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12/23/2013 to 12/31/2013
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December 31, 2013


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

The San Pedro Sun

Presentation of the exhibition “The Alignment” by Nelson Young
The Embassy of Mexico hosted on Tuesday, December 17th at 6:30 pm, at the gallery of the Institute of Mexico in Belize City, the opening of the exhibition “The Alignment” with works by the Belizean artist Nelson Young. The exhibition contains the most recent production that the Belizean artist has not shared with the public. The work of Mr. Young is characterized by the strength and brightness of the colors, in this exhibition the artist departs somewhat from figuration and transports us into a world inspired by the Mayan glyphs symbols, he describes the show as: “an exhibition of indigenous art symbolic, where prophetically modern, contemporary and future Belizean art looms.”

Sea Cucumber License
The Fisheries Department hereby informs the PUBLIC that no Sea Cucumber fishing license or Sea Cucumber export license will be issued since the Sea Cucumber fishery will remain closed until further notice. The public is reminded that it is illegal to fish without a license and that the fisheries laws will be applied to persons caught fishing illegally. Your cooperation is vital to secure the sustainability of the resource.

The Great Blue Hole is amazing from above!
There is something so exciting about waiting to board a plane to fly over one of Belize’s greatest wonders: the Great Blue Hole. Thanks to Amigos Jungle Tours, that feeling can be experienced by anyone. That’s right, aerial excursions are now available for those who want to enjoy the beauty of Belize’s marine formation and Caribbean Sea without actually getting in the water. With a little help from the trusty pilots at Maya Island Air, anyone can get a bird’s eye view – and many would argue that there is no better vantage point than from high up in the sky. My excitement builds from the moment I board the plane. I am anxious to see beautiful coral formations and atolls, and being the ‘patient’ person I am, I keep wishing the plane would go faster! We do eventually arrive to our destination, The Great Blue Hole, but along the way, there are some great views to enjoy. You will certainly love the breathtaking views of the magnificent Caribbean Sea and the world’s second longest barrier reef. And don’t forget the panoramic views of Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Lighthouse Reef Atoll, Half Moon Caye, Turneffe Atoll and the Blue Hole.

Ambergris Today

IDB Announces New Country Strategy with Belize for 2013-2017
On Wednesday, December 18, 2013, The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a new Country Strategy with Belize, affirming its commitment to partner with the Government of Belize on the country’s development. The strategy will support Belize in addressing its development challenges in four priority areas: education, tourism, transport, and trade and tax policy. “The IDB’s new strategy with Belize will help the government address the country’s needs by supporting greater efficiency in public spending and improving the conditions for sustainable, export-led growth through institutional strengthening and infrastructure investments in key sectors of the economy”, said Anneke Jessen, IDB Representative in Belize. In the education sector, the Bank will support the design and implementation of a quality assurance system with clear standards for student learning and school management, as well as improvements in the qualifications of both in-service and future teachers, strengthening the quality of education as well as sector governance. The aim is to improve results in education relative to spending.

First Belizean with Disability obtains Doctors Degree
It is with great pride, joy and tons of admiration that the University of the West Indies (UWI), Open Campus, Belize joins our sister campus, the UWI at St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago in congratulating Dr. Einstein Bodden as he relishes in taking his oath as a Medical Doctor. All Belizeans at home and abroad should share in this great accomplishment for a person with diverse abilities who has not let the wheelchair, to which he has been confined for the better part of his life (from the tender age of two years old), restrict him from pursuing his dream of becoming a medical doctor. Dr. Einstein Bodden hails from Corozal Town and he commenced his medical studies with the UWI at St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. He was home-schooled by his mother (now deceased), a home maker, until he was eight years old because she was determined that he would have an education. At his insistence to experience the formal school setting, his parents agreed for him to attend St. Paul’s Primary School in Corozal where his father, an auto mechanic, took him by car back and forth daily so that he could attend school. It was his siblings with whom he shares a special bond and in particular his younger brother, Elson, who were truly Einstein’s “keepers” an

Castillo’s Hardware Awards Four Outstanding Workers
On Friday, December 20, 2013, not only did Castillo’s Do it Best Hardware carry out its annual Christmas Raffle but also celebrated the hard work of four dedicated staff members. Awarded with certificates of appreciation were Ricardo Verde, Miriam Chi, Raul Mendez and Benigno Castillo. They received awards for their hard work and dedication for over 10 years of service to Castillo’s Hardware Co. Ltd. Congratulations to all!

Island Style Christmas Tree in Caye Caulker, Belize
Christmas has come and gone but what's left are the creative decorations that fill us up with joy. All over the world a Christmas tree is the most important part of Christmas; it is where all the personal ornaments go on and of course the presents. On this week's Picture of the Week we feature a very creative Christmas tree on the island of Caye Caulker made out of lobster traps. Kudos to the Caye Caulker Village Council on a job well done.

Education in Belize: End of Year Notes
As we approach the end of 2013 I would like to thank readers of and my Guidance Counselor column for their loyalty and participation/comments, or sharing my articles. I am thrilled to note that, this year, readers from Belize as well as 32 other countries in six continents read my blog and Guidance Counselor articles; many readers, including Belizeans, expressed their concerns (via blog, email, and various media outlets) regarding Education in Belize as well as in other countries. Despite the fact that the Belize Education System classifies me as a “retired” educator, I still look forward to tackling and discussing many more challenging topics on Education, including some that many powerful people would prefer not to discuss publicly.

Misc Belizean Sources

Benque Viejo Neighborhood Watch Boxing Day Bash
The children and families of Benque Viejo were treated to the 6th Annual Boxing Day Bash held by the Zone 4 Neighborhood Watch. This annual event was hosted and coordinated by Zone 4 Captain Samuel Bruce and was held in the spacious Sam’s Community Park. Located on his private land, Mr. Bruce has developed and made this park with a large all weather community center available for local residents throughout the year with community policing & neighborhood watch activities. Held annually on Boxing Day, this popular event enhances Christmas by providing gifts for all the children and brings the community together strengthening the effectiveness of the Neighborhood Watch Program. Deplorable road conditions and rainy weather did not dampen the spirits for this highly anticipated event that was attended by over 500 children and adults. Many fathers were unable to attend, as they were required to travel to other parts of the country to report for work the following day but were there in spirit. Corporal McCoy of the Benque Community Policing Unit represented the Police Department and stressed to all the importance of everyone working together to report and stop crime. This attitude of corporation is one of the reasons that Benque has the lowest crime rate in the country and still practices civil society from children through adults.

Diaspora Representation!
By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez I am sick and tired of this marginalization Inadequate Diaspora representation is killing this nation How can we stop any Belizean From full participation in the development of this nation? We claim we suffer from a brain drain This is totally insane, our solutions are disdain Have we no respect for the opportunity That our Belizeans abroad have gained This reminds me of the anarchists in 1936 Spain Where did this power the oligarchs obtain? Hurricane Hattie was not anyone's fault It opened up the vault As matter of fact no one in Belize knew what a hurricane was Once again Belize is putting itself through great pain The UN has gone through great strain Their policies ordained I take the stance that a Belizean is Belizean Whether expatriate or a resident in state Who are we to stop them from being a part of the Cabinet, House of Representative or the Senate? Opportunities they have taken to educate themselves and their families To come back home with newly obtained strategies and remedies To make their contribution Belize is one nation a part of the Caribbean The wider Diaspora can only make life better

San Pedro Town Council New Years hours
Closing 2pm today, resume Jan 2

CTGA Visits San Antonio
The Cayo Tour Guide Association wrote about how tour guides often guide on Christmas, yet still have a great, and in this case unique, time. Cruz Cambranes got a great video showing how they create vases on a pottery wheel. "After making our way to San Antonio, we got an introduction by Mrs. Timotella Mesh who is part of the women’s group which has been around for the past twelve years, since 2001. The group consists of nine women that do embroidery, clay pots, figurines, and beaded necklesses to sell at their little giftshop. The project had several young people working on it, but over the years, the group seeked training and they all have gotten jobs in the tourist industry or some have received scholarships to continue studying. This shows that the Women’s Group is working hard, guiding and inspiring the youth. "

Emmeth Young at Chaya Garden Ashram
Emmeth Young and the Talla Walla Vibrations visited Cayo on Boxing Day, and played through the night at the Chaya Garden Ashram. The best drummers in Central America impressed, as usual. "We made a show on the 26th of December 2013 at the yoga ashram in Belize. We like it when everything is natural and organic, including the beats These are supplied by Talla Walla Vibrations from Punta Gorda, Belize. Chaya Garden Ashram puts on a good show."

Police shuts down one of fire victim’s fundraising activity
The family of Therese Maddision was today ordered to discontinue their fund raising activity in front of their house that burned down in Blackman eddy village on Christmas Day. According to a family member, the officer Commanding San Ignacio police was passing by the area this morning and stopped his vehicle long enough to order them to immediately stop what they were doing or risk being arrested. The family member says that since the officer told them that what they were doing is illegal, she tried to ask him what was the procedure they need to follow in order to continue raising funds; but she said, the officer just said that said he did not want to hear about any procedure and that they should immediately stop or he would call for officers to come arrest them.

13 Year Runs Away From Home
13 year old girl from Bullet Tree Falls village in the Cayo district has reportedly ran away from home. The child is Merdith Staine. Her mother Ruth Bardalez told police that on Sunday evening around 6 o’clock, she went to a nearby store in the village and left Merdith in the company of her aunt. The mother says that when she returned from the shop, she saw Merdith with a Hispanic man in a nearby orchard. When the mother began scolding Merdith, the man reportedly took off running and then Merdith ran off behind the man. She has not been seen or heard from since.

Police Release Autopsy Report Goivanni August
Police have released the results of a post mortem examination on the body of a man found floating in the river in Santa Familia village, Cayo. According to the findings of the doctor who conducted the autopsy, Giovanni August, 31, died as a result of “bronchi aspiration and alcoholic liver disease.” August was last seen alive by his mother on Christmas night when, according to police, he went to her house in San Ignacio town asking for money. The mother told police that she gave him the money and he left. Giovanni August’s body was found floating in the river in Santa Familia village on Saturday evening.

Sunday Morning Shooting Leaves Two Injured
A shooting incident on sunday morning in Belize had left two people injured. The victime have been identified as Paul Sambula Jr,18 and Roy Bennett,26. Bennett was injured to the right side while Sambula was shot to the back and right hand. According to a police report Sambula and Bennett went to a shop at the corner of Fabers Road and Nurse Finsley Cresent where they were approached by two men of dark complection on seperate bicycles. One of the assailants reportedly used a black hand gun to fire several shots at Sambula ans Bennett injuring them. Both of the victims are admitted at ward at the KHMH in stable condition.

Channel 7

City’s First Murder in 7 Weeks
There is a Belize City murder to report tonight. We hadn't had one of those since the first week in November, but recently there's been a spike in violence in the PIV/Ghost Town areas of Lake Independence and Pickstock Divisions. And on Sunday night, a 28 year old working man got killed, while a school warden was grazed. But, while it is in a gang area, the family of the victim, Leon Giovanni Smith says police can't just chalk this one up as another gang related statistic. Daniel Ortiz found out why:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting 28 year-old Leon Geovanni Smith met his end at the corner of Sittee and Ebony Streets last night at around 7:30. Smith, who was running an errand, was ambushed by an assailant who gunned him down. Patricia Petillo - Mother of Deceased "He left my house to take food for my son because I have a son who live in that area and he was there waiting for his bicycle because he had loan it to one of the family member in the yard. I understand that was the time the young man brought back the bicycle and he (Leon) was leaving the yard when he got shot."

City Shooting On A Sunday Morning
And there was another serious shooting in the city on Sunday. At 11:40 am, Two men were shot on Faber's Road near the corner with Nurse Findlay Crescent. It's an area that has seen a number of shootings and even murders over the years, and this time the victim was a member of the ill-fated Felix family, 26 year old Roy Bennett. He was shot in his right side, along with 18 year old Paul Sambula Jr. who was shot to the back and right hand. The two men were at a shop located at the corner of Faber's Road and Nurse Finley Crescent - a shop where the proprietor was killed two years ago. That's where two men on separate bicycles rode up, and one of them pulled out a black handgun and fired several shots at them. They ran to seek shelter in a nearby house and were rushed to the K.H.M.H. Both men are reported in a stable condition.

Missing Canadian’s Man Son Comes To Belize To Find Him
Last week, we told you about the Canadian Brian Townsend, who has been missing since Christmas Day. He'd been living in the Valley of Peace Village in the Cayo District for 9 years, and but suddenly on Christmas Eve he disappeared. Police found signs of a struggle at his house when his cook reported him missing on Christmas day, and the suspicion is that he was abducted. His family are hoping for the best, and his son, Kory Townsend, has flown into Belize to monitor the progress of the search while in Valley of Peace. He spoke to CTV News in Canada on Friday before he left and here's that story:

Forensic Examiner Says 15 Year Old Choked To Death
On Friday we told you about mysterious sudden death of Stephan Ovado. The 15 year old - who was three days from his 16th birthday - collapsed and died when he was running from police on Christmas Day - which also happened to be his father's birthday. Well, the post mortem on the teenager was conducted yesterday and it was determined that he died from broncho-aspiration - basically he choked on food that came up from his stomach. The Doctor explained to the family that Stephan had a blackout, and was on his back when he collapsed, and that's what caused him to choke. His funeral will be held tomorrow.

Audrey Accused Former Lands CEO Turned UDP Aspirant of Nepotism
Beverly Castillo is the former CEO of the Ministry of Natural Resources, and as we've reported, she resigned from the post to enter into politics. She's offering herself for UDP standard bearer in Belize Rural Central. But, tonight, Audrey Matura Shepherd says that before she left office, Castillo secured a prime piece of land for her family. The land is in Belama at the corner of Albert Hoy and Chetumal Streets - which happens to be right across from Matura-Shepherd's office and residence. The Pickwood family is claiming they have a lease to the piece of land for over 10 years now, and that was unfairly taken away from them - under Castillo's hand - without any notice from the Lands Department. The allegation is that in November, when Castillo was still the CEO of the Ministry of Natural Resources, the lease was cancelled without due notice, and it was transferred to Castillo's family - specifically her mother Maud Williams and her son. The Pickwood family says that they've made investments on the land, such as paying their property taxes, and making a loan to the Belize Bank.

Tunkie Caught With A Toke
On Sunday, police searched a yard at #1 Faber's Road where they found 161 grams of cannabis tucked between the fence and another 0.6 grammes in the house. The residents, 23 year old Cardinal Welch, known as Tunkie was taken to court today along with his 23 year old girlfriend Shenel Brown. They were charged for drug trafficking the 161 grammes and drug possession of the .6 grammes. The couple pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking and guilty to possession of a controlled drug. They were ordered to pay a fine of $250 each and offered bail of $3,000 for drug trafficking.

Teenager Arrested For Shooting Mechanic
One week ago, we reported on a late evening shooting in the Lake Independence area where 30 year old mechanic Denton Flowers was shot. Fortunately, he was only grazed but police were quick to make an arrest. Today Nineteen year old Keithon Arana, a maintenance worker of Lavender Street, was arraigned for the shooting. He was charged with grievous harm and abetment to grievous harm. Arana pled not guilty to the charges. But because a firearm was involved, he was denied bail and remanded into custody until February 28, 2014. Flowers told police that he was getting unto his bicycle at his house when two persons rode up on one bicycle and the one on the handlebar fired several shots at him. One of the bullets struck him in his right leg.

Police Stop Cyclist Without Helmet, Discover Motorbike Stolen
A woman who was stopped for riding a motorbike without a helmet - ended up being charged for riding a stolen motorbike! At 1:30 am, on Saturday morning, police saw 22 year old Felicia Richardson a domestic worker of Far West Street, driving a Meilun motor scooter on East Canal without a helmet. Police stopped her and noted that the scooter matched the description of one that had been reported stolen 10 days earlier on December 18th form a home on the same East Canal. The bike is valued at $1,749 and today in court she was charged for handling stolen goods. Richardson pled not guilty to the charge and was offered a bail of $2,000 and her case was adjourned until March 3, 2014.

Daring Spanish Sailor Arrives In Belize
If you've studied European history, you'll know the name of the 16th century explorer Vasco Nunez De Balboa. Now, five centuries later progressive thought in the America's may cast him as just another one of those old pirates who came to rob native people's, but one modern day Spanish sailor is hoping to create a more positive association for the Balboa name. If you've studied European history, you'll know the name of the 16th century explorer Vasco Nunez De Balboa. Now progressive through in the America's may cast him as just another one of those old pirates who came to rob native peoples, but one Spanish sailor is hoping to create a more positive association for the Balboa name. Alvaro de Marichalar is going from US to Panama where he hopes to do as Balboa did in the 1500's - when he became the first European to set foot in the pacific ocean - which is on the Western coast of the Panama isthmus. That journey is being done world record style - on water scooter and Alvaro arrived in Belize on Sunday - from Havana Cuba. That's a lot of miles - and he did it all standing up. 7news was there to meet him:

BEL Backs Off On Rate Objection
On Friday night we told you about the press release from Belize Electricity Limited weighing in on the proposed new light rates proposed by Public Utilities Commission. A release said, quote, "(BEL) is objecting to the proposed tariff basket, which would further erode BEL's operating margins." The release adds, "This would significantly impact the Company's ability to finance its operations and the quality of service delivered to customers." Well today the company seemed to backpedal somewhat from that objection and dire prognostication. A senior manager told us that they just had to run the figures on the new rate structure - and everything should work out alright. Here's how he put it:... Sean Fuller, Senior Manager BEL - Information and Communication Systems/Customer Care "We will be able to operate efficiently throughout the year with these new rates in place. We are happy to know that consumers will be able to enjoy at least 4 cents per kilowatt hour reduction in their electricity bills." The new rates take effect on January first, 2014.

