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12/1/2013 to 12/10/2013
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December 10, 2013


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The San Pedro Sun

Ramon’s Village Resort plans to re-open December 20th
Ramon’s Village Resort, situated in the heart of San Pedro Town is only two weeks away from fully re-opening to the public. The resort has been fine tuning the minor details of the newly rebuilt structures since the fire that gutted over 1/3 of the iconic resort on August 27th. Over 250 employees, divided into four work crews, have been working daily on the reconstruction of the resort that is scheduled to re-open on December 20th. According to Einer Gomez, Manager of Ramon’s Village Resort, the fire may have been terrible and catastrophic, but they are rising from the ashes and are almost restored. “We are in our last stages of reconstruction, moving along by stages. We have separated the workload in four, each being done by different groups and they are all moving along at the same time,” said Gomez. He explained that the interior furniture is being taken care of by various businesses, while another group works strictly on the replanting of the trees and other greenery that was damaged by the fire.

Trafficking in persons: First visit of UN independent expert to Belize
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, will visit Belize from 12 to 16 December 2013 to examine the situation of trafficking of women, men and children. This is the first time ever an independent expert of the UN Human Rights Council visits the Central American country. “During my visit to the Belize, I will study the situation in situ, in order to make recommendations to prevent and fight trafficking, and protect its victims,” the expert said. Ms. Ezeilo will visit the country at the invitation of the Government. Ms. Ezeilo will engage with State representatives as well as members of international and civil society organizations working on the fight against trafficking in persons in order to assess the challenges and opportunities in Belize. The UN Special Rapporteur is charged by the UN Human Rights Council to promote the prevention of trafficking in persons in all its forms and to encourage measures to uphold and protect the human rights of victims.

Doctor Javier Zuniga graduates with a Master Degree in International Public Health
Doctor Javier Zuniga is back in the country after a year abroad furthering his medical career. Dr. Zuniga has earned a Master’s Degree in International Public Health from the University of Sydney School Of Public Health. While his departure from San Pedro Town as Medical Coordinator and Director of the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro PolyClinic II was temporarily to further his profession, it is highly possible that Dr. Zuniga may not be returning to the island to work. Dr. Zuniga explained that he is happy to be back home in Belize but may be assigned a different responsibility. “I still remain employed by the Government of Belize and will continue to serve the people and my country. It is uncertain if I will be returning to the San Pedro PolyClinic,” explained Zuniga. Because of the new knowledge he has gained in the specialty of International Public Health, there is a great possibility that Dr. Zuniga will be utilized elsewhere in the Ministry of Health.

Children's Holiday Party with Santa
Santa Claus is coming to town!!!!!

Ambergris Today

Love FM’s 4th Annual Christmas Parade Hits San Pedro
Christmas is here (you can say) and La Isla Bonita was in full spirit of the special season this weekend as activities kicked off with Love FM’s 4th Annual Christmas Parade. This year’s parade was bigger and better! People stood along the busy streets of San Pedro waiting for Santa to pass by atop fire truck. Lovely Miss San Pedro Solani Graniel led the parade, giving out sweets to children and spectators. Santa and parade revelers followed behind all dressed in red, white and green, dancing and singing along to festive songs. Everybody was in the spirit of spreading the Christmas cheer.

Trafficking of Persons: First Visit of UN Independent Expert to Belize
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, will visit Belize from 12 to 16 December 2013 to examine the situation of trafficking of women, men and children. This is the first time ever an independent expert of the UN Human Rights Council visits the Central American country. “During my visit to the Belize, I will study the situation in situ, in order to make recommendations to prevent and fight trafficking, and protect its victims,” the expert said. Ms. Ezeilo will visit the country at the invitation of the Government. Ms. Ezeilo will engage with State representatives as well as members of international and civil society organizations working on the fight against trafficking in persons in order to assess the challenges and opportunities in Belize.

Pic of the Week: Young Mennonite Boy Explores Ambergris Caye
A young Mennonite boy makes his way through the streets of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize, and finds himself in awe amongst a different environment than he is used to. The Mennonites of Belize are farmers, craftsmen, wood workers, architects, engineers and 'jacks of all trades' who have elevated their private communities in mainland Belize amongsts those all other Belizeans. They make up an integral part of the country's industries and development. Although they have not settled on Ambergris Caye, they do frequent the island for trade purposes, selling their produce and products to local businesses.

Saga’s End of Year Cook Off
Saga Humane Society is pleased to announce their end of the year Cook Off of Champions for Thursday, December 19, 2013 at Wet Willy's Cantina. Competing for the prize will be the winning Chefs from throughout the year from their monthly cook offs. The theme is Cooks' Choice. It is our favorite, as the Chefs surprise us every year with their creatively. Tickets go on sale at 6pm, arrive early to guarantee you will get a chance to vote for your favorite.

San Pedro Lions Club Christmas Schedule
Christmas time is here and the San Pedro Lions Club is always organizing fun filled events to spread the Christmas Cheer to island residents. Below is their 2013 Christmas Schedule for all residents to enjoy. Thursday, December 12, 2013 – Senior Citizen Dance at 7pm Sunday, December 15, 2013 – Children’s Party at 3pm Sunday, December 22, 2013 – Christmas Caroling Tuesday, December 31, 2013 – Grand New Year’s Dance with Super Furia from 8pm until!

Misc Belizean Sources

SAGA Cook Off of Champions Thursday December 19
Saga Humane Society is please to announce our end of the year Cook Off of Champions Thursday December 19 at Wet Willy's Cantina. Competing for the prize will be the winning Chefs from throughout the year from our monthly cook offs. The theme is Cooks' Choice. It is our favorite, as the Chefs surprise us every year with their creatively. Tickets go on sale at 6pm, arrive early to guarantee you will get a chance to vote for your favorite.

Belizean Nail Soup: A Collection of Short Stories
By Felene Cayetano Rating: Not yet rated. Published: Nov. 11, 2013 Words: 21,070 (approximate) Language: English ISBN: 9780975382028 Description Ten stories by nine writers create a vivid image of the variety of people, landscapes and talent in Belize, the tiny seaside Caribbean nation in Central America.

The final monthly tournament took place on December 7th for the Belize Amateur Golf Association
After 12 months, the 44 members have finished their tournament season. Our yearly awards ceremony will be held after next week's December 14th Roaring River Xmas Invitational Tournament. All are invited. Thanks to Peter Allen, Chico Towers, Bill Mckenzie and Michel Ardoullie for the prizes this month. The BAGA has had an active year with community work and is delighted that Denisha Francisco from Stann Creek Ecumenical High School was able to visit the players on Saturday. Denisha, who was accompanied by Amanda Brown (Belmopan Women's Group) was the recipient of our school scholarship and eloquently spoke to the members after the tournament to thank them for the sponsorship. We wish her the best of luck with her studies. The results from the Dec 7th Tournament are : Without HDCP : - Andy Hunt (33 Points) - Bill Mckenzie (28 Points) - Alan Graham (24 Points) With HDCP : Sam Mathias (35 Points) Rob Lee (35 Points) Chico Towers (33 Points)

National Heritage Library "Meet the Author" Series
The National Heritage Library in Belmopan is having its seventh segment of “Meet the Author” to be held on December 11, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The featured author for this event is Ms. Zee Edgell. Meet the Author is a free program that provides the audience a unique opportunity to hear a renowned Belizean author read excerpts of his/her works and witness the unveiling of a poster-sized, archival-quality portrait of the author. The National Heritage Library (NHL) is the depository arm of the Belize National Library Service and Information System (BNLSIS); NHL maintains a vast non-circulating collection of materials published by and about Belize and Belizeans. You may find out more about the Library Service online at Opening hours: Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 7p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 1p.m.

Belize Volleyball Association News
A new executive for the Belize Volleyball Association has been elected. The election of the new executives was held during the Association’s General Congress which was held at the end of last month. The elected officers are: President – Allan Sharp Vice President (District Development) – Yvette Price Vice President (National Teams) – Albert Bradley Vice President (Female Volleyball Development) – Tanesha Encalada General Secretary – Sherylee Young-Thurton Treasurer – Leni Jo Usher Beach Commissioner – Oscar Arnold Technical Commissioner – Gillian Smith Referee Commissioner – Khalid Encalada Tournament Director – Joseph Enriquez Press Officer – Yemeri Reyes Member – Arvid Arnold. The new executive will serve for a period of two years. The Belize Volleyball Association general congress also heard reports for the 2012-2013 period which was highlighted by the Senior Female team’s qualification to the Second Round of the World Championship Qualification Tournament, the winning of numerous individual awards and the success of both the female junior and youth national teams.

The Vaca Dam Experience
Galen University students got the grand tour of the Vaca dam, and they got some great pictures of the experience. They got some pictures of Lake Benque too. "Galen University was invited to the Vaca Dam in the Cayo district for a tour of their facilities. The tour was headed by Mr. Rogelio Guerra, the Senior Operator of the dam. The tour entailed a close up view of the control room, the reservoir and other ambiances of the dam and nature. The students were immediately illuminated by the picturesque view which made the experience a memorable one."

Miss Belize at Miss Earth
Miss Earth Belize, Amber Rivero, represented Belize over the weekend in the Philippines. Her dress was symbolic of the Blue Hole, and can be seen at around the 12:30 mark, and if you look hard, you'll see her here and there throughout the video. Congratulations, Amber, for being a great Miss Earth Belize. Lots of pictures, including some of her in the Blue Hole dress, can be found on the Belize Pageant page. "We would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Amber on a job well done despite many obstacles. We thank you Amber for all that you have done to place Belize on the pageant map as well as your continuous work in helping our environment. Truly a wonderful role model to us all."

Belize Blues
Another day of serenity it was in beautiful Belize. I love and miss warm weather right about now as it snows outside here in NYC. As fun as it is to resort to my childish ways of catching snowflakes in my mouth, that is short-lived and only fun on the half a block walk to Duane Reade. But I will be in Californ-i-a soon enough and honestly I missed New York a little towards the end of the trip, even the cold weather. I like being able to wake up on the weekend and go to K-town to get some asian food or go out at all hours if I feel like it. Or shop if I want to. Feel me? ANYWAYS this romper is a collaboration piece I helped design for Dahlia Wolf which you can buy here. I love the cutouts, color and simplicity. (Great travel item). Plus it is such an easy piece to throw on and accessorize. This is my new favorite color. Love.

Snorkeling Punta Azul, Belize
Snorkeling Punta Azul offers divers the chance to view moray eels, stingrays, nurse sharks and other reef fish.

Channel 7

PM Mediates in BSI/ASR/Cane Farmers Dispute; Still No Resolution
The uncertainty hanging over the start of the 2013 sugar season continues tonight, and there is no clear resolution in sight, even with the intervention of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. As we've told you the cane farmers want to be paid for bagasse, but BSI says that it is a waste product with no value, so, the farmers are not entitled to payment for it. With those hardlines laid down, the farmers are threatening to refuse to deliver cane so that the season can start in a week's time. To try and stave off the disaster which this would create, Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega have been meeting with both sides to try to convince them to commence negotiations on the issue, but so far, they haven't met. Today, trying to act as mediator, Prime Minister Barrow met with the representatives of ASR at the Radisson to explain their position on the matter. As, we've told you, Barrow supports the cane farmers on their claim, but disagrees with their negotiating method.

Customs Had To Chase Contraband Cop, He Grazed Their Truck!
It's Christmas-time, which for many means contraband time, and that's why the Customs department enforcement unit launched its special operation on November 25th. And on Sunday evening, that meant responding to a report that two vehicles were moving out of Arenal in western Belize with contraband. Customs mobilized and intercepted one of the vehicles with 12 bottles of beer and 3 liters of soft drink. Two police officers were inside the vehicle, but a civilian, who was also in the car took responsibility for the items. Customs had to work harder to catch the other vehicle. They actually had to set chase - and when they stopped the car, they found that an apparently inebriated police corporal was driving. During the chase he also grazed the customs pickup. And when they searched the vehicle, customs found out why he was running: the vehicle carried seven and a half cases of beer and 3 cases of soft drinks. Still, the corporal got a break when a civilian in the vehicle took responsibility for the contraband items. Customs reached a settlement with the professed owners, and so the matter did not go to court. That is the standard approach, since customs sees it as a fiscal and not a criminal offence. That settlement usually involves a fine of three times the value and the goods are forfeited.

Man Stabbed Uncle; Remanded To Prison
A man was remanded to prison today after he stabbed his uncle, and left him in a critical condition. Just after midnight on Saturday, at 12:20 am, 44 year old Thomas Ferguson got into a physical fight with his nephew, Oliver Peters at a residence on Arlington drive in Belize City. Police say Peters took out the knife and stabbed his uncle in the center of the chest. Ferguson was admitted to the hospital in a critical condition, while his nephew was arrested. The 37 year old Peters appeared in court today where was arraigned on charges of attempted murder, dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm this morning. Peters wasn't required to take a plea, since the charges are indictable and will be heard in the Supreme Court. He was remanded to prison and is due back in court on January 21, 2014.

Canada/US Fund Joint Operating Center
We often report on joint operations between the different law enforcement agencies, but for the most part, they tend to operate independently of each other. Well, after 2 years of consultation between the Government of Belize, Canada and the United States, all the major law enforcement organizations are pooling their resources, their expertise, and their man-power into one joint task force. It's called the Joint Operation Center, which is housed on the BDF's Price Barracks, and 7News was at the launch. Daniel Ortiz reports: Daniel Ortiz reporting Today, the Ministry of National Security, US Government and the Canadian Government celebrated the opening of the Joint Operating Center. It is a 3 million dollar facility which will fuse all forms of law enforcement, an improved form of interdepartmental cooperation.

Sergeant Accused Of Murder; Will Cops Who Backed Him Up Be Charged?
Last week, we showed you the latest on the alleged murder of Tyson Rodriguez, an apparent victim of deadly police brutality. The DPP found that based on an eyewitness account, there was enough to charge Sergeant Julio Shal for murder. That effectively refuted that statement he gave that Rodriguez escaped and then turned up dead. But all 3 officers who were present at the time gave their bosses the very same version of events, basically that he drowned after jumping out of the moving police vehicle. So now, it would seem that the other officers who corroborated Shal's account were lying. Today, we asked the Acting Commissioner of Police, Miguel Segura, if the officers are facing any disciplinary charges. Here's what he told us: ACP Miguel Segura "The criminal aspect we are working with the D.P.P., and the D.P.P. will guide us to continue the proceeding. Infernally, similarly after looking at the criminal we will deal with our internal aspect. But first and foremost the closure that the family feels, and the evidence that means the threshold in the court of law, the D.P.P. is there to assist us. Internally we are investigating that case and we will proceed based on the findings."

Man Grazed By Bullet In City
The murder count for 2013 in Belize City is down by a remarkable 50%, but while things have cooled down considerably, that doesn't mean that there's peace on every block. Violent shootings still occur, and tonight two men are lucky to be alive after they were shot up on Friday night. 20 year old Rakeem Vernon was grazed in his right temple, while 20 year old Eric Wills was shot multiple times to his lower body. It happened at 8:50 when Vernon and Wills were in a back yard at the corner of North Creek Road and Central American Boulevard in the Collett area when several shots were fired at them. Both were admitted in stable condition. And on Friday morning in the area of LA Croix Boulevard in Lake Independence, a gunshot reached into the home of 58 year old Beverly Smith. Gunshots had been sounding in the area for days between rival sets, and on Friday at 6:55 Smith was at home when one of the shots pierced the ceiling and the roof of her house. Police say two men were firing at each other outside the house.

NTUCB Demands Action On Nelson Young Case
The name Nelson Young, former BTL employee may not be instantly recognizable to even those who keep an avid interest in the news. But when the history of the unrest of 2005 is told, his name will be central to the story. That's because Young was one of three workers terminated from the then Ashcroft controlled BTL in January of 2005. As a union activist, his termination was seen as union busting, and that event was the catalyst that spurred a revolt against the Michael Ashcroft affiliated management and led eventually a countrywide shutdown targeting the Musa administration that was seen as cozy and complicit with Ashcroft. So when BTL was nationalized in 2009, the Prime Minister - in his official explanation of the move - went out of his way to express his hope that now the tribunal to hear Young's labour grievance will finally be convened. Well, 2013 is finishing and it hasn't happened. So today the NTUCB sent out a release saying that the eight year wait is, quote, "not only…unacceptable, but downright, ridiculously intolerable." The NTUCB says that it has been trying to communicate this urgency to all relevant parties, but nothing has happened.

VIP Says Mass Parties Not Committed To Anti-Corruption Action
Today was celebrated United Nation's International Anti-Corruption Day, which is set aside to recognize the UN Convention against Corruption, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 2003. Well, Belize as one of the member states, has yet to sign on to the convention, and independent political party, Vision Inspired By the People, sees this as a clear sign from both the PUP and the UDP that they don't intend to stamp out corruption in their government. They held a press conference today in Belize City, and the Chairman of the VIP told the gathering that the citizens should enjoy a corruption-free government and public service: Hubert Enriquez, Chairman, VIP "We, the VIP believe that those governance and the freedom from corruption is a sacred right for which all Belizeans by virtue of the constitution are entitled. The United Nations Anti-Corruption Convention offers some hope that the oversight practice by that organization will motivate the government to take seriously this matter of corruption. We are aware of the national sovereignty implications of this preposition and of the less than favorable view of this organization by some of our people. But we, none the less believe that the long term developmental interest of Belize would be served with the application of this convention."

Under New Coach Bandits Pull Into First Place Tie
On Saturday night from Belmopan, Channel 7 viewers got to see live coverage of the Premier League Football Belikin Cup when Verdes went to Belmopan to take on their district rival, the Bandits. It was a major test for the star-studded but struggling Bandits, which had its first outing under new coach and former national team coach Leroy Sherrier Lewis. Still, Verdes struck first with a goal in the tenth minute by Rodney Pacheco but Deon McAuley was quick to strike back in the 29th minute. He spoke to commentator Marvin Ottley:... In the end the Bandits defended their home turf and won two to one, pulling them back into a tie for first place with the Paradise Freedom Fighters. In other games played this weekend, on Sunday, San Ignacio United FC, beat Police United FC 2 to 1. And Paradise Freedom Fighters played to a 2 - 2 draw with the BDF team.

Major Mayan Show In Minnesota
The largest showcase ever of Mayan artifacts found in Belize is going on right now. But it's not happening at the museum of Belize - that's space is too small. It's happening at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul Minnesota. The ambitious exhibit is called Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed, and at a cost of over four million US dollars and sprawling over 17 thousand square feet, the show is a stunner. So much so that Jules Vasquez and camera man Codie Norales left sunny Belize on Friday to go to snowy, subzero St. Paul, Minnesota to see the show themselves. They just came back a few hours ago - but tonight we have a brief preview of what the show and the story is about:... Paul Martin, Vice President, Exhibits "This exhibition is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition ever done on the Mayan and the reason that its different from many other exhibitions that we've seen - our partnership with the National Institute of Culture and History was really key in making this whole exhibition successful because it really looks at research that's happening right now and the new knowledge that's being created on the ground in Belize in those really rich archeological sites."

Channel 5

GOB and ASR/BSI Meet – No Resolution to Impasse Reached!

With only six days to go for the scheduled opening of the sugar crop, there is no resolution yet or in sight, for that matter, in the standoff between cane [...]

Man Allegedly Stabbed by Nephew in Critical Condition

A Belize City man was gravely injured in a land dispute involving family members. Thomas Ferguson is tonight in critical condition at the hospital after he was seriously injured by [...]

Three Police Officers Caught in Customs Contraband Bust!

News Five has confirmed reports that three Police officers stationed in the west were busted with contraband goods on Sunday on the Arenal Road. Acting on information received, at a [...]

Joint Operations Center Inaugurated at Price Barracks

Belize’s armed forces have been the recipients of very significant Christmas treats recently, courtesy of the US and Canadian governments. Coming on the heels of approximately five million dollars in [...]

Officers May Face Disciplinary Action for Lying in Tyson Rodriguez Murder

On November twenty-second, Tyson Rodriguez died while in Police custody. Since then a Sergeant of Police, second in command of the Placencia Police formation Julio Shal, has been charged with [...]

Gunman’s Bullet Misses Victim, Hits Home on Police Street

There were two shooting incidents over the weekend in the City. In the first at the start of the weekend, a heated argument between two young men on Friday morning [...]

Two Men Shot While Socializing on North Creek

Another shooting incident in Belize City later that night landed a pair of youths inside the KHMH, both suffering from varying degrees of injuries.  Shortly before nine o’clock, twenty-year-old Rakeem [...]

Man convicted for Attempted Murder

A Punta Gorda man was convicted today in the Dangriga Supreme Court for the attempted murder of Moses Williams.  Thirty-five year old Lawrence Cholom was tried in late November in [...]

Belizean Waitress Raped by Unknown Assailants in Belmopan

In the capital, a twenty-two year old waitress is reporting that she was gang raped over the weekend. The incident reportedly happened on Sunday morning. The woman claims that at [...]

First annual Anti-Corruption Day Celebrated in Belize

International Anti-Corruption Day was celebrated globally today.  Across the world, corruption undermines democratic institutions, impedes economic development and remains a key factor in social decay. While Belize is a member [...]

VIP speaks on Corruption in Belize

Chairman for the Vision Inspired by the People also commented on the ongoing perception of rampant corruption within various government departments, including the Lands Department, as well as the Ministry [...]

BCCI Supports VIP’s Stance on Corruption

Still on the issue of corruption, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it supports the fight against corruption. The B.C.C.I. singled out the proposals advanced by V.I.P. saying [...]

Cynthia Yates is Grand Gimme Five Winner

Channel Five’s Annual Christmas Spectacular dazzled with performances from a host of Belizean talents in various genres of the performing arts.  But, the most anticipated segment of Friday’s show was [...]

Weekend Sports Highlights with James Adderley

Good evening, I am James Adderly and this is Sports Monday. The Belikin Cup tournament got to present the rained out week 7 schedule over the weekend with 3 matches [...]


Belize’s Trade Union Congress Passes 13 Resolutions
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize is anticipating a year of action in 2014. Correspondent Paul Mahung has more in the following report. PAUL MAHUNG “The feeling for the upcoming New Year of Action for the National Trade Union Congress of Belize ties in with the 47th NTUCB Annual General Meeting held at the weekend in Punta Gorda. Besides being a successful two day event discussions and planning narrowed in on the way forward into the new year of action and other relevant areas as explained by NTUCB president Dylan Reneau.” DYLAN RENEAU “The Annual General Meeting was a success, as you rightfully said, we just terminated the meeting. The business session was interesting; we had two posts that were elected; the treasurer is Mr. Jose Luis, he had tendered his resignation for his post as trustee and he won the election as Treasurer and Mr. Jorge Mejia is now our new trustee. In relation to resolutions, we passed 13 resolutions and unanimously the AGM resolved that 2014 will be a year of action.

Jail Time For Drinking Alcohol While In Possession of Licensed Firearm
Although he has a license for his Smith and Wesson 9 millimeter pistol, 33 year old Darrel Henry, a stevedore, became a guest of Belize Central Prison today when he was arraigned on charges of possession of a firearm whilst under the influence of alcohol above the prescribed limit, drinking in a public place and failed to provide specimen. Henry pled not guilty to the charges and Magistrate Clive Lino remanded him into custody until Friday, December 13. The first offence falls under the Firearms Act. Henry’s attorney, Anthony Sylvestre, pointed out to the court that the first charge should be withdrawn because there is no way that it can be proven that Henry had alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit since he allegedly failed to provide specimen. But after the prosecutor consulted with the head of Police Prosecution Branch the charge was not withdrawn. Detective constable George Ferguson reported that yesterday Henry was drinking a bottle of Guinness at the corner of George Street and Glenn Street while he had his firearm. As a result, Henry was taken into custody and charged.

Assistant Commissioner Speaks on Investigation Against Sergeant Shal
Forty one year old Sergeant Julio Shal has been charged for the murder of 27 year old Tyson Rodriguez after the family alleges that Rodriguez was brutally beaten and killed. The post mortem results found that Rodriguez died as a result of suffocating on sand. However, the initial version of the story was that Rodriguez drowned after jumping out of a moving police mobile and into the nearby seawaters. The theory has been disproved by the autopsy and a result Sergeant Shall who was the second in command of the Placencia Police Department was charged. The family believes that two more police officers who were allegedly involved in the incident. These officers corroborated the official police report issued. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Miguel Segura updated the media. MIGUEL SEGURA “The criminal aspect we are working with the DPP and DPP will guide us as to how to continue the proceedings. Internally similarly after we have looked at the criminal, we will deal with our internal aspects but first and foremost the closure that the family feels and the evidence that meet the threshold in the court of law, the DPP is there to assist us but internally we are investigating that case and we would proceed based on the findings.”

Chopping Incidents Reported in Northern Belize
Orange Walk Police is investigating several chopping incidents that happened over the weekend. Reporter Arturo Cantun has the story. ARTURO CANTUN “The first incident occurred Saturday night in San Jose Village at the school fair. According to Police, at around 8:30, 30-year-old, Horacio Yub was at the San Jose Government School Fair when from nowhere he was lashed with a machete on his right hand by one Eduardo Sanker. As a result Yub sustained a wound to his hand but it did not end there as one Luis Perez, also of San Jose Village hit Horacio Yub with a pint bottle on the left side of his head causing a cut wound to his left ear. Details are still sketchy about the incident and not much information is forth coming from Orange Walk Police, but LOVE NEWS understands that Eduardo Sanker is hospitalized at the NRH under police guard. So far it’s not known what kind of injury he received and who inflicted the wounds on him. Meanwhile that same night, around eleven o’clock, three Belizeans who were visiting San Francisco Botes on the Mexican side got involved in an altercation which led to two receiving serious chop wounds. Information available so far is that 45-year-old, Andres Batun and 40-year-old, Salvador Batun got into a fight with another Belizean, 30-year-old, Azael Perez.

Cops Caught With Contraband Goods
Over the weekend three police officers along with civilians were caught with contraband goods. It happened about 4 o’clock yesterday when two vehicles were stopped by customs officials who were patrolling the Arenal Road upon receiving information. This morning Assistant Commissioner of Police, Miguel Segura told the media that he has been briefed about the matter. MIGUEL SEGURA “I was briefed about an incident over the weekend. I need to confirm it with the media and customs as advised. In this case the police would normally get a report from the agency itself and if there is a violation of the Police Act/the disciplinary code, we will proceed with that there are no two ways about it. The Zero Tolerance that Commissioner has in terms of the violation of the police act but we are being guided and supported this operation by the customs; so, they will also have to assist us in the proceedings if we are to proceed disciplinarily I was briefed in respect to a customs operation. Three officers were intercepted with a substantial amount of contraband but I may suggest that the media get the exact amount from customs that ran the operation itself.”

PM Anticipates Response From ASR Shortly
The 2013/2014 sugar cane season has been put delayed after the Belize Sugar Industries, BSI and American Sugar Refinery; ASR would not meet the demands made by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, BSCFA. BSCFA is asking payment for bagasse which they say is a bi-product of sugar cane while BSI and ASR have made it quite clear that no payment would be made because they don’t consider bagasse a bi-product. A common ground has not been found even though the Deputy Prime Minister, Gasper Vega and Prime Minister Dean Barrow have met with both sides. The government’s role is to bring both parties to the table to that there can be an amicable solution and today both Vega and Barrow met with representatives of ASR. Vice President of ASR, Ricardo Lima, would not speak much about the situation, however; Prime Minister Dean Barrow explained to the media the status of the negotiations. RICARDO LIMA “We continue to find ways to try and bring the farmers back to the table that’s basically what I wanted to say.” HIPOLITO NOVELO “Have you sent out an email to them or any sort of thing to the president of the association?”

VIP Wants Government to Sign UN Convention Against Corruption
The Vision Inspired by the People Movement, VIP, has called on the Government to sign onto the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The appeal came as part of the Movement’s efforts on the occasion of World Anti-Corruption Day today. Their guest speaker, social activist and Attorney at Law, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, shared enlightening details about Belize’s status as it relates to the local and global effort on anti-corruption. AUDREY MATURA-SHEPHERD “Today we observed International Anti-Corruption Day, December 9; it’s historic. This day came about ten years ago when right in our front yard in Merida, Yucatan, the UN Convention against Corruption was adopted by the UN General Assembly on the 31st October, 2003 by Resolution 58/4. Imagine, it was so close to us and we never signed it. Everybody knows how quick a trip to Merida is right? Many of us have been there for medical purposes but the one true healing we needed as a nation we didn’t go get the prescription there and then and that was important. We have a corruption in public life legislation that requires a simple thing as the appointment of an Integrity Commission. We have a law already that deals with corruption. It’s not perfect but it exists and a simple appointment of a commission cannot be done, has not been done and there is no sign in the near future that it will be done; that is part of the problem coming from our government. Then that same legislation requires some serious amendment.

Nephew Lands in Jail After Stabbing Uncle
Thirty-six year old Oliver Peters, a resident of Arlington Drive who allegedly stabbed his uncle, Thomas Ferguson, was charged with attempted murder and two other offences when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. The other offences were dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. No plea was taken because the offences are indictable. Neither could the court offer him bail because of the nature of the offences. He was remanded into custody until January 21, 2014. The incident occurred on Saturday, December 7. Police reports are that Peters and Ferguson had a misunderstanding and Peters stabbed Ferguson in his chest with a knife.

Joint Operation Centre Opens at Price Barracks
The U.S. Mission in Belize handed over the Joints Operations Center, JOC, to the Ministry of National Security this morning. The JOC, which is located on the Belize Defense Force Base at Price Barracks, represents over two years of teamwork and collaboration between the Government of Belize through the Belize Defense Force, the Government of Canada and the United States South Command. Love News was there for the ceremonies and here is that report. HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING “The building is called the Joint Operations Center or JOC and in it officers of the Belize Defense Force, the Belize Coast Guard, the Belize Police Department and Belize Customs and Immigration Department, among others, will be working conjunctively in making Belize a safer place. The JOC was formed in part through the U.S. Southern Command Counter Drug Program. The JOC was made possible by the coordinated efforts of the Government of Belize, US Southern Command and the Government of Canada. U.S. Chargé d’ Affairs, Margaret Hawthorne and Canadian High Commissioner to Belize, Stuart Savage detailed the functions of the JOC. “


Mayor Darrell Bradley dishes on meeting with Eric Chang
Former Deputy Mayor of Belize City, Eric Chang, has had his share of blame in the unlawful procurement of a Belizean passport to South Korean jailbird Kim Won-Hong. While past Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration, Elvin Penner is fingered to be the architect behind the scheme, Chang...

Devastated Relatives of Knocked Down Septuagenarian Speak up
Last night, we reported on a road accident that claimed the life of 75 year old Gregory Leon Lopez. Shortly before 6 o’clock on Wednesday evening, Lopez was riding his bicycle from Ladyville to Belize City, on Phillip Goldson Highway when he was knocked down by a white Dodge...

Prime Minister Dean Barrow on the passing of Nelson Mandela
The Office of the Prime Minister of Belize has released an official Note of Condolence to the President, People and Government of South Africa on the death of Nelson Mandela. The former South African President, who lead South Africa out of decades of apartheid after serving 27 years in...

Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca on the passing of Nelson Mandela
The People’s United Party leader, Hon. Francis Fonseca too extend his party’s profound sadness at the passing of the global statesman and icon. Fonseca says “Nelson Mandela is unquestionably one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known and his life and legacy will forever serve as a...

Female officer attacked on the job, suspect on the run
A female Police Constable is tonight recovering after she was attacked on the job. The woman, along with a Human Development Officer, responded to a domestic violence report at a home in the Trial Farm village. When the suspect Oscar Hernandez, was approached, he managed to grab hold of...

Mother of Tyson Rodriguez visits site where he was reportedly killed
The police had reported that on November 22nd a Canadian couple living in Placencia reported to them that they were assaulted, beaten and robbed by a group of individuals. Tyson Rodriguez, who was identified as one of the assailants, was then detained in Corozal and transported to authorities in...

Traffic Tragedy Leaves Pre Schooler Dead, Driver Charged With DUI
Tonight, we report on two fatal road accidents. The first accident occurred shortly before 4:30 and claimed the life of three year old Jahston Terry and injured his nine year old brother Jaheem Terry. Jahston and Jaheem were waiting for a bus in front of a Belizean Chinese Restaurant...

NCFC issues statement on accident
This afternoon, the National Committee for Families and Children issued a statement on the accident, saying “The loss of any life is tragic, but the loss of a child so young who is full of promise and the hope for Belize is unspeakable.” The release continues, “The NCFC believes...

Septuagenarian Dies on the Spot When Hit by Vehicle
The second accident happened about an hour later after Little Jaheem’s tragedy had happened. At Mile 6 on the Phillip Goldson Highway, Police discovered the body of 75 year old Gregory Leon Lopez, a resident of Belize City, on the right shoulder of the road. Besides him was a...

Cordel Hyde Returns, Not Worried About Present Lake I Rep. Mark King
Earlier this year, speculations surfaced that former three term Area Representative for Lake Independence, Cordel Hyde, may be returning to the People’s United Party. Well tonight there is no question that Hyde is back in the blue camp. Last night, Hyde, who was the guest speaker at a party...

Remembering Nelson Mandela
Former South African President, Nelson Mandela passed away today, at the age of 95. Mandela lead South Africa out of decades of apartheid after serving 27 years in prison. He was sentenced to prison for encouraging black South Africans to go on strike and for illegally leaving South Africa....


“FADs are man-made drifting or anchored buoys or rafts that attract and aggregate fish and other marine organisms:” FAO Fisherfolk in the Caribbean continue to be concerned about the high cost of fuel and the financial hardship it has imposed on their operations, but the use of an emergent technology known as Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) is gaining momentum as a means by which the fishing community can venture off into deeper waters to harvest pelagic species such as tunas in a more cost-effective way. Belize Fisheries Administrator Beverly Wade told Amandala that whereas tour guide personnel in San Pedro have also tested the device for sports fishing, Belize has not yet ventured into the use of FAD for commercial fishing. However, Wade said: “We have not ruled out FADs in Belize.” She added that FADs may have the potential to contribute to the expansion and development of fisheries in the country.


A photographer’s story of the Annual Love FM Christmas Parade through San Pedro Town by Karen Brodie.
Soon sirens and horns filled the air and the parade was underway. Voices belted out favorite Christmas Carols and a good time was had by all. This was my first Caribbean Christmas Parade and one big difference was that Santa and four additional Santa clones were in attendance. If you weren’t there, you missed a fun time. All pictures and captions courtesy of Karen Brodie. To see more of her fantastic photographs you can like Karen Brodie Photography facebook page or go to Karen Brodie Photography website.

Love FM’s 3rd Annual San Pedro Christmas Parade
I can’t lie – Saturday night’s cancellation (due to low participation) of the San Pedro Lighted Boat parade was a huge Christmas downer. But I’m going to try to rally. The beautiful town tree is up and lit and houses all over the island are looking pretty darn Christmasy. And last night, the national radio station Love FM came to town, to kick off their own town parade. This one through the streets of town rather than on the water. And it was super fun, not as big as last year’s, but there for me when I need a little Christmas. Sigh… Here are the pictures I took at last night’s parade. And, if you need a TON of Christmas, Love FM does the BIG ONE in Belize City next weekend. December 14th. At around 4pm. I just might. I arrived early for the line up.

Here are six safety tips for traveling with a peace of mind!
With the holiday season upon us, The Lodge at Chaa Creek is offering travellers six easy tips to ensure a safe holiday, provided by the Belizean eco-resort’s Safety and Security Manager, Emil Bradley. Mr Bradley, a former police and law enforcement professional, said that while the vast majority of vacations result in happy, positive experiences, things could occasionally go awry. By following a few tips, however, travellers can optimise their chances of having a safe, rewarding holiday. “Chaa Creek promotes responsible travel, which not only entails being sensitive about your effect on nature and the local communities, but looking after yourself as well. When you’re away from home, sometimes different rules apply, but by using the following six easy tips, you maximise your chances of enjoying a safe, hassle-free holiday,” he said, and provided the following guidelines. Do some research. Before leaving home, do a bit of research on the country or countries you will be visiting. Get to know the local customs and culture, as what is considered acceptable in one country may be offensive or even illegal in another. It can be a good idea to write down or memorise some useful phrases if the language is different, and get an idea of the local attitude towards things like tipping and appropriate dressing.

Jalapeño Cheese Bread
In this recipe I used of basic white bread and added shredded Cheddar cheese and Jaalpeño peppers to make a spicy loaf that is sure to satisfy.

Why Belize?
BUSINESS FRIENDLY TAX REGIME, Payable at a rate of 25% on taxable income for all employed residents in Belize earning over BZ $26,000 (US$13,000) per annum. Business Tax Businesses, companies and self-employed persons earning in excess of BZ $54,000 per annum must pay business tax. Rate varies according to business classification. Paid monthly to the Income Tax Department.

“Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Since the last edition the weather has improved quite a bit. We did experience some chilly (well by Belizean standards anyway) days and it rained (filled the water tank under the house again though!) but the last few days have been lovely, sunny and warm days. Feeling envious? You should be! Who wouldn’t wanna be me? Loads of people wouldn’t actually (for example a good looking twenty year old guy) actually but I needed to get the song title for today’s edition in somehow! Some of you may be wondering if I am still getting up early and the answer is a resounding YES. I may not have been producing too many editions just lately but I have still had my ‘just me time’ in the morning. Well, me, the mug of black coffee and my good friend iPad. I still haven’t worked out though where I prefer to sit. Do I sit on the first floor veranda overlooking the lagoon or move to the smaller veranda at the front of the house to look out at the Caribbean? Now you are starting to understand (and maybe appreciate or even sympathise with) my predicament. Decisions, decisions. I think though that when I have a proper chair (not the wooden chair that has served all my needs -internal and external – since we moved in to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize six weeks ago) the choice will be a lot easier to make.

When the Senate of Belize played to bypass a call for Investigation into Criminal Activity
With all the current issues ongoing with the Corruption in the Immigration Department where Mr Penner sold Belizean Citizenship to a Criminal in Jail which has blown up int the face of the current UDP Government. It seems to us that the PM is doing all he can to cover it up and to make the problem go away. On the 5th of November in a Sitting of the Senate where an Investigation was called for, it seems that the person sitting at the table in the center of the floor leaning over and in a low tone tell the UDP team to adjourn (at about 1:06:00). You decide for yourself. I guess time will tell how this will play out. Read the part of the constitution that relates to the Senate here.

Contitution of Belize – The Senate
61.-(1) Subject to subsection (2), the Senate shall consist of twelve members (in this Constitution referred to as “Senators”) who shall be appointed by the Governor-General in accordance with the provisions of this section. (2) If any person who is not a Senator is selected to be President of the Senate he shall, by virtue of holding the office of President, be a Senator in addition to the twelve Senators referred to in subsection (1).(3) The President of the Senate shall have a casting vote in the event of an equality of votes in respect of any business at a meeting of the Senate: Provided that if the President of the Senate- (a) is a Senator, he shall have an original but not a casting vote, and (b) is not a Senator, he shall not have a vote, when the Senate is deciding on any matter referred to in section 61A (2)(d) of this Constitution. (4) Of the twelve Senators- (a) six shall be appointed by the Governor- General acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister;

Take the taste of Belize home to your own kitchen
Foodies will tell you, to truly know a place you’ve got to sample the local cuisine. In Belize, visitors can enjoy a plethora of diverse and delicious delicacies while on vacation, and taking the taste of Belize home might be easier than you think! As cooking shows and world travel trends continue to encourage people to get into the kitchen and experiment with fusion cuisine, home cooks are putting their own spins on Belizean food like never before. A key ingredient in this challenge is the cookbook- chock full of detailed recipes, secret tips, helpful preparation techniques, and substitution ingredient ideas. Look out for several cookbooks on the market that are filled with family favorites passed on from grandmothers to the next generation; these recipes are comfort foods for many Belizeans and Belizeans-at-heart.

Trina explaining a Coral Watch survey
The point of this dive is to ascertain the status of health of the various corals on the reef. The corals are watched as their colour and behaviours are predictors of how the reef will continue to function and provide food for the resident fish and flooding protection to the surrounding land based communities of Belize, Mexico and Guatamala. Coral Bleaching is an indication that the reef is stressed and can be caused by a combination of factors. Physical presence of foreign bodies ( such as fishing line) Water temperatures below and or above optimum thresholds Salinity levels Acidification of the oceans. Pollution levels of sediment, phosphates and increased algae blooming All of which (amongst other reasons) are indicators to a potential loss in sustainable fisheries due to the loss of the organic life forms within the crusty shell of hard corals. The best way I can find to illustrate the phenomenan of bleaching is to show you evidence from the dive site near Tom Owens Caye

International Sources

The Homeowner’s Hurricane Safety Guide
Tropical storms are identified by their location and severity, with hurricanes just being one classification. But storms of all shapes and sizes bring havoc to coastal towns year in, year out. Consider the immediate and long-lasting damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the largest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic. All areas along the East Coast and Gulf Coast can experience significant damage from hurricanes. Some locations, however, are worse off than others. Dr. Stephen Leatherman, the director of the International Hurricane Research Center, says that the ten worst locations for hurricanes in the United States are:

3 Adventures Not to Be Missed in Belize
As the plane sets course toward the mainland, I spy the blue Caribbean below. The water is so crystal-clear that I can see the rocks and sand along the seabed. Belize's little commuter airplanes are the best way to appreciate the diversity of this small Caribbean country. From the air you appreciate the beauty -- and isolation -- of its white-sand cayes and the rolling green hills of its jungle interior. And the planes, like Belize itself, are small and intimate (the largest I've been on held just six passengers). Flying in one always makes me feel a bit like Indiana Jones heading off for adventure... And Belize is definitely one of my favorite countries for adventure. Here you can climb ancient ruins, wall-dive off the end of the barrier reef or trek in the jungle. And though you can feel like a Victorian explorer, you're never really far from civilization...which is the way I like it. At the end of a hard day's exploring, you can kick back and enjoy the street scene in Belize's many small towns, with their wonderfully diverse ethnic mix--an adventure of another kind. Here are three things to do in Belize that will give you a taste of this tiny titan's diversity:

The World’s 5 Best Beach Cities for Retirement
4. Ambergris Caye, Belize. Ambergris Caye is an English-speaking Caribbean island with an intriguing past and a promising future. Formerly a pirate hideout and a Mestizo fishing village, Ambergris has more recently been the host to two seasons of “Temptation Island” and is now one of the fastest-growing communities of foreign retirees in the world. Ambergris Caye offers a quintessential Caribbean lifestyle. Just offshore is the world’s second-longest barrier reef and all the snorkeling, diving, fishing, boating and swimming a beach-loving retiree could hope for. The cost of living on Ambergris Caye couldn’t be described as super-cheap, but it can be a bargain compared with elsewhere in the Caribbean. And Belize (like Panama) makes establishing residency as a foreign retiree super easy.

Fortis Inc. Announces First Quarter Dividends 2014
The Board of Directors of Fortis Inc. (the "Corporation") has declared a common share dividend of 0.32 per share on the issued and outstanding fully paid Common Shares of the Corporation, payable on March 1, 2014 to the Common Shareholders of Record at the close of business on February 14, 2014. The 3.2 per cent increase in the quarterly common share dividend to 0.32 from 0.31 extends the Corporation's record of annual common share dividend payment increases to 41 consecutive years, the longest record of any public corporation in Canada. The Board of Directors also declared the following dividends on its First Preference Shares:

The Design and Fall of Civilizations
The technology uncovering humanity's past -- and perhaps its future.Archaeologists discovered the Maya city of Caracol, hidden in the jungles of Belize, in the 1930s. In the 1980s, the husband-and-wife team of Arlen and Diane Chase began the daunting project of mapping Caracol and its environs. With teams of assistants and students, they tramped through the rain forest, recording and measuring every archaeological feature they could find. By 2009, after 25 years of labor, they had some of the most detailed maps ever made of a Maya city. Then they tried a new mapping tool: "light detection and ranging" technology, or lidar. Although lidar had been used for years to survey large-scale features for projects such as urban planning and planetary exploration, only recently had it gained the resolution necessary for archaeological mapping. The Chases joined forces with NASA and the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping at the University of Houston, which supplied a plane retrofitted to carry a million-dollar lidar machine that flew five missions over Caracol and its environs, mapping the ground with lasers.

Trafficking in persons: First visit of UN independent expert to Belize
The United Nations special rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, will visit Belize from 12 to 16 December 2013 to examine the situation of trafficking of women, men and children. This will be the first time ever an independent expert of the UN Human Rights Council has visited the Central American country. “During my visit to the Belize, I will study the situation in situ, in order to make recommendations to prevent and fight trafficking, and protect its victims,” the special rapporteur said. Ezeilo will visit the country at the invitation of the government. She will engage with state representatives as well as members of international and civil society organizations working on the fight against trafficking in persons in order to assess the challenges and opportunities in Belize. The UN Special Rapporteur is charged by the UN Human Rights Council to promote the prevention of trafficking in persons in all its forms and to encourage measures to uphold and protect the human rights of victims.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve
The Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest in the world, only surpassed by the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. I’ll be lucky enough to have visited both reefs by the time my trip is over. Here are some photos from a full day tour of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve with Raggamuffin. I’ve snorkeled many times with Raggamuffin and they are my top pick for tour operators in all of Belize. I’m completely comfortable recommending them as a tour operator.

December 9, 2013


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The San Pedro Sun

Wolfe’s Woofer: Under Pressure
“Hey, Mike,” I said. “Are you flying the plane today?” “I sure am.” “I thought you weren’t piloting any more. Didn’t you get promoted to doing office work?” “Yes, but the flu is going around and it took out two of our pilots so I’m filling in.” At about that time, the desk clerk at […]

Doctor Love: Growing Up
Readers, please send your letters. They can be emails, formal letters or handwritten notes. They are edited solely for grammar and spelling. Also, they are sometimes edited for length. Dear Doctor Love, My Mom is way too strict on me. I am sixteen years old and it seems like she does not trust me for […]

San Pedro Roman Catholic School students get hands on experience on entrepreneurship
Mr. Nery Cortez, Standard V teacher of San Pedro Roman Catholic School organized a small business activity for his students after having completed their lessons on consumer arithmetic. Mr. Cortez divided his class into four groups that would each create their own business venture. The groups sold everything from pizza and doughnuts to lemonade and marshmallow pops, and they’re fellow students were buying! From this activity students got to put into practice the theory of the different lessons such as profit and loss, simple interest, percentages and discounts. Mr Cortez explained that he wanted to give the students hands on practice to the concepts learned in the classroom.

