivational speakers called the Potentialists was in Belize to teach - mostly students - how to harness and awaken their inner potential. Now, if you aren't into that kind of stuff, it can sound a little hokey, but you can't argue with results: they presented to thousands of students and got many of them to do the impossible: walk barefoot on broken glass and bend solid rods of steel. They put together a video on it, and we excerpted a portion for the news:

Channel 5

Mark King calls for minister during casino incident
Minister of State Mark King is on suspension from ministerial duties; the slap on the wrist he got for involvement at a casino brawl in the wee hours of February fifth.  But tonight there is further damning video of the ruckus which started at the Princess Casino in the Corozal Free Zone and continued all [...]

Police want to question Moses Sulph about sexual allegation
  There is a serious allegation tonight against a well known community activist. The report involves a charge of sexual abuse against Moses Sulph by a young woman from Belmopan. She alleges that she was assaulted on Tuesday night at a house in the capital. News Five contacted the Police Press Officer, Rafael Martinez who [...]

National level cycling in ruins
The war in the cycling world has been dubbed a battle of personalities, and the personality under attack is Emil Moreno, President of the Belize Cycling Association. There have been widespread cries for his resignation from major players in the sport, but he has held his ground behind the protection of an association constitution registered [...]

Ministry speaks about BGYEA’s land issue
On Tuesday the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association, BGYEA, held a press conference condemning the Ministry of Natural Resources for failing to hand over documents to land in Harmonyville. The group claims that for the past eight months they have been trying to get title for parcels located on thirteen hundred acres of land on [...]

Natural Resources Ministry clarifies land deal
News Five wouldn’t normally spend much time on the mudslinging which has become traditional at meetings of the House of Representatives, but one item caught our attention in the back and forth between the PUP’s Orange Walk South Area Representative Jose Mai and the Minister of Natural Resources who is also the Deputy Prime Minister. [...]

Another poor salary adjustment consultation
On Tuesday evening representatives from the B.N.T.U., the P.S.U. and the A.P.S.S.M. travelled to Orange Walk where they met with teachers and public officers from that district branch to present G.O.B.’s salary adjustment proposal. News Five has confirmed that the session was intense and the audience was vocal. So vocal, in fact, that the President [...]

P.M. says no ‘yeriso’ about Ruth Meighan transfer
It has been speculated for weeks that Director of Immigration Ruth Meighan would have been leaving that particular government office. Meighan is being transferred to the Ministry of Finance. But instead of alleged problems with Minister of State Elvin Penner, the Prime Minister said the transfer was a result of a space opening up in [...]

Did cop get amnesia during murder trial?
  The trial against a cop kicked off today in the Supreme Court before Justice Troadio Gonzalez. Police Constable Anthony Polonio is accused of perjury during the trial for the murder of Shawn Copius in October 2007. The accused killer in that case was well-known businessman, Chayben BouNahra, who was freed of the charges. But [...]

Fisherman busted with weed
  A Belize City fisherman is facing a hefty fine for the Possession of a Control Drug. Thirty four year old Ramon Avila appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith and pleaded guilty to the charge. He was fined ten thousand dollars and Magistrate Smith ordered him to pay two thousand dollars today or serve [...]

Mariana’s Bar fight becomes attempted murder
Over the past weekend Jose Pineda was involved in an altercation at Mariana’s bar located in San Ignacio Town where he was beaten to a pulp and remains in critical condition at the K.H.M.H.  Police have arrested and charged Israel Betancourt Perez with Attempted Murder. Perez was among a group of men who allegedly assaulted [...]

Marijuana plantation found in the south
There was anti drug operation in the south which yielded police a substantial amount of cannabis. On Wednesday between four and eight a.m., the Belize police anti drug unit combed the north east end of Indian Creek Village in the Toledo District.  They found a marijuana field with one thousand one hundred mature marijuana plants. [...]

Allison Crawford blasts UB and UB Board
The faculty and staff of the University of Belize are planning a national demonstration on the Belmopan campus on Valentine’s Day. That was the decision taken by the University of Belize Faculty and Staff Association at an open forum held on Tuesday at the Jaguar Auditorium in the capital city. The selection of the day [...]

Restore Belize helps to build literacy
Computer skills are a must have in today’s work or school environment. If you have been left behind or simply want to acquire the know- how, Restore Belize in collaboration with the Embassy of Taiwan has launched a computer literacy program. The program is inclusive of all ages and participants simply have to have the [...]

Priest walks the entire country for peace
There was a celebration at St. Martin de Porres Primary School in Belize City this afternoon. The student body gathered in front of the primary school on Partridge Street awaiting their Pastor Father Matt Ruhl. The Jesuit priest returned to a hero’s welcome as he set out thirteen days ago to march for peace. His [...]


41 Year Old Man Arrested For Carnal Knowledge Against A 12 Year Old
A case of Carnal Knowledge has been reported in the Orange Walk District and it involves a 14 year old student. The student, accompanied by her mother, visited the Orange Walk Police Department and reported to police that two years ago when she was 12 years old she went to visit a friend who lived in the same village. The friend, according to the minor, went to buy some snacks and left her alone with a male person. At that instance the man took her into one of the bedrooms where they had sexual intercourse. When the child was 13 years old the act was repeated this time in the month of February 2011. Based on the report police have detained a 41 year old man from the Village of Yo Creek pending charges.

Belize-Mexico Border To Be Strictly Monitored
Five days after members of the Mexican Navy sized 45 kilos of Crystal Meth during a raid conducted at the home of Mexican drug lord of The Pelones in Chetumal, Carlos Cabañas Catzin AKA “El Monstruo”, senior officials of the Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA), the Navy Secretariat and members of the Belize Defense Force met behind closed doors to address issues dealing with security at the border that divides Mexico and Belize in order to wipe out organized crime. Belize was directly involved in the discussion since two Belizean Nationals namely Ermelinda Vasquez and Hugo Cassanova along with six other Mexican Nationals including “El Monstruo” were arrested and charged with drug possession for purposes of sale. Yesterdays meeting also unveiled the importance of coordination of security projects in the region to win the battle against transnational criminal organizations. The Belize Defense Force believes that the completion of the Joint Operations Center in Ladyville, expected to be completed by the end of 2013, will improve the information exchange with Mexico, which will have a capacity of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Security forces of the BDF, the Coast Guard, Customs, Police and Immigration will plan and direct operations from the center of the country. Plans have also been made to open operating bases near the border with support of tactical operations.

BNTU OW Rejects GOB Proposal, Makes A Counter Proposal
Yesterday leaders of the Belize National Teachers Union and Public Service Union met with members of BNTU Orange Walk Branch to discuss in detail Governments proposal on the much anticipated Salary Adjustment. The meeting took place at the La Inmaculada School Auditorium and we understand that no member of the Association of Public Service Senior Manager (APSSM) was present for the consultation. Another important point is that the overall turnout of teachers and other public servants was extremely low. Out of the 400 registered BNTU members in the Orange Walk District; just a little over a hundred partook in the meeting. That’s a turnout of about 25%. But the minority took a stand and flatly rejected Governments proposal and even went further as they made a counter proposal which includes a 10% salary increase for this year. Otilio Munoz, President BNTU O/W “One is the time. We have to understand that the people who are part of the negotiating team are government workers. They are employees as well and they have to be out of their working time to consult with the membership. We cannot be asking for permission from the Government to give us the time off for having this consultation when we are against the proposal of the Government. That is ridiculous and ironic. So because of that they are giving their time and teachers from the villages are not able to come at that time to come to Orange Walk for the meeting. But I can tell you that from since this proposal was out and since we have disseminated this proposal to all members through emails, they have been texting and calling me telling me that they have their opinion and that maybe they will not be able to make it to the meeting. And this is the same sentiment that was cried out yesterday. Even if we did not have the amount of teachers there it is the same sentiment that was brought out yesterday.”

Hon. Mai Calls Out Hon.Vega On Land Grabbing
Yesterday the Prime Minister of Belize reveled to the nation the new terms and conditions of the renegotiated Super bond valued at over a billion Belize dollars and maturing over 25 years ending in 2038. This is 9 years more than the current maturity under the super bond which expires in 2029. The initial interest rate coupon is of 5% per annum from March 2013 to August 2017 and 6.767% per annum from August 2017 to February 2038. According to the Prime Minister there is also a 10% principal haircut which will see approximately BZ$108 million dollars written off the current super bond indebtedness. But inside the House yesterday it was not all about the Super bond, although it was the main order of the day. There were numerous moments when sparks flared and one of them was when Orange Walk South Area Representative Honorable Jose Abelardo Mai questioned Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega about a land deal dating back to 2010. Land deal that saw the involvement of Derrick Gillette, a close ally to the DPM. Honorable Jose Abelardo Mai- Orange Walk South Area Rep “In my hand I have a letter. It is written on the letterhead of the ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. It is dated the twenty-eight of June 2010.And is addressed to one Mister Derek Gillett of Orange Walk. It is signed by one Miss Beverly Castillo, C.E.O. at the time. Mister Speaker, all of us know who Mister Derek Gillett of Orange Walk is; Miser Longanisa Gillett; he makes longanisa. Mister Speaker with your permission I will read this letter—it is a very short letter—and it says here pursuant to the caption matter in which you are involved as interested party, the Ministry of Natural Resources as defendants in the matter offers you the sum one hundred and forty-eight thousand dollars. one hundred and forty-eight thousand dollars to extinguish or withhold all proceedings against the government of Belize and for the return of the parcel seventeen block, Consejo road. Government will then allow the registration of the title to the said parcel of land returned to Mr. Silvio Correa.

Butane Prices Gets Standardized- Is It Good News For You?
Tonight there is some good news and bad news for housewives and restaurant owners. Effective 9th February 2013 both the liquid petroleum gas imported from Mexico and Central America will be sold at the same price. The bad news is that while with the new prices LPG imported from Mexico will see a reduction of one dollar, LPG imported from Central America will see an increase of $8.00 as the price for hundred pound cylinder of butane has been standardized. The new prices are as follows- Orange Walk $118.00, Corozal and Belize City $117.00, Belmopan and San Ignacio $119.00, Benque Viejo $120.00, Dangriga $121.00 and Punta Gorda $122.00. In the past, the Ministry of Trade, Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection conducted periodic reviews of prices based on invoice submissions by the LPG importers. Pricing was traditionally established based on commercial invoices presented by the importers, which was found to not always reflect the quality of the product, which varied by supplier and origin of the product.

More On Pope Benedict XVI
The Catholic Church entered unfamiliar waters on Monday after Pope Benedict the XVI’s shock announcement that he would become the first pontiff to resign in 600 years. The 85 year old Pope told a group of cardinals in a speech in Latin that he will step down on February 28 because he could no longer fulfill his duties in a fast-changing world due to his age and dwindling strength. The announcement shocked the ordinary faithful among the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics and even some of the 50 cardinals who were attending a routine canonization ceremony in the Vatican when Pope Benedict made the statement. It has been reveled that Pope Benedict underwent heart surgery less than three months ago to replace his pacemaker, an operation that was kept out of the public eye. While the surgery went well, reports are that it made the pope reflect on whether he could continue to guide the Church. Here in Belize the announcement also took Catholic faithful by surprise and today as Christians celebrated Ash Wednesday, we spoke to Father Milton Herrera about the Pope’s resignation.

SMART Belize Begins To Give Out Checks To Raffle Winners
Smart Telecommunications Company Limited will celebrate its 8th anniversary on March 29th and what better way to do so than by giving back to its customers. For every 8 minutes customers spend talking on their Smart phone, they automatically enter a raffle to win $800.00 every week leading up to Smart’s 8th Birthday when one lucky winner will receive $8,000. Rosa Godoy from Orange Walk Town is the first winner of the $800.00 raffle and today her niece, Monica Dorado, received the check on her behalf during the Despierta Belice Morning Show. Smart’s Public Relations Officer Ian Courtenay, had the honors of presenting the check. Ian Courtenay, PR Smart “So for every 8 minutes of talk time they are entered into the raffle and every until the 27th of March we are raffling $800 and on the 27th we will be raffling $8,000. It is for all customers. Every Friday we will draw the numbers and at the beginning of the next week we award the prize. The more you use your phone then the more chances you get in the raffle. I will be traveling around the country and I am sure that I will be back here in Orange Walk.”

Ash Wednesday
Today is known as Ash Wednesday and in the Catholic fate it marks the beginning of the Lenten Season. Catholics around the world partake in penance, reflection and fasting in preparation for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday which this year will fall on March 31st. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a reminder and celebration of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered from the burning of the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday. This morning, as hundred of students from La Inmaculada School and other Catholic faithful received their ashes, we spoke to Father Milton Herrera who shared the true meaning of Ash Wednesday and its significance. Milton Herrera, Father “Es un tiempo en que la iglesia se refleja en la necesidad de acercarse a Dios. Miércoles de Ceniza es la preparación para la Pascua y para preparar el corazón para recibir a Jesús Cristo. La palabra de Dios y los que están participando en el evento va a decir que es el momento de acercarse a Dios. Así que la idea es reflexionar sobre la vida que estás viviendo y estar más cerca de Dios.”


Deputy PM says he is ready for Sunday’s convention
The deputy leadership convention for the United Democratic Party is set for this coming Sunday in Corozal. Collet area representative Patrick Faber is challenging the incumbent, Orange Walk North’s Gaspar Vega. Today, the incumbent told reporters that he is confident of victory. The UDP deputy leadership convention will be held at the Andres Campos civic centre in Corozal Town.

Tourism police officers involved in
Tourism police officers are expected to help keep the peace and display a level of hospitality to tourists who visit our shores. But this morning, one such tourism police man was anything but courteous to a fellow Belizean when he allegedly assaulted a woman who conducts business at Anna’s Lunch Box inside the Tourism Village on Fort Street. Love News spoke with three persons who said they saw what transpired. We understand that a surveillance camera fixed just outside the premises might have captured the incident as it unfolded, but when we showed up, the manager in charge of that piece of equipment was not in office.

Police look for Teakettle man
Police are looking for a person in connection to a shooting incident in Teakettle Village in the Cayo District. According to reports, around 7:30 p.m. fifty three year old Albert Usher was at a wake in the village when a male person who he knows for twenty five years reportedly hit him on his head with a bottle wounding him in the process. The man then pulled out a black nine millimeter gun from his pants waist, pointed it at him and pulled the trigger, however the gun misfired.

Honduran national faces deportation from Belize
A Honduran national who was deported from Atlanta, Georgia about two weeks ago, is facing another deportation order, but this time from the Magistrate Court in Belize City. He is 25 year old Nelvin Orellana, a musician from Colon. Orellana was apprehended yesterday by two immigration officers when he got off a bus from Benque Viejo at Novelo’s Bus Terminal in Belize City. Because he looked suspicious, the immigration officers asked him for identification and took him into custody when he could produce a passport or any other means of identification. When he was interviewed, Orellano told the officers that he entered Belize yesterday from Guatemala via the banks of the Mopan River and he was going to cross the border into Mexico and then go to the United States. He also revealed to the officers that he was deported from Atlanta to Honduras about two weeks ago. Orellana was deemed a prohibited immigrant and he pled guilty to the charge when he appeared in court. Magistrate Adolph Lucas ordered him to pay a fine of $1,000.00 forthwith, otherwise he will serve one year imprisonment. Orellana was unable to pay so he was taken to prison. A removal order has been granted for him to be deported to Honduras after he has served his time.

Crime prevention measures discussed in PG
Residents of zone four area of Punta Gorda met with police representatives to discuss issues related to neighbourhood watch program and crime prevention measures. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.

Literacy training facilitated by Restore Belize
Right in line with its mandate to help uplift the lives of youths in Belize, RESTORE Belize has teamed up with Literacy Without Borders to begin training in literacy and numeracy with a number of key non-government organizations who deal with youths. It comes with a handsome donation of the Republic of China, Taiwan, in December of 2012, of 100 computers and accompanying software to carry out the program. Today the program started and Love News stopped in to find out its scope from trainer, Randy Boissonneult, RESTORE Belize Executive Director, Mary Vasquez, and participant, Dr Clara Cuellar, who heads the YMCA. The donation from the Republic of China, Taiwan was almost 319 thousand dollars and the training will end on Thursday.

UNESCO evaluates the Belize Barrier Reef
In 2009, Belize made it on the “Endangered” list of natural heritage sites in the World for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO. Last week, a team from that organization was in Belize to conduct an assessment of Belize’s corrective measures prescribed by UNESCO to improve upon that status. Today Love News checked in with UNESCO’s focal point representative, Fisheries Administrator, Beverly Wade, who let us in on that finding. Belize will be up for another review of the accomplishments to the UNESCO recommendations in 2015.

Details of restructured super bond revealed in parliament
The terms of Belize’s restructured foreign debt, also known as the super bond, were announced today at a special sitting of the House of Representatives in Belmopan. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow introduced the Government of Belize External Debt Restructuring Motion, 2013, explaining that under the New Bonds, the maturity period has been extended by nine years. It starts with an off the top haircut of ten percent write off on the current super bond, which the Prime Minister says, translates into savings for the government and people of Belize, of one hundred and eight million dollars. The New Bonds will attract interest payable in semi-annual coupons starting in August of this year, and stepping up in 2017. Repayment on the principal of 529 million, nine hundred and twenty eight thousand, eight hundred US dollars or just over a billion Belize dollars will start in 2019. According to the details contained in the motion that was debated and passed by the House of Representatives today, the semi-annual interest payment starting this year and continuing for the next four years will be at five percent per annum. When it steps up in 2017, the interest rate will be six point seven percent, representing forty one percent and twenty percent respectively on the stepped up interest rate payments when the two bonds are compared. In his summation of the motion at the start of the debate, Prime Minister Barrow told parliament that the deal brings the much needed debt relief he had been seeking for Belize. The Prime Minister said that bond holders had pressed hard for an earlier repayment of the principal but the renegotiating team was able to hold the line and kept the grace period to six years before, starting in 2019. And there are other benefits for Belize. The Prime Minister also said that government rejected pressures from the bond holders to surrender future revenue as part of the deal. The Prime Minister says that barring a natural disaster, Belize will be able to meet its debt obligations under this less onerous restructured super bond. Prime Minister Barrow says any fiscal benefits derived from the super bond negotiations, will go back to the people of Belize.

BGYEA to hold national demonstration in Belmopan
The Belize Grass Roots Youth Empowerment Association, BGYEA, has gone public in its bid to help poorer Belizeans access their own piece of land. The Association has gone public in praising the Government and criticizing it when they could not see eye to eye on the process. Now BGYEA and the Ministry of Natural Resources have once again hit a deadlock in working out the processes for its members. At a press conference this morning, BGYEA President, Nigel Petillo, criticized the system within the Ministry of having so many loopholes that it yields to quote, “nepotism and cronyism”, unquote. Petillo explained where the communication breakdown occurred between his Association and the Ministry. Today the Minister of Natural Resources, Gaspar Vega, responded to the allegations in this fashion. But it appears that BGYEA is through trying to meet with the Minister or his Representative because today they announced their plan to hold a national demonstration in Belmopan. Petillo says that of the over a thousand people who have tried to own a piece of land at Harmonyville, only five have received their titles so far.

Jose Castellanos explains his abrupt departure from the salary negotiating scene
He has been out of the limelight since just before the unions met with the Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, and his Cabinet two Fridays ago over salary adjustment discussions. But today, the President of the Association of Professional Service Senior Managers, Jose Castellanos, availed himself to the media to explain his abrupt departure from the negotiation process. Castellanos said that his reason to leave the discussions was personal and grounded on health issues, but in hindsight, he added that his early departure was an error in judgment. We asked Castellanos whether he felt he was victimized or will be victimized for his outspoken participation leading up to the negotiations. While he didn’t want to elaborate, he said that he explained his position to the people he represents. Castellanos says that he won’t be on the front line anymore for the APSSM, but that he will provide technical support to the Association for the duration of his presidency. On Friday Castellanos will meet with the Executive Council of the APSSM during which he intends to discuss his future in the Association. His term as President ends next year, but Castellanos has applied for early retirement and he intends to move into the public sector.


Student activist accused of rape
Moses Sulph is a well known activist and face within the media, and tonight a report reaching Plus News is that Sulph is currently being held by Belmopan Police following a report of alleged rape. Information at this time is still forthcoming, but Plus News understands that the incident...

Catholic priest finishes walk for peace
St. Martin de Porres Roman Catholic Church is located in the heart of a crime-ridden area and hosts a school which many neighbourhood children attend. Inspired by the call of Bishop Monsignor Dorrick Wright to “work on finding ways to return Belize to a peaceful and productive nation,” the...

24 year old Keisha Banner receives 6 year sentence for arson
This morning, Justice Troadio Gonzalez handed down a 6 year sentence to a woman convicted of arson. During today’s mitigation plea, two character witnesses spoke on behalf of the convicted – 24 year old Keisha Banner. They, along with her attorney Simeon Sampson testified that Banner is a polite...

Homeless man found dead in Belize City
A man, believed to be homeless, was found dead this morning in Belize City. The deceased, identified as 39 year old Joe Arconilla was found near the Flag Monument, motionless. At this time, Police do not suspect foul play was involved in his death.

Resident of Yo Creek Village under investigation for allegedly having sex with a minor
A 41 year old resident of Yo Creek Village is under investigation for allegedly having sex with a minor. The 14 year old girl told Police that when she was 12 years old, she visited a friend in the village and when her friend went to the store, she...

Importance of parents highlighted at conference
Importance of parents highlighted at conference. The Ministry of Human Development today began a three-day conference in Belize City concerning, all things, parenting. More specifically, the conference seeks to organize and streamline the ad hoc groups teaching parenting education around the country. Acting Director of the Department of Human...

Israel Betancourt Perez charged for Attempted Murder
Police have made an arrest in Monday’s near-fatal brawl in San Ignacio Town. The bizarre incident occurred after Jose Pineda violated a restraining order against him and visited his ex-common law wife’s place of business. As we reported, Mariana Galvez, the owner of Mariana’s Bar, told Police that on...

Dangriga resident charged for firearm offences
Dangriga Police have arrested and charged a resident for possessing gun ammunitions without a gun license. The arrest came after Police conducted a search at the home of Thomas Ramos, a 32 year old laborer of the town, where they discovered three .22 live rounds of ammunition. Because Ramos...

Aggravated assault in Teakettle Village
Belmopan Police are investigating an aggravated assault that occurred in Teakettle Village. The incident happened this past Sunday at a wake, and according to the victim, 53 year old Albert Usher, he was attacked by someone he has known for 25 years. Usher told Police that while at a...