Channel 5

Chetumal Street property in dispute: lease is cancelled and given to family of former Lands C.E.O.
Land disputes are featured regularly in our newscast but tonight there is one that strikes pretty close to home at the Ministry of Natural Resources. It involves prime real estate [...]

A murder in the city, does it involve the gangs?
The murder count was down during the year in Belize City but 2013 is ending violently and it is suspected that gang violence has sparked up, resulting in the latest [...]

A third attempt at the life of Ryan “Cash” Bennett
  Three years ago, on July fifteenth 2010, twenty-four year old Ryan “Cash” Bennett, who also goes by the name Roy Felix, was shot at the corner of Faber’s Road [...]

Desperate search for a missing Canadian
Sixty-four year old Brian Townsend was declared officially missing on Christmas Day. But the Police Department and residents of the community believe that he was attacked in his home at [...]

Were you better off in 2013?
And our question for tonight is: Were you better off in 2013? Yes or No. Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote [...]

B.E.L. and P.U.C. haggle over a one cent reduction in electricity rates
When we last reported on Belize Electricity Limited it was because there was an announcement on a reduction on electricity rates for the fiscal year, 2014. That was after B.E.L. [...]

B.E.L. says reduction will set back company by $5 Million
According to B.E.L.’s Senior Manager of Information and Communication Systems, Sean Fuller, the company supports the decision of the PUC, but it will impact operating margins.  That proposed rate reduction [...]

Still no leads in the rape of a San Ignacio resident
San Ignacio Police continue to hunt for three men wanted in connection with a rape on Boxing Day in San Ignacio. As is the case with most rape investigations where [...]

Manhunt continues in San Ignacio: Kevin manzanero and Alex Reid still at large
San Ignacio resident Fredy Lopez was brutally gunned down in front of his family on Christmas Eve, as he walked his daughter-in-law home. That sparked a massive manhunt by Police [...]

Man sentenced to 3 years for molesting a 5 year old child
A twenty-six year old man was convicted in court today for molesting a five year-old child in the city. Ian McNab appeared to be a bit disturbed but showed no [...]

19 year old charged for the shooting of Denton Flowers
A week ago, Denton Flowers was shot and police believe they have now cracked the case with the arrest of one of two suspects. For that shooting, nineteen year old [...]

Spanish adventurer makes landfall in Belize
Álvaro de Marichalar is putting off yet another adventure on which he is sailing to ten countries, from Florida, U.S.A. along the Central American coast and ending in Panama. Marichalar [...]

…his mission: an awareness Campaign to End Polio Now
The End Polio Now Campaign is being carried out by mariners and Rotarians as well as by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The campaign is designed to bring awareness [...]

The perks of studying at the Belize Medical College
Earlier this month, a group of fifty Indian nationals arrived in Belize to pursue medical studies at the Central American Health Science University.  Their entrance into the country, in the [...]

Veteran sportscaster, James Adderley recaps the weekend in sports
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   The final schedule in the Belikin Cup for the year 2013 found Police United in action against Paradise Freedom [...]


Police Recovers Stolen Motorcycle
A 22 year old woman who was allegedly caught by police with a stolen motorcycle was charged with handling stolen goods when she appeared today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. She is Felicia Richardson, of Far West Street. Richardson pled not guilty to the charge. She was offered a bail of two thousand dollars and her case was adjourned until March 3, 2014. The police reported that at about 1:30 a.m. on December 28, they were on mobile patrol on East Collet Canal Street when they saw Richardson driving a black Meilun Scooter without a helmet. They said that when they intercepted the motorcycle they noticed that it resembled one that was reported stolen. As a result, they detained Richardson and took the motorcycle to the station. They reported their investigation revealed that the motorcycle was stolen from Gregorio Gutierrez, an auto mechanic of East Collet Canal Street. Gutierrez reported to the police that at about 2 p.m. on December 19, he and his wife left home to go to Princess Hotel and Casino and before they left he secured his motorcycle in his yard with chain link fence. He told police that when they returned home later that day he discovered that his motorcycle was missing. He said they motorcycle has a value of one thousand seven hundred and forty nine dollars.

Mentally Challenged Worker Fondles 5-Year-Old
Twenty-six year old Ian Mcnab, an employee of Salvation Army who appeared to be mentally challenged, was sentenced to three years today by Magistrate Dale Cayetano after he pled guilty to aggravated assault of an indecent nature on a female child five years old. The father of the child reported to the police that at about 3:30 p.m. on December 23, his daughter was outside playing when Mcnab stopped by and put his hand into her black shorts and fondled her. He said Macnab ran when Mcnab saw him approaching. Mcnab was later apprehended by the police and charged. When Magistrate Cayetano asked Mcnab if he had anything to say before sentence is passed, Mcnab muttered something incoherent and appeared as if he did not understand. Members of Mcnab’s family say he was a student of Stella Maris School he needs to be evaluated by a psychiatrist.

Police Finds Drugs in Couple’s Home
A common-law couple, 23 year old Cardinal Welch and 23 year old Shenel Brown, were charged with drug trafficking and possession of a controlled drug when they appeared today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. They pled not guilty to drug trafficking but guilty to possession of a controlled drug. They were ordered to pay a fine of 250 dollars each by February 28, 2014. If they default on payment they will serve six months. For the charge of drug trafficking they were each offered a bail of $3,000 and their case was adjourned until February 25, 2014. The bust occurred yesterday. Acting on information they received, the police went to the couple’s residence on Faber’s Road and executed a search. The police reported that when they searched the yard they found a black plastic bag containing 161 grams of cannabis. The police also reported that when they searched the house they found point six grams of cannabis in a white hand bag.

Teenager Remanded to Central Prison Following Shooting Incident
Nineteen year old Keithon Arana, a maintenance worker of Lavender Street, became an inmate of Belize Central Prison today when he appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano and was arraigned on charges of grievous harm and abetment to grievous harm. Arana pled not guilty to the charges. He was denied bail and was remanded into custody until February 28 because a firearm was involved. The incident occurred around 5:55 p.m. on December 23. The complainant, 30 year old Denton Flowers reported to the police that he was at home and was about to get on his bicycle when two persons approached him riding on one bicycle. Flowers said the person on the handlebar fired several shots at him and one of the bullets struck him in his right leg. He identified Arana as the person who was pedaling the bicycle. The police say they are still searching for the shooter. Flowers was admitted to ward at KHMH where his condition is reported to be stable.


Massive Turnout at First Annual Harlem Toy Drive
A small community in Dangriga, saw a major outpour of support for a local Christmas toy drive. The first annual Harlem Toy Drive was organized and hosted by past and present young residents of the Harlem area. It was held an on December 31st, and saw a turnout of...

Another Body Found Floating
And another body was found floating . The body of 67 year old Arturo Alvarez of Punta Gorda Town, was found in the Caribbean Sea, about three feet from shore. Initial investigations revealed that at about 8pm on December 27th, Alvarez left home to an unknown destination. It is...

Alcohol Drinking Kills Two More Victims
Excessive alcohol drinking is believed to have led to the sudden death of two men. The incidents are isolated; one occurred in Cayo and the other in Toledo. On Christmas Day, 31 year old Giovanni August, who resides along the George Price Highway, visited his mother’s home in San...

Accused of Molesting a Child Sentenced to Jail
A 26-year-old man convicted himself in court today after he was accused of molesting a 5-year-old child in the city. Ian McNab, who was unrepresented in court, appeared to be a bit disturbed but showed no remorse and had nothing to say on his behalf only that he was...

Another Cyclist Knocked Bown from Bike
On Christmas Eve in San Joaquin, 22 year old Armin Rodriguez of Calcutta was knocked off his beach cruiser bicycle while riding on the left side of the Philip Goldson Highway from Libertad toward Corozal Town, between miles 79 and 80. This happened after he made a U-turn across...

Two More Accidents Thicken the List of Tragedies
There were two other accidents. In the very early morning of Christmas, four police officers from Belmopan attached to the Special Patrol Unit were driving up from Belize City when they came upon a blue Toyota van off the left side of the George Price Highway facing Hattieville, apparently...

Massive Accident Kills Four on Philip Goldson Highway
The Christmas holidays were relatively quiet in terms of violence, but there was no shortage of vehicular violence on the nation’s highways. In the span of less than 16 hours between Christmas Eve night and Christmas afternoon, there were three accidents on the Philip Goldson and George Price Highways,...

Search Continues for Missing Canadian National
The search continues for a Canadian national who has been missing since Christmas Eve. 64 year old Brian Townsend is a popular missionary who has been residing in the Valley of Peace area since 2001. Townsend is known to have contributed significantly to the community, lending a hand to...

Leon Smith Murdered at Aunt’s Home
With news of a 50% reduction in murders in Belize City this year, many residents may be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, there is, hopefully, one last flare up of violence to report on the Belize City streets for 2013. Around 7:30 on Sunday night, December...

Police Advice to the Public
Since the weekend, we have been reporting on a number of crimes but Belize has had a relatively good year in relation to the crime rate. Over the past few years, the crime rate has spiked somewhat around the Christmas season and the police say they have taken extra...

The Guardian

Light Bill Going DOWN Again!!!!
On January 1st electricity rates will be reduced by as much as eight percent. This is the second consecutive tariff review procedure in which electricity rates will be reduced. On April 2 of this year the Belize Electricity Limited submitted an application to the Public Utilities Commission requesting a reduction in the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) of approximately 1 cent per kilowatt hour. That meant that residential customers’ rates decreased from approximately 49 cents per kilowatt hour to 48 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity. This reduction was necessary in order to “reflect the actual Cost of Power since January 2013 compared to the projected cost submitted to PUC in December of 2012”. Since that tariff review proceeding was executed, cost of power continued to decrease and B.E.L. has now applied to the P.U.C. requesting an even greater rate reduction for the 2014 Annual Tariff Review Proceedings. On December 10th, the Belize Electricity Limited submitted an application to the Public Utilities Commission requesting a decrease of three cents per kilowatt hour in the Mean Electricity Rates, which is currently set at 48.65 cents per kilowatt hour. After the P.U.C. reviewed the actual cost of power from July to December of this year, it decided that a four cents decrease would be more fair to customers. Derrick Davis, Electrical Engineer at P.U.C., said the commission took a number of things into factor before deciding on the rates. One is that cost of power from Mexico’s Commision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) returned to pre 2012 level at around 30 cents per kilowatt hour instead of the 37 cents averaged in 2012. Secondly, hydroelectric production has increased due to heavy rainfall in the region resulting in greater power generation by BECOL. Davis also explained, “Prime Minister and Minister Grant and our team negotiated a 10% reduction from CFE Mexico. So, that will impact the rates of next year.”

Quadruple Christmas Day Tragedy
Three families are grieving the loss of 4 promising young people in the aftermath of one of the most violent traffic accidents this year. It happened on Christmas Day at around 4:30p.m. between miles 7 and 8 on the Philip Goldson Highway. 22 year-old Hector Daniel Gongora was driving his father’s red Isuzu D-Max pickup, and in the vehicle with him were 20 year-old Henry Gabourel Reyes, 17 year-old Dulce Yanira Cobb, and 23 year-old Shakir Shamir Monima. He was heading back to his Lake Garden home in Ladyville when he lost control of the vehicle. It veered off into the opposite lane, and it slammed into 2 trees; the evidence police found suggests that the vehicle was launched into the tree. The force of the impact collapsed the roof of the cabin onto all four young persons, crushing them to death. Rescue teams from the military, police, and the airport all responded to assist the victims, but their severe head and bodily injuries caused all 4 to die on the spot.

PM New Year’s Message - GOB to pay for CXC’s , NHI expands to Corozal
My Fellow Belizeans: The various periods of relentless rains in the last quarter of 2013, including the prolonged spells in December, played havoc with our road and street infrastructure, our agricultural crops, and in many cases our homes and livelihoods. We were, of course, spared the full force of any hurricane. But the flooding, the water damage, the marooning of entire villages that even now remain cut off from road access, at times appeared nearly as bad. God, however, never takes us to a place from which He can’t bring us back. And the troubles caused by mudslides and rivers and lagoons bursting their banks, by the loss of corn and beans and cattle, brought once again to the fore the resilience of the Belizean spirit. In the affected areas Government and people came together to manage calamity: to replace destroyed household items; to find alternative means of transportation; to provide the wherewithal for replanting; to repair bridges and highways; to pick up the pieces. In any case, it is not as though the rains meant unrelieved gloom. Indeed, throughout the year, including the final stanzas, much was happening that was good. For one thing, crime and violence were contained and the murder rate dropped dramatically. This came after five years of tough sledding, as well as constant slogging. And it no doubt had a lot to do, as the Security Forces readily acknowledge, with Government’s employment creation. The growth in jobs came principally as a result of this Administration’s vaunted infrastructure drive. It is a drive that saw rapid acceleration in the last three months of the year, with the start of the Lake Independence Boulevard and Civic Centre projects in Belize City, and countrywide work on streets, drains and roadways in villages and towns.

Year in Review 2013
2013 is a year that the nation has seen its fair share of good and of what’s not so good, but through all the adversities Belize can truly say that it is like the phoenix, that great mythical creature that rose from out of ashes. Belize indeed is rebounding and 2013 set a perfect platform for great dividends to exponentially bear fruit. However, before those dividends could be realized, the country had to learn some important lessons. January One of those challenges was the bringing down of the national crime rate. The resolving of this social problem was ever more galvanized when, at the start of the year, four gang leaders were slaughtered in their homes. At the time, there were two going theories and one of those widely-held notions was that the killings of these men were state commissioned. Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow – even in the face of criticism – decided to take the bull by the horns and began the process of explaining how it is important to know the truth. On January 9, the Prime Minister updated the nation on the probe into the deaths of the four known affiliates of the George Street Gang. The bodies of 40-year-old Keino Quallo, 30-year-old Leonard Myers, 28-year-old Anthony Perez and 19-year-old Albert Fuentes were found at an apartment building at the corner of Plues and Dean Streets on January 8. Following the deaths of these four, the PM held a meeting with leaders of the George Street Gang in an effort to placate high tensions that had begun to escalate in the neighborhood. Coming out of the meeting was the bad news that the George Street gang was convinced that the killings had been executed by the police, more specifically the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU). This allegation stated the Prime Minister was, “utterly unfounded” and it constituted a serious allegation against the integrity of the GSU, the Security Forces and the Government of Belize.

Roger brings Christmas Cheer to Fort George
Over two hundred children from the Fort George division were treated to Christmas treats courtesy the division's UDP caretaker, Roger Espejo. The children were treated to light refreshments, gifts and even pinatas. The treat was the second consecutive year that Espejo has done it. He said it was a last hour decision to throw the party, but it was well worth it as the children enjoyed themselves dancing, breaking the pinata and receiving their gifts from the UDP caretaker.

Denny does it big in Orange Walk Central
Orange Walk Central residents, children and adults, even the elderly were treated to a massive Christmas bonanza on Saturday, December 21st, at the People's Stadium, thanks to Denny Grijalva, UDP Caretaker for that constituency. Denny prepared a virtual feast of gift giving for the constituents of the division. He had a massive spread of gifts and treats for both children and adults. There was even Santa Claus and a clown to cheer up the children. They were also treated to apples, and other fruits along with their gifts. For the adults they got opportunities to win hundreds of prizes which included irons, blenders, gas tanks, a refrigerator, a stove, food hampers, hams and many other gifts. The names of the residents of the constituency were placed in a barrel and they were randomly selected to be winners. According to Denny, for him this is the greatest show of appreciation that he can do for the constituents of Orange Walk Central. He added that he will continue to help the people in the area in as many ways as he possibly can, especially because the current area representative is virtually absent from the division.

A Regulatory Framework for GMOs
A meeting was recently held on Agro-biotechnology and Bio-safety in Belmopan. It was at this meeting that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) was fully discussed. (A GMO is any altered organism as a result of modern bio-engineering. A GMO is created when the genome of an organism is altered. The first GMOs were bacteria in 1973. GM mice were generated in 1974. Insulin producing bacteria were commercialized in 1982 and the genetically modified food has been sold since 1994.) Coming out from that meeting held earlier this month in Belmopan was a consensus by those in favor and against the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Belize, that regulatory mechanisms must first firmly be in place before its use. Thus far; efforts to further discuss the GMO issue has involved many persons. “There is a Bio-Safety council, this Bio-Safety Council will have to analyze what are the threats, what are the safeguards, make good consultation with all the stakeholders in the public and private sector, with the population, and make sure to also look at the experiences regionally,” says Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim, the main representative of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) in Belize. Indeed; the Government of Belize appointed a National Bio-safety Committee in 2002, which later became the National Bio-safety Council. This body is chaired by the Ministry of Agriculture and has been working on a National Bio-safety Policy for Belize that has involved wide public consultation and approved by Cabinet in 2009.

Storeowner kills robber
Ajlan Raheem Requena, 21, was shot to death on Saturday, December 21, by a storeowner who claims that he tried to rob him. The owner, his wife and his son were inside their business place, W & W Convenience Store, located in the DFC area on San Pedro Town when 2 men, with their shirts over their faces pulled up on bicycles and rushed in. One of the men pulled out a .38 revolver and pointed it at the storeowner’s wife, while the other jumped over the counter to grab the cash. Their 14 year-old old son alerted his father who pulled out his licensed 9mm pistol and fired a warning shot. There was an exchange of gunfire when the armed robber fired back, and that’s when Requena, the man who tried to grab the cash, was shot. Both men tried to flee, but Requena didn’t get far; he fell dead in a drain in the back. He was found with the shirt still over his face. San Pedro Police have found evidence which all suggests that Requena was killed in self-defence. Nevertheless, it will be forwarded to the DPP for her directives.