Misc Belizean Sources

An evening of Artisan Cheeses by Caves Branch
OMG! OMG! OMG! Important announcement. On Thursday the 12th there will be a Food & Wine Extravaganza at Banyan Bay Club House. This is so exciting! Ian Anderson will be hosting a fabulous evening of tastings, which will include his famous selection of amazing artisan cheeses, imported wines, shrimp dishes and sausages and steaks from Running W Ranch. And guess what? Entrance is free!!!!! It's from 6-9pm. If you're not there, you are a very, very silly person!!!! an evening of Artisan Cheeses by Caves Branch.. Great Imported wines presented by Mala Vasquez, wine representative from Karl Menzies in Belize City Karl Menzies, Escandar Bedram of San Ignacio will showcase his locally produced sausages, ham, pastrami, salami and aged Angus beef which will be available for tasting and purchase. and succulent shrimp from Shrimply Belize. Please bring your check book as there will be much to take home .. This is your opportunity to sample many of the offerings and stock up with purchases for the Christmas season upon us. We all look forward to seeing many of you on the 12th. My birthday is the 13th so it will be a fun night having all of you with us

Financial literacy!
By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez We can either be dragged down by our circumstances Or look under the layers and transcend, making advances We have to be like the wise serpent in the bible And be flexible We should not throw away the baby with the bath water Father Gainney and thirty-two others decided they wanted To address the economic conditions Facing the Garinagu and Mayan populations So they came up with an ingenious plan To set up two credit unions In both Barranco and the southernmost district in the nation The Catholics and dedicated priests Working with the people to bring relief, however brief It wasn't call an organization but a movement Because of the time, investment that needed to be spent Championing the cause of financial independence A movement is something in motion from my observation engraining self and family Into the financial culture of the nation Has yielded great success in the Holy Redeemer Credit Union

Toledo Project
A new initiative has been launched in Toledo to assist young people who are out of school. Youth from the Toledo district now have an opportunity to lean skills and valuable insights in becoming productive citizens.

Help for Henry Benefit Concert
Help support a worthy cause at the Help for Henry Benefit Concert today at the George Price Centre. The benefit is to help raise funds for Henry Griffin, who is battling leukemia. It's only $5 per person, and all proceeds go to the Griffin family. David Smith, Bethany Ann, and many others will be performing. There is also a gofundme site set up here.

Emmeth Young at Belize Soul Project
Emmeth Young and the Talla Walla Vibrations drummed the night away at the Soul Project last night. It's was a phenomenal show, and they even let some of the crowd play along. D Russell Photography scored some wicked pictures of the concert. In related news, they'll be coming back to play on Boxing day at the Chaya Garden Ashram in Cristo Rey. Contact them for more information on the event.


O/W East Area Rep. Offers Free Clinic To Flooded Residents
The hurricane season may be closed for this year but in certain areas across the north some residents are still facing the aftermath of floods. Residents in at least one area, the Louisiana Area in Orange Walk Town, are receiving much needed medical assistance courtesy of Area Representative, Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez. Dr. Mendez says that he saw the urgency for medical assistance, especially for children after having visited the area when the river was high and flooded many yards. Dr. Marco Tulio – East Area Representative, OW “I know that people are exposed to many, many types of infections especially respiratory infections; cough and cold and also problems with the skin; fungus and all sorts of disease that they could be pre-disposed and so when we did the visit or course I saw the problems that the children were going through and the entire family so I di told them that I was going to come and provide them a medical service free of charge, free for the people because I know the things are very difficult nowadays and I know this is going to be a relief. Different specialties are being covered, we have an internist how is an adult specialist, we have also a surgeon in case any problem with specially with pains that they would go, that have been going through kidney stones or whatever, we have also two gynecologists that are providing the service specially to pregnant woman that we know that with all the problems that they have sent through, I just want to make sure that everything is covered providing also with ultra sound free of cost to the pregnant mothers, those that have not been able to do it, I now that as I told you it is hard times so we are trying to see how best we could assist them.”

Political Leaders Say Goodbye To Nelson Mandela
The Prime Minister oF Belize Dean Oliver Barrow has dispatched a note of condolence to the president, people and government of South African on the death of Nelson Mandela. As we mentioned last night Mandela passed away yesterday at the age of 95. According to an official statement from the Office of the Prime Minister, the Belize flag will be flown at half-mast from midday today, Friday, until midday on Saturday. The Belize flag will again be lowered at half-mast on the day or Mr. Mandela’s funeral. In the official statement, Prime Minister Barrow described Nelson Mandela as “the last global hero history will ever see.” Prime Minister Barrow says that Nelson Mandela “is not just an inspiration to black people everywhere, but to all people everywhere.”

Getting To Zero, By Celebrating Worlds Aids Day
The Northern Regional Hospital in close collaboration with HECOPAB in the Ministry of Health are today commemorating World Aids day that was observed internationally on December 1st. The goal was to spread awareness and sensitize the public on information on HIV Infection and provide free testing to the general public. Medical Chief at the Northern Regional Hospital, Doctor Jairo Osorio shed some light on the day’s health fair. Doctor Jairo Osorio– Medical Chief, NRH “Knowing your status HIV status is a lifesaving situation where if you know you are HIV positive then you know basically have the information what to do whether you require treatment or how to prevent it.” Maria Nolveo – Reporter “What has been the response here, have they been taking it, are they taking advantage of the free testing?” Doctor Jairo Osorio– Medical Chief, NRH “Well, we have had a quite a crowd here this morning since we come here at 8:30 we started and we have had quite a number of people coming in, we are offering HIV testing as well as we are doing the rapid glucose test and offering blood pressure checks so people are interested and they are coming in, they are getting information on HIV and AIDS and as well they finding our whether they are positive or negative in regards to HIV infections.”

Participants Bake Their Way To financial Stability
On Thursday we found women from the rural areas in the Corozal District and students of ITVET, busily working in their institute bakery as they received training on how to prepare pastries. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture in conjunction with Corozal Cooperatives hosted the one day training which was headed by Janet Castillo Parks. Janet Castillo Parks “Today we had this training in conjunction with the agriculture department and the cooperatives and as the Women Group for Corozal Progressive we invited other groups from San Antonio and Patchakan and ITVET students her to join us in this pastry preparation work shop today. Here today we prepared black fruit cake and white fruit cake because of the Christmas season. We had 34 participants all together which they combined the women group from all the way from Chunox, Louisville, Xaibe, Chan Chen, San Antonio, Patchakan and Corozal Town.”

Workshop Is Held To Better-off The Sugar Industry
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association has been officially certified under the Fairtrade standards but the work does not stop there. There must be continuity in the industry and by producers. For this reason, the association continues to strengthen its system. As part of that process, the association held a second training on how best farmers can meet standards to improve the industry. Dalila Ical reports. Dalila Ical – Reporting All eighteen branch chairmen, members of the finance and surveillance committees in the association and even the chief executive officer attended the training today conducted by facilitators from Guatemala. Alfredo Ortega – Vice Chairman, Committee of Management, BSCFA “En estos momentos como cada año que viene la auditoria estamos entrando en ano seis así es de que ya tenemos de ya buscando el cumplimiento dentro de ese espacio del ano seis y este ano que no ha terminado cuando nos auditaron experimentamos de que el auditor se fue a nivel de los branches y allí nos encontró none-compliance y ya sabemos que esto puede ir en otro desarrollo de que puede ir al campo para ver como es el trato de los trabajadores, los cortadores, el chofer y todo eso entonces en estos momentos se está enfocando en eso como podemos trabajar para reducir cual quiera incidencia de incumplimiento y entonces es esa base ellos están en estos momentos dando este entrenamiento como también FLOW, los estándares de FLOW cada vez está en revisión y los van modificando de una manera u otro entonces para tener un mayor entendimiento de la modificación del estándares por eso ello vienen y ella está encargada de esta región, de Centro América y el Caribe, desde México a Chile como mencionaron entonces ellos vienen a dar esta clase de entrenamiento para que las industrias que estamos certificados bajo el comercio justo tengamos esos conocimientos para que así pues no estemos cayendo en incumplimiento por no tener conocimiento de los estándares.”

PADD Is Back On Track
Parents Against Drunk Drivers is a non- profit organization that formed several years ago to promote safe driving by dissuading motorists from drinking and driving. Three to four years ago, the group went dormant but today it has been fully reactivated as a result of the increase in accidents due to drunken driving. President of PADD in Orange Walk, Armando Valdez, says it is important for this message to reverberate once more after seeing so many people lose their lives in traffic accidents involving drunk drivers. “This week unfortunately with that accident that happened in Belize City when that baby child was killed and his little brother foot was broken many of the member asked that we do something about it so that Corozal Tow and Orange Walk Town group of PADD have come together today, we just had a meeting this afternoon and we deiced to reactivate the group and to bring it back and continue with the activities we used to do which is to go around and keep an eye on drunk drivers or if you see someone drinking and driving then we will call the respective authorities.”

Fairtrade Certifies BSCFA
Earlier this year the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association fell into noncompliance with Fairtrade standards after FLO-CERT, an international company owned by Fairtrade International (FLO), conducted an audit of the association. FLO-CERT is responsible for the inspection and certification of producer organizations and traders against Fairtrade standards. Since then the association has taken several measures to correct the eight areas they were found in non compliance. A follow up audit in November of this year resulted in good news for the Association as they have been officially certified. Vice Chair of the BSCFA, Committee of Management, Alfredo Ortega, says it was all possible with teamwork. Screen_Shot_2013-12-06_at_8.21.41_PMAlfredo Ortega – Vice Chairman, Committee of Management, BSCFA “Eso es una o buen visto para organización y realmente demuestra el esfuerzo de que todos estamos poniendo de nuestra parte para así mantener esta certificación porque no es nada fácil cada año se van aplicando más, mas, y más aplicaciones y cada vez más difíciles de cumplir sin embargo por eso estamos teniendo estos talleres para que así podamos estar al tanto y a tiempo para poder irnos dirigiendo para esos cumplimiento dentro de los estándares.” Among the eight non-compliances were that the branches were not holding their monthly meetings. In the same manner, the Association itself has not been holding meetings as stipulated in its bylaws.

Police Launch Intensive Man Hunt For Oscar Hernandez Also Known As Oscar Perez
Yesterday we told you about a chopping incident that left woman police officer, Marilyn Pate wounded. The incident occurred around two thirty on the street that extends off East San Martin Street in Trial Farm Village. Second in Command at the Orange Walk Police Station, Inspector Julius Cantun, gave us an update on the investigations. Inspector Julius Cantun- 2nd in Command, Orange Walk Police “The woman police who was injured in Trial Farm yesterday during the execution of her duties, we can inform that she has been released after being kept at the hospital for observation, certain tests were run on: X-rays which determine that there was no serious injury to the skull or to the brain, so far she has been released and she is recovering nevertheless, the medical officers have requested further examination to be conducted such as Cat scan and that will be done very shortly just to ensure that the woman police officer I clear and out of the woods and she be recovering, right now she is on sick leave until further notice and further information. He was being detained and brought to the police station, something happened during that course of that procedure where the suspect had told the police that he will go and put on some shirt and what on and that is when he was able to have access to a machete and that is when he returned and he attacked the police woman for no reason and then inflicted three chop wounds to the head, two to the left side and one to the right and two chop wounds to the left hand defensive injuries while the police woman was trying to defend herself.

International Sources

Taiwanese experts help fight coffee disease in Latin America
Taiwanese plant pathologists are sharing their expertise at an international conference in Honduras, which is being attended by representatives from Central American countries that are facing the problem of coffee disease, according to the organizers. Starting Monday, participants at the five-day international conference will discuss the issue and visit coffee farms to get a firsthand look at the effects of coffee rust disease, the International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF) said. Belize, Panama, Nicaragua, and Guatemala, Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the region, are among the affected countries, TaiwanICDF said.

December 8, 2013


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Specials and Events

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

The San Pedro Sun

Johnny Quest captures 2nd place in Mahahual Wahoo fishing tournament
A Belizean fishing team from Ambergris Caye captured second place at the annual “Wahoo de Plata” fishing tournament hosted in Mahahual, Mexico. The Johnny Quest team comprised of six local fishermen, represented Belize well on Saturday November 30th and December 1st. Hosted by Tequila Beach Resort, the fishing tournament attracted over 150 fishing enthusiasts including Belizean Anglers, onboard 49 different vessels.

Three schools in Belize Rural South receive new bathrooms courtesy of UNICEF
Three schools in the Belize Rural School now boast newly renovated bathroom facilities. San Pedro Roman Catholic School (SPRC), New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) and Caye Caulker Roman Catholic School were handed over the keys of their newly renovated bathrooms courtesy of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The renovation of the bathrooms was a project under the Quality Child Friendly School initiative currently being implemented in the primary education system in Belize. On Wednesday November 27th and Thursday November 28th, officials from UNICEF and the Ministry of Education toured the schools where they held small inauguration ceremonies for the three different new facilities. Speaking at the opening of the bathroom at SPRCS on Thursday, Ian Yerovi, UNICEF Representative in Belize stressed on the importance of having proper, clean bathrooms. He said that idea of the bathroom came last year when UNICEF launched a global campaign in primary schools promoting the washing of hands. Yerovi also spoke of the importance of the Quality Child Friendly School program explaining that UNICEF would like to see all schools be a Quality Child Friendly School where all the necessary facilities are in place for creating a healthy learning environment.

Misc Belizean Sources

A program of performances, including steel band music, was held tonight in Belmopan for the lighting of the Christmas Tree. Despite a few showers, the program went off smoothly. The Belmopan Christmas Tree is located at the Sir George Brown Field at the corner of Libertad Avenue and South Ring Road in the nation's capital.

The Health Center in Georgeville village, Cayo district is abuzz with daily activities during the week as resident of the community and surrounding villages come to the facility to receive quality health care. Nurse Felicita Flores-Valentine and her assistant Diana Joseph-Yalley welcome visitors to the Health Center with a warm smile and a caring heart. The Georgeville Health Center offers various services including Pap Smear, Pre-natal and post-natal child health care, diabetic hypertensive clinic, outpatient clinic and doctor visit in cases of emergencies. At the Health Center, there is also information available on baby health care, pregnancy, family planning, dengue and malaria and healthy food/diet. The Georgeville Health Center is connected to the Belize Health Information System, so patients’ records can be easily accessed from anywhere in the country of Belize.

Old Master Promo at CWC
The Cayo Welcome Center will be the location for Old Master's rum promotion today. They'll have drink specials all day, and in the evening they'll have a karaoke contest. "It's another Cayo Welcome Center Event!!!! Saturday 7th December- Come showcase your talent and win Best male/female vocalist for the evening! Sponsors: Old Masters Fine Rums makers of Belize Old Fashion Lemonade and the Mayor of San Ignacio and Santa Elena!"

Video: Snorkeling Hol Chan Marine Reserve
Snorkeling in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve off Ambergris Caye provides a view healthy coral reefs that provide habitat to a variety of marine life. While snorkeling Hol Chan, you may encounter sea turtles, southern stingrays, spotted eagle rays, nurse sharks and small reef fish. This video of Hol Chan snorkeling was shot with the Nikon AW100

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Doubull Chocolate Warnit Cookies
Do y'all feel like me?? Countin down t'days until Christmus, a'hopin thar is enough time ta git everthang done un at still- ta-do lis? Whut bett'r way ta ‘sloe down’ an' enjoy t'seesen thun wit a cup o'coffee an' a chocolate cookie, er three er fer … no one is countin! We did a Cookie class thishere week at Lepp’s Farm Market an' fer at class I developet a chocolate cookie at I am rilly happy wit ! Glute a'loose cookies tend ta be crispy but thishere cookie is wonderfullee ‘chewy’ wit un excellent flavour! It is a cookie at is quik, easy an' a one pot cleen-up!

“Breaking Barriers, open doors for an inclusive society for all”
Was this year's theme as Disability week comes to an end. Parents, teachers pre-school and primary school students of Corozal Town gathered at the Central Park to observe Disability Week by parading through the principal streets of town. Many placards resonated the words like "We are friends" and "I am special". Through the efforts of the Ministry of Education, the week's event showed respect and solidarity in bringing awareness of the different challenges families face, with loved ones who have special needs.

The Ministry of Tourism and Culture extends its sincere gratitude
to all its line agencies for their participation in the Heads of Departments End of Year Meeting. They had a successful year, and may the new year be even more successful to continue serving our country. United as One, Empowered to Serve!

Help Age Corozal Fund raiser Art Auction Dec. 13th
Support a more than worthy cause Friday December 13th. Our seniors at Help Age Corozal, whom have given a lifetime of service to our community.

The Belize Times

Barrow Threatens Cañeros – No Crop, No Sugar Roads, says PM
The master of double standards Prime Minister Dean Barrow has spit in the faces of cane farmers with his threat that the UDP Government will not budge to repair any sugar road in the Orange Walk or Corozal Districts unless the cane farmers give in to the demands of the foreign owners of Belize Sugar Industries. Before media cameras, Barrow claims to support the cane farmers, but behind closed doors his Government is wrapped up in sugarcoated bed sheets with American Sugar Refining Inc., BSI’s owners. The PM’s position that no sugar road will be fixed unless cane farmers start delivering cane is a callous tactic designed in concert with the Yankee Company. Barrow’s ultimatum is not in the best interest of cane farmers. The sugar roads have been neglected for many months and the heavy rains have made a really bad situation much worse. The fact is that the roads are in dire need of attention, and it is the Government’s responsibility to carry out repairs as a matter of priority.

Barrow gives Penner $90,000 as Christmas Cheer – $350,000 for illegal “caretakers”
The UDP’s most disgraced politician, Elvin Penner, will be getting $90,000 through a special Christmas Cheer programme set up by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Penner, who has been become a public pariah, and a supposed outcast of his own political party, continues as a UDP elected area representative in Cayo North East. The Prime Minister plans to divert $1.53 million in public funds to give $90,000 to each of his UDP area representatives so they can give out political sweets this Christmas. Penner is one of the 17 UDP Representatives who will be receiving this money, but there is no guarantee that he will distribute it to the people of the area. The UDP Cayo North East committee has ostracized Penner and has said they support the PM’s decision to no longer consider Penner a UDP. Yet, he is still part of Barrow’s Christmas Cheer.

The Political Police
The UDP has done their best to infiltrate and corrupt our Police Department. This is why Belizeans cannot get justice at the hands of our men and women in uniform who should be serving and protecting the people’s interest. Instead they serve and protect the interests of the UDP, like Elvin Penner who is yet to be properly investigated or arrested for his criminal wrongdoing. We have already exposed former Commissioner of Police Crispin Jeffries doing the bidding of the UDP. The BELIZE TIMES understands that Jeffries, who is an elected UDP Councillor in Hattieville, considered putting his name as a UDP candidate in Belize Rural Central. We have also seen another ex-Commissioner David Henderson campaigning for the UDP in Cayo, dressed in red and rubbing shoulders with the UDP hierarchy. Last week, the word went out that another Police Officer serving in a high position announced his affiliation and loyalty to the UDP. Deputy Commissioner of Police “El Odio” Aragon Jr. wants to run for the UDP in Orange Walk East.

Think About It
The amazing Arthur Saldivar has won his convention in Belize Rural North to be the PUP candidate in the next general elections. Arthur Saldivar is an amazing man. Boundless energies and a bundle of ideas. He manages to juggle a full time busy career as an attorney while campaigning in a division with some 26 villages dispersed over the Belize District. He is a devoted family man and his main hobby, other than politics, is reading. He is a fullbright Scholar with a university degree in economics and he holds a second University degree in law plus the additional two years of training at the prestigious Norman Manley Law School. This man is highly educated. Now it’s the University of Belize that is regularly in the news. And it is all negative and depressing. What is happening to our country? For over a year there have been an ongoing and never-ending series of scandals, bad-news and negativity – all caused by government incompetence and corruption. Ask any child and the list rolls out easily – Noh Mul, Rosewood, 13 babies, Mark King meltdown; Finnegan disrespect in the National Assembly, Prime Minister cursing up a judge, gender issue, Penner, Castro, Visas, Hezbollah, police brutality and shootings, cañeros and bagasse, the worst streets and roads in history – and the list goes on.

Visa Hustle Scandal Widens
By G. Michael Reid “If I hear you intervene 10 times and I hear you intervene 20 times – what I am to think? Except that you’re involved in a hustle. If you hang out with Ali Baba you must be one of the 40 thieves.” ~ ~ PM Barrow at a press conference on October 10th, 2013 “Man if he signed 200 visa recommendations, if he signed 1,000, I can do nothing. I can say to him bwoy, I have my own view and you must realize that out there people won’t think that you’re signing 100 visas or 75 visa applications just like that.” – PM Barrow at a press conference November 26th, 2013 It took the Prime Minister just a little over a month to go from “For GOD’s sake, stop it” before you bring down the government, to, carry on with your hustle “bwoy” because I am hamstrung. The obvious reason that the Prime Minister’s hands are tied is that his majority is slim and having already lost one member of his team, he simply cannot afford to lose another. Despite overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing, the best that Mr. Barrow can do is to defend his band and try to ward off the media. Channel Five has been bringing pressure to bear and reporter Mike Rudon has been doing some excellent investigative reporting. Irrefutable evidence has been provided to the nation and to the Prime Minister proving that the hustle at the Immigration Department is widespread and of Olympic-size proportion. In his press conference in October, the Prime Minister opined that, “if there is one thing that can and would bring down this government it is hustling in Immigration. I have heard that ministers are procuring visas for people. I’ve said pretty much in every second Cabinet if you are doing so (I have no proof) for God sakes stop it! Stop it! That is what would cause the government to fall.” Okay, the pudding has been eaten and the taste has given proof. The summer was delightful but the fall is at hand.

Game Over
It is now clear to all that Dean Barrow is heartless, cold, chancey and power-hungry Prime Minister. The PUP has been preaching the danger that is Barrow since 2007, but many perceived our warnings as mere political propaganda. Fast-forward now to present day Belize and well, let’s just say that Barrow’s wicked ways have even surpassed the PUP’s expectations. Like a typical dictator, Barrow employs ruthless strategies to achieve his end game: holding onto power, whatever the cost. From the moment he opens his eyes each morning, Dean Barrow is scheming. He has no time to govern, no time to stimulate the economy, no time to care about creating jobs for our people when the collapse of his government is staring him in the face all day long. Dean Barrow was the first to tell us that there was a major visa hustle in the Ministry of Immigration. But now that the proverbial doo-doo has hit the fan, Dean is the chief defender of these very same visa hustlers.

Paradise Freedom Fighters still leads Belikin Cup
All games of Week 5 of the Belikin Cup football tournament ended in 1-1 draws, so all teams maintained their ranking in the Premier League of Belize. On Sunday, December 1, Devauhgn “Beckham” Zuniga equalized for the FC Belize in the 15th minute after Norman “Bat” Pipersburgh had scored first for Verdes in the 8th minute. FC Belize needed the win, but try as they might, they just could not get that 2nd goal. At the Toledo Union Field in Punta Gorda, the defending champs, Police United were still looking for their first win, but the No. 1 team Paradise Freedom Fighters shut them down until the 85th minute when Alex Peters scored for his home squad. Luckily for the Police, Bernard Linarez equalized in the 86th minute and so the game ended.

SMART Mundialito enters playoffs – Bombers, City Boys, Hattieville & Rising Stars are in
Hattieville United, City Boys Jrs., the undefeated Brown Bombers and the Ladyville Rising Stars have all won through to the 2013 SMART Mundialito football playoffs, as all teams won in Week 9 of the competition at the MCC garden last Saturday. Third World picked up their 4th win by default when the Belize Elementary girls and boys were a no show for their game. Undefeated City Boys picked up their 6th win: 1-0 when Kenny Linarez scored the winning goal in the 2nd half. The Rising Stars won 2-0 over the Survivors; with Andres Velasquez scoring both goals, one in each half.

BES girls & Ebenezer boys advance to football nationals
The defending national champs, the Belize Elementary School girls, repeat as the Belize City primary schools football champs, while the Ebenezer School boys won the male championship at the M.C.C. Garden last Friday. The BES girls out-gunned the Holy Redeemer girls 3-1 in a penalty shootout after regular time and overtime ended in nil-zip draw. BES’ goalie Keila Oyuela stopped 3 shots on goal as the Holy Redeemer girls tried to convert. Keila, Kristin Musa and Julianna Ramos converted for BES while only Kelsie Moss converted. Both teams go on to the district finals to challenge the San Pedro girls and the Pancotto Nazarene girls from Sand Hill.

Reckless driver!!! – Press Office boss slams GOB vehicle into barricade
Director of the UDP Government’s Press Office, Dorian Pakeman, failed to report a serious accident he was involved in on Sunday night which nearly took the life of an innocent city resident and which seriously damaged Government property. On Sunday night Pakeman, who is considered a crony of the not-normal Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, was driving a vehicle assigned specifically for official business of the Government Press Office, when he sped down Princess Margaret Drive and smashed into a tree as he tried to avoid a metal barricade. Princess Margaret Drive from the corner with St. Joseph Street towards the Phillip Goldson Highway was closed to traffic because of the construction taking place around the Flag Monument throughout the weekend. Metal Barricades were placed to stop traffic and a watchman was keeping guard. But none of that stopped the reckless Press Office Director who seemed to be shooting a stunt scene for Fast and Furious.

More UDP Ministers named in Visa Scandal – Hundreds of Visa “Recommendations” for Chinese nationals exposed; Barrow says “No smoking gun”
New evidence involving the biggest scandal to hit the UDP Administration has been exposed by Channel 5’s reporter Mike Rudon as the full magnitude of the corrupt visa hustle comes to light. A string of documents made public shows that “special” visas for Chinese Nationals were not only facilitated by Elvin Penner and Edmund Castro, but a much wider notorious band of UDP Ministers, illegal “caretakers” and even well-placed CEOs. The names shown on the documents revealed so far include Edmund Castro, Elvin Penner, Rene Montero, Erwin Contreras, Pablo Marin, Charles Gibson and John Saldivar who are all UDP Ministers. Ismael ‘Miley’ Garcia, Frank ‘Pawpa’ Mena are UDP caretakers who are also involved, while Candelaria Saldivar is the sister of Minister John Saldivar, and she is also named as one of the persons who recommended visas for Chinese officials. Her case is very interesting, since she is the CEO in the Ministry of Immigration.

Mayor squeezes vendors
The Mayor of Belmopan, in a desperate attempt to make up for City Council’s deficit budget, is attempting to squeeze market vendors by imposing more taxes on them when they re-locate to the new Belmopan open market early next year. These mostly fruit and vegetable vendors who eke out a living in deplorable conditions where they were relocated six months and where they will remain until early next year, have been told by the Mayor that they will have to pay three months’ rent in advance when they return to the renovated market. An herbalist and plants vendor reacted to the proposal saying, “This man is trying to take away ten pounds of my flesh.” The vendors have formally protested to the City Council about its demands for stall rentals at an increased fee to be paid on a quarterly or yearly basis. They have also complained of “unsatisfactory sanitation” and of other poor conditions at the temporary market with inadequate restrooms, a “lack of sanitary procedures” and about the Council’s failure to provide an environment to meet the minimum health standards which by law is its responsibility.

Counterfeit and Substandard Medicines, a Healthcare Crisis
Belize’s healthcare industry faces a global challenge to control spiraling healthcare costs. It has to ensure the appropriate use of scarce resources, while, at the same time, guaranteeing quality outcomes. A response to this challenge is the concept of pharmaceutical care. Pharmaceutical care is described as the responsible provision of drug therapy for the purpose of achieving define te outcomes that improve a patient’s quality of life. Counterfeit and substandard medicines undermine pharmaceutical care. Counterfeit drugs pose a serious threat to quality assurance and can lead to severe health outcomes for patients including prolonged disease and death. Controlling the cost of medicines is not simply a matter of medicine acquisition costs. An available effective hospital formulary has to be under constant revision to ensure successful patient care outcome, bearing in mind, that the impact of ineffective or inefficient drug use will have consequences beyond the acquisition cost of the pharmaceutical product. The presence of substandard and counterfeit medicines in developing countries which lack efficient drug regulatory mechanisms and drug test laboratories makes pharmaceutical care a challenging, difficult endeavor. In Belize, we are faced with an increasing number of counterfeit and substandard, generic and brand named medicines imported from countries like Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Central and South American countries.

The Guadalupe Street Improvement Project
By Richard Harrison The Guadalupe Street Improvement Project, in Orange Walk….is a very noble citizen-driven project, aimed at improving the conditions of one particular street…perhaps as a frustrated response to very poor maintenance of streets in Orange Walk, and Belice in general. My only criticism comes from comparison with school feeding programs. Many kids who go hungry to school have parents who abuse alcohol, cigarettes, boledo and make other poor choices in sourcing and allocating their scarce resources…so society sets up feeding programs in schools…free bus transport…then school bags…then school books and supplies….next will be shoes and uniforms… and maybe even a cash stipend. Those parents have more to spend on alcohol, cigarettes, boledo and other poor choices. The parents who make sacrifice and good choices in allocating resources for their children’s education do not gain from these charities….in fact, they lose more…because they are the ones who ultimately pay for them. So there is reward for delinquency and poor choices…and punishment for sacrifice and good choices. A system of reward and punishment that pushes society towards more delinquency and poor choices….

OW Town Council & Private Sector join hands
A few residents and businesspersons from Guadalupe Street, Orange Walk Town, held a meeting with Mayor Kevin Bernard to discuss plans for a Guadalupe Street Improvement Project. The Mayor has pledged his full support. A key meeting will be held next Thursday November 28 with all residents of Guadalupe Street to finalize plans and to move the project forward. Guadalupe Street will set the stage for the rest of the town, and the country.

Hon. Dolores Balderamos Garcia concerned about Police shootings
As Area Representative for Belize Rural Central, which includes the sprawling Suburban/Rural community of Ladyville, I register my extreme concern about the recent Police shooting which resulted in the death of Travis McKay. This is the second shooting this year that has ended in the death of a young Ladyville resident at the hands of the Police. I cannot, in my capacity of representing the Ladyville Community, stand by and say nothing. In both instances there are many questions regarding the shootings, and while I cannot make definitive pronouncements about the exact facts of the cases, I feel compelled to add my voice to the cries of concern from Ladyville residents about the actions of the Police. Cynthia Lozano, the mother of Ryan Lozano, who was killed in April this year, and Stephanie Usher, the mother of recently deceased Travis McKay, are Ladyville residents and stalwart members of the community. I express my deep condolences to them and their entire families at the loss of their sons.

Belize dragged down murky world of scandal and corruption – The Economist Magazine highlights Belize visa scandal
The Barrow Administration has succeeded in dragging down Belize’s reputation as a once safe and law abiding haven to one where scandal and corruption is the norm. The immigration scandal in which UDP politicians Elvin Penner and Edmund Castro have been implicated, has caught the attention of several international organisations and watchdog groups. One such organization is the widely-read and highly-esteemed The Economist Magazine which featured Belize’s visa scandal in an article published in its November 23rd 2013 issue. The article entitled “Passports to ignominy: The murky world of the Bouterses” focused on Dino Bouterse, the son of Suriname’s president, who faces trial for passport fraud and aiding terrorists, but segues into Belize’s current scandal involving former UDP Minister Penner and present Minister Castro. “Belize has buzzed with reports of passport and visa fraud”, noted the article. It then reported on Penner’s direct involvement in the issuance of a fraudulent passport to South Korean fugitive, Kim Won-Hong, who at the time of obtaining the Belize nationality certificate and passport was sitting in a jail cell in Taiwan, and the heap of allegations of visa fraud against Castro.

UDP dodges global transparency watchdog
For the 5th year in a row, the Barrow Administration has snubbed the global transparency watchdog, Transparency International (TI), in their request for information about the UDP Government’s governance practices. On an annual basis TI conducts a corruption assessment of all countries around the globe. Since 2008, when the UDP took office Transparency International has not included Belize on the list of countries placed under scrutiny. TI explains that they are unable to access the appropriate information about the Government of Belize. Well, with the daily, mounting evidence of hustling and stealing by UDP Ministers, it is no surprise that the Barrow Administration has chosen to dodge the watchdog group once more. The UDP, which came into office under the promise of transparency, accountability and good governance, are terribly afraid of scrutiny by the international community, afraid that their total falsehood will be exposed for all to see. What is the UDP hiding? Imagine if Transparency International would get their hands on the evidence that Elvin Penner helped to provide Belizean nationality and a passport to an international fugitive who was in a prison across the world. Imagine if they learnt of the allegations of visa hustling against not one or two, but seven UDP Ministers. Imagine they learnt of the Rosewood hustling, where the illegal exporter was sold the prized lumber at less than its market value. Imagine they learnt of the hustling with pharmaceuticals at the Ministry of Health.

The Rt. Hon. Said Musa-A Bridge to the New Revolution
By C. Trench-Sandiford-Deputy Party Leader Change is constant. If we are to survive as a party, a people and a nation, we must embrace change, we must adapt to change. This was perhaps the message that resonates with me from my conversation with the Rt. Hon. Said Musa. We discussed the many challenges confronting Belize and the People’s United Party today, including but not limited to party unity, purpose and regeneration, the importance of loyalty, of staying true to our cause, and of restoring the confidence and trust of the Belizean people in us, all of which intertwines. Discussions also revolved around the unprecedented poverty and deepening inequalities that characterize Belize today, the acute unemployment among our young people and women, the institutionalized corruption and mismanagement of public resources, our failing education and health system, and the erosion of our fundamental Belizean and cultural rights and our sovereignty and territorial integrity. Of course, the great achievements and successes of the Said Musa led government of 1998-2008 was also on the table, as well as the lessons learned, and what is relevant to travel with us on the journey of calibrating the points and milestones of the New Revolution.

REFLECTIONS IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE – UDP Political Officers/Caretakers
The National Assembly is made up of 31 Area Representatives each elected by voters in their respective constituencies. In the 2012 General elections voters elected 17 UDP Area Representatives and 14 PUP Area Representatives. In the areas that were not won by their Party both political parties have political officers or “caretakers” as the UDP calls them, who have responsibility for leading the efforts of the Party in that particular area. It is expected that the UDP caretakers will have a direct line of communication to the Prime Minister and his Ministers and will therefore be in a position to assist residents of their area. That is politics in Belize and we can’t and won’t complain about that. What we can and will complain very loudly about is the consistent practice by this UDP Prime Minister and his Ministers to completely ignore the duly elected PUP Representatives and the people they represent. Virtually every Government decision taken in any of the 14 areas represented by the PUP and in the three municipalities (Orange Walk, Punta Gorda, Dangriga) governed by the PUP is done, not in consultation with the duly elected PUP representative, but with a UDP caretaker. Further to this, PM Dean Barrow, as Minister of Finance, insists on advancing Government Funds to these UDP caretakers-officers of his political party.

Stake Bank awaits final approval
Dear Editor, On Wednesday November 27th, three cruise ships entered our waters outside of Belize City. On a regular scheduled visit these ships normally anchor about 3.5 nautical miles from Belize and tender boats transport the waiting visitors to the Fort Point Tourist Village where service providers in the industry await to provide anything from hair braiding, arts and crafts, local food dishes and of course, tours around the city and sometimes as far as Altun Ha or Lamanai. On Wednesday this did not happen as scheduled; heavy winds and waves caused two of the ships to turn around and leave the shores of Belize cutting short the long awaited visit to Belize for those waiting passengers on those ships. This was an estimated loss of $600,000 (BD) to Belize as per industry experts’ calculations. It is known in the industry that cruise ship owners have been saying for some time that they will stop coming to Belize if their passengers have to disembark from those huge ships to small waiting tender boats. As large as these hundred passenger tender boats may be, when viewed from these large ships (some as large as several football fields) they appear to unsuspecting passengers as small unstable carriers, and for this reason many passengers are reluctant to leave the ships. Cruise ships have given Belize up to 2015 to correct this situation or they will discontinue Belize as a destination. The proposed Stake Bank Project facility will be the solution to this problem since the berth at Stake Bank will be capable of servicing Voyagers, the size of ships currently coming to Belize. However the Project still appears stalled and waiting final approval by Cabinet to become operational. The project which is over seven years old was originally approved in 2007, as per reliable sources, has been tediously going through the process of re-gaining approval once again to become operational. All indications are that approval is forthcoming; however, the drawn out process has been taxing to the developer, Michael Feinstein, and his management team which has complied with all request and only awaiting final approval to commence with the project. One can only imagine Mr. Feinstein’s frustrations after the substantive investments in time, effort and finances.

More arguments for Ladyville/Lord’s Bank Town
Dear Editor, Further to my first letter regarding Ladyville/Lords Bank becoming a town, with your kind permission, I wish to discuss the issue of revenues. Conceptually, the revenue streams for the town of Ladyville/Lords Bank would be as listed in the table below. The revenues raised by the Town would be used to meet recurrent expenditures such as salaries, utilities, street cleaning, garbage collection and traffic management. Notably those businesses whose employee base is made up of seventy percent (70%) or more of Ladyville/Lords Bank residents would be exempt from paying trade licenses. The benefits of encouraging businesses to come to Ladyville/Lords Bank would therefore be job creation and domestic spending. A very important feature of the revenue structure of the new town would be its property tax regime which would have two distinct components: a base rate and an infrastructure rate. The base rate would be payable on a square yard basis at the rate of $0.50 per square yard no matter where the land is located or what it is used for. It is my view that the current system of charging according to the “market value” of property is arbitrary and such practice effectively punishes residents for investing in the upliftment of their community.

Greedy UDP lawyer!
I write to warn residents of Caribbean Shores about a UDP crony and attorney known to many as the “Pigtail Boy” who is pretending to have the community’s best interest at heart by encouraging efforts to extend a small park on Seashore Drive into a piece of crown land on the sea front all because someone couldn’t get the land for his private use. This UDP lawyer had recently purchased another property near the once mangrove piece of crown land and may have wanted to secure the crown land in order to allow him to expand plans for a multimillion dollar mansion he allegedly planned to build for his wife. I have been made to understand that when he learned that a resident of Caribbean shores, a first time land owner who is not rich, had already applied to lease the same parcel of crown land, he became upset and went complaining to Belmopan but was rejected out of hand. The Pigtail Boy allegedly began, in what could only be described as rank hypocrisy, to lobby to make the land a part of the park that is beside it. He prepared a caution that was filed on the same parcel of land, in an attempt to block the other person from acquiring the land. These UDPs are a dishonest and greedy bunch. Someone cleared down the mangroves that were on the property without a permit and threw a load of sand that made the land into what could only described as muck in an attempt to make it a part of the park. Well things came to a head last week when the original resident of Caribbean shores who had applied for the land applied to remove the caution that had been placed on it. The UDP attorney is the same little fellow who the UDP has placed on several boards so he could collect perks, typical of a UDP crony. He is the son of the pigtail man and brother to the same one who was part of that KHMH stink, remember? Beware of this man.


Can Ramon’s Village on Ambergris Caye Open in 14 Days & Will There Be A Bar?
On the evening of August 27th, 2013, there was a major fire at Ramon’s Village on Ambergris Caye (see the post below for pictures). One of the island originals…27 years…an iconic hotel, dive shop and beach in San Pedro. Most of the island saw the terrible fire whether they ran to the scene to watch helplessly or the smoke billowing miles away. About 50% of the resort was burned to the ground. The very VERY best news: Everyone made it safely out of the blaze. And other good news followed during the rebuilding process that began almost immediately. Ramon’s and their construction managers (San Pedranos all – Coco Gonzalez, Wayne Alfaro and Armando Graniel) have been employing hundreds and hundreds of skilled and unskilled workers during the “low season” in Belize. Every Friday, the huge crew eats together and last week they served 242. Over 200 people getting paid to work from 6am to sometimes 10pm in October, November and December is a minor miracle in itself. As much as possible, they are using Belizean products. And the result (though currently covered with a bit of saw dust) is gorgeous. There is no question that Ramon’s Village is a resort in San Pedro. There is no faux-Venetian grandeur or Disneyworld McResort same-old sameness, the beautiful palapa, the carvings, the mahogany furniture, the lush gardens all say Belize.

International Sources

Best Caribbean Places To Elope
If your Caribbean wedding fantasy involves extreme seclusion and servants, Cayo Espanto may be your place. It's expensive — nearly US$2,000 a night — but you'd be hard pressed to argue against the value. There are exactly seven private villas ringing the four-acre islet. The villas have mahogany-panelled interiors, luxurious island-style furnishings and your own designated butler. One of the villas, Casa Ventana, is built out over the translucent pale-blue water at the end of a 150-foot dock. The hotel staff will help make arrangements for you to be married on the island, or, if you prefer, make a quick trip to a Maya site on the mainland and get married in the shadow of a 1,000-year-old pyramid. Belize does require an approved licence application (US$100) and you must be in the country for three days before being married. You can apply in advance and get a fax of the approved application before travelling. If you want to get married in an archaeological site, apply to the Commissioner of Archaeology in Belize City by fax at least a week before your planned ceremony.

Review: Time Travel Takes A Siesta At 11:00 AM
Setting aside the barnstorming success of Bong Joon-ho's new feature Snowpiercer, an anomaly if ever there was one, Korean cinema's relationship to the science fiction genre has been a difficult one over the years. A crack team of researchers work in a secret underwater laboratory that appears to be located around the Great Blue Hole, a huge sinkhole off the coast of Belize. A large Russian corporation is backing the scientists, who are on the cusp of developing a time machine. In order to secure more funds, head researcher Woo-seok (Jung Jae-young) goes on a test run with Young-eun (Kim Ok-vin). They succeed in transporting themselves to 11 AM the next day, but what they find is a laboratory in flames and littered with the corpses of their co-workers. Woo-seok goes back to the present and thus begins a race against the clock to prevent what may or may not be their inevitable future.

December 7, 2013


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Specials and Events

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

The San Pedro Sun

National News: European Union Blacklists Belize’s high seas fisheries
Belize has been blacklisted by the European Commission alongside two other countries that are not doing enough to stamp out illegal fishing in their high waters. The announcement was made by the European Commission on November 25th via a letter sent to the European Union (EU). The Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow has indicated that such a move by the EU does not affect local fishermen but it is something that is taken seriously and measures are being taken to address the issue. The European Commission has indicated that they have proposed an EU-wide ban on fisheries imports from Cambodia, Belize and Guinea. According to the release, the three countries are not doing enough to properly address the issue of illegal fishing within their high waters, making it conducive to illegal activities. “Out of the eight countries who received a warning in 2012, only Belize, Cambodia and Guinea have not made credible progress in fulfilling their duties under international law and have failed to improve the situation… The European Commission will also submit a proposal…to place Belize (and the other countries) on the list of non-cooperating countries,” said the memo.

Knowledge for People brings Autism Awareness to San Pedro
Five volunteers from Knowledge for People: Autism Education Around the World (KFP), an autism awareness organization, traveled to Ambergris Caye to educate parents and teachers on the sensitive topic of Autism. Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a complex disorder of the brain development. It can affect as many as one out of every 150 children born, and impairs social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. The volunteer group consisted of four autism specialists, Elizabeth Kleine, Reyna Sigurdson, Maci Spica and Crystal Hansen, along with their media director, Brayden Harp. While in San Pedro, the team visited several preschools and primary schools to assess their capability to cope with an autistic child. The team also provided a workshop on Thursday, November 28th, open to all teachers and parents on ways to interact and develop essential life skills with an autistic child.

Hon. Dean Barrow sends condolences as nation mourns Nelson Mandela
The Office of the Prime Minister is sending an official Note of Condolence to the President, People and Government of South Africa on the death of Nelson Mandela. The Belize Flag will be flown at half-mast from noon today until noon tomorrow, and again on the day of Mandela’s funeral. Prime Minister Dean Barrow has described Mandela as “the last global hero history will ever see.” The Prime Minister says that it is impossible for anything like the trajectory of Mandela’s life to occur again. His towering strength, his unimaginable self-sacrifice, and the way in which he governed post-Apartheid South Africa without recrimination or reprisal, constitute a greatness that will never again be matched. Mandela, the Prime Minister concludes, is not just an inspiration to Black people everywhere, but to all people everywhere.

Dorothy Lee Barnett, missing US National with Belizean connection found after 20 years on the run
A US national with Belizean connections who was presumed missing by her family members and wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been located. Dorothy Lee Barnett now 53 disappeared on April 22, 1994 with her infant daughter Savanna (now 20) leaving no trace behind. Barnett had remained a prime suspect, and was wanted by FBI for parental abduction. Lee Barnett was known by many in Belize, especially in Placencia and on Ambergris Caye after her mother, also named Dorothy Barnett, moved to Belize in the late 1970’s. Before her disappearance, Dorothy Lee Barnett had married Benjamin Harris Todd in 1991. The union gave birth to Savanna in 1993, but the couple had separated over claims of domestic abuse. Her disappearance was not only shocking to those she knew in the US but also to her friends in Belize. At one point she was even being sought by the FBI in Belize.

Ambergris Today

Prime Minister of Belize Sends Official Note of Condolence on the Death of Nelson Mandela
The Office of the Prime Minister is sending an official Note of Condolence to the President, People and Government of South Africa on the death of Nelson Mandela. The Belize Flag will be flown at half-mast from noon today until noon tomorrow, and again on the day of Mandela’s funeral.

San Pedro High School Celebrates Founder's Day
Once again the faculty, staff and students of San Pedro High pulled off another great celebration for Founder’s Day. The celebration took place on Thursday, December 5, 2013, as tradition has it, San Pedro High School is always up for a celebration in commemoration of (now retired) Principal Angel Nuñez every year on December 5. Now that Mr. Nuñez has retired and now only a member of the board of directors of San Pedro High, the school has designated his birthday celebrations as Founder’s Day and have included Mrs. Martha Guerrero and Mrs. Celi McCorkel co-founders of San Pedro High School. The school put up another fabulous celebration for Mr. Angel Nuñez’ Birthday and founders of SPHS. San Pedro High School has come a long way and the students of San Pedro High never fail to impress and show case their talent whether it be in singing, dancing, reciting a poem or playing in the high school band. Happy Birthday Mr. Angel Nuñez and congratulations to the founders of San Pedro High.

Misc Belizean Sources

Cutting the cost of the tuna catch: CFRM states explore Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) as cost-cutting emergent technology
For several years, the Caribbean region has been exploring the use of an emergent technology for increasing catch of deep sea fishes such as tunas at a much lower cost. This technology, dubbed Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD), has already been deployed with limited use in some Caribbean countries, and fisheries authorities are now looking at prospects of their wider use in the region, but conservation and proper management are at the heart of any prospect of success. In order for the Caribbean to derive tangible benefits from the use of FAD, the devices must be properly managed and regulated. The harm that can be done by the unplanned use of the device, and by poor management and regulation, could result in major losses of not just fishery investments—but also of the fishery resources upon which the region depends for employment, food security and nutrition. The CRFM-JICA CARIFICO / WECAFC-IFREMER MAGDELESA Workshop on FAD Fishery Management, to be held next week, will provide a forum for participating countries and agencies to review and share research results and best practices in the construction, use and management of FADs as tools for sustainable development, management and conservation of large pelagic resources in the Caribbean.

Video: Longest zip line in Central America
The longest zip line in Central America is 2,300 feet long and located at Mayflower Bocawina National Forest in Silk Grass on the Southern Highway in Belize. The last line is very fast & very long, lasting over 30 seconds!