Stolen vehicle recovered in Santa Elena
A stolen vehicle has been recovered in Santa Elena Town. A businessman and resident of the area reported that upon leaving the San Ignacio Hotel and Casino, where he was socializing with friends, he noticed that his vehicle was missing from the parking lot. The vehicle, valued at $12,000,...

Three charged for firearm offences
A routine patrol on the Arenal Road has resulted in the firearm-related arrests of three persons. The men were intercepted by the Mobile Interdiction Team, where a search of their vehicle was conducted. An unlicensed pistol was found hidden under the front passenger seat. The occupants of the vehicle...

GSU recover stolen items at a home in Belize City
GSU have recovered stolen items at a home in Belize City. Among the items recovered were $1,800 US dollars and an assortment of electronic items and jewellery. Police have since charged 20 year Lloyd Parchue, Kareem Yorke and Cilo Cherrington who are both 22 years of age, and a...

OCEANA to appeal referendum strike-out
OCEANA to appeal referendum strike-out. In December, environmental organization OCEANA and citizens Audrey Bradley and Tom Greenwood lost their case against the Government of Belize on a technicality. OCEANA and its partners had gathered over 21,000 signatures on a petition to trigger the referendum, but 8,047 were rejected because...

Decrease in the price of butane gas
The Belize Bureau of Standards announced a decrease in the price of 100lb cylinder butane gas, which came into effect on February 9th. The new costs per 100 cylinder are as follows: $117.00 for Corozal and Belize City consumers, $118.00 for Orange Walk, in Belmopan and San Ignacio the... U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation Awarded to Santa Rita Archaeological Park Conservation Project. Each year since 2001, through its U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Cultural Heritage Center has assisted eligible countries in preserving their cultural heritage. ...

Teachers and public officers will not get what they thought they had bargained for
Jose Castellanos, says, there is more to GOB salary proposal than meets the eye. Castellanos said that despite the union’s best intentions, GOB has been very crafty about how it intends to follow through on the adjustment and as a result, teachers and public officers will not get what...


A Tale of Five Cities: Route Reversal (Part 4)
Today's travel would take us from Merida back to Tulum, in the Quintana Roo state of Mexico. But first, breakfast! We decided to try the restaurant at our hotel (the Hotel Maria del Carmen). They had an absolutely huge buffet, but I didn't think I'd get my money's worth since I'd been eating light after my brush with Montezuma's Revenge, and my appetite still wasn't back to normal. Barry also passed on the buffet since he said it looked very heavy. So, he enjoyed hotcakes and fruit, and I had plain scrambled eggs, still babying my stomach a bit. Thus fortified, we took one final walk up to the Paseo de Montejo. Looks like a festival was coming up, as this electronic billboard was not there the first time we came through. Tulum was busier than when we were here before, with the end of the Mayan calendar just two days away. We were awfully glad to have reservations at the Secret Garden Hotel. We walked right on over from the bus terminal and checked in. The room we were in this time had a sink and dorm-size fridge. It was nice to be able to keep our water bottles cold. Few hotels in Mexico have fridges in the room, at least the ones we stayed in, which tended to be older. This was the one and only fridge of our entire trip.

Belize in Love
If you have come down to crunch time and are still wondering what to do for Valentines this post has you covered. Lara Goldman of Romantic Travel Belize and Rosie Syme from Glow Belize make great handmade Island Style crafts that are perfect for Valentines day. You can even do one stop shopping and find both at Belizean Melody Art Galley on front street. Glow candles are also available at San Pedro Books located upstairs in Vilma Linda plaza. Lara tells a bit about how she came to start making her one of a kind island style romantic crafts. I used to be a crafter when i lived in the states, and had a whole room dedicated to just crafting, sewing, and home DIY projects. I knew I missed doing “something” with my spare time that was creative and useful, but without a craft store, magazine stand or other inspirational add-ons here in Belize, I just never got started. Then one day I went on, I saw a ‘drift wood mirror’ and I thought – I could do that here! So, I went to Caye Supplies, and low and behold…they had a HUGE selection of crafting items!(I could NOT believe they had so much!…almost all of it’s gone, and lord knows when they’ll get more, glad I totally stocked up!)

Photo Essay: Take Me on a Cayo Adventure
Belize‘s current road warrior, Norbert from was looking for an adventure and asked the guys at Chaa Creek to show him around for the day. Through this photo essay you’ll witness a collection of iPhone photos that showcase how incredible our Cayo adventure was.

VIDEO: Belize Designing A Nation
Story about the new Belize Logo

We are ALL winners really!!
The annual Raggamuffin Awards were held on Monday night. The idea behind this evening is for Management to thank the staff for their hard work over the year and to recognize six of the crew members for outstanding performance. Raggamuffin is now a very large and very well oiled machine and I believe from the bottom of my heart that each and every single employee has a small but SIGNIFICANT part in her success. Without consistency of excellence throughout the team, Raggamuffin’s reputation would not be what it is today. The evening commenced with cocktails and conch ceviche, followed by a Belizean favorite being turkey and ham with rice and beans and potato salad (not forgetting delicious cranberry, onion sauce and gravy!!). The focal point of the evening were the Awards which were presented by owners Jimmy and Charlie Jones.

I Believe I Can Fly
I spent most of the morning reviewing some responses to a RFP (request for proposal) that a friend of mine in the UK is reviewing in respect of the award of a contract to provide services for the company he works for. I haven’t done this type of stuff since moving to Ambergris Caye last May. But, a bit like riding a bike, I soon got back into the groove and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Wouldn’t want to do it full-time again though! Whilst I was focusing on this Rose was focusing on the house plans to draw up the discussion/action points for our weekly meeting on Friday with Daniel Camal the building contractor for our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize. What you might call a division of labour. I finished my review and then Rose ran me through the points she had itemised for the meeting. Obviously I agreed with them! With our respective tasks completed we set off to attend the lunch that Peter Lawrence (Pedro’s Hotel)had invited us to as a precursor to watching the Champions League game between Real Madrid and Manchester United. On the way there we stopped off at Wine de Vine to buy a bottle of Merlot ( for the price conscious /interested readers it cost BZ$42).

Carolyn Trench-sandiford on Belize – Guatemala – ICJ
3 Reasons Why I will vote NO TO THE ICJ… Belize is a sovereign and independent nation and country with its boundaries defined by possession and its constitution. For generations, Guatemala has inculcated in the psychic of its people and by action that by right Belize is a part of Guatemala. The recent fiasco at the OAS meeting in Washington with Guatemala blatantly displaying a map of Guatemala including Belize is a testament to this. TIME AND CONSEQUENCE HAVE NOT CHANGED THIS. Neither will any decision of the ICJ change this unless such decision gives Guatemala what they perceive is theirs. - Carolyn Trench-sandiford 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.

International Sources

Government won’t probe of DEA raid in Honduras
Despite pleas from liberal lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the State and Justice departments have no intention of investigating purported human-rights violations and misconduct by Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Honduras, The Washington Times has learned. Four Honduran villagers, including two women and a 14-year-old boy, were killed during a May 2012 drug interdiction operation in Ahuas, a municipality on the northeast Caribbean coast. The incident has for months prompted questions from human-rights groups and lawmakers demanding to know the extent to which DEA agents — deployed to Honduras to mentor local counternarcotics teams — were involved. While a probe conducted by the Honduran government last year cleared the DEA of any wrongdoing, 58 House Democrats recently sent a letter to Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. calling the probe “deeply flawed.” The Jan. 30 letter, which exposed a rift between the Obama administration and progressives on Capitol Hill, called for a new “thorough and credible investigation” to be opened into what role — if any — the DEA played. But the Obama administration apparently is satisfied by the findings of the earlier Honduran government probe. “There will be no separate investigation,” a U.S. official told The Washington Times this week.

Fox News Picks Belize and Chaa Creek as a Warm Weather Destination for the Winter Months
The Lodge at Chaa Creek , Belize's award winning adventure resort has been selected as a top warm weather destination to visit for the winter months by, according to Chaa Creek’s Marketing Administrator Larry Waight. “At this point in the season we’re all more than ready for some sun and high temperatures. You only need to check your friends’ Facebook statuses to know that you’re not the only one who’s feeling a little cranky about the recent cold snap. Heading to Miami, or an island in the Caribbean, may be the easiest way to escape the winter chills” asserts the article entitled “Escape the cold: 5 warm-weather destinations for the winter months” which was published on February 8th. “It was interesting to be reading the news and seeing Belize come up as one of Fox News warm weather destination to visit for the winter months,” Mr Waight said.

February 13, 2013


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The San Pedro Sun

Jorge Olivarez Wins Valentine Regatta
Valentine's Regatta WinnersOn Sunday, February 10, the wind was blowing just south of due east at a brisk 10 knots, gusting to 15, and the waters off Isla Bonita were a bit choppy. For twenty-two intrepid members of the San Pedro Junior Sailing Team, these conditions were ideal. They took to their boats for the Valentine’s Regatta, held on a course off Caribbean Villas, which provided food and drinks and live music during the regatta. The sailors were divided into four groups of 5 or six. Each group raced a 2-lap and a 1-lap race. Jorge Olivares, Kevin Velasquez, and Christian Trejo all took first in both of their races, which qualified them for the final. Racing against each other, Jerdon Anderson and Davin Puc finished 1st and 2nd,, respectively, in their first heat. Then Davin took 1st and Jerdon 2nd in their second heat. Both of them qualified for the final. Faith Noel, who twice finished in 2nd place behind Jorge Olivares, became a finalist, as did Zulema Ayala, who took 2nd twice behind Christian Trejo.

Career Day hosted at San Pedro High School
Secondary education is a very important step in students’ lives, especially when it comes to making decisions on the career they envision for their future. Career Day is an event that is held at many high schools throughout the country in an effort to familiarize students with the many professions available. Friday February 8th was the final day of San Pedro High School’s (SPHS) Career week. For one week, different workers from the community visited second and fourth form classes to give them an insight on the job market, and the various fields of work available. Second year students were especially spotlighted as they are at the cusp of deciding on the courses they will take for their final two years of high school. Students of SPHS can choose academic (science), business or general studies. As for the seniors, they have the hard task of deciding whether to further their studies or join the work force.

20lb Permit – Catch of the Day!
Omar Arceo of Omar’s Freelance Fishing shared some photos of an incredible 20-pound Permit caught at Cayo Rosario. Also known as the Rosary Flat, the caye is an amazing – and in Omar’s words: “majestic” – flat that provides all kinds of great sports fishing. The large permit was caught on Friday, February 8th, and is only one of the eight caught that week during several tours.

Ambergris Today

Travelling Statue of Our Lady of Fatima Visits San Pedro
Catholic faithfuls gathered at the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church for the 2nd Pilgrimage of the Travelling Statue of Our Lady of Fatima to Belize which took place on Monday, February 11, 2013. The statue of Our Lady of Fatima arrived in San Pedro on Monday, February 11, 2013, at 3:30p.m. and was transported the San Pedro RC Church for the official coronation and rosary in her honor. A special mass took place at 6:00p.m. which included readings in both English and Spanish, presentation of petitions to Our Lady of Fatima and a special dance tribute by the San Pedro Dance Company. After the evening prayers a procession followed through the streets of San Pedro at 8:00p.m. Before the statue of Our Lady Fatima left San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, there was an early morning procession and blessing of the boats that took place.

Misc Belizean Sources

Soul Revolution Exhibit
The new Soul Revolution Exhibit at the Cayo Soul Project opened Saturday to much fanfare, and with live music from Walter Castillo and some great food. Here's the first round of pictures of some of the new art on display. This Friday, they'll have the Night of Expressive Talents, where they'll have live music, poetry readings, modeling, and face painting.

The Flavors of Belize Magazine for 2013 has been released, and it's now available online. Cayo has a section, and it starts on page 44. The restaurants at Hidden Valley Inn, Mystic River, and Chaa Creek are highlighted. "In 2009, McNab Publishing Ltd., launched Flavors of Belize - The Magazine, Belize's first comprehensive culinary periodical. Unique among all the cuisines of the world, Belizean foods are a remarkable collaboration between peoples and generations, ingredients and cooking styles from Belize's most valuable asset ... its people. Flavors of Belize is the most beautiful and comprehensive compilation of Belizean recipes and culture ever assembled."

Grandma Marie's Bread & Butter Pudding
This bread and butter pudding is so delectable and delicious. The custard on the bottom of the pudding is soft and sweet and gelatinous. The top layer is crunchy and crispy.

Channel 7

Almost Out Of Superbond-age: Belize Gets Ready To Launch Bond Offering
The Superbond 2.0 is days away from launching and - if everything goes as planned - weeks away from being finalized. The final terms were announced today at the House of Representatives where the only business was the Government of Belize External Debt Restructuring Motion. In presenting the bill, The Prime Minister - as Minister of Finance outlined the terms of the offer for the new bonds valued at over a billion Belize dollars and maturing over 25 years. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "A 25 year maturity ending in 2038. This is 9 years more than the current maturity under the super bond which expires in 2029, so there is 9 years more and the new bonds have a maturity trajectory of 25 years to expire in 2038. Second key feature Mr. Speaker, there is a 10% principal haircut off the top, so immediately approximately BZ$108 million dollars is to written off the current super bond indebtedness." "Third, Mr. Speaker. The initial interest rate coupon is for 5% lasting for 4.5 years stepping up then to 6.788% for the remaining life of the new bonds. Recollect that the present interest rate under the super bond is 8.5%. Now Mr. Speaker the estimate of debt service reductions resulting from the new terms negotiated by GOB are as follows: BZ$22 million dollars in 2012; BZ$66 million dollars in 2013; BZ$236 million dollars during the 5 year period 2013-2017 and BZ$494 million dollars during the 10 year period 2013-2022. The deal we have negotiated see us come out finally at a net present value 56.75 cents on each super bond dollar or a reduction in net present value terms of over 43%."

Three Sides And More To Cayo "Knock-Down" Story
And so that's it for Superbond news - we'll have more from the house meeting a little later, but first to what happened in the corridors of the National Assembly Building. That's where we got to speak to PUP Cayo North Representative Joseph Mahmud. The first time representative has been in the news because over the weekend, 17 year old Michael Valdez claims he was run over by a man driving his pickup truck on his family's property. The teenager and his aunt told us Mahmud was on the scene - but Mahmud sent out a statement yesterday flatly denying that. Today we put the question squarely to him and his answer was firm, while also pointing in another direction: Jules Vasquez "You sent out statement yesterday denying any involvement but both the victim and the aunt have put you at the scene. Were you at the scene physically at any point?" Hon. Joseph Mahmud, PUP Cayo North Representative "That is clearly stated in the press release that at no point in time I was in or near the vehicle during the time of the incident. I was not involved."

Harmonyville Calls For Protest Against GOB
9 Months ago, Nigel Petillo, the President of the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association, B(I)GYEA, told us at 7News that the plans for his fledgling community, Harmonyville were moving along briskly. But today, Petillo and his organization, along with other activists and supporters called a press conference to announce that things have changed. And now, they want the nation to support them in a national Demonstration. He wants the public to join his group in making a statement against the alleged structural resistance and foot-dragging which exists at the Lands Department. Here's what he had to say at that press conference: Nigel Petillo - President, BGYEAH "An amount of 1,300 plus acres of land was issued to us. We surveyed that land at our own expense at over half a million Belizean dollars, at the expense of the grassroots people, without a cent from the Government up to date, not in assistance in infrastructure or anything. We have done it on our own. And that's why I believe in the grassroots people because I know that you all can do it."

Vega Says He Doesn't Have Any Holdup With Harmonyville
So now the pressure is on Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega. Today in Belmopan, he told us he's not sure what they're talking about, because he doesn't have anybody's land papers backed up on his desk:.. Jules Vasquez "They say that you abandoned them and that you are dragging your feet." Hon. Gaspar Vega "I don't know Jules how to answer that. We, I usually signed all the files that come to my desk. I don't check to see if the come from PG or Orange Walk or Harmonyville or wherever they may come from. As far as I know once they pay for their land everyone will get their titles. We have a time period right now of about two months that once you pay for your land you will get your title. When it was transferred to this new system that we introduce - it probably got prolong for about another 30 days. But that was it, it's nothing like what it was 10 years ago when it used to take years before you get that title." Jules Vasquez "But Harmonyville you know is a special case. I know you have had to meet with them so many times."

Finally! Castellanos Speaks
And while Honourable Vega says he doesn't have anything backed up on his desk, the question we've been asking is whether APSSM President Jose Castellanos has cleared his desk. He said he resigned from the Negotiating Team due to intimidation; the Prime Minister says it's because he got an early retirement on medical grounds, which he had requested. Today, Castellanos was making the media rounds and 7News caught up with him to have him respond to the PM's version of events: Reporter "When you had your press conference along with the other unions, you presented you own figures and you guys were confident that you could have gotten a salary adjustment based on projections for next year. Now it seems the government is saying this is not possible unless we have a surplus in revenues. Where is the disparity there?" Jose Castellanos, APSSM President "What we were saying at that time was the numbers that we had on hand. Sometime I and the financial secretary will have to meet and reconcile those figures. I would assume that on the meeting on Friday the government made a convincing argument that they didn't have the funds." Reporter "But if you were there you would have....?" Jose Castellanos, APSSM President "I would have questioned them and ask for their assumptions, I would have change the variable from growth in the current revenue to actual recurrent revenue and there is a big difference between both of them. I just explain on the radio and TV what it means."

Two Cayo Men Critical After Separate Incidents
Tonight, Jose Pineda - the Cayo resident from San Ignacio Town - is still in a coma at the KHMH. Last night we reported the account that Mariana Galvez gave police. She said that Pineda went into the bar after her - ignoring a restraining order, and he was then badly beaten by a man trying to defend her. When it was over, Pineda lay unconscious: suffering from injuries to his face and bleeding from the nose. Pineda was transferred from the San Ignacio Community Hospital to the KHMH where he is now on life support in a critical condition. Tonight the family of Pineda claims that the official story of what happened on Sunday morning is not quite right. They believe that their loved one was forced into a vehicle and then taken to Mariana's bar where he was badly beaten up. Here is there account. Voice of: Ana Kalassen - Sister of Jose Pineda "Saturday morning he was working as a DJ at Piache when someone called him outside. They called his the first time but he didn't want to go and so they called him again and that was when he went. When he went outside the club, they held a knife behind his back and told him to get into a vehicle. They drove him to Mariana's Bar and told him that he needs to see Mariana. He said no, he didn't want to see her and wanted nothing to do with her. They told him that Mariana Galvez paid them to kill him but they will only beat him. Mariana was with my brother at one point and they have one child together but have been separated for two months. There is also a restraining order in effect which is why he hired them to go get him and bring him to her, that way police will not do anything. And after they beat him, she told the men to leave him there because no one will find him. He was bleeding and unconscious and the doctor said that they hit him in the head with something hard like steal."

Taxi Driver Critical, Beaten In Front Of Teenaged Son
And just an hour after Jose Pineda was beaten into a coma - the same thing happened another Cayo man. Pedro Choc, a taxi driver of San Ignacio Town was badly beaten by 3 men around 3am on Sunday morning. Choc, who was on the job that morning, picked up the 3 men who asked to be dropped off at Legends Bar on Bullet Tree Road. Before reaching the spot, Choc drove into a ditch and that was where he was badly beaten in front of his 16 year old son. Tonight he is listed in a critical condition at the KHMH where his wife told us, they are still holding on to hope. Voice of: Elena Choc - husband in critical condition "As far as I know he was going to drop off 3 guys on Bullet Tree Road in front of Legends. When I got a call that my husband went into a drain. I saw it that they were trying to jack him because he called my brother to come quick because he needs to pull the vehicle out from the drain. My brother got there quick and the 3 guys were there with him as like they were hanging out together. They just stand on the side while my brother got under the vehicle to try and pull it out. While he was under the vehicle he said that he saw my husband drop, but my son was right there beside him also. My son saw one of the guys pick up a 2x4 board and whap my husband in his head. Right now he has a fractured skull and he has brain hemorrhage, he is under life support. We are just praying for the best." Monica Bodden "Did they stole anything?" Voice of: Elena Choc - husband in critical condition "We can't say if they went with anything. I haven't look in the vehicle yet but my son yes he did. He found some money scattered in the vehicle."

HC Yapp Was Sent Home For No Good Reason, Wants Compensation
If you follow the news closely, you may remember the name John Yapp. He's the former British High Commissioner to Belize who was stripped of his post and sent back home. His crime? He was accused of behaving quote, "inappropriately towards women at official functions", specifically, touching the backside of a politician's wife. So, in June of 2008, after a lifetime in the British diplomatic service, he was sent home and given a lower post. The allegation was later found to be baseless by a disciplinary panel. And now, Yapp - who never worked as an ambassador again, wants compensation of one million pounds from the British Government. According to the British paper, the Telegraph, the British Foreign Office's failure to support him triggered a major mental breakdown, leaving him suffering from depression. The Telegraph reports that Yapp feels his superiors should have waited to hear his side of the story before he was withdrawn from his post on the strength of "bizarre and outlandish" accusations. The hearing in the High Courts of England continues.

Did Tourism Cop Get Out Of Hand With Female?
Tonight, another complaint of police brutality came to our newsroom. It allegedly happened near the San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi establishment, more widely known as Brown Sugar. The owner of Ana's Lunch Box was allegedly roughed up by officers from the Tourism Police. According to eyewitnesses, she was driving against the flow of traffic on North Front Street, which viewers may know is under heavy construction. She allegedly disrespected one of the officers when she was warned, and that's when a male officer allegedly slammed her against a vehicle before arresting her. Here's how those eyewitnesses described the entire scene: Melanie Gladden, Eyewitness "It looks like the lady came up stop and they came and they told the lady that they will take her. She puts her hand behind her back and let them take her. The man slammed the lady into the vehicle there and starts to rough up the lady. Another one came and told me that he will slam me too because I was recording the incident. The police are chancey." Reporter "She wasn't answering back or giving any kind of resistance?" Melanie Gladden, Eyewitness "She put her hands behind her back and told them to take her if they want to."