Traffic accident claims Woman’s life
Independence Village resident 42-year-old Victoria Bol died as a consequence of an accident which happened just outside of Belmopan City on the morning of Saturday, December 21, before 1. Bol was a passenger in a black 2003 GMC Sierra pickup which had a head-on collision with an unmarked police van filled with off-duty police officers, some of whom are attached to the Belmopan Police Station. The force of the impact caused the pick up to flip over completely, and Bol was trapped inside. The authorities responded and rescued her from the wreckage, but she died while undergoing treatment at the Western Regional Hospital. Belmopan police have served each driver, including the officer who was driving the van, with a notice of intended prosecution. Bol’s brother told the media that based on the information he was given by the first responders, he believes that his sister’s life could have been saved had the Western Regional Hospital’s ambulance responded in time. He says that from his information, the ambulance was not working, and so Victoria Bol had to be transported to the Western Regional Hospital later, when critical minutes had passed.

Canadian National killed in Buena Vista
George Hyde, 38, a resident of Buena Vista Village in the Cayo District, has been charged for the murder of 68 year old Canadian Keith Haslam Dawson. Dawson was chopped to death and dumped in a farm some 6 miles outside of the village. Hyde’s brother, Nelson, was hosting Dawson and his wife Ruth Jones as guest at his house last week for about 3 days. On last Friday morning, he woke up and discovered that Dawson, George Hyde and Ruth Jones were all missing. He immediately tried to call his phone, but couldn’t get through to him, and when he searched around the area, he found a wad of hair, suspected to Dawson's. Nelson Hyde, wanting to ensure that he was being responsible, reported Dawson missing to San Ignacio Police, and they began investigating. Investigators searched the entire village thoroughly, but couldn’t locate any of the 3 people, and it was not until George Hyde called his brother that police were able to figure out where he was hiding. With Nelson Hyde’s help, George was detained along with Ruth Jones by police, and when he was questioned about the Canadian retiree’s location, he reportedly confessed that he killed the elderly man. Police took a caution statement from him, and afterwards, he led them to the dumping area some 6 miles outside of Buena Vista, where police found Dawson’s body. He suffered multiple chop wounds, and because of the state of decomposition, an on-site autopsy had to be conducted in which the medical examiner certified that the Canadian man died of asphyxia as a consequence of a chop wound to the wind pipe. Under police questioning, George Hyde admitted that he was having an affair with Ruth Jones, and he killed the Canadian man out of jealousy.

Young Cyclist knocked down while training
22 year-old Belmopan cyclist Geon Hanson is being treated at the KHMH after he was knocked down early on Tuesday, December 24th, by a bus while he was training. At around 6:15, in an area between Miles 36 and 37, Hanson was doing his road workout when a J and J bus, eastbound suddenly struck him sending him to the shoulder of the road. The driver of the bus, Saul Castellanos, reported to police that the high beams of an oncoming vehicle blinded him for a few moments, and when he lowered his beam, he saw Hanson in his lane. He said that he tried to avoid the accident, but due to the wet condition of the road, he could not. He claims that it happened so quickly, that there was nothing he could have done. Hanson has since endured 2 major surgeries, where his damaged spleen had to be removed. He also suffered a collapsed, and punctured lung, in addition to his other bodily injuries. The doctors at the KHMH have worked hard to keep giving him life-saving treatment, and his family thanks those who rendered aid to get him to the Western Regional Hospital immediately after the accident. Hanson is a well-known cycling talent and in the 2013 Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic, he took the Belmopan Airstrip station prize zooming past that location in the lead.

Santa Elena Man killed days before his birthday
Santa Elena Resident, 56-year-old, Fredy Lopez Sr. was killed on Monday, December 23rd, in a robbery which happened in front of his family just 2 days before Christmas, which would have been his 57th birthday. Lopez was walking in the Kontiki area with his wife, his daughter-in-law, his 10 year-old granddaughter, and his 6 year-old granddaughter at around 9:30 that night. He was taking his grandchildren and their mother home when he was approached by 2 men, one of whom was armed. The men demanded money, but they didn’t have any on them. One of them grabbed Lopez’s wife from behind, and when he bent down to pick up a rock, one of the robbers shot him in the chest. Both men ran off, leaving him to die in his family’s embrace. They are devastated because they were already making holiday preparations, which would have included his birthday celebration. His son told the media that Christmas day will never be the same at their house because of the tragedy. San Ignacio police have released the names and photographs of 2 main suspects, 27 year old Kevin “Midget” Manzanero, 25 year old Alex “Cat” Reid. They are wanted in connection with this murder, as well as 8 other robberies in the twin towns and surrounding areas which happened over the past month. The most recent one before the Lopez murder happened in the Succotz area where 2 men attacked one of the buses moving through the area. One of the assailants fired a .45 caliber pistol, and its recovered expended shell matches the same one used to kill Fredy Lopez Sr. Investigators say that the descriptions given in 4 of those robberies match these men.

Minor kills minor in Cayo
Instead of preparing for Christmas Eve, the family of the 15 year-old Cayo resident, Alexander Vasquez Aguilar, had to make preparations for his funeral after he was stabbed to death by a 17 year-old minor. Just before 11 p.m. on Saturday, Aguilar got into an argument with the minor in front of Venus Hotel in San Ignacio Town, and it escalated into a confrontation. That’s where the minor allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed Aguilar in the chest. Aguilar went down, and bystanders tried their best to assist him until the ambulance came to take him to the San Ignacio Hospital. Unfortunately, he died on the way there. The minor then went home and allegedly confessed what he had done to his father, claiming that it was self-defence. Police detained him, and his statement was taken. He told investigators, that he and Aguilar have had a longstanding quarrel, information which they also got from secondary sources. He claims that he was forced to stab Aguilar. His statement, along with all evidence have been forwarded to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to get her advice on how to proceed with the case.

San Ignacio Police conduct operations to find two men
San Ignacio Police continued another operation on Friday of this week to find two men wanted for a string of robberies and at least one recent serious crime. Police say that 27 year old Kevin “Migit” Manzanero and 25 year old Alex “Cat” Reid are now operating in the Police Boulevard Area, Maya Vista, Kontiki and Shawville as well as in San Ignacio Town itself and Bullet Tree Falls Village. Both persons are armed and considered extremely dangerous. From the testimonies of at least nine victims, Police were able to attest that Kevin Manzanero and Alex Reid are operating in the same modus operandi. Victims have been able to describe to Police the particular dress and behavior of these two men as they preyed on them. Based on these witness accounts, Police also now want both Kevin Manzanero and Alex Reid to answer questions in connection with the shooting death of 56 year old Freddy Lopez, which occurred on Monday of this week.

Giovannie Lovell captures pre-Christmas race
The 2nd Annual Leslie’s Imports and Belize City Council Pre-Christmas race was held on Sunday, December 22, 2013. In the Open Elite category, first place went to Giovannie Lovell of Telemedia Cycling Team and he completed the course in a time of 3:21:03. The second rider to cross the finish line was Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes, while David Henderson Jr. also of Benny’s Megabytes was the third rider to cross the finish line. In the Masters 4/5 category, first place went to Nehru Gilharry of Ride to Victory and he completed the course in a time of 2:25, second place went to Daniel Cano of Digicell 4G, while third place went to George Abraham Sr. of BECAL. In the Masters Category, first place went to Jose Choto of Cayo High Road Elite Team and second place went to Orson Butler, who is unattached. In the Female category, fist place went to Alicia Thompson of Belize Bank Swoosh and she completed the course in a time of 2:57:03, second place went to Marinette Flowers who is unattached and third place went to Patricia Chavarria of BECOL. In the Junior Category, first place went to Delawn Abraham of Benny’s Megabytes and he completed the event in a time of 2:35:16, second place went to Delon Gentle of BELCOL Uprising while third place went to Josslyn Chavarria Jr. also of BELCOL. And in the Youth Category, fist place went to Darien Anderson who is unattached in a time of 2:56:09.

Cycling Association prepares for 2014 Season
As we start the 2014 Cycling Season, we would like to inform that all personnel, who forms part of the race caravan, must be a registered member of the Belize Cycling Association. In addition, we ask that all teams bring with them, a copy of the driver’s license for your technical vehicle driver and a copy of the vehicle license and insurance. A reminder that the Technical Meeting for the 24th Annual KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic is this Monday, December 30th at 7:00 p.m. at the University of the West Indies on Princess Margaret Drive. The deadline for cyclists to register for this event is Friday, December 27th. Any registration after this date will incur a late fee penalty. Registration can be done at the Belize Cycling Association Office on the second floor of the Commercial Centre. Opening hours are 9 - 11 and 2 - 4.

FC Belize takes over lead in Belikin Cup Tournament
The Premier League of Belize Belikin Cup Tournament continued over the weekend of December 21-22, 2013, with three games across the country. On Saturday, December 21, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the home team who is also the defending champions Police United and the visiting Belmopan Bandits played to a 1-1 draw. The first half of the game ended in a 0-0 draw. It was not until the second half of the game that the visiting Belmopan Bandits who was the first to get onto the scoreboard unlocked the 0-0 tie, when Davis Trapp scored his team’s only goal of the game in the 64th minute of play for a short lived 1-0 lead. Meanwhile, Police United got unto the scoreboard when Clifton West scored his team’s equalising goal in the 72nd minute of play for a 1-1- draw. On Sunday, December 22, at the Toledo Union Field in Punta Gorda Town, the visiting Verdes FC blanked the host team Paradise/Freedom Fighters by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Marlon Meza in the 58th minute of play. Meanwhile, at the MCC Grounds, the current leaders in this year’s competition, FC Belize, edged the Belize Defence Force by the score of 2-1. The Belize Defence Force was the first to reach onto the scoreboard when John King scored in the 49th minute of play to give his team a temporary lead. It was well into the second half of the game that the FC Belize offence was able to break through the defence of the BDF and lodged itself unto the scoreboard. FC Belize’s first goal was scored by Jarrett Davis in the 60th minute of play to equalise the score at 1-1, and then he scored again in the 76th minute of play to give his team the 2-1 victory and sole possession of first place in the competition.

McNab Beating Cancer and Spreading Christmas Cheer
The Mcnab Family has a lot to be thankful for this Christmas. Less than three years ago Mrs. Rosalee Gomez Mcnab was diagnosed with stage four uterus cancer. She had recently thrown a party for children from across Belize City in 2011 when she returned home to Los Angeles and had to visit the doctor to have fluids drained from her back. She then had to make a second visit three days later to have fluids drained from her back again. Three pints of fluids was drained from her back in that three day span and further tests showed she had cancer and the tumor was pressing against her lungs. There were no previous signs of illness before she was diagnosed with stage four uterus cancer. Rosalee’s husband, Densfield, daughter, Barbara McNab Grinage, and the rest of her family were not about to give up on her. She had been in the United States for over 25 years and Densfield had retired from working with the phone company Pacific Bell after 30 years. Therefore, the couple had Medicare benefits and great health insurance. Rosalee had a lung operation, hysterectomy and six months of chemotherapy. She was cared for by five specialists and a private doctor. Though there were times when she was so down that she didn’t even have strength to pick up a phone, Rosalee’s spirit was always lifted by the kind words sent from friends in Belize and the prayers she knew was going up on her behalf. Rosalee remembers the time she started regaining her strength and her serious craving for “pepitos and tamales from home”. She has been cancer free for a year and a half now and says during the tough times all you can do is “have faith and pray”. As she regained strength Rosalee felt the urge to continue her favourite family tradition, bringing smiles to less fortunate children in Belize City.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Caye Caulker: One end to the other by bike
Video. This is taken riding a bike from The Split at the north end to the airport, which is almost at the south end, of Caye Caulker Belize.

R.I.P. Neima Rosado
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Rosado and Smith families of Caye Caulker on the loss of their family member, Neima Rosado. We wish the family every comfort in this time of grief and mourning.

Spotlight: Caye Caulker Bakery

All hail Caye Caulker’s “Cake Lady”


San Pedro Scoop: My Best of 2013 – Part FIVE, It’s a Wrap
Finally! And just in time…who knew that a “Best Of” would turn into five different parts. ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR…let’s wrap this up. I mean SERIOUSLY. Who does this person think she is? Just back from Roatan and Punta Gorda (and their beautiful Mayan culture and the MayaBags…) On Ambergris Caye, I drove past “The Hotel” less than one mile north of the bridge. Such an odd spot. About a year and a half ago, it was a posh hotel about to celebrate a grand opening. Now it’s all boarded up. Kelly McGuire visited San Pedro and had an huge fundraiser at Fido’s for the SAGA Humane Society.

Year Ends on High Note for Belize Ecotourism
Ecotourism and environmental sustainability in Belize are thriving as 2013 comes to an end, according to The Lodge at Chaa Creek and tourism industry statistics. Roberto Harrison, Chaa Creek’s marketing administrator, said that 2013 was one of the Belize tourism industry’s best, and that he feels confident about the industry’s prospects for 2014. “Tourism, and especially true Eco-Tourism, is a very volatile market, but even with all the ups and downs the industry faced last year, we came out with great results, and that bodes well for eco-tourism in general,” Mr Harrison said. “The really good news is that people are responding positively to the message and philosophy of ecotourism and responsible travel,” he added. According to Belize’s “San Pedro Sun”, the Belize Tourism Board reported that, while it was still awaiting border control figures, “2013 started off with exceptional overnight arrivals. January, February, and March of this year saw 17.2%, 14.3%, and 13.0% increases, respectively, when compared to last year’s overnight arrivals. Overall, the period of January – August 2013 saw roughly 17,228 more visitors than 2012.

Our friends, guests and family literally circle the globe these days, so we’re grateful for the power of the web to reach out as we attempt to pass on our wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year to as many of you as possible. We don’t know why exactly, but we’re really looking forward to 2014 and seeing what it has in store for us. Sure, there will be trials and tribulations, but there will also be amazing new discoveries, experiences, unexpected gifts and those all-important random acts of kindness that makes it all worth it. We also want to take this time to say thank you to all or our friends and supporters out there, and our guests, past, present and future, who have made Chaa Creek what it is today. We have truly become a local global meeting place for so many people, and we do feel blessed to share our beautiful natural surroundings with so many interesting individuals each year.

“Come Fly with Me” to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Yesterday started much the same way for me as any other day. Up at 06.15 hours. OK a little later than normal but I needed the extra sleep given the ‘exertions’ (or was it the Belikins I had drunk?) the previous night on the Poker Run. I chose the western veranda on the first floor (I think this is likely to be my usual ‘venue’ of choice) to savour my first mug of black coffee of the day and catch up on the news via The Sunday Times online. I moved inside just before 07.30 hours (having unlocked the store room/garage at 07.00 hours for Rubio and Mike so that they could get their tools)to watch Newcastle United play Arsenal. Not the most exciting of games. In fact it wouldn’t be unkind to describe it as dour. But I didn’t care. Why? Because Arsenal secured a win, courtesy of a headed goal by Oliver Giroud. That’s three games undefeated since we got our TV. I think The Arsenal may have found a new, lucky charm. The power of TV! I hope the unbeaten run lasts as long as the TV although out here that might not be too long!

International Sources

Spared Winter Freeze, Florida’s Mangroves Are Marching North
Much of the Florida shoreline was once too cold for the tropical trees called mangroves, but the plants are now spreading northward at a rapid clip, scientists reported Monday. That finding is the latest indication that global warming, though still in its early stages, is already leading to ecological changes so large they can be seen from space. Along a 50-mile stretch of the central Florida coast south of St. Augustine, the amount of mangrove forest doubled between 1984 and 2011, the scientists found after analyzing satellite images. They said the hard winter freezes that once kept mangroves in check had essentially disappeared in that region, allowing the plants to displace marsh grasses that are more tolerant of cold weather. In one respect, the situation resembles the change in climate that has allowed beetles to ravage millions of acres of pine trees in the American West and Canada, and more recently to gain a foothold in New Jersey. In both the beetle and mangrove cases, scientists have found that it is not the small rise in average temperatures that matters, nor the increase in heat waves. Rather, it is the disappearance of bitter winter nights that once controlled the growth of cold-sensitive organisms.

The Coolest Views From Airplanes
We've always been known to hold a special place in our heart for the views out of airplane windows. Whether you're arriving home after time away or landing some place for the very first time, there's nothing really quite like looking out the window and taking in the scenery below. Here are some of our favorite recent shots posted to Instagram, followed by some classic faves below.

Drone Use Soars in Latin America, Remains Widely Unregulated
Over the last decade, drones have made headlines as tools for covert bombing campaigns in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. Yet remote-controlled warfare is just one of many functions Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) can provide as non-lethal models become less expensive and more accessible to countries around the world. From aerial surveillance to three-dimensional geographic modeling of rugged terrains and even speedy pizza delivery service, manufacturers have begun to promote the infinite capabilities of domestic drones. At the same time, they are specifically targeting developing markets in Latin America for the martial use of drones in law enforcement and military operations. In response, human rights groups have been raising concerns over these fast-evolving technologies, citing the potential for abuse by various state agencies. Recent advancements have allowed governments to adopt and, in some cases, begin building their own UAV fleets, but regulation on domestic drone use remains non-existent throughout the Americas aside from preliminary laws adopted in Brazil, Canada and the United States.

Belizean Honey Buns Bare Pantry Style
Honey Buns were a staple for me when growing up in Belize in the 1970's. Throughout the years, the recipe has changed so much that it's hardly recognizable now. Joe helped me figure out the recipe to make a the Honey Buns of the past. These buns are moist and sweet and very delicious like I remember.