VIDEO: Snorkeling Mexico Rocks
This video was shot with the Nikon AW100

Old Master Promo at CWC
The Cayo Welcome Center will be the location for Old Master's rum promotion today. They'll have drink specials all day, and in the evening they'll have a karaoke contest. "It's another Cayo Welcome Center Event!!!! Saturday 7th December- Come showcase your talent and win Best male/female vocalist for the evening! Sponsors: Old Masters Fine Rums makers of Belize Old Fashion Lemonade and the Mayor of San Ignacio and Santa Elena!"

MCHS Fun Day
School is coming to a close for the year, and Mount Carmel High School had their Fun Day to celebrate the break. Enjoy the Christmas holidays!

Cornerstone 80's Splash Down
The Cornerstone Foundation is having their 80's Splash Down today night at JJ's. They'll have great music, strong drinks, a raffle, and a silent auction. It's their Christmas fundraiser, and the proceeds will go towards their feeding program. Thanks, Cornerstone! "Cornerstone Foundation Presents 80's Splash Down! JJ's Bar And Grill (Formerly Capello's) $10 Per Person $15 Couples December 7th 2013 Come And Support A Worthy Cause! All Proceeds Go Towards Cornerstone Foundation Feeding Program. See You There (:"

Living in Placencia, Belize: Paradise Found
When we first started visiting Belize's Placencia peninsula more than two decades ago, small towns here were no more than sleepy fishing villages. The only tourists were serious divers and fishermen. Today, things have changed. Just where is Placencia? It's about a three-and-a-half hour drive south of Belize City. Placencia town lies at the tip of a 16-mile long narrow strip of land known as the Placencia Peninsula. The peninsula, only a half-mile wide at its widest point, offers Caribbean beachfront to the east and a protected lagoon on the western side where manatees are often seen. Everything here is close to the water, and all along the paradisiacal peninsula on either side you'll find restaurants, hotels and small resorts, individual homes, and all those new residential communities.

VIDEO: Blackbird Caye Dive Resort- Arrivals and Departures
We look forward to your arrival, but sad to see you go. Thanks for choosing Blackbird Caye Dive Resort as Your Dive Vacation Destination.

Channel 7

City Hall Can’t Pay BWC; Go Slow Continues
Yesterday, 7News told you about the go-slow initiated by the Belize Waste Control because the Belize City Council owes them for 15 weeks, or almost 4 months of back payment in arrears. That represents just over three-quarter million dollars that the council owes the sanitation company, and the management is saying that they can't operate any more. BWC says that it can no longer expect its creditors to keep them operational when there is no sign that payment will be made from City Council on these arrears which keep climbing. They have dialed back their operation, rotating employees and their garbage trucks to keep their staff employed, and they say that the go-slow is a necessity. Well, what can City Hall do about the mounting bills that it hasn't paid to Waste Control? That's what we asked Mayor Darrell Bradley today, and he told us that basically, the council is broke, and can't meet its debt to BWC until after the tax revenues come in during the first quarter of 2013. Here's how our conversation went with him on the topic:

BWC: We Can’t Continue To Work For Free
So, what does the Management of the Belize Waste Control have to say about City Hall's inability to pay them the money that they earned? Well, that's what we went to find out from the Owner of the company. This afternoon, we spoke to Anthony Griffith, and he told us that Mayor Darrell Bradley has made MANY empty promises that he hasn't kept, and he expects them to continue to work with getting paid. Here's how Griffith explained it: Anthony Griffith, Owner - Belize Waste Control "You tell me after 15 weeks going back from August to December; you can't do anything but a couple payments? You have no intention of doing it. You don't care. Listen, the Mayor have made promises to us over and over again, hasn't kept one. This arrears was back from last year. He was to do a payment plan in January 2013 to catch up from 2012, but he never did. It just keeps getting worse and worse until it reaches this point." "He came here (he didn't talk to me, he talk to my daughter) I think sometime in February - he came here and he was supposed to give a payment plan I think it was a Thursday evening or Friday and 2 payments. The 2 payments came through and also he promised that the Monday he would have 3 more payments for us. We are still waiting for the payment plan; we are still waiting for the payment up to today. Back in January he was supposed to give us a payment plan for going back to 2012 arrears, but he never did. It's not normal business that he's talking that the City Council always owing us. This became a problem when they took over City Council, Zenaida and him. Never had I had this problem for many years with PUP. We got paid on time. We have it with them now, they start this phrase "high season and low season." I've never heard that before."

Mayor Says Eric Chang’s Explanation Inadequate
And while we were waiting for our interview with the mayor, who should we just happen to run into? That's none other than Eric Chang, the councillor who has been missing in action for weeks, while away in Taiwan. As we've reported, his name was called by multiple highly placed sources as the man who brokered the Citizen Kim deal to get Kim Won Hong his bogus passport which got Minister of State Elvin Penner sacked. As we've told you, we've made many interview requests with Chang to give him an opportunity to clear his name, and respond to the allegations, but he has either refused or ignored all of them. Well today, Chang attended a council meeting to ensure that his seat didn't become vacant, and afterwards, we tried to give him yet another opportunity to speak to the allegations. He declined once again, so we spoke with his boss, Mayor Darrell Bradley, who he can't just brush off after weeks being AWOL without communication. Here's what Mayor Bradley told us about their discussion on the passport scandal: Mayor Darrell Bradley "Eric Chang came back to the jurisdiction last week. I think he came back maybe Wednesday and I had a meeting with him I think on Thursday or Friday. We sat down and I wanted to satisfy myself that his unexplained absence from the jurisdiction had nothing to do with his commitment to serve as a elected representative on the Belize City Council and that since his return to the jurisdiction he will follow in terms of what is expected of him as an elected official. I also raised with him in relation of his name being called. I made certain advice in relation in making some sort of statement to assure members of the public, because I still think that it is a major issue; it's a block on the reputation of the government at the central and at the municipal level, but involvement principally with Councilor Chang is to ensure that as a councilor, he discharges his obligation and that he comports himself with the highest level of ethics."

Tyson Rodriguez’s Family Search For Answers In His Death
Sergeant Julio Shal, the second in command at Placencia Police is currently on remand for murder in relation to Tyson Rodriguez's death, and while police conduct 2 investigations into the matter, his family is also doing their independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death. That's because as we've told you, Shal and the 2 officers who were with him on the Friday night of November 22, when Rodriguez died, told their bosses that when he supposedly drowned, they didn't see, because he escaped from a moving truck with his hands cuffed behind his back and ran into a bushy area. The post mortem, as we've shown you, says that he died from sand inhalation of sand and he suffered abuse sometime before his death. An eyewitness has brought written testimony which complete refutes the officers' claims and it implicates Shal only. Well, on Wednesday, Hilda Rodriguez, Tyson's mother, went with her attorney, Audrey Matura to the location where he met his end, and they told the media that more information in the police officers' statement simply does not add up: Hilda Rodriguez, Mother of Tyson Rodriguez "We are trying to trace the last steps of Tyson Rodriguez's life. This is where he probably drew his last breath and I just wanted to say that on behalf of myself and my family if he wrongs anyone in anyway, I deeply apologized. That was not the way I raised him. I would have never wanted him to hurt anyone. At the same time his life was taken and so we are here trying to search fro the truth and find justice."

Tarrell Still Battling...
We've featured 8 year-old Tarrell Sutherland in our newscast quite a few times. He's the young man who suffers from a rare skin disorder, known as Icthyosis. He's been to the US and back, and his skin keeps breaking out in infections, no matter what sort of medical interventions his family arranges to be made and he gets a temporary reprieve, but then it starts to break out with infections once again. Today, his mother came to our studio to give us an update on their difficulties in battling the skin disease. Here's what she told us: When Tarrell's skin cleared up, he was in the US receiving treatment, and his mother believes that the temperature played a big role in that.

PM/Opposition Leader Salute Mandela
95 Year-old Nelson Mandela, the South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist, died yesterday, and both the Government of Belize and the Opposition Party, noted his passing today. A press release from the office of the Prime Minister says that the Government of Belize sends an official note of Condolence to the President, People and Government of South Africa on the death of Nelson Mandela. The Belize flag was flown at half-mast from noon today, and it will continue until noon tomorrow, the day of Mandela's funeral. Prime Minister Barrow says that Mandela is "the last global hero history will ever see." Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca agreed with him saying quote," Nelson Mandela is unquestionably one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known…" End quote. Mandela served as the present of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

The Rugged Beauty Of The Mahindra
The 2013 auto show is being held this weekend in Belize City. But unless you've got a very special Santa, most visitors will only get to see and maybe test drive the new 2014 rides. We thought we'd use the opportunity to take a spin in a vehicle that's been intriguing us. It's the Mahindra; it's not the prettiest or most plush pickup on the market - not by a long shot, but it is catching on as a truck not only used by the police. We went to Belmopan to find out why:.. The Mahindra and many other brands of vehicles from all the major dealers will be on display tomorrow at the auto show which will be held on the Bowen and Bowen green near the Hour Bar and Grill.

Lerroy Sherrier Is Back!
When Former National Football Head Coach Leroy Sherrier-Lewis left the Jaguars months before the their first ever Gold Cup appearance, we thought we'd seen the last of him. Well, he's back in Belize and he's going to coach once again. He's arrived in the country on Tuesday and he's been training the Belmopan Bandits all week for their match tomorrow in the Belikin Cup Premier League. The Bandits are an all-start football team, but in the tournament, they've won 3 matches, lost 3, and they've drawn one, placing them 4th in the current standings. Lewis is acting as the Head Coach of the Bandits. He's widely regarded as the coach, who's skills navigated Belize's Jaguars through the Nations Cup, to make history for the country and qualify for the Gold Cup. He's departure was considered very abrupt.

The Torch Run Of the Special Olympics
Today, the 2013 Nationals for the Special Olympics were held at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex. It is an opportunity for Belizean youths living with disabilities to show off their other impressive abilities and become sporting icons. And Special Olympics has the support of the entire National Security Ministry of Belize. That's what we found out as all the law enforcement agencies ended a 5-day torch bearing run all the way from Punta Gorda to Belize. Daniel Ortiz was out at the entrance of the city when the officers jogged in, proud of their contribution: Daniel Ortiz reporting This morning at 5 a.m., the Torch for the Special Olympics left Ladyville on its way to Belize City, 9 miles of running where the bearers carried it at different intervals. The run was a collaborative effort to get it this far. It travelled all the way from Punta Gorda, where the 5 Law enforcement agencies in the country, those being Police, Coast Guard, BDF, Customs, and Immigration, all worked together to get it to its end point.

The 2013 Special Olympics
But, as we told you, that is just part of the opening ceremony. What actually happened in the tournament? That's what we tried to find out from the Chairman of the Special Olympics Belize, who was thankful to everyone for making the torch run a success: Alan Auil, Chairman - Special Olympics Belize "It's very difficult. We do this once a every year, we have this national games. A part from this event we do have smaller events in the districts and in the north and the south region and in the Belize District area. For once a year we host national games where we bring everybody in. It's not only difficult to plan but it's also quite expensive and so we do rely on contributions from the private and the public sector. The office of the Prime Minister was kind enough to grant us $12,000, but we got other sponsorship as well. We had people leaving PG this morning as early as 4am to make it here today and from Corozal at 5am." "At the end of the games they have to get in the bus and head back home, so you can imagine what a difficult day it is for them. We've done a lot of planning but for the athletes, they are really dedicated to this and they have put in a lot of hard work and will endure a very hard day when it's done."

Gwen Liz High Raising Funds For Their Basketball Court
Since this morning, the Gwen Lizarraga High School has been holding a fund raising event to try to upgrade their basketball court, and they are hoping that the public will support them. It's called the Gwen Lizarraga Christmas Bazaar, and the principal explained why they need your help: Right now, the Bazaar is still continuing, and the faculty, staff and student body are hoping that you will still come out and support them. It ends at midnight tonight, and it's the first in a number of fund raising events to come, which they hope the public will support to raise that $90,000 for their basketball court.

Channel 5

Immigration investigation ongoing for at least two months
The intensive and wide-ranging multiple investigations into corruption at the Immigration Department have allegedly been ongoing for at least two months now. We say allegedly because there is no real [...]

Chang attends his first City Council meeting since returning to the jewel
Former Deputy Mayor Eric Chang was thrown into the mix of the immigration scandal involving the illegal sale of a Belizean passport to imprisoned South Korean businessman Won Hong Kim. [...]

Police officer chopped in the head
A woman police officer is in critical condition tonight at the Northern Regional Hosptial. WPC Marilyn Pate accompanied personnel of the Human Development Department to the house of Oscar Perez [...]

Political leaders of Belize pays tribute to Nelson Mandela
Around the world, there has been an outpouring of emotions following the death of Nelson Mandela. Leaders all over have been paying tribute to the larger-than-life icon whose struggle against [...]

Another look at Elvin Penner
Almost three months ago, news surfaced that UDP Minister of State Elvin Penner had facilitated nationality status and a Belizean passport for Wonhong Kim. Kim had never set foot in [...]

City Council makes double payment to Belize Waste Control
Garbage woes…Around the city, garbage is piling up as city hall and Belize Waste Control remain at odds. BWC cut down on garbage collections this week when City Hall again [...]

Former mayor says she hopes bills are settled soon with BWC and BML
While garbage woes continue to clutter City Hall and sanitation workers contemplate a very dismal Christmas, as we told you City Hall has made a payment of one hundred thousand [...]

Over three hundred and fifty thousand dollars embezzled from the Southern Regional Hosptial
An investigation into alleged embezzlement of funds at the Southern Regional Hospital which has been ongoing since July 2013 is expected to be completed soon. Hospital Administrator Nasley Sommerville has [...]

Luis Romero pleads guilty to burglary
He initially pleaded not guilty to burglarizing the home of Traffic Officer, Kevaughn Jenkins, in January of this year, but on Tuesday of this week, forty-eight year-old Luis Romero thought twice before [...]

Police Precinct One receives two new motorcycles from the business community
There is always a spike in amount of robberies during this time of the year. Throughout the city, particularly in downtown Albert and Regent Streets, thieves behave more brazen prompting [...]

Rock concert to celebrate Legacy Rock Band 10th Anniversary
A mega rock concert will be held this weekend in Orange Walk Town. It’s a celebration of the tenth anniversary of Legacy Rock Band in Sugar City. While the original [...]

Talented young editors make light of immigration scandal
The immigration scandal involving the issuance of an illegal passport to a South Korean criminal opened a pandora’s box. Soon after, it came to light that numerous government ministers have [...]


Nelson Mandela Passes Away
South Africa's first black president and anti-apartheid or Boycott Movement icon Nelson Mandela has died, South Africa's president says. Mandela who was 95 years old, led South Africa's transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison. He had been receiving intense home-based medical care for a lung infection after three months in hospital. In a statement on South African national TV, Jacob Zuma said Mr Mandela had "departed" and was at peace. Mandela will receive a full state funeral, and flags would be flown at half-mast. Mandela had rarely been seen in public since officially retiring in 2004. He made his last public appearance in 2010, at the football World Cup in South Africa.

Celebrating Belize's Diverse Cultures
Our country Belize is a country filled with a diversity of ethnic groups. Mestizos, Garifunas, East Indians, Arabs, and Asians just to mention a few. Each ethnic group has its own beliefs, religion and even eclectic cuisine. With that in mind today at the Belize Adventist College campus, these melting pot of cultures were celebrated and highlighted by students on their cultural day. Armando Correa, acting Principal, says the objective of today’s cultural day is to educate the students of the different cultures that make up our Country. Armando Correa – Acting Principal BAC “Today we are having our cultural day, usually it is one cultural day one year and the other year we have open day, so this is the year for the cultural day where all the ethnics groups will be represented from the Chinese, the Mennonites, the Mestizo, Creoles, Garifuna and you can name all the ethnic groups.”


VIP Weighs in on Anti-Corruption Day 2013
Next Monday will be observed as World Anti-Corruption Day and in tandem with that, the Vision Inspired by the People, VIP, has been planning a series of activities. One of them is a press conference at which they plan to have Attorney at Law and Activist, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, as a keynote speaker. In attendance will be representatives from the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Belize Council of Churches and the Evangelical Association and the National Trade Union Congress of Belize. ROBERT LOPEZ “We are mostly talking about public corruption; in other words, the use of public office for public gain. We have been seeing the occurrence of hustling of the passport and the visas and we hear of the hot bed of corruption in the lands department and everything that’s taking place. So, yes but also corruption affects every single person in this country in some way; it increases the cost of living; there is also the issue of contraband, we see deteriorating infrastructure and we know that contracts are given out to people who really don’t know how to build a road.

Mayor Bradley Urges Eric Chang Responds to Questions From Media
Eric Chang, the Belize City Councilor who stayed away from the country for longer than two months in Taiwan, today attended his first Councilors caucus since returning to Belize. This followed a meeting he had with Mayor Darrell Bradley that hovered over Chang’s long absence from his desk as well as his alleged involvement in the recent passport scam, in which he was accused of being the messenger of a fraudulent Belize passport issued to jailed South Korean, Won Hong Kim. But even after returning and denying to Bradley his involvement in the scam, Chang has offered no satisfactory explanation for his protracted visit to Asia. Love News spoke this evening with Bradley and discovered that Chang seems to have settled right back in the fold of things with no explanation. Darrell Bradley “I wanted to hear from him that he was committed 100% to continue in office in the Belize City Council. We raised some of the issues in allegations with immigration; he assured me that he had nothing to do with those matters. Of course that is the subject of investigations; I am not the DPP and the Police. I trust that those things will be thoroughly investigated and whoever is involved is properly made to account. My focus is to make sure that the city council runs in a way which I could be satisfied and the public will be satisfied.

Special Day for Special Children in Belize
The National Special Olympics Games were held today and had participation of athletes from all six districts. Reporter Linette Canto and videographer Brian Castillo filed the following Report. LINETTE CANTO REPORTING “An exceptional group of athletes from all over the country converged on the Marion Jones Complex this morning to take part in the National Special Olympics Games. These games are designed to give people with mental and physical disabilities, a chance to develop competitive skills as well as enhance their level of physical fitness. The event started off on a heartwarming note as the special Olympic torch made its way through the principal streets of Belize City into the Marion Jones Stadium escorted by members of the Law Enforcement torch Run Committee. According to Alan Auil, Chairman of Special Olympics Belize, helps in the fight against discrimination.” ALAN AUIL “Well Special Olympics really is a movement to promote awareness of persons with intellectual disabilities; to end discrimination, to bring them involved in sporting activities because through sports they can get fit and healthy but also it gives them the courage to be a part of society and the community. It gives them a confidence, it boosts their moral and it shows the entire community that persons with disabilities are our equal and are part of the larger society.”

Volunteer Encounter with Belize Red Cross
The Patron of the Belize Red Cross Society, the Governor General of Belize, His Excellency Sir Colville Young shall address an estimated one hundred and fifty delegates from seven Red Cross branches at a weekend Volunteer Encounter. The two day event officially opens tomorrow morning at the Campus of the Youth with a Mission Facility in Roaring Creek, in the Cayo District. The Encounter also coincides with the observation of International Volunteer Day yesterday and the Deputy Director General of the Belize Red Cross Malenie Barnes told us the importance of volunteering. MALENIE BURNS “This is the first time we are actually doing a two day event but annually we usually have just a short recognition ceremony where we recognize the volunteers and it’s an opportunity for them to come from all over the country just for this one recognition so that we can show our appreciation but we are changing it up a little bit this year. We are trying to make it a little bit more fun. We have two days where we are focusing the first day on having some fun activities and allowing them time to interact with each other and then we have the award ceremony on the second day.”

Belize Extends Sympathy to South Africa
At the age of ninety five, one of the world’s most beloved statesmen of the 20th century-Nelson Mandela passed away yesterday. This morning the Office of the Prime Minister issued a release in which its sends an official Note of Condolence to the President, People and Government of South Africa on the death of Mandela. The Belize Flag will be flown at half-mast from noon today until noon tomorrow, and again on the day of Mandela’s funeral. Prime Minister Dean Barrow has described Mandela as “the last global hero history will ever see.” The Prime Minister says that it is impossible for anything like the trajectory of Mandela’s life to occur again. His towering strength, his unimaginable self-sacrifice, and the way in which he governed post-Apartheid South Africa without recrimination or reprisal, constitute a greatness that will never again be matched. Mandela, the Prime Minister concludes, is not just an inspiration to Black people everywhere, but to all people everywhere. Mandela is described as a freedom fighter, prisoner, moral compass and South Africa’s symbol of the struggle against racial oppression.


Phone Top-up Agent Zoila Elizabeth Garcia Cowardly Assasinated in Las Flores
A family in the Las Flores area of Belmopan is tonight desperately seeking answers in the senseless killing of their loved one. 29 year old Zoila Elizabeth Garcia, a well-known and much liked Phone Top Up Agent was gunned down near the Marla’s House of Hope Children’s home, about...

Investigations on Tyson Rodriguez’s Murder Reveal More Truths
The police had reported that on November 22nd a Canadian couple living in Placencia reported to them that they were assaulted and robbed by a group of individuals. Tyson Rodriguez, who was identified as one of the assailants, was then detained in Corozal and transported to authorities in Placencia....

Devastated Relatives of Knocked Down Septuagenarian Speak up
Last night, we reported on a road accident that claimed the life of 75 year old Gregory Leon Lopez. Shortly before 6 o’clock on Wednesday evening, Lopez was riding his bicycle from Ladyville to Belize City, on Phillip Goldson Highway when he was knocked down by a white Dodge...

Septuagenarian Dies on the Spot When Hit by Vehicle
The second accident happened about an hour later after Little Jaheem’s tragedy had happened. At Mile 6 on the Phillip Goldson Highway, Police discovered the body of 75 year old Gregory Leon Lopez, a resident of Belize City, on the right shoulder of the road. Besides him was a...

Chang is Back, but, Does He Hang to Follow the Track?
Former Deputy Mayor of Belize City, Eric Chang, has had his share of blame in the unlawful procurement of a Belizean passport to South Korean jailbird Kim Won-Hong. While past Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration, Elvin Penner is fingered to be the architect behind the scheme, Chang...

Traffic Tragedy Leaves One Pre Schooler Injured, the other Dead
Last night we reported on two fatal road accidents. The first accident occurred shortly before 4:30 and claimed the life of three year old Jahston Terry and injured his nine year old brother Jaheem Terry. Jahston and Jaheem were waiting for a bus in front of a Belizean Chinese...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Ocean Academy PTA would like you to encourage your guests to support their fundraiser
Dear Caye Caulker Business Owners, Ocean Academy PTA would greatly appreciate your support by inviting your guests to an important fundraising event next Saturday, December 7th. Experience Caye Caulker Culture and Support Local Education What: Lobster Dinner Banquet during Ocean Academy High School’s Christmas Extravaganza Talent Show Date: December 7, 2013 Time: Show begins at 7PM. Dinner is served at 7:30PM Fundraiser for: Scholarships for students who would not otherwise be able to attend high school (school is not free in Belize) Cost: $50 USD for Sponsorship. Each Sponsorship receives one lobster dinner as a gift. Hosted by: Ocean Academy Parent-Teacher Association and Students.

OASI open new bar
OASI Apartment Rentals located near the airstrip is getting ready to open a bar. Grand Opening of IL BARETTO is this Saturday, December 7th.

Reminder to all Liquor License Holders
*Reminder to all Liquor License Holders* Deadline for new and renewal of applications for 2014 is Dec 31st 2013. Please pick up liquor license application forms at the CCVC office. Thank You


When they saw the dead child, 4, the crowd was so enraged that they wanted to kill the driver and burn the van and his house; driver charged with manslaughter. The Terry family of Hattieville is devastated, mourning the sudden death of their son, Jahston, 4, a preschooler attending the Building Block Preschool, and is also praying for the recovery of their elder son, Jaheem, 10, a student of St. Ignatius Primary School who is presently recovering at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital from a broken left ankle. Yesterday evening at about 4:30, the two brothers were slammed by a passenger van that drove onto the sidewalk where the two children were walking in front of Belizean Chinese Restaurant in front of the BTL Constitution Park on Cemetery Road in Belize City. The younger brother died. The driver of the van, Hubert Anthony Martinez, 36, a Belize Defence Force civilian driver of Perez Road in Ladyville, was remanded to the Hattieville Prison this evening after he was denied bail by Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart.

Justin West is believed to have absconded to USA. Late Friday evening, even after the court clerks had left for the day, Justin LaCroix, 24, an accountant, and Brian Myvett, 33, a computer technician, were charged with forgery, claiming upon a forged document and handling stolen goods, to a total value of $186,526.65. The reason the duo had been arraigned so late was due to the amount of charges they each faced: LaCroix was charged with a total of 84 counts, while Myvett was charged with a total of 24 counts, which took the clerks all day to enter into their system. LaCroix, Myvett and Justin West, for whom police have put out a wanted notice, are believed to be the individuals behind a tangled web of deception and thievery from the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina. According to police, the CEO of the hotel reported that he noticed a rise in costs for their food and beverage department in their monthly financial statements during the months of January 2013 to September 2013. The CEO then ordered that an internal audit be done, and at the conclusion of that audit, it was discovered that 60 Belize Bank cheques had been generated by their payable accounts department.

A police officer has been charged with murder in connection with the death of 27-year-old Tyson Rodriguez, a prisoner who had been in police custody and who, a post-mortem of his body revealed, died under brutal circumstances that differed from the type of death the officers in whose custody he had been, claimed that he suffered. Sergeant Julio Shal, 41, of the Placencia Police Station, was taken to the Dangriga Magistrate’s Court today, Wednesday, and arraigned on a charge of murder. He was then remanded to the Belize Central Prison until March 13 next year, when he will return to court. The criminal charge against Shal came at the conclusion of an internal police investigation carried out by the Professional Standards Branch of the Police Department, prompted by lingering questions about the circumstances under which Rodriguez died on Friday, November 22, 2013, at about 10:30 p.m.

The gunman left her money – $3,700 – and cell phone. The senseless murder of a popular female businesswoman has left residents of the capital city, Belmopan, in dismay. At this point, there are still a lot of questions surrounding the gruesome killing of a 29-year-old female resident of the Las Flores area in Belmopan who was apparently shot in the head mercilessly sometime last night in the Hillview area of Las Flores. Police reports are that around 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 3, they visited the Hillview area in Las Flores near Marla’s House of Hope Children’s Home, where they discovered the body of Zoila Elizabeth Garcia, 29, a Belizean of #9 Orquidia Street in the Las Flores area, with an apparent head injury. Amandala understands that Garcia was a well-known BTL and SMART phone Top Up agent. Her family members believe that sometime before 8:00 last night, she was going to deposit her earnings with her boss, and that’s when someone probably ambushed her, cold-bloodedly shot her in the head and left her on the street.

Tonight, the world is mourning the loss of a great hero and icon, former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Mandela passed away sometime this evening due to complications from a recurring lung infection. It is notable that Mandela spent a sizeable part of his life incarcerated in a South African prison, yet retained a mass appeal that few world leaders could ever hope to match. One of the world’s most recognizable fighters against inequality and oppression, he spent 27 years in prison for his active opposition to South Africa’s racist apartheid regime. He went on to become the country’s first black and democratic president in 1994, a position from which he voluntarily resigned after just one term in office. The death of a man whose life had at many points been tumultuous, came rather quietly in his home in Johannesburg, South Africa, today at the age of 95. Released from prison in 1990, he went on to play a pivotal role in heralding multi-racial democracy in his home country of South Africa. After his presidency, he did not immediately withdraw to the shadows, but instead became South Africa’s highest profile ambassador, campaigning against the spread of HIV/AIDS and assisting his country to secure the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Many can only see how they look on the outside – but those who truly love them, behold who they are within. The differently-abled—not exactly disabled—exist almost invisibly within a community which seems too busy to care. However, organizers of Disability Week 2013 in Belize had hoped that those around them would take a pause during these seven days to take notice – and even if by a minute gesture, help break down barriers and open the doors needed to realize a more inclusive society. That is the essence of this year’s theme: “Break barriers, open doors; for an inclusive society for all.” The alienation of the differently-abled was evidenced by the scant turnout at the Open Day held by Stella Maris School in Wednesday, December 4. Seven schools from the immediate surroundings were invited. Only one showed up.

Semifinals completed, Finals begin today in CSSSA basketball The top 4 female teams were determined from last week Thursday, and the top 4 males were identified after regular season games on Friday and Monday of this week in the Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) high schools basketball tournament. On Friday, November 29, (M) Wesley defeated Ladyville Tech, 45-22; (M) SJC crushed Gwen Liz High, 67-55; and (M) ACC beat Sadie Vernon Tech, 54-42. Then on Monday of this week, (M) ACC beat Gwen Liz High, 65-52. With those results, the 4 male semi-finalists were decided, and so the remaining regular season back matches were aborted. The first female knockout semi-final was played on Monday, December 2, (before the male game), where (F) Gwen Liz High won a nail-biter, 29-28, over Ladyville Tech.

Back from the U.S. on one of his regular visits back home is Dangriga native Clifford Moss, who says he is on a two-week working visit with the Dangriga Youth Football Academy (DYFA), of which he is one of the founding members. We chatted with Cliff under the coconut tree “back a di zinc fence.” Cliff says he left Belize at 14 years of age, after spending a year at the Ecumenical High School in Dangriga. He attended the Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, then joined the U.S. Military in 1984, from which he retired in 2005. He then took up employment as a civilian worker at the Naval Weapons Station in Falbrook, CA., from 2006 to the present. Cliff is the son of Mr. Alvin Moss and Mrs. Ethlin Moss nee Sabio, both of Dangriga, and has three brothers and four sisters. As is typical of many Belizean families, one brother still resides in Dangriga, one is in L.A., and the other is presently in Japan; all four sisters reside in L.A. Cliff is married to his wife of twenty-five years, Germaine Moss nee Flores, whom he met in L.A. She is also originally from Dangriga. (Her brother is the present owner of the P.G. Sports Bar in Toledo.) They have 2 children, a 22-year-old daughter, Courtney, and an 18-year-old son, Cliff, Jr.

The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) Open Inter-District Tournament 2013 had Week 2 games over the weekend, with 2 games each in the 4 zones of the competition. ZONE 1 – On Saturday, November 30, at the Toledo Union Field, PG Police FC drew, 2-2, with Mavericks FC. Amir Colt (25’) and Ardel Avila (33’) scored for Police, while Andy Logan (30’ & 64’) got both goals for Mavericks. And on Sunday, December 1, at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium, it was the Burgess connection in effect, as M&M Steelers clipped GB United, 3-2, with a goal each from Rollin Burgess (26’), Dion Burgess (78’) and Brent Burgess (80’); while GB United goals were by Wilmer Garcia (28’ PK) and Victor Morales (90’). ZONE 2 – On Saturday at the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga, it was Green Gold FC and Hope Creek FC playing to a 2-2 stalemate. Michael Cho struck twice (9’ & 34’) for Green Gold, while Lionel Cabral replied each time (25’ & 60’) for Hope Creek. And on Sunday at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, Roaring Creek FC burned San Martin FC, 1-nil, on a goal by Kenny Williams (32’).

Here is an update on the recent boxing event which was held at the Hour Bar on Princess Margaret Drive in Belize City on Saturday, November 30. The preliminary bouts were fiery, with young Belizeans showcasing their potential in the first 4 matches which featured Belizeans vs Belizeans, with boxers from Leopold Smart’s Boxing Club in Belize City, Lion’s Den Club in Cayo under Mr. Frank Martinez, and Lions Den Club in Ladyville under Mr. Clinton Tucker; while Belizean boxers squared off against Mexican opponents in the last 6 bouts. Belizeans only 1. The opening bout saw Jace Acosta (Cayo) vs Kendis Gentle (Smart), with Kendis Gentle victorious, both in the 32 kg weight class. 2. Next was Carlos Silvero (Cayo) vs Mark Avilez (Smart), with Carlos Silvero victorious, both in the 35 kg class. 3. Elijah Pinkard (Smart) vs Max Silvero (Cayo) in the 60 kg class, with Max Silvero winning.

The nationalist, anti-colonial People’s United Party (PUP) began in September of 1950 in Belize City, the then capital city, and spread, most importantly, north, and west and south. We say the PUP’s spread to the north was most important, because the citizens of the Belizean north would prove to be the most serious, militant, organized, and hard-working of the Belizean revolution. When the PUP began in 1950, Belize City featured one third of the population of British Honduras, and all the banking, media, secondary education, and public services were based in the capital city. Only Belize City had electricity and telephones and any real medical services. There was no way you could start a national political party in those days if you did not start it in Belize City. Now the settlement of Belize, which had become British Honduras in 1862, had essentially begun on the delta of the Haulover Creek of the Belize Old River when pirates, taking refuge inside the Barrier Reef from those who hunted them, began to rest, fish, gather fresh water, and repair their vessels inside what we now know as the Belize City harbor. In the beginning, the banks of the Haulover Creek were all mangrove swamp. Little by little, the visitors began to cut down the swamps, fill the land, and build housing.

Ah, modern technology, it’s stunning, amazing. Early Sunday morning last, as is my wont, I wrote my publisher’s column. It was typed by Odessa on Monday morning and appeared in the mid-week issue of Amandala which hit the streets of Belize City in the pre-dawn of Tuesday, December 3, 2013. Around 9 a.m. the same Tuesday, the online edition of our newspaper became available on the Amandala website all over planet earth. By Tuesday night (10:09 p.m.) Dr. Dennis Young, a world traveler who may be any part of the globe at any given instant, had made contact with me through e-mail. At such an “ungodly” hour, I am almost always in my bed sleeping. So that, it was only when I woke around 4 a.m. to begin writing my weekend column, that I searched my mail. Dr. Young had sent me a video aired on Boston television in 1974. That’s 44 WGBX-Boston (Public Access Channel). The video featured “The Web,” a famous Belize American musical combo based in New York City at the time, and the poet Branston Clarke. Dr. Young was the host and mediator. It seems that the session may have been videotaped at Bird’s Isle in Belize City, but I’m not sure. Among the Web musicians I identified were the saxophonist Dougie Thompson, who now owns and operates the Black Orchid Resort in Burrell Boom, and the great vocalist Anthony Richards. The keyboard player had a huge Afro, as did most of the people on the video, except for Branston, and the chances are it was Jeffrey Adolphus. Not sure.

Chaplain tells Amandala he was fired because he “caused trouble” over inhumane condition of prisoners Kolbe Foundation, manager of the Belize Central Prison, has terminated its Chaplain, who they allege was going outside the ambit of his role by raising contention over denominational issues. However, the former worker, Chaplain Andrew Reynolds, told Amandala Wednesday morning that he was fired because he kept pressing management to address the inhumane conditions in which inmates were being kept. Reynolds said that he has been brought to tears over what he has seen, and he wrote Kolbe’s management – to no avail. Instead, Reynolds said, what he later got was a termination letter, telling him that his services were no longer needed. After conducting an investigation commissioned by Labour Minister Godwin Hulse, Labour Commissioner Ivan Williams disclosed that 33 workers were let go by Kolbe during the first six months of 2013—a high rate of almost 6 workers every month, resulting in a 12.3% reduction in staff.

The case of ex-Belize Water Services workers who were fired in February on the claim that they were made redundant in the restructuring of the Government-owned utility will proceed to hearing, after the company made it clear in the courtroom of Supreme Court Justice Courtenay Abel last Friday that they would not venture into a settlement with the former workers. The ex-workers—who include former executives of the Belize Water Services Workers Union (BWSWU)—say that they will not back down from their persistent claim that they deserve compensation for wrongful termination, and they told us today that they are in it for the long haul, even if that means that the matter will need to go before the Caribbean Court of Justice for a final decision. Earlier this year, Mayan King, a banana enterprise in Belize, had to pay 6 of its former workers one month’s wages plus the sum of $15,000 after the company fired them in the midst of a move to get banana workers unionized. That effort, evidently, fell flat on the ground, after what union activists called union busting.

Since Christmas is now just 22 days away, crimes like robbery and theft are expected to be on the rise in crowded areas such as downtown Belize City, which is normally abuzz with the usual hustle and bustle of unsuspecting shoppers. The joyous season of cheer and goodwill can very quickly turn unsettling and fearsome if buyers become victims of opportunistic robbers and lurkers, who are known to be on the prowl this time of year. In an effort to thwart such incidents, the Belize City police are trying to do their part to keep people safe and protect patrons who traverse the downtown area. Today, Amandala spoke with Precinct 1 Commander, Supt. Alden Dawson, who told us that police have stepped up their downtown patrols since the middle of last month. Dawson said, “As routine, from since November 15th, we have commenced extra patrols on the downtown shopping area and the bus terminal area, including the area by the water taxis – all those areas we have been patrolling since the abovementioned date using extra patrols. This is done by our staff personnel who normally work from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but now they come back at 6:00 p.m. and work again until 10:00 p.m. What we are going to do later this month is to get some additional foot patrols using recruits who are presently in training. They will come out and render some assistance to our other officers.”

Last week at a press conference the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean O. Barrow, moved the goal post when he said for him to be convinced that Minister of State, Hon. Edmund Castro, in any way acted improperly he would have to see that it is not just 20 visa recommendations he signed, but 100 or more. “The fact that he wrote letters of recommendation, on the face of it, is absolutely in order. You quoted what I said, well, 20+ visas don’t put him in that Ali Baba category at all.” Nov. 27, 2013 Dean Barrow This changing of the goal post is just an indication in this country that this is how our people think when it comes to how we are to operate within the law. So the crime is not did Castro make recommendations … it is, was he paid or bribed to make such recommendations, contrary to the law. Were the things he stated in making the recommendations true and did he really know the people he was recommending? Once the recommendations showed a pattern and frequency, then I would believe there is reason for concern and even query. But the PM, who remains in office by a meager majority, must defend Castro’s every act, so as not to destabilize his government and suffer the wrath of those eating at the trough of pork-‘n-barrelism.

Dr. Peter Allen, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health, told journalists today that the Office of the Auditor General, Dangriga police and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) are working on an investigation into a report of substantial embezzlement of funds for the National Health Insurance Scheme at the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga. Allen confirmed today that, "It’s over $350,000" which has apparently gone missing. The CEO said that the hospital administrator, Ms. Nasley Sommerville, is on suspension pending the results of the investigation. Allen said that Sommerville, who he understands is still in Dangriga, has declared her innocence and is concerned that her name has been called in relation to the alleged embezzlement. She has indicated that the Ministry of Health may be sued as a result, Allen told the press. The Health CEO, who said he had just met last week with the Audit team for an update, informed the media of the status of ongoing police investigations:

Student, 12, died from head trauma, not tetanus shot
The officials of the Health Department are now “out of the woods” – so to speak – since the results of a postmortem on the body of Sabrina Almendarez, 12, who was found dead by her father last Friday morning, November 29, have freed them from responsibility for her death, since they seemingly disprove the Almendarez’s family’s initial suspicions about what killed her. As we shared with our readers earlier this week, while the family did not know for certain, they had suspicions that Sabrina’s death might have been caused by a tetanus shot which she received from health officials at her school in Independence as part of an ongoing Ministry of Health program. Yesterday, however, the results of the post-mortem confirmed a different and unforeseen cause of death. It determined that she died from a sports injury, not a tetanus shot. Pathologist Dr. Hugh Sanchez found that there was “blunt trauma to the right forehead” as a consequence of a sports injury. The death certificate explained that she died of broncho-aspiration and noted cerebral edema and cerebral hemorrhage as complications which led to her death.

Coast Guard apologizes to San Pedro Sun’s reporter
Rear Admiral Johnny Borland, Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard, extended an apology to senior reporter of the San Pedro Sun newspaper, Jorge Aldana, after he reported of intimidation by members of the Coast Guard in San Pedro on Saturday, November 16. The apology was made by Commandant Borland on Friday in San Pedro. Aldana told Amandala that he accepted the apology from the Coast Guard, and considers the matter closed. The apology came after an investigation was carried out by the Coast Guard, the police, and the editor of the San Pedro Sun. Aldana reported that he was made to lie down on the ground by members of the Coast Guard, and a gun was placed at the back of his head; his camera was taken and the photos he had taken were deleted from his cameras, and also from his cell phones. The Coast Guard agreed that his camera was taken away and they deleted the pictures of Coast Guard officers on the camera, but said that it was done for operational security purposes. The camera was then returned to him.

Accident on George Price Highway claims life
One person died and seven were injured in a tragic road collision between a Ford Explorer and a Mitsubishi pickup truck that occurred between Miles 46 and 47 on the George Price Highway at about 5:30 on Thursday. The Explorer was traveling to Belize City, and the pickup was travelling to Belmopan, in the opposite direction. The collision resulted in the death of Ephraim Cowo, 42, of Camalote, Cayo District, a career Government employee. He died due to massive head and body injuries. Reports are that there was a large crater on the road, and one of the drivers tried to avoid the hole, causing him to drift to the other side of the road, which had traffic coming from the opposite direction.

The family of Marvin Phillips is worried after he left home at about 7:00 Friday morning to go to school, but did not attend school that Friday and to date has not returned home. Mark Philips, Sr., of Camalote, Cayo District, told police that his twin sons, Mark and Marvin Phillips, 14, left home to catch the school bus to go to school. He then left for work, but upon returning at 7:00 that evening from work, only one of the twins was at home, Mark. When questioned about Marvin, Mark told his father that he did not know where he was. The father called the principal of the school, who told him that Marvin did not attend classes that Friday.

The management and staff of the King’s Children Home of Unity Boulevard, Belmopan, are very worried because a girl who lives at the home has been missing since 9:45 Sunday morning. Irene Buddan, a cook at King’s Children Home, reported that about 9:45 Sunday morning, Romelia Limas, 16, left the home with another young girl to attend church at the George Price Center. About 1:00 that same Sunday afternoon, the young girl who had accompanied Limas returned to the home alone, and said that after the church service concluded, checks were made in the bathroom and in the church and surrounding area, but Romelia was nowhere to be seen. Up to the time the report was made, Romelia still had not returned to the home, and her whereabouts remain unknown.

Armando Valladarez, 53, a resident of Santa Martha in the Orange Walk District, is dead after he was blasted by a shotgun he was carrying on his bicycle, which fell and discharged, the pellets hitting him in the chest. The death has been attributed to “negligent discharge due to error of drills,” and police have declared his death an accidental one. Valladarez reportedly fell off his bicycle because of the terrible condition of the road he was on, and it was the overturning of his bicycle, and the consequent dropping of the gun, that led to the fatal accident. The incident occurred about 8:00 Friday morning while Valladarez was on a hunting tour about 10 miles north of Santa Martha. Valladarez’s partner, who was with him, alerted people in the area, who called police, who found him lying face-up with gunshot wounds to the upper part of the chest. He was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.


Cayo bound, Blood Drive and San Pedro Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
When I last left you tacoboy and I were on our way out the door for a second acupuncture treatment. It was as good as the first and it knocked both of us out big time, that was such a which is a good thing I needed the extra rest before this weekend. So much happening it is one of the many instances where I could benefit from a clone and a few email elves between the Volunteer Encounter in Cayo area, Blood Drive and the Lighted boat parade there is just no way to be everywhere at once. Aiden and Anthony already had my name on the San Pedro Red Cross travel list for before I even said yes, I can’t wait it is going to be a super fun time. At 6:00am tomorrow morning 25 of us will be catching a private boat thanks to Caye Caulker water taxi and heading to Belize City where we will take a bus to Roaring Creek. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements from around the world celebrate International Volunteer Day on December 5th annually. As a result, this year The Belize Red Cross is showing their appreciation to volunteers from around the country by hosting a Volunteer Encounter and Award Ceremony on Dec 7th at a Mission Grounds in Roaring Creek, Cayo District.

New Owners Take Over San Pedro’s Favorite BBQ Joint: Lazy Croc’s
Southern Style Barbecue is very serious business. In some areas of the world, certain restaurants have a cult following. People get tattooed to show their love… Amillion-Tattoo_grid_4 travel long distances for a certain rib or brisket, attend barbeque cook-offs by the tens of thousands or just spend their Saturdays at home perfecting their own special rub for their pork. Yes, I know. Americans are weird. Men in particular. Lazy Croc’s BBQ joint about 2.5 miles north on Ambergris Caye has that sort of cult (no tattoos yet that I know of…but a certain fervor for sure). It’s been an Ambergris Caye favorite for those who love their Southern style American barbecue. I’ve heard of residents buying 20 lbs of pulled pork to have as back-up in their freezers. Just in case… SO, when I ran into new owners in town a few weeks ago (NNNNEWWWWW WHAT??!?!?!?!), I was a bit nervous. Sure Christiano and his father seemed to have some great ideas, like more days open, extended hours and a Croc Mobile delivery service, but would the recipes, the smoky meaty goodness be the same?

International Sources

The Top Best Places to Visit in Belize
Belize has become one of the top travel destinations in the world because of its spectacular and intriguing attractions like the Great Barrier Reef, gigantic blue hole, white sandy beaches, numerous cayes and islands, pristine rainforests and jungles, abundant wildlife, eclectic and colorful cultures, and laid-back atmosphere. From scuba diving its warm and turquoise Caribbean waters to hiking an ancient Maya city, Belize has something for everyone. If you are looking to escape to a cozy and sunny destination that offers a potpourri of adventure and fun filled activities this winter, then you might want to consider Belize. From north to south and east to west, here are the top best places to visit in Belize.

The magic of Belize
Our guide adjusts her headwrap and looks over her shoulder at the rainforest. The hem of her powderblue dress twists in the breeze as she waits for us in the shade. For a second, the combination of heat, heavy shadow and bright colour make me feel like I'm staring at a Diego Rivera mural. "She'll be waiting for you over here until you're ready, nice people," Ann-Marie Avona calls out, breaking the spell. It takes a second for me to realize that our guide is talking about herself in the third-person. I could listen to her Kriol-laced accent (similar to Creole, but with English instead of French) for hours. It's Friday afternoon and aside from the staff and vendors in the parking lot, the temple site at Altun Ha is completely abandoned. When Ann-Marie catches me staring at a half-finished building beside the main gate, she fans herself slowly and jokes, "This is Belize. Nothing here gets done quickly, just eventually."

Video: Garifuna Cuisine, Dangriga, Belize - Hudut Soup & Fish Fillet, Tomato/Rum Sauce, Cassava Fries
Recently in Dangriga, Belize I met up with Madeline at the Riverside Cafe. I joined her in the kitchen where she taught me some Garifuna recipes. The Garifuna are descendants of African shipwrecked slaves who interbred with the local Carib and Arawak people of St Vincent. When the British took over St Vincent from the French, the Black Garifuna were exiled and ended up settling all along the Belize, Honduras and Guatemalan coastline. Madeline prepares Hudut - a fish soup with a coconut milk base which contains okra and green plantain dumplings. Madeline also prepares the Riverside cafe Specialty dish - Grilled Fish Fillet with Cassava Fries with a unique rum, tomato and soy sauce. If you are in Dangriga, make sure you drop into the Riverside cafe to sample Garifuna food, maybe the rarest cuisine in the world! Madeline is a great help and source for any local

Volcanic ash reveals rapid Ice Age climate change
Regional climate changes can be very rapid. A German-British team of geoscientists now reports that such a rapid climate change occurred in different regions with a time difference of 120 years. Investigation in the West German Eifel region and in southern Norway demonstrated that at the end of the last glaciations about 12,240 years before present climate became warmer, first recognized in the Eifel region and 120 years later in southern Norway. Nonetheless, the warming was equally rapid in both regions. The team around Christine Lane (Oxford University) and Achim Brauer from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences reports in the latest volume of “Geology” (vol 41, no 12, p. 1251–1254) that within the younger Dryas, the last about 1100-year long cold phase at the end of the last ice age, a rapid warming first was measured in the Eifel region. Sediment cores from the Meerfelder Maar lake depict a typical deposition pattern, which was also found in the sediments of Lake Krakenes in southern Norway, but with a time lag of 120 years.