As we showed you last night, the executive and the affairs of the Belize Cycling Association remain in a state of suspension because elections are pending. Jose Manuel Peleaz Rodriguez, The President of the governing body for the sport, COPACI, is in Belize to oversee those elections, but as members of the community may be aware, there is a battle for control of the association. And the immediate effect of this is that the cycling calendar remains shrouded in uncertainty, which directly affects the athletes. So yesterday, 7News asked the incumbent president, Emil Moreno, if the Valentine Classic, which is usually scheduled for the weekend nearest to February 14, is going to happen this year. Emil Moreno "I was approached by Raymond Cattouse from C-ray Cycling Club with interest to have the Valentine Classic. Last week Friday I was informed by him that members of the association namely Benny's Cycling team and Santino's Cycling team will boycott the race should the race happen. Of course this has happen before; they have boycott the Banana Classic and have been spreading the rumor that there is no president and there should be no race under my administration. Of course the UCI recognizes myself as the president and the executive body. "

Dillon Jones may be Belize's best known comedian - and now he's organizing a show called "Drama Meets Stand Up". It's scheduled for this Friday at the Bliss, and he told us today that he has gotten the well-known Trinidadian comedian, Errol Fabien, on the line-up for the evening. Both Jones and Fabien told us this evening why you should come out for the show: Dillon Jones "This Friday the 15th of February Valentines its "Drama meets Stand Up" and we are coming live from the Bliss and it is a pleasure to introduce to the country Mr. Errol Fabien all the way from Trinidad. We called him Trinidad master of laughter. He is going to be at the Bliss along with drama artist like Joseph Stamp, Patrick McPherson, Ava Kelly, Colin Smith, so it's going to be a combination of drama and stand up. Lionel Mangar from Cayo will be there along with myself will be performing." Errol Fabien "It's great to be in Belize and I am looking forward for everyone coming out on Friday 15th - to come and laugh." The show starts at 7:30 p.m., with tickets for $25 from Jones or from the Bliss Center.

Last week we reported on the sudden shift in the Department of Immigration - where Director Ruth Meighan was quite suddenly removed. Her minister, Godwin Hulse said he would have wished that she could stay on - as they had worked closely together. In a way, that seemed to offer some validation to the rumour that his Minister of State Penner had her pushed out. Today we asked the Prime Minister, was she indeed pushed? Here's what he had to say:.. Jules Vasquez "Sir, will Honorable Elvin Penner become the full Minister of Immigration? He remains Minister of State. I understand that a Cabinet decision was taken to transfer Ruth Meighan the director. Was that a decision because of his dissatisfaction with her?" Prime Minister Dean Barrow "No sir, there is a lady Mrs. Castillo who has resigned from the service. She used to be Commissioner of GST I believe and she had occupied a particular sort of head of unit position in the Ministry of Finance. Her resignation has left that position open. It appears to us that Mrs. Meighan is well qualified, so that's the reason for that lateral transferred."

Also in Belmopan today, we got to speak to the UDP Deputy Party Leader Gaspar Vega about Sunday's Convention. Within the party, the run-up to the event is intense with all sides scrambling for support in this high stakes contest. Indeed, Vega is the first sitting Deputy Prime Minister in memory to face a challenge within his party. Today he seemed cool and confident, but not overly so. Hon. Gaspar Vega "In this case I have been visiting people around the entire country especially the delegates, so I feel confident." Jules Vasquez "Sir, you need 275-280 roughly to win. Would you make a prediction on a margin?" Hon. Gaspar Vega "I will definitely get over 300." About 560 delegates will vote in the UDP convention.

And while Vega was cool in his review of what's happening in the race for Deputy he got a little hot under the collar in the House when PUP Orange Walk South Representative Jose Mai brought up a big money transaction between the Ministry of Natural Resources and one of Vega's biggest supporters. Here's the allegation and the response:.. Hon. Abelardo Mai "Mr. Speaker in my hand I have a letter, it is written on the letterhead; the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment. It is dated the 28th June 2010 and is address to one Mr. Derrick Gillett of Orange Walk. It is signed by one Ms. Beverly Castillo; it says CEO at the time. It's a very short letter and it said here: Pursuant to the caption matter in which you are involve as interested party the Ministry of natural Resources as defendants in the matter offers you the sum of $148,000 to extinguish or withhold all proceedings against the government of Belize Ministry of Natural Resources this matter and for the return of the parcel 1817 block Consejo Road. Government would then allow the registration of the title to the said parcel of land returned to Mr. Silvio Correa." "It goes on to apologized to inconveniences caused to Mr. Gillett. Mr. Speaker in context we have to understand and we have to know here. Everybody in Corozal and Orange Walk knows that this land never belong to Mr. Derrick Gillett. There was an attempt to take away the land from Mr. Silvio Correa that has invested more than $30,000 in the land. There was an attempt to try to take away the land. It ended up in court and as a result Mr. Speaker Mr. Derrick Gillett was offered $148,000 for not even investing a dollar on a piece of land - $148,000 of tax payers' money."

Channel 5

Superbond restructure passes through House
The House of Representatives passed in one sitting today, the terms of the restructured superbond; it goes before the Senate this Wednesday. The Opposition complained it had not been privy nor consulted on the new debt terms of the one billion Belize dollar superbond so there was little debate on the bond itself and by [...]

Mahmud blames U.D.P. for vehicle crashing into youth
A vehicle ran over a Cayo youth following a wedding celebration over the weekend. At one a.m. on Sunday, a photo was taken of a boy pinned under a vehicle in an overgrown area off a dirt road on Log Cab Inns Resort. The vehicle was alleged driven by one Desmond Berry and the owner [...]

A.P.S.S.M.’s Jose Castellanos reappears from hiatus
Since he withdrew from salary adjustments negotiations, A.P.S.S.M. President, Jose Castellanos, had not been heard from, but this morning he agreed to an interview to talk numbers.  And Castellanos says Government’s proposal presented to union leaders needs to be clearly examined. That proposal was made just three days after thousands of very vocal and determined [...]

Castellanos wants retirement deferred
Jose Castellanos was considered the ‘numbers’ man of the negotiating team, but he withdrew just one day before that team was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Barrow to hear government’s proposal. There was much speculation surrounding his departure, including allegations of personal political attacks as well as state sanctioned and orchestrated intimidation at his [...]

Consultations deflate at B.N.T.U. meetings; P.M. waits
The government proposal would allow public officers and teachers to receive salary adjustments from 2014 to 2017, but the adjustments would only be implemented if the government has a surplus of revenues in the years to come. The union leaders have had consultations with several district branches, but some who have shown up to the [...]

Los Pelones, Sinaloa Cartel and 2 Belizeans in Mexico
Tonight there is little more detail coming out of Mexico City regarding the arrest on Thursday evening of eight persons in Chetumal. Those persons, six males and two females, were found at the house of a man Mexican authorities claim is the head of Los Pelones, a brutal enforcement gang linked to the Sinaloa Cartel. [...]

Will Faber or Vega win as U.D.P. Deputy Party Leader?
Minister of State, Mark King was involved in a casino brawl and has been criminally charged; he is the second U.D.P. minister to be suspended from ministerial duties.  We asked our viewers if, instead of a three month suspension, should King be removed as a Minister of State? An overwhelming eighty percent voted yes while [...]

Anna’s Lunch Box owner roughed up by cops
Fifty-seven year old Anna McKay, proprietor of Anna’s Lunch Box at Brown Sugar compound near Fort Street Tourism Village was allegedly roughed by a tourism police. But instead of offering her relief, she says she was handcuffed and escorted to the police station for charges. It all happened this morning in the hustle and bustle [...]

Finnegan implies Mark Espat dah U.D.P.
During this morning’s house sitting, the Minister of Housing Michael Finnegan rose to speak about the restructured bond giving his praise for the leader of the debt negotiating team, Mark Espat. Espat, the former P.U.P. Area Representative for the Albert Division.  Finnegan gave the impression to the members of the House that it may be [...]

Mai on Vega for land deal; Vega on Mai for contraband
Area representatives did not spend too much time discussing and debating the budget. They instead focused on issues particular to their districts. Jose Mai, P.U.P.’s Orange Walk South Area Representative, read a letter about a land deal—allegedly gone sour—at the hands of Minister of Natural Resources and Deputy P.M. Gaspar Vega. Vega denied any wrong [...]

BGYEA demonstration for land titles
The issue of land was also at the center of a press conference this morning in Belize City. The grassroots organization, BGYEA, says it will head to Belmopan to protest the slow delivery of land titles to residents of the Harmonyville community. Nigel Petillo has been on the frontlines and says that he has had [...]

Dispute between estranged couple lands man in coma
An altercation at a San Ignacio bar over the past weekend ended badly for Jose Pineda. It happened between sometime around two-thirty on Sunday morning at a bar owned by thirty-three year old Mariana Galvez, who is estranged from Pineda. According to police reports, Galvez claimed that Pineda assaulted a patron who had asked for [...]

Cayo cab driver comatose after beaten
A taxi operator from San Ignacio is tonight in a coma at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after he was hit on the head with a piece of wood on Saturday morning. Sometime around three a.m., forty-two year old Pedro Ch’oc was carrying a fare when it is alleged that he was attacked by his [...]

Honduran immigrant illegal in Belize
  A Honduran national who entered Belize illegally has been caught while trying to make his way to the United States. Twenty-five year old Nelvin Rodriquez Orellana appeared in court unrepresented before Magistrate Adolph Lucas where he was read a single charge for illegal entry and has been deemed a prohibited immigrant. He was fined [...]

Former British High Commission sues his government
  John Yapp is a former British High Commissioner who was suddenly withdrawn from Belize back in 2008 when he was accused of behaving inappropriately towards women at an official function.  The incident reportedly involved Kim Simpliss and Lauren Reardon.   Yapp was recalled to the Foreign Office and never given another ambassadorial appointment. He retired [...]


Details of Super Bond Presented In The House of Representatives
The terms of Belize’s restructured foreign debt, also known as the super bond, were announced today at a special sitting of the House of Representatives in Belmopan. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow introduced the Government of Belize External Debt Restruc...

Lead Negotiator Apologizes To Unions For Leaving the Negotiation Process for Salary Increase
He has been out of the limelight since just before the unions met with the Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, and his Cabinet two Fridays ago over salary adjustment discussions. But today, the President of the Association of Professional Service Senior Managers, Jose Castellanos, avail...

Vega Predicts Victory In The UDP's Upcoming Deputy Party Leader Convention
The deputy leadership convention for the United Democratic Party is set for this coming Sunday in Corozal. Collet area representative Patrick Faber is challenging the incumbent, Orange Walk North’s Gaspar Vega. Today, the incumbent told reporters that he is confident ...

Punta Gorda Police Meets With Citizens For Crime Prevention
Residences of Zone four area of Punta Gorda met with police representatives to discuss issues related to Neighbourhood watch program and crime prevention measures. The Zone four areas include Punta Gorda residents living in the southern section of town known as cemetery area. The m...

Motor Vehicle Stolen Off Hotel's Parking Lot
A theft was reported yesterday in San Ignacio Town. A businessman from Santa Elena reported that yesterday around 12:30 a.m, he went to the Princess Casino on Buena Vista Street in San Ignacio to socialize with friends. He parked his red 1991 Dodge Caravan in the parking lo...

Village Wake Disrupted By Shooting Incident
Police are looking for a person in connection to a shooting incident in Teakettle Village in the Cayo District. According to reports, around 7:30 p.m. fifty three year old Albert Usher was at a wake in the village when a male person who he knows for twenty five years reportedly h...

Honduran National Deported From Belize Two Weeks After Facing Deportation From US
A Honduran national who was deported from Atlanta, Georgia about two weeks ago, is facing another deportation order, but this time from the Magistrate Court in Belize City. He is 25 year old Nelvin Orellana, a musician from Colon. Orellana was apprehended yesterday by two immigration o...


Melin Vasquez And Hugo Cassanova Plea Not Guilty In Chetumal Court
The eight individuals including the Mexican drug lord of The Pelones in Chetumal, Carlos Cabañas Catzin AKA “El Monstruo” and Belizean Nationals Ermelindo (Melin) Vasquez from Orange Walk and Hugo Cassanova from Calcutta, Corozal who were detained on Thursday of last week by the Mexican Navy during a planned raid in Chetumal Quintana Roo, have surrendered their initial statement to the Sixth District Court. The raid led navel personnel to 45 kilograms of the synthetic drug known as crystal meth with a value of at least 11 million pesos, almost U.S $1,000,000.00 in the black market. Approximately 50 thousand doses of the substance were ready for distribution and retail marketing. According to the Mexican Newspapers Carlos Cabañas Catzin, Nestor Alberto Catzin Cabañas, Luis Juárez López, Alejandro Lugo Courtenay, Fabiola Lopez Juarez, Patricia Rosa Morales Olán, Hugo Casanova and Ermelindo Vazquez, have pled not guilty to the charge of drug possession for the purpose of sale. At the hearing yesterday, the defendants denied knowing anything about the 45 kilos of drugs or being the owners for that matter. We understand that the accused also stated that they were illegally detained and requested the extension of the constitutional term of 72 to 144 hours, to prove their innocence. It was also reported that the evidence provided by the elements of the Mexican Navy were concrete and solid. The future and the legal status of the alleged drug traffickers now lies in the hands of the Sixth District Court who will determine weather the eight accused will be sent to prison or will be set free.

PM Barrow Says that If Oil Is Found Then Teachers Will Receive Salary Increase But Oil Company Says "NO OIL NO DE!"
On February 1st, after a massive teacher’s demonstration in Belmopan, the Prime Minister of Belize met with leaders of the Public Service Union, Belize National Teachers Union and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers in order to reach to an agreement as it pertains to the salary dispute. During the meeting there was a breakthrough and presently union leaders are selling Governments proposal to their union members. The task; however, has proven to be quit tedious since all indications are that members, especially those of the BTNU are not satisfied with the proposal since it contains too many ifs. For context here is what the Dean Barrow Administration proposed to the Union Leaders. Dean Barrow Prime Minister Of Belize “But whether or not there will be salary increases will depend on the performance of government’s recurrent revenue. In other words, this year that is ending 2012/2013, when we see what the recurrent revenue figure is, we will use that as a benchmark and then in 2014/2015, if there is an increase in government’s revenue collection—if the recurrent revenue goes up over the benchmark year—fifty percent of the extra revenue collected will go to the teachers and public officers by way of a raise. Why fifty percent? Because that is the current ratio of salaries to recurrent revenue.”

Trio Are Set Free After Charged With Drug Trafficking
On October 9th we showed you the two Belizeans and the Mexican National that were arrested and charged for two counts of drug trafficking after they were found in possession of 400 grams of suspected cocaine. Well, today, 51 year old Alfonso Iglesias from Consejo Road Corozal, 51 year old businessman of San Pedro Town Jose Nunez and 52 year old Mexican National Pedro Alfonso Betancourt Reed who were out on bail, are free men. That is because on Friday February 8th when they appeared at the Corozal Magistrate Court, a crucial piece of forensic evidence established that the white substance tested negative to cocaine and to any other illegal drug. As a result, the case against the trio was immediately dismissed and they were set free. The three men were arrested on October 7th when Corozal Police visited C&B’s Bar where they searched a Silver 2005 Ford Eco Sport SUV. Inside the vehicle police discovered two black plastic bag containing what they thought was cocaine. As for the impounded SUV, it was handed over to its owner, Pedro Alfonso Betancourt Reed.

Another Store Gets Robbed!
Last night while we were airing the news another store was being robbed here in Orange Walk. Hilda’s Store on Guadalupe Street was opened for business as per normal but at around 7:15 the everyday routine of buying and selling was interrupted when a white car with unknown license plate parked in front of the store. At that instance two male individuals of dark complexion exited the vehicle and entered the store armed with sticks. Under the condition of anonymity, the proprietor of the store told us that while one of the men attacked him with the stick, the other individual made his way to the cash register and proceeded to take all the cash. A customer who was in the store at the time of the robbery tried to intervene but he was also attacked by one of the assailants. After they robbed approximately $300 in cash, the two men ran back to the vehicle and made good their escape. Police are investigating the matter.

Chapel's School Enrolls In GREAT Program
In keeping with their initiative to foster a better relationship with the community, the Belize Police Department introduced the Gang Resistance and Training Program to selected primary schools throughout the country, three years ago. The program looks to deter primary school students from having any connections to gangs and gang related activities. Officers in charge of implementing the GREAT program, have a wide range of experience in criminal behavior and the ability to recognize gang members. They are also equipped with referral knowledge and most importantly, can be positive role models for students. This morning, those same officers were in Chapels School where standard 5 students were welcomed into the program. Julian Chi, Principal “This is only STD 4 and 5 at this point. Later on it is a 13 weeks program and after that it will be another group of children and there is another set that can be done at a lower level for STD 1 to STD 3. We are giving them one lesson which will 45 minutes every week. I was walking about and looking at it. I believe it is good. I have seen their booklet, their curriculum, which they want to cover and it is something positive. I think it is one of those programs can help our children that they can go to the right direction. The children are embracing it and I believe it is something positive. They, as I said, are looking on how to choose your friends. Also rather that they influence you into negative things you should influence them into positive things.”

Super Bond Gets Debated At The House Of Representative
There are two set interest rates; one of 5% per annum from March 2013 to August 2017 and 6.767% per annum from August 2017 to February 2038. This interprets that the semi-annual interest payments will be due five months after the issuance of the bond and interest will be due in a period of six months. Dean Barrow-PM Belize “The terms and conditions of the new bond are as follows: maximum transaction size, US$529,928,800, rate of interest- the bonds will attract interest payable semi annually in arrears at the interest rate per year as set out now. From and including the 20th March 2013 and to but excluding 20th August 2017 interest at the rate of 5% per annum and then from and including the 20th August 2017 to but excluding the 20th February 2038 interest at the rate of 6.767%. Issue date: the new bonds are expected to be issued by, not later than, 31st March 2013. Amortization and finally maturity date: the new bonds shall be repaid in equal semiannual installments commencing 20th August 2019. The final maturity date is expected to be 20th February 2038. The new bonds will be general, direct, unconditional, unsubordinated and unsecured obligations of Belize and will rank at least equally amongst themselves and will all of Belize existing and future, unsecured and unsubordinated bond indebtedness. Being understood; however, that this equal ranking status shall not require Belize to pay all items of its bind indebtedness on a rate-able basis.”

Union Members Meet In Orange Walk
On February first the labour unions namely the PSU, BNTU, APSSM and NTUCB met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow to discuss what the unions have been clamoring for, for years- salary adjustment. The proposal that government laid on the table is based on a formula of actual recurrent revenue overturn and will cover financial years 2014 to 2017. However, the maximum salary adjustment in any single year will not exceed ten percent of wages and wage related grants. Presently leaders of the Belize National Teachers Union, Public Service Union and Association of Public Service Senior Manager are going across the country presenting Governments proposal to their membership. But all indications are that it’s not going too well. Up to date, the union leaders have consulted with their membership in the Belize District, Dangriga and Punta Gorda. Reports coming out of those three previous meetings indicate that membership attendance was low and those present were not too happy with the proposal.

A Closer Look At Hepatitis A
Last week Friday we told you about the high number of suspected Hepatitis A infection in the Village of Cristo Rey and other surrounding communities. While in the village, our news team spoke to Public Health Inspector, Horris Patten who told us about the plan the Ministry of Health has in order to contain the alarming suspected cases of the disease. High on the agenda is building public awareness. This morning Patten along with Doctor Angel Campos and another colleague were on the Despierta Belice Show and Reporter Hipolito Novelo took the opportunity to take a closer look at the disease. Hepatitis A is the inflammation or the swelling and irritation of the liver as a result of the hepatitis A virus. The virus itself is found mostly in the stool and blood of an infected person and it’s highly contagious. According to Doctor Angel Campos last year there were 35 reported cases of Hepatitis A. This year; however, it seems that there will be an increase in reported cases since nearly two months into the new year 13 suspected cases have already surfaced.


Teenager drowns in Benque Viejo del Carmen
A teenage boy is reported to have drowned in Benque Viejo del Carmen on Sunday afternoon. According to reports, Rodney Javan Guerra was swimming in the Mopan River yesterday afternoon when he went under the water. His friends reportedly took him out of the water and administered CPR and took him to the Mopan Clinic, but he died.

Small fire reported at Galen University
There was a scare at Galen University in Georgeville village on Sunday afternoon when the fire department was alerted of a fire at the campus. Fortunately, the damage caused by the fire, which was contained due to the quick response by the firefighters from San Ignacio town, did not amount to much. Love News spoke with the resident of Galen University, Dr. Louis Zabaneh. Classes resumed as normal today.

Belizeans among those busted with Crystal in Mexico
Two Belizeans along with five Mexicans were busted with a total of forty five kilos of crystal Meth, valued at over eleven million pesos which is around two million Belize dollars. The Belizeans have been identified as Hugo Casanova of Carolina Village in the Corozal District and Hermelindo “Melin” Vasquez of Orange Walk Town. According to a newspaper from Quintana Roo, the raid which was planned by members of the Mexican Navy along with other federal agencies took place on Thursday. Reports are that around 5:50 pm on Thursday, two vans filled with naval members arrived at the home of Carlos Cabañas Catzim, also known as El Monstruo or the monster who is considered one of the main drug retailers in Chetumal. The marines, all dressed in civilian clothing, approached the house and were deployed throughout the next two blocks, stopping the traffic from entering the Avenida Benito Juarez close to where the house is located. The tenants of in the adjacent building to the house had been evicted to prevent civilian casualties. According to reports the forty five kilograms of crystal meth, which equaled to about fifty thousand doses ready for distribution and retail marketing were inside the building and were found in bags which were found inside several refrigerators. In addition, three vehicles were also confiscated. At around 6:30 pm a group of marines left the residence taking with them the six men and two women to their headquarters. The newspaper goes on to report that the detainees were transferred via an military aircraft to Mexico City where they were handed over to the officials of Mexico’s organized crime investigation unit.

Accident on the Yo Creek road leaves two people injured
Two people were injured in a traffic mishap on the Yo Creek road on Saturday evening. According to police reports, thirty six year old Dalia Marin Gonzalez was heading towards Yo Creek village around five forty five on Saturday evening, when a vehicle, traveling in the opposite direction, crashed into the left side of her SUV. Dalia Marin Gonzalez sustained a cut wound to her head and complained of pain to her left shoulder. The driver of the other vehicle, a pickup truck assigned to the Ministry of Agriculture, has been identified as thirty one year old Max Castro. He sustained a fractured left foot and a cut wound to the right foot. Both vehicles received extensive damage in the incident. Police say they have issued Castro with a notice of intended prosecution for the offence of “drove motor vehicle without due care and attention.” Investigations continue.

Cyclists hold rally over the state of the sport
Cyclists concerned about the state of the sport in Belize held a rally over the weekend in Belize City. Love TV’s Ava Diaz Sosa reports.