10 Things to Do in Belize in 2014
The year 2013 is finally coming to an end which means that many people the world over have started to write their New Year's resolutions. Because I am passionate and super pumped about promoting Belize online, one of my resolutions for 2014 is to get more people from all over the world to visit Belize. Since there are so many great things you can do on a Belize vacation, I decided to share with the world the top best things to do in Belize. Dive the Great Blue Hole of Belize The world famous Blue Hole is an incomparable natural wonder in Belize. It is located at the center of Lighthouse Reef and measures 1000 feet across and 412 feet deep. Giant stalactites, dripstone sheets and columns, and fascinating marine life are the enchanting geological wonders that draw divers to this site. Jacques-Yves Coustea, the popular naval officer and ocean explorer revealed the secrets of the Blue Hole to millions of viewers in 1971 through the television serious The Undersea World of Jacques-Yves Coustea.

December 30, 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

Wolfe’s Woofers: Christmas Play
“I hear that Wyatt is going to be in a Christmas Play at his school,” I said. “Yeah,” Chris said. “That‘s what he tells me.” My band was on break at BC’s and we sat at one of the tables on the beach. “Davin was in one last week at his school,” Dulce said. “He […]

Congratulations Nancy Ivon Santana!
Nancy Ivon Santana, a graduate of San Pedro High School graduated from La Universidad Modular Abierta in El Salvador on Thursday Dec 12th. Nancy who has been in El Salvador for the past six years pursuing her Law Degree will now be practicing law in Belize. Congratulations from Mom, Dad and the entire family. The San Pedro Sun also wishes Nancy all the best in her budding career.

Under the Stars: Alberto Moreno and Oliva Galves
Congratulations to Alberto Moreno and Olivia Galvez, who, after a beautiful year-long courtship have become engaged. The loving couple has plans of tying the knot in early 2014. We wish them a union filled with love and happiness. May your special day be everything you dream of.

Doctor Love: Retirement
Dear Doctor Love, My wife and I have been looking for possible places for us to live when I retire in a few years. I will not be a rich man when I retire but I will have a comfortable, steady income. What I am saying is that, although money and cost of living are […]

Misc Belizean Sources

Tastes of Thailand Re-opens
We are now back in San Pedro and after 3 months work on the property we have just reopened Tastes of Thailand. We reopened a week or so ago, though we only have 6 tables so reservation would be advisable. John and Thipaya PS we have Tastes of Thailand face book page I believe it will come up Tastes of Thailand in Belize.


22 Year Old Killed In Traffic Accident
A road traffic accident on the night of Christmas Eve claimed the life of one Calcutta Village resident. Tonight the family of 22 year old Armin Nair Rodriguez is mourning his death after he was knocked down while riding his bicycle in the Village of San Joaquin. Reporter Victor Castillo has the story from Corozal. 22 year old Armin Nair Rodriguez, a resident of Calcutta Village in the Corozal did not get to spend Christmas with his family as he had promised. Rodriguez’s life was cut short after he met his fate between miles 79 and 80 on the Philip Goldson Highway, just a few yards away from his home. According to Corozal Police, acting upon information received of a traffic accident in San Joaquin Village they were dispatch to the area where upon their arrival they discovered the motionless body of which was later identify to be of Armin Nair Rodriquez.

Havoc Avoided On Christmas Day Boat Capsizes With Ten Tourist
A Christmas day river tour in Orange Walk Town almost ended in tragedy; luckily passengers of the vessel escaped serious injury. Reporter Maria Novelo has that story and filed the following report. Sometime around 2pm on Christmas Day, ten visiting tourists, who were onboard this 25foot vessel suffered an unexpected mishap as it capsized while adrift on the new river. The vessel named “Fu dee River’ which belongs to Lamanai Eco Adventures and rented by Cruise Solutions, was being piloted by boat captain Felix Vellos at the time. CTV3 News understands that the vessel had just left from the Lamanai Maya Ruin when it flipped over after catching a large wave from another passing boat. The boat captain, we are reliably informed, lost control of the vessel in the wake of the wave. Luckily, other tour guides who were in the area saw the vessel and the distressed passengers in the water and rendered aid.

Resident Of Santa Martha Investigated For Unlicensed Firearm
A resident of Santa Martha Village is tonight facing charges for unlicensed firearm and handling stolen goods. Police report that on Wednesday, December 25th, at about 8:00pm Orange Walk, Police conducted a search at the residence of Edgar Garcia of Santa Martha Village and when asked for information regarding a stolen firearm, Edgar Garcia retrieved a red bag from a swamp that was located behind his house and handed the bag to the police which contained a gun belt, a gun barrel along with parts of a 16 gauge firearm. Edgar Garcia was informed of the offence committed. Police detained 34 year old Edgar Garcia of Santa Martha Village and a 17 year old of Santa Martha Village pending investigation for Unlicensed Firearm and Handling Stolen Goods.

Two Persons Stabbed During Altercation
Two Carmelita residents spent the latter part of Christmas day with stitches at the Northern Regional Hospital following an altercation police reports. At about 10:30 on Wednesday night police visited the Emergency Ward at the NRH where they saw 28 year old Enrique Ocampo with two stab wounds to his left side of his back and 22 year old Minor Jordan, a Guatemalan national of Carmelita Village with a large curt wound to his left arm. Preliminary investigations revealed that, Jordan was socializing with some friends at the residence of Davis Fernandez when he was approached by Ocampo who inflicted the chop wounds with a machete.

Man Accused of Sexually Assaulting His Mentally Challenged Stepdaughter
Police in Corozal are investigating a rape incident that occurred in that municipality on Thursday December 26th. Police report that they received information of a female at the Corozal Hospital that she was sexually assaulted. Police visited the hospital where they spoke with a Hispanic female of Sarteneja Village who reported that sometime between Thursday 19th December and Monday 23rd December 2013 her 18 year old mentally challenged sister of Sarteneja Village was sexually assaulted by her step father. Police investigation continues.

Christmas Day Claims The Life of Four In Horrible Traffic Accident
Tragedy struck on Wednesday, Christmas Day in Ladyville when four young person’s lost their lives in an unfortunate traffic accident. Police report that sometime around four in the afternoon twenty-two year old Hector Daniel Gongora, a student of Lake Garden Ladyville Village was driving his red four door Isuzu Pickup truck towards Ladyville. At the time, he was accompanied by twenty year old Henry Gabourel Reyes, seventeen year old Dulce Yanira Cobb and twenty-three year old Shakir Shamir Monima. Police investigations reveal that Gongora lost control of the vehicle between miles seven and eight on the Phillip Goldson Highway and collided into a tree. The vehicle was extensively damaged and according to police reports, all four persons sustained multiple head and body injuries and were unconscious by the time they responded. Reyes, a Belizean messenger of an Antelope Street Extension Address in Belize City was seated on the passenger’s seat, Cobb a student of Daly Street Belize City was seated in the back behind the driver, Monima Belizean messenger also of Daly Street, Belize City was seated next to Cobb.


A Trip Up North on Ambergris Caye: Ak’Bol Yoga Resort, Lazy Croc’s BBQ, Feliz Bar and Odd Weather
Yesterday started off grey and a bit cool but we could see the sun…up north. So my friends, their golf cart and I headed over the bridge to hang out and find it. Here are some pictures of what I call “North Ambergris Caye”. If you are unfamiliar with our island, many of the buildings and population are around San Pedro town on the southern end. And then there is a toll bridge over “the Cut” and as you head north, it’s more “suburban”. More homes and resorts and less businesses… Our first stop was about 1.5 miles north at Ak’Bol Yoga Resort. They have a great dock for swimming and sunning and a very cute bar/restaurant. I got out my camera and realized that MY BATTERY WAS DEAD! SO…here is my first IPhone 4s blog post. We lazed about on the dock, ate some hummus, saw a very cool orange octopus and then headed about 1/3 mile north to Lazy Croc’s BBQ (for the FULL scoop on this hot spot, check out the post below). They were smoking 200lbs of ribs and some chickens. I had to take a look…

“Friends in Low Places” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Out on the first floor western (lagoon side) veranda by around 05.30 hours yesterday with – yes, you’ve guessed- a mug of black coffee and my iPad. I spent around an hour out there -just enough time for me to catch up on the news via The Times online and have a second mug of coffee. I then decided that I deserved a breakfast – an Estel’s breakfast – so I showered, shaved and got dressed (adding a sweat top to my usual attire of ‘T’ shirt and shorts because it was a little breezy and there was a chill in the air – don’t know that I am now equipped to handle the weather in the UK at the moment) and took the drive to ‘Town. A less bumpy ride than it has been of late because they have carried out some more repair work on the road to the bridge. I was ready to go when Rubio and Mike arrived to recommence work on the fence so I unlocked the store room/garage so that they could get their tools and left for a very enjoyable breakfast. They always are at Estel’s though. By the time I got back home Rubio and Mike had made really good progress on the fence for the southern side of our lot and had completed fitting the horizontal posts that they started the day before

Twocanview Inaugural Blog Radio Show 12/29/2013
Today Dec 29, 2013 marked the inaugural blog radio show for Twocanview. My first guest was Hubert Pipersburg. Hubert explained pubic policy; the importance of effective public policy; and helped me examine the Christmas Cheer Program implemented in Belize- Was it good public policy? Please click on the following link to listen to the discussion: Blog Radio 12/29/2013 Also please donate to a great initiative to uplift the lives of elderly Belizeans who are living in very deplorable conditions by clicking the following link. Improve the lives of Belizeans at Home

International Sources

St. Mark's Refuge biologist takes bird houses to Belize
Michael Keys and his son, Larkin, will hike deep into the open savanna of pine trees and brush, carrying ladders and chain saws. Keys will climb 30 feet up a pine tree and spend three hours carving a hole in the tree to insert a wooden box. Within weeks, yellow-headed parrots will nest in Keys’ artificial cavities and produce offspring scientists hope can boost the population of the endangered species. It’s not your typical vacation in Belize, a small Central American country on the Caribbean coast. But it can make a difference. “This is a species that could go extinct and I have this one specialized skill that can help,” Keys said. “I’m not a heart surgeon or anything. So this is my contribution to helping the habitat.” Keys, 42, is a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; since 1998 he has been stationed at the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge. He and his son are leaving Jan. 19 for Belize, where they will spend 18 days installing artificial cavities. Though Keys is doing this on his own dime, he welcomes contributions (see box). This is Keys’ second trip to Belize; in January 2012 he spent two weeks installing 10 artificial cavities in Payne’s Creek National Forest. He hopes to install another 10 artificial cavities in the government-owned forest this trip, with Larkin, 19, a budding photojournalist, documenting the effort.

Upcoming Destinations Of 2014
2013 is coming to a close and we will shortly be welcoming 2014! This can only mean one thing…it will be time to start planning your next holiday and the only question is, where to? We’ve done our research and have come up with exciting and upcoming destinations to give you a helping hand. Head to Ambergris Caye in Belize, a hidden gem full of unspoiled beaches and tropical surroundings. Ambergris Caye is a prime location for diving and snorkelling, near the second largest barrier reef in the world.

Planning a Trip: Guidebook Versus the Web
I recently asked my friend Doug if he still uses guidebooks to plan his trips abroad. He’s a smart guy and a veteran traveler, so I figured he would have a thoughtful reason one way or the other. He did not. “I probably don’t use guidebooks because I’ve essentially forgotten they exist,” he said. I’m guessing Doug is not alone. Sales of international travel guides in the United States are down 42 percent since 2006, according to the Nielsen BookScan Travel Publishing Yearbook. As online resources have expanded, I’ll bet lots of people have shifted their travel planning to the web without giving it any thought at all. And I suspect some who still use guidebooks think they’re wasting money for what they could find online free. But are they? I decided to try an experiment: I would buy a brand-new guidebook, comb through it, then to try to replicate or improve upon what I found in the free but chaotic bounty of the World Wide Web. I bought and read most of the Lonely Planet’s Hungary guide (which I chose because Lonely Planet is popular among Frugal Traveler readers and I know nothing about Hungary) and then got to work.

In Belize, teaching youth life-skills to prepare for workplace
For Diangelo Ramos, a young man living in Belize, surviving after he was thrown out of his house at 13 took determination and courage. “I was drinking at school, missing classes,” he recalled. ”My teacher said she would not give up on me because she knew I could change.” Diangelo participated in a youth engagement programme implemented by UNDP. The Southside Youth Success project, established in 2012, is a coordinated system that provides mentoring, life-skills, training and job placements for vulnerable youths in Southside Belize City (SBC), the most violent area of the country. It focuses on preventing “most-at-risk” youth, in particular young men, who come from the most marginalized parts of Belizean society, from entering gangs and provides them with the life-skills and knowledge base to enter the workforce instead. “Today I think I have changed,” Diangelo said after completing the programme.

December 29, 2013


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The San Pedro Sun

Coral Beach Realty joins the Century 21 family
On Thursday, December 19th, Coral Beach Realty, located on Barrier Reef Drive of San Pedro Town officially became a franchise of the Century 21 real estate company. Century 21 was founded in 1971, with its main headquarters located in Madison, New Jersey and its regional office located in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Company has over 7,100 independent franchised broker owned companies in 74 countries worldwide. With the addition of Coral Beach Realty, Belize now has two. Owner and broker of Coral Beach Realty Bob Hamilton sat with the regional director of Century 21, Edgar F. Santamaria as the partnership was officially launched. Congratulations Bob and team! We wish you continued success!

Caye Caulker residents upset over sand and road conditions
Residents of Caye Caulker are up in arms after a private sand company was observed to be barging off sand to Ambergris Caye. The residents are claiming that the streets in Caye Caulker are in the worst state it has ever been and that the sand is being barged off the island should instead be used to fix their streets. Frustrated residents claim that since June, villagers have been unable to see or hear from their Area Residents Honorable Manuel Heredia to have the street issues on the island addressed. The San Pedro Sun understands that the private sand company on Caye Caulker belongs to Damien Chamberlain, and Belize Marine and Sand does the dredging. The dredging/mining permit is in the name of the Caye Caulker Village Council (CCVC) which was confirmed by Village Chairman Wayne Miller. The Chairman said that while the complaints by the residents are legitimate, the fact is that the sand belongs to a private company. “Under the mining permit, the agreement is that we are paid for the use of our permit, since it belongs to CCVC and we also get 10% of the material dredged. I must say that we are paid for the use of the permit and we are getting far beyond the 10% of the material dredged,” said Miller.

Learn traditional massage techniques with Master Lee
Have you always wanted to work using your hands to help heal and bring relief to those in pain? If you have ever been interested in traditional medicine that applies the intricate knowledge of the body, using said knowledge to heal, then perhaps you should take up the offer by generous island healer Master Lee. He is offering a free – yes, FREE – course in traditional massage techniques. Lee stated that he wants to pass down his knowledge to others who can in turn use the lessons as an opportunity to work and make a living. It’s certainly a generous offer, and one that should not be taken lightly. But what exactly is Master Lee’s technique, and how did he come about with such knowledge? For reference, we reprint an excerpt from Our Belize Community in The San Pedro Sun, Volume 17 Issue #45. “Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practices include theories, diagnosis and treatments such as herbal medicine, acupuncture and massage. TCM theory asserts that processes of the human body are interrelated and in constant interaction with the environment. It is a tradition passed down from generations, kept alive, and was brought down to Belize at a time when people were unaware of its curative powers. One such person who keeps the tradition going is island resident Master Lee.

Misc Belizean Sources

Christmas liquor law in Corozal district
I am writing this letter so that u can hear our voices. On the 25th of December 2013, we were told by the liquor board and police department that we can open after 6 p.m. When 6 p.m comes we opened our stores, suddenly the police comes to closed us down. They told us new LAW !!!!! On Christmas business should closed all day, apparently it only HAPPEN IN COROZAL town because we called our families and friends in Orang Walk and Belize city, they said everything is normal stores are opened. So why the system here are different from other district? This not finished yet, the company KUbili can sell their beers and do dance on Christmas while the whole town got to be closed down, so tell me what so special about them. Apparently they were the only business operating. We think someone receive money to make sure all business are closed on Christmas.the people of Corozal suffered for this Christmas and another thing we over heard people complaining that buying beers were like buying crack.

Christmas at Octavia Waight
Feelgood news of Christmas. Atlantic Bank visited the residents of the Octavia Waight Centre to bring them presents and bring them some Christmas cheer. As you can see, the residents at OWC always appreciate visits. Thanks, Atlantic Bank! "This year we chose a nursing home in San Ignacio Cayo called Octavia Waight Centre to bring back a little Christmas joy to the elderly. This is our christmas story about our visit to the nursing home. On Wednesday, December 18, 2013 we visited 28 residents of the Octavia Waight Centre. The staff and the residents were very welcoming. We met with each and every one of the residents of the Centre one at a time. While visiting with them, many of the residents spoke about their likes, dislikes, the careers that they once had. They shared with us their hobbies, their life stories and even told us their amazing christmas story."

Canadian missionary reported missing from Valley of Peace village
The family of Canadian national Brian Townsend is in a frantic search for the missionary who has been reported missing from his home in Valley of Peace village, Cayo district. According to an internet post by the family, Townsend was discovered missing from his house on Christmas morning. The online post which goes under the heading of “Brian Townsend Missing Belize” says that “what we do know is there were signs of an aggressive struggle in his room that carried out the door and across the lawn to where his truck was parked. Brian’s phone and computer are missing as well. It goes without saying that we have been unable to contact Brian by any means at all.”


New Business in San Pedro: Comfort Food, Country Music Bar, Restaurant & Hotel?
Last night was the soft opening of DC & Szana’s Country Cabana – a country music dedicated, comfort food servin’ spot in town. The only air conditioned restaurant on the beach. They also host guests at the 7 room hotel above them. The former Tio Pil’s and before that the old Lily’s Hotel in down town San Pedro. I am going to be honest from the very get-go: I am from New Jersey, I do not enjoy country music. One bit. But that doesn’t mean LOTS of people don’t love it. And lots of Belizeans love it too. A certain age group…I’d guess 35 and up…love country. In fact, one of the few radio stations “bak inna day” was classic country. I heard songs like “Strawberry Wine” and “Harper Valley PTA” for the first time at Belize Karaoke.