December 6, 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

South African peace visionary Nelson Mandela, has died at 95
President Nelson Mandela has died. The global human rights figure and Noble Prize winner died today Thursday December 5th at age 95. Mandela successfully led the struggle against South Africa’s apartheid system of racial segregation and discrimination, distinguishing him from other world leaders. In his younger days, Mandela worked as a lawyer and a political activist, fighting for the rights of black people in his country. A young Mandela was charged with treason in 1956 along with 155 other activists, but years would pass before charges were dropped. From his prison cell, Mandela was skillful enough to bring his human rights message to the people of South Africa. Mandela spent 27 years imprisoned before he was released in 1990 at age 71, an event that captured the attention of the world. He was able to negotiate with white leaders in charting and establishing democracy in his nation.

San Pedro Art Show at Lions Den
It was a feast for the eyes of art lovers on Friday December 6th and Saturday December 7th during the San Pedro Art Show. Organized by The San Pedro House of Culture, the show displayed a variety of unique collections by different artists from across the country. The San Pedro House of Culture organizes four art shows for the year and this was the last to take place for 2013. The San Pedro Sun commends The San Pedro House of Culture and all the artists for a putting together a great final show. We look forward to 2014’s displays.

Gaia Riverlodge: Embracing Cayo’s Majestic Mountain Beauty
The thick, lovely comforter is keeping me warm as I lie on the king-sized bed. Netting cocoons me like a veil, and a sound unlike any other is roaring outside the window. It’s slowly lulling me into contentment, the last vestiges of my dinner wine a pleasant memory. I snuggle down and with the sounds of the night as a lullaby, I fall into a contented sleep; truly the deep, dreamless sleep that can only be brought on by fresh air, an elevated altitude, and a day full of excitement and exploration. I am at Gaia Riverlodge, and that sound that both put me to sleep and woke me the next day, that was the sound of Five Sisters Falls crashing into the smooth rocks that have formed over eons. I am at Gaia, and I am in a jungle paradise. But even before I delve into the delights that I experienced at Gaia, I’d just like to make a confession: Five Sister Falls at Gaia Riverlodge-1I am allowed to have favorites right? This country is divided into six districts, and each has its own draw, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I have a favorite. Of course, I am biased, considering I was born and raised in the mountainous area of the Cayo District. Sure I enjoy the sun, sand and sea that makes up Ambergris Caye and its sister island Caye Caulker, and Placencia…and Hopkins…and…you get the idea! But at my very core, Cayo, as my childhood home, has claimed the top spot in my heart.

Ambergris Today

Hurricane Season 2013 Is Over - Belize Spared
The United States National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended on Saturday with the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982 and ranked as the sixth-least-active Atlantic hurricane season since 1950. Belize was spared from storms and scares, while our neighbor Mexico experienced three Atlantic storms. Although we were spared the country did receive abundant rainfall from tropical weather, probably one of the wettest rainy seasons. Rain started as early as June and the last few months we were drenched and caused much flooding inland. The Belize Meteorology Service announced that the rainfall figures for August through to November, and was way above average. Government has not put an economic cost to the rain-damages as assessments are ongoing but there are critical losses to agriculture, road infrastructure, and community resources.

Lookout for The Spanking New Video Blog "Trending Spots"
Hi Readers! Let me fill you in on What’s Up on Ambergris Today. The AT team have been creating a lot of buzz with our popular travel site “Itravel Belize”, featuring the best hotels, restaurants, tours and much more in Belize. The New Year is upon us and we are ready to give you a sneak peek on our upcoming video blog called Trending Spots. Trending Spots will showcase the most popular spots in Belize to hang out with friends, get an ice cold drink, enjoy delicious food and watch a great game. Plus get to know the Bartenders and watch them feature their signature drinks that will make your mouth water.

Misc Belizean Sources

Legends of Belize: Paranormal, Cryptid, and Ghost Stories!
Two Dead Explorer fans invited me to discover the cryptozoologial, paranormal, supernatural, and unexplained creatures and stories that haunt Belize! They sent me an autographed copy of their new book Legends of Belize. In Belize, Central America, there are terrifying stories about strange creatures such as the jungle gnome called Tata Duende who has backwards feet, rips thumbs off, and has magical powers or the beautiful but deadly seductress named Xtabai who steals souls and shape-shifts into animals, people, and even someone you know. Stories of these creatures and many more are so terrifying, they are past down from generation to generation as folklore and legends. The ancient legends are captured, documented, and preserved by Belizean Artists and Animators, GrissyG and Dismas, in a comprehensive series and book with images of fine art, information about the creatures, a compare and contrast of Belizean myths with other myths around the world, description of the art process, and Belizean cultural iconography that inspired the series. This a great book about the mythical creatures that dwell in the jungles and water of Belize! I am grateful for the gift. Please support them if you can!

BAPDA Visits Belize Zoo
Feelgood news of the day. BAPDA visitied the Belize Zoo to celebrate the International Day for People with Disabilities. The Belize Zoo is the first nature destination in Belize that is accessible to people with disabilities. "Yesterday, the Zoo was honoured to host a group from the Belize Assembly for People with Diverse Abilities (BAPDA) for a day of fun, learning and recreation. As TBZ has become the first accessible nature destination in Belize, our friends from BAPDA decided to best way to celebrate International Day for People with Disabilities was by getting up close and personal with the wonderful wildlife of our country. Rose the baby crocodile, Lucky Boy the black jaguar, and Charlie the Scarlet Macaw were just a few of our many "meet and greet" ambassadors our guests got to interact with. Paws Up to the folks at BAPDA, and to all people living with disabilities!"

CCA Christmas Walk Thru
Tonight the Cayo Christian Academy is doing their annual Christmas Walk Thru, and this year the theme is 'Declaring the End from the Beginning.' They'll have 100's of actors performing during the show, and it's free. "Please remember Dec. 6th 7pm at Cayo Christian will be happening there....Declaring the End from the Beginning walk thru..... 240 performances on stage........its bigger, its better...its off the hook!!!!!! PARENTS bring your CHILDREN and COME.........ONE NIGHT ONLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have you heard the news there's a baby born in Bethlehem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO COST...But donations accepted."

Kontiki Family Fun Day Festivities
Everyone that attended the Kontiki Family Fun Day had a great time. They got a lot of great pictures from the event. Check out that greasy pole. "Huge THANK YOU to everyone who came out to support us, thank you to our sponsors, to the generous neighbors who helped by cooking, working, preparing, selling and so much more! To all the football players who brought their teams and to everyone who made our day fun!!!"

Dangriga street repairs
The main streets of Dangriga town will be repaired and rehabilitated starting on Monday of next week. That announcement was made today by the office of the Rt. Honorable the Prime Minister, Mr. Dean Barrow. According to an official statement, Central Government will provide the immediate assistance to the Dangriga Town Council and the people of Dangriga to fix “selected main streets in that municipality” in the wake of heavy rains at the end of last month which caused severe damage. The official release says that government has contracted Cisco Construction Limited to carry out the repairs which are expected to be completed in about four to five weeks time. The estimated price tag for the Dangriga street repairs is put at half a million dollars. The government press release ends by saying that government “will be providing similar support and assistance to other municipalities across the country on an as-needed basis.”

Channel 7

Mother Of Four Year Old Accident Victim Speaks Out, In Rage
Last night, 7News told you about the terrible accident which claimed the life 4 year-old Jahston Terry on cemetery Road in Belize City. The child was going home from school when he was run over and killed on the sidewalk by an out of control BDF driver. The driver of the vehicle 36 year-old Hubert Anthony Martinez, is prison tonight, but that is no consolation to his grieving family. Today, 7News got a chance to speak with the boy's mother, and like those who were on the scene yesterday, she is beside herself with anger. She told us that it was too painful for her to watch the post-mortem of her baby boy, who she remembered kissing good bye yesterday before he left for school. Here's her story: Keisha Terry, Mother of Deceased "I was at work about 4:30 and I got a call from an unknown number. The person call and told me to come quick because something happen to my son. I ask her to tell me what happen and the person hangs up. My friend Ms. Jackie Franklin call back the number and the person explained to her that an accident happened to Cemetery Road which involved my two kids; one dead and the other got hurt. I can just remember that I passed out on my work floor in tears crying. My cousin can explain what happen on the scene because I didn't go on the scene."

Senior Citizen Knocked Down and Killed
And about an hour and half after Jahston Terry lost his life in Belize City, 75 year-old Gregory Leon Lopez lost his life between mile 6 and mile 7 on the Northern Highway in Ladyville. The elderly man was riding his bicycle from Ladyville to Belize City when he was knocked down from behind by Eldon Daniel Hendy of Isabella Bank, who was driving his Dodge Ram heading toward Belize City. 2 fatalities in 2 hours, and today, his family spoke to 7News, and they too were angry with his demise. They told us that Lopez, who was very fit for his age, rode from village to village visiting his family members. They told us that they are waiting for police to determine if the driver of the vehicle was negligent: Carla Sainsbury, Daughter of Deceased "I found out this afternoon that he was knocked down at mile 6 on the Northern Highway and he didn't die on the spot. They brought him to the hospital and he died like an hour and a half after."

Rt. Hon. Said’s Political Spectacle
Two weeks ago, an unusual ad appeared in the Belize Times. It was for Said Musa's divisional convention which it advertised as a People's Assembly. Well, we hadn't heard about one of those since 1998 - back when Musa was Party Leader. And if that wasn't enough to pique our interest, the ad announced that Cordel Hyde would be a special guest speaker. That's news because Hyde, a former PUP political star has been rumoured to be returning to the PUP, but rumours never morphed into fact - and he remains out on the edges of the big blue tent. But last night's convention seemed like a sort of home-coming for the 3 time Lake I area representative, who stepped down as a candidate in January 2012. 7News was at St. Mary's Hall to see an event that's very rare these days: an old fashioned political spectacle - here's how it went:.. Jules Vasquez reporting They say there's no place like home and so it is for Said Musa, who, after 39 years years in the Fort George division, and 7 terms, the last 6 in a row arrived to the welcome of well-loved figure.

Coro SW’s Hon. Ramirez Says He Will “Instigate” on Bagasse Issue
But Cordel Hyde's re-entry wasn't the only news coming out of the convention. The PUP's Area Representative for Corozal Southwest Ramiro Ramirez took an eyebrow raising position on the bagasse dispute in the cane industry. He said if government doesn't work out a dispute that's agreeable to the cane farmers, he's willing to instigate his people to take a stand:.. Hon. Ramiro Ramirez, Area Representative for Corozal Southwest "We are just giving him some weeks more and if he doesn't come with an agreement then we are going on a strike. I am going to instigate it to show to the people of Belize that the North is ready." Cordel Hyde "I like the suggestion that when the cane farmers are ready to march - the People's United Party will march with them because that is what we have to do. We can't sit back and take it easy. We can't feel like because we won 14 seats and we come that close we will win the next one. It doesn't work that way. You have to show the people that you want it."

Waste Control On Go-Slow; City Owes ¾ Mil
And while bagasse is the issue in the north -in Belize City right now, it's garbage. If you live on the north side of the city, then you'll know that this morning your garbage probably wasn't picked up. That's because Belize Waste Control is operating at about 30% capacity. The company says they can't afford to fully deploy their work crews because the city council owes them more than three quarter million dollars! Today we visited Waste Controls' headquarters on the Northern Highway to find out more:... Jules Vasquez reporting Today, most of the trucks in the Belize Waste Control yard remained parked. Only two of 9 trucks were out collecting garbage - because the company says that it can't go anymore. Why? The City Council owes it more than three quarter million dollars: George Lamb, General Manager - Belize Waste Control "I believe that we are at the end of our line. I am not quite certain if we are able to continue for another week or as a matter of fact if we might see the end of this week. To be truthful with you there is little or no funds there. I am hoping that we could make payroll this week."

PAHO and MOH Say Vaccines Safe
Sabrina Almendarez didn't die because of a tetanus shot, but the public scare created by the initial report has caused a scare in the public health care system, where any question about the integrity of vaccinations poses a threat to public health. And so, today, in an effort to allay any lingering fears that vaccines could be dangerous, the Ministry of Health and PAHO called a press conference, where they tried to reinforce confidence in Belize's vaccination program and the successes it has had over the years. For good measure, Health CEO Dr. Peter Allen himself participated in a demo where he got a booster shot for the cameras to see the procedure. He told the media today that not only is the vaccination programme the safest public health initiative, it is the bedrock of the country's disease response: Peter Allen, C.E.O., Ministry of Health "We were extremely concerned that there was some doubt being expressed about the safety of vaccines in general and particularly the immunization programs in the Ministry of Health. We are very grateful to all of you for allowing us the opportunity to show to you that our immunization program is an example a best practiced in the region that really there is a reason why we don't see a lot of cases of measles and mumps and whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria and other vaccine preventable diseases."

Precinct Two Pounces Again
And we apologize for that audio difficulty we had before the break. We've worked out the problem and continue with the news. Last night we told you how good intelligence work by Precinct two in Belize City, enabled them to get an illegal firearm form a 14 year old's schoolbag. Tonight that formation is again making news for good intelligence work and quick action. At about 4:00 this afternoon, the precinct's Quick Response Team under the command of Superintendent Alford Grinage found (115) live 12 gauge Seller and Bellot brand ammunition in an open lot on Racoon street extension. No one was in the immediate area so it was labelled as found property.

Climate Change And Tourism
Today, at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel, the Belize Tourism Industry Association held its 2013 Annual General Meeting. It was their 28th AGM, and at this particular forum, the members discussed the effects that climate change can and will bring to the Tourism Industry. The President of the BTIA Herbert Haylock told 7News today that it was an appropriate topic since the tourism season is about to pick up, and climate change is particularly important because it affects the landscape of the country's tourism destinations: According to Haylock, the damage from the rains to the infrastructure and roadways needs to be addressed urgently because it will affect the tourists who are commuting to the different sights.

A Brief History Of Industry
Have you ever wondered how Belize developed from a logging colony to a country which has vibrant industries of agriculture, tourism, and even a budding BPO sector? Well, Franz Smith an educator, a researcher, and writer, has put together a book in which he explores Belize's history for the last 380 years of all the industries and entrepreneurs who trail blazed taking bold risks to establish industries which exist all the way up to today. Today, Franz launched the book, called "A History of Enterprise in Belize" and gave us a preview. Here's what he told us about why you should buy the book: The book is available for purchase at Brodies, the Image Factory, Belize Book Center and Angelus Press for $30. Additionally, it can be purchased as an Ebook on the Amazon Book Store for 9.99 US dollars. Smith's next book is called "Facts and Figures", which he plans to release in about a year from now. In that book, he says he'll have important facts on from the tax system to the ecosystems of Belize.

Tonight's profile continues the awareness raising for sixteen days of activism. Tonight's profile features a young woman, who came up living with different family members. As early as age five, she suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her aunt and when she sought refuge in her mom, it was more of the same at the hands of her stepdad. Hope finally came for her when she told the truancy officer at school what had been happening. Because of the subject matter and because the student is still in high school the profile will remain anonymous.

Belize’s Best Finger Spellers
Today, the country's best sign language spellers met at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium to compete in the 18th Annual Crystal Spelling Bee for Hearing Impaired. This primary schoolers blazed through difficult words spelling with only their fingers, and after 3 hours the winners emerged. 7News was there, and we spoke with the Crystal Representative about the competition's importance: In the junior's category, Jacob Chun won first place. He was followed by Elizabeth Chun, who came in second, and Julian Assi who placed third. In the senior's category, Crystal Lopez out-spelled Tadio Choc, who placed second, and Tangi Miller who came in third. The winners were awarded with Kindle tablets.

Art From An Icon
At 6:30 this evening, the Mexican Institute opened a new art exhibit by iconic Mexican illustrator José Guadalupe Posada, who has influenced Mexican culture. The exhibit is called "Death has Permission", and 7News stopped by to speak with the Director about its importance. He told us that Posada's works are prominently featured in the Mexican celebration of the "Day of the Dead": The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, closes on December 12.

Channel 5

Preschooler killed in a traffic accident; his surviving brother is left traumatised
There is public outrage at the unnecessary death of an innocent three year old preschooler that happened on Wednesday afternoon.  Even more so because the driver of a white van [...]

A 75 year old man dies instantly after being knocked off his bike
Approximately two hours later, there was another fatal traffic accident this time on the Philip Goldson Highway; it claimed the life of a seventy-five year old man. Around six p.m., [...]

Unsolved Mystery: who killed Zoila Gracia in Las Flores?
Twenty-nine year old Zoila Elizabeth Garcia was brutally slain a block away from her home on Orquidea Street in Las Flores on Tuesday night.  She was shot once to the [...]

Is Cordel Hyde back into the P.U.P. fold?
On Wednesday night, the People’s United Party held its constituency convention for the Fort George Division. Former Prime Minister and seven time winner in that area, Said Musa, was endorsed [...]

Arrival of numerous Indian nationals raise eyebrows
News Five has been able to confirm that in the past week a number of Indian nationals entered the country through the Phillip Goldson International Airport. Against the backdrop of [...]

PAHO says tetanus shot is not linked to the death of Sabrina Almendarez
Belize maintains one of the most highly regarded vaccination programs in the entire region, providing thirty-thousand immunizations yearly. The Ministry of Health vaccinates against ten general diseases, including polio, mumps, [...]

Climate Change and its impact on the Tourism Industry
The impact of climate change on the tourism industry was addressed head-on this morning at the annual general meeting of the Belize Tourism Industry Association. The economies of Belize and [...]

Businessman Yhony Rosado believes he is being targeted by B.T.B.
Businessman Yhony Rosado, proprietor of and executive member of FECTAB, was involved in a brief spat with police officers, as well as officials from the Belize Tourism Board on [...]

C.E.O. speaks on the misappropriation of funds at the Central Health Region
Almost six weeks ago News Five received reports of misappropriation of funds in the Central Health Region of the Ministry of Health. Those reports were confirmed, but not much information [...]

Meet the winners of 2013 Spelling Bee fro the Hearing Imparied
After preparing for months, sixteen students competed in the 2013 Spelling Bee for the Hearing Impaired. The competition was divided in two categories for juniors and seniors and was held [...]

Nelson Mandela, dead at 95
The world is tonight mourning the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela, a global icon and international human rights leader, who is dead at ninety-five.  The respected anti-apartheid [...]

Healthy Living takes a look at puberty
Children of today are bombarded with a wide array of messages on a daily basis. Television programs, music and the internet are the new teachers in our modern societies. For [...]


WPC Chopped Several Times While Making An Arrest
A woman police constable is in stable condition after being brutally attacked this afternoon with a machete. Orange Walk Police are still looking for her assailant who we understand is also wanted in connection for another matter. Dalila Ical has more on the story. By the time police responded to the chopping incident on this street that extends off East San Martin Street in Trial Farm Village, the perpetrator had made good his escape. The incident played out sometime around two thirty in the afternoon in the yard of senior citizen Vicente Cho. According to one eyewitness, she was coincidentally standing at her door when the incident occurred and saw part of what had transpired. She says a red pickup truck pulled up in the area and three persons stepped out and approached the house while the driver remained inside the vehicle. One man whom we understand is Oscar Hernandez was in the yard at the time and spoke with the three individuals.

One Arrested For The Stabbing Of Two DJ's
A resident of Corozal has been dealt the long arms of the law and charged with 6 varying counts of harm. Authorities in Corozal have arrested and charged 26 year old Jason Matura with: (2) Counts of Attempted Murder, (2) Counts of Use of Deadly Means of Harm and (2) Counts of Dangerous Harm. As we reported on Monday, 21 year old Adrian Vasquez, Belizean DJ of Santa Barbara Street, San Ignacio Town and 29 year old Alex Hernandez Belizean DJ of Sand Hill Village, Belize District were playing for an event at the Andres Campos Civic Center located on 4th Avenue, Corozal Town when they were nearly fatally wounded. This was as a result of the DJ’s cutting off the music at an event which allegedly sparked anger from a group of about eight male persons who attended the event. Vasquez was stabbed to the left side of the abdomen and received a swollen right eye and a cut over the right eye. Hernandez sustained injuries to the right upper chest area and right side of the lower back.


“Death is Allowed” – Art Exhibition Opens
The Embassy of Institute in Belize City is invited the public to the exhibition, “Death has permission “with works by Mexican illustrator José Guadalupe Posada, on the centenary of his death. The exhibition consists of 59 works, which are facsimile reproductions of some of the most significant prints of Posada. Director of the Mexican Institute, Domingo Rodriguez told us more. DOMINGO RODRIGUEZ “He is an important painter of Mexico. He died 100 years ago in 1913 and in this exhibition you can see his work he worked for the newspaper and another magazine of his time and you can see the Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century. The name is “The Death is allowed”. But his arts paint a lot of images of death. You see the Katrina is now a symbol for Mexico especially for the Dia De Muertos.” The exhibition will be open to the public until December 12.

Spelling Bee Competition for Hearing Impaired
Today the 18th National Crystal Spelling Bee for the Hearing Impaired was held at the Belize Elementary school auditorium. Crystal has been sponsoring the competition for the past 13 years and the coordinator for Crystal, Jason Soliz told us more. JASON SOLIZ “It’s not only a spelling bee; it’s something that brings awareness to people with hearing impairment. So, it is something very important to Crystal and this is our 13th year sponsoring it and so it’s something that’s growing and growing and it’s a forum for kids to come together that have this disability and socialize and interact and show off their talent and intelligence. So this is something that we are very proud of sponsoring again this year. We have kids from Cayo Deaf Institute, San Antonio, Toledo, and Stella Maris. Today’s competition we had seven senior contestants and six juniors. It was a great competition; we had schools come together from all over the country to participate and as you can see we have our winners accept their prizes which were kindle tablets for 1st and 2nd place for juniors and seniors and other prizes that are relative to kids with hearing impaired disability. That is something that we feel is very important not only for them but for the country of Belize to raise awareness to the wider public about how these kids go about their daily lives and that they overcome these challenges and thrive and that they can go on a stage just like this and be talented and be intelligent and go head to head for a spelling bee and it’s something that’s very important to Belize and giving them this forum is very important for us.”

Mayor Bradley Says Council Will Make Good on Garbage Payment Arrears
The Belize Waste Control says that it continues to have problems in collecting its garbage collection fees from the Belize City Council and that if they receive no further payment, they will have problems in paying their workers. Love News spoke with the General Manager of Belize Waste Control, George Lamb, who said that they have had to cut staff and now they simply can’t meet next week’s payroll without a payment. George Lamb Earlier this year, to be more exact, around August, we have been at City Council in order for them to try and make due on the outstanding arrears they have for the weekly payments for the weekly pick up of the waste from Belize City. Since then we have been receiving commitment from the Mayor but however they were unable to catch up. As a matter of fact, we are at our worst when it comes to garbage collection when working for the City Council. We had problem with previous Mayors where it would be outstanding up to 8 weeks in a rare case probably about 10 but we are like 15 weeks and counting outstanding over $700,000.” MARION ALI “Now when I last spoke with the Mayor he told me that he had made a payment I think a couple payments but had miss one after that about 2 weeks ago.” GEORGE LAMB “Basically that’s what it’s all about. He would make maybe one or two payments and then he would miss some payments.”

BTIA Concerned Over Infrastructure as Tourism Season Kicks Off
The Belize Tourism Industry and Association held its 28th Annual General Meeting today. One of the main topics discussed is how to further develop the tourism industry of Belize. According to the president of the BTIA, Herbert Haylock, expressed that before goals are met, the Association must deals with the challenges specifically how climate change has affected the tourism industry. HERBERT HAYLOCK “I think when you take into perspective we have seen a lot of the internal damages that have impacted our locals, our Belizeans pretty much with day to day life and activity from the North to the South. What is important to underscore is that we are simply getting into and going into what is our tourism season. We have entered that point; December starts off in normal terms , the season and we anticipate and expect that we will begin to see incoming visitors; that’s not to say that we have not started to see in flows earlier but the real movement of traffic really starts this month and forward for the next few months. The obvious critical concern is making sure and basically asking questions to the relevant authorities in regards to whether or not the infrastructure will be taken care of, fixed or repaired and made accessible because you recognize that people will come and visit but it’s not necessarily simply staying in one location. They may be up and about doing tours, moving around, they may be taking rental vehicles out and driving around. These are all critical things that we need to be aware of and conscious of as we plan ahead as the industry looks ahead to make sure that we are not running into any dangerous situations, putting our guests or visitors in any dangerous situations or that we don’t have road infrastructure that might impede or impact their visitation and their stay.”

BDF Driver Arraigned Following Toddler’s Death
Thirty-six year old Hubert Martinez Jr, a civilian driver for the BDF, was charged with 5 traffic offences when he appeared today in the court of Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart. Martinez was charged with manslaughter by negligence, drove motor vehicle without due care and attention , causing death by careless conduct, drove motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit and negligent wounding. Magistrate Stuart did not take a plea from him because the offences are indictable. She also denied him bail and remanded him into custody until January 7, 2014.

Woman Police Chopped in Northern Belize
A Woman Police Officer attached to the Orange Walk Department is recovering from two chop wounds she received while in the line of duty. Arturo Cantun reports. ARTURO CANTUN REPORTING WPC Marilyn Pate is tonight hospitalized at the Northern Regional Hospital after she received two chop wounds to the left side of the head. Pate, along with Human Development Officers, had responded to a domestic abuse report at a residence on San Martin Street in Trial Farm Village. Second in Command of OW Police Inspector of Police Julius Cantun told us more. INSPECTOR JULIUS CANTUN “Upon arriving at the suspect’s house they approached the suspect whereby he was informed of the report made against him and that he would have been detained pending an investigation of the report. Something transpired during that process where the suspect was able to get his hands on a machete which he used to inflict 2 injuries to the head of the woman police officer. She sustained two cut wounds to the left side of the head. As a result the suspect escaped. The police officers as we speak are on the manhunt for this suspect. Ms. Pate was brought into the Northern Regional Hospital and doctors where able to stop the bleeding.”

Elderly Man Knocked Down on Highway
An elderly man was knocked down and killed yesterday evening on the Phillip Goldson Highway. Reporter Hipolito Novelo has the story. HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING Seventy five year old Gregory Leon Lopez was riding his red beach cruiser bicycle yesterday night at about 6 o’clock when he was knocked down by this white dodge ram truck. Lopez was hit from behind and he landed some 62 feet away from the vehicle. According to Lopez’s Grandson, Gregory Sainsbury, his grandfather always rode alongside the highway on a daily basis. GREGORY SAINSBURY “That is one issue that we tend to have with him; he loved to ride his bike every day. He stayed with me and yesterday was the last time I saw him; he brought some food to eat and said he was coming back. Normally, he would ride to Hattieville to his other granddaughter and we always used to tell him not to go on the road but he is a fit old man and unfortunately this happened to him.” HIPOLITO NOVELO “What would be the last thing he said to you?” GREGORY SAINSBURY “The last thing he said to me that I could recall, I was just getting up for work and he normally wakes me up and he said to me, ‘it’s time to go to work’ and I told him, ‘take care Gramps’.

30 Years Plus For The Council for Visually Impaired
The Belize Council for the Visually Impaired (BCVI) was established in 1981 and since its inception more than 30 years ago has helped thousands of Belizeans battling various degrees of visual impairment. The services provided by the BCVI range from correcting refractive errors to integrating children who are blind into the school system. Carla Ayers Musa is the Communications Officer at BCVI. KARLA AYERS MUSA “BCVI works on what we like to call and what is considered a comprehensive service; so, we just don’t deal with preventing blindness and treating blindness, we also deal with people who are blind and we deal with rehabilitating and providing educational support and lifetime support for those people. There is a technical definition for visual impairment; visual impairment doesn’t mean that you are completely blind. Some people still do have light perception, some people can still count fingers that are close enough to their eyes and some people are what we consider totally blind but blindness is defined before you reach that point.” For a new parent who has excitedly planned on a productive and successful life for their child, getting a diagnosis of blindness or visual impairment may be devastating. Musa offers hope to these parents.

Health Officials Say Vaccinations are Safe and Secure
A lot of speculation was casted on the public as it concerns the death of 12 year old Sabrina Almendarez. It was first suggested that the active 12 year old died as a consequence of tetanus vaccine. To put all doubts to rest, this morning a special interview session was organized by the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization. Dr. Peter Allen, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health and Dr. Gerardo de Cosio, PAHO’s Belize Representative hosted the session which focused on Belize’s vaccination program. Both medical professionals expressed that the vaccination program that Belize adopt is safe and secure. DR. PETER ALLEN “There have never been any fatalities; there have never been any significant adverse reactions to any immunization in Belize as far as I am aware. In the case of this tragic incident there is absolutely no evidence of allergy in the previous dosage of the exact same vaccine. Over a hundred children were administered with the same vaccine on the same day and there is no adverse reaction in any of those children. Of the specific vile because you will see when Nurse Kelly is kind enough to give my booster dose in a moment, of the specific vile there are usually ten doses in the vile; there is usually a little bit of wastage. Not the exact amount is drawn, so, we usually say about 8 or 9 people will get vaccinated by each vile. 8 or 9 other children were vaccinated with the same vile that this young lady was also vaccinated from and again we have checked with them and there are no adverse reactions. We are also engaged in strong surveillance activities to make sure we know exactly who is immunized, who needs to be immunized and so that we make sure that if there are any adverse reactions and usually there would be a small rash around the injection site, sometimes a slightly elevated temperature or fever. We purchase all of our vaccines all our supplies at the highest possible quality through the Pan American Health Organization and they only purchase vaccines and supplies from pre-qualified suppliers who have met the highest international standards. “

Principal McKay Speaks on Stabbing Incident and Fund Raiser for Gwen Lizarraga High School
A female student of Gwen Lizarraga School was stabbed a few days ago. Principal the school, Dr. Lorna Mckay told us what transpired. DR. LORNA MCKAY “It was one of our students, a third former who was a transfer, who just came to our school. She had an issue and an outsider came and attacked her on the street while she was going home. We have a good counseling program; we deal with the discipline; we cannot discipline the outsider and so we called the police and asked the police to deal with it. It is going through the court; it is something that is beyond our control to have an incident like that happen outside of the school because we cannot protect our kids while we are out there walking.” With that recent incident taking place just outside of the school compound, Dr. Mckay says that extra security will be hired for their annual Christmas Bizarre which will occur tomorrow. This year the bizarre is being held as a fundraiser event.


US Embassy recognizes World AIDS Day
The World Day of Aids was celebrated on Sunday, December 1st all around the world under the theme “Getting to Zero”, instated in 2011. But though the official day was celebrated this weekend, the US Embassy in Belize held their World Day of AIDS symposium today; ‘better late than...

Sabrina’s Mysterious Death Unfolds More Physical Cause
The post mortem results in the death of Sabrina Almendarez has been released and confirms that the 12 year old died as a result of bleeding and swelling of the brain. According to pathologist Dr. Hugh Sanchez, the findings are consistent with “blunt trauma to the right forehead.” Sabrina...

Mother of Two, Winning the Challenge on Laboural Case
Mother of two, Ms. Shari Muschamp was, a few weeks ago, unsure how she would survive from day to day after being relieved for her post as receptionist at the International Business Companies Registry. The excuse: the Government, which took over the Registry while she was on maternity leave, was...

Center for Employment Training Showcases the Importance of Skill Gaining
The hands-on training in the field of technical labor has equipped countless young men and women with the skills and know-how to not only contribute to the development of their community, but to serve as a prosperous means of income. Students at the Cayo Centre for Employment Training (CET), were...

The Guardian

Police Sergeant Charged for Murder
Sergeant Julio Shal,41, an officer attached to the Placencia Police Station, has been charged with murder for the death of Tyson Rodriguez, the main suspect in the home invasion of an elderly Canadian couple, which happened 2 weeks ago on the Placencia peninsula. Shal, the senior officer who was with Rodriguez on the night he died, was arraigned on Tuesday in Dangriga Magistrate’s Court and was remanded to prison until March 13, 2014, his next court date. The charge was brought with the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions because new evidence came to light from an eyewitness which refuted the version of events presented by Shal and the 2 constables who were with him that night. As the Guardian had reported in our previous issue, the officers told their superiors and the investigators that on November 22, at around 10 p.m., Rodriguez indicated that he intended to cooperate with their investigation. He offered to take them to an area where he and his accomplices hid some of the loot they had stolen from the Canadian couple the night before. They claimed that he jumped out of the moving vehicle, while handcuffed, and ran to the beach where he supposedly drowned. This sudden demise, they claim, they didn’t even witness; they only happened to stumble on his body after losing sight of Rodriguez briefly.

Hitting the ground Running in OW East
Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon Junior has officially submitted his resignation from that position. No sooner had he done so than he announced that he will be contesting the Orange Walk East constituency. Aragon quickly rose to the upper command of the police department where he greatly contributed to the development of the department. Speaking to the Guardian, Aragon said it was now time for him to move on and the logical choice was the political arena- and does he have a lot to offer! The son of Elodio Aragon Sr., a three time area representative in Orange Walk and a former minister of education in the UDP's 93-98 tenure; Aragon Jr. has already hit the ground, and he has done so running. In the short space since his entry, he has activated a constituency committee and has begun to make the rounds in the villages of Orange Walk East. As he did so, this past weekend he visited Carmelita village and Santa Martha village. For him it is notable that the constituency needs proper representation and he has already been able to secure resources to improve the conditions of residents in these two villages.

Employment by the hundreds
Wednesday, November 27th, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that monies will be made available to all municipalities for remedial infrastructural work to be done after severe rains pummeled the streets for at least two months. As soon as the Prime Minister made the announcement, work crews were activated across the country to carry out the work. Nowhere was that immediate action more visible than in Belize City where work crews were deployed to the Flag Monument roundabout, the entrance to Belize City at the Lord’s Ridge Cemetery, Pen Road, Baymen Avenue and Newtown Barracks. The work is being carried out with impressive speed; the work at the flag monument was completed within five days, making the driving experience more pleasant. Work is also ongoing at the entrance to Belize City which will be concreted by the contractor RJB; Pen Road is also well underway. But while the work is ongoing, the two most impressive street works are being carried out on Newtown Barracks and Baymen Avenue. The contract to complete both these streets was awarded to CISCO construction and as it has now become the trademark of this contractor, the work is being done using a large pool of workers. According CISCO’s Francis Woods, 50 men are being employed at the Baymen worksite and another 50 are being employed at the Newtown Barracks road.

Young Heroes Make another donation to Cancer Organization
In December of 2012 Salima Barrow and her schoolmates from the infants division of Hummingbird Elementary School donated over $3,100 to the Dangriga Cancer Center, and on Tuesday, December 3rd, of this year they made another significant donation to an organization dedicated to assisting people diagnosed with cancer, the Belize Cancer Society. The group of infants called Children Helping Children visited the Belize Cancer Society’s main office on Mercy Lane at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday and handed over a gift box containing $2,226.50. Salima Barrow, Hayley and Abigail Thurton and Halle Fuller presented a symbolic cheque to Dianne Finnegan, Acting President of the Belize Cancer Society. Finnegan said “We are truly, truly appreciative of this gesture done by the kids. Often times advocacy comes in pockets and it is usually an adult thing but when you see children involved then it really gives us the additional motivation to say we got to do this- we got to come together in an effort to minimize the kind of hurt that people living with cancer are carrying.”

Successful First-time Cardiology Pediatric Services for Belize from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
The Ministry of Health is pleased to announce the successful operation done on the first Belizean child to benefit from cardiology pediatric services with the Hospital Cardiologico Infantil Latinamericano in Caracas, Venezuela. At three months old, Cassidy Martinez was diagnosed with an Atrial Septum and Ventricular Septum Defect at a medical institution in Belize City. Her parents were advised to seek further medical attention for surgical options from a Pediatric Cardiologist, a specialist which is not available in Belize. The Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Belize, through Ambassador Yoel Perez Marcano, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health accepted and facilitated the request to assist baby Martinez. She underwent a successful surgery on October 10th, 2013 and returned to Belize during the first week of November. Both parents of the child expressed sincere gratitude to the Ministry of Health and to the Government and people of Venezuela for the assistance in getting the urgent medical attention required to safeguard the health of their daughter.

Canada Improves BSAG’s capabilities
The Belize Special Assignment Group (BSAG), on Wednesday December 4th, was bolstered with a hefty donation of 1.2 million Canadian dollars worth of equipment to improve their operational ability. According to Lt. Col. Hank Szelecz, Commander Officer of the Canadian special forces, the donation consists of "soldier systems to enhance capability of soldiers." The equipment donated include personal items such as boots, uniforms, surveillance gears including night vision and thermal cameras as well as equipment to improve mobility such as small inflatable boats. The donation came as part of Canada's Initiative of Security in Central America where the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper committed 25 million dollars to support security capacity to countries and citizens in this hemisphere. High commissioner of Canada to Belize Stuart Savage told the press that "Canada has special relation with Belize" where this country was chosen as a focus for military and political cooperation. He added that Belize and Canada's relations go as far back as the 1980's where there has been training both by Canadian personnel in Belize and Belizeans in Canada. The donation is a great bolster to the BSAG which is the BDF's special forces and Lt. Col. Szelecz notes that it will assist in anti narcotic operations conducted in Belize. Canada he stated is interested in stability in the region and this benefits everyone. While Canada is not as consumed with the narcotics problems as the U.S. is Szelecz stated that "counternarcotics is a problem that everyone faces" and even if the equipment is not used in this field the intention is to focus on military to military cooperation concentrating on soldier skills.

Large Christmas Tree lit in San Ignacio Town
A large and fully decorated Christmas tree was lit in San Ignacio Town last Friday night. The Christmas Tree was lit at about 7:00 pm by the Mayor of San Igancio and Santa Elena Towns, John August, at the Cayo Welcome Center; following was an evening of Christmas themed music. The Christmas tree itself was sponsored by Bowen & Bowen Ltd, whose workers spent the night giving away free drinks. “Christmas is a time we share with our neighbors, it is a time that we unite, also we must thank God for giving us all the days of the year,” stated Mayor John August, to the hundreds who had gathered to witness the Christmas lighting in San Ignacio Town. Entertaining the crowd on Friday were the Eden High School Choir as well as the Panorific Steel Band. Numerous businesses in central San Ignacio have already decorated their establishments with Christmas lights as they expectedly prepare for the numerous customers that regularly come from other parts of the Country during this festive and most important Season of the year.

Grand Tree Lighting Ceremony in Belize City
Downtown Belize City was packed on Friday night, November 29th, for the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony of the Belize City Council. Albert Street was blocked to vehicular traffic from the Swing Bridge to Church Street for the spectacular event staged at the Mule Park. Mayor Darrel Bradley said, “This has become an important tradition for us and everyone- especially the kids- really looks forward to it.” The event was sponsored by Bowen and Bowen’s Coca-Cola. There were live performances by the Pantempers Steel Band and the General Supa G. Mayor Bradley said, “for us it marks the beginning of the Christmas season and it is really refreshing to see so many people out here in that Christmas spirit to show goodwill among men and women which is what Christmas is really about.” After Mayor Bradley and Michael Bowen, CEO of Bowen & Bowen, lit the Christmas tree, Coke and cupcakes were given to every child. Many who attended the event noticed that no gifts or goody bags were given away this year. The Council says that is because they are going to do so at the re-opening of BTL Park on December 20th.

Minister Grant Inviting Proposals for Energy Generation
According to the Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission, John Avery, last year the Belize Electricity Limited spent about $40 million more than anticipated on cost of power. Unlike this wet year, last year was not a good year for hydroelectric power generation and B.E.L. had to rely more on power from Commision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) than initially projected. Senator Joy Grant, Minister of Public Utilities, Energy, Science and Technology wants Belize to become energy independent and she outlined the Ministry’s plans in an address to the nation on the occasion of National Energy Week. According to Minister Grant, in 2013 the Ministry held conferences in Belize City, Corozal and Dangriga to consult with private sector partners about priorities in energy investments. As a result, the Public Utilities Commission has invited individuals to present proposals for energy generating projects and, according to Avery, forty individuals have expressed some kind of interest and as much as ten have already formally applied to be a part of the process. Grant says the long term goal of the ministry is to “build a dynamic public-private partnership to transition to a green economy overtime”. The Ministry has implemented an Energy Effectiveness Project to improve on energy efficiency. Four Government buildings are being energy audited and will be retrofitted to decrease energy use and save on electricity bills. The Ministry is also mapping energy use countrywide to guide decision making in the year ahead. Minister grant says we must “utilize our renewable energy resources and improve efficiency to become energy independent”.

Hon. Mark King in Panama for better youth programs
On Tuesday, November 12, 2013 the CAPS project undertook a Technical Exchange Tour to Panama which was funded through the IDB. The primary goal of the Technical Exchange is the transfer of knowledge and technology for the development, validation, and dissemination of techniques and models for the management of Crime and the implementation of the Community Intervention Strategies. The operation facilitates such transfer of knowledge and practice via experiential observations of the techniques employed in the host community and the visiting technicians. The technical exchange tour also fosters an enabling environment for dialogue between and among the personnel from these countries. The tour was from 12th – 16th November 2013 and comprised of the Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Mark King, Director of Community Rehabilitation Department – Ms. Starla Acosta, Director of Youth Services, Ms. Jewel Crawford, Director of Education Services – Dr. Candy Armstrong, Procurement Specialist (CAPS) – Ms. Stephanie Pouchie and Project Coordinator (CAPS) – Mr. Elvis Requena. Upon arrival the team was met by Ms. Beira Guerrero from the Office of Integral Security of the Ministry of Public Safety. She arranged the agenda and accompanied them on most of the activities.

Ribbon Cut for Benque Viejo Market
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held in Benque Viejo del Carmen on Thursday of last week at the Corner of Wyatt and Kennedy Street in the most Western Municipality. Cutting the ribbon was the Mayor of Benque Viejo, Miguel Velasquez, who took the opportunity to give a brief on the market plan. Plans for the Benque Viejo market includes six permanent stalls that will be opened from 6:00 am to 9:00 p.m. every day, with Saturday being the market day. JEBCO Construction Limited has already gotten the go ahead for the market, under a contract worth $649,060.00; with funding coming from a European Union Grant as part of the Belize Rural Development Project Two. The construction phase of the intended Benque Viejo Market itself will be managed by the Ministry of Works. When opened, the Market for Benque Viejo will also pave new opportunities for farmers, agro processors and small enterprises to work in an enabling environment. The new market will also create new employment opportunities for many Benque Viejo residents. When fully operational, the much anticipated Benque Viejo Market will be managed by the Benque Viejo del Carmen Town Council and the Town Administrator. There will also be a Market Advisory Committee in place to advise the Town Council in resolving potential problems.

Uncle Sam can’t get Fahkrul Alam Salim
Bangladeshi Belizean Fakrul Alam Salim, who was wanted by the US Government to stand trial for the manufacture of the drug called crystal meth, and managing money gotten from the sale of the drug, will not be extradited to the United States to stand trial. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith has ruled that the US has not produced enough evidence against him. A grand jury of the state of Virginia has charged him with methamphetamine importation and money laundering. The charges state that around January of 2011, Salim and other “unlawfully, knowingly, and intentionally combined and conspired to manufacture 500 grams or more of a mixture containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, knowing that it was to be imported into the United States.” The US authorities claim that he used his connections and influence to transport a shipment of pseudoephedrine (a chemical precursor to methamphetamines) from Bangladesh through various international ports to Mexico. Another charge brought against him was that he and other “knowingly and intentionally combined and conspired to transport or transmit funds to be used for the manufacture of methamphetamines.” According to US drug authorities

Government Launches Youth and Community Transformation Project
On Thursday, November 28th, the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation launched the Youth and Community Transformation (YCT) Project. Under this project, $14.7 million will be spent on construction and rehabilitation of critical community facilities including a new resource centre in the Lake Independence area (the Lake Independence Resource Centre) and the upgrading of the Wilton-Cumberbatch Field. The project is being made possible through a US$5.2 million loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) that was approved in September of this year. The Government of Belize is providing $4.1 million and the CDB is including a grant of $210,000. Hon. Mark King, Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, said, “Participating in this launch fills me with hope because this is a significant opportunity to fill some of the gaps that exist in the services available to our youths.” Agencies participating in the project include the Y.M.C.A., Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence, Youth for the Future, National Committee for Families and Children, Yarborough Community Policing Center, Literacy Unit of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, National Sports Council, Restore Belize and the National Institute of Culture and History.

Life Imprisonment for Alwin Gabb
Dolphin Street resident, Alwin Gabb who has been on remand for the past 6 years was tried for murder and on Tuesday, December 3rd, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. At 1:10 p.m., a jury of 12 persons stepped into the deliberating room to decide the fate of Gabb who was accused of the July 6, 2007 murder of Nolan Arana, a friend of his estrange common-law wife, whom he stabbed multiple times on July 1, 2007 through an alley on Neal’s Pen Road. Within minutes of being found guilty, Justice Troadio Gonzalez sentenced Gabb to life imprisonment. During his trial, Gabb was represented by Attorney, Carlo Mason. Prosecutor in the case was Leeroy Banner who was assisted by Kileru Awich.

DNA tests needed to identify Daniel - Family losing their home!
The family of 37 year-old Daniel Aguirre, the 2011 KTV Latino Champion who is believed to have been killed in September and burnt up inside his taxi, is at risk to lose their family home to the bank because they can’t pay the mortgage. The charred remains found inside his vehicle in September has still not been confirmed by police as being Aguirre, and even though the family believe that it was him (who they have already buried), they don’t have absolute proof of confirmation. The insurance company which Aguirre subscribed to has therefore withheld payments to his family because they need that proof in the form of a death certificate. That certificate cannot be produced because police also need confirmation from the DNA tests on the samples of the remains which they forwarded 3 months ago to the National Forensic Science Service. Meanwhile, Aguirre’s common-law wife is being pressed to make monthly installments of $460 on their $30,000 mortgage to Scotia Bank for their family home. The bank is expecting that she will honour the contractual arrangement on the mortgage, or else they will have to foreclose. Aguirre’s common-law wife has told the media that she has been given some more time to try to get the certificate to satisfy the insurance company.