Forum on women in politics held in Belize City
Since the 1960’s, women have been making their presence known in the House of Representatives. But the scale at which they are elected has not been on the same level as is desired by groups that promote women participation at the National level. So today, 31 of Belize’s women who are, have been in, or plan to enter politics are this week engaged in a forum that seeks to achieve just that. The Women’s Issues Network has collaborated with the United Nations Development Program and the group called Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections or BRIDGE, are focusing on those core topics that have kept women behind the scenes as compared to their male counterparts in the spotlight. This is the start of a three-year initiative for which WIN Belize has received a handsome amount to carry through with, and it will include a series of discussions spanning across community centres and halls throughout the country. Carolyn Reynolds heads the Women Issues Network, and she told Love News that women have proven their worth and that they are capable of stepping up to the challenge. The United Nations Democratic Fund has provided over $400,000 for the three-year project. Present at the week-long event are former Belize City Mayor, Zenaida Moya, Belmopan City Councilor, Ana Guy, and a number of female village councilors.

News from the Crime Beat
Two people from Santa Elena town have been detained after an early Sunday morning incident in San Ignacio which has left a man on life support at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Thirty three year old Mariana Galvez and thirty eight year old Victor Perez are in police detention pending the outcome of their investigations. Authorities say that between two and two thirty on Sunday morning, Galvez, who owns a bar in San Ignacio town, was in the process of stocking up a freezer, when a client approached and requested to make a purchase. Galvez says while she was serving the client, her ex common-law husband Jose Santos Pineda, entered the bar and assaulted the client. Galvez says she ran out of the bar but that Pineda followed and then assaulted her. A second man, identified as Perez reportedly intervened and a struggle then ensured between Perez and Pineda. During the fight, the police arrived and took all three persons to the hospital. Galvez’s injuries were classified as harm, while Perez had a cut on his back. Pineda was suffering from injuries to his face and was bleeding from the nose. He was admitted to the hospital and later transferred to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in a critical condition. Police say Jose Pineda is currently on life support. They have detained both Galvez and Perez pending investigations. A stabbing incident on Saturday has left three people injured. Police say they visited the KHMH on Saturday morning where they observed eighteen year old Trevor Brown suffering two apparent stab wounds to the back, a fifteen year old minor with a stab wound to the left arm and a seventeen year old with a stab wound to the left side of the face. Police say their initial investigations revealed that Brown and the two minors were socializing at a fair when a fight started with an unknown man who inflicted the stab wounds. Police say they retrieved a knife with a four inch blade from the scene. Authorities have since arrested and jointly charged Brown, along with twenty one year old Gilbert Wade and the two minors for the crime of causing public terror and for the offence of disorderly conduct. Police say Wade was additionally charged for the offence of possession of an article with blade. Police in San Ignacio town are investigating an incident which has been classified as a burglary at an office on the Benque Viejo road. The global project manager Pro World reported to authorities that on December twenty fourth of last year, someone cashed a cheque in the amount of thirteen thousand dollars, written on the organization’s bank account. The global project manager who made the report says that the cheque was one of several blanks that were authorized to be signed by the director and left inside of a metal safe in the office. The complainant also says that when she went to the bank to freeze all transactions on the organization’s account, she was informed that on January twenty eight, another cheque, this time in the amount of two thousand, four hundred dollars was cashed by a project manager for Pro World. Police say the global project manager at Pro World told them that her own investigation revealed that the thirteen thousand dollars withdrawn in December was used to purchase a vehicle, for which there was no approval given by the organization. Police investigations continue. A shooting incident on Saturday night has left one person injured. Police say that around eleven thirty on Saturday night, they visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where they say twenty five year old Trevor Hinds suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the left side of the chin. Initial police investigations show that Hinds was at the corner of Hibiscus and Flamboyant streets when a man of dark complexion rode up and fired several shots in his direction injuring him. Police investigations continue.

Dangriga police find marijuana
Police in Dangriga have recovered a quantity of marijuana. Correspondent Harry Arzu reports.

Woman charged for possession of controlled drugs
Twenty year old Maria Reyes, a resident of St. Margaret Village, located on the Hummingbird Highway, was charged with possession of a controlled drug for five grams of cannabis seeds were found in the back pocket of the pants of her one year old baby boy when she went to Belize Central Prison on Saturday, February 9 to visit a relative. Reyes pled not guilty to the charge. She was released on a bail of $800.00 and her case was adjourned until March 18. A prison officer searched Reyes and found nothing incriminating. But when the officer searched her baby she found a transparent plastic bag containing the cannabis seeds.

Prison inmate charged for drug possession
Prison inmate Danny Urbina, who was charged with the possession of 34 grams of cannabis that was found in his cell, was sentenced to one year today by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser after he pled guilty to the charge. Urbina was busted on Thursday, February 7. Prison officer Sylvano Cal reported to the police that when he searched Urbina’s cell he found the cannabis. As a result, Urbina was handed over to police constable Cano and he along with the cannabis was taken to Hattieville Police Station where he was charged after the cannabis was weighed.

Four persons, including a minor charged with burglary
Three men and a 16 year old boy were charged with a burglary in which money and items amounting to over $18,000.00 were stolen when they appeared in court today. The adults are Cilo Cherrington, Lloyd Parchue and Kareem Yorke. They and the minor were also charged with handling stolen goods. Cherrington alone was charged with a second count of handling stolen goods. They all pled not guilty to the charges. Cerringtom, Parchue and Yorke were denied bail and were remanded into custody until April 3. The minor was released on a bail of $10,000.00. The burglary occurred on Friday, February 8 at the residence of Luke Garbutt, located in Buttonwood Bay. The items that were stolen included $1,810.00 U.S. currency, jewelry, wristwatches, cell phones, I-phones and a laptop computer.

Leadership training session ends in Toledo
Training in connection to the Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program ended at the weekend in Placencia. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.

Vet gives physical examination to horses in Belize City
The folks who rely on the innovative horse and buggy inventions as a form of livelihood from the tourism industry have had their court in the court – at least the court of public opinion. They have been criticized for maltreating, overworking and abusing the horses, and on Thursday and Friday, the Belize Equestrian Academy teamed up with the Belize Tourism Board and the Tourism Police Unit to reign in those who have ignored the laws. On Friday, the horses went through an entire physical inspection and according to Marjie Olson from the Equestrian Academy, while there has been some growth over the years, there’s still quite a bit left to achieve towards that end, but one of the problems is having the rules and not enforcing them. This time, it was the enforcement agencies that found themselves on the receiving end of the criticisms. Juliet Neal of the Belize Tourism Board agrees that there needs to be better enforcement of the laws, but said that it is left up to the discretion of the tourism police officers manning the trade to keep the carriage operators in check. Those officers were given pointers on what to look for on the horses and in the carriages to keep violations at a minimum.

Pope Benedict resigns
Pope Benedict the sixteenth today shocked the world when he announced he is stepping down. The eighty five year old pontiff is the first to resign since the 15th century. He is due to step down on February twenty eight. The Pope said he was resigning because he does not have the physical strength necessary to do the job. Vatican spokesman Reverend Federico Lombardi says Cardinals will meet to choose Benedict’s successor sometime after his official resignation on February twenty eight.


PM reveals new terms for Superbond
The House of Representatives met today in Belmopan where the Prime Minister revealed the details of the newly negotiated terms for the repayment of Belize’s super bond. The Prime Minister said the new deal makes for a10% haircut off the top reflecting a 108 million dollar write off on...

UB Faculty plans demonstration
There is trouble brewing at the University of Belize. The University of Belize Faculty and Staff Association (U.B.F.S.A), held a press conference this morning in Belmopan to air out some problems they are having. The problems are apparently many, but chief among them is the University Of Belize Board...

APSSM President says resigning during negotiations was an error of judgment
The APSSM President says that his resignation during negotiations was an error of judgment. For at least a week now, policy analyst at the Ministry of Agriculture and financial guru for the trade unions Jose Castellanos, has been under fire for apparently abandoning his union colleagues when they most...

High profile Drug case involving two Belizeans and a Mexican dismissed
A high profile Drug case involving two Belizeans, one from Corozal Town, one from San Pedro Ambergris Caye and a Mexican national has reportedly been dismissed against the trio in the Corozal Magistrate Court. According to Corozal Daily, the dismissal was given after forensic results of the suspected cocaine...

More consultations on Government’s proposal to the major trade unions scheduled
Last night we told you that union members met in Belmopan at the UB Auditorium to discuss Government’s proposal to address the salary increase being demanded by the three major unions, BNTU, APSSM and PSU. As we said, there was not a vote taken at that meeting as to...

Former British High Commissioner to Belize is suing the British Government
A former British High Commissioner to Belize is suing the British Government for one million pounds, claiming he was suspended over false accusations. How does that relate to Belize you may ask? Well, the plaintiff, John Yapp, was posted in Belize when he was accused by local politicians of...

BGYEA plans national protest over unfair land distribution
In the past few weeks, we’ve told you about the unions’ problems with GOB regarding their salary increase and subsequent demonstration, the UBFSA’s problem with the Board of trustees and Government’s lack of response and possible demonstration scheduled for Thursday , and now we’ll tell you about BGYEA plans...

The Minister of Natural Resources said he signs all applications without partiality
The Minister of Natural Resources the Hon. Gaspar Vega spoke to the media this afternoon in response to BGYEA’s press release. The Minister said that he signs all applications without partiality. 1 But according to BGYEA’s account, this is not so and they are questioning the motives of Minister...

Race for first Deputy Leader of UDP concludes on Sunday
The race for first Deputy Leader of the 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 Collet for four terms...

Burrell Boom residents want to own Castleton Race Track
Burrell Boom residents want to own Castleton Race Track. Castleton Race Track is one of the most important sporting venues in the Belize River Valley and home to horse racing meets during Easter and Boxing Day. But what many may not know is that the village is embroiled in...


This coming Sunday’s national party convention, wherein Belize City’s Patrick Faber challenges Orange Walk’s Gapi Vega for the Deputy Leadership of the ruling UDP, is pretty much a no-win situation for the party. If Faber wins, it means that the Opposition PUP will become stronger in the Districts in time for village council elections. There is an entrenched element in the PUP which has convinced itself that they do not need Belize City in order to win national elections, and they are using last March’s general elections as proof. Had they won the two Cayo seats they lost by fewer than 75 votes, the PUP would have gone to Belmopan as 16-15 winners. If Faber wins, the PUP will argue that the UDP government is a Belize City show. If Vega wins, the UDP will continue its slow slide into the murky waters of voter cynicism. The Barrow government came to power in 2008 on a reformist ticket of administrative honesty, but Gapi’s questionable reputation is the reason for the Faber challenge where people like the former UDP Leaders, Esquivel and Lindo, are concerned. Mr. Vega’s failure in the 2012 general elections was startling. The PUP won three out of four seats in his Orange Walk District base: largely because of the Orange Walk results, the PUP almost pulled one of the big upsets in Belize’s general election history.

About two or three weeks before the UDP Lake Independence area representative’s meltdown at the Corozal border casino last week, there had been street reports of his having had an after hours altercation with one Raindrops Swan. The indications are that Mark King was a man looking for trouble, and trouble found him. In hindsight, you have to ask yourself the questions: who is Mark King, where did he come from, who sponsored him, and does he have any serious core beliefs where Belize’s development is concerned? The answers to the first two questions are fairly straightforward. King is a former Belize Defence Force officer who resigned his commission. He comes from Ladyville. He came from Ladyville to enter UDP politics in 2006. In answer to the third question, ask yourself who was running Ladyville in 2006, then you will understand why Mark King was sponsored and sent to Lake Independence, Cordel Hyde’s constituency. The answer to the fourth question is that there is absolutely no evidence that Mark King has any serious core beliefs where Belize’s development is concerned. He is a politician who chose to ride the United Democratic Party vehicle, and his ride has been a successful one. You don’t have to know much or believe much to be successful in Belize’s party politics. What you have to do is wave the flag and chant the slogans. And, you must be acceptable to the big people who finance the political parties.

The Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) high school football finals climaxed tonight at the MCC Grounds, where both female and male games #2 of the Finals 2-game series ended deadlocked in regulation. The females settled matters in overtime, but the males had to go all the way to penalties. Games #1 of the Finals for both females and males were played on Friday, February 8, and both were draw games. In the females, Wesley and SCA played to a 0-0 draw. And in the males, ACC took a 1-nil first half lead on a goal by Richard Waight; but Dmitri converted a penalty in second half to level things 1-1 for SJC. The decisive second games of the Finals took place this evening at the MCC Grounds, after which medals were awarded to the 1st and 2nd place finishers. The female Finals game 2 today between Wesley and SCA was scoreless in regulation, so they went to 5-5 overtime. And it was in overtime that the Wesley girls exploded for 3 goals, starting with a penalty conversion by Erika Milligan, and followed by two more strikes by Elisha Bernardez and Shanice Neal, for the final 3-nil score and the championship.

The Youth Enhancement Services (YES) and the Community Policing Department received funding of over US$170,000 from the United States Embassy through the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) to facilitate a three-year project that the two organizations have partnered to carry out. The funding was approved in January of this year and the project has been officially launched. The project is aimed at decreasing crime and violence in the community. Douglas Hyde, Police Youth Coordinator, said that he collaborated with Karen Cain, director of YES, and focused on some of the programs they carry out under community policing that are not government-funded. “Last year in 2012 they sent out a call for proposals from organizations, specifically NGOs in the area of community policing,” Hyde said. “The proposals were to look at ways of building partnership and collaboration with the police department in the area of crime and violence.” Hyde said that he and Cain developed a proposal together that focused on key areas, specifically four areas, of their programs for which they can partner for the next three years. The first of the four undertakings is the renovation of Queen Square pool, which is behind the police station. The second one is the carrying out of national parenting training aimed particularly at parents of the police youth cadet and young people from the different communities in the districts. The third area of focus involves the hosting of summer camps for the police youth cadets.

A father and son have been released on a bail of $3,000 and ordered to return to court on April 2, 2013 after San Ignacio police charged them with handling stolen goods and burglary. The caretaker of a house on a farm in Georgeville told police that around 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, he saw two men making forced entry into the building. The two men of Hispanic descent, came to the farm house in a white pickup truck, and then began to break the lock on the door to enter the building. The caretaker quickly alerted police, who were on patrol in the area. San Ignacio responded quickly and caught Marcus Santos, Sr., 44, and his son, Marcus Santos, Jr., 21, both of Georgeville, red-handed, coming out of a house with items they were taking illegally. Police said that they also saw the men’s white pickup truck parked in front of the building, which was loaded with two AC units, a red water pump, a black Motorola battery charger, a winch clamp, a strap belt clamp and a variety of steel rods that they had already taken from the house

“To remember a person is the most important thing in the novels of Alexandre Dumas. The worst sin anyone can commit is to forget.” - pg. 3, The Black Count, Tom Reiss, Crown Publishers, New York, 2012 To reach the highest levels of power in Belizean politics, you have to be acceptable to Rome and Canterbury, or, if you will, the Christian establishment. Almost all Belizean children attend schools controlled by the Christians, and they will spend an average of five years, say, being indoctrinated in basic Christian precepts. Childhood is the most impressionable time of one’s life, so the great majority of Belizean children remain basically Christian throughout their lives, and they will use Christian yardsticks to measure things. Rome and Canterbury, therefore, have the power of figurative life and death over Belizean politicians, because they control the minds of Belizean voters. Modern, third millennium Christianity does not really have that much to do with the documented life of Jesus Christ, because modern, third millennium Christianity is a materialistic philosophy, whereas Christ was a completely spiritual man. The life of a Rastafarian, for example, is much more Christ-like than the life of the Christians who go to church on Sundays sometimes, and run things in Belize. Belize is a Christian place, but Belize is a very sinful place. It should be a contradiction in terms for a Christian place to be a sinful place, but we have grown so accustomed to this state of affairs that we apparently do not consider it a contradiction in terms.

The Premier League 2012-2013 Opening Season, which featured 12 teams, was one of the most competitive ever, with goal differences deciding the final 4-team playoff spots. Well, Week 1 of the PLB 2012-2013 Closing Season is in the books, and with only 8 teams competing in this one, it appears that fans can brace themselves for an even more competitive and thrilling tournament. Some top players from the 4 inactive clubs (R.G. City Boys United, Juventus, San Pedro Sea Dogs and Paradise/Freedom Fighters) are expected to find spots on the rosters of the 8 competing teams, which will likely raise the level of play another notch. In the only Saturday night game, on February 9 at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium, defending champion Belmopan Bandits, despite missing their MVP goalie Woodrow West 9 (reportedly away for tryouts in the U.S.), cruised past visiting Verdes FC, 4-nil, with goals from Jerome “Jarro” James (1’ & 69’), David Madrid (19’) and Brandon Peyrefitte (33’). The remaining 3 games were on Sunday afternoon, February 10. Out west at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio, it was Belize Defence Force FC coming away with a 3-2 win over San Ignacio United FC. Paul Nunez (9’ & 32’) and Harrison Tasher (80’) shook the net for BDF; while San Ignacio United got goals from Leonard Valdez (41’) and Felix Miranda (90+’). Meanwhile, down south at the Placencia Football Field, visiting Police United FC dropped the home squad, Placencia Assassins FC, 3-1, with goals from Jeremy Bermudez (21’), Evan Mariano (66’) and Lennox “Criminal” Castillo (90+’). Placencia’s lone tally was by Earnie Whyte (33’).

2 Belizeans arrested, along with 6 Mexicans. The Diario Respuesta, of Quintana Roo, Mexico, of Thursday, February 7, reported that two Belizeans, along with Carlos Cabañas Catzin, alias “El Monstruo” of Chetumal, who the article describes as a “drug lord,” were arrested the evening of Thursday, February 7, in Chetumal, Mexico, along with five other people for possession of 45 kilograms of the synthetic drug known as crystal meth. According to reports, 45 kilograms of suspected crystal meth amounted to about 50 thousand doses ready for distribution and retail marketing. Belizeans Ermelindo Vasquez of Orange Walk and Hugo Casanova of Corozal; Catzin, described as “Mexican drug lord of The Pelones in Chetumal;” and the other five people, suspected members of organized crime, reportedly were captured in Catzim’s home by Mexican Naval Marines during a sting operation. The drugs were valued at approximately 11 million pesos (the equivalent of USD $1,000,000.) The drugs were found grouped into bags, and these in turn were found in several refrigerators.

A few of Belize’s World Heritage Sites have fallen under the danger radar and a team from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is in the country to assess the sites. UNESCO had given recommendations on how those sites could be improved and now they are back to ensure that the corrective measures are being taken. “Yes, we have a mission right now. UNESCO works along with the IUCN [International Union for the Conservation of Nature] and they have sent two persons to visit us to see if we have taken the corrective actions as [to] how far we have advanced in moving [on] those recommendations that were made,” said Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and Sustainable Development Hon. Lisel Alamilla. “But I don’t think that we are in anyway threatened to be delisted. That would be serious. And our property is nowhere compromised at any level for them to even consider delisting it. Where we are right now is that we are in danger, so that means that we have to address some of the challenges of ensuring that the integrity of that World Heritage Site is maintained,” the Minister further said. OCEANA has been in an ongoing legal battle as it challenges the government on the issue of offshore oil extraction in Belize. If offshore oil drilling should occur in Belize, it could mean possible danger for the barrier reef and marine life.

One of his victims, 12, said he jumped the fence, went into their classroom and lashed them. Benjamin Chaplin, 49, appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer today, Monday 11, on a charge of common assault after whipping some female students on Saturday, February 9. Chaplin told Magistrate Frazer that he was stoned by the young girls for no reason. He said he chased the girls and whipped them with his belt. Chaplin defending his actions, saying that in his days, it was acceptable for adults to discipline children who did not belong to them. According to police statement, one of the girls, 12, was accompanied by her mother to the Queen Street police station, and reported that on Saturday, February 9, at around 10:15 a.m. while she was on recess break with her friends, they were listening to music outside in the school yard when a dark-complexioned man with dreadlocks standing on the street picked up a pint bottle and threw it at them for no apparent reason.

Customs officials have brought charges of obstruction, damage to property and trafficking contraband goods against a resident of San Victor, Corozal. Customs are seeking to further levy a charge of $15,000 against him for the contraband. The man will be taken to the Corozal Magistrate’s Court tomorrow to face the charges, a Customs official told Amandala today. Customs said that the incident arose on Tuesday, February 5, while they were conducting operations and a road block to intercept contraband goods on the Buena Vista Road in Orange Walk, when a vehicle drove up at high speed, and refused to stop despite the fact that they waved at the driver to stop, said Customs, but the vehicle drove through the road block anyhow, almost knocking down a policeman and a customs officer who were standing near the check point. Customs said that they immediately chased the vehicle, and there was a high speed chase from Buena Vista, Orange Walk, to the San Victor Village area in Corozal. Customs said that when the vehicle was finally caught in the San Victor area, the vehicle was found empty; the occupants had escaped into the cane fields.


A Tale of Five Cities: Route Reversal (Part 3)
Since Barry was able to sleep through the marching-band practice outside our hotel window the night before, he awoke early the next morning with plenty of energy. While I caught up on lost sleep, he walked over to the Campeche waterfront on the Golfo de Mexico and took a long walk, along with some nice morning photos. Finally I managed to get up, and we walked to Luz de Luna for breakfast. Much to our disappointment, the very sweet proprietor told us they weren't serving this morning because they didn't have a cook or server! Maybe they were sick? So, we had to go with Plan B, wandering around until we found a place to eat. We ended up back at the place we'd had lunch on our first time in town, Chef Color. I was hungry after my brush with Montezuma, but figured plain hotcakes would be easiest on my stomach of the breakfast choices. Barry ordered fruit cup, chaya bread, and Huevos Rancheros. Wouldn't want him to go hungry!

Birding in Belize is an “Experience of a Lifetime”
Choosing the proper guide who knows the terrain is the key to a successful bird watching experience in Belize, according to a Chaa Creek birding expert. Naturalist guide Miguel Choco said that with such a wealth of avian wildlife in Belize, finding birds is easy. But finding the birds you want is where experience and expertise comes in. “Belize is definitely birding heaven, with over 308 species recorded in the Chaa Creek nature reserve alone,” Mr Choco said. “Even people not generally interested in birding soon become fans just by walking along the miles of trails and spotting the toucans, parrots, falcons and other birds that make their homes here. “But for the keen birder, or someone who really wants an education in the birds of Belize, having a knowledgeable guide with specific experience in birding is essential,” he cautioned. The tiny Caribbean nation of Belize is part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, which stretches from Mexico through Central America and is home to a diverse range of birds and wildlife. Mr Choco said that this, combined with Chaa Creek’s own 365 acre private rainforest reserve, has created an unparalleled opportunity for birding. “We’re basically a protected region within a protected region, so it’s a great sanctuary for local and migratory birds, and that’s why we have such an abundance of wildlife here,” he said. “But again, to make the most of it, people should go out with a licensed naturalist guide with specific experience in birds. That’s why at Chaa Creek we have unique birding programs and specialist birding guides.” Mr Choco said that Chaa Creek has a long association with birding, having worked with the Zoological Society of Milwaukee and the Foundation for Wildlife Conservation in hosting avian research projects. The Chaa Creek nature reserve was one of the study sites for the Birds Without Borders project, which identified 308 species in that area alone.