“Imagine” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Hopefully you all had a great Christmas. Rose and I did. The first in our new home. I know that it was Christmas but there was nothing much different for the start of the day for me. Usual routine. Veranda, chair, mug of black coffee and the iPad. Wait. There was a difference. I had a new iPad. An iPad Air. I can’t say that it came as a surprise. Why? Well, I bought it for myself. The ‘old’ (given that I have not had it for quite two years I shouldn’t really call it old) one has served me well but a lot of the original functionality has gone. Rose blames me for this saying that I just don’t look after things. Me? I think it’s the weather conditions. It’s funny though that her one works as well as the day she got it. Long before I got my one too! In the previous edition I showed you a couple of the presents that Rose gave to me. It didn’t end there though. Oh no. She bought me a pair of Belizean style house slippers.

GOB Bringing home the Bacon
The Government of Belize did another pair of nationalizations – and this time, it’s Immarbe and the IBC Registry – both foreign owned entities that control and operate the entire offshore business sector in Belize. Let’s start with Immarbe – that’s the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize, which sells the Belizean Flag as a flag of convenience to international vessels. That’s the one that we’ve been reporting on as causing much distress for Belize with the European Union. It’s gotten to the point where Belize was blacklisted by the European Union and our fisheries product could face trade sanctions because of the activities of the international vessels that carry Belize’s flag. And then there’s the IBC Registry, or International Business Companies Registry. That’s the entity that registers so-called offshore companies which are given tax-free status and assured secrecy in their corporate affairs. Both entities are at least partially owned by a company called Belize international Services Limited – which is believed to be part of the Ashcroft Alliance.

Must Read Story of the Year
Below is a letter I call the must read story of the year. The author, Franklin, is a young man in the PathLight Sponsorship+ Program. I’ve had the honor of knowing Franklin for several years now, and his letter is one of the most powerful you will read this year. I’m going to start pointing to this letter when people ask me why I do what I do. My name is Franklin. I was born in July 24th, 1993. A few months after I started life in this world, my biological father walked away on my mother and me. A few years later my mother was engaged in a common-law relationship, which was hard for me. My stepfather had four children of his own and of course, treated me differently. I would sometimes cry and wonder why my father had abandoned me like an unwanted puppy. In 2006, I was in 7th grade. My dream was to become someone important in life and I knew that it would only be possible if I could continue my education. After graduating primary school, I did not expect what happened next; my mom and stepdad abandoned me.

International Sources

Dodging a Holiday in a Remote Mexican Town
The night before Thanksgiving, while most of my acquaintances were setting tables or stuffing turkeys, I was in a lonesome town in Mexico, watching a salamander eat mosquitoes on a greasy kitchen wall. It was a hungry thing and went about devouring its prey with whip-quick lashes of an energetic tongue. Though I had chosen to avoid the feast day in the north, I didn’t mind the little lizard’s gluttony. Its meal, after all, was untroubled by the usual distractions: by football on TV or, moreover, the familiar family dramas. Despite — or perhaps because of — its enforced veneer of bliss, the month between the Macy’s parade and the Times Square ball drop can often inspire an unseasonable longing to escape. The place that I’d escaped to — Xcalak, a seaside town at the bottom of the Yucatán Peninsula — is one of those remote locations, like Key West or Gibraltar, whose inaccessibility is the essence of its charm. I had come for the holiday to evade the conventions of overeating and bickering with kin — to experience an admittedly transparent feeling of without-ness. Xcalak (pronounced ESH-cah-lahk) is a fishing village defined by what it lacks. Its few hundred residents largely live without electric power or modern indoor plumbing. There are solar panels and rain-catchment basins, but there aren’t any banks or A.T.M.s. You can’t use your credit card, and forget about your cellphone. The nearest place to refuel your car is an isolated Pemex station 30 miles away.

Edmonton man to search for missing father in Belize
An Edmonton man says he is flying to Belize early Saturday morning to search for his father, a missionary he believes was abducted on Christmas Day. Kory Townsend told CTV Edmonton that a cook arrived at the apartment of his father, Brian Townsend, on Dec. 25 and found evidence of a struggle inside and outside the apartment in Valley of Peace. Townsend told CTV both his father and his father’s truck were missing. A Facebook page entitled “Brian Townsend missing,” describes signs of “an aggressive struggle” in Brian Townsend’s sleeping area and the missing truck, and concludes, “Abduction.” Posts on the page say that Brian Townsend’s phone and computer were also missing. “I am not sure exactly what we will find or even how much help we will be in Belize, I realize that …,” Kory Townsend wrote on Facebook. “This is not a fun trip I’m about to go on, I am not excited. This is a rescue. If not for my father then for our sanity. I go as a courageous, confident ambassador for all of us that know Brian Townsend and wish to see him safe.”

2013: A year of lost opportunities for Caribbean countries
2013 was not a good year for any of the 14 independent member states of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), not even for three of the four commodity-exporting nations — Belize, Guyana and Suriname, despite their economic growth. The fourth commodity-exporting country, Trinidad and Tobago, had no growth to speak of. All the countries were beset by high unemployment; there was high debt in 10 of them; decline in inclusive economic growth in 11 of them; unsustainable fiscal deficits and widening trade deficits in goods and services in all of them; and foreign exchange losses in many of them. Additionally, bank lending and private spending tightened in 11 of them, causing a contraction in the private sector to which all countries had been looking to lead economic recovery in the wake of cash-strapped governments being compelled to retreat as both investor and employer.

The Punta Gorda Market lies not far from the lapping waters of the ocean, on a street lined with shops and casual cafes. From overturned milk crates, out of the backs of trucks and underneath rainbow-colored umbrellas, Belizeans sell everything from fresh produce to kitchen utensils to socks. However, it’s the Maya women selling spice mixtures who are the stars of the market. These glass jars with red, plastic lids are sought after by chefs and cooks all across Belize. The day I visited, my guide bought several jars for his brother, who cooks up the coast in Placencia. Now, at home in New York City, I still recall that smell when I’m cooking something that needs a little kick.

December 28, 2013


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The San Pedro Sun

Conch shell souvenirs require a permit for exportation
Conch shell souvenirs are in abundance in Belize and they are among some of the most beautiful keepsakes found at local artisan booths and gift shops on Ambergris Caye. These souvenirs are purchased by hundreds of tourists who want to take a piece of Belize’s craft pieces back home. However, they face the possibility of having their conch shell souvenirs confiscated by Customs Officers because of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) regulation. Recently, tourists have been complaining that their conch shell souvenirs are being confiscated at Phillip S. W. Goldson International Airport upon leaving Belize. According to the complaints, upon leaving the Belize Phillip SW Goldson International Airport in Belize, visitor’s conch shell souvenirs have been taken away.

Belize Rural Development Project II
As part of its effort to improve access to strategic infrastructure as well as strengthening policies and institutional environment, the BRDP II project through the EU has organised two market groundbreaking ceremonies which was attended by the European Union Ambassador, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Minister of Works & Transport, Minister of State (with special emphasis on Transport), senior officials of the Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Rural Development, as well as Area Representatives, the Town and Village Councils, special guests and other representatives from various groups and organisations. - The first Ground Breaking ceremony has been organised for Monday 16th December from 3:00 to 5:00 PM in Independence. The market plan consists of 2 main buildings having approx. 1, 332 square feet each. Each building has four (4) permanent and secured stalls (2 stalls 15’ 8” by 17’ 9” and 2 stalls 16’ by 16’ 6”) each available for rent on a long term basis. There is also a parking lot measuring 231’ 9” by 80’ 9” with two entrances. The parking lot can be used for the market and/or any other specific events.

Delta Airlines inaugurates new flight from Belize to Los Angeles
On Saturday, December 21st, Delta Airlines inaugurated their first non-stop flight from Los Angeles (LA), California, USA to Belize. The historic flight marks yet another great leap for the Belize Tourism Board (BTB). LA has a large concentration of Belizeans, so this new flight taps into a large market of travelers. BTB, along with Delta Airlines, hosted a short conference for the press to witness the remarkable launch of this in-demand service. The first flight arrived at the Philip SW Goldson International Airport shortly after 7AM and returned to LA at 10:30AM. Passengers were given an official certificate of travel as part of the inaugurate flight. When asked about their flight experience, many passengers were pleased with the “Great Service and “Convenience”. Even a couple Belizean American families arrived on the flight. Delta’s LA-Belize flight seats 160 passengers and takes approximately seven hours. The flight departs from LA in 12AM and arrives at Belize at 7AM, then returns to LA at 10:30AM on Saturdays. The flight is not only aimed to increase tourism but also should give Belizeans living in USA an easier means to travel home.

Ambergris Today

Belize Listed in Top 20 Best Designed Tourism Websites in the World
The Belize Tourism Board invites visitors from around the world to “Discover how to be, Belize” with its newest marketing campaign that was launched at the beginning of this year. With that came a strong advertising campaign both locally and internationally and plenty of exposure in magazines, websites, blog and travel websites. This week Belize hit another milestone in recognition which speaks of its great efforts in marketing the country. just listed the Belize Tourism Board’s website for Belize at #4 in the Top 20 Best Designed Tourism Websites in the World. In an era of high tech information sharing and essential online marketing, this is a great nod for Belize. Here is what Skift had to say about Belize’s website: “ immediately pulls first-time and repeat site visitors in with an embedded Vimeo video. This is an advanced technique that few other tourism websites employ. The website continues to engage visitors with a scrolling homepage that uses large graphics and warm colors to highlight the activities at and tropical culture of the destination.”

Delta Inaugurates Non-stop Service Between Los Angeles and Belize
With much fanfare Delta and Belize held the celebratory inauguration of Delta’s direct flight from Los Angeles to Belize this past Saturday, December 21, 2013, at Belize’s Phillip Goldson International Airport. There was much to celebrate as the direct flight is being hailed by Belizean resort owners as a great boon for the local tourism industry. This new services opens a new market of travelers to consider Belize as a viable vacation. Los Angeles also has one of the largest Belizean American populations in the United States of America and this new flight will make it easier for them to visit family, friends and spend holidays in their country of origin. Before this new direct flight to Los Angeles, travelers had to take a connecting flight to either Miami, Houston, Dallas, or Charlotte, and then fly from those cities to Belize.

Celebration Week in San Pedro by Sagebush and BWO
Sagebrush Community Church is proud to announce they will be teaming up with BWO (Believer's World Outreach) for a 5-day community outreach, "Celebration Week". During this time over 40 volunteers from the United States will be coming to the island, led by BWO's project director Debbie Tietsort, to team up with Sagebrush Belize Campus' volunteers. This will be the fourth consecutive year that BWO has brought a team to Ambergris Caye; their primary goal being that through their service, the light of Christ will touch the hearts and lives of the individuals here on the island. Sagebrush teamed up with BWO last year and greatly looks forward to hosting the team here again this year, furthering Sagebrush's vision of "Knowing Christ & Making Him Known". This year they will be providing a Hip Hop Camp (Lion's Den), Sports Camp (Boca Del Rio Park), Kids Planet (VBS) in Central Park, Cosmetology (Paradise Theater), Movie in Central Park , & New Years Day Festival (Central Park). Hip Hop, Sports, and Cosmetology will run from 8:30a.m.-11:30a.m. Saturday December 28th, Monday December 30th-Wednesday January 1st. Kids Planet in Central Park will run the same dates from 3pm-5pm.Sunday December 29th Sagebrush Belize invites everyone to join them at the Paradise Theater for the church service (kids have a blast in Kids Planet each and every Sunday!) at 10:30a.m. and then at 5:30pm in Central Park for the movie, Home Run. Celebration week comes to a close on Wednesday, January 1st after the New Years Day Festival in Central Park from 3pm-5pm.

Misc Belizean Sources

Canadian missionary reported missing from Valley of Peace village
The family of Canadian national Brian Townsend is in a frantic search for the missionary who has been reported missing from his home in Valley of Peace village, Cayo district. According to an internet post by the family, Townsend was discovered missing from his house on Christmas morning. The online post which goes under the heading of “Brian Townsend Missing Belize” says that “what we do know is there were signs of an aggressive struggle in his room that carried out the door and across the lawn to where his truck was parked. Brian’s phone and computer are missing as well. It goes without saying that we have been unable to contact Brian by any means at all.”

Christmas dinner and fellowship at the Community Centerin Toledo
On Christmas Day, I had the honor of visiting with some of the elderly folks from the beautiful village of San Felipe in rural Toledo. 18 men and women sat down to Christmas dinner and fellowship at the Community Center. A big thank you has to go to Miss Myrtle Jones who prepared the food, and to people like the owner of Bismillah Store and Mrs. Nazette Burns of Hode’s Place whose kind contribution went a long way to make it all possible. Thanks also to Mary Cariddi and Mahogany Hall Resort, Jennifer Conorque of Georgeville, Marley Brown of Belmopan, Kenishia Sutherland of Camalote and Alma Delia Frutos of San Ignacio who all chipped in to help make Christmas a little bit brighter for the children in San Felipe and for the Tobar family in Mafredi. Together we made it happen and I offer a public: thank you! God Bless.

An alleged rape reported in San Ignacio
An 18 year old woman from the Belize district was the victim of a rape on Boxing Day in San Ignacio town. Information received say that the woman exited a local casino around 5:30 am on Boxing Day after clubbing and went to her vehicle to wait for her friends who remained inside partying. The victim was reportedly followed by three men, who accosted her inside her vehicle. Preliminary information suggests that two of the men held the woman down, while the third raped her inside the vehicle. Three suspects have been detained for questioning in connection with this crime.

BEL Statement on PUC Initial Decision on Amendment to Electricity Rates
On December 10, 2013, Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) applied for a 3 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) reduction in electricity rates, to come into effect on January 1, 2014. The application was a result of an increase in hydroelectricity production in Belize and Mexico and subsequent reduction in the Cost of Power. The proposed rate reduction is intended to save customers approximately $15 million in 2014. On December 18, 2013, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) announced its initial decision for a further 1 cent reduction in rates. BEL has reviewed the PUC’s initial decision and has determined that, with the efficiencies achieved over the last two years, the Company can maintain quality service and supply to customers even with this additional $5 million reduction in revenue. The Company, however, has notified the PUC that whilst it has no objection to the intended Mean Electricity Rate (MER) of 44.65 cents, it is objecting to the proposed tariff basket, which would further erode BEL’s operating margins. The projected revenue from PUC’s proposed tariff basket is $23.5 million below the revenue expected from the current MER. This would also significantly impact the Company’s ability to finance its operations and the quality of service delivered to customers.

Education in Belize: End of Year Notes
As we approach the end of 2013 I would like to thank readers of and my Guidance Counselor column for their loyalty and participation/comments, or sharing my articles. I am thrilled to note that, this year, readers from Belize as well as 32 other countries in six continents read my blog and Guidance Counselor articles; many readers, including Belizeans, expressed their concerns (via blog, email, and various media outlets) regarding Education in Belize as well as in other countries. Despite the fact that the Belize Education System classifies me as a “retired” educator, I still look forward to tackling and discussing many more challenging topics on Education, including some that many powerful people would prefer not to discuss publicly.

6 Things to Know about the Garifuna people of Belize
Every year on November 19, Garifuna Settlement day is observed which marks the arrival of the Garifuna people in Belizean territory in 1802. The holiday was created by Thomas Vincent Ramos, a Belizean civil rights activist and is celebrated for a whole week with major festivities that include parades, live music, drumming, dancing, prayers and pageantry in Garifuna communities. Here are 6 things to know about the Garifuna people of Belize: 1.) In 2001, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized the Garifuna language, music and dance as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. This designation means that it is an important culture that should be preserved, promoted and celebrated. 2.) According to Historians, the Garifuna resisted British and French colonialism in the Lesser Antilles and were defeated by the British in 1796. Because of a violent rebellion on St Vincent, the British moved 5000 Garifuna across the Caribbean to the Bay Islands off the north of Honduras. From there, they migrated to the Caribbean coasts of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize. By 1802 about 150 Garifuna had settled in Stann Creek (present day Dangriga) area and were engaged in fishing and farming.

Fishing Report, Dec 16 - Dec 21, 2013
We had some wonderful families here this week. Dave, Carol, Toni and Scott – thanks again, we always love to see you guys. I’m most impressed with Carol and Toni’s casting and I see a family casting competition in the near future. Carol, the permit will be yours next time! It was also great to see Sasha, Sabrina, Laurie and Norah again. And Archie came back this year and brought his friend James. Archie, it was great to see your smiling face. Donald and Chris we look forward to seeing you here next time. Mike was the ultimate patriarch and made sure his wife Jayne, sister Jo and daughter Shannon all had fishing time. We want to thank you all for a fun week. You had some tough weather, but you persevered. Fish blessings.

Channel 7

Christmas Tragedy: 4 Killed In Traffic Accident
22 year old Ladyville Resident Hector Gongora was home from university for Christmas Holidays. And on Christmas day in the afternoon, he went into the city to pick up his friends, 20 year old Henry Gabourel Reyes, 17 year old Dulce Yanira Cobb and 23 year old Shakir Shamir Monima. They were headed back to Gongora's Ladyville home in his father's D-Max pickup when they had a horrible accident - one of the worst of the year. It left all four of them dead. Here's what happened:.. Jules Vasquez reporting Four young bodies with cloths draped over them - the terrible toll of an accident that almost defies description and comprehension The top of the cab was crushed right down to the floor of the truck - first responders say the pickup was wrapped around the nearby tree. Today the tree is still standing only slightly scarred. While the truck is a mangled wreck - the only thing intact are the tires - all are inflated, so we know it wasn't a blowout - but not much else is known:

Another Knocked Down And Killed On Christmas Eve
There was another fatal traffic accident over the holidays – and the victim is also a younger person. This one happened on Christmas Eve in San Joaquin Village in the Corozal District. At 8:40 pm, 22 year old Armin Nair Rodriguez was riding a bicycle between miles 79 and 80 when he was knocked down by 34 year old Luis Noriega who was driving a Ford Ranger pickup. Noriega was heading in the same southbound direction that Rodriguez was, when he says the cyclist made a u-turn across the road. Rodriguez sustained major head injuries and died on the spot. Noriega was charged for Manslaughter by negligence, Causing death by careless conduct and Drove Motor Vehicle without due care and attention.