Belize Elementary girls and Ebenezer Methodist boys re Belize City primary schools football champions
Belize Elementary girls and Ebenezer Methodist boys are Belize City primary schools football champions The 2013-2014 Belize City Primary Schools Football Competition came to an end on Friday, November 29, with the championship games being played at the MCC Grounds. In the girls’ championship game, Belize Elementary School defeated Holy Redeemer School in penalty shoot out by the score of 3-1. At the end of the regulation time, the game had ended 0-0 and had to go into overtime, however, at the end of over time it was also 0-0. The goal scorers for Belize Elementary School were Keila Oyuela, Kristin Musa and Juliana Ramos. Meanwhile, the lone penalty that was converted into a goal for Holy Redeemer was scored by Kelsie Moss. In the boys’ championship game, Ebenezer Methodist School blanked St. Martin De Porres School by the score of 3-0 to capture the 2013-2014 Belize City Primary Schools Football Title. The goals for Ebenezer Methodist School were scored by Tyreek Muschamp, Dion Cacho and Bernard Bailey. The Belize District Finals is scheduled for Tuesday December 10, 2013 at the MCC Grounds. Belize City will be represented by Belize Elementary School and Holy Redeemer School in the girls’ championship and Ebenezer Methodist School and St. Martin De Porres in the boys’ competition. We say congratulations to the champions and sub-champions of the Belize City Primary Schools Football Competition.

Brown Bombers top seed in SMART 13 competition
The regular season for the Smart 13 and under competition came to an end on Saturday, November 30, at the MCC Grounds. In the games played, in game one, third World won via the default route over Belize Elementary. In game two, City Boys defeated Collet Strikers by the score of 1-0. Kenroy Linarez scored for City Boys. In game three, Rising Stars defeated Survivors by the score of 2-0. The two goals for Rising Stars were scored by Andres Velasquez. In the fourth game of the day, Brown Bombers, the top seed into the semi-finals, blanked Ladyville Jaguars by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Jovann Ramos. In the fifth and finalgameof the day, Hattieville United won over Young Stars via the default route. The semi-finals will commence on Saturday December 7 commencing at 1:00 pm. In the first game Brown Bombers (seed 1) will go up against Rising Stars (seed 4) and in the second game of the afternoon, it will be City Boys (seed 2) against Hattieville United (seed 3).

Paradise/Freedom Fighters remain at the top of the Belikin Cup competition standings
The Belize Premier League Belikin Cup competition 2013 continued over the weekend with a number of games across the country. The three games played over the weekend all ended in an identical 1-1 draw. On Sunday, December 1, at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, the home team San Ignacio United and the Belize Defence Force played to a 1-1 draw. The home team San Ignacio United was the first to get onto the scoreboard when Carlos Vasquez scored the first goal of the game in the 29th minute of play to give his team a 1-0 lead. The San Ignacio United team took the 1-0 lead well into the 2nd half of the game before the visiting Belize Defence Force was able to score. The Belize Defence Force finally got onto the scoreboard when Kahlil Velasquez scored the equalising goal in the 89th minute of play. Out at the Toledo Union Field in Punta Gorda Town, the visiting defending champions Police United and the home team Paradise/Freedom Fighters also played to a 1-1 draw. The host team Paradise/Freedom Fighters was able to get on the scoreboard first when Alexander Peters scored the only goal for his team in the 85th minute of play to give his team a temporary lead. However, the temporary lead was short lived as Bernard Linares scored the equalising goal for Police United in the 86th minute of play.

David Henderson wins Twilight Criterium
The Belize Cycling Association in collaboration with the Belize City Council sponsored its usual Thursday night criterium on November 28, 2013. In the Junior race which was 30mins and 5 laps on the Marine Parade , 1st place went to Delawn Abraham who completed the course in a time of 43.20. Darrian Anderson finished second in a time of 47.05 and third place went to Darrell Garcia in a time of 50.17. In the Elite race which was 45mins and 5 laps along the course, 1st place went to David Henderson of Benny’s Megabytes who completed the race in a time of 59.55 mins. Henderson’s team-mate Byron Pope finished second while Richard Santiago who is unattached finished third in a time of 60.58.

Belize City Mayor’s Cup rolls on at the MCC
The 2013 Belize City Mayor’s Cup competition continued last week at the MCC Grounds. On Saturday, November 30, in the first game played, Kulture Yabra edged Ladyville Jaguars by the score of 3-1. Edward Rubio scored 2 goals while Withfield Fisher scored the other goal for Kulture Yabra. For Ladyville Jaguars, the only goal of the game was scored by Erick Garcia. In game two, Kephawn Pawn Shop won over complex Admirals via the default route. In the final game of the day, West Lake won handily from Tulish by the score of 5-0. The goal scorers for West Lake were Delory Andrews (2), David McCauley Jr., Melhern Hernandez, and Nigel Franklin. On Thursday, November 28, in the only game played, Kephawn Pawn Shop defeated Hattieville United by the score of 5-2. The goal scorers for Kephawn Pawn Shop were Kenroy Martin, Kareem Flowers and Francis Lemott while Dalton Cayetano scored 2 goals. For Hattieville United, the goals were scored by Dejean Thompson and Ralph Spain. The competition then continued on Wednesday November 27, where Fort George defeated Ebony by the score of 5-0. The goal scorers for Fort George were Raymond Marin, Tyrone Muschamp, Francis Andrews and Clinton Gill who scored 2 goals.

Do We Have the Will?
Activities for the annual observation of 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women are being promoted once more to raise awareness about this important issue. Essential as it is to remind everyone that this issue must be addressed, it is important to evaluate whether heightened awareness has reduced violence. Sadly, the data indicates that violence against women has not been reduced. This may be partly because more women are reporting violence rather than just accepting it as a fact of life, but the fact remains that violence against women is still a huge problem. Awareness can therefore be seen as a necessary but not sufficient component in reducing gender violence. Violence occurs when there is a real or perceived power imbalance between the parties involved and thus the perpetrator feels free to inflict violence on the victim. Actions to redress this imbalance must therefore be an integral part of the response and this means that we must address the inequity of female representation within the decision making apparatus. Only 36 lower houses of parliament worldwide have reached the 30% threshold considered necessary for women to have a meaningful impact on political decision making. By this measure the United Kingdom at 23% and the United States of America at 18% both fail, and Belize with 3% elected females and less than 10% counting appointees is very near the bottom of the pile. Contending for political office is a daunting task for anyone but for a multitude of reasons the system is even more difficult to navigate for women than for men. This includes lack of role models, lack of family and social support, fear of violence, fear of lost reputation and multiple family responsibilities that leave little time for running a political campaign. Women are generally uncomfortable with adversarial systems, and through socialisation and maybe biology they are generally modest and reticent about promoting their own competence and other virtues. (Numerous studies have shown this effect in business, politics and other social occasions.)

Ecumenical and Candle Light Vigil held in San Ignacio Town
An Ecumenical and candle light vigil was held near the Columbus Park in San Ignacio Town this past Sunday. The events formed part of the Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence and was organized by the Women’s Department. In the short religious service near the San Ignacio Police Station, residents from Benque Viejo del Carmen, San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town, dressed in purple, pink and other colors, listening attentively to the broadcast messages. (There were women dressed in purple and bright orange, signifying awareness against domestic violence and red clothing to observe World Aids Day. Bright orange is worn on the 25th of every month) “As we go through these 16 days of Activism, I pray that we will be women of fire, women of Spirit and women of purpose…men, you were not created to abuse us and abandon us; you were made to support us,” stated Sherilyn Flowers, a Professor from the Eden Seventh Day Adventist High School in Santa Elena Town. The congregation then proceeded to walk in pairs with candles along the principal streets of San Ignacio, with the San Ignacio Community Policing Unit at the lead. The event held Sunday also coincides with World Aids Day.

Norwegian Cruise Line Brings Christmas Cheer to Belize City Children
On Wednesday, December 4th, over two hundred children from Belize City received Christmas gifts from Norwegian Cruise Line at the Belize Tourism Board’s Annual Children Christmas Party on the grounds of the House of Culture. Minister of Tourism and Culture, Hon. Manuel Heredia, says the Children Christmas Party is the event he looks most forward to. He says, “There is nothing like seeing the joy on these children’s faces at this event. This party is what gets me into the Christmas spirit.” In a brief greeting to the children, Heredia thanked the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association for partnering with the Belize Tourism Board to make the party an annual event. Alro Cansino, Destination Planning and Development Assistant of the BTB, says the majority of the children are from the Dorothy Menzies Child Care Center and the St. John’s Anglican Primary School. Organizers invite children from Dorothy Menzies and a different primary school each year. This year a number of invitations were also given to community organizations in Lake Independence, Queen Square, Port Loyola and Collet constituencies. Cansino says the organizing committee was granted a waiver by the Ministry of Finance to bring in the gifts from Norwegian free of duty.

Long time government Worker loses Life in Traffic Mishap
Efrain Cowo, 41, a long standing employee of the Ministry of Rural Development, was killed on Friday night in a traffic accident between mile 46 and 47 on the Western Highway. Just before 5 p.m., Government Employee Ernesto Banner was driving a white Isuzu D-Max, which belonged to GOB, he was accompanied by 25 year-old Ginnie Neal, 29 year-old Kendra Arnold, and Cowo, who were passengers in the vehicle. When they arrived at that location on the highway, Banner lost control of the vehicle and slammed head-on into a green Ford Explorer, being driven at the time by 45 year-old Bert Ramos, who had 22 year-old Avery Flores and 19 year-old Chevon Williams in his vehicle with him at the time. All 7 persons suffered varying degrees of head and bodily injuries and had to be rushed to Western Regional Hospital. Phillip Willoughby, Belize City Councillor with responsibility for Emergency Management, was very instrumental in the first response after the accident happened. He activated immediately and ensured that everyone was able to arrive on time. Nevertheless, medical practitioners did everything they could to save Cowo's life, but the extent of his injuries were too severe, and he passed away while being treated.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Is Sand Being Transported Off The Island?
There are unconfirmed reports that sand is being transported from the Bahia area unto a barge at the back pier to be taken to San Pedro. If it is indeed true, don’t we need this sand for our streets? What does the Village Council think of this?


In Belize time often flies too fast
A week has flown past in the blink of an eye and the dog ate my what I did for American thanksgiving day post :) Thankfully the pictures were saved and I am doing it again today, unfortunately minus the salon first turkey after. Since we do not have a a local Oriental medicine clinic to choose a professionals from, Cindy and Andy’s reports of a woman that comes from Belize City and does affordable, enjoyable and successful treatments were enough for us to want to get on the treatment list asap. In case you are not totally familiar with benefits of acupuncture and getting a treatment: it can relieve pain, reduce symptoms and balance the body. The acupuncturist may insert up to 20 different needles at various points and you will feel a small prick when the needle is inserted. Keep in mind that pain is subjective, and many people experience little or no pain from acupuncture while for others it may be stronger.

Experience Mayan Culture in Southern Belize: It’s SERIOUSLY Hard Work!
The Living Maya Experience is a relatively new initiative and home visit that you should go on when you are in the Punta Gorda area. You spend time in one or two homes that offer a very cool look back into a culture that is quickly disappearing…a time when the Kek’chi Maya depended on the land for everything from food to furniture to medicine. I mean EVERYTHING. Since my life may be the complete opposite (lots of Internet time & microwave popcorn)…my friend Jackie and I thought this would be super interesting. And we were right. We also found that we are naturally gifted in areas that we didn’t even know about. Jackie, naturally talented at stone grinding masa and me? I’ve got skills at weaving tai tai baskets. At all the other skills, we were pretty crap. But it was certainly fun trying. A balsa bark bed. We drove the 15 miles from Punta Gorda to the village of Big Falls. (Also on the main bus route if you don’t have a car.) Our first visit was with the Cal family. On their property, they have set up a home as it would have been 50 years ago. When we arrived, some of the Cal ladies were working on the meal…Chris and Anita have 10 children. And Alva, the youngest, wants to be involved every step of the way.

Belize on the Move in More Ways than One
In local news from the far side of the world, ABC Radio (that’s the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) reports that an increasing number of aspiring doctors from India are electing to obtain their medical education in Belize. We admit to missing the actual broadcast, but the tagline under the transcript’s headline for the 2 December 2013 broadcast, “Indian students head for China, Russia, Nepal to study medicine” stated “More and more Indian students are heading to countries like Russia, China, Nepal and Belize to obtain medical degrees.” Now that caught our eyes, especially as it follows our media release and blog of 24 October 2013 “Chaa Creek Welcomes News of Medical Tourism in Belize” which said that “The Lodge at Chaa Creek said it is closely watching the newly-formed Belize Medical Tourism Association, which has recently been announced in the International Medical Travel Journal.” That news release quoted The Belize Trade and Investment Development Services (BELTRAIDE) as saying, “Belize possesses a number of competitive advantages that put the country in a good position to become a medical tourism destination. Those are proximity to the US, being an English speaking country, branding as a top natural tourism destination, famous retirement destination, and experience with dental tourism.”

Practicing the lionfish spearing, then dissection and dinner!

Cooking with Flavors of Belize & Chef Sean Kuylen - Shrimp Tostones
Belizean Cooking at its Best! The premiere of Cooking with Flavors of Belize featuring Chef Sean Kuylen. On the menu is Shrimp Tostones with Guacamole all the way from San Pedro's Red Ginger Restaurant at the Phoenix Hotel.

International Sources

An Ancient City Is Discovered Underwater. What They Found Will Change History Forever
The city of Heracleion was engulfed underwater 1500 years ago. This grand city had been mentioned by the Greek writer Herodotus, the 5th-century BC historian. He had told a wonderful tale of Helen of Troy, who traveled to Heracleion, then a port of 'great wealth', with her Trojan lover, Paris. When French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio stumbled upon some relics, it led them to one of the greatest finds of the 21st century; a city underwater. The discovery took place when Goddio had been in search of Napoleon’s warships from the 1798 Battle of the Nile, when he had been defeated by Nelson in these very waters, but to his surprise, he stumbled upon this magnificent discovery. The discoveries include the colossal statues of the Egyptian goddess Isis, the god Hapi, and an unidentified Egyptian pharaoh, all preserved in excellent condition by their muddy burial shroud. Along with these 16ft statues there are hundreds of smaller statues of Egyptian gods, among them the figures that guarded the temple where Cleopatra who was inaugurated as Queen of the Nile. Dozens of sarcophagi have also been found, containing the bodies of mummified animals sacrificed to Amun-Gereb, the supreme god of the Egyptians. Many amulets, or religious charms, have been unearthed, too, showing gods such as Isis, Osiris and Horus.

The Most Important Image Captured By Hubble
In 1996, scientists took a huge risk when they pointed the Hubble telescope to an inky field that they believed to be void of stars and planets. As images from Hubble are in constant demand, the worry was that devoting so much time to a black space would prove futile. Once the photons finally registered, though, that leap of faith proved fruitful: light from over three thousand galaxies illuminated the image. A few years and missions later, Hubble’s glimpse into what is known as the deep field has revealed that we are just one tiny part of a vast system comprising 100 billion galaxies.

Forget flying cars, check out these cool flying robots
These awesome flying robots are taking unmanned flight in new directions. Watch them hover like a bee, flap like a bird and bounce like a ball. The Distributed Flight Array system consists of multiple six-sided flying units -- each with its own motors, sensors, propeller and power source -- that join together in various configurations to form a larger vehicle. The individual units are unstable in the air, but when they are combined via magnets they form a stable system that can hover for several minutes. It's being developed by the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control at ETH Zurich and is intended as a research and teaching tool.

Where to Go in December: 20 Places to Travel Now
With hurricane season over, now is a good time to dodge the January crowds and make the most of sun-soaked Belize. While you'll likely have to pay high season prices traveling this month, it's the perfect weather for taking in the country's varied sights, from delving into Mayan history on a tour of ancient Xunantunich and the vast Caracol archaeological site, to lounging on a beach along the Caribbean coast. Belize is also renowned for its adventure activities, so head to the island of Ambergris Caye where you can enjoy snorkeling, zip lining and tubing, or go scuba diving at the incredible Great Blue Hole.

5 Incredible Grand Tours You Can Actually Afford
Central America for the trail-blazing history buff Highlights: Tour ancient ruins and jungles in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Dreaming of visiting the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, Palenque, Chichén Itzá, Tikal, and Copán? This extensive small-group tour starts in Mexico City with a vast cultural tour of Mexico -- explore the colonial buildings of Puebla, Oaxaca, and San Cristobal de las Casas before heading north to the Yucatán cities of Palenque, Mérida, and Playa del Carmen. Next, you'll cross the border to Belize and soak up the Central American sun in Caye Caulker, before heading south to Flores, Guatemala -- shop for the perfect souvenir at the local markets of Chichicastenango and take time to roam the colorful city of Antigua. Ponder the past at the Mayan ruins in Copán and relax on the beaches of Roatán Island during your time in Honduras. From here, the tour heads south through Granada and Ometepe Island in Nicaragua before finishing up with trips to Costa Rica's tropical cloud forests, Arenal Volcano National Park, and San José, the country's capitol city. The breakdown: You'll end up spending $69 per day including all ground transportation, guided tours, and 45 nights' accommodations in hotels, one night in a local homestay, and one night on an overnight bus. Intrepid Travel's Central America Explorer, from $3,195 for a 46-day trip. Average group size: 16 people.

Snorkeling Shark-Ray Alley, Belize
Snorkeling at Shark Ray Alley off Ambergris Caye offers the chance to snorkel with southern sting rays and nurse sharks. This is an old fishing boat cleaning spot and the marine life come alive anytime a boat anchors.

December 5, 2013


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

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

The San Pedro Sun

Canada contributes to enhanced security in Belize
Today the Canadian High Commissioner to Belize, Stuart Savage, and Belize’s Chief Executive Officer for National Security, George Lovell, participated in an event to witness the delivery of equipment valued at more than $1.2 million to the Belize Defence Forces (BDF). This donation is made possible by Canada’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program through its Department of National Defence. “Canada is pleased to contribute to Belize’s capacity to combat transnational organized crime and to provide greater overall security for the Belizean people,” said High Commissioner Savage. “Canada will continue to work with Belize and our other Central American partners to help strengthen security institutions and increase capacity to respond to immediate security threats in our hemisphere.” “The Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) continues to work with our international partners in support of Government of Canada initiatives,” said Brigadier-General Denis Thompson, Commander CANSOFCOM. “By assisting our partners in increasing their capabilities to combat crime domestically, there will be a direct impact on the security of North America. Our partnership in Belize has been positive and mutually beneficial.”

World AIDS Day: “Together We Can”
December 1st is internationally recognized as World AIDS Day, and it is a day to educate and raise awareness on HIV/AIDS. The San Pedro AIDS Commission held several events to observe this significant day. 9AM brought a group of supporters together for a walk commemorating those who are fighting HIV/AIDS and in memory of those who have succumbed to the deadly virus. The Isla Bonita All Star Marching Band led the walk through the island of San Pedro Town. Also present was Mayor Daniel Guerrero and his San Pedro Town Councilors, Miss San Pedro Solani Graniel, Miss San Pedro Lions Arlethe Lima, Miss San Pedro High School Chelsea Muñoz and Miss Chiquitita Zillah Flota.

Ambergris Today

Jehovah’s Witnesses Invite to The Convention- “God’s Word Is Truth”
Jehovah’s Witnesses are convinced that the positive message and practical suggestions that will be presented at the Six District Conventions will be of benefit to all. The convention theme is “God’s Word Is Truth”. This theme is significant because it underscores a core family value for Jehovah’s Witnesses families. Witness families embrace the Bible as the most trustworthy guide and source of advice in these troubled times and feel the public will likewise benefit and enjoy the various and practical program. Two dramas will highlight the lessons learned from two actual Bible accounts. The conventions will all be held at the Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, located on Lord’s Bank Road, Ladyville, with the first one starting this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Over the next six consecutive weekends, attendees will include congregations in English, Spanish, and Creole. The program will also be available in American Sign Language, December 6 – 8th at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Belize City Cemetery Road; Trial Farm Orange Walk; San Pedro and December 27 – 29 in San Ignacio. Special invitations to these six conventions will be distributed throughout all of Belize among the 56 Congregations countrywide. Admission is free, as Witness conventions are covered by voluntary contributions and no collections are taken. It is estimated that over 4,000 will attend all the various conventions. Program Chairman’s Office Brendon Brooks 604-8725 News Service Department Dennis Sunderman 610-0353

Trip Advisor has Ambergris Caye as Destination on the Rise
Earlier this year island residents and all of Belize celebrated when La Isla Bonita, Ambergris Caye, was named the Number 1 Island in the World by Trip Advisor. It was a great honor to know that the award comes from actual travelers who voted for Ambergris Caye as their favorite island destination. This week we discover that Ambergris Caye is in yet another Hot List on Trip Advisor. La Isla Bonita has been listed as Number 6 on Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice ‘Top 10 Destinations on the Rise’. It solidifies the voters’ decision in naming the island #1 in the world and proves that Ambergris Caye, Belize is an up and coming top contender in world travel destinations. Need we say more? Below is what Trip Advisor posted for Ambergris Caye at #6 in the Top 10 Destinations on the Rise list: “Ambergris Caye hovers in a vacation sweet spot: just enough amenities to make it exciting, but not so overdeveloped that you’re tripping over flip-flopped tourists. A mangrove swamp is the eye of this white beach island, the largest in Belize, and golf carts are the main form of transportation along the sandy roads. Reef divers drool over the Belize Barrier Reef and the Blue Hole, a 400-feet deep circle of limestone that teems with angelfish, elkhorn coral, cleaner shrimp and stalactites.”

The U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance Helps Belizean Flood Victims
The U.S. Office of Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) has donated USD $10,000 to the Belize Red Cross Society to help assist the residents and families affected by the flooding with the purchase of drinking water, rain boots, hygiene kits, cleaning supplies and fuel for transport of relief supplies to areas affected by flash flood in San Ignacio and Santa Elena. On Wednesday, November 13, 2013, a flash flood hit the San Ignacio and Santa Elena area and washed out a bridge and wreaked havoc on the area. According to residents, waters over six feet high slammed into their houses and families were fortunate to evacuate in time. There were estimates of another one thousand residents in Crooked Tree that have been affected by the floods and that it will take at least two months for the water to subside.

Tropic Air is Making Things Happen
After traveling to Roatan, Honduras, on Tropic Air’s inaugural flight on November 13, 2013, and posting a little glimpse into my travels, adventures, dining and accommodations, the feedback from family, friends, readers of Ambergris Today Online and my followers on Facebook, as well as other social media outlets, has been tremendous. They not only want to know more about Roatan, but also about my personal experiences on the island. Tropic Air’s non-stop service between Roatan, Honduras, and Belize City’s Phillip Goldson International Airport is an excellent addition to the airline’s existing international flights to neighboring countries around Central America and Mexico. Tropic Air’s other international routes include Cancun (Mexico), Flores (Guatemala) and San Pedro Sula (Honduras) in addition to its 11 domestic destinations within Belize. Conversations that I have had with Tropic Air personnel have indicated that their Roatan flight is already a big success, launching with positive numbers. The inaugural flight was fully booked. Tropic Air's Belize connection with Roatan, Honduras, opens up other opportunities for the tourism market as hotels from both destinations can reap the benefits by partnering up for great vacation packages. I can tell you that the business people we talked to in Roatan are very happy with the convenient new connection.

Misc Belizean Sources

Presentation of the exhibition "Death is allowed" of Jose Guadalupe Posada.
The Embassy of Mexico cordially invites you to attend on Thursday, December 5th at 18:30 hrs. in the gallery of the Institute of Mexico in Belize City, to honor the opening of the exhibition "Death has permission" with works by important Mexican illustrator José Guadalupe Posada, on the centenary of his death. The exhibition consists of 59 works, which are facsimile reproductions of some of the most significant prints of great Mexican artist and engraver.

An issue of critical importance to the people of Dangriga in southern Belize
The article by Mr Wellington Ramos addresses an issue of critical importance to the people of Dangriga, in southern Belize, and those in surrounding communities that depend on the North Stann Creek River watershed for their sustenance. Thanks very much for bringing this issue to the fore. Water IS life. Any pollution of that vital resource affects the health of the people and indeed other life. It is unfortunate that several companies in Belize are not held to rigorous standards with strict monitoring to protect our water sources. Within the past few years, for example, Belizeans have seen incidents of the floating of hundreds of dead fish in the New River near the sugar factory. The level of pollution noted in Dangriga is alarming and the citizens must be immediately alerted. The town council, village councils, area representatives, health and environmental authorities as well as the citizens must immediately act to ensure that this situation is corrected. Certainly we wouldn't want to see illness and death before corrective and preventive measures are taken.

Cooking with Flavors of Belize & Chef Sean Kuylen - Fish Filet Bruschetta
On the Flavors of Belize menu tonight is Fish Filet Bruschetta! Chef Kuylen prepares this delectable recipe submitted by popular local hotspot - The Riverside Tavern. Located in Belize City, they're known for their original menu items, a mean burger, and a very happy happy hour. A recipe that is especially appropriate for this time of year as they make for the perfect finger food for your Thanksgiving or Christmas parties if you want to infuse a little Belizean flavor into the mix.

Channel 7

12 Year Old Sabrina Died Of A Sports Injury
Tonight, one small child is dead and another is injured after a horrible accident in the city this evening. 4 year old Jaston Terry was killed on Cemetery Road in Belize City while his older brother was injured. Our team is just back from the scene and Monica Bodden will have the full story with eyewitness accounts for you a little later in the newscast. But first, an update to the news of the death of another child… The post mortem on 12 year old Sabrina Almendarez finished last night and it determined that she died from a sports injury, not a tetanus shot. Pathologist Dr. Hugh Sanchez found that there was “blunt trauma to the right forehead” as a consequence of a sports injury. The death certificate says she died of broncho-aspiration and noted cerebral edema and cerebral hemorrhage as complications which led to her death. Audrey Matura-Shepherd - Attorney for Almendarez Family "Like the family said, they never knew what caused her death, and so, the post mortem was important. The results of the post mortem is rather alarming because what has revealed is that she died broncho-aspiration. What the doctor explained to us that means is that she had a trauma on her head. As a result of that trauma on her head, her brain was bleeding, and the brain was swollen. And as the brain got more swollen, and the blood filled the cavity of the skull, it pressed down on the rest of the organs in her head. That then went to her trachea, and as a result, of that, she suffocated. So, she last her breath, but the real original cause is that injury on top of her head. That is the cause of her death.

Justin West Wanted For Radisson Embezzlement
Police have released the name and photo of the former accounts payables clerk at the Radisson. He is Justin West, a 26 year old resident of Rivero Street in Belize City and Lord’s Bank. But now, police say he is on the run in the USA, and the wanted poster quotes a US address, as Los Angeles, California, West Adams area, at the corners of Jefferson and Western. Now that’s in South Central LA and is in the middle of the area where many Belizeans live, but that address will only take you here, at an intersection – so police probably aren’t going to find him there. But, they’re determined to smoke him out, by putting out this wanted poster, which serves kind of like an international all-points bulletin. It says that he is wanted in connection with the theft of 186 thousand dollars from the Radisson Fort George between August 2102 and September 2013. As we reported, West, who has a sixth form education, used his accounting skills to trick the system at Radisson. As an accounts payable clerk, he would generate false invoices from known suppliers, and get the higher up’s to make out cheques to pay off the invoices.

Woman Murdered in Belmopan
Belmopan police are tonight investigating the murder of 29 year-old Zoila Elizabeth Garcia, a resident of the Las Flores area of Belmopan. Garcia is a well-known BTL and SMART! phone top agent, and her family believes that sometime before 8 p.m., she was going to deposit her earnings to her boss, and that’s when someone ambushed her, shot her in the head, left her on the street and stole the money. That’s one of two theories that investigators are looking into, and today, ASP Sinquest Martinez updated the media about what his officers have discovered so far: ASP Sinquest Martinez - OC, Belmopan Police "Police were on mobile patrol last night, when they came across Elizabeth Garcia's body. We processed the scene; the body was taken to the Western Regional Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival by the doctor. So far, what we have gathered is that there are two different angles that were are following as it pertains to this investigation. I am not at liberty to divulge them because that could have an impact on the investigation. We are following them; the post-mortem, as we speak, is being conducted in Belize City, today. We have no leads as yet. We need to establish those; we need to find a motive. We have one person detained."

Third Form Female Stabbed With Compass Outside School Gate
There are two disturbing cases of violence or the threat of violence near Southside Belize City high schools to report tonight. A 17 year old female in third form was attacked and stabbed with a compass when she was leaving Gwen Lizarraga High school yesterday afternoon at 3:20. She told police that another female student had been harassing her for weeks and calling her names. Well, when she walked out of the campus, the student and her 25 year old sister, Shandi Tillett, known as Chucky were waiting for her. She told police that she ignored them, but seconds later, Chucky ran up on her, wrapped her left hand around her neck and punch her in the face with the other hand. The 17 year old says she felt a burning sensation under her eye and saw blood flowing down her face which is when she fell to the ground. She says the group of girls then crowded her and kicked her in the ribs. She said she saw Chucky running away and spotted a shiny object on the street side that looked like a compass – the kind you would find in a geometry set. A doctor certified the injury as a wound on her left cheek.

Driver Knocked Down And Killed Child On Sidewalk
This evening in Belize City a four year old was killed when he was run over as he stood on a sidewalk with his older brother. It is a horrible accident – and as Monica Bodden found out, onlookers were outraged at the driver. Here’s her story: Monica Bodden Reporting The lifeless body of 4 year old Jaston Terry lay on the sidewalk - where he was knocked down and died on impact. Eyewitness Voice of: Eyewitness "When we see the white van, it sped pass my business on the sidewalk." Reporter "Did you hear the child scream or anything like that?" Voice of: Eyewitness "No, I couldn't." 4 year old Terry was standing on the sidewalk along with his older brother waiting on a bus to go home - when this white van from out of nowhere made its way onto the sidewalk - running over the child and then knocking down this sign.

14 Year Old At Gwen Liz Tells Pol He Needs Firearm For Personal Safety
In our last segment we told you about a violent incident at Gwen Lizaragga high school. Well there is another concerning case coming from a high school is at Maude Williams High where a 14 year old second former has told police he needs to carry a gun for protection not in school, but on the streets. It all came to light yesterday afternoon when classes were dismissed at 3:50. Precinct two Police got information that a student was carrying a weapon and responded quickly. They found the student about to get into a van. A constable searched his school bag and in the small front Pocket he found a Black CZ nine millimeter pistol brand with an empty clip. The serial number had been filed off and he had no license for the weapon. The teenager was then placed under arrest for carrying an unlicensed firearm. He told the police that he receives threats on his way home. He was with two other students – who are both from the same neighborhood – which is across the bridge, meaning the youths have to cross multiple gang territories when they walk home. That is why, we understand, they are dropped to and from school on most days.

Yohnny Says BTB Playing Games With Him For Being Outspoken
Anyone who watches the news should know Yhony Rosado, the outspoken member of FECTAB. But, that’s what he does when no cruise ships are in port. On days like today when four ships made call in Belize City, Rosado is a top level tour operator, moving hundreds of tourists in his busses. But this morning, BTB threatened to seriously cramp his style when they said he couldn’t legally carry passengers because his company’s tour guide license had expired. Now, a license is two hundred and fifty dollars and Rosado has a multi-million dollar operation – not to mention his internet reputation as reliable operator to maintain. So why wouldn’t he pay a few hundred dollars for a license? Well, he did pay it, but BTB never registered it in their system properly. So, in their end of year review it came up as unpaid – which would make Yhony’s operation illegal! We met him at the tourism village this morning upset and alleging a conspiracy: Yhony Rosado - Tour Operator "We came out this morning, and the personnel from BTB were claiming that my tour operating licenses are up. They were supposedly expired from September. I couldn't be operating from September, October, November, and December without a licenses. All of a sudden, 4 cruise ships are out there but they are penalizing me because I am one of the most outspoken person through FECTAB. If they want to shut me up, then just do the right things. FECTAB is all about fighting for the crumbs. All they try to do is quiet us. They cannot quiet the president of FECTAB, Mr. Tom, because we are crying because we can't make a living anymore. We been doing this long before PUP, long before UDP, and suddenly, under this Government, we cannot make it. The last time we met with the Government, the Prime Minister treated us so nicely, and we decided that the government of the day is down-to-earth. But all the hammering that has been falling on us is ridiculous."

Convicted By Fingerprints
48 year old Luis Romero, a.k.a. “Sho”, is spending his second night in prison after he was sentenced to 7 years yesterday by the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. He changed his plea after he was confronted with AFIX finger printing evidence from police that he was at the scene of a burglary. As we had reported, Romero burglarized the home of Traffic Manager Kevon Jenkins, around 8 a.m. on January 28, 2013. Jenkins reported to the police that at about 9:30 a.m. he received a call from one of his neighbours and when he arrived home he saw that the burglar bars of one of his windows had been pried open and 3 louvers were missing. He told police that the items that were stolen included jewellery, fashion jewellery, a pair of high heeled shoes and $150 dollars cash. When the police arrived at the scene they found the louvers on a bed and they lifted finger prints from the louvers. It was the prints they found on the louvers which led to the arrest of Romero, because the prints matched his.

B-Sag Gets Big Money Donation
On the news from time we have reports involving the Belize Special Assignment Group, or B-Sag as they are called. But who is this highly specialized military unit? We found out today when they got a lavish donation. Here’s the story from Price Barracks in Ladyville: Jules Vasquez Reporting The B-SAG, or Belize Special Assignment Group is the BDf’s Special Forces: Brigadier General David Jones - Commander, BDF "B-SAG is our special forces unit. This unit was created about 7 years ago, primarily for terrorism training, for any terrorist attack that may come into Belize, or any high-risk, danger operation, hostage rescue, or search and rescue. These guys are our elite forces. A soldier is trained to kill; these guys in the Special Forces are trained to do it even more efficiently, or even better. They have been training with the US Special Forces for the past almost 7 years now. The US Special Forces and the Canadian Special Forces work closely together, and since we work closely with the Canadians as well, there is a hand-off for a period, where the Canadians have volunteered and are willing to come and train, and continue the training with these special forces here that we have, at least for the next 3 years. So, they are committed; starting last month, Canadian Special Forces are going to be training our B-SAG for the next 3 years."

Taiwanese On Tourism
It has become an annual event where the Taiwanese Embassy in Belize hosts an End of Year Luncheon and Experience-Sharing, in which they discuss a topic of importance which they are able to speak on as observers. This year, the theme of the Luncheon was “Tourism” and the President of the BTIA, Herbert Haylock, who had visited Taiwan earlier in the year, was invited to address the gathering. In keeping with theme, at this year’s luncheon, the speakers made sure to compare the successes that Belize and Taiwan have been having in their respective tourism industries. After the event, the Taiwanese Ambassador spoke to the media, and he shared some of his observations about Belize, and what he’s seen as important things the country has done right, and things which need to be worked on. He told 7News today that Belize’s rich cultural experience and natural resources still remain untapped: In his address to the gathering, Ambassador Wu commented that as an observer, he would like to see more Belizean artisans on the front lines.

BTL Park Opening Pushed Back By Rains
At a projected cost of 1.4 million dollars, the BTL park is projected to be the most expensive public space in Belize City’s history. It was supposed to be opened this coming weekend, but, time’s up on the project and the much-hyped countdown is off, for the time being at least. That’s because of the rains which put back work significantly. The contractor tells us that 150 workers on and off site are going at it 7 days a week to make a new opening date, which the mayor says is December 20th. We’ll keep following the progress...

City Quick To Repair Streets
And while the park is on 7 day a week work timing, the Belcan roundabout was paved at night! It opened yesterday and is fully concreted – which probably should have been done from it was first developed 15 years ago. Today, after a few grueling days of intense traffic jams, traffic was flowing as normal in the area. Work has also started on Neal;s Pen road. As we reported, the street was paved just this year, but was poorly built and only lasted a few months before it was overtaken by major pot holes. That street is now, form the looks of it being entirely re-surfaced.

Mali's New Book
2 years ago, showed you the first children’s illustrated book published by Mali Cayetano, the daughter of well-known Garifuna artist Pen Cayetano. That book, called “We are Free”, paved the way for her on the local artist’s scene, and it was written and illustrated with the assistance of her mother, Ingrid and her brother, Ibo. Well, today, she released a sequel called “Wanaragua”. It follows up with the characters introduced in “We Are Free”, and those who choose to take the journey with them, get to learn about this very important ceremonial dance from the Garifuna. Cayetano is studying in Germany, and so today, her mother and father, Ingrid and Pen Cayetano, launched the book in Belize City at the Leo Bradley Library. 7News stopped by and spoke with Ingrid about why the public should support this budding artist, who came up with the concept while doing her master’s thesis. Here’s what she told us:

FCCA Keeps Giving

Channel 5

Accident leaves one child dead and another hospitalized
There was a terrible traffic accident this afternoon immediately in front of the Belizean Chinese Fast Food restaurant on Cemetery Road. A white van hit two school children, one died [...]

Businesswoman murdered execution style
There has been a reduction in the murder statistics in the City, but the count notched up today by one in the Capital. On Tuesday night, a businesswoman from the [...]

Sabrina’s family receives autopsy results
Twelve year old Sabrina Almendarez will be laid to rest on Thursday in Independence. The young athlete and star pitcher was pronounced dead early Friday morning at the Southern Regional [...]

Family awaits full analysis in hope that there is a connection with the tetanus shot and Sabrina’s death
What the family has been given at this point is just a preliminary report of the autopsy. Samples have been taken of different organs for further analysis. It is hoped [...]

Justin West wanted by Belize Police Department
The Belize Police Department has issued a wanted poster for twenty-six year old Justin West, a resident of Lord’s Bank who is believed to have fled to the United States. [...]

B.D.F. and Coast Guard receives over one million dollars in specialized equipment
Two weeks ago the U.S. Government gifted the B.D.F. and Coast Guard with over one million dollars in specialized equipment, to be used primarily for capacity enhancement. That early Thanksgiving [...]

BSAG gets new equipment and gear
The equipment and gear will all be used specifically by the Belize Special Assignment Group in their operations in the country. BSAG is an elite unit of the B.D.F., tasked [...]

Belize gets a B minus slash B credit rating from S and P
Belize is facing plenty trouble from the European Union over illegal fishing in the high seas and an even more dangerous threat from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force because [...]

“Chucky” charged with wounding of a sixteen year old student
Today, the woman who reportedly went to a high school and attacked a student over her younger sister was arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court.  She is twenty-five year [...]

Cayetano family launches “Wanaragua”
There is a new publication, a children’s book, to add to your home library. It took approximately a year to put together by the gifted Cayetano Family. Artist Pen Cayetano [...]

Taiwanese embassy hosts annual end of year luncheon
The Taiwanese Embassy today hosted its annual end of year Christmas luncheon with its partners in tourism to express its appreciation to the good relations with stakeholders. Although both countries [...]

Florida Caribbean Cruise Association bring cheer to the needy
Every year the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association partners with the Belize Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism to bring cheer to needy children. About two hundred children headed up [...]


Post Mortem Results Leave More Questions Than Answers
The post mortem conducted on the body of 12 year old Sabrina Almendarez of Independence Village concluded after 7 o’clock last night. The results of the autopsy disprove what most of the public believe. The cause of death was not due to the tetanus injection Almendarez received prior to her death. But the results have raised more questions than answers. The death certificate states that the 12 year old dancer and sport enthusiast died from bleeding and swelling of the brain that resulted in her being asphyxiated. The death certificate further states that the findings are consistent with “blunt trauma to the right forehead” and what has raised many eyebrows is that no external signs that are consistent with the findings. Attorney for the family, Audrey Matura-Shepherd addressed this shocking revelation. AUDREY MATURA SHEPHERD “Sabrina Abrianna Almendarez died from bronco aspiration, cerebral odema, and right inter-cerebral hemorrhage due to blunt trauma to the right forehead. So that simply means, as the doctor had explained to me is that the brain was damaged and was hemorrhaging due to a severe trauma to the right frontal lobe of the head. What is interesting however is that during that finding there was no external evidence of any injury which is a puzzling one for everyone so far. What happened, he explained is that the brain filled and then it was bleeding and eventually because nothing was done to reduce the swelling, that swelling became so severe that it was pressing down on everything in the skull and then that pressing down actually press down on the trachea therefore blocking the air to her lungs and therefore she suffocated and died, which is not what anybody expected.”

Canada Supplies Belize with Military Gear and Equipment
Commander of the Belize Defense Force, Brigadier General David Jones, today received equipment, tools and military gear worth over 1.2 million Canadian dollars from Canadian High Commissioner to Belize, Stuart Savage. The equipment is specifically to help Belize in its reconnaissance capabilities in its fight against illicit drug activity, organized crime and terrorism. It comes as part of Canada’s regional effort in the Americas – an investment commitment of 25 million Canadian dollars. But while Belize gets to benefit from the regional investment, it is also a choice location for Canadian military training. STUART SAVAGE “We have chosen Belize as a country of focus for our military and political cooperation. This is just one part of a broader range of engagements that has been going on with Belize since the 1980s and many Belizeans coming to Canada for training and Canadians coming here and also joint training regionally for the Caribbean.” Locally, the specialized unit trained to utilize the equipment is known as the Special Assignment Group or B-SAG for short. B-SAG’s capabilities have now been significantly upgraded, according to Lt. Col. Hank Szelecz, the Commanding Officer of the Canadian Special Forces. Lt. Col. Hank Szelecz “The equipment centres around soldier systems and that’s to enhance the capabilities of the soldiers themselves and with the training provided by Canadian Armed Forces Troops, it is those equipment that enhances the capabilities of the Belize Defense Force has at this time. It ranges to more advanced stuff in terms of surveillance gear which consists of camera equipment, night vision equipment, thermal imagery and then we move into some very simple stuff like tools for recovery of vehicles, during the rainy season for example that enhances the mobility of the soldiers to conduct their role.”

Toddler Dies at Hands of Reckless Driver
Traffic on Cemetery Road was interrupted for over an hour between 4:15 and 5:30 this evening to yield to investigations of a fatal traffic accident. The victim, three year old Jaston Terry, a student of Building Blocks Pre-School, was reportedly walking on the sidewalk along with his older brother, Jaheem, when a white van careened on the sidewalk and knocked them down. Based on numerous eyewitness accounts, the driver, whose name has not yet been ascertained, was attempting to overtake another vehicle when the incident happened. Love News spoke with someone who told us off-camera what she saw. Voice of Eyewitness: “We saw the little boy walking on the sidewalk and the van passed. It was going fast and it knocked down a sign as well and he continued on.” Little Jaston and died on the spot of severe head injuries. His older brother Jaheem, was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for an injured leg. The white van, which evidently also destroyed a traffic sign post in its path on the sidewalk, came to a stop about 200 feet away from the child’s body. The driver, the man in the white shirt, was detained by police and, spectators who gathered around the scene, then grew into an angry mob, gesturing at him as police gathered evidence from his vehicle and escorted him to the police vehicle.

Wanaragua – A Garifuna Tale Launched
This morning the Wanaragua Children’s book and exhibition was launched at the Leo Bradley Library in Belize City. Wanaragua is a colorful and vibrant story revolving around the Garifuna Culture in Belize. The authors of the book are Ingrid and Ibo Cayetano and the designer is Mali Cayetano. Ingrid Cayetano was on hand for the launch. INGRID CAYETANO “The book is a story on the dance of the Garifuna people called Wanaragua and we have a first book called, We Are Free and this is the follow up book with the same characters in the book. This book depicts the Garifuna culture and the preservation. It’s actually me, my daughter and my son, he is the co-author and my daughter is doing her Master’s Degree and she needed some subject and we came to the same Wanaragua topic because it is one of the most popular dances of the Garifuna people and the most beautiful elaborated costumes and so we continued on the same topic on the Garifuna culture. The book explains the next adventure of meeting this old lady in the jungle and it was dark; there is this beautiful bird and they are looking for the feathers because the crown of Mr. Cayetano you need these feathers and they are not so easy to find especially in Belize so they had to travel far to see the Arawak Indians because they are part of the Garifuna people and so they went down south to look for the Indians and to get some feathers and they came back to Dangriga to learn the steps and to have a fair at the school and to do the dance.”

Young Woman Found Dead in Football Field
Belmopan Police are investigating the apparent murder of a woman on Tuesday night. Correspondent Fem Cruz has the story. FEM CRUZ “On Tuesday night, December 3 sometime around 7:50pm, Belmopan Police were on mobile patrol in the Las Flores Area and upon reaching Marla’s House of Hope Children’s Home about two hundred yards away on the right hand side of the street saw the lifeless body of Zoila Elizabeth Garcia, a 29-year-old resident of Las Flores with what appears to be a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. Love News spoke with the father of the deceased, Lionel Garcia who told us the last time he saw her alive.” LIONEL GARCIA “The last time I saw her alive, she was taking a bath and that same time my wife said she was going to the church and my daughter told me she would take her mother to church. I went to take a bath and about half hour later when I was changing my clothes, she came back home and told me she came to return my cycle. I asked her if she wasn’t going to use the cycle and she said that there was someone waiting for her and so she is going walking and that her mom said that around nine o’clock she will call him for him to go pick her up from church.

Police Seeks Third Man For Radisson’s Missing Money
Twenty six year old Justin West is wanted by police tonight in connection to the one hundred and eighty six thousand dollars that was stolen from the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina between August 2012 and September 2013. West is the third individual who police believe was involve in the scheme. West who held the post of an accountant at the Radisson is believed to have coordinated with 24 year old Justin Lacriox and 33 year old Brian Myvette. After the company noticed that its cost on their monthly financial statements for their Food and Beverages Department was on the rise, an internal audit was conducted. Auditors discovered that the three men generated sixty cheques by their payable accounts department by inputting false invoices numbers of suppliers into the system. Lacriox has been formally arrested and charged 28 counts of uttering a forged document, 28 counts of claiming upon a forged document and 28 counts of handling stolen goods while Myvette was charged with eight counts of uttering a forged document, eight counts of claiming upon a forged document and eight counts of handling stolen goods. However, police have not been able to locate West and they are asking for your assistance to do so. West who is originally from Lords Bank Village is five feet nine inches tall, weighs about one hundred and eighty pounds and has low cut hair


US Embassy recognizes World AIDS Day
The World Day of Aids was celebrated on Sunday, December 1st all around the world under the theme “Getting to Zero”, instated in 2011. But though the official day was celebrated this weekend, the US Embassy in Belize held their World Day of AIDS symposium today; ‘better late than...

Another Burglar Sentenced to Jail
48 year old Luis Romero, a.k.a. “Sho”, was sentenced to 7 years today by the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith after he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty of burglary. Romero had asked for a fine but Chief Magistrate Smith said her hands were tied because he...

Buena Vista Chairman Steps up to Clarify his Name
Last night, reports in the local media was that the Chairman of Buena Vista, Eddie De La Rosa was detained in Melchor on alleged marijuana possession. According to the story published, De La Rosa was with some friends at the Puerta Negra Bar when they were approached by Police....

Mexican Congress Establishes the Belize-Mexico Friendship Group
The Mexican Congress has established a Belize-Mexico Friendship Group. Through the introduction of the high-level forum, Mexico’s Congresswoman Gabriela Medrano Galindo, along with Belize’s Ambassador to Mexico, H.E. Oliver del Cid, are hoping to strengthen the existing diplomatic mechanisms between the two countries, as it is an opportunity to expand...