21 Stunning Photos from Mayan Temples in Belize
Archaeologists estimate that at their peak, 1 to 2 million Mayans lived within the borders of present day Belize. Mighty Maya cities such as Caracol, Xunantunich and Lamanai dotted the landscape, with small agricultural communities farming the land between. The Maya civilization is divided into the Pre-Classic (1000 BC to AD 300), the Classic (AD 300 to 900) when the civilization reached its height of development, and the Post-Classic (AD 1000 to 1500) when the civilization fell apart and disappeared. Below are 21 stunning photos from Mayan Temples in Belize:

Family Affair
Since starting this blog I have quite frequently mentioned what a great bunch of guys we have working on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. How hard they work. How multi-skilled they all appear to be. How they help each other out. No prima donnas. How happy they always appear to be no matter what the job they have been assigned or how bad the weather and/or working conditions are. What I haven’t mentioned is how much pride they have in the project – our home – they are working on. I mention it now because when Rose and I went on Sunday to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize (we wanted to take measurements of the First Floor areas – we prefer this to calculating from the plans) we heard sounds coming from the build as we approached it. When we climbed the stairs we did so with a degree of apprehension. Had we got squatters? When we got to the First Floor all was revealed. It was Martin (one of the team working on our house) with his wife Rosa and his young daughter and son. Oh, and two year old Jonathan who Rosa babysits. He had brought his family to have a look at the house he was working on. We felt that he was proud of it and wanted to share it with them. A real family affair.

Photo Tour from Western Belize – El Pilar Maya Monuments
One of the defining features of El Pilar is how the site blends the archaeological monuments of yesterday with the Maya forest of today. This philosophy is easily visible in the main plazas where you can walk beneath the canopy. Plaza Copal was established in a major phase of development during the Late Pre-Classic period (250 BC – 250 AD). This represents an incredible focus of work and effort, demonstrating the power and importance of El Pilar as a regional center.The buildings around the plaza were repeatedly remodeled over nearly 2 millenia and reached their final appearance in the Late Classic Maya period (600 – 900 AD)

The Next Pope?
Yesterday, I posted this article describing St Malachy’s prophecy of the Popes. Then this comes up on CNN today. Will Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana be the next Pope? He would be a departure from the long line of white men who have held that position. At age 64 he would be relatively young and could conceivably served 20-40 years as Pope giving the Church stable leadership.

International Sources

Diplomat sues government for £1million after he was removed from Belize post over allegations he touched politician's wife's bottom
A former British High Commissioner who was ordered home after he was accused of touching the bottom of a politician’s wife is suing the Government for £1million. John Yapp said that despite being cleared by the Foreign Office of the ‘scurrilous’ claim, he found himself sidelined and ‘ostracised’ before he retired after a 40-year career. He was suspended in June 2008 after being accused of behaving ‘inappropriately towards women at official functions’ in Belize. The women were reported to have been Kim Simplis, the common-law wife of prime minister Dean Barrow, or businesswoman Lauren Reardon Smith. But Mrs Reardon Smith later dismissed claims she had been groped, and said that, far from making advances, Mr Yapp had been shocked by the forwardness of Belizean women. Alan Payne, the barrister for the Foreign Office, told the High Court yesterday that Mr Yapp had been accused touching a woman’s bottom during a party game at a social event.But Jane McNeill, Mr Yapp’s QC, said the claims were ‘unfounded and scurrilous’ and that Mr Yapp was ‘shell-shocked’ by the bizarre allegations, which were later wholly rejected by the Foreign Office’s own disciplinary panel. Lauren Reardon-Smith (right), pictured with former US Ambassador Robert J Dieter's wife Gwynneth Dieter, denied that she had been groped by Mr Yapp Mr Yapp, 61, of Tunbridge Wells, Kent, said the claims were ‘completely ridiculous, nonsensical and untrue’ and said that his superiors in London had ‘prejudged’ the issue before taking the drastic decision to pull him out of Belize after 37 years of service. He was never re-engaged at ambassadorial level. Miss McNeill said: ‘It is his case that he was presumed guilty before being given an opportunity to comment on the allegations against him – or before the Foreign Office had carried out even the most preliminary investigation to see whether such allegations were worthy of belief.’ She said the Foreign Office had failed to support Mr Yapp as he faced the baseless misconduct claims, despite him having been a ‘loyal and dedicated’ diplomat for almost four decades.

Belize Prime Minister Announces New Debt Terms on Defaulted Bond
Belize’s government proposed extending maturities and cutting the coupon on the country’s $544 million of defaulted debt as part of the Central American nation’s second debt restructuring since 2007. Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s plan would extend the maturity on the defaulted bonds to 2038 from 2029 and lower the current coupon to 5 percent from 8.5 percent. Barrow, speaking to the lower house in Belmopan, said the agreement would provide the country $247 million in relief over the next 10 years. “There is no reason to fear that with this massive package of debt relief, there can be any chance of Belize defaulting again,” Barrow said. Belize missed a $23 million coupon payment on its bonds in August. It later paid half the amount as talks with creditors continued. The House of Representatives will vote on the terms of the agreement today, followed by a Senate vote tomorrow, Barrow said. The price on Belize’s 2029 debt fell 2.4 cents to 57.14 cents on the dollar at 1:19 p.m. New York time.

Belize Announces New Debt Restructuring Terms
The government of Belize proposed new terms to restructure the country's $544 million in debt Tuesday in an offer that extended the maturity of the debt and reduced coupon payments. In an address to the nation's House of Representatives, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said the terms of the new plan extend the defaulted bond's maturity to 2038, from 2029, while they reduce the coupon to 5%, from 8.5%. The agreement would provide the country $247 million in relief over the next 10 years, Mr. Barrow said. Belize and its creditors have been negotiating a debt restructuring ever since the Central American country defaulted in September, when it failed to make a $23.1 million interest payment. The proposed deal marks a major concession to creditors, who in August were asked to choose between a combination of concessions, including writing off 45% of the principal they were owed, allowing the country to delay any debt payments for 15 years, and reducing interest payments.

Belize Prime Minister Announces New Debt Terms on Defaulted Bond
Belize’s government proposed extending maturities and cutting the coupon on the country’s $544 million of defaulted debt as part of the Central American nation’s second debt restructuring since 2007. Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s plan would extend the maturity on the defaulted bonds to 2038 from 2029 and lower the current coupon to 5 percent from 8.5 percent. Barrow, speaking to the lower house in Belmopan, said the agreement would provide the country $247 million in relief over the next 10 years. “There is no reason to fear that with this massive package of debt relief, there can be any chance of Belize defaulting again,” Barrow said. Belize missed a $23 million coupon payment on its bonds in August. It later paid half the amount as talks with creditors continued. The House of Representatives will vote on the terms of the agreement today, followed by a Senate vote tomorrow, Barrow said.

Climate change risk management workshop begins in Suriname
The Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) yesterday began the first of a series of workshops in Suriname as it seeks to develop a regional approach to climate change risk management. The CCCCC said that representatives from the United Kingdom-based consulting group, Acclimatise, will assist in conducting the high-level workshops in Suriname, Barbados, Jamaica, and Belize. The CCCCC team includes Keith Nichols, programme development specialist, and Joe McGann, programme manager, and they will be joined by Olivia Palin and John Firth of the consulting group Acclimatise. The initiative is being funded by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), through the Climate Development Network.

San Pedro, Belize – la Isla Bonita by Madonna
This article by Travel and Film could be called Travel and Music! When I arrived in Belize and read my guidebook, I decided I was going to visit San Pedro because Madonna dedicated a song for this island called “la Isla Bonita” (the beautiful island) so if Madonna says it’s beautiful, I’d better check it out. Most people I met told me to go Caye Caulker instead, the chilled backpacker isle and that San Pedro is not great, very Americanised and expensive. Well, I’ve been listening to this song since I was a kid and it’s one of my favorite songs of all time, so it doesn’t matter what everyone says, I’m going to visit the island anyway, at least for one day, even if the island has probably changed a lot since Madonna came in the 80s. I actually stayed 5 days and 5 nights there, the only place in Belize where I stayed more than 1 night in the same place and it is the best time I had in Belize, mostly for the people I met there. The first day I arrived in San Pedro, I walked up and down along the sea looking for the “beach”, well there is no real beach in San Pedro, you know one with white powder sand and beautiful blue clear water to swim. The sand is hard everywhere and the sea is full of seagrass which doesn’t make it good for swimming at all. I was staying at Pedro’s Inn, the only hostel where you can get a dorm bed for a cheap price on the island. And they have a great swimming pool, where everyone hangs out and meets, and probably the best swimming spot on the island! But there are still few fun things to do in the sea and out of the sea. For example, one of them is watching the fishermen cleaning the fishes and feeding the pelicans.

What is the slang term for a Belize dollar? If I am talking about buying something with U.S. dollars, I might say the price is 40 bucks. What is the equivalent term that Belizeans use to refer to their dollars? "Bills", perhaps?
We differentiate by saying, "That wine is $40". "Belize?" comes the reply. "No, U.S." would be the response. "Gimme dolla" is sometimes said by little kids, but not often. A 25 cent piece is called a shilling commonly, but the dollar is not usually called anything other than a dollar. Sometimes Belize is used, as in, "That'll be 50 Belize". U.S. currency can be used interchangeably here, I wouldn't advise anyone to change their money, just use credit and debit cards and bring smaller U.S. bills, they're taken just the same as Belizean money and treated at a 2 BZ to 1 US ratio. The merchant may even prefer this, as people often travel to the States and put aside their US cash to travel. They also use it when traveling to El Salvador, as that is the currency used there. Short answer? Belize. Or dolla. Hope you have fun spending your dollas! You're likely to get plenty back in change.

February 12, 2013


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The San Pedro Sun

SPJC hosts two-day COBEC Conference
COBEC-Conference-2The San Pedro Junior College (SPJC) hosted the annual conference of Consortium for Belize Educational Cooperation (COBEC). The two-day event saw over 100 participants representing all 13 tertiary level institutions in Belize and over 25 universities from the United States of America (USA). Every year the COBEC members meet once each in Belize and in the US at alternating locations. This year’s event is considered to be the largest conference so far hosted in Belize. COBEC has been in existence for over 25 years and seeks ways in which Belizean tertiary level institutions can collaborate with US institutions in improving the education system in Belize and US COBEC members. A number of issues were discussed and a number of presentations were done during the conference, all in the area of COBEC-Conference-1education. “We look at ways that the US institutions are able to collaborate in furthering education for Belizean students to work, while helping faculties look for better opportunities for the students. We look at the ways US students can come to Belize to do study-abroad programs, and also have students from Belize go to the US for brief periods to study– more of a world enriching type experience.

Ministry of Health signs contract for the supply of Computer Equipment
Ministry of Health and Fultec Systems signed a contract this morning at the Ministry’s headquarters in Belmopan for the supply of BZ$59,000 worth of Computer Equipment under the Grant for Salud Mesoamerica Project. The supply includes twelve desktop computers, routers, switches, servers, server racks and Ministry-of-Health-2printers. The equipment will be used in health facilities in the Northern and Western Regions of Belize to improve the access, usage and quality of Maternal and Infant, Child and Reproductive Health in the full utilization and networking of the Belize Health Information System. Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Peter Allen signed on behalf of the Ministry and Human Resource Manager, Ms. Grace Brown signed on behalf of Fultec Systems.

Noche de Enmascarados – Gangnam Style!
On Saturday, February 9th, the 2013 Carnaval kicked off in grand style with a fabulous line-up of entertainment onstage at the Central Park. Dubbed Noche de Enmascarados (Night of the Masked), the final performance featured scary ghoulish characters who terrified quite a few kiddies as they took their spooky walk down to the stage. After scaring the audience for a bit – what do you know?! They broke out into a dance – and not just any dance – the Gangnam Style dance. Too fun!

Ambergris Today

Mexican Drug Lords and Belizeans Caught in Major Drug Bust
Mexican media is reporting a major drug bust involving a big Mexican drug lord with the involvement of Belizeans. The Mexican Navy raided the house of the Mexican drug lord of The Pelones in Chetumal, Carlos Cabañas Catzin alias “El Monstruo “, where he was arrested along with eight people, including two Belizean nationals in possession of 45 kilograms of the synthetic drug known as crystal meth. Naval Zone XI confirmed the arrest on Friday, February 8, 2013, with the assistance of other federal agencies which had planned their raid on the afternoon of Thursday, February 7, 2013. At approximately 5:50 PM on Thursday, February 7, 2013, two vans filled with Navel members belonging to the 25th Battalion Marines arrived at the home of Carlos Cabanas Catzin on Avenida Benito Juarez between Camelias and Justo Sierra, Colonia Jesus Martinez Ross.

San Pedro Carnaval 2013 Celebrations Kick Off
Even with some skepticism about how the new rules for Carnaval would affect the celebrations, everything went underway with a very good start and no major problems as the painting revelers hit the streets on Sunday, February 10, 2013. The painting started late in the afternoon and the restriction to playing Carnaval only on Barrier Reef Drive (Front Street) and the beach did not seem to dampen the spirits of those who love the age-old tradition of San Pedro Town. The San Pedro Town Council made some new rules to ensure the safety of those who participate in the celebrations and to reduce the amount of vandalism that takes place from the throwing of paint and eggs.

25 Years Ago: The Fiance Formally Visits His Fiancee
Monday, December 5 has arrived. It is the day that Alberto will start to visit Angelita with the consent of her parents. They are no more "enamorados" (boyfriend/girlfriend) but now official novios (fiance/ fiancée) or engaged couples At Angelita's house there are new curtains, a freshly scrubbed wooden floor, and two new chairs. The children have been instructed that they must be in bed/ hammock before 7 p.m. Angelita has made the best of herself, making sure she had her "chorros" (curls) which her novio loves so dearly. Alberto, on the other hand, has put on his nice black pants, which he normally only used to wear for Easter. He wears a white long-sleeved shirt tucked in, and he places a white handkerchief in his back pocket with a tip of it showing outside as was the custom. I tell you, does he look sharp! He goes to the store or saloon to buy a pack of Spearmints or PK. chewing gum and some pepitos. At 7 p.m. sharply, he heads towards Angelitas house, only a block away. Mrs. Lucia Rosado, the mother, greets him with a pleasant good evening and invites him to come in. Angelita shyly says, "Good Night" and sits down. Alberto sits beside her on a separate chair and both parents, Lucia and Ramon Rosado, sit down. The father lights up a Colonial cigarette and tries to start a conversation. He is not too successful. After Alberto offers the ladies some chewing gum, the mother is able to' start a fine conversation. Angelita gets a full pack of Spearmint chewing gum. The conversation is about how fishing has been for Alberto and the father laments on his bad luck at fishing. By 8 p.m. the mother and the father leave the couple so they can have their private conversation and interact better between themselves.

Pic of the Week: Artisan's Display at Captain Morgan's Caribbean Night
If ever on the island on a Tuesday make sure to visit Captain Morgan's Retreat for their Caribbean Night. It is a fun filled night with live music, great food and amazing arts and craft from local artist's. As seen on the picture above, you can find the most colorful and memorable souveinir to remind you of your fantastic trip in Belize.

Teen Talk: Carnaval Celebrations Start with New Painting Rules
You probably heard about the new rules to San Pedro Carnival this year; some of you might like it but we have heard how others think differently about them. I personally think it is kind of good as it will stop a lot of vandalism that takes place. The rules state: “Painting will be ONLY be allowed from the Cemetery (beachside) all the way to Ruby’s Hotel and on Barrier Reef Drive only between the hours of 4pm to 10pm.” If you think logically it is a good thing. The rules that caught a lot of teens’ attention were the rules of no bottle squeezers and no throwing of eggs. Egg throwing and the tossing of paint through squeeze bottles are the two major things that cause the most damage to property during Carnaval. The paint ruins buildings, vehicles and business signs and the eggs leave a horrible smell once it starts rotting on the streets.

Misc Belizean Sources

Rosewood in Belize: the truth behind the smoke
Commentary by: Ya'axché Conservation Trust . In Belize, the uncontrolled and often illegal harvesting of rosewood has been, and still is, one of the major environmental issues in the country. In March of last year, the government established a moratorium on the export and extraction of rosewood, however illegal harvesting continued. On Friday 11 January, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development made the bold move of burning confiscated illegally cut rosewood flitches. The purpose of this action was to send a clear message to the world and illegal loggers that Belize will not tolerate illegal logging of its precious forests and that no one will profit from this illegal trade. How has Belize ended up in a situation where such drastic action was necessary? The Maya communities of Toledo have used rosewood for traditional purposes for many years, but the levels of harvesting seen from 2010 onwards have been way beyond anything that could be classified as "traditional use." Harvesting a few trees each year from the forests surrounding the villages to build houses is one thing; harvesting hundreds of trees each month for export to China is quite another.

San Ignacio United vs. BDF Pictures
They got some great pictures from the first game of the Premier League yesterday. It was a close game, with the BDF winning over the SI United by 3-2. The United play the Verdes in Benque on Saturday.

Cayo Wine House Wine Tasting
All this week, from Tuesday, February 12th through Saturday, February 16th, they are having a Free Wine Tasting from 2:00pm until 6:00pm each day at the Costless Wine House. The Costless Wine House is on the Benque Viejo Road in the old Costless supermarket. Enjoy the wine! "They have a Wine House inside Costless Mart. Go taste some wine and cheese. They have hundreds of types of wine from all over the world. They also have cheeses too."

8 Weeks of Music at the Soul Project
Danny Velazquez has compiled a video of some of the great artists that have performed at the Soul Project over the last 8 weeks. Great video! The Soul Revolution Art exhibit is now on display. "A look back on all the great local talent that has walked in the door the first 8 weeks. shot and edited by Daniel Velazquez addition photography by Miriam Antionette"

Ride Against Crime Pictures
The Ride Against Crime went very well, Saturday morning. This is going to be a monthly activity, so the police and the community of Cayo can come together to end crime. Thanks to everyone, civilians, and police officers, that made this happen "We at the office would like to thank all persons who participated on saturday's ride aganist crime. The police and the community riding for a great cause. We had atotal of 24 riders, including Officer CommandingOfficer Commanding Community Policing Sr, Supt.Willis, Supt. Moody, Deputy OC Insp. Reymundo Reyes, Sgt Victorin, Sgt Neal, Cpl Valencia, Officers of the community policing San Ignacio Cpl Emil Bradley,PC Jason Jones, PC Roland Augustine, PC Cireaco Medina WPC Reynolds , also several neighbourhood watch committies sent riders, Special thanks to Mr Marcel Bedran, Ernie Braun, Michael Cyphers and the Cayo neighbourhood watch assocaition for assisting with bikes and t-shirts. Thanks to Mr Mick Fleming, Bryony Fleming and Chaa Creek. We are planning it as a monthly ride different locations, its not a race just. The police and community comming together."

7th Annual NRM Symposium Call for Abstracts
The Belize Wildlife Conservation Network, UB, and the Mesoamerican Society for Biology and Conservation are having the 7th Annual NRM Symposium will be at the University of Belize on April 17th. They are having the call for abstracts, with the theme being: Meeting National Challenges of Water Security, Climate Change and Social Development. The deadline is the 28th of February.

Designers – Artisans – Exhibitors
Caribbean Export announces the launch of Design Caribbean formerly (Caribbean Gift & Craft Show), which will be held at the Grand Lucayan Resort, Freeport, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas on June 20 – 23, 2013.

Channel 7

Well-Known Belizeans Implicated In Major Mexican "Meth" Drug Bust
Two Belizeans are in a Mexico City jail after they were allegedly caught smuggling 100 pounds of the drug Crystal Meth in Chetumal. The two men, Milin Vasquez from Orange Walk, in the center of this picture and Hugo Cassanova from Corozal on the right of your screen - are known underworld operatives in northern Belize. But they are also businessmen: Vasquez owns the La Hacienda Steak House in Orange Walk, and Casanova has a car rental company in Carolina village. But on Thursday evening, they weren't tending their businesses: Mexican law enforcement says they were doing drug business. They were caught in a Chetumal home along with a notorious Mexican dealer, Carlos Cabanas Catzin, known as the Monster - seen here on the left of your screen in the white shirt. The crystal meth - valued at about two million Belize dollars - is on the table in front of them, but was found in plastic bags in an icebox. The bust was made on Thursday evening at 5:50, when marines from the Mexican Navy received launched a major operation targeting this house on Avenida Benito Juarez. The Diario Quintano Roo reports that the marines closed off two blocks, rappelled from a helicopter and entered the property. They arrested eight men, two women and confiscated three vehicles - all with Mexican plates.

Teenager Survives Being Run Over In Cayo; Points Finger At Hon. Mahmoud
Hon. Mark King was the focus of the news all of last week for the incident in the Corozal Free Zone, and tonight, another first term member of the House of Representatives is trying to defend his reputation after a family in Cayo accused him of negligent behavior. Joseph Mahmud, the PUP Area Representative Cayo North, denies any involvement in an incident that happened on his family's property in the Cayo District - but the family of the victim maintains that he was there. Here's the story:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting This private property belongs to the Log Cab Inn on the Benque Viejo Road. It was also the scene of an incident in which a young man was run over by a gray Isuzu pickup. The tire tracks on the well-kept lawn tells the story of a vehicle speeding in several directions, as if in pursuit. 17 year old Michael Valdez is very lucky and fortunate to be in good enough health to be able to speak to us.

PUP Says It's In the Dark On Superbond Motion
And while first term Representative Mahmoud is lashing out at the media, the PUP today issued a statement criticizing the government. The issue is tomorrow's House Meeting, convened to pass a motion for the Superbond 2.0, known as the Government of Belize Restructuring Motion." Well, it's a special sitting and the PUP says that the text of the motion should have been sent to the Opposition today. But up to 3:30 p.m., it had not been sent. So, the opposition says quote, "Representatives will be expected to vote on a matter that will bind our nation's financial future without being afforded any opportunity to examine the proposals thoroughly." We'll see how this dispute plays out tomorrow.