Canadian Missing In Cayo: Foul Play Suspected
64 year-old Canadian Retiree Brian Townsend has been missing since Christmas Eve, and based on the evidence found, the residents of the Valley of Peace suspect that foul play has taken place. Townsend, a sort of benefactor of Valley of Peace asked his cook, Norma Rivera to come in early on Christmas Day to prepare the Christmas dinner, and when she and her family showed up, they couldn't find him. His disappearance was very unusual so, she reported him missing to Belmopan police. Investigators visited his home and found blood in front of his house and a blood trail leading to the area where his Chevy Silverado pickup is usually parked. That vehicle is missing, so investigators suspect that he may have been injured or killed, dragged to his vehicle, and taken away from his property. They are conducting an intensive search in and around the village areas in hopes that he can be found alive, but they are expecting the worst.

Senior Citizen Drowned In PG
This evening just before 2 o'clock, police retrieved a body in Punta Gorda, and at this time, they believe that the person drowned. The body, confirmed to be 67 year-old PG resident Arturo Vasquez was seen just off the coastline of the town in the vicinity of the Nazarene Church area. No signs of violence was found on the body, and PG police does not suspect foul play.

He Died Of A Fright?
On Christmas day a 15 year old fell and died while running from police. Stephan Ovado lives in the PIV area of Lake Independence - and right now there's beef between that gang and a rival group. So, on Sunday when he and his friends heard the police coming, they did what they always do; the ran away to avoid being detained for the holidays. That's when he fell and died - some say it was a heart attack. His father told us today that he never could have expected such an end to a day that he had spent mostly with family:.. Mario Ovado, Stephan's Dad "He was conversing with his friends right in front of the yard here, but due to a rise in violence with the rival gangs the GSU Unit were patrolling even on Christmas, so the guys didn't want to get locked up because they will not let them go even if they were not doing anything. When the unit was patrolling, the guys ran and they jump a fence behind my house to get on the adjacent street; Berry Street. He was with them, they ran and jumped the fence on Berry Street and as he reached the street he collapse and they tried to revive him, but he did not respond."

BEL: Rate Reduction Too High
Last week we told you about the PUC's proposal to lower light rates by an average of four cents per kilowatt hour. That's a little more than BEL had suggested - when they asked for a reduction of 3 cents per kilowatt hour - which would save customers approximately $15 million dollars in 2014. The PUC proposals would save consumers another five million dollars. That's 5 million less in revenues for BEL, but the company issued a release today to say it can manage even that. But what the power company does have problems with is what's known as the proposed tariff basket, which the company says in a release today would further erode its operating margins. The company says the projected revenue from the tariff basket as it's set up by the PUC will generate $23.5 million dollars less in revenue than what's expected from the current electricity rates. BEL says this would "significantly impact the Company's ability to finance its operations and the quality of service delivered to customers."

Port Accident: Crane Fell On A Ship
There was a major accident around noon today at the Port of Belize when the crane buckled and the boom crashed unto the ship it was offloading from. Very fortunately, no one was hurt, though the ship may have experienced damage to its hatch. The Port of Belize confirms that the crane was offloading a container from the ship named Palencia. But while maneuvering the container out of the ship - the container got jammed on a rail that it slides out on, it got stuck and that jerked the boom causing the container to fall back unto the deck of the ship, and the boom to crash unto the deck. Very fortunately, the stevedores already knew something could go wrong, and they had cleared out the area. CEO of the Port, Tux Vasquez says their priority right now is to remove the boom with another crane and continue offloading the ship. That work to remove the fallen boom will commence at 7:00 tomorrow. The Palencia is just under 400 feet long.

Salvadoran Shakedown May Not Be Investigated
On Tuesday night we told you about a group of Salvadorians who got a serious shakedown from police who robbed them of a thousand dollars. Well, tonight more is known about the incident. A credible source tells us that it was a group of women. The first set of police dressed in black searched their luggage and took all their money. The second set - just a few miles up the road - allegedly also demanded money, and when they couldn't get it, they locked up the Salvadorians overnight in Benque Viejo. They then called their sister in Belize who is naturalized and she called in the Salvadorian Ambassador. That intervention got Salvadorians out of jail and cleared to cross the border. It turns out they had entered Belize legally but had stayed more than the 7 days allotted to them. Acting commissioner of police Mike Segura told us that the relative who is a permanent resident in Belize should come forward and give an official report - because the others have gone on to Guatemala and there is no one to make a report. He says until a complaint is made from someone in Belize nothing can be done.

Guatemalan Offensive Maps Made It To Australia
In March of this year, 7News told you about a very offensive map which was being circulated by Guatemala. The way it was drawn suggested that Belize, which is a sovereign nation, as simply a part of Guatemala's land mass. The border between the 2 countries was only denoted by a dotted line, which was shown as being under dispute. Since Belize's Foreign Minister, Wilfred Elrington, registered an official complaint, all such maps seem to have gone away. Well, Representatives of the Belize Diabetes Association went to Australia to represent the country at a Congress meeting, which is held every 2 years. They found hard copies of the offensive map being circulated at the forum. Today, 7News spoke with Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer, who is also the Vice President of Belize Diabetes Association, and she told us that Guatemalan representatives at the Congress meeting used that opportunity to spread this propaganda at the Global Village. She said she came upon it by accident: Sharon Frazer, Senior Magistrate "We were in Australia representing Belize, representing all the best that Belize has to offer and next door sits Central and South American countries of which Guatemala fall. Low and behold as we normally do as we go to these conferences are that you walk around, you look, you listen and something prompted me actually to go to the Guatemalan booth. They are our neighbors and here is this brochure "Guatemala...we have it all." On the surface it gives you a fact detail and turning the brochure over is where this map of Guatemala is. So, I look at the map and you can imagine, the anger, the offensive feeling I got when in fact that map include not part but all of Belize as a part of Guatemala. There was no line dividing. It was one big drawing with Belize including as "Guatemala...we have it all.""

Major Floods In Eastern Caribbean
We've had months of heavy rain in Belize, which has caused untold losses in agriculture, damage to streets and roads, and at least one life lost. But recent flooding in the Eastern Caribbean islands of St Lucia, St. Vincent and Dominica have cost the loss of at least a dozen lives, while more are injured and many more are displaced. So far the damage has been greatest in St. Vincent where flooding and landslides caused by heavy rains have killed at least eight people and injured five. According to international news reports, a cousin of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is among the eight confirmed to have been killed. Cassian Gonsalves died Tuesday night when a landslide crashed through his house. In northwestern St. Vincent, a family of five was killed when a house was swept into their home.

How Was The Christmas Sales?
On Monday and Tuesday, 7News hit the streets to sample public opinion on how the Christmas shopping was going. most shoppers seemed to be bargain hunting. So today, as we do every year, we went around speaking with retailers to get their sense of whether Christmas spending was up, down or in-between. Here's what they told us: Unicomer says that they will be having 2 post-Christmas promotions, both of which start in January. One of these promotions will continue for 3 months.

Fisheries Crack Down On Sea Cucumber Market
Most of us don't even know what a sea cucumber is, much less that you can eat it. But it's a much sought after delicacy in Asian markets and while it's been fished out in most parts of the world, it's still being extracted in Belize and exported legally and illegally. But now, the Department of Fisheries wants to slow things down. And so, the season which should open next week on January first has been postponed. A notice from the Fisheries Department says that no Sea Cucumber fishing license or Sea Cucumber export license will be issued since the Sea Cucumber fishery will quote, "remain closed until further notice." Our information is that Fisheries wants to carry out an assessment of what it considers a very vulnerable species before it opens the season. They don't feel comfortable opening the season without being satisfied that the populations are robust enough to withstand another year of exploitation. Dried sea cucumber attracts a higher international market price than conch or lobster and Guatemala has huge demand. The illegal trade with that country is considered robust.

Channel 5

4 killed in road traffic accident on Christmas Day
Christmas Day, for most Belizeans, is a time to celebrate and show love and appreciation for family. But for four families, the spirit of Christmas may never be the same, [...]

Canadian missionary living in Valley of Peace goes missing; foul play is suspected
The last murder reported in the small community of Valley of Peace, just outside of Belmopan, was in September 2009. But there has been one brutal murder recently and now [...]

Stabbing in Orange Walk leaves 2 men hospitalized
Christmas Day is a time for cheer and goodwill, but it’s also a time of excessive alcohol consumption by many. Frequently, that alcohol consumption leads to altercations and bloodshed. That’s [...]

Police investigate rapes in Sarteneja and San Ignacio
Details are sketchy, but tonight there are reports of two rapes – one in Sarteneja and the other in San Ignacio. On Boxing Day Corozal Police received information of a [...]

57 year old U.S. national goes missing while snorkeling in Belize
A U.S. national has been missing at sea since Monday and tonight, the Belize National Coast Guard has called off search and rescue efforts. Fifty-seven year old Dieter Kruger and [...]

Still no sign of group of men gone missing
The Belize National Coast Guard has formally aborted a search and rescue mission for a group of fishermen who went missing near Dangriga earlier this month.   Forty-nine-year-old Thomas Young, along [...]

Injured Cyclist remains in critical, but stable condition at the K.H.M.H.
Twenty-two-year-old Geon Hanson, a well-known Belizean cyclist, remains in stable condition, following a near-fatal road traffic accident on Christmas Eve.  The young rider was training for the upcoming New Year’s [...]

The 24th Annual Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic
The Twenty-fourth Annual Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic is less than a week away and cyclists from all over the country are preparing diligently for the upcoming tournament.  While [...]


Police Search Lands Four in Court for Drug Trafficking
Four persons, three of them adults and the fourth a 16 year old boy, were charged with drug trafficking when they appeared today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. The adults are 28 year old Candice Castillo, 31 year old Kareem Eagan and 22 year old Kendra Smith. They pleaded not guilty to the charge. Senior Magistrate Fraser offered the adults bail in the sum of eight thousand dollars each. She offered the minor a bail of five thousand dollars on the condition that he is indoors between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. She told the minor that if he violates the condition he will be sent to Youth Hostel. They all met bail. They are to return to court on February 28. The bust occurred yesterday. The police reported that they went to a residence at Set Site and when they searched the premises they found a plastic bag underneath one of two houses which contained 772 point seven grams of cannabis. As a result, the four defendants who were present in the house at the time were arrested and charged.

Fatal Road Accident on Christmas Day
In this red Isuzu D-Max pickup which has been totally destroyed, bent in two, were four youths who all lost their lives in a horrific Christmas Day accident. It happened in the afternoon of December 25 between miles 7 and 8 on the Phillip Goldson Highway. Behind the wheel of the vehicle was 22-year-old, Hector Daniel Gongora; in the passenger seat was 20-year-old, Henry Reyes and travelling along with the duo were 23-year-old, Shakir Shamir Monima and 17-year-old, Dulce Cobb. The group was travelling back to Ladyville when something happened that caused the driver to lose control and with, undoubtedly, great speed, the vehicle veered on the opposite lane and was catapulted unto thick trees. Father of Hector Gongora, Rafael Omar Gongora, explained that his son and Reyes had just left home to pick up two of friends, Shakir Monima and Dulce Cobb.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Meet The Island With A Student
I believe this is a different way to get to enjoy the island while creating a positive impact. These kids know these waters like the back of their hand.


Christmas Eve and Christmas day with ReefCI
Lots of photos....

International Sources

The Queen's 2013 Christmas Broadcast
Her Majesty speaks of striking a balance between action and reflection, and looks back at the birth and Christening of Prince George and the 60th anniversary of her Coronation in 2013.

Belize Project Report
A group of 20 construction volunteers from Grass Valley, Sacramento and Montana spent Thanksgiving, Nov. 23 to Dec. 5, in Belize pouring concrete, metal and electrical work constructing a Bible training center for students from countries in Latin America with agriculture and trades training. The Family, Health and Education Association is recognized as a Belize and U.S. nonprofit organization. It operates totally with volunteers who pay their own way and work free for two weeks on these trips. FHEA completed the first high school for the Maya Indians in the country of Belize in 2012 and elementary school in 2008.

Most popular TripAdvisor destinations in 2014
Eager to escape in 2014 but not sure where to go? You might find inspiration from the TripAdvisor community, which recently voted on the best destinations to travel to in 2014. TripAdvisor’s new Travelers’ ChoiceAwards for Destinations on the Rise picks 54 places across the globe based on data collected from millions of the Newton-based company’s user searches and reviews. These were the places that have seen the “greatest increase in positive traveler feedback and traveler interest,” according to TripAdvisor. 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

Collared Aracari
We zagen deze Collared Aracari met een groepje bij elkaar al plukkend en smullend van groene boomvruchtjes. Deze vogels met hun majesteuze snavel zijn toch wel heel bijzonder om te zien. Ze hebben vaak een hoog "Cheep-EEP 'roep als ze vliegen Het menu bestaat voornamelijk uit fruit, maar ook insecten, hagedissen, eieren, en andere kleine prooien laten ze niet staan. De mannetjes en vrouwtjes hebben hetzelfde uiterlijk.

A gloomy time
The announcement on December 13 by the government of Barbados that it will lay-off over 3,000 public servants in January as a first step in cutting back expenditure and reducing national demand for goods and services has rightly rattled other Caricom members. Concern has been greatest in neighbouring eastern Caribbean countries, particularly the six independent ones that, with the British overseas territory, Montserrat, form the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). While the economic recession that began in late 2008 has abated in North America and Europe, its effects have been prolonged in those Caribbean countries whose economies are highly reliant on services, the principal one being tourism. From the start of the recession, policies were required to cut government spending on anything but economically sustainable projects, scale back borrowing to finance only infrastructural development that would lift the tourism product, and prepare the economies to take immediate advantage of a return to economic health of their main markets. Instead for many countries, it was business as usual. The net effect is large debt-to-GDP ratios, significant fiscal deficits, and in many countries little capacity by governments to pay wages and salaries without incurring even more debt. Only four commodity-exporting Caricom states—Belize, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago—have escaped the alarming prospect of implementing austerity measures in order to survive.

Guyana tops English-speaking Caribbean in road fatalities
Guyana has the worst road fatality ranking of all Anglophone Caribbean countries, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has said. According to the APNU, Guyana, at 27.8 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants is the worst ranking country by a wide margin. Rates for other countries are: the Bahamas with 13.7; Barbados, 7.3; Belize, 16.4; Jamaica, 11.6 and Trinidad and Tobago, 16.7, the coalition added.

Germany assists CARICOM water and wastewater projects, marine protected areas
The German-funded Caribbean Aqua-Terrestrial Solutions (CATS) program is active in eight Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states -- Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. In its first year, it has provided essential material goods worth 850,000 euros (US$1.167 million) to the marine protected areas (MPA) of Oracabasa, Montego Bay, Negril and Nepa in Jamaica and funded six water and wastewater projects in Belize and St Lucia with almost 2.4 million euros. These are: 1. Design of the Vieux Fort Water Supply Redevelopment Project, St Lucia, 2. Feasibility study on the Rehabilitation of the John Compton Dam, St Lucia 3. Implementation of the St Jude Hospital Water and Wastewater Project, St Lucia, 4. Design of the Placencia Peninsula Integrated Water and Wastewater Project in Belize, 5. Design of the Expansion of Water and Sewerage Facilities at Ambergris Caye in Belize, and 6. Building capacity for community-based wildfire management and freshwater quality monitoring in rural Belize.

It’s So Easy To Be Seduced By Belize
It’s been three years since my last visit to Belize and this time I’m on a five-day excursion to visit various parts of the country. As I get closer to arriving at my destination I feel a level of excitement growing. Much the same way one would anticipate the arrival of a loved one in a new relationship. A former British Colony, the landscape of Belize is bordered in the north by Mexico and Guatemala in the west and south. The eastern part of the country includes miles of white sand beaches and ocean beachfronts with hundreds of small and large islands. What makes this country so intoxicating? When arriving in Belize one of the first things that captures your attention is the diverse makeup of people. The population includes people from Maya, Mestizo, Garifuna, Creole, Mennonite, East Indian and Chinese culture and of course many expats — its unrivalled in Central America. The second thing you notice is how friendly and welcoming everyone is. No other country can match up to the level of responsiveness you experience here. On my travels throughout the country I met many individuals from all walks of life — farmers, taxi drivers, restaurant servers and business owners each person stands out in their own way. I met Elwin Ariola, a Garifuna gentleman, while being driven from Hopkins to Dangriga airport. Ariola runs “Ariola & Son’s Tour Business” with his wife and son. During our commute, he recounted numerous stories about family, friends and Dangriga’s Garifuna celebrations. He is most definitely the man to call, if you need assistance and advice for travelling around Belize

December 27, 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

Fido’s wins Saga Championship Cook Off
Hungry foodies made their way to Wet Willy’s Cantina on Thursday, December 19th for Saga Humane Society’s Cook Off of Champions. Of course food tickets for Saga’s final Cook Off of the year sold out nearly instantly, but even the long wait in line for food was pleasant as Brent Butcher serenaded the crowd. All funds collected from the night were being matched by Saga Board Member, Heather Beck. The family event raised much needed funds to cover the expenses to spay and neuter 40 pets. There was certainly no shortage of tasty dishes, from Orchid Tree Catering’s Lobster Pâté to a fun Meatball Slider from Wet Willy’s, and the food was certainly championship level tasty. But in the end there could only be one top winner and that honor went to Fido’s Restaurant and Bar with their scrumptious and festive Shiitake Lobster Bisque. Nancy Nida, from Fidos’s, was thrilled to receive a gift basket from Lemon Crush Belize. Coming in a close second was Cindy Firth, for her Chicken in Phyllo with a Champagne Sauce. For her delicious dish, Firth received a Digicell cellular phone. And finally in third place was Feliz Bar’s Potato Salad, who won a matted print from Debbie Cooper.