12 Year young Sabrina’s Mysterious Death under Question
Yesterday evening an autopsy on the body of 12 year young Sabrina Almendarez of Independence, Stann Creek District, is taking place. The young girl died suddenly early on Friday morning at her home after being found motionless by her father. Known as active and healthy, she was given a combination...

Alwin Gabb Sentenced to Life Imprisonment
42 year old Alwin Gabb, convicted of the 2007 murder of Nolan Arana was today sentenced to life imprisonment. On July 6, 2007 , Mr. Gabb was accused of murdering Arana, a friend of his ex common law wife. The reports had it that Gabb allegedly stabbed Arana multiple 7...

Two Charged for Forgery at the Radisson Hotel
Two were last night facing charges of fraud. The CEO for Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina reported that during the months of January 2013 to August 2013, he noticed rising costs on their monthly financial statements for their Food and Beverages Department. He then directed an internal audit....


Celebrating International Volunteer Day
You may not know it but whenever there is an emergency or disaster many times response services must rely on volunteers to effectively reach out to all those affected. But getting that kind of assistance is never easy, and sustaining it is another story. And that is why a special day has been set aside to give thanks to all those persons who selflessly give of their time without expecting anything in return. Reporter Maria Novelo takes a look at the volunteers who form the heart of any nonprofit organization, in this case the Belize Red Cross. LogoMaria Novelo – Reporting The work done by millions of volunteers who help promote development and deliver assistance to people in need is being recognized today, December 5th, on International Volunteer Day. Millions of people around the world who engage in humanitarian works are recognized for the selfless efforts towards humanity and in Belize it is no different. Ctv 3 News spoke with a few persons that have significantly impacted communities throughout Belize. Zair Marin is a Youth Volunteer at the Red Cross.

Disability Week Comes To An End
A joint initiative between the Ministry of Education and Mary Hill Primary School in the Corozal District saw a large crowd converge at the Central Park in Corozal town as they celebrated the culmination of Disability week 2013. The week’s activities were celebrated under the theme “Breaking Barriers; open doors for an inclusive society for all.” Victor Castillo brings you the following story from Corozal Town. Over 15 different schools gathered today at the central park in Corozal Town to show respect and stand in solidarity in bringing awareness of the different challenges families face, with love ones who have special needs. According to Selene Raeburn, Education Officer in Corozal Town there is a number of children with various disabilities.

SIRDI Holds Workshop On Analysis Of Financial Statements
The Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute, SIRDI today concluded a three day workshop on analysis of financial statements and financial reasons: Budgets, data collection, management and payment plan. The workshop was held specifically for cane farmers and presented in three sessions. We stopped by the sessions this morning to learn more about the initiative. This week’s three day training is the last module of a three year program that the Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute, SIRDI, has been working on with sugar cane farmers from both the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts. Approximately one hundred farmers enrolled in this week’s sessions which focused on finance administration and record keeping.

Soak Away Causing Problems For Residents Of San Pablo Street
While the streets in the Marcus Canul area are being fixed by the Orange Walk Town Council, residents in the area of San Pablo Street have another complaint. It is related to stagnant water that doesn’t particularly accumulate as a result of the rains. It’s a problem caused by another household in the area and residents say they have grown tired and want the problem resolved soon. Reporter Dalila Ical has more on the matter. Dalila Ical – Reporting The problem, as stated by one of the residents of San Pablo Street, is stagnant water that floods the side of the road. It is not caused by rains. The water comes from one yard where the complainant Maria Wright says there is no soak away. Maria Wright – Complainant “El problema es de esa agua que sale de la casa del vecino y él se llama Armando Usher. Él no tiene soak away él tiene cemento toda su casa entonces pone su tubo directo en mi terreno y allí lavan todo los días y ponen el pool grande y bota el agua allí y como puede ver hay agua todo el tiempo llueva o no llueva aquí siempre hay agua, mis niños se van a la escuela a veces salen descalzos hasta allí y ponen sus zapatos hasta allí porque aquí se llena de agua como usted lo ve y ya todo los vecino estamos cansados de esto porque Town Board componen la calle pero es como si no hacen nada pasan carros y se hace un desastre en la calle."

OWTC Will Embark On Campaign To Fix Streets
Since the start of the week, the Orange Walk Town Council has been seen doing some remedial works on the dilapidated roads of Town. And while the Orange Walk Town council says it is an ongoing effort to ease the woes of motorists, work will be carried out in phases. Operations Manager at the OWTC is Omar Mendez, who told us more. Omar Mendez - operations manager, OWTC “The streets were impassable even for pedestrians and worst for vehicles so the council will embark on a campaign to start the repairing of streets especially within this Marcus Canul area, and you can see it for yourself we started at San Martin and presently we are here in San Jose street, and we will continue finishing all these areas up to Guinea Grass Street if possible within this week and then next week we expect to work on the Pasadita area because we did some work there but we still need a lot of work to be continued there so hopefully by next week we will continue definitely on that area in repairing all the street on that side.” Dalila Ical – Reporter “In this particular area, how many streets in total are on the,to do list?” Omar Mendez - operations manager, OWTC “Within this area we have San Martin, which was the first one way to the north then we have San Estevan, we have San lazaro, we have San Felipe, we have San Diego, San Joaquin, San Pablo and lastly San Jose, those are the streets we working presently and Guinea Grass Street.”

Raddison Employee Charged For Embezzlement Of Funds
A former employee from the Radisson Fort George is facing serious jail time for the embezzlement of over 180,000 dollars from its employers and is currently being sought by police. According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Radisson, he noticed an upward trend in the hotel’s financial statements in the Food and Beverage Department. As a result, he ordered an internal audit. What that audit uncovered was an elaborate scheme which resulted in a total of 60 Belize Bank cheques, to a total value of $186,526.65, being cashed, based on fraudulent invoices. According to police reports, false invoice numbers of suppliers were inserted into the accounting system, which resulted in the cheques being issued. Late last week, police arrested and charged 24 year old Justin Lacroix with 28 counts of uttering a forged document; 28 counts of claiming upon a forged document and 28 counts of handling stolen goods.

St. Peters Hold Open Day for Disability Week
It could be said that it is just part of human nature to not be interested in some things or worry, even, about others once the problem or situation does not affect us or our homes directly. However, the hope is that the public change that attitude as it relates to special needs children. In an effort to spread the awareness of this, teachers and students at Saint Peter’s Anglican Primary School teamed up to share their experiences and knowledge of the subject to the general public. As part of Disability Week being observed throughout the country, here’s a look at what the Orange Walk students were busy doing today on campus. Dalila Ical – Reporting The Special Education Department at Saint Peter’s Anglican Primary School works directly with at least thirty special needs children who each have different needs as it relates to autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and learning disabilities to name a few. These are conditions that many children face, children who for some unfortunate reason or the other are unable to access the services and attention offered at the school. It is also a very real part of the lives of many people who may not be properly informed on how to properly care for affected children.

Work On The Pueblo Nuevo Bridge Continues
The 2013 hurricane season has come to an end, and according to the National Meteorological Service of Belize this year’s season was just below average. This year the Hurricane season officially culminated on Saturday, November 30th, and while Belize were spared from any disastrous hurricane/ tropical cyclones, stationary thunderstorm systems have caused many areas to see severe flooding around the country. Up North, in Corozal Town major flooding was recorded especially in the Sarteneja road, Consejo road and the road leading to the Pueblo Nuevo ferry impeding villagers to commute on a daily basis. The good news tonight is that the weather has been holding up significantly, allowing Ministry of Works to conduct major ground works. Today when Victor Castillo travelled to the Pueblo Nuevo Ferry it was evident that works were being carried out in the area. CTV3 News understand that since the weather has been holding on, they have double the man force on the ground, in order to accomplish a major part of the road that needs significant attention.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Rashida Jones Talks Up Oceana and Belize on Jimmy Fallon
Last week, Oceana traveled to Belize with actresses Rashida Jones and Angela Kinsey. They spent four days visiting the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in the entire western hemisphere, and learning about ocean conservation in Belize. After returning from the trip, Jones talked about Oceana and her experience snorkeling with nurse sharks on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” Check out the clip below!

EU warns Belize, Curacao about fishing sanctions
The European Commission (EC) is urging European countries to impose trade sanction on Belize over illegal fishing, while warning Curacao that it may be next. The EC also urged European Union governments to hit Cambodia and Guinea with the sanctions, cautioning South Korea and Ghana that they, too, may be next in line. The EU executive called for action against Belize, noting that no “credible progress” has been made since hitting it with the so-called “yellow cards” last year. “Once placed on an official list of “non-cooperating countries” in the fight against illegal fishing, related products from those territories will find themselves all-but shut out of the EU market of half a billion consumers,” the EU said in a statement. The Commission also flagged up a new round of “yellow cards”, which puts key free-trade partner Curacao under mounting pressure to meet international obligations.

American Eagle Outfitters Expands Global Presence with New License Agreements in Central and South America and Thailand; First Stores to Open in 2014
American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE:AEO) further expands its global presence in the Americas and Asia Pacific markets with three exclusive multi-store licensing agreements as follows: -- Venezuela, Caribbean Islands and Central America, including the regions of Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Belize with Grupo David Enterprises -- Columbia with Grupo Comercializadoras -- Thailand with Pacifica Lifestyle Co. “We are excited to introduce our brands into these high growth and vibrant international markets as we continue to expand our global presence and build on our success to date,” said Robert Hanson, Chief Executive Officer. “Our partners bring deep customer insights and knowledge of their markets as well as proven operational experience. We look forward to successful and prosperous partnerships.”


El Pescador Resort and Fishing Lodge: My Two Night Stay
At the beginning of the year, I silently bid on an auction item and actually won. Two nights at the well-known Ambergris Caye fishing lodge El Pescador. Cool. Though I am no fisherman, fly fishing seems different…more…regal. Maybe I can give it a go. And if not, two days laying around a resort with multiple pools, a great swimming dock and close proximity to lots of good restaurants? Heck…I’m in. Here are some (in fact lots) of pics of the resort… The slightly smaller pool next to the villa where I was staying.The lovely lounge area next to the bar and to the main pool. The main dining room. The meals at the resort are eaten family style around the tables…a great way to chat with your fellow guests about your day, your plans and…well yes…about your catch. I was even there for an awards ceremony…a bit like ancient Greek but apparently there are three types of fish (a trifecta of sorts) to catch while you are trolling the Belize flat. Bone fish, permit and tarpon. Men and women alike had caught one or all three.

Belize’s Hidden Treasure in I.T. Outsourcing
It is evident that in recent years, Belize has seen the advent of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry with the boom of contact centers providing services to various offshore companies. The first center opened its doors in 2005 and today, there are 14 active BPO’s in Belize offering both outbound sales and inbound customer service. Though the interest in Belize’s BPO industry continues to be strong, there is a shifting focus where multinational companies seek to outsource their I.T. services in Latin America and the Caribbean in order to tap into lower costing near shore markets due to rising costs in Asia, while also leveraging a new talent pool of ICT innovation. The worldwide I.T. outsourcing (ITO) market is forecast to reach $288 billion in 2013, a 2.8% increase in U.S. dollars from 2012 according to Gartner, Inc. Statistics also show that ITO markets in emerging Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Greater China will all grow more than 13% in 2014 with the expansion of multinational buyers into these regions. So where does this leave Belize amidst this growth in the global ITO industry?

Constitutional Conference For Belize: Is This an Idea Whose Time Has Come?
by: Hubert Pipersburgh Should the people of Belize call for a Constitutional Conference an event to bring together the best Belizean minds possible that can fashion a document that represents our struggles while crafting a new direction for the 21st century and will have built in mechanism for the participation of the people? This is a legitimate public policy question. As the debate rages on in Belize on the merits or demerits of amending the current Constitution to bring into effect preventative detention and government control over key utilities, we have seen both sides making passionate arguments for their respective positions. The evidence is in its been 30 years since political independence, we are even more divided, alienated, adversarial, and lack civility (balancing conflicting interest with conflicting demands) towards each other. I am formally calling not for an amendment, but a constitutional conference. In all these charges and counter charges, one fact stands out clearly, although the PUP and UDP may tend to bicker about details, they both agree on the fundamentals of the economic and political system in Belize. Acceptance and accommodation of the Westminster Model from the self-government constitution to the current constitution was not accidental.

Invaluable tips for retirees considering Belize
As the number of retirees moving to Belize continues to climb each year, The Lodge at Chaa Creek is offering a few tips to make what could be one of the most important decisions in life a success. A recent Huffington Post article “Why An Increasing Number Of Expats Are Discovering Belize” describes an exodus of retirees to the northern areas of Belize. But Chaa Creek Marketing Administrator Roberto Harrison said the trend is nationwide, with many people choosing the Cayo District of Western Belize to settle. “Belize is still one of the world’s most underpopulated countries, so people thinking of retiring here have the rare luxury of choosing the type of geography and community that suits them best,” Mr Harrison said. “Whether you’re looking to live in a retirement community, out on your own ranch with perhaps a few horses, on a sandy beach along the Caribbean Coast or one of our many cayes, the lifestyle choices are almost endless,” he said. According to “A Place in the Sun”, an online overseas property guide , until relatively recently the numbers of foreign retirees living in Belize numbered only a few dozen, but that number is now growing dramatically. However, Mr Harrison said that Chaa Creek has been helping people retire to Belize, where English is the official language, for decades

Guest Blogger: Trina Hazell “Why we are catching lionfish with ReefCI!”
The Lionfish are not indigenous to the Caribbean sea. They are new to the sea and have no predators. As a consequence they are able to roam the reefs of the sea, effectively eating their way through the juvenile fish stocks of the reef and as a consequence the reefs become unhealthy as they cannot progress their normal detoxification and living cycles, without a balanced population of fish and associated life. So when the Reef CI team are out there catching Lionfish they return to base and do a dissection survey, record the results and provide the data to marine biologists so allowing work to continue to try to track the status of Lionfish populations and see if there is someway in which work can be done to restrict the population explosion. Nothing is wasted in the dissection survey. The meat is taken as fillets for selling to local traders to sell in the local restaurants in PG.

International Sources

Scientists Hope Coral Reef Breeding Will Save Great Barrier Reef
Little known fact: coral reefs procreate. And since the number of reefs has been cut in half in the last 30 years thanks to climate change, pollution, and predatory species, coral reefs are procreating like there's no tomorrow. Unfortunately, for many reefs, there might not be a tomorrow, which is why, in an effort to save the foundation of the ocean’s ecosystem, scientists are crashing the breeding party. Called the ‘Greatest Sex Show on Earth,’ the coral of the Great Barrier Reef spawn every spring under a full moon, releasing countless sperm and eggs into the sea. The sperm and eggs join to form larvae called planulae, which float to the surface of the water, creating a sea of red that can be seen from space. The planulae then swim back down to the reef and settle to create new coral. During this year’s spawning period, which occurred last week, scientists captured billions of sperms and eggs to cryogenically freeze. (The coral release significantly more reproductive cells than necessary to compensate for predators and other hazards, so scientists aren't depleting the stock.) They plan to simulate human fertility methods with the cells to breed endangered coral in labs.

Shooting Belize: Challenges Amid Beauty
I spent this past winter producing, directing, and shooting a modest budget, super-mobile television program featuring the beautiful western Caribbean country of Belize. (I know – life is tough!) For those who don’t know, Belize is a small country nestled just down the coast from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, bordered by Honduras to the south and Guatemala to the west. The country is naturally tropical, boasting the world’s second-largest barrier reef, a myriad of historic Maya sites, a melting pot of races and cultures, and a vast variety of plant and animal life. It’s absolutely stunning what a wide array of things there are to document in Belize. If you can’t find dynamic images to film in Belize, you’re definitely in the wrong business.

Exploratory travel isn't about creature comforts
I've been to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and the bottom of the Grand Canyon, but one of the most stunning adventures I've had fits squarely between those extremes. On a recent trip to Belize, I spent a day at the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave in the western part of the country, not far from the Guatemalan border. The journey begins innocently enough at a parking lot at the end of a heavily divoted dirt road ("free massage," as Belizean tour guides say). My group of four — our Belizean guide, Ben; a woman from Atlanta; and my travel companion and I — divided lunch, water, headlamps and helmets across our backpacks and headed out on what momentarily seemed like any other jungle hike. It quickly was not like any other jungle hike. Within 100 yards, we reached our first river crossing. Ben, who is one of about 20 guides certified to lead ATM expeditions, jumped in and started walking. We followed.

Brussels' 'non-cooperating third country' decision causes surprise
The European Commission's (EC) decision to formally identify Belize as a ‘non-cooperating third country’ in the struggle against illegal fishing has been received with surprise by the local government. Through an official communication, Belize government stressed Brussels' announcement follows a written communication addressed to the EU Commissioner, Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries reaffirming the country’s commitment “to fully cooperate with the EU to eradicate the scourge of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.” Apart from Belize, which currently has a fleet of 128 fishing vessels landing their fish at the European Union ports, this list of third countries not offering cooperation also includes Cambodia and Guinea.

Meet Alliance Defending Freedom, Fox's Favorite Anti-LGBT Legal Organization
Drafted in accordance with other 19th-century British colonial laws, Section 53 of Belize's criminal code bans "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal." Violation of the code is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. In May 2013, gay rights activist Caleb Orozco launched a legal challenge to Section 53, enduring homophobic death threats as a result. Section 53 is no mere anachronism in Belize. The SPLC highlighted a March report by the Heartland Alliance, which documented Belize's climate of anti-LGBT violence and discrimination, stoked by laws like Section 53. The Heartland Alliance cited the brutal murder of an openly gay doctor and the slaying of a lawmaker's gay brother, in addition to anti-LGBT harassment by law enforcement officers in the country. Media have further fanned homophobic sentiment in the country, particularly in light of the Section 53 challenge. Amandala - Belize's top newspaper - has compared homosexuality to pedophilia, while online comment sections on the case are rife with anti-gay vitriol.

3 Places To Live The American Retirement Dream Overseas
#2: San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize "Walk down the street on Ambergris Caye," a friend, Peter, who lives there says, "and you hear the music of the Boomers all around--the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin... "These folks, the Baby Boomers, who have been moving onto the island in growing numbers for years," Peter continues, "had a great time in the 1960s, listening to their music, growing their hair long, and getting stoned all the time. Then they became the most boring people on the planet. They made a lot of money by ignoring everything but hard work. "Now they're looking to reclaim their lives. They're finding their way, in retirement, in bigger and bigger numbers, to places like Ambergris Caye, Belize, where they're listening to their music again, growing their hair long again, and spending their days stoned again." Peter is joking about that last bit, but the point is that Ambergris Caye has what a lot of North American retirees are looking for right now, making it another of the most turn-key and user-friendly places in the world to retire overseas.

Top 10 up and coming destinations
Top 10 destinations on the rise in the world 1. Havana, Cuba 2. La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica 3. Kathmandu, Nepal 4. Jerusalem, Israel 5. Cusco, Peru 6. Ambergris Caye, Belize

Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System: Why it’s special: This is the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere. Visit for the coral-made islands, more than 500 species of fish, and the "Great Blue Hole," a famed diving spot that's nearly 1,000 feet deep. Why it’s in danger: In addition to development in the area, extensive mangrove cutting has removed food sources and shelter for marine life.

VIDEO: Snorkeling Belize
Snorkeling in Belize offers encounters with diverse marine life in waters with good clarity. While snorkeling off Belize, you may encounter dolphin, turtles, stingrays, eels, sharks and other reef fish common to the Caribbean.

VIDEO: Travel Thru History Belize
Un-Belizable! We're off on a Central American Mayan excursion. We head up the steps of the ancient high temple at Lamanai. Then we take a city tour of the main tourist destination, Belize City. We learn about Belize's colonial roots at the Belize City History Museum and dive the amazing Blue Hole.

December 4, 2013


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

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

The San Pedro Sun

Sea’N Belize takes to the sea
On Tuesday, November 12th a new vessel was baptized into the Belizean waters. Sea’N Belize is assumed to be the largest glass bottom boat in Belize, and after nine months of construction it finally took to the water. The construction of the boat was the vision of Roger and Linda Kurtis from Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, who travelled to several countries in search of the perfect location to open a coffee shop. But after they fell in love with Belize on a trip to Placencia their plans changed and their dreams changed from owning a coffee shop to the construction of a glass bottom boat to provide tours for visitors. With a new business plan, the couple contacted local boat constructor, Norman Eiley and in February 2013, construction of the “Sea’N Belize” commenced.

DJ Trilla brings in birthday Island Invasion-Style
King of the Island Promotions reignited the party atmosphere in San Pedro once again with DJTrilla’s Birthday Bash “Island Invasion” style. Held inside Fido’s Court Yard on Saturday, November 30th, Belize’s premier DJs shared one stage bringing the best of club, house, dancehall, reggae and pop music. Music entertainment included FyahStatah Sounds (Selecta Ras and DJ Jaro), Evolution Sounds (DJ K-Mix and DJ Pinky), Air Invasion Sounds (DJ Trilla Man and DJ Biggz), Sovereign Sounds (DJ Hypastatic and DJ Bug Jess) and Blue Wave Sounds (DJ Julian). The crowd flooded the event gates, which was opened with a general admission of $10.00 before 1AM and $15.00 after.Several opted for VIP admission of $25.00 and took the party to the second floor of Fido’s. It was surely a spectacular night as the dance went on until the wee hours on Sunday morning. Of course the drinks were also flowing, whether it was a cold beer or a cocktail prepared by the skillful bartenders of Fido’s. There were also several giveaways and even a small dance competition which kept the crowd entertained throughout the night.

Where do you read My Beautiful Belize? Roatan, Honduras!
Lara Goldman had tons of fun relaxing and sightseeing on her mini vacation in Roatan Honduras, and of course she just couldn’t leave behind her copy of ”My Beautiful Belize.” Here she is at Coxen Cave: Here she is on a tractor:Here she is at…..oh, just check out the gallery.

Ambergris Today

Belize - Mexico Friendship Group Established by Mexican Congress
On November 28th, 2013, the Congress of Mexico formally established the Belize - Mexico Friendship Group. The group will serve as a high-level forum that complements existing diplomatic mechanisms between the two countries. Congresswoman Gabriela Medrano Galindo of Quintana Roo formally established the Group along with Belize’s Ambassador to Mexico, H.E. Oliver del Cid. In their remarks, both Congresswoman Medrano and Ambassador del Cid highlighted the historically close relationship between the two countries and welcomed the establishment of the Friendship Group as an opportunity to expand and deepen the bi-national agenda. Various Parliamentarians attended the event including other Members of the Friendship Group: Irazema Martinez Olivares, Francisco Fernandez Clamont, and Raúl Gómez Ramírez, and Members of Congress from Quintana Roo: Lizbeth Gamboa Song, Raymundo King de la Rosa, and Eduardo Quian Alcocer. The Mexican Foreign Ministry was represented at the event by Ms. Monica Gonzales and Ambassador del Cid was accompanied by First Secretary Carlos Montero.

San Pedro Observes World AIDS Day 2013
The San Pedro AIDS Commission is a very active group on Ambergris Caye, Belize with always conducting fundraisers to help and support patients living with HIV/AIDS. The San Pedro AIDS Commission held its annual World AIDS Day Solidarity Walk and Health Fair on Sunday, December 1, 2013. Members of the San Pedro AIDS Commission along with the Mayor of San Pedro, Daniel Guerrero, councilors, the San Pedro Lions Club Presidents, Rigoberto Kumul and members, Miss San Pedro Solani Graniel, Miss Lions Arlethe Lima, Miss SPHS Chelsea Muñoz, Miss Chiquitita Zillah Flota and other business individuals and supporters walked along downtown in support of World AIDS Day. An all day health fair followed immediately at the Central Park where rapid HIV confidential testing took place and the beautiful queens assisted with the fundraising dollar drive. There were lots to eat and drink including live musical presentation by San Pedro’s very own Rompe Raja and DJ Tribal.

Flashbacks: Lions Club a Whole Lot of Fun!
Lions is about service to those less fortunate. It is about fund raising, yes. And Lions is about attending business meetings as well as meetings to render physical service to the community. However Lions is also about a whole lot of fun. In their meetings there is a designated Lion member called the Tail Twister who is supposed to keep the meetings alive with jokes and pranks and also making fines on members in the spirit of good humor. This flashback is all about fun during a Christmas social party. Taking part in a comedic skit are Ovidio Guerrero, tail twister, along with Gilberto “Chico” Gomez and Jose “Spanish” Pacifico. In the early days of Lions Club activities in San Pedro the Lions hosted some of the best social events ever for its membership.

Pic of the Week: Delivering Special Goods in San Pedro, Belize
"Only in Belize" said Cindy Vigna on her Facebook post of this picture that she captured on her way to downtown San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Maybe in India, where we have seen even crazier stuff being loaded on bicycles. But residents have also seen large canoes and even couches mounted on bicycles that are being transported from one end of town to the other. At least this guy had a tricycle which made it easier to transport this large golf cart outer shell, imagine trying that on a bicycle; that would take talent.

Misc Belizean Sources

List of veterinarians
List of veterinarians registered to practice in Belize for the year 2013

Ambergris Caye Vehicle Permits
Please be advised goat before purchasing a vehicle, you must apply for a VEHICLE PERMIT with the Ambergris Caye Traffic Control Committee (ACTCC). If you have already purchased a vehicle and do not have a permit, it is NOT GUARANTEED that you will be granted a vehicle permit when applying for one.

International conference planned on the Indian Diaspora in Belize and the wider Caribbean
Following the sporadic series of conferences on the Indian Diaspora in the Caribbean since 1975, held mainly in Trinidad and Tobago, there is a plan to organise one conference every year in various parts of the region. Next year’s conference will be held in Belize from August 5 to 11, 2014 on the theme “The Indian Diaspora in Belize and the wider Caribbean.” This is the first conference of its kind to be held in this English-speaking country, and in Central America. Formally known as British Honduras, Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America. Bordered by Mexico in the north and Guatemala in the west and south, it lies at the heart of the Caribbean Basin. Belize has giant Mayan temples and the world’s second largest barrier reef. It has a mélange of over ten different cultures that are concentrated in specific areas in six districts. Unlike any other Caribbean country, Belize experienced three waves of East Indian migration, commencing in 1858. The first wave of migrants consisted of 1,000 deported ex-soldiers (and their families) who had rebelled against the British government in India’s First War of Independence/ Sepoy Rebellion. The second wave of Indians came to Belize in 1872 as ex-indentured workers from Jamaica. The third wave of Indian migrants to Belize left from Guatemala, from where they had gone to work in the coffee plantations in Cafe Mountains.

San Ignacio United Tie BDF 1-1
The SI United tied the BDF, whom they hosted at Broaster Stadium on Sunday. In fact, every match was a draw this weekend. "San Ignacio United and BDF shared the points in a 1-1 draw after holding on to a 1-nill lead for the entire match only to concede an over time goal. The team feeling confident as the they gain momentum after dominating the two leaders on their last two matches. Police United are next."

Entrepreneurship Project Awards Ceremony
Beltraide had the awards ceremony for their Entrepreneurship Project, and you can see a the Cayo is represented well. Beltraide and its bright staff worked with CENPROMYPE on this project, and they awarded $252,000 to 18 Entrepreneurs, including Joris Hendrik and Matthiew Klinck. SBDC Belize, a branch of Beltraide, just celebrated one year of greatness. Thanks, and Congratulations, Beltraide! "This event takes place in the framework of the implementation of the project 'Integral Development Program of Entrepreneurship in Central America and Dominican Republic,' which is facilitated by CENPROMYPE in coordination with BELTRAIDE. The purpose of the project was to promote and strengthen entrepreneurship in the region with the aim of establishing, developing, and strengthening MSME’s in the entire country of Belize."

YWCA provides training for women in rural Toledo district
A training program designed to assist enterprising young women from rural communities in the Toledo district is nearing completion. The training is part of a project being implemented by the Young Women’s Christian Association, the YWCA. Teresa Hinds is one of the facilitators, and she spoke with our Toledo correspondent Juan Caal. According to Hinds, the YWCA is conducting various programs that are due for completion by the end of the year, at which a graduation for the participants will be held. West Vision also spoke with one of the participants who is excited about the future, having taken part in the training project.

Maria Coc: Proud to be Maya
Meet Maria Coc. She is a 63 year old Q’eqchi lady from San Marcus village in the Toledo district. She is proudly carrying on her cultural tradition, not afraid to lay her hands in the clay to make pottery, the same way her mom taught her to do. Coc, with a smile on her face, says that many people classify the Maya people as being poor. “We are not poor,” says Coc, “the nature that we posses is rich and has enough resources for us to survive.” It is with that in mind that Maria Coc works daily to educate her children about not forgetting their culture and to teach them how to gain from it. “I am surprised to see that the modern world has forced a lot of changes on people with their modern style of living,” says Maria; noting that “in my days, we did not use stove or aluminum pots. All we had were clay pots and that is why I keep saying, there is not a day that I would forget my origin. I am proud of being a Maya. It is what I am. It is who I am.” Maria Coc invites anyone interested, to come to her village of San Marcus, Toledo, to experience the real humility of being proud of her culture. And the pots she makes are also available for sale. Maria Coc, truly one of Belize’s Very Own.

Channel 7

Placencia Police-man Charged For Murdering Tyson Rodriguez
Murder - it's not a charge we hear brought against police all that often, in fact it's only happened a handful of times in the past 20 years, but tonight 41 year-old Sergeant Julio Shal, has been charged for the murder of Tyson Rodriguez. As we told you, the 3 officers who had Rodriguez in their custody in Placencia were claiming that he died suddenly when he escaped from them. But, the post-mortem revealed that he suffocated from inhaling sand - and that he had chest trauma. The led his family to claim that the police killed him by holding his head in the sand, that is, after they brutalized him. It's a terrible abuse of authority, and tonight, Sergeant Shal, is in jail after being arraigned in Dangriga Magistrate's Court today. An eyewitness has come forward to give evidence against Shal which completely refutes his version, and corroborates the findings of the post-mortem examination. Today, family attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd spoke to the media saying that the Rodriguez family is pleased with the development, but not satisfied:

Post Mortem On Sabrina Almendarez
Today the post mortem was conducted on 12 year old Sabrina Almendarez. As we reported, the child died on Friday morning in Independence Village. Her family says that she started getting sick on Monday after getting a tetanus shot on Monday at Independence Primary School. The family says that she became ill with fever and headache and on Friday morning at 4:30, her father found her motionless in bed. She was dead and the family believes that one of the things that could have triggered it is the tetanus shot. Today, a major piece of that puzzle was filled in when Dr. Hugh Sanchez conducted a post mortem examination on the girl in Belize City. During the examination, the family's attorney Audrey Matura Shepherd addressed the media: Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Attorney for Almendarez Family "The family does not know what caused the death of their daughter. They have never said publicly or privately that they can say that it is the shot that killed her. When they were interviewed by certain health personnel, they asked to give a tracing of what happened in the days before her death. And one of the things they recalled happened was that she did receive a vaccine for tetanus. We don't know if that is the cause of death. As we speak, the postmortem is being conducted by Dr. Hugh Sanchez. The reason the family asked for Dr. Hugh Sanchez is because he is a pathologist, they want him to take specimens. He is an expert in that area and at the end of the day, all the family really wants to know is what killed their child."

112 Charges For Alleged White Collar Criminals Who Took Radisson South For 180K
On Friday, we told you about Justin Lacroix, the employee of an accounting firm who was charged with 58 forgery related counts for allegedly participating in scam that saw the embezzlement of over 180 grand from the biggest hotel in Belize, the Radisson. Well, police finally released the details today, and the 24 year old Lacroix is actually facing 84 counts: (28) for Uttering upon a forged document, (28) for Claiming upon a forged document and (28) for handling stolen goods. And tonight, the news is that another working man was also charged. He is 33 year old Brian Myvette a Lab Monitor and he is facing less of the same: (8) counts of Uttering a Forged Document, (8) counts of Claiming upon a forged document and (8) counts of Handling Stolen Goods. As we reported, they ringleader who worked as a payables clerk at the Radisson is believed to have left the country, but is being sought by police. He is alleged to have tricked Radisson's financial controls by making up fake invoices from known suppliers, and then getting cheques to pay those bogus invoices duly signed and authorized by the higher up's at Radisson. He would then give these cheques to his friends to go and cash at a teller at the bank - a teller who was also in on the scam. The friends say they got a tip for cashing the cheques while the ringleader stayed with the lion's share of the money.

August to November’s (Very) Above Average Rainfall
For weeks we've been reporting on the heavy rains and all the infrastructural and community problems it has caused. But tonight, more than just talking generally about rain, we can put a specific number to it. The Meteorology Service has shared rainfall figures for August through to November, and they are waaayyy above average. Starting with August September and October, you'll see the comparison in this graph. The 2013 rainfall is in blue and the average rainfall for those months from 1981 - to 2010 is in red. At every one of the stations, from Libertad in Corozal to the Punta Gorda Agricultural station, rainfall figures were up. The increases were greatest in Libertad - where it went up by more than 100%, IN Belmopan where it went up form an average of 26 inches to 44 inches and Middlesex, where the 30 year rainfall average is 40 inches, but this year it was 59. Punta Gorda and Baldy Beacon were the only stations where rainfall was more or less on average.

Shari Muschamp Still Holding Down Immarbe Job
Shari Muschamp was making headlines a week and a half ago, but, ever since she got taken back in to work at Immarbe, her name hasn't been in the news. But that doesn't mean that's the end of story. Her attorney Audrey Matura has been working in the background to get Mushcamp's job secured. Today she updated the media on it. Audrey Matura-Shepherd, attorney "Ms. Shari, I have her letter here that she was offered full employment effectively 11th of June. Now, it's not everything we want in the sense that her employment they are offering new employment from the 11th of June onwards. That's when the government took over the IBC Registry. We are not totally satisfied with one or two points, but it's not sufficient for us to say outright no we don't want it. I think there is room for negotiating. We've sent a letter to the director of the registry which is Mr. Gian Ghandi and we hope to get a favorable response, but at least for now we know that she has a job. Come pay day she has a salary to get. Come Christmas she has something to give to her children and we really want to thank all the Belizeans who sympathize with her. That was a really interesting situation, but we are really pleased that the news is a good one."

Belize Zoo Blazes Path For Disabled Persons
On the Belize Zoo's 30th birthday, almost a year ago, 7News told you the major upgrade they had engineered allow disabled persons access to the facility, by putting in over two thousand five hundred feet of concreted pathways. Today, on one of the days set aside to note persons around the world living with disabilities, members of the Belize Assembly for Person with Diverse Abilities went to the zoo to experience it like every other citizen. 7News was there, and Daniel Ortiz reports on the experience of BAPDA: Daniel Ortiz reporting Today, the Belize Assembly for Person with Diverse Abilities hosted their World International Day of Disabilities at the Belize Zoo. It is appropriate because the Zoo boasts to being the first nature reserve facility which accommodates persons living with disabilities. It has a pathway that provides wheelchair bound Belizeans with almost complete access to all the animals who call the zoo their home.

Coast Guard Making Major Moves On San Pedro With 1.5 M USD New Building
On Friday, the Coast Guard inaugurated a new forward operating base on San Pedro. The event was timed to coincide with the Coast Guard's eight anniversary and the passing out of another intake of recruits, its fourth. Like everything else Coast Guard, form its right handed salutes to its Seals, the event was draped in red white and blue, as are the plans for what appears to be a very bright, very resource rich future:.. Admiral John Borland - Commandant, Belize Coast Guard "This station will offer us a platform from which we can launched continuous and sustain operations in an area which remains very sensitive as its known as an area for drug trafficking and other forms of organize crime."

Life For Murder
Today, 42 year old Alwin Gabb was convicted of the July 1, 2007 murder of Nolan Arana after a 12 member jury unanimously found him guilty of the crime. He will spend life in prison for it. Five persons were called testify, including the main witness, who told the court that at 7 o'clock that night, Arana had gone to her house to get food. That was when Gabb came through the alley and told Arana that it was his fault that the main witness had been disrespected. Gabb and the main witness were in a common law relationship for four and a half years prior to the incident, but she had ended it in May. After Gabb spoke to Arana, he then started to punch him; Gabb then pulled out a knife and stabbed Arana seven times to his chest and back. Sgt. Polonio, the arresting officer, testified that Gabb turned himself into police, and gave an oral confession, claiming that he stabbed Arana in self defense. Gabb, in his dock statement, told the court that he was at his house on Dolphin Street at the time of the incident, and was nowhere around when it happened. He also denied giving the oral statement to Sgt. Polonio.

Chairman Eddie Was Robbed and Beaten By Melchor Police
Last night we told you about the three term chairman of Buena Vista village, Eddie De LA Rosa. He was detained in Melchor after a misunderstanding with Guatemalan police. We were told that they held him for a stick of weed - which De La Rosa claims was planted on him. But De La Rosa was never charged for drug possession, instead he was beaten up and robbed by Guatemalan police, and then taken to court on a bogus charge which the judge threw out. That's what De La Rosa told us last night when he got back to Belize after being detained in Melchor. De La Rosa says he was travelling with about five thousand quetzales which was money that he was going to use to buy fireworks for his village. But he says when police searched him on the bus they stole the money.

The Zoo’s Aggressive New Jaguar
The last time that the Belize Zoo that to intervene to save a Jaguar was July of last year, when they rescued the black jaguar "Lucky Boi". Well, they are currently trying to train another jaguar, this one who is known as Edgar Hill. He is the second problem jaguar that the Zoo has had to adopt from the Pine Hill area in Toledo. After a mere 12 days in captivity at the zoo, the caretakers allowed us to meet Edgar Hill. Daniel Ortiz got up close to him and has this report: Daniel Ortiz reporting Edgar Hill, the newest addition at the Belize Zoo's jaguar population, is shy and not very friendly at the moment. That's to be expected, however, because he's only been there for 12 days now. He became the 16th jaguar at the zoo after the Forestry Department handed him over. It was either captivity or euthanasia. He is a problem jaguar who had become a possible threat to humans. Sharon Matola - Founding Director, Belize "Edgar Hill was rescued on the 21st November. The behavior that you are seeing is typical behavior of a wild caught jaguar who is just settling in. It was the Forest Department that called us and told us that this cat is a problem, he was stalking villagers. He actually was accused of getting ready to attack a horse and buggy in the Mennonite community of Pine Hill. They told us that if we can't take him in to our program they will have to euthanize him. Of course we took him in. These jaguars are extremely valuable animals. They are used for education and research."

Salima’s Cancer Contribution
This afternoon Salima Barrow, daughter of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, paid the Belize Cancer Society a visit along with the members of her organization called Children helping Children. It was a special visit since the group of young girls didn't come empty handed. In October they held their second limeade stand fundraiser and today they donated their proceeds to the children suffering from the deadly disease. The cheque of two thousand, two hundred and twenty six dollars and fifty cents was handed over at the Belize Cancer Society Office on Mercy Lane.

Channel 5

Policeman charged with the murder of Tyson Rodriguez
Tyson Rodriguez was killed in Placencia on the twenty-second of November. At the onset, police issued a dubious bulletin saying that Rodriguez’s body was found floating in the water. This [...]

Police confirms that they fired deadly shot on Travis Mckay
There is also a development in the case of another resident who was killed by the cops. Last Wednesday, a Ladyville resident was shot at about four o’clock in the [...]

Family awaits result of autopsy to determine cause of death of Sabrina Almendarez
Audrey Matura-Shepherd is also representing the family of twelve year old Sabrina Almendarez. She is the young girl who died mysteriously. Her family told News Five on Monday that they [...]

Auguirre’s family still waiting on DNA results and death certificate
On September seventh, Belmopan Police were called to a nightmarish scene in the village of Teakettle. In the trunk of a taxicab which had been parked on a deserted stretch [...]

Belize excluded from 2013 Corruption Perception Index
The 2013 Corruption Perception Index is an annual measure of the apparent levels of public sector dishonesty in a hundred and seventy-seven countries and territories.  The list scores each country [...]

Muschamp rehired but at a lower salary
We reported last week that single mother of two children, Sharie Muschamp, is back at her desk at International Business Companies Registry. Muschamp was on sick leave that ran into [...]

US Embassy planned internal event to commemorate World Aids Day
World AIDS Day is celebrated on December first every year. That fell on a Sunday, so the US Embassy in Belize planned an internal event to commemorate it today. Staff [...]

Alwin Gabb convicted of murder
Dolphin Street resident, Alwin Gabb, who has been on remand for the past six years, was on trial for more than a week for murder.  Today, he learned his fate [...]

Diverse abilities children gets a special tour of the Belize Zoo
Children with diverse abilities, as they are called, got a special tour of the Belize Zoo today. Even though they cannot see or hear, they captured the sounds of nature [...]

Author of “Becka Lamb” back in the jewel for the holidays
Acclaimed Belizean novelist Zee Edgell, author of the perennial classic Beka Lamb, is back in the Jewel for the holidays.  Her Christmas vacation, however, is not all rest and relaxation.  [...]

Problem cat being held captive at the Belize Zoo
Edgar Hill, like Richard Parker in the Life of Pi, is a problem cat.  Prior to being held captive at the Belize Zoo, the jaguar roamed freely in the forest [...]


Zero Tolerance For Corruption At O/W Police Department
The stories of police demanding and collecting bribes from motorists are as rampant as they are unsubstantiated. Our public opinion survey shows that one in every ten persons have claimed to have paid a bribe in the past year to access public services ranging from health and education to justice. It’s a haunting reality for any public service entity and yesterday we asked Second in Charge of the Orange Walk Police Department, Julius Cantun, to shed light on these findings as it pertains to local police officers. Here’s what he told us. “It is sad and is a pity that despite the effort of the Second in Command of the Orange Walk Police department to sensitize the public in all media houses, I personally have been to several media houses, I have personally given my personal cellular number to the media to the public that whenever we have a situation of corruption occurring they can feel free and call me any time of the day and I will personally will look into the matter, the fact that you forgot to put on your helmets is not excuse, ignorance of the law is no excuse, you can’t come and you say that you did not know that you had to put on your helmet, however the police officer have a duty to maintain, they have a duty to the public and to the community and if in any event they fail by engaging in corrupt activity then they are not just breaking the law they are also breaking their oath to the crown that they will maintain law and order and as a result we as the senior command will not be tolerant, we have zero tolerance to corruption and if this is the case as soon as we have enough evidence against any police officers they will be arrested and charge and taken before the court like any other person because nobody is above the law, uniform or no uniform one there is the evidence the high command in Orange Walk will deal with them accordingly.”

Police Officer Charge For Tyson Rodriguez Murder
A member of the Police Department has been charged with murder following an internal investigation into the suspicious death of Tyson Rodriguez. Police have formally arrested and charged forty-one year old Sergeant Julio Shal who bears badge number 2-8-7. Shal is a Belizean Police officer of Placencia Village in the Stann Creek District and has been charged with Murder. The police department indicates that the investigations are still ongoing. The arrest stems from what police has initially called “sudden death” of Rodriguez after he was detained in connection to the burglary of the home of a Canadian couple in Placencia Village. The couple was also badly beaten. The suspect, Tyson Rodriguez and a vehicle that was stolen from the couple were located in the Corozal District. Police transported both the vehicle and Rodriguez to Placencia. It was there that according to the officers on duty at the time, Rodriguez offered to take the officers to recover the stolen items.

Hurricane Season Officially Closed
The hurricane season is officially closed and with it there is some good news to report from the north. For weeks residents in the northern and southern villages in the Orange Walk District have had to face several difficulties travelling into and out of their homes due to flooded streets or yards. Today, North Regional Coordinator for the National Emergency Management Organization NEMO, Elodio Aragon says that the water has receded in the San Antonio and San Roman areas allowing the smooth flow of traffic once more.

LICU Wins Another International Award
The La Inmaculada Credit Union has won a number of local and international recognitions over the years for their outstanding growth both in membership and financially. Tonight LICU has another award to add to the already lengthy list as they have been named the proud winners of the Excellence in Microfinance transparency award in the Citi Micro Entrepreneurship Award program in the Caribbean. Here’s a look at their success. Dalila Ical – Reporting The La Inmaculada Credit Union is the proud winner of the Excellence in Microfinance transparency award in the Citi Micro entrepreneurship Award program in the Caribbean. Here’s a look at their success. Master of ceremonies “The 2013 Citi Micro entrepreneurship award of Micro finance goes to La Inmaculada Credit Union, Belize....” The La Inmaculada Credit Union was presented with the award at the second annual Citi Micro entrepreneurship Award ceremony held in Kingston Jamaica on October 31st this year. The Award Program, funded by the Citi Foundation, recognizes microfinance institutions and micro entrepreneurs to raise awareness on microfinance in the Caribbean and the role of micro entrepreneurs in the economy. Accepting the award was LICU’s General Manager, Yolanda Gomez.

O/W Police Department Upgrade Patrols For Festive Season
Business is booming leading to Christmas as gifts, decorations and groceries are bought for the biggest and most anticipated holiday season. Unfortunately, at this time of the year, there is also a marked increase in crimes such as robberies and burglaries. To balance it all out, the Police Department has followed suit and boosted the number of officers on patrol; particularly in the hub of town to ensure the safety of shoppers as well as businesses. Second in Command at the Orange Walk Police Station, Inspector Julius Cantun, says the anti-crime campaign is in full force, but they also need the support of the communities to stem the occurrences of such crimes during the upcoming festive season. “We get our officers to carry out extra patrols after their normal tour of duties they have to comeback in the evening so that they can give us four hours extra depending on what day it is and our crime pattern analysis, we will determine how long will they be working, we have increased our patrols in terms of; the burglary patrols we have officers coming in after their duties they come in at night and they do burglary patrols at different times, we have our quick response team so yes there is an increase on the presence of the police in the streets and that will continue until the Christmas and further until we see it necessary that they have the presence of the police out there and so the uniform presence will be seeing especially in business areas, especially in areas that are being, where most activities are conducted within Orange Walk Town.”


Family Hopes Post Mortem Will Tell How 12-Year-Old, Sabrina Died
The Family of US Citizen 12 year old Sabrina Almendarez are coping with her mysterious death that only an autopsy can let them know why the 12 year old died. As we told you yesterday, Almendarez who was a student of Independence Primary School was found dead early Friday morning. Her father reported to Police that on Monday his daughter was given tetanus shot at school and since then became ill with fever and headache. It has been widely speculated that the shot may have caused Almendarez’s death as she could have developed allergic reactions. But that can only be sure until a post mortem is conducted. That post mortem was being conducted at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital late this evening and we spoke to the family’s attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd who told us more.

Teenager Went Missing From Church
A 16 year old female has been reported missing from a children’s home. According to police, on December first, 16 year old Romelia Limas left King’s Children Home with another female en-route to attend a mass at the George Price Center. After midday that day, the young lady had returned back to the home without Limas and stated that after the church service was finished she could not locate Limas. The young girl recounted to police that Limas went to the bathroom and never returned. Up to the time of making the report Limas has still not returned to the home. Limas is of Mestizo descent, is about four feet in height, weighs about 80 pounds, and has long black hair, brown eyes with clear complexion. She was last seen wearing a blue and purple floral dress, black and purple slippers. Police investigations continue.