Cayo Taxi Man Critical After Bar Brawl Over Ex
Tonight a Cayo Taxi driver is in a critical condition at the KHMH - after he was badly beaten. It happened in San Ignacio Town at Mariana's Bar on Sunday at around 2:30am. The 33 year old owner Mariana Galvez was attending to a customer around the Bar, when her ex common-law-husband Jose Santos Pineda entered and assaulted the customer. Galvez then ran outside and Pineda followed. According to the woman, he grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the ground. Galvez told police that a man whom she recognized as Victor intervened - and when the fisticuffs were finished, Jose Pineda lay unconscious: suffering from injuries to his face and bleeding from the nose. Mariana Galvez's injuries were classified as harm and the patron at the bar who was cut n the back. Pineda injury was the most serious; he was transferred from the San Ignacio Community Hospital to the KHMH where he is now on life support in a critical condition. Galvez had a restraining order against Pineda which he violated when he came into her establishment. Police have detained Mariana Galvez and 38 year old Victor Perez of Santa Elena Town.

Triple Stabbing At Catherine's Fair, Four Charged For Public Terror
On Saturday night the grounds at the St Catherine Academy Valentine's fair, the crowd scattered as the fair turned into a battleground for a group of young men. The fight broke out just after 11 when four males got into a knife brawl. According to police 18 year old Trevor Brown, and two teenaged minors were associating at the fair when a fight started with another mane who allegedly stabbed all 3 young men. Brown was stabbed twice to the left upper back while one of the minors was stabbed once to the left arm and the other youth was stabbed once to the left side of his face. The fair reportedly had 25 police and 25 security guards on hand, so police were quick to seize 21 year old Gilbert Wade with a chrome knife. All three victims were treated and released from the hospital. Today, al four went to court: the two minors ages 15 and 17 along with 18-year-old Trevor Brown, unemployed of #69 Amara Avenue, and 21-year-old Gilbert Wade, a Mechanic of Ross Pen Road in Belize City. Today they appeared jointly before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart in court #5 this afternoon where they were jointly charge with one count each of disorderly conduct and one count each of causing public terror.

Man shot To Chin Survives
And a short time after that, at 11:30 on Saturday night, a 25 year old delivery man was shot. According to police 25 year old Trevor Hinds was at the corner of Hibiscus and Flamboyant Streets in the St Martins area- waiting on his girlfriend when a man rode up on a bicycle and fired several shots at him. One of the shots caught Hinds to the left side of his chin. He was rushed to the KHMH. A close call, but apparently only a graze as when we checked today he had already been released. Police retrieved 7 expended shells from the scene.

Teenager Drowns In San Ignacio
The family of 15 year-old Javan Rodney Guerra is preparing to bury him tonight after he drowned in Mopan River in Benque Vejo on Sunday afternoon. The young man, well loved by his family and friends, had just eaten his Sunday dinner, and he asked his family to go with his friends. He didn't get their permission to go swimming, so they were blind-sided by the news of the tragedy that he barely survived going under. They tried their best to get him to the nearest hospital, but it was too late because he swallowed too much water, and there was no one trained in first aid to try to resuscitate him. He died while being transported to the hospital. 7News caught up with his grieving family today. Here's how they explained what led to the tragedy: Gilberto Mendez, Uncle of deceased "My nephew jumped in the water and started to swim. The little boy from the neighbor cross the river and by the time he reach at the next side my nephew hollered 'come help me, I can't take it anymore, I am catching cramp, come help me.' The little boy turns back and got to him. My nephew held on to his shoulder but he slipped while the little boy was swimming. The little boy got tired because of the weight of my nephew. He slipped and went down into the water."

Ugly Collision In North
There was an accident on the northern highway on Saturday evening. It happened at 5:45 about a mile out of Orange Walk Town on the Yo Creek Road where Max Castro was driving a government vehicle and allegedly swerved into the lane of an oncoming vehicle driven by Dalia Marin Gonzalez, a teacher driving a minivan. Castro was stuck inside the vehicle as his leg were crushed while Dalia Marin Gonzalez was cut to the head and complained of pain to her left shoulder. Those on the scene say emergency responders were late, ill equipped and clueless; and eventually civilians had to remove the injured from the vehicle. Castro was issued a Notice of Intended Prosecution for the offence of 'Drove Motor Vehicle without Due Care and Attention.'

Canine Customs Officer Makes Major Ammo Bust
We know all about the police canine unit - but recently Customs got their own such unit - starting out with three dogs. They didn't make a big deal - because they wanted to make headlines as well with real news of a meaningful bust. Well, that happened this weekend when a canine customs officer made a spectacular find, in the dark night, at the western border. We found out more today: Jules Vasquez reporting She may look like just another Labrador eager to get out and play, but Jesse the dog is a customs officer. Now she may not have a stripe on her shoulder, and sure she plays around at work all day, but this Canine Customs Officer has earned her playtime - with a major seizure of high powered ammunition this weekend. She found these 45 rounds of .45 caliber ammunition and 17 rounds of 5.56 Calibre ammunition near the western border on Saturday night. That's when police and customs went down near the Mopan River after hearing the report of some gunshots:

Getting More Women Into Politics Begins With ...
The drive to get women into politics continues. The UNDP has teamed up with WIN Belize for a 4-day training in Gender and Elections. The training used what's known as the BRIDGE (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections) program on electoral processes - and we found out today what the aim is:.. Carolyn Reynolds, WIN Belize "Yes Belize is at the lower end when you look at women in political leadership. However in Belize we also will be having village council elections. This is a stepping stone towards achieving our goals of ensuring that more women put themselves up for office. The purpose of this training is to build the capacity and so we've been looking at the electoral process and how even in Belize we can use some of the temporary special measures that Belize has agreed to do when we look at the convention in relation to all forms of discrimination against women." Participants include women from Village and City Councils, Tertiary Institutions, the Elections & Boundaries Department and mass parties.

Some In Cycling Community Say, "Move Out, Moreno!"
For months now - we've been reporting on the dispute in the Cycling Community. There's an power struggle in the Belize Cycling Association, where the old president Emil Moreno wants to be re-elected, but is encountering major resistance. Technically, the issue is whether the Cycling Association is a Federation: Moreno says it is and the international governing body for the sport agrees. But the Sports Council says it is not - and Moreno's former executive agrees. So, technically it's a mess, but really, the it's a personality problem. And that was clear on Saturday when some cyclists protested against their own president. 7news was there as they rode through the city:.. Jules Vasquez reporting It's not a race, it's not a preview for some major cycling event: Saturday's procession through the city was a protest - to make everyone know they want order restored to the cycling community. And as the chants suggest - that means the president Emil Moreno has to go. They gathered at the BTL Park - where the man who would be president Dion Leslie was there. They signed a petition - and if you want to know what the petition was about: the answer is blunt.

Moreno Says It's Mischief Making
For the other side of the story, today we caught up with Moreno in Cayo. We asked him about the catalogue of complaints against him. He responded today calling it mischief-making and rumors being spread around: Daniel Ortiz "You were aware that there was a rally that is basically a campaign against having you being re-elected as president of the Cycling Association. The members of the cycling team we spoke to on Saturday are saying that they would rather you step aside and have a new president to run the organization. They are saying that you haven't done a good job for the 4 years that were elected. How do you respond to that?" Emil Moreno "That's their own opinion. Of course the last time we intended to have the election in Cayo riders came out here and the rumors were out that those riders were paid $50 to come out and protest the affair here. I don't know what the rally was all about in Belize City. I do know that I did get an email that Ms. Leticia Westby sent out with a notice that there will be a rally and what was the rally all about but over the social media you read a lot of stuff as well. In one of the letters sent to Mr. Pat Henry they want to re-elect the incumbent president, so I don't know what or who is behind all this mischief. Everybody knows what the financial position is. A main sponsor like Santino's used to sponsor events with the Belize Cycling Association but he has moved over to another league - the Weekend Warrior league. I have tried to have the Weekend Warrior come under the Belize Cycling Association's umbrella but they don't want."

Making Mahogany Municipal Fixtures
The Belize City Council will be planting a hundred more trees around the City. It's a part of the Council's tree planting project -which not only promotes a healthy environment but also aims at beautifying public spaces. The one hundred and ten mahogany trees were donated this afternoon by community activist Francis Gegg . 7news was invited to the small handing over ceremony. Francis Gegg, Donated Trees "It's in support of the City beautification project. City Council is doing a great job on improving the city and we have a supply of Mahogany trees at the little farm up the road and I wanted to contribute in a small way to that beautification process. One of the things I like about the Mahogany tree especially is the fact that it grows and straight and it creates a nice canopy eventually. Of course it's the tree that has made Belize famous over the years and for a long time was the primary source of our export wealth and we need to propagate more of them and give more attention to Mahogany."

Channel 5

2 Belizeans in Mexico drug bust
Two well-known Belizean businessmen from the north are in lockdown in Mexico City after what is considered the biggest drug raid in Chetumal on Thursday evening involving one of Mexico’s most notorious drug cartels. Both men were caught in an alleged drug transaction at the house of a reputed Mexican drug lord when a surprise [...]

Youth says Berry drove vehicle over his back
On Sunday night, a seventeen year old was injured when he was hit by a private vehicle in the west.  The seventeen year old was injured and released from the hospital but his family has been making allegations that the incident was politically motivated. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.   Duane Moody, Reporting Seventeen year [...]

Government vehicle in Saturday evening collision
There is another traffic incident under investigation which occurred on Saturday at around five forty-five in the evening which involves a government vehicle. According to reports, a teacher from Yo Creek Village, Dalia Marin Gonzalez, was driving her Mazda SUV from Orange Walk to Yo Creek when Just about one mile away from Orange Walk [...]

Superbond takes over House
Details of the Superbond restructuring between the Government of Belize and Greylock Capital is now going to be heard in the House of Representatives at a special sitting this Tuesday. The government intends to issue debt securities in the forms of new bonds and the transaction size is five hundred twenty-nine million nine hundred twenty-eight [...]

Will there be fireworks at Orange Walk B.N.T.U. meeting?
Leaders of the Belize National Teachers Union, Public Service Union and Association of Public Service Senior Manager are currently going across the country presenting their wider membership with a salary adjustment proposal. So far the union leaders have been in Belize District, Dangriga and Punta Gorda. The media hasn’t been allowed to sit in, but [...]

Foreign Affairs confident in a yes for the referendum
The Referendum is set for October sixth and government has announced that its official position in support of going to the International Court of Justice to resolve the dispute once and for all. At least to the sixty percent of the voting public h is required to validate the referendum and patriotic sentiment is already [...]

British Army coming back for a visit
In November of 2011, the British Army Training Support Unit closed up shop and headed home after citing financial constraints. But now, they might be coming back – or at least that’s what Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, stated during his address at a B.D.F. passing out ceremony a week ago. Now that’s big [...]

2 minors and 2 adults get in scuffle at school fair
  Three males, who were socializing at the St. Catherine Academy Valentine Fair on Saturday night, became embroiled in a fight during the outdoor celebration. Despite twenty-five security guards, twenty police officers and six private citizens attempt to secure the compound, the three teens claim they were injured by an male that was a stranger [...]

Youth drowns in Cayo
An afternoon outing ended tragically for a fifteen year old. On Sunday afternoon, Jevan Guerra joined friends for a swim in the Mopan River in Benque Viejo del Carmen. Guerra, who had ventured out without parental authorization, reportedly experienced cramps and could not make it across the river.  Despite efforts from friends and people in [...]

Women Issues Network trains leaders
The Women’s Issues Network is leading the charge to knock down stereotypes about the traditional roles of women. Win-Belize’s Executive Director, Carolyn Reynolds, says that getting women involved in electoral politics and roles of leadership are priorities of their recent workshop in which thirty two women and five women are participating. At the conclusion of [...]

Custom’s K-9 sniffs out border ammunition
The use of dogs is part of a push by the National Security Ministry to tract illegal drugs and ammunition at the different ports of entry. Over the weekend, the K-9 Unit and the Customs Department were on patrol along the western border. Several rounds of ammunition were found with the efforts of a special [...]

Cyclists protest for sport to move forward
The cycling community participated in a small demonstration over the weekend to show support to the sport and to highlight their displeasure with the current stalemate that has the association in limbo. The elections were postponed in November and January as there are two constitutions that the incumbent president and his competition are citing as [...]

Karate Kids fight across the border
The House of Shotokan on Princess Margaret drive, is only a stone’s throw or rather a karate chop across from this station. Our neighbors have been successful in different karate events in Quintana Roo. Shihan Ray Kelly says that on Saturday his ten students participated in the Eagle Park Taekwondo competition.   Shihan Ray Kelly, [...]

James Adderley and sporting highlights
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.     The turmoil inside the cycling community spilled on to the streets of Belize City as riders rallied against the continuing impasse between President Emil Moreno who is seeking a second term and the majority of the BCA members who are vehemently opposed to [...]


Renegotiated Superbond Is Expected To Be Taken To The House of Representatives on Tuesday; Opposition Expresses Concerns
The House of Representatives will meet tomorrow in Belmopan. It is expected that government will bring to the meeting a motion dealing with the renegotiated super bond. It is also expected that the motion will be taken through all its stages tomorrow so that it can go to th...

Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Training Ends
Training in connection with the Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program ended at the weekend in Placentia. ...

Police News
Police in Belize City are looking for twenty one year old Joshua Anderson in connection with an alleged robbery. A twenty year old man reported to police that on Saturday afternoon he was riding his bicycle on Oleander Street, when a man he recognized as Anderson, grabbed his bic...

Cayo Police Investigate Unauthorized Cashed Cheques for ProWorld
Police in San Ignacio town are investigating an incident which has been classified as a burglary at an office on the Benque Viejo road. The global project manager Pro World reported to authorities that on December twenty fourth of last year, someone cashed a cheque in the amount ...

Alleged Jealous Ex-Husband Lands Him On Life Support
Two people from Santa Elena town have been detained after an early Sunday morning incident in San Ignacio which has left a man on life support at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Thirty three year old Mariana Galvez and thirty eight year old Victor Perez are in police detention pend...

Men Charged For Causing Public Terror Following Stabbing Incident At A Fair
A stabbing incident on Saturday has left three people injured. Police say they visited the KHMH on Saturday morning where they observed eighteen year old Trevor Brown suffering two apparent stab wounds to the back, a fifteen year old minor with a stab wound to the left arm and a sevent...

Belize City Recovering From Gunshot
A shooting incident on Saturday night has left one person injured. Police say that around eleven thirty on Saturday night, they visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where they say twenty five year old Trevor Hinds suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the left side of...

Aspiring Women Politicians Engage In Forum
Since the 1960’s, women have been making their presence known in the House of Representatives. But the scale at which they are elected has not been on the same level as is desired by groups that promote women participation at the National level. So today, 31 of Belize...

Teenager Drowns In The Mopan River
A teenage boy is reported to have drowned in Benque Viejo del Carmen on Sunday afternoon. According to reports, Rodney Javan Guerra was swimming in the Mopan River yesterday afternoon when he went under the water. His friends reportedly took him out of the water and adminis...

Weekend Traffic Mishap Involving Government Vehicle Leaves Two Injured
Two people were injured in a traffic mishap on the Yo Creek road on Saturday evening. According to police reports, thirty six year old Dalia Marin Gonzalez was heading towards Yo Creek village around five forty five on Saturday evening, when a vehicle, traveling in the opposite d...

A Minor and Three Men Charged Following Burglary In Buttonwood Bay
Three men and a 16 year old boy were charged with a burglary in which money and items amounting to over $18,000.00 when they appeared in court today. The adults are Cilo Cherrington, Lloyd Parchue and Kareem Yorke. They and the minor were also charged with handling stolen goods. Cherri...

Judge Gives Inmate Another Year After Being Busted With Marijuana In His Cell
Prison inmate Danny Urbina, who was charged with the possession of 34 grams of cannabis that was found in his cell, was sentenced to one year today by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser after he pled guilty to the charge. Urbina was busted on Thursday, February 7. Prison officer Sylvano C...

Young Woman Hides Cannabis In Baby's Pocket
Twenty year old Maria Reyes, a resident of St. Margaret Village, located on the Hummingbird Highway, was charged with possession of a controlled drug for five grams of cannabis seeds were found in the back pocket of the pants of her one year old baby boy when she went to Belize Central...


Two Belizeans Involve In Million Dollar Drug Bust In Mexico
Two Belizean Nationals and 6 Mexicans including two females are tonight enjoying the confines of Mexican Prison after they were arrested by the Mexican Navy during a major drug bust which yielded 45 kilograms of the synthetic drug known as crystal meth valued at one million U.S dollars. On Thursday February 8th well known Orange Walk businessman Ermelindo Vasquez aka Melin and Hugo Cassanova from Calcutta, Corozal were detained along with six other individuals including the Mexican drug lord of The Pelones in Chetumal, Carlos Cabañas Catzin AKA “El Monstruo.” Mexican Newspapers suggest that a few days before the raid the Mexican Navy received reports that a shipment of crystal meth and precursors to manufacture methamphetamine would be shipped into Mexico from Belize. Here is that story. On the afternoon of February 7th the Mexican Navy along with other federal agencies carried out their planned raid which led them to a major drug bust and to the arrest of 8 persons including Belizean Nationals Ermelindo Vasquez better known as Melin from Orange Walk and Hugo Cassanova from Calcutta, Corozal. Just minutes before 6:00pm, two vans filled with Navel members belonging to the 25th Battalion Marines descended on Avenida Benito Juarez between Camelias and Justo Sierra, Colonia Jesus Martinez Ross with one aim, to raid the house of Carlos Cabanas Catzin Alias “El Monstrou”, the Mexican Drug Lord of the Pelones in Chetumal Quintana Roo. The marines, all dressed in civilian clothing, approached the house which was signal for their companions to begin deploying throughout the next two blocks and stopping traffic from entering Avenida Benito Juarez. Tenants renting apartments in a building adjacent to Catzin’s residence were evicted in order to prevent any civilian casualties.

Ministry Of Agriculture Vehicle Involve In Traffic Accident
A serious traffic accident involving a government vehicle occurred at around 5:45 on February 9th just a mile into the road leading to Yo Creek Village. Thirty six year old Dalia Marin, a Belizean teacher from Yo Creek Village was driving a Grey Mazda Tribute heading to Orange Walk Town when a 2000 Blue Isuzu Pickup Truck with licence plate CY-B-949 belonging to the Ministry of Agriculture in Belmopan travelling in the opposite direction, swerved into Marin’s lane and collided into the left front side of her vehicle. Driving the Isuzu pickup at the time was 31 year old Max Castro from Santa Rita Layout Corozal Town. As a result of the collision Marin sustained a cut wound to her head and complained of pain on her left shoulder while Castro sustained a fractured left foot and a cut wound to the right foot. As you can observe in the footage, both vehicles received extensive damage to the entire left front portion. After police investigations Castro was issued a Notice of Intended Prosecution for the offence of “Drove Motor Vehicle without Due Care and Attention.

Home Invasion Leaves 22 Year Old Terrified
A home invasion over the weekend has left a minor and a 22 year old mother and student from Orange Walk Town terrified. On Saturday afternoon around 1:30 Reina Reyes was inside her residence located on Cypress Street when two armed male individuals barged into the house. Once inside the house one of the individuals covered the mouth of the minor while the second proceeded to rob Reyes of her belongings including a laptop which she was using at the time of the home invasion. CTV3 News understands that the men made good their escape with $40.00 and more than $3,000 worth in items including a cell phone and laptop. According to the family police were called to the scene but by the time they arrived, which was in a timely manner, the assailants had already disappeared into the night. Police investigations continue.

Corozal Police Charges Two For Drug Related Crimes
Corozal Police have arrested 21 year old Israel Rancharan and charged him for the crime of Drug Trafficking after 100 grams of marijuana was found inside his home. On February 10th cops were set to search Rancharan’s residence located on Venezuelan Site in Corozal Town. But even before the search began, Rancharan, who was hiding in some bushes bolted away managing to escape from police. A search of Rancharan’s hiding area led police to the discovery of a yellow plastic bag containing 100 grams of suspected marijuana, a silver and black gram scale, a black scissors and a pack of plastic bags. Apparently, before the end of the day, Rancharan became tired of running from the law and handed himself over to the cops who charged him for drug trafficking. Also on February 10th Corozal Police made a second arrest for drug trafficking. This time police were on mobile patrol on 5th Street South Corozal Town when they stopped and searched 37 year old Rafael Garrido of San Antonio Village who was on bicycle. Inside Garrido’s mouth police found two transparent bags containing two grams of suspected marijuana. Garrido has been charged for Possession of Controlled Drugs.

OW South Rep. Says Sugar Roads Need To Be Upgraded
In last year’s general election, PUP Representative Jose Abelardo Mai won over the Orange Walk South Constituency. Since then, Mai has been lobbying to get the road leading to San Felipe, Indian Church and San Carlos upgraded. It the past, Mai joined efforts with the Mennonite Community to upgrade a portion of the road leading to San Carlos. That proved to be good news for residents of the area especially those involved in the agricultural sector. Today when we spoke to Mai he demanded that the remainder of the road be fixed since, according to him, over half a million dollars has been paid out to Demar’s Stone Company for the upgrading of the road from San Felipe to Indian Church to San Carlos. According Mai the half a million dollar contract was awarded to Denny Grijalva last year December and nearly two months after works are yet to commence.

Family Store Robbed At Gun Point
Five hours after the home invasion on Cypress Street there was a robbery on Saint Peters Street here in Orange Walk Town. According to the proprietor of the Family Store, Taiwanese National, Ken Fu Weh, at about 6:50pm two masked men rode up in front of the store on bicycles, entered the establishment and robbed Weh at gun point. Weh recalls that while one of the men pointed a gun to his head, the other jumped over the counter and began taking out the money from the cash register. The men who are of dark complexion were dressed in black long sleeves shirt, black jeans pants and wore black rag over their faces. In total, the thieves escaped with over $900 in cash and one cell phone. The Family Store has been opened for five years and this is the first robbery the proprietor has experience. Luckily no one was hurt and police investigations continue.

Our Lady Of Guadalupe Arrives In Orange Walk
And while Pope Benedict announced his sudden resignation, the presence of Our Lady of Fatima was more than visible here in Orange Walk Town as hundreds of Catholics marched through out the principle streets of town in the name of peace. Our Lady of Fatima has been crowned as the Queen of the World and every year the statue travels all around the world. The legend of Our Lady of Fatima dates back to 1917 when Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto saw what they described as a woman who is brighter than the sun. Through her apparition, Our Lady of Guadalupe exhorted the children to do penance and Acts of Reparation as well as making personal sacrifices to save sinners. According to Lúcia's account, in the course of her appearances, the woman confided to the children three secrets, now known as the Three Secrets of Fátima. And today for the second year in a row, the statue of the Queen of the World appeared in Orange Walk Town this morning as hundreds of students and catholic based community members marched to La Inmaculada Parish for the crowning ceremony. CTV3 News was there and we asked Father Francisco Javier about the purpose of the Virgin’s visit to Belize.