Captain Shark’s Grand Christmas Raffle
Captain Shark’s held their annual Grand Christmas Raffle on Monday December 23rd. The raffle rewarded lucky customers that shopped over the holiday season. First prize was a $2,000 cash prize that went to J &K Golf Cart Rentals, second prize was a Penn/Ugly Stick Spinning Combo with a tackle box that went to Cholo’s Golf Cart Rentals while third prize went to DJ Polo, who received a mares fin and snorkel set with an underwater camera. Congratulations to all the lucky winners!

Caribeña Enterprises has annual Christmas Raffle
On Monday December 23rd, Caribeña Enterprises held their annual Christmas Raffle. As a way to give back to the community two raffles were held to reward customers of both Caribeña Fuels and Coral Cable Vision (CCV). The first Raffle was held at Caribeña Fuels on Angel Coral Drive, there four winners were chosen by Miss San Pedro Solani Graniel. The lucky winner of the first prize was Nereidi Gonzales, who received a flat screen TV. Second prize winner Coastal Express won 50 gallons of fuel, while third prize winner Jerry Reyes won a home theatre system. Fourth prize was a ham and turkey that went to Carlos Jex, while fifth prize winner Jose Yacab won a new LG cell phone. The second raffle held at CCV included equally fabulous prizes and rewarded CCV’s valued customers. The prizes included a flat screen TV that went to the first prize winner Lucy Marin, a home theatre system that went to the second prize winner Abraham Williams, while the third prize winner Chabi Ayuso received a ham and turkey while three months of free cable went to the fourth prize winner Rita Camal.

Christmas Day Snorkeling at Hol Chan Marine Reserve
What do we do on Christmas day on Ambergris Caye? We go snorkeling at the super gorgeous Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark-Ray Alley…of course!

Misc Belizean Sources

Mickey's Restaurant in San Pedro closes end of year!
The end of an era for sure! Will be sad to see it go, but good luck to Mickey for the future!

Three police officers injured
Three police officers were injured when a car crashed into a parked van on the George Price Highway early on Christmas morning. The officers, identified as PC Mortis, Corporal Gomez and PC Grefella were injured around 2:45 am on Wednesday. The officers were heading towards Belmopan when as they reached between miles 22 and 23, the policemen saw a van that was parked off the highway. Corporal Gomez reportedly stopped and went to investigate what was going on and while doing so, a Geo Prism heading towards Hattieville village slammed into the back of the van. The car was being driven at the time of the crash by 29 year old Oscar Erazo. Traveling with Erazo were Selvin Erazo, 19; Hector Miranda, 17; Edgar Alvarez, 16; Sergio Benitez, 16 and Adonis Miranda, 18. All the occupants of the car are residents of Ladyville. After the crash, Hector Miranda complained to the head and right leg and Edgar Alverez complained of pain to his back. The other occupants of the car escaped unhurt. Corporal Gomez complained of pain to his back; PC Mortis complained of pain to his back, left knee and ankle; while PC Grefella complained of pain from the waist down and had to be hospitalized. The driver of the parked van Amilcar Calderon complained of pain to the left foot. Police have detained the driver of the Geo Prism Car, Oscar Erazo, pending charges.

A man was knocked down and killed on Christmas Eve on the Phillip Goldson Highway.
The victim has been identified as Armin Rodriguez, 22, a resident of Calcutta Village, Corozal. Reports are that Rodriguez was riding a beach cruiser bicycle between miles 79 and 80 on the Phillip Goldson Highway when he was knocked down y a Ford Ranger pickup truck. The driver of the pickup truck, Luis Noriega, 34, told police that he was heading towards Libertad village around 8:40 pm when as he passed through San Joaquin village, Rodriguez made a U-turn across the highway and into the path of the oncoming pickup truck. A collision could not be avoided and Rodriguez sustained serious head injuries. Rodriguez died on the spot. Damage to the pickup truck includes dented bonnet and right front fender, broken headlamp and shattered windshield. Luis Noriega, a resident of San Joaquin village has been detained by Corozal police pending a charge of manslaughter by negligence.

Vehicle crash on the Phillip Goldson Highway
Four people lost their lives in a single vehicle crash on the Phillip Goldson Highway on Christmas Day. The victims have been identified as Hector Gongora, 22; Henry Reyes, 20; Dulce Cobb, 17 and Shakir Monima, 23. The four were traveling in a pickup truck, being driven by Gongora, when the crash occurred around 4:30 pm on Christmas Day. Gongora, according to police reports, lost control of the vehicle between miles 7 and 8 on the Phillip Goldson Highway, ran off the road and crashed into a tree. The four victims were extracted from the crashed pickup truck by personnel of the rescue team from the Phillip Goldson International Airport.

Dolphin show right off our seawall

The Adventures of a Simpler Life in Belize
I’m a small town girl. I grew up in the village of Mahomet, Illinois, and though I moved away, I’ve brought the love of simpler living with me. After becoming a dental hygienist—something I worked as for 33 years—I lived in the Florida Keys, before moving to the Bahamas. Both places were nice—but they didn’t offer that quiet, peaceful, simpler way of life and cheaper cost of living I was always looking for. So my husband Bob and I began to look further afield for such a lifestyle, including in Costa Rica and Panama. Then we came to Belize…and on that first visit we knew it was what we were looking for. It has the strong community feel you’d find in a small town. One of the first things I noticed when we came to Belize was the children—so happy with great smiles. The families are very close and children respect their elders and look after them. The Belizean people have a calming presence to them, so that you can’t help but be more relaxed. Plus they speak English, which makes making friends much easier. Walking down the street, strangers will greet you with hellos with a smile on their face and wish you a good day. And, if you ever need a helping hand, they’re there for you.

Belizeans and true friends of Belize (both at home and abroad), You are reminded of a new, alternative discussion forum, “BELIZE HARD TALK – THE TIPPING POINT (hosted by Paco Smith). Today, 27th December 2013, at 4:30 PM (Belize Time) tune in as we speak with our special guest, Mr. Patrick Rogers, to touch base with a member of one of the progressive political movements which is poised to make a substantive difference in Belize’s: system of governance, body politic and our overall approach to development. FYI, “BELIZE HARD TALK – THE TIPPING POINT” Is an effort to provide those who do not subscribe to the predominant PUPD paradigm, a medium through which to: communicate, discuss and analyse prevailing issues. The goal is to give those who otherwise don’t have unfettered access to traditional mass communication channels, an avenue through which to reach Belizeans both at home and abroad. ‘Hard Talk’ is indicative of the commitment to discuss issues that the politicos and party hacks of the PUDP are unwilling to touch. Meanwhile, ‘The Tipping Point’, is attributed to the text of a similar name, by renowned author Malcom Gladwell in which he defines the concept as, “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point…”.


Families Mourn Christmas Day Deaths
Christmas Day proved busy for Police in the Ladyville station as at around 4:30pm they were called out to an area between miles 7 and 8 on the Phillip Goldson Highway where they came across a red 4-door Isuzu pick-up truck with license plates BZ-C-43481 extensively damaged next to a tree off the left side of the highway (when traveling north from Belize City). Inside the vehicle were (4) four Hispanic persons; three males and a female. Investigations have revealed that 22-year-old, Hector Daniel Gongora, a Belizean student of the Lake Gardens area in Ladyville Village was driving the vehicle and upon reaching between miles 7 and 8, he lost control of the vehicle, ran off the road and collided into the tree. The three passengers in the vehicle have been identified as 20-year-old, Henry Gabourel Reyes, a Belizean messenger of Antelope Street Extenstion in Belize City who was seated next to the driver; 17-year-old, Dulce Yanira Cobb, a Belizean Student of Daly Street in Belize City who was seated behind the driver; 23-year-old, Shakir Shamir Monima, a Belizean messenger of Daly Street in Belize City who was seated next to Cobb. All persons traveling in the vehicle remained trapped and were seen motionless suffering from multiple head and body injuries. They were removed by personnel from the Phillip Goldson Airport Rescue Team and were pronounced dead at 5:45pm.


A Christmas Miracle and Picasso inspired art
Our friend Lois did a great job of not loosing her composure when her iPhone was last traced to being on a golf cart that someone else was now driving. The word was put out and fingers were crossed it would some how comeback asap. A couple of days later, Stephanie at Pirates Pizza found the phone which had fallen out of Lois’s back pocket and slipped between the seats. We all agreed it was a miraculous that the phone did not get bounced off or taken. In addition to our ‘Christmas Miracle’ there has been a twist of fate in a few peoples lives. It all started out with my annual chore of getting the gifts together for the Sad Bastards steal a present game. I decided to set my size limit on the first present by recycling one of the cute colorful Christmas bags Mary had given us with yummy treats inside. The present came easy in the form of a $75 Casa Picasso Gift Certificate that I procured from Jackie via facebook messenger. Since we needed a Tinker present too, I decided to try for one stop shopping at Wings the appliance section is always a good bet with their 25% off sale.

San Pedro Scoop: My Best of 2013 – Part Four & A Bit of Christmas
I’m no longer going to apologize for the endless quality this series is taking on. I’m just going to dive back into it. I hope everyone had a very very Merry Christmas. Mine took place at a beautiful beach front condo south of town… Sun,lobster & steak, really great friends that I’m lucky to have down here (as well as odd and awesome Christmas gifts – only here can you get a beach towel from your local poultry shop.) Quality Poultry, run by the Mennonites in Spanish Lookout, has a great slogan. Dis da fi wi chikin. Or This is the chicken for we! Our chicken…you get it. THEY NEED TO SELL T-SHIRTS! I finished off PART THREE flying back from Cancun to San Pedro with Tropic Air in mid-October. I don’t care what you say about Cancun…I have found many reasons to love it. Eight in fact.

Pizza Pocket done
Video recipe

The Belizean Diaspora
The diaspora represent the last bastion for Belize. However, like the rest of the Caribbean Belize remains hostile to its Diaspora and the misguided notion that any other citizens other than those of the commonwealth are suspect to questionable allegiance. Belize must think locally, but act globally. In this age of globalization the citizens as well as the corporations have difficulty in confining themselves to one country. The nations that refuse to comprehend this new phenomenon are condemned to remain backward, underdeveloped and marginal to the tide of progress and prosperity.

International Sources

On Jammed Jets, Sardines Turn on One Another
Flying coach can be a bruising experience these days. Rory Rowland said he was rudely rebuffed after he asked the person in front of him not to recline his seat on a red-eye flight. When he later got up to use the bathroom, and the other passenger had fallen asleep, “I hip-checked his seat like you wouldn’t believe,” Mr. Rowland, a speaker and consultant, said, then feigned innocence when the enraged passenger complained to a flight attendant. With air travelers increasingly feeling like packed sardines, flying has become a contact sport, nowhere more than over the reclined seat. Now, it is only getting worse, as airlines re-examine every millimeter of the cabin. Over the last two decades, the space between seats — hardly roomy before — has fallen about 10 percent, from 34 inches to somewhere between 30 and 32 inches. Today, some airlines are pushing it even further, leaving only a knee-crunching 28 inches. To gain a little more space, airlines are turning to a new generation of seats that use lighter materials and less padding, moving the magazine pocket above the tray table and even reducing or eliminating the recline in seats. Some are even reducing the number of galleys and bathrooms.

Failure to maintain highway network could cost Belize US$3.3bn
Failure to invest in the maintenance of Belize's road network could cost the country US$3.3bn.

2013: A Year of Lost Opportunities for Caribbean Countries
2013 was not a good year for any of the 14 independent member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) -– not even for three of the four commodity-exporting nations Belize, Guyana and Suriname, despite their economic growth. The fourth commodity-exporting country, Trinidad and Tobago, had no growth to speak-of. All the countries were beset by high unemployment; there was high debt in 10 of them; decline in inclusive economic growth in 11 of them; unsustainable fiscal deficits and widening trade deficits in goods and services in all of them; and foreign exchange losses in many of them. Additionally, bank lending and private spending tightened in 11 of them causing a contraction in the private sector to which all countries had been looking to lead economic recovery in the wake of cash-strapped governments being compelled to retreat as both investor and employer.

These Disturbingly Creative Snowmen Would Make Calvin And Hobbes Proud
Bill Watterson's classic comic strip always took an extra sharp turn for the weird around the season's first snowfall. And although there hasn't been a new "Calvin and Hobbes" printed in the last twenty or so years, Calvin's mischievous spirit has quite clearly lived on. Without further ado, here are some of the strangest snowmen to grace the cold, white earth.

Christmas Deluge Brings Disaster to Eastern Caribbean
Colleen James arrived in St. Vincent and the Grenadines from Canada two days before Christmas hoping to enjoy the holiday season with her family. Now she's getting ready to bury her two-year-old daughter and 18-year-old sister. "I never do nothing wrong. I always do good," a dazed James told IPS as she looked out across the flood damage occasioned by a slow-moving low-level trough that brought torrential rains, death and destruction not only to St. Vincent and the Grenadines but St. Lucia and Dominica.3 Disaster officials have so far recovered nine bodies and the search continues for three more people reported missing and feared dead. In St. Lucia, five people were killed, including Calvin Stanley Louis, a police officer who died after a wall fell on him as he tried to assist people who had become stranded by the floods. The trough system resulted in 171.1 mm of rainfall within a 24-hour period ending at 8.50 a.m. on Dec. 25.

By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez In the 60s Belize was said to be richer than Kuwait I’m trying to get the record straight Mexico and Guatemala are Belize’s beneficiaries It is we who have been building their economies We have light sweet crude Our leaders should be sued There was a time when Belize extended deep North and south Of its boarder as a matter of fact Henry Fearweather Surveyed the Chetumal border Well I vex Why didn’t our government make an agreement with Pemex Or was that so complex? Mexico is the fifth largest oil producer Located not too far from our border Wouldn’t life have been much easier? If we could pay five dollars a gallon for fuel like our neighbour Belize was the region’s leader Until Uncle Sam became the puppet master Bring Central Banks to the Diaspora Controlling our leaders and tell us how, when and where to spend our dollars

December 26, 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

San Pedro Town Council brings Christmas Cheers to the children of San Pedro
The San Pedro Town Council, led by Mayor Daniel Guerrero, was busy on Friday afternoon December 20th, giving out gifts to the children of San Pedro Town. Joining the mayor on his Christmas ‘sleigh’ were elves (councilors) Kenrick Brackett and Wally Nuñez as well as members of the San Pedro Traffic Department and a few other volunteers. Santa (Mayor Guerrero) first directed his reindeer to San Mateo where over 500 gifts were distributed to the children in the area. There were gifts for boys and girls of all ages: from the small babes in arms as well as young teenagers. The happy children smiled as they each got a gift courtesy of the San Pedro Town Council.

Sweet Pain rocks the palapa at Fido’s
Fido’s Courtyard was the place to be on Saturday December 21st, as fans from all over the island gathered to attend the Pre Christmas Cultural Concert. For a cover charge of $20, fans got to enjoy a night filled with live punta music, from Dangriga’s Sweet Pain Band, whose performance was their debut show in San Pedro Town. The band played right into the wee hours of the morning, as the crowd danced the night away. And of course there was no shortage of drinks as the Fido’s bar kept the drinks coming all night long. Congratulations to Fido’s for hosting yet another great show and to Sweet Pain Band for delivering a night filled with great music.

DFC brings Christmas to the children of San Mateo
The Development Finance Corporation (DFC) hosted a day filled with treats and presents for the children of San Mateo and neighboring communities on Saturday December 21st. Over 200 presents were distributed to the kids who gathered at the grounds of the Paradise Movie Theatre. In addition to presents the children also received cupcakes, nachos, refreshments and a picture with Santa Claus himself. Kudos to DFC for your generous Christmas spirit this holiday season.

San Pedro Lions and Leos spread more Christmas Cheer
With the Christmas holidays in full swing, the San Pedro Lions and Leos Club were out in San Pedro Town on Sunday, December 22nd spreading some Christmas cheer with their annual Christmas Caroling. The caroling started at Boca del Rio Park, and as the carolers made their way through Laguna Drive heading to the town core, children ran up to them. Of course the Lions did not come empty handed, and they handed out sweets and apples to the crowd. Isn’t Christmas Caroling without some music however, and Rompe Raja was present, bringing classic Christmas carols to life with an island twist. All the families of the area were happy to share the Christmas spirit and even joined along in the merry parade.

Ambergris Today

Pic of the Week: Santa Claus Caught Vacationing in Belize
After the long night's work of spreading the joy of Christmas around the world, Santa decided to take a well deserved vacation in Belize. As seen in these pictures, Santa was spotted sinking his feet in the sandy beaches, fishing and cruising by the lagoon side. The Staff of Ambergris Today wishes everybody a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Misc Belizean Sources

Merry Christmas and may God bless Belize
There are times when words are just not enough to convey the warms and gratitude one feels. Christmas is one of those times. But as I am thankful for to God for giving me life to celebrate another season where we reflect on the birht of Christ, I also give Him thanks for all my family and friends who help to keep me firmly grounded. So from me to each and every one of you: MERRY CHRISTMAS.