Mexican Congress Establishes Friendship Group with Belize
Last week the Congress of Mexico formally established the Belize – Mexico Friendship Group. The group will serve as a high-level forum that complements existing diplomatic mechanisms between the two countries. Congresswoman Gabriela Medrano Galindo of Quintana Roo, Mexico, formally established the Group along with Belize’s Ambassador to Mexico, Oliver del Cid. In their remarks, both Congresswoman Medrano and Ambassador del Cid highlighted the historically close relationship between the two countries and welcomed the establishment of the Friendship Group as an opportunity to expand and deepen the bi-national agenda. Various Parliamentarians attended the event including other Members of the Friendship Group. The Mexican Foreign Ministry was represented at the event by Monica Gonzales and Ambassador del Cid was accompanied by First Secretary Carlos Montero.

Sho Guilty of Burglarizing Traffic Manager’s Home in Belize City
Forty-eight year old Luis Romero, a.k.a. “Sho”, was sentenced to 7 years today by the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith, after he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty of burglary. Romero wanted to pay a fine but Chief Magistrate Smith explained to him that her hands are tied and he must go to prison because he has previous convictions for crimes of dishonesty. Romero burglarized the home of Traffic Manager, Kevan Jenkins, around 8 a.m. on January 28, 2012. He stole jewelry, fashion jewelry, a pair of high heeled shoes and $150, when asked by Chief Magistrate Smith what he did with the items, Romero said he sold them to buy food for his 6 grand children. Jenkins reported to the police that at about 9:30 a.m. he received a telephone call from one of his neighbors and when he arrived home he saw that the burglars on one of the windows of his house was pried open and 3 glass louvers were missing.

Dispute Brews Over Prime Property in Northside Belize City
In yesterday’s newscast we reported on the land dispute between Senior Counsel Rodwell Williams and the Yearwood family. Today we are reporting on another land dispute. This one centers on a plot of land near the corner of Seashore Drive and Buttonwood Bay Boulevard. The land presently houses a small gazebo and residents of the area have been investing time and money into improving the space and turning it into a public park. Love News understands that the dispute has arisen because Giovanni Blease has issued a claim that he owns the portion of land which was has been cleared and filled recently. Documents provided to us indicate that on 25th April, 2013 the Belize City Council got wind of a possible controversy with regards to the parcel of land and lodged a caution with the registrar of land. The caution prevents anyone from purchasing or taking any action with regards to the land without a hearing before the registrar of land.

Police Officer Faces Murder Charge; Family Says One Down, Two to Go
A police officer has been charged for the murder of twenty seven year old Tyson Rodriguez. Love News has confirmed that Sergeant Julio Shal has been charged for the murder of Rodriguez which occurred on Friday November 22nd. Love News has been informed that a police officer who is said to be involved in the matter is the crown witness affording him immunity. As we reported, Rodriguez’s death was determined to be “asphyxiation by bronchial aspiration of beach sand and multiple traumatisms to the chest”. This means that Rodriguez was badly beaten and suffocated on beach sand. Rodriguez had been in Placencia Police custody after he was identified as one of three suspects in the robbery and assault of a Canadian couple who live on the Placencia Peninsula. Police say that the couple’s home had been invaded, items robbed and the couple badly beaten.

US and Belize Team Up to Help Flood Victims in Western Belize
The U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance together with the Belize Red Cross are working together to assist the people affected by the recent floods in Cayo. The U.S. Office of Disaster Assistance hence donated ten thousand US dollars to the Belize Red Cross Society to assist the Redcross on their ogoing effort to efficiently render assistance to more than two hundred families who continue to be affected by the flooding. The donation will allow the Belize Red Cross Society to purchase drinking water, rain boots, hygiene kits, cleaning supplies and fuel for the transportation of relief supplies to areas affected by flash flood in San Ignacio and Santa Elena.

Int’l Day of Disability: Recreation Day at The Belize Zoo
Today countries around the world are observing International Day of Disability. The Belize Assembly for Persons with Diverse Abilities, BAPDA, are on fun filled trip to the Belize Zoo. Education officer at the Zoo Jamal Andrewin and member of BAPDA Jerome Flores told us how it is going. JAMAL ANDREWIN “We were approached by BAPDA which you know is the Belizean Association for People with Diverse Abilities. They were interested in having a day of recreation and fun and just a holiday for our members here at the zoo to help celebrate the day internationally and so we obviously accepted them with open arms. We are very honored that they chose the zoo to spend their day of recreation and they didn’t really didn’t ask for anything formal, they didn’t ask for a ceremony but we decided to do something special for them so our education team has just finished taking the group around. It’s a mixture of old and young people who have varying disabilities and so they were given a special opportunity to meet the more charismatic members of the zoo family, the Lucky Boy, the black jaguar; some of our tapirs, our toucans; they got to interact, to hand feed, to touch these animals while learning about their importance or to their significance. The zoo’s mission is always to educate as much as possible; we have the exhibit and anyone can interact with the animals under supervision and guidance but we realized well over a year ago that we’re not reaching everyone as much as we could. Our path is just a gravel path but if you’re walking here in a wheel chair or a walker or if you are bringing your children in a stroller it will be very hard to maneuver through loose gravel. So that’s where Jerome Flores who is an associate of BAPDA came in.”

Internal Audit at Radisson Uncovers Embezzlement
Two men have been arrested and charged after over 186 thousand dollars was stolen from the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina. According to Police the CEO for the Radisson reported that during the months of January to August 2013 he noticed rising costs on their monthly financial statements for their Food and Beverages Department. An internal audit was conducted which discovered that a total of sixty cheques were generated by their payable accounts department by inputting false invoices numbers of suppliers into the system. The total sum of monies stolen amounted to one hundred and eighty six thousand, five hundred and twenty six dollars and sixty five cents. Last Thursday police formally arrested and charged 24 year old Justin Lacriox, for 28 counts of uttering a forged document, 28 counts of claiming upon a forged document and 28 counts of handling stolen goods. 33-year-old Brian Myvette was charged with eight counts of uttering a forged document, eight counts of claiming upon a forged document and eight counts of handling stolen goods. Police are looking for one more suspect in this incident

Belize Notes Marked Progress in Fight Against HIV/AIDS
World Aids day was celebrated yesterday December 1. The objectives of the day were to remember those lost to this epidemic, reflect on the progress of the past year to prevent HIV infections, improve the health of people living with HIV worldwide, and address HIV stigma and discrimination. Belize joins the rest of the world in doing its part in the fight against HIV and AIDS. One organization which has been fighting this battle since 2000 is the National Aids Commission. Chairperson, Kathy Esquivel sat down with Love News this afternoon to update us on the inroads that have been made and some of the challenges. KATHY ESQUIVEL “Like many countries we are very pleased to say that we have made great end roads. The number of new cases that are being found is going down steadily; we are now at a level that we last saw around 2004 in terms of new cases and that’s not because we are not finding them because we still have the same or greater levels of testing. So, prevalence rate which means the number of people living with the disease is now under 1 percent and so that is good news. We however can’t allow that good news to make us complacent; there are still pockets of very much higher prevalence among certain parts of the population and so what we have to do now is to make sure that we can reach people who really need the information and the services.”

Retrial Ends With Guilty Verdict for Gabb
A jury of 5 women and 7 men deliberated for about two and a half hours today before it found 45 year old Alwin Gabb, guilty of the murder of Nolan Arana. Gabb was sentenced to life imprisonment by the trial judge, Justice John Gonzalez. Arana, who worked as a security guard at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, was killed on July 6, 2007. He was stabbed 7 times in his body when he went to the home of his co-worker, Michelle Lennon, to get some food. Lennon testified that as she stood on the verandah of her house to give Arana a plate of dinner, Gabb, her ex-common-law husband, stabbed Arana multiple times with a knife measuring 10 to 12 inches long. Lennon said that before Gabb stabbed Arana, Gabb told Arana that he was the person causing his wife to disrespect him. Lennon also testified that Gabb told her that he tried to tell her that he will either kill her or someone for her.

US Embassy Remembers HIV/AIDS Victims on World AIDS Day
On 1st December the world joined together in observance of World Aids Day. Today the US embassy hosted a special ceremony in memory of those who lost their lives to this epidemic and to highlight the progress being made to prevent new HIV infections. Jessica Flighter is a political officer at the US Embassy and spoke on the work being done to fight aids. JESSICA FLIGHTER “The Embassy works in partnership with local partners including PASMO, PASCA, Capacity International, Charlester University and other local partners in order to work on the prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS as well as de-stigmatization efforts. The embassy has a small grants program that we advertise every year that we help build capacity and offer project opportunities to smaller nongovernmental organizations. We have had a history of great success with that and we through PEPFAR which is run out of the Central American Regional Program directly fund more than 2 million Belize dollars to fight the spread of HIV AIDS.”


Buena Vista Chairman Steps up to Clarify his Name
Last night, reports in the local media was that the Chairman of Buena Vista, Eddie De La Rosa was detained in Melchor on alleged marijuana possession. According to the story published, De La Rosa was with some friends at the Puerta Negra Bar when they were approached by Police....

Police Sergeant Charged for Brutal Murder of Detainee
A Police Sergeant has been charged in connection with the death of 27 year old Tyson Rodriguez. Julio Shal, a 41 year old Sergeant attached to the Placencia Sub-Formation, was arraigned on murder this morning at a Mango Creek court house. Sgt. Shal was one of three officers assigned to...

Ministry of Agriculture Assess the Public on the Good Use of Pesticides
The Pesticides Control Board is a statutory body, appointed by the Minister responsible for agriculture and mandated with the implementation of the provisions of the Pesticides Control Act. In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the passing of the Act, on November 28th, the board hosted an event featuring...

Man wanted for Extradition to US Beats the Charges
Recently Gary Seawell loss his battle as the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith order he be extradited to the United States. Meanwhile his brother, Mark awaits his ruling. But beating the extradition process recently was Khalid El Turk and yesterday, Bangladesh national, Fakhrul Salim, who was first brought before...

Two DJs Attacked When Party is Shut Down
It appears that a group of eight men weren’t ready to call it a night and reportedly attacked two disk jockeys when the DJ’s shut down the party. The incident occurred on Sunday, at about 3:15 a.m., where the two DJ’s, were playing inside D-Spot Lounge, located in Corozal...

Belizeans Recognize Andy Palacio’s 53rd Birthday
Belizeans at home and abroad, today recognize the 53rd birthday of cultural icon, Andy Vivian Palacio, who passed away on January 19, 2008. Born and raised in Barranco Mr. Palacio became a teacher, but later dedicated himself to preserve the Garifuna music and culture. Once a Cultural Ambassador...

12 yr. young Dies Suddenly, Days after Receiving Tetanus Shot
Last night, authorities were investigating the death of a 12 year old girl who fell ill after receiving a tetanus shot, while her family is trying to come to grips with her sudden passing. Young Sabrina Almendarez, a student of Independence Village was found motionless around 4:30 am on...

World AIDS Day Physician Assures Morality as a Must to Crush Down HIV
World AIDS Day is observed on the 1st of December each year. The day is set aside as an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. In Belize, we also...

Arthur Saldivar Victorious as PUP Standard Bearer in Belize Rural North
The Belize Rural North Constituency has a new Standard Bearer, under the blue banner. Attorney Arthur Saldivar beat out two opponents, acquiring the seat. In a landslide victory, Mr. Saldivar, garnered 591, followed by Mr. Alburn Rivero with 302 and Beverly Lemoine with 27 votes. The present Area Representative for...

Former Kolbe Employee Claims Corruption Among Legal Team
As we reported on Friday evening’s news cast, four former employees- Abdul Nuñez, Herman Blease Sr., Carla Casimiro, and Ms. Carla Budna- are pushing a lawsuit for defamation against the Kolbe Foundation because of the contents of a 12-minute documentary was produced for the Belize Central Prison Coalition which...


The family of a 12-year old female student of Independence Village in the Stann Creek District is currently mourning her sudden death, which they believe could have possibly been caused by a tetanus shot that she received at school from officials of the Health Department last Monday, November 25, 2013. Police have reported that based on information received, they visited the Southern Regional Hospital Morgue, located in Dangriga, on November 29, 2013 around 12:00 p.m., where they observed the body of Sabrina Almendarez,12, a student of Granian Street in Independence. According to police, Gregory Almendarez, a teacher at Independence High School, reported that sometime around 4:00 a.m. last Friday, November 29, he went to check on his daughter, Sabrina, and found her motionless. She was then taken to the Southern Regional Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival at 5:40 a.m.

This morning, Curl Gordon, Jr., was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment when he appeared for his sentencing and mitigation hearings before Justice Adolph Lucas. On November 21, a 9-member jury convicted Gordon of indecent assault after hearing testimony from his 7-year-old victim. She told the court that when she was at Gordon’s house on October 2, 2011, Gordon touched her inappropriately. The child’s mother also testified and told the court that she saw Gordon on top of her daughter and making jerking movements. But a doctor examined the child and certified that she had not been carnally known. No one appeared on Gordon’s behalf and in his mitigation plea, he asked the court to be mindful that this was his first conviction and that his wife is expecting a child. After hearing his plea, Justice Lucas then told Gordon that his case was a disturbing one since he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 7-year old girl.

Crime statistics released by the Belize Police Department two weeks ago indicated that the number of murders for January to October 2013 had dropped a substantial 26% from last year’s high of 119. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced a further drop in the murder count for the country of Belize, amounting now to a 32% drop over last year’s figures. More than that, Barrow announced “a fantastic reduction” in the Belize City figures, for which he praised the security. “The news continues to be good,” said Barrow, adding that Belize City, “which was most out of hand” had reported 37 murders to date, whereas last year the figure was 74. Countrywide, the figure stands at 89 versus 130 at this time last year, Barrow said.

“The quandary has been how come Mr. Rodwell Williams, Sr., ended up with the title …” – Yearwoods’ attorney The land dispute between Rodwell Williams, Jr., and the Yearwood family of Cemetery Lane—over a property measuring 16 feet by 18 feet, substantially smaller than a conventional lot size—went before Supreme Court Justice Rita Olivette today, as she deliberated over an application to issue an injunction against the Yearwoods from stopping Williams from using the property under dispute. Justice Olivette noted that underlying this entire claim is a dispute over the title to the land. The claimant thinks the land is his. The defendants are saying that Williams’ attempt to put a chattel house on the property marked the first time they became aware that someone was trying to claim what they considered to be their land. “You have to understand it was a shocker – not only that he [Williams] had title but you bring the [Belize Defence Force] and the police to enforce this title,” Audrey Matura-Shepherd, attorney for the Yearwoods, told the media, outside the hearing.

On Friday, November 29, twenty-four workers of the Crop Growing Project of BSI were terminated. The men, who are members of the Belize Workers Union, took their plight to their union, which launched an offensive on their behalf, and today, all the workers have been rehired. Information given to Amandala is that on Friday, the workers were told that they were no longer needed, and they were not to return to work on Monday. However, after negotiations between the union and BSI, the workers were all able to return to work. The workers union announced that they are now negotiating with BSI on behalf of 82 workers who are on contract with BSI to make them permanent workers, so that they can qualify to receive benefits from the company.

The standings remain the same after 8 weeks of football competition in the Premier League of Belize (PLB) Belikin Cup Opening Season 2013-2014, after all 3 games played resulted in identical 1-1 scores. This past weekend’s games were the Week 5 backmatches, and all were played yesterday, Sunday, December 1. The Week 7 backmatches will be played this coming weekend. Out west at the Norman Broaster Stadium, late surging San Ignacio United almost accomplished back-to-back upsets of “big teams,” as they led Belize Defence Force FC by a 1-nil score, off a 29th minute goal by Carlos Vasquez, until late in second half. It wasn’t until the 89th minute that BDF got the equalizer from Khalil Velasquez, to salvage the 1-1 draw. Down south at Toledo Union Field, goals were just as scarce, as the star studded Police United FC team is still struggling to score goals. Home standing and still league leading Paradise/Freedom Fighters struck first, with a goal from Alexander “Pleck” Peters at the 85th minute; but Police responded one minute later with a goal from Bernard Linares at the 86th minute, to secure the 1-1 draw.

Here are the results of Belize City Mayor’s Cup tournament games played over the past week. On Wednesday, November 27, Fort George Bombers dropped Ebony Lake, 5-0, with 2 goals from Clinton Gill and 1 apiece from Raymond “Bills” Marin, Tyrone “T-Bone” Muschamp and Francis Andrews. On Thursday, November 28, Kephawn beat Hattieville SC, 5-2. Dalton Cayetano scored 2, and Kenroy Martin, Kareem Flowers and Francis Lemott scored a goal each for Kephawn; while Dejean Thompson and Ralph Spain scored for Hattieville. In game 1 on Saturday, November 30, Kulture Yabra got their first win, 3-1, over Ladyville United, with 2 goals from Edward Rubio and 1 from Withfield Fisher. Erick Garcia got the goal for Ladyville. Game 2 saw Kephawn Pawn FC win by default (3-0) over Complex Admirals. With this victory, Kephawn effectively clinched the championship. In game 3, West Lake crushed Tulish, 5-0, with 2 goals from Delroy Andrews and 1 apiece from David McCaulay, Jr., Melhelm Hernandez and Nigel Franklin.

“And the Lord shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” - MATTHEW, Chapter 25, Verse 40 Christmas is a very interesting time of the year because of the contradictions involved with the season. On the one hand, the celebration is a Christian one, focused on the humble birth of the Christ Savior, emphasizing that when God the Father sent His Only-Begotten Son to redeem mankind from sin, He designed it so that His Son was born in a wretched stable in Bethlehem surrounded by animals. Jesus Christ was born in a stable because there was no room for His parents at the Bethlehem inn. On the other hand, the Christmas season has become a period of very intense business and economic activity of all kinds, while on the family level citizens are driven to clean and refurbish their homes while preparing ample food and drink for the extended holiday season. Christmas is the most frenzied time of work in the entire calendar year, and nowadays “Christmas” lasts for several weeks.

“The vital statistics of men and women in Belize during the period are almost non-existent. So I made up some of them. Fortunately, I am not a qualified historian and therefore, not bound by the rigid restrictions of the professional. I am an entertainer and a propagandist. The object of my propaganda, pure and simple, is the glorification of Belize in the hearts and minds of today’s Belizeans and future generations.” - pg. 3, INTRODUCTION, Belize 1798 – The Road To Glory, Emory King, Tropical Books, 1991 In the beginning of slavery, the European and neo-European slavemasters were not interested in doing any kind of education of their slaves. One of the reasons for this was that all the slavemasters were interested in was field and forest production by and from these slaves, and this field and forest production involved more brawn than brains. Some kind of skill training was involved, but not at a sophisticated level. Those slaves who acquired status were those who could increase the work production from their own kind, and these became known as “slavedrivers.” The second reason there was no education of slaves in the beginning, was that one of the European justifications of slavery was that Africans were just dumb brutes and were not capable of learning anything.

The Belize Coast Guard received added reinforcements today in the form of 30 new recruits. The new Coast Guard officers – known as Recruit Intake #4 – were officially inducted this morning at a graduation and inauguration ceremony that was held in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Amandala was there to witness the 3-tier event, which encompassed the acknowledgement of the Coast Guard’s 8th anniversary; the graduation of Recruit Intake #4; and the inauguration ceremony for a brand new Coast Guard forward operating base, 1 ½ miles southwest of the island – dubbed as “Station San Pedro.” The surveillance post, which is built to withstand hurricane force winds, is strategically located on a plot of land that is situated on the leeward side of the island town – at the entrance of the marina channel of ‘La Isla Bonita.’ The land – which was initially acquired from the Belize Port Authority – also accommodates a diesel generator and two full-sized fuel tanks that have the capacity to hold 5,000 gallons of diesel and gasoline to service the Coast Guard’s fleet of Boston Whaler boats which will be attached to the station; while the structure is capable of housing up to 16 Coast Guard personnel at any given time. It also includes a command center with state-of-the-art equipment and tracking devices, and a docking facility for up to two large vessels. The specified area of operation for the new base extends way beyond Ambergris Caye – as far north as Chetumal Bay, and as far south as Caye Caulker.

This morning, Deon Bruce, 28, along with his attorney Godfrey Smith, returned to court, where submissions were made by both Smith and Magali Perdomo, who represented the Attorney General’s office. Bruce is wanted by the US on charges of murder, attempted murder, aggravated battery and firearm possession for an incident which allegedly occurred on July 20, 2010. At 4:35 p.m. on July 20, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois, Aaron Carter and Bryan Rogers got into an argument with Bruce, after which Rogers and or Carter threw a bottle at Bruce’s blue Volvo car. After the bottle was thrown, Bruce allegedly stopped his car, went to the back of it, and pulled out a firearm. Bruce then allegedly used that firearm and fired several shots at the men, hitting both men, and injuring Carter fatally.

“Fakhrul Alam Salim must hereby be discharged and he is free to go.” That was the ruling of the Chief Magistrate Anne-Marie Smith issued in writing on Thursday, November 28, 2013, after hearing arguments from both Magalie Perdomo and Iliana Swift on behalf of the Government of Belize, and Godfrey Smith, attorney for Salim. On March 21, 2013, a warrant was issued against Salim after the United States sent a request for his extradition to face charges of conspiracy to manufacture and aid in the manufacturing of methamphetamine for importation into the US and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Smith argued that the charges pertaining to the manufacture of methamphetamine are not extraditable offenses under the Extradition Act of Belize, and they did not constitute any offenses in Belize.

While the property of Rosendo Sanchez of San Pedro Colombia, in Toledo, was being destroyed by fire, due to what he strongly believed to be arson, another thatched house was also being destroyed in San Roman, in the Corozal District, the property of Frederick Edwards, a bus driver of San Roman. Edwards told police that he was at home about 11:50 Saturday night when he began to feel heat and smoke fill the house. He went outside to see what was happening, and that was when he saw his thatched roof burning, and the house quickly became engulfed in flames. Edwards could not save anything, and reported that the estimated loss was about $13, 325 – the value of the house, and household furnishings and appliances. Police said that they have launched an investigation, but arson is not suspected.


It’s Not Just About the View at Cahal Pech Village Resort
Belize is a relatively flat country…the highest man made structure is the Mayan main temple at the Caracol site. The highest peak in Belize is called Doyle’s Delight and soars to just over 3500 feet. Much of Belize’s population lives at or around sea level – our largest city, Belize City is just a few inches above. What’s my point? Belize has many many beautiful sights…ocean views, jungle landscapes, mangroves and orchards but when it comes to majestic hilltop vistas? They are something special. And I think I found the one of the best views in Cayo, in all of Belize…from the Cahal Pech Village Resort in San Ignacio. Cahal Pech Resort is just outside San Ignacio town about a 20 minute walk UPHILL or an easy $5bzd taxi. (It is just up the road from both Sweet Ting Pastries and the popular Cayo Twist soft serve joint – if that’s not reason enough to visit.) The resorts location is great for two reasons. It is perched on a hill that overlooks the valley and the town. That equals one amazing view. (And I’ll get to the cigarette smoking pterodactyl in a bit.)

No More Poverty (and a lot more Love) in Belize
Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Yes, from our “more good news about Belize” files comes this nice story about two brothers and their charity working towards the eradication of poverty in Belize. And, at the risk of sounding like the cheerleading squad for Belize’s First Lady, the indefatigable Kim Simplis Barrow, this is based on another one of her good works. Ms Simplis Barrow, who is also Belize’s special Envoy for Women and Children, came up with the idea of the Belize Inspiration Centre (, which will be set up to provide services to children with disabilities and is expected to open early 2014. Now, we all know the difficulties in getting something like this off the ground, especially given the realities of a developing country such as Belize. Enter the Omidi brothers, Julian and his doctor sibling Michael, who have a charity known as No More Poverty. The brothers have kindly agreed to contribute to the Belize Inspiration Centre to ensure it gets off the ground, and we’d like to join in letting them know how grateful Belize is, as there are precious few opportunities for children with special needs.

Small Business Development Centre (SBDCBelize), celebrating one year.
On November 25, 2013 the Small Business Development Centre (SBDCBelize), celebrated its one year anniversary in a grandeur manner. In truth, Micro, Small and Medium enterprises (or MSMEs, as they are commonly known) play a fundamental role in the economic and social development through income and employment generation for a wide cross section of the Belizean population. Remarkably, SBDCBelize is the first of its type to grace the CARICOM region. On October 31st, 2012, magically and wearisomely in less than a month the organization was birthed. The Government of Belize was integral in supporting the organization alongside invaluable stakeholders such as the Organization of American States, US Misson to the OAS, University of Texas at San Antonio, the Development Finance Corporation, the University of Belize, La Immaculada Credit Union, and with the helpful assistance of Ms. Julianne Buynak PeaceCorp volunteer and Ms. Diana Hernandez, Export Development Officer at BELTRAIDE. The event further reiterated BELTRAIDE’s commitment in ensuring SBDCBelize remains the counsellor/ advisor for aspiring entrepreneurs and that their success will only intensify as they venture in the promising future.

Integral Development of Entrepreneurship in Central America and Dominica Republic
The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) in collaboration with the Regional Center for Promotion of Micro and Small Enterprises (CENPROMYPE), with the support of the Government of Taiwan and Colombia, presented awards to the recipients of the Integral Development Program of Entrepreneurship in Central America and Dominican Republic ,on Tuesday November 26, 2013, at the Belize Biltmore Plaza. This event takes place in the framework of the implementation of the project “Integral Development Program of Entrepreneurship in Central America and Dominican Republic”, which is facilitated by CENPROMYPE in coordination with BELTRAIDE. The purpose of the project was to promote and strengthen entrepreneurship in the region with the aim of establishing, developing, and strengthening MSME’s in the entire country of Belize.

International Sources

Standard & Poor's Ratings report card for Belize
Here is the Standard & Poor's Ratings report card for Belize and see how Belize falls in comparison to other Caribbean and Latin America countries.

CARICOM Statement on Ruling of the Constitutional Court of the DR
The following is a Press Release received yesterday from the CARICOM Secretariat in ref to the Ruling of the Constitutional Court of Dominican Republic on the nationality issue which retroactively strips tens of thousands of Dominicans, mostly of Haitian descent, of citizenship rendering them stateless and with no recourse to appeal.

Transparency International’s Belize Corruption Data
The 2013 Corruption Perception Index is an annual measure of the apparent levels of public sector dishonesty in a hundred and seventy-seven countries and territories. The list scores each country on a scale from zero to a hundred, the former being highly corrupt and the latter very clean. Not surprisingly, two-thirds of all countries scored below fifty, a grave indication that corruption is a global problem. What’s astonishing is that Belize has been excluded from this year’s index, despite the number of scandals—that is, we are told, because government has not submitted any report to the organization. The only other country that has no ranking in the index is Western Sahara. The Chair of Transparency International, Huguette Labelle, has gone on record to say, (Quote) “it is time to stop those who get away with acts of corruption. The legal loopholes and lack of political will in government facilitate both domestic and cross-border corruption, and call for our intensified efforts to combat the impunity of the corrupt.” (Unquote)

International Corruption Perceptions Index 2013

Belizean Anthropologist Speaks
Joe Awe is a Belizean activist, entrepreneur, anthropologist, mayanist, tourism lecturer at a local junior college, and also one of Belize's top tour guides. I met with him over coffee last week to talk about the future of Belize and I insisted that he needed to share his knowledge and ideas on Belize to the world. The conversation led to the birth of this interview where he shares some interesting facts and ideas on Belize's history, culture, ecotourism, economy and sustainable development. Please tell me about yourself and where you were born? How has Belize changed since your youth? I was born in San Ignacio, the first of three children. Belize inevitably has changed very much since I was a child. There are more opportunities; more educational options; more infrastructural development; a robust tourism industry; the development of oil extraction, and there is also a tremendous effort in guiding the country to be more compatible with the fast-changing times to keep us competitive and relevant in the region.

3 Places To Live The American Retirement Dream Overseas
#2: San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize "Walk down the street on Ambergris Caye," a friend, Peter, who lives there says, "and you hear the music of the Boomers all around--the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin... "These folks, the Baby Boomers, who have been moving onto the island in growing numbers for years," Peter continues, "had a great time in the 1960s, listening to their music, growing their hair long, and getting stoned all the time. Then they became the most boring people on the planet. They made a lot of money by ignoring everything but hard work. "Now they're looking to reclaim their lives. They're finding their way, in retirement, in bigger and bigger numbers, to places like Ambergris Caye, Belize, where they're listening to their music again, growing their hair long again, and spending their days stoned again." Peter is joking about that last bit, but the point is that Ambergris Caye has what a lot of North American retirees are looking for right now, making it another of the most turn-key and user-friendly places in the world to retire overseas.

New deal to improve Olympic coverage in the Caribbean
Philip Guishard, Secretary-General of the Bermuda Olympic Association (BOA) today commented on the recent decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to award the regional broadcasting rights to the 2016 Rio Games - to CANOC Broadcasting Inc.(CBI). CANOC Broadcasting Inc. (CBI) is a company that has been formed by the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) across the Caribbean to purchase, monetise and manage the broadcast rights for the Olympic Games and other sporting properties. Mr. Guishard said, “The BOA is very pleased to be a part of this venture, which has been in the making for a number of years. With previous broadcasting arrangements, Bermudians—like residents of other countries in the region—have been often been frustrated by a lack of coverage of our athletes performing on the world stage. With the IOC having awarded regional broadcasting rights to CBI, we anticipate that much more coverage of our athletes will be available for competition in Rio and in other events of the world sports stage.”

The Worst Family Vacation We Ever Had….in Belize
Fortunately at the end of our week of kayaking, we’d booked three nights at an eco lodge in the jungle. It was a small place, hard to reach and very beautiful. Swimming in a free form pool, tubing the local river, exploring Mayan caves on the hotel’s land, feeding horses star fruit, admiring beautiful flowers and dining on excellent food – all of this – revived our spirits. And after hearing stories from the owner we gained a healthy respect for the local Fer-de-lance poisonous snake.

Best of the Week - Cayo Espanto - Belize
Belize has a lot going for them – pristine beaches; premiere scuba diving (largest coral reef in Western Hemisphere, hello!); and lush rain forests – to name a few. We’re big fans. Our favorite Belizean lure, however, is the five-star private island just off Belize’s coast. If you want to pretend you are the only person on the earth who matters, and that every one else thinks so, too - you need to book a stay at Cayo Espanto. It’s not surprising they made Islands Magazine’s top ten Best Private Islands in the World list this year (among other glowing accolades). This uber luxurious boutique resort is comprised of seven sublimely decorated wooden villas. Think Swiss Family Robinson, only a million times better. The Casa Olita Beach Villa boasts a plunge pool, private deck, alfresco showers and a walled garden. Casa Manana Beach offers a 180-degree vista of the Caribbean, private plunge pool and personal dock. Oceanfront Casa Solana Beach Villa has a private infinity pool to lounge in, a private verandah, and killer sunset views. A stay in Casa Brisa Beach Villa includes a private verandah, lagoon views, a private dock and a private plunge pool.

Swimming with dolphins at Black Bird Caye
Shot with a GoPro Hero 3

In Search of the Jaguar
In Search of the Jaguar – A National Geographic Video Alan Rabinowitz, PhD is the President and CEO of Panthera, a nonprofit conservation organization devoted to protecting the world’s 36 wild cat species. Dr Rabinowitz is one of the world’s leading big cat experts, and has been called The Indiana Jones of Wildlife Conservation by TIME Magazine. His work in Belize resulted in the world’s first jaguar sanctuary, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Quick Jaguar Facts The jaguar is the largest cat in the Americas. The jaguar has a compact body, a broad head and powerful jaws. Its coat is normally yellow and tan, but the color can vary from reddish brown to black. The spots on the coat are more solid and black on the head and neck and become larger rosette-shaped patterns along the side and back of the body.

December 3, 2013


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

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

The San Pedro Sun

Belize-Mexico friendship established by Mexican congress
On November 28th the Congress of Mexico formally established the Belize – Mexico Friendship Group. The group will serve as a high-level forum that complements existing diplomatic mechanisms between the two countries. Congresswoman Gabriela Medrano Galindo of Quintana Roo formally established the Group along with Belize’s Ambassador to Mexico, H.E. Oliver del Cid. In their remarks, both Congresswoman Medrano and Ambassador del Cid highlighted the historically close relationship between the two countries and welcomed the establishment of the Friendship Group as an opportunity to expand and deepen the Various Parliamentarians attended the event including other Members of the

Ambergris Today

First Belizean Receives Successful Cardiology Pediatric Services in Venezuela
First-time Cardiology Pediatric Services for Belize from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was a Success - Belmopan. November 28th, 2013. The Ministry of Health is pleased to announce the successful operation done on the first Belizean child to benefit from cardiology pediatric services with the Hospital Cardiologico Infantil Latinamericano in Caracas, Venezuela. At three months old, Cassidy Martinez was diagnosed with an Atrial Septum and Ventricular Septum Defect at a medical institution in Belize City. Her parents were advised to seek further medical attention for surgical options from a Pediatric Cardiologist, a specialist which is not available in Belize. The Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Belize, through Ambassador Yoel Perez Marcano, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health accepted and facilitated the request to assist baby Martinez. She underwent a successful surgery on October 10th, 2013 and returned to Belize during the first week of November.

Belize Coast Guard Strengthens Presence in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
The Belize Coast Guard is emerging with a stronger presence in the country with the enrollment of more recruits and expansion of its operations. This past week the military organization celebrated its 8th anniversary in grand style in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. On Friday, November 29, 2013, the Belize Coast Guard (as part of their 8th anniversary celebrations) inaugurated its northern Forward Operating Base on Ambergris Caye and also held the graduation ceremony of its fourth intake of 30 new recruits. The facility which is located on the leeward side of the island at the end of the canal entrance to the San Pedro Marina features a fully equipped command center, accommodations for 16 personnel, a fuelling station and a docking berth for two large vessels. Coast Guard personnel who will be permanently stationed in San Pedro can now be deployed instantly on operations from the Belize-Mexico border to the northern limits of Belize’s territorial seas. The structure is built to withstand a category five hurricane and was funded by the US Southern Command to the cost of $1.5Mil US.

Where are the Lobsters?
It was December 2, 1959 and a cold northerly had been blowing for two days. The San Pedro fishermen were bracing for a cold month of December and with it the happy anticipation of a large lobster catch. “Angel, are you going out with me tomorrow to catch some lobsters?” asked my father with a smile knowing full well that I would not turn down the invitation. “Yes, I will so be sure to wake me up,” I replied enthusiastically. “It is going to be colder than today and we have to jump in at five thirty with the first rays of the sunlight,” my dad assured. The next morning low and behold it was really chilly as we poled our dory about five hundred feet from the beach right in front of the village. There were already about ten other dories, two or three fishermen in each one also preparing to dive in. I put on my fins and cleaned my mask while my dad gave me two weapons which I was to use to catch our most precious prey. One was a stick with a hook firmly fixed to the end and which, of course, we called a “hookstick”. The other weapon was another piece of stick with a wire hoop or lasso fixed on to the end. When we spotted a lobster we would dive towards it and place the hook under its body and with a firm pull we would hook the prey making it defenseless. It was more or less the same thing with the lasso. The hoop was carefully put around the tail of the crustacean and with a slight pull, the animal would be captured and placed into the dory.

Local Artists Display Their Talent at Art Show
There are a lot of talented artists in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, many of which have set up shop and galleries at various locations throughout town. This past weekend, a group of them came together to organize an Art Show/Exhibit that took place on Friday, November 29, and Saturday, November 30, 2013. The talented artists, crafters and wood carvers gathered at the San Pedro Lions Den to display their beautiful masterpieces. Artists included Art Director/Event Organizer, Melody Sanchez Wolfe, Valley Ruddick, Eduardo “Papo” Alamilla, Sinesio Rash, Erwin Chan, Josey Alamilla, Chuy, Sophie Lisbey, Edgar Gomez and Kent L. Meggs. Crafters – Baron Neal (Butterfly art), Orvin Castillo (Slate Carvings), Dale Wallace (Luthier) and Elizabeth “Libby” Storey (Spices and Hot Sauces). Wood Carvers – Edwin X and Dean.

Misc Belizean Sources

San Pedro Christmas Parade Dec. 8th, 6pm
There will be Santa, Elves, Cartoon Characters, Dance Groups and business floats

On December 1, Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the San Pedro Town Council lighted the Christmas Tree at Central Park. Rompe Raja was on site singing Christmas songs and making everyone dance with their music. Children were treated to ideals and biscuits to celebrate.

On Friday, November 29, The Belize Coast Guard hosted its 4th Graduation of 30, its 8th Anniversary and the Inauguration of the San Pedro Station.

UNICEF donates towards School's Bathrooms Renovations (65 photos)
On Friday, November 29, the San Pedro Roman Catholic School and the New Horizon S.D.A. School hosted an inauguration ceremony for the bathroom renovations they currently received on behalf of UNICEF. At both inaugurations, the students made a demonstration on how to properly wash our hands. Both schools formed a Quality Child Friendly School Committee where parents and school members are involved in the well being of the children. This committee will also be responsible for the upkeep of the bathrooms and make sure that everything is in order.

John Paul II JC Construction
They've broken ground in Benque, and started clearing for the John Paul II Junior College. "Thanks to the Spanish Lookout community, the JPII Junior College ground work is nearing completion. It is another historic occasion as it signals Mount Carmel High School's commitment to building its junior college. Please pray for this ambitious project."

Soul Project Live Music
The Soul Project is known for having some amazing live music most nights, and this weekend it was great as always. Known as the cultural hub of Cayo, it's always a fun spot to hang out. D Russell Photography got some perfect shots of the festivities. Emmeth Young and the Tall Wall Vibrations are playing there on Saturday, December 7th. Don't miss one of the best drumming groups in the hemisphere.

16 Days of Activism
The Cornerstone Foundation participated in the 16 Days of Activism events in Cayo over the weekend. They were at the Cayo Welcome Center and at Columbus park for the candlelight vigil. Thanks, Cornerstone! In related news, Cornerstone is having a fundraiser the coming weekend, Decmeber 7th, at JJ's. The theme will be '80's Splash Down

VIDEO: CXC Awards Ceremony 2013
Guest speaker Mr. Khalid Belisle

Work on the Consejo Road progresses
as a grader has been dispatched by the Ministry of Public Works to the area to fix the badly deteriorated road. All villagers and residents in the Consejo area are thankful for this urgent infrastructure works by MOPW and await urgent mitigation on the condition of the Consejo Road bio-hazard dump site.

Corozal Police are seeking the public's assistance in locating JASON MATURA
aka "Peso and a Massam aka 'Hammer' who can assist in a stabbing incident over the weekend at Civic Lounge. Corozal Police Report on Sunday December 1st 2013 at about 3:35 a.m. acting upon information received of a stabbing incident, Corozal Police visited the Corozal Community Hospital Emergency Room where on arrival saw two male persons of Creole decent who were learnt to be 21 year old Adrian Vasquez, Belizean DJ of Santa Barbara Street San Ignacio Town, Cayo District suffering from a stab wounds to the left side of abdomen, swollen right eyes and cut over right eye and 29 year old Alex Hernandez Belizean DJ of Sand Hill Village, Belize District suffering from injuries to the right upper chest area and right side of lower back. Investigations revealed that at about 3:15 a.m. on Dec 1st both DJ's were playing music inside 'D-Spot Lounge' located on 4th Avenue, Corozal Town and after conclusion of the nights activity, they decided to cut-off the music, after which a crowd of about eight male persons, two of which were recognized as Jason Matura aka "Peso" and the other known only as Massam aka 'Hammer' who were inside the said establishment attacked them for no reason for apparently having ended the music. Jason Matura inflicted the stab wounds to both DJ's and thereafter fled the scene. Both victims were taken to the Corozal Community Hospital then later transported to the Northern Regional Hospital for further medical treatment where they remain in stable condition.

Channel 7

Sugar Talks Continue, PM Mediating
We are 13 days away from December 15th, which experts say is the latest possible date for the start of a cane season without major losses. And tonight, we still don't know if there will be a season. The Prime Minister met with the cane farmers this morning at the Biltmore Best Western in Belize City. The meeting started at 10:00, and it featured about 12 executives and senior members of the Belize Sugar cane Farmers Association on one side, with Prime Minister Barrow, Deputy Gaspar Vega and other senior staffers from the Ministry of Agriculture on the other. But, the sides weren't really necessary because they both agree on the fundamental principle that farmers should get paid for bagasse because it has a value. But they do differ on how the farmers should negotiate for that value. Here's what they told us when they came out of the meeting:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "We had already indicated to their local agents that we want such a meeting. Mr. Montalvo said, because of the thanksgiving holiday, he was not able to get in touch with the central authorities. He would have an answer for me by close of day today, as to how soon that meeting can take place. We will take to ASR the position which we had in fact stated at the press conference in which we repeated to the farmers today and see if on that basis we can bring the 2 sides together for face to face negotiations." Jules Vasquez "Is there room to negotiate? Will we have a season starting on December 15th?" Prime Minister Dean Barrow "I don't know. It depends on how far we get with ASR."

Fired on Friday, Rehired On Monday
And while that was happening in Belize City, in Orange Walk 24 BSI contract workers called on their union to intercede after they were abruptly dismissed on Friday. Seems their contract had come to an end, but they got not notice of dismissal. The field workers had been retained by BSI to work on a crop growing project, but on Friday - with the season in limbo - they were suddenly sent home. The Belize Workers Union interceded and the matter resolved with surprising speed. Our colleagues at CTV-3 found out more:.. Ramiro Gongora, President - BWU "They were being told that they have no more jobs. As the union legal representation to those workers, we had to do what we think is right as we forward a letter to BSI's management stating that these workers were taking out of their jobs with prior notice to the BWU." Reporter "What was the reason given to them?" Ramiro Gongora, President - BWU "The reason is that they (BSI) do not have any more work for them. They are workers that have been working for the past 5 years and they had never been told something like that."

Rodwell Vs. The Yearwood’s Goes To Court
5 weeks ago, 7News told you about the land dispute, which flared up between the Yearwood Family and Senior Counsel Rodwell Williams, the law partner of Prime Minister Dean Barrow. It involves a piece of land on Cemetery Lane; the family says that the land has been in their family for 109 years, which was clearly set out in the will of their ancestor, Richard Codlin Young, making sure that his descendants should keep ownership. Rodwell Williams says that a piece of the land belongs to him, and he's produced land title, which came into existence on October 24, 2007, and which says that he owns it. As we showed you, the Yearwood family says that this claim is not legitimate because the Williams family was granted lodging to build on the piece of land he's claiming with the understanding that they would move when they could. Well, since that stand-off between the Yearwood family in October, Rodwell Williams Jr. brought an ex-parte injunction application to court against Gary Yearwood, Sharett Yearwood, Elaine Yearwood, and Keith Yearwood, who you saw being the most vocal against the installation of the yellow food hut on the piece of land under contention.

Belize Spared In Weak Hurricane Season
And a lot of the issues with sugar that we featured at the top of the news, have also to do with the very heavy rains in November - that is one of the reasons the opening of the season would have had to be delayed, with our without a dispute over bagasse. But while the rains have been especially heavy and have caused major chaos for many communities across Belize - we note that while acknowledging that the hurricane season - which ended on Saturday, was especially merciful. Experts say it was the weakest Atlantic hurricane season since 1982, and the sixth least active since 1950. Only two storms developed into hurricanes and neither became a major storm. Belize was spared from storms and scares, while our neighbor Mexico experienced three Atlantic storms. Belize was last hit by a hurricane in October 2010 - and that was hurricane Richard which made landfall south of Belize City, and tore a path west all the way to the Cayo district.

Family Fears Tetanus Shot May Have Played A Role In 12 Year Old’s Death
Up until last week, 12 year old Independence Villager, Sabrina Almendarez had been known as an active healthy child. But her family says that after she took a tetanus shot last week Monday, she became ill with fever and headache. On Friday at 4:30 am, her father, teacher Gregory Almendarez found her motionless in her bed. The family rushed her the 50 miles to the Southern Regional Hospital about but when they got there she was pronounced dead. It's a nightmare no one would want to live through, and tonight the family is pointing to the tetanus shot as the only thing that could have triggered the girl's sudden demise. The ministry of health has whose polyclinic administered the injection says that it cannot comment until a post mortem examination is completed. That is scheduled for tomorrow. But 7News has learned that Sabrina received a DT shot, that D-T stands for Diphtheria and Tetanus combination. The vial she received it from was also shared with nine other children - who are not reporting any symptoms, according to our reports. According to 2012 figures, 21,210 persons including children less than five receive vaccines for tetanus yearly.

Aguirre’s Family Could Lose All without DNA Test
The family of Daniel Aguirre, the 2011 KTV Latino Champion who has been missing since September, and who is presumed dead, is in danger of losing their house to the bank because his insurance company refuses to without proof of his death. Viewers may remember that Aguirre is the man who is suspected to have been killed and then burnt up inside his car on between September 7 and 8 in Belmopan. His identity is still unconfirmed, and Belmopan police has been waiting on the Forensic Lab to return the results of DNA testing on the body which was retrieved from Aguirre's car. Even though that body, which the family strongly believes is Aguirre, has been buried, no death certificate has been issued. That death certificate is important because according to Aguirre's common-law wife, he had insurance which the family can't collect because the insurance company wants absolute proof. With that insurance money, which the family can't collect, they intended to make some payment toward a $30,000 mortgage they made with Scotia Bank.

Uncle Sam Wants Salim
Bangladeshi Belizean Fahkrul Alam Salim, the man wanted by the US Government will not be extradited to face charges of methamphetamine importation and money laundering. That's the written decision of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, which she handed down this morning. As we told you, a grand jury of the state of Virginia indicted him on these charges saying that around January of 2011 Salim and others unlawfully, knowingly and intentionally combined and conspired to manufacture 500 grams or more of a mixture containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine - or crystal meth, knowing that it was to be imported into the United States. Well, after seeing all the evidence presented by the Attorney General's Ministry, on behalf of the US, Chief Magistrate Smith did not believe that they had enough to justify his extradition. 7News spoke with his attorney, Godfrey Smith, who explained the Chief Magistrate's reasoning: Godfrey Smith, attorney "It was alleged that Mr. Salim, from Belize procured a shipment of pseudoephedrine from Bangladesh through various international ports to Mexico knowing they allege that pseudoephedrine would have been used for the manufacture of methamphetamine which is illegal in the United States. They allege that he caused these shipments to be made knowing they would be used for the manufacture methamphetamine for importation into the United States."

Wanted in US, Deon Bruce Still In Bz
Godfrey Smith also represents Deon Bruce, who is wanted by the US Government to stand trial for charges including murder and attempted murder for allegedly shooting at Aaron Carter and Bryan Rodgers in Chicago on July 28, 2010. His case also came up today before the Chief Magistrate where Smith and the Government Crown Counsels presented arguments why Bruce should or should not be committed for extradition. Today, we asked Smith for an explanation of his arguments which he presented in Bruce's favour, and here's how he explained it: Godfrey Smith, attorney "Mr. Deon Bruce extradition hearing came on this morning and we obviously made the arguments and objections on his behalf as to why we think the evidence was not sufficient for the committing magistrate to decide to extradite him. Those arguments were completed this morning and the chief magistrate will give her decision and I believe the date was the 8th January, 2014."