Pope Benedict To Step Down On February 28th
The Roman Catholic World has been plunged into intense speculation and is stunned after Pope Benedict the XVI announced today that he would resign on February 28th after less than 8 years in office becoming the first pope to resign in almost 600 years. In a statement that reverberated around the world on the social media, the 85 year old Pope announced his resignation at the end of a meeting of Cardinals at the Vatican this morning stating that his health is the reason for the surprise announcement. While the pope made his announcement in Latin the statement was translated in seven languages Italian, French, English, German, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish. The last pontiff to quit in office was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 to end a civil war within the church in which more than one man claimed to be pope.

Unemployment Rate Is Sky High
The Statistic Institute of Belize has released its summary findings on Belize’s Labour Force Survey. According to the findings, the unemployment rate has increased from 14.4% in April 2012 to 16.1% in September 2012. That means that over 24,000 capable persons in the country don’t have a job. Cayo remains as the district with the highest unemployment rate at 18.6%. Not far behind is Corozal with 18.3%. On the other hand, the Orange Walk District has the lowest unemployment rate which is at 13.6%. The survey says that the hike is mostly attributable to downturns in the tourism, citrus and sugar industries as well as to an influx of recent graduates into the labour market. When it comes to Ethnicity, the findings show that the Mayas have the highest unemployment rate of 19.3%. If we take a look at the situation by gender base the unemployment rate for men is at 11.9% while females have a jaw dropping unemployment rate of 22.4%. The survey also found that youths between the ages of 14 and 24 years are the ones most critically affected by unemployment, they stand at 30%. The survey targeted 2,550 randomly chosen households throughout Belize and completed responses were obtained from 2,225 households, giving a household response rate of 87 percent.

Super Bond Reaches House Of Representative
Tomorrow there will be a Special Sitting of the House of Representatives in Belmopan where the main order of the day will be the new terms and conditions of Belize’s five hundred and fifty-four million US dollar super bond which the Prime Minister has been so tight lipped about. What we know tonight is that the Maximum Transaction Size is of five hundred and twenty nine million nine hundred and twenty eight thousand eight hundred dollars. The new bonds ill attract interest, payable semi-annually in arrears at the interest rates of five percent per annum from March 2013 to August 2017 and 6.767% from 20th August 2017 to 20 February 2038. The new bonds are expected to be issued by 31st march 2013. He new bonds shall be repaid in equal semi-annual installments commencing 20 August 2019 and the final maturity date is expected to be February 2038. More details on the new terms will be reveled tomorrow. But the PUP is up in arms tonight since it was not until late this evening that PUP Members of the House of Representatives and Senate received the text of the motion.


Fire guts building at Youth Cadet Corps compound
The National Cadet Service Corps located across from the Youth Hostel off the George Price Boulevard at mile 22 has been offering, for the past 14 years, remedial services to youths considered to be at risk. But on Thursday night the management of the institution found itself fighting much more than just attitudinal problems when one of its wooden buildings was discovered on fire. The preliminary report, given by the Manager of the Youth Cadet Service Corps, William Swan, is that when the fire occurred he was in Punta Gorda and that is could likely be a case of arson. Fire at Youth Cadet Corps: While the police have begun their investigations to determine if someone was criminally responsible for the blaze, the Fire Department has not yet determined what caused the fire, according to their Operations Ofifcer, Beresford Matura. The National Youth Cadet Service Corps is separate from the Youth Hostel, which is located across the street and which deals with youths who have been through the court system. The Cadet Service offers assistance to families who ask the government to intervene with the disciplining of their troubled teens and it offers them military type training on weekends as BDF volunteer soldiers. The estimated tally of the loss has not yet been worked out, but the contents included mainly kitchen appliances.

Motorcycles donation for the police department
The Belize Police Department today received a donation of over eighty thousand dollars worth of motorcycle equipment. The donation was handed over this morning to the officer commanding eastern division, Assistant Commissioner of police Miguel Segura, who told Love News how the cycles will be deployed. Love News spoke with CARSI’s program specialist Barry Cuthbertson who is stationed at the US embassy in Belmopan. The motorcycles were handed over during a brief ceremony this morning at the Queen Street police station.

Foreign Affairs CEO says Guatemala has apologized for erroneous map
The rift between Belize and Guatemala over a claim that country has to more than half of our country proved to still be very much predominant even as was evident 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 that included everything south of the George Price Highway as part of that country. In sharp protest, Belize’s OAS Ambassador, Nestor Mendez, said and we quote, “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”, end of quote. Today Love News met Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexis Rosado, who said that the Guatemalan representative explained the error made and apologized for it. But the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA would have none of it, and today COLA fired off a strongly-worded press release, condemning quote “the use, intentional or otherwise, of any material purporting to show Belize as part of the Republic of Guatemala”, unquote. The COLA release states that the organization wholeheartedly agrees with the position and actions of the Belizean Ambassador and applauds his courage for standing up. In addition, COLA makes reference to the fact that the map was used twice and that this second time it was in the chambers of the same organization, the OAS, that is assisting in mediating talks towards a possible settlement between the two countries. COLA says that it now looks to see how the OAS will respond to the incident. COLA says it expects a retraction of the error and ends by stating that it intends to register, in writing, its concerns to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to the OAS.

Parents blame Northern Regional hospital in baby’s death
The pain of losing a loved one is a traumatic event for any person to bear. But when that death is believed to have been avoidable, the tragedy is magnified. And that is just where an Orange Walk couple finds themselves. The loss of a baby … and the full fury of their anger is aimed squarely at doctors and nurses at the Northern Regional Hospital. Dalila Ical from our Orange Bureau has the story.

Minister of State Herman Longsworth’s countrywide tour arrives in PG
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports Herman Longsworth was on a working visit yesterday to Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

Visiting doctors wrap up surgeries in Belize
A team of visiting doctors is currently performing spine surgeries for children at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. The partnership involves the United States-based Belize Spine team. CEO in the Ministry of Health Dr. Peter Allen explains. Dr. Allen says other partnership initiatives will be continuing in the coming weeks which will benefit thousands of Belizeans.

Health Information System gets a huge boost
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 hardware and software to facilitate the expansion. The money for the H.I.S. expansion was secured through a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which is funding a project called Salud Mesoamericana. The goal is to help countries achieve their millennium development goals, particularly as they relate to maternal and child health as well and infant mortality and morbidity. Dr. Peter Allen is the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health. Dr. Allen says the hope is that the entire network of computers will be fully functional within the next six weeks.

School gets a helping hand from Scotia Bank
Living Hope Preparatory School, today accepted a cheque of twenty thousand dollars from Scotiabank. The donation which is covered by the Bank’s “Bright Future Program” is the second of three installments that the bank has agreed to give the school, toward their feeding program, to a total of sixty thousand dollars. Karen Lewis, Director of Retail banking for Scotiabank told us more about the donation. And while Scotiabank is fond of giving the donation, the happier ones are the teachers and students of the school. Love News spoke with the Manager, Natalie Bowen Westby and the Principal, Francisca Lacayo, who expressed their gratitude and gave us further details on the feeding program. According to the principal, the school which is located in the Collet Area of Belize City offers a second chance to students with literacy problems, primary or high school dropouts, or those who fail their PSE.

Miracle Mission says ‘thank you’
The Embassy of Venezuela today held a luncheon to honor those who have collaborated or participated with Mision Milagro, or Miracle Mission, a group that has been assisting with eye treatment and surgery. Chargè d’affaires for the Venezuelan Embassy, Gabriel Sanchez, told us more about the Mission. Among those being honored today were several mayors and coordinators for the program in Belize. Mision Milagro originated in 2004 in Venezuela but internationalized in 2005. At this point there are over twelve countries covered by the Mission, including Belize. Sanchez says there are hopes for the program to strengthen. The Luncheon took place at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City. And while in the topic of Venezuela, Sanchez gave us an update onto the health of President Hugo Chavez who as we know has been putting up an ongoing battle with cancer. Chargè d’affaires for the Venezuelan Embassy, Gabriel Sanchez.

Verdict in first murder trial without a jury to be delivered next week
Chief Justice, 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 down shortly after 10 a.m. on July 10, 2010, in the parking lot outside of the magistrate Court building on Regent Street. He had just exited the courtroom and was walking to his vehicle when his assailant shot him several times. Rhys was detained by the police shortly after the shooting. Three police officers found him in a stooping position at the back of a yard on Prince Street. There was no eye witness and the evidence was purely circumstantial. One police officer testified to seeing Rhys running from the scene. On Wednesday, February 6, Rhys took the witness stand and testified that he was walking on Southern Foreshore when he heard about five to six gunshots. Rhys said that he walked into Prince Street and entered a yard and stooped down. He said that nobody was in the yard at the time. Rhys testified that while he was stooping down he saw three police officers and one of them said, “freeze”, and he put his hands in the air. He said one of the officers asked him about two guns and he replied that he did not know what the officer was talking about. Rhys said that the police officers took him on Regent Street and they put him in a vehicle when they reached in front of the Supreme Court Building and they took him to Queen Street Police Station. Rhys is being represented by attorney Simeon Sampson. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lynn Vidal, is representing the prosecution.

Easter Division boss gives update on quadruple murders investigation
One month after the quadruple murders of four men on south-side Belize City, the incident has faded from the headlines. But the investigation continues. Today, while at the Queen Street police station, Love News asked the officer commanding Eastern Division Miguel Segura if there is any progress in the investigation. That was the Officer Commanding Eastern Division, Assistant Commissioner Miguel Segura.

BTB says 2012 was big for tourism in Belize
Over the course of the last two weeks, Love News has been reporting on the good reviews Belize has been getting on the international media. Among these were the feature on United Airlines in flight Magazine “Hemispheres” and a feature on CNN. Today the Belize Tourism Board issued a couple of statistics that show how Belize is doing in the tourism market. It is best to start with the good news and that is, Belize is doing well in comparison with regional competitors in the area of overnight tourism. Laura Esquivel Frampton is the Director of Tourism at the BTB. Frampton commented on what might have contributed to two hundred and seventy seven thousand one hundred and thirty five overnight arrival increase. The not so good news is that Cruise arrivals have decreased by twelve percent, but if it serves as consolation it is good to note that decrease in Cruise arrivals are also a concern for regional competitors, with the exception of the Cayman Islands who saw a seven point six percent increase. Frampton says that the overall picture for these records show that our tourism industry continues to be strong and vibrant and the BTB continues to push for GDP in the country and also continues to support employment and the growth of the country.

AIDS statistics indicate higher number of male infections over female
The figures for the new cases of HIV infections won’t be out for another two weeks, but early indicators are that there is a higher number of male infections over female. Love News got a preliminary report today from the Director of the Ministry of Health’s Director the HIV Program, Doctor Marvin Manzanero. According to Manzanero, based on the numbers of infections, he would hazard to guess that the majority of those infections have occurred among men who have sexual relations with men.

Human Rights forum held in Belmopan
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 gay community, among others. Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held the first of what will be a series of countrywide public consultations to gauge two things. They want to see how much they have accomplished in the last 4 ½ years since Belize submitted its last report to the United Nations on the implementations of Belize’s human rights obligations and two, to get inputs from the public. Love News checked in at the event at the George Price Centre today and found out for ourselves from Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexis Rosado. Rosado says that the Ministry will hold similar meetings across the country in the coming months.

Section of North Front Street to close next week
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 endure another bit of inconvenience. That section of North Front Street, from its junction at Mapp Street to Douglas Jones Street will be closed as of Monday. This means if you need to get to the Farm Centre, Quality Poultry Chicken or anywhere along that stretch on Monday, its best you park on Mapp Street or anywhere past the Belchina Bridge and walk. The Belize City Council will publicize when that portion of North Front Street will be open again to vehicular traffic.


Teenager run down by Area Rep’s car
It was reported by one media house over the weekend that Cayo North Area Representative Hon. Joseph Mahmud was involved in an incident where his vehicle was used to purposefully knock down a minor. Plus news learned today though that the report was only half true. While a minor...

Stabbing at school fair
Police have arrested and charged four men in connection with a stabbing which took place during the annual Valentine Fair hosted by St. Catherine Academy over the weekend that left three person’s injured. We are told that the event was well-secured with the presence of both police – as...

Cyclists disappointed with leadership of BCA President Emil Moreno
The Belize Cycling Association has been in a state of flux. Elections due since November have been postponed pending the intervention of the regional cycling body COPACI and the International Cycling Union (UCI). The postponement comes after incumbent President Emil Moreno intended to introduce federation-style voting for the election...

Teachers discuss Government’s proposal
Teachers are gathered at the University of Belize’s gymnasium at this moment, discussing Government’s proposal to the union’s regarding the requested raise of pay. The meeting got on the way at about 6 pm and at that time, some 200 persons were in attendance. According to one union leader,...

Shooting in Belize City
There was a shooting in Belize City on Saturday. On February 9th at about 11:30pm, 25 year old TREVOR HINDS, of Belize City was shot to the left side of the chin. According to police reports, Trevor Hinds was at the corner of Hibiscus Street and Flamboyant Street when...

Two Belizeans arrested in Chetumal for Crystal Meth possession
Two Belizeans were arrested in Chetumal along with six Mexicans for Crystal Meth possession. On Thursday afternoon, BZ PIC – Belizeans Hugo Casanova of Calcutta, Corozal and Ermelindo Vázquez of Orange Walk were arrested after the Mexican Navy along with other federal agencies carried out a raid on Thursday...

Drug Trafficking and Possession of Controlled Drugs reported in Corozal Town
There are reports of Drug Trafficking and Possession of Controlled Drugs coming out of the north. On Sunday February, 10th at about 10:00am, a search was conducted at the home of 21 year old Israel Rancharan of Venezuelan Site, Corozal Town. Upon arrival, Police observed Rancharan bending down by...

Drugs discovered in Alta Vista Village and Dangriga
Special Branch, Anti Drug Unit and K9 Unit have been conducting a series of joint anti drug operations in the Southas well over the past couple weeks. Over the weekend the operational team launched a search in an overgrown farmland within Alta Vista Village, and in an open lot...

Fire at Galen University Campus in Central Farm
There was a fire at Galen University Campus in Central Farm morning. The watchman of the campus told police that at about 11:39 am, he was on patrol on campus, when he heard the sound of glass breaking. When he went to make checks, he saw fire coming from...

Man on life support after violating a restraining order
A man is on life support after violating a restraining order. 33 year old Mariana Galvez, a Guatemalan, owner of Mariana’s Bar in San Ignacio Town visited the San Ignacio police Station on Sunday Feb 10th to make a report. Galvez said that between 2:00 and 2:30am, she was...

Women meet to discuss gender and politics
Women met to strategize over gender and politics today. After last March’s general and municipal elections, the Organization of American States (OAS), which had observed the process, had many nice things to say. But one thing they did not like was the lack of women participating – just 3...

San Ignacio Police investigate a Burglary
San Ignacio Police are investigating a report of Burglary. A manager for PROWORLD office reported to Police that she is the only one authorized to sign cheques for the organization and that she had signed several cheques as requested by PROWORLD director. She stated that between the 19th and...

Local Chinese celebrate New Year
Local Chinese celebrated a New Year this weekend. The Belize Chinese community has in a short time become an important part of the national identity and they continue to observe their traditions. This weekend was the Chinese New Year and it is the Year of the Snake. Belize’s local...

Pope Benedict the Sixteenth has resigned
Pope Benedict the XVI (Sixteenth) has announced his resigned. Pope Benedict shocked the Roman Catholic Church including his closest advisers this morning when he announced he will step down officially as of Thursday February 28th. In announcing his abdication, the 85-year-old pope wrote that his age and failing health...

The Reporter

Ombudsman office gets new attorney
Newly sworn in attorney Oscar Segaldo has been appointed as the in-house attorney for the office of the Ombudsman. Segaldo was called to the Bar on Friday, February 1, and officially took up his post at the Ombudsman’s office on Monday.

Father killed on his way to pick up son for school
An apparent minor misunderstanding triggered this year’s thirteenth murder on Monday, when a gunman fatally shot Gary Andrew Bowen Sr., as he rode his bicycle at the junction of Partridge and Banak Streets.

You’re aging your skin
Do you hop into bed still wearing your mascara? Try out every new skin product to hit the shelves? These common mistakes may not seem like a big deal, but over time they can take a toll on your skin and leave you looking prematurely aged. Don’t worry: It’s not too late. Here, we break down your bad skin habits and show you how to avoid them—and look 10 years younger.

Good posture helps reduce back pain
Correct posture is a simple but very important way to keep the many intricate structures in the back and spine healthy. It is much more than cosmetic—good posture and back support are critical to reducing the incidence and levels of back pain and neck pain. Back support is especially important for patients who spend many hours sitting in an office chair or standing throughout the day. Not maintaining good posture and adequate back support can add strain to muscles and put stress on the spine. Over time, the stress of poor posture can change the anatomical characteristics of the spine, leading to the possibility of constricted blood vessels and nerves, as well as problems with muscles, discs and joints.

SJC & Wesley boys win in high schools football playoffs
The five-game winning streak of Excelsior High’s “green machine” came to a screeching halt by a surprise upset at the hands (or rather feet) of the boys of St. John’s College in the first game of playoffs of the Belize District High Schools Football Competition at the M.C.C. grounds on Friday night, February 1, while Wesley College boys outlasted Anglican Cathedral College 2-1 on Saturday, February 2. Excelsior boys entered the playoffs as the top seed with 15 pts after their fifth victory: 1-0 against the boys of Ladyville Technical High School last Tuesday.

Belize Bank wins annual Haulover to Boom canoe race
Ruta Maya veterans Armin Lopez, Daniel Cruz and Amado Cruz of the Belize Bank Bulldogs won the annual Haulover to Burrell Boom canoe race on Saturday, February 12, the second of three races the Belize Canoe Association has organized in preparation for the 14th annual Ruta Maya River Challenge.

Needed: serious cost cutting
The general political perception in Belize has always been that the PUP always fielded a wider selection of business people within their leadership and administrative management that the UDP. In other words, the PUP seemed more keen to get business people to run for elected office and hence become part of their upper leadership.

Hon. Mark King gets bail
Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation with responsibility for gangs, Mark King, was arraigned on three criminal charges in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court, on Thursday. He appeared before Corozal Magistrate, Clive Lino, who offered him bail in the sum of $4,000 plus one surety. His case was adjourned to April 16. According to reports, King, the area representative for the Lake Independence area, was involved in a Tuesday morning altercation at the Princess Casino at the Corozal Free Zone, where he allegedly assaulted a police officer. Prime Minister Dean O. Barrow, after being briefed on the situation during Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, placed King on a three-month suspension without pay from Cabinet. In the government press release, Barrow described the allegations against King as “unbecoming conduct.” Following his suspension, King sent out his own press release in which he did not admit to any wrong doing, but said that he “regretted that the incident occurred.”

Union members weigh GOB’s proposal for salary adjustment
The Belize City memberships of the three public sector unions that have been demanding a ‘salary adjustment’ from the Government of Belize are yet to vote on whether or not they accept GoB’s proposals. President of the Public Service Union (PSU) Marvin Blades said to the media on Monday that the proposal coming out of last Friday’s meeting between Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow and the presidents of the Belize National Teachers Union, PSU and Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM) is based on the revenue out-turn for base-year 2012-2013. Blades said, “[This means that] whatever is the difference between 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 base year, the government will give 50% to the unions for the salary adjustment, assuming that there is a surplus.” The unions, therefore, met with their membership on Wednesday at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall to analyse and vote on the proposed compromise; however, the Reporter has been informed that no vote was taken on the basis of two “grey areas”.

Jose Castellanos’ fear of victimization is “a bit off,” P.M. Barrow says
Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM) president Jose Castellanos cited victimization as his reason for retiring from the ‘salary adjustment’ negotiations; but Prime Minister Dean Barrow says that wasn’t the case at all. Barrow told reporters on Wednesday that he finds Castellanos’ claim as to why he pulled out of the negotiation between government and the unions last Friday, “a bit off.” Barrow explained that last August – prior to Castellanos’ tenure as APSSM’s president-he had applied for early retirement from the public service on medical grounds, so that he could get all his benefits. “He had discussed his request with this CEO, who said, ‘Fine, then the ministry will support it.’ And the ministry formally did that in September of last year,” Barrow revealed. Barrow elucidated that Castellanos became APSSM’s president around last October, “when he knew that his request to be medically boarded – if you can call it that – was already in train.”

New rules for new Belize passports
The Belizean public will learn the ins and outs of getting a new passport through an education campaign that the Department of Immigration and Nationality will be conducting throughout the country. This campaign will familiarize Belizeans with the changes in the new application form, and the ways in which the application process has been improved. It is expected that the new procedures to acquire a new Belize passport will make it more difficult for non-Belizean citizens to get a passport to which they are not entitled. The minister responsible for Immigration, Minister of Labor, Local Government, and Rural Development Senator Godwin Hulse, signed Statutory Instrument No. 16 on January 17, and it was published in the Government Gazette on January 19. The ministry will announce the timeline for this campaign later, but the new rules take effect on Friday, March 1.

Why the Government Is Suing Standard & Poor’s
By Rick Newman As a legal drama, it has gone on way longer than most people’s attention span can tolerate. But the plot continues to thicken in the quest for villains responsible for the 2008 financial meltdown. The Obama administration and several states are now poised to sue credit-rating agency Standard & Poor’s for insisting that billions of dollars’ worth of securities were far safer than they turned out to be. If the government wins, it would mark a rare moment of accountability for a scandal in which hardly anybody has been punished—even though the wipeout zapped trillions of dollars of wealth and threw nearly 10 million people out of work. The problem: subprime mortgages For two decades, it had been typical practice to bundle mortgages into tradable securities to optimize their value. The process worked fine as long as the mortgages themselves remained in good standing, even pushing down interest rates and freeing more cash that banks could lend to worthy homeowners. The problem developed when mortgage lenders began granting loans to unqualified borrowers who should not have gotten them. When home values started to fall, the home equity many of those borrowers had been counting on evaporated, and default rates skyrocketed.


A Tale of Five Cities: Route Reversal (Part 2)
This was not the best morning of the trip. In fact, it was the worst, for me anyway. I woke up feeling a little nauseous. Barry thought maybe it was because I didn't sleep well, but I wasn't so sure. I had only had one cervasa at the pizza place the night before, so it certainly wasn't a hangover. And Barry had had the same pizza and felt fine, so it wasn't the pizza. When we were waiting on our breakfast to be served at the Hotel Xibalba in Palenque, I started feeling worse. After a couple of bites of plain toast, I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep it down. I bolted to our room and to the bathroom, where I lost my previous night's dinner along with the small amount of breakfast I'd eaten. (I hope that's not too much information!) We had to catch a bus leaving in less than an hour, and it was hard to even imagine traveling as all I wanted to do was lie down and rest. Somehow I got myself together, got back down to the table, and paid for our breakfast. We checked out and made it onto the bus just in the nick of time. I was still feeling a bit queasy and weak, but better than before my run for the porcelain god. After analyzing what we'd both eaten over the past couple of days, Barry suggested that it might have been the salad I'd eaten at Entropia in San Cristobal de las Casas the night before last. That's something he didn't eat, and you know what they say about raw foods and Montezuma's Revenge. I figured the law of averages had finally caught up to me. Fortunately, I was feeling better from then on out, just a little weak. I had no appetite and ate nothing at all until dinnertime that day. But, back to the story.

Carnaval Comparsas and Painted People
Last night Dennis and I decided we needed more Eileen time after crashing her table at Estel’s for brunch so we headed to DandE’s for some of that delicious frozen custard. I decided on mint chocolate chip and a hot fudge bulls eye with a sugar cone. He opted for a cup with 2 scoops, chocolate and rum raisin with special gravy. I brought my camera along as I wanted to get some pictures of the Carnival party and people painting. It was late enough that we were safe from being painted and egged. Carnaval is definitely an event to put on your Belize celebration bucket list, this annual event happens on the week before Ash Wednesday. It is a colorful, fun time, for some too colorful as the kids honor the tradition of painting each other and the town. For the most part if you don’t want to be painted you’ll be left alone, but it does not hurt to wear old clothes that night just in case.

Tiny insect discovered in wilds of Belize
U.S. entomologists say they’ve discovered a tiny grasshopper-like insect in Belize and named it in commemoration of a Mayan people who once lived there. Researchers have dubbed the tiny hopper Ripipteryx mopana after the Mopan people, a Mayan group native to the Central American region. Scientists from the University of Illinois discovered the new species in the tropical rainforests of the Toledo District in southern Belize, which is bordered by Guatemala. “Belize is famous for its biodiversity, although very little is known about the insect fauna of the southern part of the country. This is particularly true of the Orthoptera — the grasshoppers, crickets and katydids,” entomologist Sam Heads said in a university release Wednesday. The tiny black, white and orange colored grasshopper-like species — less than a quarter inch long — uses its large jumping hind legs to escape predators, the researchers said.

Belizestagram! The Best Photos Of The Week
Here’s another weekly mashup (February 04 – 10) of the best Belize Instagram photos. All these photos are personally taken by the individuals in Belize. If you want your photos to be included, remember to tag them using the hashtag #Belize.

The Beat Goes On
Started the day early at 4 am on the veranda with a coffee selecting the photos I am going to enclose with the letter I am sending to Mayor Danny Guerrero and then surfing the web looking at hotels in Austin and San Antonio for our upcoming trip that starts off in Dallas to look at fixtures and fittings for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. With the research completed I got ready and went for an early morning breakfast at Estel’s (yes, that place again) and then went home to collect Rose for our visit to the Immigration Department to get our 30 day Visas. Not a straightforward visit this time because we should have taken care of this last Friday (our Visas expired on Saturday but the office is closed) but we got captivated by progress on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.Inexcusable really and just plain sloppy on our part (could try to blame Rose but …). En route we agreed that Rose would do the talking and if challenged about being late she would just act dumb ( limited acting required which is why she got the part – when she reads this I am in deep trouble). It worked a treat and we got off without any fines. I have now diarised the date when we need to renew (should have done this in the first place) and I will get an email notification.

The Guatemalan Claim is being legitimized with the help of Belize
It seems to me that Belize got Set up, Swindled and Hoodwinked, …before the suggestion to take Guatemalan’s claim to the ICJ , it seemed to be going well for Belize Internationally. We had our issues but we were developing…Guatemala for the most part was not an issue for us and the Guatemalan claim for Belize was dying a natural death; I would argue that any claim by Guatemala in the world arena would be seen ridiculous as the world has given Belize LEGITIMACY in every world organization…. Lo and Behold, enter the brilliant yet inept legal minds in Belize, the ones who bill our taxpayers for self benefiting pursuits, the same brilliant legal minds who have yet to effectively address or solve our internal failing justice systems, decides to become legal super heroes and take up a centuries old issue and solve a claim already settled with our induction into the U.N. They agreed and signed a contract, without any previous consultation with the Belizean people, to risk our sovereignty. They ask Belizeans NOW to trust them, and vote yes for our future to be determined by Judges who could care less how their vote affect us. A vote where ONLY Belize stands to lose.

Who Will Improve Our schools?
We don’t have the best possible Education System in Belize today to prepare our children to live in this era of advanced technology. Before we can create one, though, we must first “want it”! Sadly, Education Systems in Belize have not been developed due to the overwhelming apathy from parents, educators, and the government towards constantly improving our schools. As in most third-world countries, the Education we provide our children in Belize today is what it was 50+ years ago. But my grandchildren should not have to study the same curriculum that I studied in high school in the mid 1960’s, or take the same non-Belizean-made exams that I had to take. We cannot continue educating our young people the same way we have always done it. In Colonial times many foreigners (Catholic nuns, priest, scholastics, and volunteers from abroad) helped to educate our people. Now, though, we are independent. We must discard that old Colonial mentality under which our parents and grandparents lived: “what worked for us will work for you”. 21st Century Belize is no longer “if the world had any ends, Belize would be one”. We are living in a new millennium, and we must adapt to a new way of living! We now live with several television and radio stations, computers, cell phones, internet, and a thousand new inventions that did not exist when I attended school.

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Creemed Halibut
4 – 6 ounce halibut fillets (froze and thawed) salt and peppr 2 tablespoons buttr 1 lemon 4 gree onyuns 1 red bell peppr 3 cloves garlic, minced 3 cups sliced butt'n mushrooms 8 – 10 stalks asparagus 4 cups youngn spinach (keep one cup fer garnish undr t'halibut) 1 cup halved cherry maters 1 teespoon crushed chili flakes (optyunal) 1/2 cup white wine (er chicke broth) 1 cup creem cooked Pasta uf yer choic

International Sources

Dike injury leaves Porter, Timbers looking at new trialist
The Portland Timbers resumed training Monday after the team’s two-week stint in Arizona, and they had a new trialist in tow. Deon McCaulay, a Belizean international forward, is being evaluated as a possible replacement for Bright Dike, the third-year striker who will be out until at least August after he tore his left ACL in Tuesday’s preseason game against Seattle. The Timbers’ director of medicine, Dr. Richard Edelson, performed successful surgery on Dike, who was expected to compete for a starting job after scoring five goals in the Timbers’ final 11 games last season, according to the team. “It’s too bad,” Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said after Monday’s session at JELD-WEN Field. “We feel for Bright. He was going to be a key piece for us this year. But that’s football, it happens and guys get injured. … He’s a tough kid, he’s a great kid, he’s a good kid. We’ll miss him, but he’ll overcome this.”

Corin Nemec Injured While Filming in Belize, Told Dont Sue or Else
Following a major injury during filming in Belize, actor Corin Nemec, 41, had to be rushed to the hospital, but it seems his problems are not over just yet. While working on the movie Poseidon Rex, the former “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose” star was aboard a Coast Guard vessel when it crashed into a semi-submerged barge. Nemec’s leg was shattered, his femur broken in at least three places, and he lost nearly half of his blood. Now, after surgery to repair his leg (see photo here), his insurance company is refusing to pay his hospital bills unless he signs a contract saying he will not sue. According to Nemec, he is being pressured to sign a contract stating he releases both the insurance company and the production company from any liability in the accident in Belize. The incident occurred on January 19. Nemec told TMZ he has yet to make a decision.

A Perfect Day at Francis Ford Coppola's Little Beach Shack
Wake up at Turtle Inn, the Francis Ford Coppola resort in Placencia, a sleepy Creole fishing village in the Stann Creek District of Belize, at the southernmost tip of a narrow, 26-mile peninsula. You’re nowhere, and you have a busy day in the sunshine ahead of you. Sunrise: Mornings here are quiet and peaceful. Request a wake-up call just so you can use the shell phone, then walk out your seafront Balinese-style cottage (Villa One) a few steps into the Caribbean for a morning swim. Rinse off in the outdoor shower in your private garden before stopping by The Mare restaurant for warm coffee, fresh fruits, and beignets.

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.

February 11, 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 10th, 2013 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Father And Son Facing Joint Burglary Charge:
    A father and son, caught in the act of burglary, are today out on a three thousand dollar bail each after appearing in the Belmopan Court room of magistrate Linsbert Willis. The information reaching us indicated that at around 3:00 pm on Thursday, January 31, 2013, Georgeville police reportedly received an emergency call from Leopold Mai, Belizean caretaker at Maya Ranch Farm located in the village. Mai reported that two male persons, of Hispanic descent, arrived at the farm in a white pickup truck, broke the lock attached to the farm storeroom and were in the process of removing items from the building when he found them in the act.
  • Burglary in Buena Vista:
    Police are this week reporting the solving of another burglary this one in the village of Buena Vista on the outskirt of the Mennonite community of Spanish Lookout. At around 2:00 pm on Saturday, February 2, 2013, the policeman stationed in Spanish Lookout received information of a burglary in progress in Buena Vista Village. The policeman rushed to the scene where he met the complainant Ramon Coronado who told the police that his house was burglarized and that he knew who committed the crime. Armed with this information, police visited the Buena Vista home of Victor Alfonso Limas. The suspect was reportedly found in bed where he was informed of the report made against him. He was detained and transported to the sub-station in Spanish Lookout.
  • Sacred Heart College Auditorium Finally Becoming A Reality:
    After fundraising for many years Sacred Heart College has officially commenced construction of a 100X200 feet, state of the art multi-purpose facility which is expected to be completed in time for graduation in June. President of Sacred Heart College, Dr. Eve Aird, informed that reaching the ground breaking stage has been slow and painstaking. Dr. Aird informed that it took over six years to gather enough funds to start the project that is to become a major facility for sports and other social activities at Sacred Heart College. The auditorium which is estimated to cost over 2 million dollars was designed by Mr. Lennox Bradley, Chief Engineer in the Ministry of Works, himself a former student of the college. The facility will be constructed to withstand a category 4 hurricane. It will be pressed into service as a hurricane shelter. Upon completion the facility will house a grand stage for the performing arts, kitchen area and offices.
  • Theft Of Haitian Relief Funds By The Red Cross On Third Earthquake Anniversary:
    Three years ago, an international expression of caring went out to Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated the nation. Belizeans responded with open hearts, giving what they could. The major focal point in Belize for collection of donations was the Belize Red Cross despite information surfacing that the Red Cross money did not always get to where it was supposed to go. We wrote the media and called the talk shows about the The Red Cross and offering an alternative way to donate, the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund (HERF). It was founded in March 2004 by Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover and worked to address the crisis of the earthquake as well as giving concrete aid to Haiti’s grassroots democratic movement supporting the long-run development of human rights, sustainable agriculture and economic justice in Haiti.
  • Michael Flowers – Taking Complaints For The Ombudsman Office:
    I would like to take this opportunity to inform readers that over the past two years I, Michael Flowers of #16 Carmen Street, Santa Elena, Cayo, has been authorized by the Office of the Ombudsman to record and forward complaints to that office. The Ombudsman at that time, Ms. Cynthia Pitts, has since retired and a new Ombudsman in the person of Mr. Lionel Arzu was recently appointed to fill the vacant post. This letter serves to inform under the auspices of the new Ombudsman, I have been re-appointed to continue providing this service to the people in all of the three office locations where my business is operated. I consider it a great privilege to be able to assist those persons with complaints that they believe could be handled by the office of the Ombudsman.
  • Mexico Hunts Acapulco Spanish Tourist Rape Gang:
    Mexican authorities say they are determined to capture those responsible for the rape of six Spanish women near the holiday resort of Acapulco. Masked gunmen burst into a rented beach house on Monday, tied up and held at gunpoint six Spanish men as they attacked the women for several hours. A seventh woman escaped after telling the attackers she was a Mexican. Acapulco is one of Mexico's most famous beach resorts, but it has recently suffered from drug-related violence.
  • From Your Valentine:
    month of February has millions across the world presenting their loved ones with candy, flowers, chocolates and other lovely gifts. In many countries, restaurants and eateries are seen to be filled with couples who are eager to celebrate their relationship and the joy of their togetherness through delicious cuisines. There hardly seems to be a young man or woman who is not keen to make the most of the day. The reason behind all of this is a kindly cleric named Valentine who died more than a thousand years ago. It is not exactly known why the 14th of February is known as Valentine's Day or if the noble Valentine really had any relation to this day. The history of Valentine's Day is impossible to be obtained from any archive and the veil of centuries gone by has made the origin behind this day more difficult to trace. It is only some legends that are our source for the history of Valentine's Day.
  • Hemispheres: “Three Perfect Days In Belize”:
    Belize has received the prestigious honor of being featured in the February 2013 issue of the United Airlines in-flight magazine, Hemispheres. Belize was chosen for the “Three Perfect Days” article, and is also featured on the cover of the magazine. To capture the hill 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.
  • Nine-year-old Girl In Mexico Gives Birth To Baby Girl:
    A 9-year-old girl in Mexico has given birth to a baby girl, Agence France- Presse reported Wednesday. Authorities are now hunting for the 17-year-old father in what they believe is a case of rape or sexual abuse, Mexican newspaper Milenio reported. “We are looking for the young man to get his story because she does not understand what has happened. This is a rape or child sex abuse case,” Jorge Villasenor with the state prosecutors’ office was quoted by Terra Noticias as saying. The girl, who has been identified as Dafne, was just over 8 when she got pregnant, the mother of the girl told local officials in the western state of Jalisco, AFP reported.
  • University of Belize appoints Internal Auditor:
    The Office of the President of the University of Belize, Dr. Cary Fraser is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Dudley Heredia, MBA, as Internal Auditor of the University of Belize. Mr. Heredia’s appointment will serve to strengthen the management structure within the University and his role will focus upon ensuring that there is a continuous process of evaluation of institutional performance.
  • Launching Of Belize Cancer Society San Ignacio Branch:
    The Belize cancer Society is pleased to announce the official launching of the Belize Cancer Society -San Ignacio Branch under the dynamic leadership of Mrs. Flora Usher and a team of dedicated committee members. The launch of the San Ignacio Branch is an important activity for the Cancer Society. The inauguration of the San Ignacio Branch signals to the community that the Belize Cancer Society is working to fulfill its mandate to advocate, educate, provide evidence based guidance, and promote the awareness,prevention and treatment of Cancer for the benefit of those affected and their families. The San Ignacio Branch of the Belize Cancer Society will provide opportunities to share information on lifestyle changes and services that support cancer prevention and control in Belize.
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The San Pedro Sun

Doctor Love: Alone Again
A young 19yr old is afraid that being turned off by sloppy kissers means she'll be alone again after 5 attempts. What would the good Doctor say to that?

Daddy Rocks Nightclub Management responds to story on stabbing incident
Over a week and a 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 heard 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 gossip 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 past 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 by-passed 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 from taking place.

Wolfe’s Woofers: Confessions
A husband asks his wife to share some intimate details of her love life, and her confessions are probably not what he expected.

MELTing the day away in cheesy-paradise…
Several years ago musician and self-professed beach-bum Jimmy Buffet, who once was a mainstay on Ambergris Caye, penned a song dedicated to cheeseburgers in paradise. Although there’s no telling if he found the inspiration for his song while visiting our island home, there is a new sandwich café in San Pedro that calls for a re-write of the once popular jingle…perhaps something that goes like: Grilled cheese sandwich in paradise (paradise) MELTing the days away with a Gouda Buddha slice (paradise) Especially loving the Green Acres to be precise (paradise) Forget the burger, forget the rice, I’m just a Royal With Cheese in paradise…

Carnaval 2013 Kicks Off in San Pedro
This year’s Carnaval promises to be the best one yet! With a fantastic opening ceremony on the night of February 9th, school groups and dance groups entertained the crowd at Central Park with colorful performances and presentations. The fun continues through Tuesday the 12th with comparsas, painting and more performances.

Misc Belizean Sources

Guatemala's attitude will scare Belizeans and they might vote no to the ICJ
By Wellington C. Ramos The more the country of Guatemala continues with its map, rhetoric and aggressive attitude towards Belize, the lower the chances are that Belizeans will support the government with a yes vote to take the Belize-Guatemala dispute to the International Court of Justice for final resolution I agree with Maurice that our country has failed miserably in educating our people about this conflict. In the beginning of this ICJ proposal, I was very supportive of taking this matter to the court but now I am giving it a second thought. I am not convinced that we can trust the UN, OAS, Guatemala and any other organization to guarantee our security and territorial integrity because many court rulings have been made in the past and countries still act in their best interest ignoring them. Plus there are many Belizeans who have mixed feelings about this dispute because some of them have relatives in Guatemala and others are doubtful about Belizeans legitimate claim to Belize. Due to the failure of our governments to educate our people about this dispute, I have heard many Belizeans tell me that Belize does belong to Guatemala. It hurts me when I hear a Guatemalan saying "Belice is Nuestros" and worst when a Belizean is saying that our country does belong to Guatemala.

Strings of Love Ad
The Strings of Love Concert will be Friday the 15th at the Cayo Welcome Center, and they are looking for guitar players for the event.

CACHE Retreat Pictures
CACHE had their retreat recently to do stratgic planning for 2013. "The Community of Artists for Cultural & Historical Endevours, held its annual planning retreat to focus on community activites for 2013, promoting beauty and goodness through Arts, Culture & History. If you want to become a member of this dynamic group,visit us soon."


A Tale of Five Cities: Route Reversal (Part 1)
We had not made any hotel reservations for the return trip from San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico to Belize as we thought we'd see how things went with the buses and which cities we liked best in order to determine how best to travel home. Originally we'd planned to arrive back in San Pedro on Tuesday, December 18th, but that would have meant a couple of very long bus legs. Since we were able to extend Paisley's stay at Pampered Paws for two days (thanks Kathy!), we decided to return on the 20th instead. This gave us the chance to spend one more night in each of the cities we'd visited on the way to San Cristobal and avoided any 8+ hour bus rides. We had determined that 5+ hours was plenty to be sitting in a bus. Before we embarked on our journey home, we knew we should get a hotel reservation in Tulum. It's the most touristy place we'd be staying, and since the end of the Mayan calendar was fast approaching on December 21, we figured it would be a zoo on December 19. Fortunately, we were able to book the last available room at Secret Garden Hotel, the place we'd stayed at the beginning of our trip. Relief! We did not pre-book any other hotels for our return journey as we thought we'd be okay walking in off the street in the less touristy cities, and that did prove to be the case.

Breakfast at Mesa Café
Today’s post is a great San Pedro restaurant review for Mesa Café with pictures by Junior blogger Nina Kumar. As I was loading her write up into wordpress it was totally made me hungry, snce they are closed Sunday’s it’s a good thing Dennis just finished making our fruit smoothies. Today we are having watermelon, papaya, strawberry, and soursop. He fortified it with with maca root from Peru, moringa powder & chia seeds from Sol Farms in Teakettle Belize and hemp seeds from Go Nature our island health food store. On my birthday, my parents surprised me with breakfast at Mesa Café. Not knowing where we were headed I just got on the cart and went along for the ride. When we arrived at Mesa I got very excited. My parents and I love going there for breakfast and lunch. When we got there, without hesitation I ordered my favorite breakfast dish, the Coconut French Toast. There is something different about Chef Zoe’s French toast. While some people’s French toast might leave you feeling like going back to bed is an option, she make’s hers sweet but light enough for you to finish. My mom had the Chorizo Scramble (an omelet with chorizo, roasted bell pepper and fresh pico de gallo) and my dad had the Scotch Eggs. Mesa Café, I think, serves up a mean Scotch egg. A scotch egg is a boiled egg wrapped in sausage then breaded and fried.

8 Most Beautiful Islands in Belize
Belize has roughly 386 km of coastline and approximately 450 islands and islets that stud the Belize barrier reef – the largest in the western hemisphere. The islands are known as cayes, pronounced “keys” and the most popular ones are Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. If you are looking for a soul-stirring experience, below are eight exquisite and picturesque islands to visit in Belize:

The Way It Is
In yesterday’s edition I mentioned that today Rose andI were going to make a visit to take a look at our lots of land in Fire Coral Street, San Pablo following the clearance work that Daniel Camal, our building contractor for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize, has started to have carried out. Well early this afternoon (had to get my televised ‘fix’ of football first) that is exactly what we did. Those of you that have been following the blog for awhile will remember that I covered the lots in an edition at the beginning of the year. For those of you that didn’t see this edition I reproduce some of the photos to show ‘the before’. Work has virtually been completed – need to uplift the scrub and general rubbish – on two of the three lots with work yet to start on the third lot. The difference in appearance though was very clear to see.

International Sources

Belize Snapshot: Silk Cayes View
Doesn’t this look like it was taken out of a postcard or a “Corona Extra” commercial? I was left dumbstruck by the beauty of this small cay that barely has a population of 15 to 20 palms. This cay is located about 21 miles from Placencia and it is a great place to go snorkeling and scuba diving as the waters are very clear, the corals are colorful, and the fish variety is immense; including sharks, stingrays, barracudas, eels, lobsters, and many kinds of fish species. During the past week I visited the Silk Cayes 3 times as I was doing my Advanced Diver Certification. I must admit that even with its small size, during every visit I found new things to look at and enjoy, whether it was above the surface or under it. This is close to paradise!

Using News To Manipulate
This old clip shows CIA officials admitting the agency’s infiltration of mainstream media in order to influence public opinion and to manipulate the thoughts and values of Americans. Did things change since 1975? Nope. Actually, things are much worse as the merger of media companies into a very small number of mega-conglomerates made the “filtering” of information even easier. The input of governmental sources such as the CIA and the Pentagon into news stories is now a fully integrated process and has even spread into entertainment, using TV shows and movies.

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 Consent before 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. The 21,000 Indigenous people in the region are fighting to defend their traditional lands, including the national treasure of the Sarstoon Temash National Park, against this short-sighted land grab. As Gregory Ch'oc of the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management explains, "The government is counting on our regional isolation, our poverty, and our relative lack of power to continue marginalizing and discriminating against us and violating our rights.

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