Viagra Knockoffs Held At Customs
Customs is holding unto 53 boxers of a product called Silvegra - which is a Viagra knockoff out of India. No, it's certainly not a prohibited item, but it's being tested for possible links to pseudo ephedrine. Duty has already been paid on the shipment of 360 thousand tablets valued at eighty thousand, but it remains at customs. That's after the forensic Department and the Ministry of Health were called in last week Thursday to check it for pseudo ephedrine. Tests were done and it showed a preliminary indication for ephedrine or pseudo ephedrine - but we note that those preliminary tests are often a false positive - and many times full tests come back negative. But it seems PFIZER which makes Viagra has also asked the US Embassy to get involved because Silvegra is a knockoff. The shipment was imported by MEDIGEN, a local pharmaceutical company for the domestic market.

Saldivar Wins Convention
Arthur Saldivar is well known in the media because he's always ready to give an interview. But yesterday, he had to prove his political worth on the ground, where he faced a three-way convention for PUP standard bearer in Belize Rural North. In the end Saldivar emerged victorious with 593 votes, while Alburn Rivero had 302, and Beverly Small Lemoine had 46. That's less than a thousand votes, and in a division of over five thousand voters, it's hardly overwhelming - especially when one considers that his likely UDP opponent Edmund Castro got more than a thousand votes by himself in his 2011 convention. In that convention, a total of almost 1800 persons voted. We compare the numbers because Saldivar says he trying to engineer a Castro recall which would require 1500 signatures, 600 more than showed up at the convention.

Chairman Eddie Detained In Melchor
A village chairman form the Cayo district is detained in Melchor on accusation of marijuana possession. Eddie De La Rosa, the three term chairman of Buena Vista Village was locked up in Melchor over the weekend when he had a dispute with police. Reports are sketchy, but our information says that De La Rosa was with some friends at the Puerta Negra bar when police pulled up. One of his friends was reportedly smoking weed - and the group had to pay the police three hundred dollars to leave them alone. But, our reports say De La RosA, didn't like the arrangement, and went to the police station to get back his money. That's when they searched him and found a stick of weed - which his friends say was planted on him. He was detained and efforts were made by the Ministry of foreign Affairs staffer to get him out today, but best reports say they were unsuccessful. De La Rosa, is a senior political operator for UDP Cayo central Representative, Rene Montero.

All Draws in Weekend Football
The Premier League Belikin Cup Competition continued this weekend and Channel 7's game of the week featured FC Verdes visiting FC Belize at the MCC. The game started at four, and Verdes' Norman Nunez Pipersburgh was quick to strike in the eighth minute. The game was live on Channel 7 and here's the call from Mervyn Rugged Flores:... In other games, Paradise/Freedom Fighters FC, drew with Police United FC, 1 - 1. And in Cayo, San Ignacio United FC drew with Belize Defense Force FC. So at week 5, Paradise is atop the standings with 12 points while Verdes and BDF are tied for second with 11 points each.

Belize Did Well Against Mexican Opponents
And while that was live on Channel 7 on Sunday afternoon, on Saturday night viewers could kick back and enjoy some lively amateur boxing from the Hour Bar and Grill. It was an entertaining evening, with almost three hours and ten bouts. The main attraction was a visiting contingent from contingent from Cancun. Belize's boxers won four and lost two to them - and we spoke to some of the combatants:.. That Mexican boxer lost a tooth which cut the inside of his cheek according to the Doctor. Due to steady rains in the evening, the event had a light crowd but those who came did get their money's worth and promoter James Adderley says he's planning a next promotion with visiting fighters.

Channel 5

Twelve year old dies under mysterious circumstances
Tonight there are many more questions than answers in the tragic death of a student from Independence in southern Belize. Twelve year old Sabrina Almendarez was discovered by her father [...]

Bomb Threat interrupts meeting with cane farmers
This morning, an unidentified male person called in a bomb threat to the Belize Biltmore Plaza just before midday. Normally that wouldn’t make the top of the news because they [...]

PM tries to chart a way forward with cane farmers
December fifteenth, 2013 has been set as the deadline for the start of the 2013-2014 crop season. After that point there is a very real risk that the season would [...]

PM holds out on Sugar Roads until he knows that there will definitely be a crop
To avoid real, dire repercussions, the 2013-2014 crop season will need to get underway by December fifteenth. The primary obstacle is of course the impasse between the BSCFA and B.S.I., [...]

More than one hundred and fifty visas approved on a weekly basis
Tonight News Five takes to the visa trail again as we continue to assemble the pieces in a massive visa scheme. Our investigation so far has revealed the involvement of [...]

Dispute over land on Cemetery Lane lands in court
A heated land dispute between the Young family and the Prime Minister’s law partner, Attorney Rodwell Williams, over a small plot on Cemetery Lane, has landed in the courts.  In [...]

Young family surprised that Williams also has title to their property
According to Matura-Shepherd, it came as a complete surprise to her clients that Williams also had title to the property.  Furthermore, it wasn’t until 2007 that he had applied for [...]

Cane Growers Project former employees showed up to query the reason why they were released
While cane farmers in the north stayed away from making deliveries to Tower Hill last week, twenty-four employees attached to the Cane Growers Project at Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. were [...]

B.S.I. former employees rehired
The workers, says Gongora, were released without being given a sufficient reason.  Thankfully, he says, the situation was resolved amicably.   Ramiro Gongora, President, Belize Workers Union “We were not [...]

Fakhrul Salim beats extradition
Since the U.S.A. requested the extradition of well-known Belize City brothers, Mark and Gary Sewell, there have been three others who are facing a similar request. They include Rhett Fuller, [...]

Justin Lacroix meets bail of fifteen thousand dollars
Justin ‘Ducky’ Lacroix, a promising young accountant, who was arraigned on Friday on fifty-eight counts of forgery, was able to meet bail today after spending the weekend at the Belize [...]

Dean Samuel contesting Belize Rural Central
As we said on Friday, U.D.P. aspirants for national elections have submitted their names to the secretariat. Among those who have interest in running in the national elections is councilor, [...]

Councilor with responsibility for Works is asking for patience
Last week at his press conference, the Prime Minister announced that some three million dollars will be spent on the rehabilitation of streets in the City. City Hall’s ambitious plan [...]

James Adderly takes a look back at football, cycling and boxing
Good evening I’m James Adderly and this is Sports Monday. Week 5 back matches in the Belikin Cup were staged this weekend so here in Belize city F.C. Belize took [...]


Orange Walk Police Increases Patrols
Orange Walk Police has increased its patrol as we near the Christmas Celebrations. As a result, on Friday night they stop and search Victor Luna of an Asuncion Street address in Orange Walk Town. Luna was walking on Lover’s Lane when he was approached by police who observed acting suspiciously. Second in Command at the Orange Walk Police Department, Inspector Julius Cantun told us why that was so. INSPECTOR JULIUS CANTUN “Indeed Friday the police were conducting their routine patrol whereby they came across a male individual at the Dolores Lane area, who upon seeing the police tried to flee not before hiding or trying to conceal something nearby behind a fence. As a result he was detained, searched and nothing incriminating was found on his person. The police went back and searched the area where he had thrown something which resulted in the recovery of a fire arm, a 9 mm which was reported stolen earlier in the week by a businessman. A business had been burglarized and this fir arm along with monies had been stolen. So, the police indeed recovered that firearm on Friday. The person is being charged as we speak. This is not the first time that he has been dealt with by the police; this is not the first time that he is before the court and we don’t want to speculate in this particular incident, we want justice to take its course. So yes we have dealt with the person on several occasions and this is another one that we will be looking into seriously. This was a burglary at Luna’s grocery store here in Orange Walk Town. I believe it occurred Wednesday morning. The police had been investigating that particular burglary. The crimes investigations branch however on Friday for the night they came across this young man who was subsequently detained and he was found with the firearm from that burglary. Therefore he is being linked to the burglary and he’s being investigated for many others in this area.”

Freak Accident Leaves Farmer Dead
Orange Walk Police continue to investigate the death of a man from Orange Walk who reportedly shot himself by mistake. The incident occurred last week Friday some ten miles from Santa Martha near New Land around eight o’clock in the morning. Second in the Command at the Orange Walk Police Department, Inspector of Police Julius Cantun told Love News that the death of 53 year old Armando Valledadez is being treated as a freak accident. INSPECTOR JULIUS CANTUN “Information was received by Orange Walk police that some 10 miles north east of Santa Martha Village in the New Land Area in the Orange Walk District, an incident had occurred. As a result the police visited the area where they found the lifeless body of one Armando Valladarez, a 53-year-old farmer of Santa Martha Village in the Orange Walk District. He was seen lying faced up with an apparent gunshot wound to the upper part of the chest. Initial investigations revealed that Mr. Valladarez along with another villager had gone on a hunting trip earlier that morning. He was carrying his shot gun apparently, loaded and at the location mentioned he had an accident were he fell off the bicycle with the shot gun which accidently went off causing the injuries and subsequent death of Mr. Valladarez. The police visited the scene and processed the scene of the incident. The body was transferred to the Northern Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The matter is still under investigation; no foul play suspected thus far and like I mentioned, the matter is still being investigated at this time.”

Magistrate Denies Extradition Request for Salim
Since the USA ordered for the extradition of brothers, Mark and Gary Sewell, there have been three others who faced a similar request. They include, Khalid El Turk, Deon Bruce, and Fakhrul Alam Salim. Recently Gary Sewell lost his battle as Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith ordered he be extradited. Meanwhile his brother, Mark awaits his ruling. But beating the extradition process recently was Khalid El Turk and today another man walked in his foot-steps. He is Fakhrul Salim, a Bangladesh national who was first brought before the court earlier this year on extradition request. But today, Salim got good news that ended in his freedom. It came this morning before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith whose words made a difference for one man when she told him today in court, “Fakhrul Alam Salim must hereby be discharged and he is free to go.” The good news was issued in a written report dated November 28, 2013 and announced in court today by the Chief Magistrate. She told the court, he has no case to answer to and will not be extradited. Salim was wanted by the US for involvement with money laundering and manufacturing of methamphetamine. On March 21, 2013, a warrant was issued for Salim after the United States made a request for his extradition. His attorney Godfrey Smith argued that the charges are not extraditable offenses under the Extradition Act of Belize and that they did not

Prime Minister Meets with Members of Cane Farmers Association
Prime Minister Dean Barrow met today with members of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association to try and iron out kinks between cane farmers and American Sugar Refinery, ASR, over payment of bagasse. The PM said that they will now have to meet with ASR and had already indicated to their agents that he wants to have that meeting, and he supports the cane farmers in their plight. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW “There is no compromise yet. There is simply a matter of our needing to talk to ASR to see if there can be a compromise after such meeting. Mr. Montalvo said because of the Thanksgiving holidays he was not able to get in touch with the central authorities. He would have an answer for me by close of day today as to how soon that can take place. We will take to ASR, the position which we had stated at the press conference and which we had repeated to the farmers today and see if on that basis we can bring the two sides together for a face to face negotiation.” Meanwhile, Vice President of the Belize Cane Farmers’ Association, Alfredo Ortega, said that cane farmers are not prepared to deliver cane while negotiations to work out payment details progress.

Police Crime Stories
A family in Independence Village is left at a loss following the sudden death of 12-year-old Sabrina Almendarez. The young student of Independence Primary School was found dead early Friday morning. Her father reported to Police that on Monday his daughter was given a tetanus shot at school and since then became ill with fever and headache. He said when he made checks on his daughter around four thirty Friday morning he found her motionless. The body now lies at the Southern Regional Hospital morgue awaiting a post mortem examination. Corozal Police have charged 39-year-old Adrian Rosalez of Caledonia Village for maim. On Wednesday Jasinto Verde of Sarteneja Village reported to police that he was walking on a road in Caledonia Village with his cousin when Rosalez arrived in a pickup truck. According to Verde, Rosalez took out a machete and inflicted a single chop wound to his left palm. According to Police the two men were involved in an altercation earlier that night. Rosalez left and returned layer with the machete and inflicted the wound. Verde was transported to Corozal Community Hospital where the doctor certified his injuries as maim. A police search on Sunday morning led to the discovery of two thousand one hundred and thirty one grams of suspected cannabis. Police say they conducted the search of an abandoned house at the corner of Munoz and Brides Alley in Belize. No one was found in the area at the time and so the suspected drugs was labeled and deposited as found property.

Two Dozen BSI Workers Reinstated 48 Hours Later
Twenty four employees from the Belize Sugar Industries Limited were left worried on Friday when they were told that they had been released from their jobs. The men say they were unjustly let go and sought the assistance of their union, the Belize Worker’s Union. The men have been reinstated and Reporter Hipolito Novelo has more on this story. HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING Some 13 of the 24 workers who were told on Friday that there was no need for them to return to work today, waited in front of the Belize Sugar Industries Limited for a positive response. Many of these men who have years working under the Crop Growing Project have individual contract with the sugar processing company. They say that BSI did not follow protocol as per the contract signed. In addition, these men are part of the Belize Worker’s Union and sought the assistance of the worker’s movement. President of the BWU, Ramiro Gongora explained. RAMIRO GONGORA “Several workers from the CGP employees came to the BWU office and informed me that they were being released until further notice. We were not informed as we are the legal bargaining agent for the field workers and so we drafted a letter and forwarded it to management in regards to that and we did not get any answer and so, we waited until this morning to see if Mr. Carballo would answer the letter and we waited until about nine o’clock and he did call me and said that it was on their behalf and they apologize for not informing the union but that they were going to release them but he instructed to re-employ them this morning.”


Government of Belize Meets with Cane Farmers
Prime Minister Dean Barrow dropped a bombshell at last Wednesday’s press conference when he declared that Cabinet had given its support to the sugar cane farmers of the North represented by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) in their fight with sugar producer Belize Sugar Industries, Limited (BSI)...

What Happened to CPBL on the Seat of the Defendant?
On Wednesday, we reported that CPBL; the Citrus Growers of Belize Limited may be facing a lawsuit in the United States Supreme Court, brought against the company by SOCIEDAD AGRICOLA HERMANOS PEREZ, INC., of Puerto Rico. SAHP, INC is a distributor of CPBL’s CitroPulpa; pellets made from citrus pulp...

Where did the Yearwood Land Lawsuit End?
On October 26 it created a spectacle when armed police officers and members of the Belize Defence Force (BDF) converged on the Cemetery Lane residence of Elaine Yearwood and her family. Their purpose was to install a gacho shop, property of a businesswoman previously located on Albert Street West behind...

Bomb Threat Cuts Cane Farmers Meeting Short
One last piece of news from the cane farmers’ meeting which was held at the Biltmore Plaza. It appears to have been disrupted by news of a bomb threat called into the hotel. Police arrived and orders were given to evacuate the building. We get more from Alfredo Ortega....

GOB and Farmers Disagree on Conditions to Improve to Cane Roads
And while Government is happy to support the caneros’ fight for bagasse, it comes with a price. They want to see the crop started and that means a little bargaining power in the form of fixing cane roads. Prime Minister Dean Barrow reiterated today that without evidence of a...


The Way To My Heart: Sweet Ting Pastries in San Ignacio, Belize
Just down the hill, the VERY steep hill, from the Cahal Pech Resort (I’ll tell you about my stay tomorrow) and the gorgeous Cahal Pech ruins or up the hill from the downtown area of San Ignacio is a gem. Though from the outside, you might not know it at first. Easy to overlook but DO NOT! Sweet Ting Pastries. My new first stop in San Ignacio. Just down the hill, the VERY steep hill, from the Cahal Pech Resort (I’ll tell you about my stay tomorrow) and the gorgeous Cahal Pech ruins or up the hill from the downtown area of San Ignacio is a gem. Though from the outside, you might not know it at first. Easy to overlook but DO NOT! Sweet Ting Pastries. My new first stop in San Ignacio. Mmmmm…placed in its sweet milky bath.

‘Wanaragua’ - A New Children's Book By Cayetano Family
The Leo Bradley Library, Belize City in collaboration with the Pen Cayetano Studio Gallery from Dangriga presented the new Children’s book “Wanaragua’ written by Ibo and Ingrid Cayetano and designed by Mali Cayetano with a book launch on December, 4th. 2013. The story of the book is based on the traditional Christmas dance of the Garinagu also known as Jankunu. This family project was realized with brother Beni who created the storyboard and brother Ibo who co-authored and mother Ingrid responsible for writing, translation, management and marketing. Father Pen Cayetano shared his artistic experience. Mali, an illustrator, musician, artist, and youth educator has been teaching children in Belize and Germany and she has the desire to preserve and disseminate the Garifuna culture, music and dance. The original artwork from the book and other merchandise are on display and can be viewed during the opening hours of the Library until 3rd January 2014.

The Importance of Excellent Customer Service & Feedback Surveys
Is offering a good customer service important? Of course it is. You don’t need me to tell you that, because we all know it already. Although that’s a sure truth, it doesn’t harm anybody to take a look at the stats showing why we need to pay attention to this part of our businesses. Customer service is important because it can make the difference in your business. It can be the reason for a customer to switch either towards you or towards your competitors, depending on who offers the best customer service. A research conducted by RightNow on Customer Experience Impact in 2011 revealed that 89% of customers gave up being a company’s client and turned to competitors after receiving poor customer service. That’s quite a high percentage, definitely worth considering before raising the voice at your client because he’s asking you the same question over and over again.

“Little Bit of Everything” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
So what I have been up to since the last edition I can just feel a few (and I do mean a few) of you wondering. Or am I being a little (or a lot) pretentious? Egotistical? I’ll leave it to you to decide. But … if you think I am then please DO keep that to yourself. Not something we need to share, is it? Well, I have continued to get up early -between 04.00 to 05.00 hours (its been this way since the mid eighties when traffic in London started to get heavier and heavier (and less bearable). So I started to set off early (and stay at work late). Now I don’t have to worry about (and get agitated by) traffic congestion. OK there is the occasional build up of traffic on Ambergris Caye (normally around school start time when it can ‘show’ itself in Coconut Drive near Tropic Air but its second league stuff in comparison with what I faced and had to contend with when living in London. Do I miss it ? Are you serious?

International Sources

Caribbean 2013 Tourist Arrivals by Country of Origin

Nehanda (Nehanda Higinio) has been having a reoccurring nightmare about a Mayan evil spirit known as the Xtabai. At the same time, a nearby Mayan cave has been exposed, and a strange sickness has fallen over Nehanda’s village. Fearing a major breakout, the Belizean government sends the army to quarantine the area. When Nehanda’s brother (Tomas Fabian Serrut) gets sick, and the local doctor is unable to help, Nehanda’s mother (Miriam Antoinette-Ochaeta) defiantly tries to walk beyond the army blockade, despite warnings that she will be shot if she continues. As Nehanda and her schoolmates look on, Nehanda’s mother is killed by the army. Distraught, but convinced that her nightmare of the Xtabai may hold the secret to stopping the sickness and saving the world, Nehanda and a handful of her schoolmates, including her professor (Jim Goodchild Arnold), hire jungle expert Mr. John (Arran Bevis) to sneak them by the army blockade so that they can investigate the Mayan cave and, hopefully, stop the curse of the Xtabai. Unfortunately, death lurks in the jungle, and not just from the army.

TripAdvisor Names Travelers' Choice Destinations On The Rise
TripAdvisor(R) , the world's largest travel site*, today announced the winners of its 2013 Travelers' Choice(TM) Awards for Destinations on the Rise. The awards highlight 54 spots globally that have seen the greatest increase in positive traveler feedback and traveler interest, year-over-year. Top 10 Destinations on the Rise in the World: 1. Havana, Cuba 2. La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica 3. Kathmandu, Nepal 4. Jerusalem, Israel 5. Cusco, Peru 6. Ambergris Caye, Belize 7. Sapporo, Japan 8. Hanoi, Vietnam 9. Corralejo, Spain 10. Fortaleza, Brazil

Why US baby boomers are retiring in Latin America
After 20 years in the US military, James Cummiskey was divorced and looking for a change. Relenting to his buddy's request, he flew to Medellín, Colombia, for a visit. He looked, he saw, and, by dinner time, he decided to stay. Permanently. "After four to five hours, I was immediately captured by everything I saw," says the ex-marine, who has lived in 35 countries. He spent the next four months selling two homes, three vehicles, two motorcycles, and one airplane. He put the money aside and decided to retire early.

Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. Declares First Quarter Cash Dividend
Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: CWCO) today announced that its Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.075 per share. The dividend is payable January 31, 2014 to shareholders of record at the close of business January 1, 2014. Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. develops and operates seawater desalination plants and water distribution systems in areas of the world where naturally occurring supplies of potable water are scarce or nonexistent. The Company operates water production and/or distribution facilities in the Cayman Islands, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and Bali, Indonesia.

CCJ Corner: Workers dismissed for union activity... Ouch!
Mayan King Ltd v Jose Reyes [2012] CCJ 3 (AJ) During June 2001, several farm workers (the “employees”) were all fired from Mayan King Ltd. (“Mayan”), the owner of citrus and banana farms. One of the issues for the Caribbean Court of Justice to decide was in a word, ‘Why’. Were they fired due to their involvement in trade union activity, as suggested by the former employees, or was it due to legitimate cost-cutting exercises, as suggested by Mayan? In May 2001, the employees began actively promoting unionization in their workplace. They highlighted unfair practices, held public meetings, encouraged employees to join the union and personally signed them up. Their promotion of the union was not done during working hours and their meetings were not held on Mayan’s property. By June, 2001 they were all dismissed from Mayan. They were all long standing employees, ranging from six to sixteen years with Mayan. They took legal action challenging their dismissal. They claimed that the only logical explanation for their dismissal was their involvement with the union. They stated that their dismissals violated the Trade Union and Employers Act 2000 (Belize) which was designed to protect employees from being discriminated against by their employers for involvement in trade union activities. If an employee could show that his/her dismissal was based on such involvement the courts could direct that the employer do what is right or direct that the employee be rehired, if possible.

Belize: Luxury & Ecotourism at The Lodge at Chaa Creek
My interview with Larry Waight, the Marketing Director at The Lodge at Chaa Creek in Belize, has me thinking that I should adopt an ecotourist travel style. I am not an ecotourist. I’m not well-versed on global warming, clean energy, carbon footprints, or any of the other environmental issues plaguing our planet. Low-impact tourism is definitely not the first thing that comes to mind when choosing where I should vacation. I’ve never participated in any sort of environmental protectionist protests or boycotts, and I’ve never gone on crusades advocating for the preservation of the rainforests and oceans. Still, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t engaged in my fair share of environmental altruism. I’ve volunteered plenty of hours cleaning local beaches, preserving my community’s wetlands, and planting trees. I recycle, I don’t litter, and I sometimes shop at my local farmer’s market with my reusable grocery bags in hand. Heck, I even drive a low carbon emission vehicle. Does it really matter that I didn’t realize that it’s a low carbon emission vehicle until recently, despite the fact that I bought the car about four years ago?! The point is that I’m aware that the environment has problems, and I’m doing my part to help – right? But should I be doing more, especially when it comes to my pursuit of a life of travel?

December 2, 2013


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Specials and Events

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

The San Pedro Sun

Doctor Love: Bad Customer Service?
A frequent customer at a local establishment gets burned the moment a few tourists show up. Is that bad customer service or just business as usual?

Saga says Thanks You for successful November Rice Cook-Off
The SAGA Humane Society would like to give a big thanks to Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar and their great staff for hosting our Rice Cook-Off Thursday November 21st. The night turned out to be a lucky and dry day for the Saga HS and our supporters. There was a great turnout of visitors and locals who enjoyed all the fine rice dishes presented. The event raised needed funds to cover the expenses to SNIP over 20 low income island pets. After the votes were tallied, Melt Café took first place with Easter Wrap. Second place went to Laura Sutton with Stuffed Rice Balls and third place was won by Cindy Firth with her Shrimp Risotto. The other fine rice dishes were: Shrimp in Rice – Letty Hernandez, Turkish Rice – Carolina Zapata, Rice Pudding with Caramel Sauce – Runway Bar, Spicy Jamaica Rice- Carolina Zapata, Mushroom Carrot Rice topped with Caribbean Chicken – Runway Bar. We are grateful to all the cooks for their entries and for their support.

Belize Coast Guard inaugurates new facility and graduates 30
The Belize Coast Guard held a very special ceremony on Friday November 29th to mark their 8th anniversary. The event, which was threefold, was held one and a half miles southwest of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye at the newly inaugurated facility. It entailed the Belize Coast Guard’s 8th anniversary celebration, the graduation of the 4th intake and inauguration of the Belize Coast Guard northern Forward Operational Base (FOB) on the leeward side of the island. According to Chief Executive Officer in Belize’s Ministry of National Security Lieutenant Cornel (Retired) George Lovell, since its establishment on November 28, 2005 said that the Belize Coast Guard has accomplished yet another milestone as it moves its mid-term goals. Lovell explained that having over 14,000 square miles of waters to patrol, the Belize Coast Guard can boast that they have Belize’s water under control. “The Coast service is an essential element of our national security. The protection of Belize’s maritime spaces and commerce from threats, both foreign and domestic, through the provision of maritime security, safety and protection of our people, industries and natural resources has been, and continues to be, the Belize Coast Guard’s main goals.”

Wolfe’s Woofers: Good Reason
Husband catches wife in bed with another man. There's a good reason - at least, the mother-in-law believes so.

Misc Belizean Sources

Orquidea Negra at Dance X
Orquidea Negra represented Cayo at the 5th annual Dance X at the Bliss this weekend. "Orquidea Negra Dance Company has amazed the national audience at the 5th Annual Dance X 2013. We salute you and are extremely proud of you all for the grand success..." In related news, Ashanti Airbender has a video from her performance.

SHC Wins at Regionals
Sacred Heart College scored some victories at the Regional basketball tournament, which was held at UB's jaguar auditorium. The boys came in first, and the girls came in 2nd. The Nationals will be in 2 weeks at SHC's auditorium. "Girls - 2nd Place Boys - 1st Place Nationals is December 13 & 14 at SHC. See you there!!"


Pre-School to Hold Reggeaton To Construct New Building
Education at a very early stage is extremely important since a child’s brain absorbs information quicker at that age. In the entire Corozal District there are approximately 36 pre-schools that cater for toddlers between the ages of 3 to 4. Among those 36 pre-schools is Santa Clara/San Roman RC Pre- School, currently housed at the Santa Clara Community Center. But that is about to change thanks to the pre-school’s Parent Teacher Association who have organized a radio-thon in order to raise funds to construct a building for the pre-school. Gregoria Canul- Principal Santa Clara/San Roman RC Pre- School “The building is sometimes used for meetings, for their fairs, for their own activities right, so when we come here or when there is a need to use the place we have to move all of our things on one side and then on Monday we have to put it back again and so we don’t have that problem or inconvenience so see the need of our own pre-school.”

Students Of St. Peters School Rap To The End Of Stewardship Month
What better way to bring the school week to a close than with some music or even better yet with music by your very own classmates. This is exactly what the students at Saint Peter’s Anglican Primary School did this morning to reel in the weekend and to close off their celebrations of stewardship month. Our news team was there and documented the event. Here’s a look at their performances. Dalila Ical – Reporting Just as the sun peeked from behind some clouds, a handful of students from Saint Peter’s Primary School did their share to warm up the morning by doing something not very common in schools...they rapped. This was their way of closing Stewardship Month observed by all Anglican Schools in Belize. Special Ed Teacher Dianeli Medina told us more about their initiative.

MHS Champion's Week End with A visit From Woodrow West
Sports day is a common event held in primary, secondary and even tertiary schools but for a few sports lovers today at Muffles High School the event was a little more than ordinary as they were visited by two of Belize’s prominent athletes. It was a morning of picture taking and autograph signing at high school and here is why. Dalila Ical – Reporting By the time the sun warmed up a rather cool morning, the boys and girls at Muffles High School were well into their matches as they played against each other in various sports. The cool wind was definitely no discomfort for these athletic teens. But the morning event was all the more interesting for a few of them who took a place in this line awaiting their turn to meet and get their T’s signed by one of Belize’s premier football players, Woodrow West. Odalys Escobar and Elsner Mendez were among the crowd who seemed to get an additional adrenaline boost for their games with the football player’s visit.

13th Senator Rejected By The UDP, Supported By The PUP
In the United Democratic Party’s 2008 Campaign manifesto, an idea of a 13th Senator was introduced and promised as a measure of serious governance reform by the party. That additional Senator would come from the NGO community, and would have shifted the balance of power away from government. But in 2010, PM Dean Barrow retracted that ideal citing that the practice in all actuality would make no sense. The PM reiterated the government’s position on that issue on Wednesday’s conference. “It is a wonderful idea but in practice it will make no sense. The Opposition is there to oppose the so called social partners sectors are not there to be friends of the government and if you gave control of that chamber to that combination I am telling you there will be paralysis. Now other people might have a different point of view and I respect that but as far as I am concerned the role of the Senate is to be a watchdog, is to shine the light on what is happening it is like the Public Accounts Committee. It is not to substitute the Government, it is not to frustrate the Government, and it is not to stop the Government. So I am telling you I cannot at this point support the notion for the 13th Senate.”

Residence Propose To Adopt Gualdalupe Street
Residents and businesses on Guadalupe Street are in the process of adopting that principal street and take it upon themselves to invest to improve the street conditions. This is a collaborative effort with the Orange Walk Town Council. We spoke to Osmany Salas, resident and business person of Guadalupe Street who told us more on the pilot project. OSMANY SALAS “I would say that we are in the process of adopting, about two weeks ago maybe a little more a few business persons from Guadalupe Street, myself, Mr. Abram Rempel from RB’s, Mr. Hugo Mendoza from CGI to an extent Mr. Dardo Gonzales from Dardo’s Construction because we spoke to him as well just at about the same time said we need to something about our street I think like everybody else we are tired and fed up about the horrible conditions of our streets and knowing that it might take a while to wait for others to do it for us, we decided to meet with the Mayor and just present to him a concept to see how he would respond to it whereby the residence of the street would organize and maybe see how they could help so we reached out to Belize Cane farmers Association as well and we met with the Mayor about two weeks ago so BSFCA Reps. Were at the meeting as well, and the Mayor was very supportive at the beginning, the concept being that if we could direct our taxes that we pay all the residence of this street; property tax, trade license, liquor license into a, we have to pay that anyway but if we could direct it to a special account for the street and see how as residence and businesses we could find way how we could contribute additionally to it for that to go directly to street improvement and the Mayor agreed but he said he would have to carry it to the full council but he gave us his commitment that we would support it.”

Fonseca Finds PM Response On Visa Scandal Disgraceful
The Leader of the Opposition also spoke on the latest revelation related to the visa scandal involving Edmund Castro, representative for Belize Rural North. News is that Castro recommended not one, nor two, nor three, nor five even but in fact 30 visas for Chinese Nationals. To make matters worse, so far no update has been provided by the Government on the Elvin Penner investigation in relation to fraudulent passports. When it comes to the Edumund Castro Fiasco the Prime Minister has stated that it does not matter if Castro signed 200 recommendations there is no prove that the visas were released. A few weeks ago though, the Prime Minister was singing a different tune as he categorically stated that and we quote “If I hear you intervene 10 times and I hear you intervene 20 times – what I am to think? Except that you’re involved in a hustle.” With that the PUP coined the PM’s latest response to the Castro saga as ‘unacceptable’ and ‘Disgraceful’. At the same time the party demanded that the public’s inquiries be answered.

PUP Takes Side Of Caneros On Bagasse Issue
In yesterday’s press conference held by Leader of the opposition, Honorable Francis Fonseca, he spoke on many issues of national importance. Chief among them was the impasse between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and BSI/ASR on the pending finalizations of payment for bagasse, if any. Fonseca says that while they stand firmly alongside the farmers, they are demanding from the Government to intervene to have the matter resolved as the uncertainty is not good for Belize. “This is a very, very serious matter, it is not a political matter, it is a national issue, which requires leadership and it requires immediate intervention, we cannot allow one single more day to pass without solving this issue. It is going to affect the entire country of Belize; it is going to affect the entire economy of this country so we can’t allow it to fester any longer. The uncertainty certainly is not good for Belize. A meeting should have taken place already, we should have already have had a meeting in the Prime Minister’s office in Belmopan, bringing these parties to the table. So that we could move ahead with opening of the sugar cane the grinding season. And we certainly, I want to make it very clear, I want to place on the record very strongly that we reject in the strongest possible terms, the arrogance of the Prime Minster and then to so veil treat that he made to the cane farmers of this country.


My flight from Mexico to Belize and what I did before it
I am glad my Tropic flight from Mexico to Belize was not till 2:00pm, it gave me the morning to do a bit more last minute shopping in Playa while the Kumar’s were at their Yoga class. Of course I had to do a last pass by Mega and Walmart I wanted to pick up a few presents for Paul. I got back to the hotel just in time to pack up before Carolyn and Surendra came to get me. We were running a bit behind schedule and all agreed to go with plan b and head straight for the airport instead of our plan a taking the long way there :) When we arrived, they came to check in with me and we went into a small Tropic Air room with a counter and a couple of chairs. There I paid $58 usd departure tax and the agent gave me the customs forms I needed to fill out at both airports. He handed me the papers, explained them and laughed when I told him I wish I was declaring over 10,000 :) When we were done he said I could go sit in the waiting area and gave me a time they would be collecting my Mexico customs forms.

A Morning Walk In Bullet Tree Falls and San Ignacio, Belize
After sleeping for about 11 hours on the world’s most comfortable mattress… and then eating a seriously hearty breakfast at my hotel, Mahongany Hall in Bullet Tree Fall, I set out for Saturday market day in San Ignacio. For those of you new to Belize, San Ignacio is the biggest town in the Cayo District…the largest and after the beaches, the most visited. It is the gateway to Guatemala and the beautiful ruins at Tikal but you are crazy if you skip over Cayo…CRAZY. Jungles, caves (the ATM CAVE!), gorgeous rivers, birds, animals, impressive Mayan ruins… Here’s a map. The ride from Bullet Tree to San Ignacio is only about 3 miles. And if you look for the Bullet Tree Taxi Association (in town, they are right next to Belize Bank), the ride is CHEAP! They do it bus style and your fare is only $2-$4bzd. I walked for a little bit to wait for my bus. Leaving Mahogany Hall…

Early Christmas joyfulness for Christo Rey RC School in Belize
Christmas is near and the cheer was shared very early this year with the students of Christo Rey RC primary school! The Herron family from Florida, USA presented a sizeable donation to the staff and students of Christo Rey RC primary school through Chaa Creek’s Pack-a-Pound initiative. Linda Herron, mother of Alexa, age 12 and Lucas age 6 said, “this year Alexa and Lucas decided that they don’t want any Christmas gifts for themselves.” She went on to say “they wanted to do some charity work for a school and that’s when our travel agent referred us to Chaa Creek’s Pack-a-Pound initiative.” Linda, her husband Scott and her 2 children Alexa and Lucas booked a flight to Belize in spirits of sharing the Christmas joyfulness with the future of Belize – young students. The following day after their arrival Linda and Alexa were joined by Chaa Creek guides Ricky and David, and also Roberto from the marketing team and set off to a short and bumpy ride. The students and staff of Christo Rey RC primary school received Linda and Alexa with bright smiles and shy faces, including colorful balloons with a “welcome” message written on them! The sparkle in their eyes and jovial spirit was also blessed with a light shower and cool weather.

10 Reasons to Invest in Real Estate in Belize
Belize Real Estate Prices : Belize offers some of the most affordable real estate in the Caribbean region making it a low-cost retirement destination. Stable exchange rate : Local currency is the Belize Dollar or BZD. 1 USD = 2 BZD Belize's Superior Location : Belize's proximity to North America bodes well for investors. 50% of Americans who live abroad live in the Americas as they prefer to be close to home. For example, Belize is only 2 hours from Miami by air. Direct flights are also available from Los Angeles; Houston; Newark, New Jersey; Dallas/Fort Worth; Charlotte, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; New York and Washington, D.C; and from Toronto, Canada for a few months of the year. Also, there will be direct flights to Belize from the U.K./Europe in 2008. The purchasing power of the Brits is remarkable – they have changed the face of real estate throughout Europe. Tuscany is now referred to as Chianti-shire. Belikin-shire anyone? (For the uninitiated, Belikin is Belize's famous beer touted as “the Only Beer worth drinking”). New flight routes typically spawn an increase in real estate investments.

International Sources

Why US baby boomers are retiring in Latin America (+video)
After 20 years in the US military, James Cummiskey was divorced and looking for a change. Relenting to his buddy's request, he flew to Medellín, Colombia, for a visit. He looked, he saw, and, by dinner time, he decided to stay. Permanently. "After four to five hours, I was immediately captured by everything I saw," says the ex-marine, who has lived in 35 countries. He spent the next four months selling two homes, three vehicles, two motorcycles, and one airplane. He put the money aside and decided to retire early. Now he lives in a posh section of the mountain city of 3.8 million, surrounded by lush vistas. He married a Colombian woman, started a coffee export business, and seems to get goose bumps every time he thinks about his new life. "I tell you honestly I have had more fun here in the past four years than in the previous 50," he says. Mr. Cummiskey’s story is being repeated thousands of times – minus perhaps the sale of a personal plane – as more and more Americans retire to countries all over Latin America. Lured by sun-dappled landscapes and cheap living costs, they are settling in culturally vibrant towns in central Mexico, beach communities in Costa Rica, high-rise enclaves in Panama, and mountain retreats in Nicaragua.

Running for charity at this festive time of the year will be running partner James Kelly of the Bahrain Road Runners, and myself. The venue will be Ipswich Park, Suffolk, UK and the distance will be a gruelling five kilometres over mud, rain and slippery surfaces, maybe a small chance of snow. The charity run is in aid of the children of Belize Orphanage (the Dorothy Menzies Child Care Home) and funds raised will help to give these children joy during this festive season.

Bluefin and bigeye tuna populations on brink of collapse
There's a call for the suspension of bluefin tuna fishing in the Pacific, if this week's meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission fails to implement what environmentalists say are urgently needed management measures. Without action, researchers with the global non-government organisation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, say the populations of bluefin and bigeye tuna could collapse beyond recovery. NICKSON: In the situation of Pacific Bluefin, I mean they're really in trouble at this stage. The population is at just 3.6 per cent of unfished levels and thus far, there has failed to be any agreement for the Western and Central Pacific region that would decrease the catch from current levels. A single Pacific Bluefin sold for more than 1.7 million last January and that was just days before scientists released the latest stock assessment indicating the population really had been decimated. So it's very clear that action is needed now and our view is without that clear and strong management action, the fisheries should be suspended until such time a strong science-based rebuilding plan is adopted.

December 1, 2013


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Specials and Events

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The San Pedro Sun

Meteorologists rank 2013 Hurricane Season “below average”
Even though hurricanes were not a threat in 2013, stationary rains across the country led to flooding and much infrastructural damage. The 2013 hurricane season is coming to an end, and according to the National Meteorological Service of Belize this year’s season was just below average. Hurricane season will officially culminate on Saturday, November 30th, and while Belize was spared from any disastrous hurricane/ tropical cyclones, stationary thunderstorm systems did cause severe flooding in various areas of the country. Out of the 20 predicted storms, a total of 13 systems formed in the Atlantic Basin. Two went on to form in to hurricanes (Humberto and Ingrid), and 11 became Tropical Storms (Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo and Manuel). Hurricane Humberto became the first hurricane of the season on Sunday, September 1st, but quickly lost strength. Humberto brought continuous heavy rain to the Cape Verde Islands causing flooding, but overall the damage was considered minimal. Hurricane Ingrid formed in the Gulf of Mexico and became the second hurricane of the season on Saturday, September 14th. Ingrid weakened into a tropical storm before making landfall on Monday, September 16th at La Pesca, Mexico. However, the tropical storm brought severe flooding and mudslides when it was joined by Tropical Storm Manuel, which made land fall in the area at the same time.

First-time Cardiology Pediatric Services via Venezuela is a success
The Ministry of Health is pleased to announce the successful operation done on the first Belizean child to benefit from cardiology pediatric services with the Hospital Cardiologico Infantil Latinamericano in Caracas, Venezuela. At three months old, Cassidy Martinez was diagnosed with an Atrial Septum and Ventricular Septum Defect at a medical institution in Belize City. Her parents were advised to seek further medical attention for surgical options from a Pediatric Cardiologist, a specialist which is not available in Belize. The Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Belize, through Ambassador Yoel Perez Marcano, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health accepted and facilitated the request to assist baby Martinez. She underwent a successful surgery on October 10th 2013 and returned to Belize during the first week of November.

Belize Medical Associates hosts health fair
The Belize Medical Associates health facility hosted a two-day health fair on November 22nd and 23rd at the San Pedro Lions Den. The organizers said the fair was a big success as many islanders took advantage of the many services offered at the fair. According to Karina Bol, the Pharmacy Manager at Belize Medical Associates, some of the services offered at the fair were free while others were offered at discount prices. “We had several doctors who offered free consultations; free blood pressure, glucose and body mass index checks, and we offered other services at discount prices such as the lab and pharmacy services. We also took the opportunity to introduce new products and gave out free medication samples.” Bol explained that the entire purpose of the fair was for the islanders to take advantage of the many services offered by Belize Medical Associates without having to leave the island. “We took into consideration our customer base. So the fair was geared to encourage islanders to do their tests and access the other services without going to Belize City. It costs money to travel all the way to Belize City from San Pedro and factoring that into the services we offer, we believe it was better for us to come out to the island and meet the people.”

Misc Belizean Sources

PCB Celebrates 25 Years
Happy anniversary to the Pesticides Control Board! They celebrated their anniversary at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, with some great live music from the World Culture Band and Pablo Collado. "Yesterday the Pesticides Control Board celebrated its 25th anniversary at a commemorative event held at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel! CEO in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture joined Board members and staff at this celebration."

Cacao/chocolate training course
A group of about a dozen Maya women from rural Toledo district are today taking part in a cacao/chocolate training course. The training is taking place at the Ixcacao headquarters and chocolate factory in San Felipe village.

Making chicharron ...
part of preparations for planting corn in a Maya village in the Toledo district. Mr. Ligorio Coy helping to stir the pot, Mrs. Coy stirs the pot while her little boy looks on. This is the fire where the pork will be roasted before it is stewed. Awesome food!

VIDEO: Moho River
A relaxing view of the Moho River in the Toledo district. The video is set to the instrumental rendition of "Rivers of Babylon" by Fausto Pappetti.

Paul Heinerth Giant Cave Revisited 2013
Paul Heinerth returns to Giant Cave in Belize to dive what is possibly the worlds largest underwater cave that he discovered in the late 70's.


Simple Scalloped Potatoes
Potatoes are always comforting and Scalloped potatoes are just divine. I made this recipe sans cheese, but with the Half and Half it is very rich.

International Sources

Beyond the beach: islands of adventure
Who doesn’t love aqua water and sugary sand? But you can find that in Florida. On your next Caribbean getaway, step away from the beach blanket and immerse yourself in an island adventure. Go beyond the sun and sand to discover the wild, natural heart that beats within these islands. Hanging out with sharks and rays The most challenging thing about diving or snorkeling Shark Ray Alley is simply getting off the boat without landing on a sea creature. Located off the coast of Ambergris Caye in Belize, these shallow waters are full of dark shadows, signifying the presence of nurse sharks, southern stingrays, and sea turtles — everywhere.

Retiring locally, then volunteering globally
Karen Flewelling has helped put wells in dry lands, and she's taken school supplies to impoverished children, goats and chickens to hungry families and soccer balls to youths around the world. She and a friend took a leisure trip to Belize, where they met a man who was volunteering on a project for Earthwatch, a charitable organization that helps try to preserve species. That planted the idea in her head of what she wanted to do with her time and energy. The following year, she went on a volunteer trip with a different organization to work in Suriname, South America, to save deep sea turtles. Nine other trips with Earthwatch followed, helping everything from wild pigs in Brazil to scarlet macaws in Peru.

Wildlife encounters in Central America
In Belize the key theme is water and while the coral might not compare to our Great Barrier Reef, when it comes to wildlife, it's an absolute treasure trove. Our time was primarily spent off the coast of Caye Caulker, a tiny and beautiful island near the Hol Chan Marine Reserve which is famous for its lobster (both eating and observing) and manatee protection efforts at the Swallow Caye Marine Reserve. Both snorkelling and diving expeditions are offered around most coastal areas of Belize, but protected and restricted areas are patrolled by marine park rangers, who won't hesitate to eject visitors who aren't with a certified guide or are breaking any park rules. A full-day snorkelling trip from Caye Caulker with one of the mid-range companies costs about $75 a person, including (for instance) visits to Hol Chan, Shark Ray Alley, Coral Gardens, with all marine park entry, soft drinks, lunch, drinking water and rum punch cocktails and ceviche on the way home. It doesn't cost much to do a day trip to Hol Chan, Mayan but the rewards are overwhelming.

Perils of a place in the sun
Affordable lifestyle luring more Canadians to Mexico - where dangers also lie in wait. Elaine Duke looks up from her computer and risks a glance at the ocean off the Mexican city of Mazatlan as she sips her morning coffee. The world trembles at her feet in white, green and blue. The beach shines like a movie star's smile, Emerald Bay glitters and small clouds dapple the blue sky. Many Canadians gazing at that vista would never get back to work. But Duke doesn't mind returning her attention to her laptop because she has more time than do two-week tourists. Duke spends up to six months a year in Mazatlan. The three-bedroom house she bought there seven years ago sits 20 feet from the ocean's edge. When she's not doing her work as a mortgage broker, she can fish from her deck. "What makes Mexico really attractive is the cost of living," says Duke, who's from Nanoose Bay. "My property taxes here are $300 a year. In Canada, they'd be $6,000. People can live a life here that they can't anywhere else."

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. A true once in a lifetime memorable experience is visiting Sanctuary Belize. The 14,000 acres of unspoiled natural beauty is found in the heart of Belize’s stunning southern region of Stann Creek. You’ll find yourself surrounded in a 360 panoramic dream with 111,000 acres of wildlife reserves. Sanctuary Belize takes unprecedented pride and effort in preserving the area’s ecological diversity and natural resources.

VIDEO: LUX Lifestyles: Belize
Picking the right destination for your hard-earned vacation is no small feat. Where can you go that is close enough to your home, where one can minimize travel time, potentially be within a similar time zone and where the locals can actually understand you? Insert the tiny island of Belize. Located on the northeastern coast of Central America this country is bustling with adventure, culture and some spectacular Mayan ruins. Did I mention that they also speak English for those of us that are not that proficient with languages? I visited this magical gem at the ripe age of 19 and recall having been blown away by the generosity and kindness of the people. A country that is uncomplicated and simple, yet rich in history. When determining potential locations to shoot the travel show, Belize was at the top of my list.

50 Of The Most Beautiful Places in the World
The Great Blue Hole is a stunning natural creation formed due to regular glaciations when sea levels were not much higher.

Rashida Jones talks Belize on Jimmy Fallon
Rashida Jones talks about Belize and her trip with Oceana with Jimmy Fallon

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