“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
It’s Christmas Day morning so what am I doing here on the first floor, lagoon facing (western side) veranda ? Writing this Christmas Day edition of the blog that’s what! Told you I can get a bit OCD didn’t I. I will let you know what yesterday held for Rose and I (if you are interested) but first I just want to say “Have yourself a merry little Christmas ” (OK that’s the song title for the headline out of the way!). I mentioned in yesterday’s edition that I got an early – and most welcome- Christmas present that arrived in the post. Well yesterday Rose and I got some more early presents when Ofel Flota turned up at the house around 10.00 hours with Moses and Pablo. And our bed. And our night stands. And (yes there was more) our curtain rods. None of them were wrapped but who cared! But it got better than the stuff just being delivered because Moses and Pablo assembled the furniture and fitted the curtain rods ( I now know what Rose is going to be doing after Christmas. Making the curtains!).

International Sources

Very Stormy Weather For The Lesser Antilles Will Spread Into The Western Caribbean On Friday & The Gulf Of Mexico On Saturday
I received some weather reports from the island of Saint Lucia that there was some very stormy weather there last night. This severe weather, which is also impacting much of the Lesser Antilles this morning, is associated with a broad trough of low pressure. This trough of low pressure is forecast to track westward reaching the western Caribbean by about Friday. Now, the part of the trough that reaches the western Caribbean on Friday is forecast to help to spawn the development of a low pressure system in the central Gulf of Mexico on Saturday. This interaction and morphing of the trough of low pressure in the western Caribbean to a low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico will lead to heavy rainfall with squalls of strong winds from Jamaica to the Cayman Islands and the Yucatan Peninsula from late Thursday into Friday. Given that the actual weather associated with this trough of low pressure is more severe than what the forecast guidance are showing, it is very prudent to keep close tabs on it and be aware that its impacts could be stronger than what I have written above & it is something that I am aware of and am keeping close tabs with.

State Department warns travelers about dangers of visiting Honduras
The State Department on Tuesday cautioned travelers about the risks of visiting Honduras, known as the “murder capital of the world,” saying that killings of Americans are frequent and almost never solved. In a travel warning, the department said American expatriates experience similar levels of crime as other population groups. Police forces are unable to keep up and have solved only two of the 50 killings of Americans since 2008, U.S. officials said. Honduras has had the highest murder rate in the world since 2010, and levels of violence and crime remain "critically high," the warning said. Though the Honduran government is trying to improve the criminal justice system, the effort remains at an early stage. Drug cartels operate freely, U.S. officials said, but there are also other groups that commit crimes such as killings, kidnappings, extortion, carjackings, armed robberies, rapes and other aggravated assaults. Expatriates, as well as locals, are targeted for kidnapping, and large ransoms are sometimes required for their release, the warning said. Four kidnappings have been reported to the U.S. Embassy in the last two years, but numerous other cases go unreported, it said. The warning urges travelers not to walk alone on beaches, trails or at historic ruins, and not to travel at night. It also cautions against wearing jewelry or displaying cash, credit cards and other valuables.

These Beautiful Water Landscapes Will Totally Take Your Breath Away
There’s no doubt that water is essential. We drink it. We swim in it. We’re even made up of it. But sometimes, we should stop and appreciate the sheer beauty of it. If you’re yearning for that feeling of serenity, the peaceful moment amidst the craziness of the world, these fifteen water landscapes will undoubtedly take your breath away and then, maybe, just maybe, reawaken your wanderlust: Great Blue Hole The Great Blue Hole is an underwater sinkhole, or cave, in Lighthouse Reef, Belize. It was a vertical cave above ground during the past ice ages, but with time, the rising ocean levels flooded the 400 feet deep cave.

What Is Boxing Day?
While most Americans are left recovering from Christmas festivities on Dec. 26, the British and Commonwealth countries continue to relish the holiday season. Boxing Day or the day-after-Christmas holiday is a national holiday in the UK where families eat leftovers or head to the stores to nab the latest deals, much like Black Friday. Why is it called Boxing Day? The exact origins of the holiday are a bit muddled. Some say the name of the holiday comes from “Christmas Box,” the name for a Christmas gift. One tradition in particular describes how the British aristocracy would give presents (and a day off) to servants and employees as a sign of gratitude for their help working on Christmas day. Others point to the charity boxes placed outside of churches to collect money for the poor. Priests also placed Christmas boxes on ships. Crewmen would drop money in it to ensure a safe return. If the ship returned safely, the money would be distributed to the poor.

December 25, 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

Robbery at W&W Convenience Store result in one killed
On Saturday, December 21st at around 8PM, San Pedro Police responded to a distress call from Wei Ran Chen, 44-year-old owner of W&W Convenience Store located in the DFC area of San Pedro Town. According to reports from Chen, at 7:30PM two male persons wearing masks entered his store and demanded money. One person was armed with a handgun while the other person carried no arms. The armed assailant pointed the gun at Chen wife’s, Wei Qing Zhu, while the other person jumped behind the counter to search in their cash drawer. Witnessing the events was Chen’s son, Jun Chen, who quickly alerted his father of what was occurring at the front of the shop. Chen took out his licensed 9mm Luger pistol and fired several shots at the direction of the robbers, who were still inside the store. The armed robber responded firing shots towards the Chen family. The assailants fired about four to five rounds then fled the store. Police arrived at the crime scene at around 8:30PM to further investigate the incident, canvassing the area for signs of the two robbers. Upon searching south of the store’s location, police found the body of a Creole male lying on the ground with his face covered with a brown shirt. Upon closer inspection it was noted that the man had suffered of a single gunshot wound to the left side of the chest.

$2.23 million to be spent in Christmas Cheer Program, BRS to get $90,000
The Government of Belize has approved a disbursement of $2.23 million be used as part of the second annual Christmas Cheer Program. This was confirmed by the Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow following an email that was leaked from the Ministry of Finance. Barrow explained that the decision came as a way to help the neediest people during the Christmas season. In the email sent out by the Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Joseph Waight, to the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry Human Development, it indicated that 31 duly elected members of parliament and 14 political officers have been allocated various sums of money as part of the program. The email outlined that 17 United Democratic Party (UDP) elected members of parliament will receive $90,000 while the remaining 14 People’s United Party (PUP) elected parliamentarians have been offered $25,000. In the electoral divisions where there are PUP elected representatives, the government will channel $25,000 through their UDP caretakers.Government bring Christmas cheer-3

It’s a play about a play by The Island Academy, starring…SANTA!!
The annual Island Academy Christmas Pageant is quite the production, bringing music, acting, props and laughs to the stage to usher in the Christmas season for those in attendance. After the younger classes sang various Christmas songs onstage – much to the delight of the audience, it was time for the 2013 show. Once again, The Island Academy scholars showcased fine acting skills and excellent discipline as actors…ahem…we mean students…told the tale of the making of a Santa movie. Riffing on such famous directors like Sergio Leone, Cecil B. Demille, Steven Spielberg, Alfred Hitchcock, Ron Howard, and more, the play brought to life a variety of stories of Santa. There was the EPIC grand production – give me more!!! Make it EPIC – with MORE music, MORE drama, MORE acting! The film noir version had Santa singing the blues as he carried his overloaded sack all over the world, trying to make all the girls and boys happy with their presents (a PONY! A baby grand piano!…). Or should the story have been about a Superhero Santa? Throw in a villain (mua-ha-ha-ha), a damsel in distress (shrieking for help…fainting very prettily…) and of course, make Santa the superhero who rescues the damsel just before the train runs her over (because of course the villain ties her to the train-tracks).

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Businesses Hold 2013 Christmas Raffles
It is that time of the year when San Pedro Businesses give thanks to all its customers and give back with much appreciation by holding the very best raffles of the year. Kick starting the giveaways this Christmas Season was Castillo’s Do It Best Hardware holding their raffle on Friday, December 20, 2013. Below are the lucky winners of the Castillo’s Hardware, Caribeña Fuels, Captain Sharks and Coral Cable Vision:

San Pedro Town Council’s Christmas Giveaway
We all know that Christmas is the season of sharing, caring and giving. With this in mind, the San Pedro Town Council always has the children of our community at heart and organizes a Christmas Toy Drive every year so as to brighten up the Christmas Season of the less fortunate. What was supposed to be a day of tagging along with the San Pedro Town Council and taking pictures of the toy-give-away turned out to be a day of helping out Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Town Councilors and staff members deliver gifts. The San Pedro Town Council gave out toys to children in San Mateo, San Pedrito and D.F.C. areas as part of their Christmas Toy Drive. It was a pleasure helping them out. The children were very excited to receive gifts such as Barbie dolls, stuffed toys, puzzles, hand bags, clothing, story books, coloring books, action figures. Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the San Pedro Town Council would like to thank those who contributed toys for the Toy Drive and made it a success!

Misc Belizean Sources

September 2013 CPI and the December 2013 Latest Economic Statistics
Belize’s economy expanded by 0.3 percent in July through September of this year, when compared to the same period of 2012. This put the cumulative economic growth for the first nine months of this year at 0.4 percent. The strongest performer was Electricity and Water, which rebounded by 20 percent after four consecutive quarters of double-digit decline. The Hotels and Restaurants sector also grew by more than 7 percent due to an increase in both overnight tourists and cruise arrivals. Declining agriculture and oil production, on the other hand, had a dampening effect on the overall level of growth

VIDEO: Good Maaning Miss Lady
Belizean Christmas Carol, Familia Cruz

Belizean Brukdown style music "DRINK A RUM ON CHRISTMAS MAANING" original by Lord Kitchiner, is now sweetened all over again by: Martha Weatherburn from the southern part of Belize in 'Punta Gorda', Produced by: Patrick Barrow (Caye Records).

Prime Minister of Belize Hon. Dean Barrow's 2013 Christmas Message
Click on the link to listen to the Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow and his family's Christmas message.

Channel 7

Cayo Man Killed In Front Of Wife, Children, Grandchildren
Like almost everyone else, 56 year old Cayo Resident Freddy Lopez Sr. was preparing for Christmas – which also would have been his birthday – but now his family is preparing for his funeral.

Young Cyclist Knocked Down By Bus, Seriously Injured
Tonight a 22 year old cyclist is in dire condition at the KHMH after he was knocked down by a bus this morning.

George Hyde Arraigned For Canadian Murder
Today, 34 year old George Hyde was arraigned for the murder of 68 year old Canadian Keith Haslam Dawson. As we reported last night, he was charged close to 7:00 pm after the DPP reviewed his confession and told police to proceed with murder charges.

Salvadoreans Got A One Grand Shake Down
A group of four Salvadorians who were heading home for Christmas had the worst experience as they left Belize yesterday. Reports are sketchy at this time, but police have confirmed that there is an investigation into an alleged police shakedown.

Does GSU Want Darrell Henry In Jail For Xmas?
Darrell Henry’s family had hoped he would be out of jail in time for Christmas after he was brought up on what they believed are bogus charges. But, the police have been pressing hard to keep him locked up, and now, the 33 year old Belize City resident will spend Christmas and New Years behind bars.

Flowers Gets Christmas In Jail
So, while that situation with Henry is still developing, 38 year-old Kevin Flowers is currently at the Prison for similar firearm charges.

Brother: Victoria Bol Didn’t Have To Die, WRH Had No Ambulance
Last night we told you about the accident which claimed the life of 42 year old Independence Village resident Victoria Bol. On Saturday morning she was in a GMC pickup when the vehicle she was in collided with an unmarked police van. But beside being another saddening statistic, she’s also the mother of five – her two youngest still in high school.

Man Was Only Grazed On Seco Street
One man has been detained for the city shooting we told you about last night. 30 year old mechanic Denton Flowers was shot to the right leg above the knee just before 6:00 pm. He told police that he was on a bicycle leaving his home at the corner of Peter Seco and Consuelo streets when a man wearing a red shirt pulled up, pointed a firearm at him and fired a single shot. Police found one nine millimeter GFL luger expended shell in the area.

Ministerial Zap!: Zetina Gets Spared Police Charges
But our next story is about suspect who didn’t get charged. Well, he kinda did, since a charge sheet was made out, but it seems Belmopan Resident Anwar Zetina has friends in high places so the charge was drawn up at the station never went to court.

Teacher Takes Home Brand New Hilux
In a few days, a literature teacher at EP Yorke High School will be driving around a 2014 Toyota Hilux. But, don't be suspicious because Samuel Nicholson didn't buy the luxury pickup, he won it! Nicholson is the winner of the Rotary Raffle which was drawn last night. Tickets were sold for a hundred dollars each and only a thousand were issued. And while it seemed like a worthwhile gamble to some, Nicholson is the most unassuming winner. He paid the draw no mind and was at the barber shop getting a trim when he heard the good news:... He isn't in possession of the pickup yet because, Rotary is waiting for the customs exemption letter and then will transfer the vehicle over to Nicholson.

Salvadorean Shakedown Update
In our story that we ran just now regarding the alleged extortion of a group of border bound Salvadorians, acting commissioner of police Mike Segura did call us to explain that the Salvadorian Ambassador called him to complain. He said he explained that one of the group who isa permanent resident in Beliuze should come forward and give an official report - because the others have gone on to Guatemala. He says he does not know who had up an operation in black polciue uniforms in Succotz. He says until a complaint is made form someone in Belise nothing can be done.

The Reason For The Season Trumps Commercialization of Christmas
Yesterday we showed you how shoppers were doing in downtown Belize City. And while that last minute shopping is still going on at this hour, tomorrow, it should all be forgotten as the crass commercialization of Christmas makes way for the real reason for the season. There's always that tension between the commercial and Christian considerations of Christmas, but the shoppers were spoke to were able to keep it in perspective just fine:

Channel 5

Cayo resident is killed overnight in Kontiki Area of San Ignacio
San Ignacio Police have launched a intense manhunt for two men in connection with a murder in the Kontiki Area on Monday night. Fifty-six-year-old Fredy Lopez Sr. was gunned down [...]

George Hyde charged for the murder of retired Canadian national
Canadian Keith Haslam was murdered on Friday, his decomposed body found early Sunday morning on a farm outside Buena Vista in the Cayo District. The man who led San Ignacio [...]

Cyclist, Geon Hanson, is knocked down while training on the George Price Highway
Well-known Belizean cyclist Geon Hanson remains in critical condition tonight after being knocked down by a commuter bus along the George Price Highway this morning.  Hanson, who was on routine [...]

Was there no ambulance in Belmopan to assist accident victims?
In Monday’s newscast, we told you about a road traffic accident on the Hummingbird Highway that claimed the life of Victoria Bol. The forty-two year old resident of Silk Grass [...]

2013-2014 sugarcane crop season remains in jeopardy
Tonight the 2013-2014 sugarcane crop season appears to be in real jeopardy. Both the B.S.I. and the BSCFA have returned to the discussion table, thanks to intervention by government, but [...]

Delta’s inaugural non-stop flight to Belize
For the first time ever there is a red-eye flight to the Jewel and it comes courtesy of Delta Airlines, after much planning and meetings between the airline company and [...]

BelAm spreads Christmas joy in Belize River Valley
Every year Belizean-American Verna Clement returns home at Christmas time to spread some love among the children of the Belize River Valley, hosting a day-long Christmas event. She was born [...]

Belizean shoppers spread Christmas spirit to their loved ones
Christmas is a time for giving and sharing and around the country, as well as in downtown Belize City, families are doing their last minute shopping and preparations for the [...]


Police Offers Award for Fugitive
The Orange Walk Police Department is offering a thousand dollars for information leading to the arrest of Oscar Hernandez-Perez of Trail Farm Village in Orange Walk. Hernandez-Perez is accused of injured WPC Marilyn Pate with a machete. Pate was chopped several times when she was accompanied by other officers from the Human Development department who were investigating a sexual abuse case. Police report that both officers and Pate waited outside the house for Hernandez – Perez to get dress when suddenly Hernandez came running from behind the house wielding a machete, attacked WPC Pate inflicting several chop wounds on her body, two to her head. Oscar Hernandez – Perez fled the scene and police is asking for your assistance to locate him by calling 911, the nearest police station or Crime Stoppers Belize at 922-TIPS.

Shooting in Old Capital
A 30 year old man was shot yesterday evening. Police say that it happened on Consuela Street in Belize City. Police visited the area where they observed Denton Flowers suffering from a gunshot wound to the right leg. Police investigated and found that Flowers was leaving his home on bicycle when he was approached by a dark complexioned man described as medium built, wearing a red shirt, who pointed a firearm in his direction and fired a single shot causing the injury. Police found one nine mm GFL lugar expended shell in the area. Denton Flowers was admitted at the K. H. M. H in stable condition. Police have since detained one man and are seeking another who they believe can assist in their investigation

Dr. Jones Gives Advice on How to Cope with Flu Season
The flu season is definitely upon us as the number of cases of persons coming down with the symptoms has increased significantly. Additionally, there has also been a rise in persons seeking medical help for asthmatic crises.Today, Love News spoke to Dr. Carl Jones of Matron Robert’s Health Center who advised us that it is important to get a flu shot, and the best time to get that done is during the summer as the Flu season normally runs from August through to the end of the year. However, while that is the best case scenario, patients can still go in and get their flu shots. The exception are those who are already showing symptoms of the flu since taking a vaccination while already sick with the flu may increase the severity of the illness.According to Jones preventative methods should be employed, such as covering your mouth when coughing, washing your hands frequently and using hand sanitizer no more than five times before washing your hands. If you work in an air-conditioned environment be considerate of your co-workers and avoid constantly coughing and sneezing which will cause the virus to circulate. Jones also advised that patients refrain from treating the flu with antibiotics as it is caused by a virus and not bacteria. Antibiotics should only be used if there are complications caused by bacteria, which is uncommon.With regards to the rise in asthma,patients need to be aware of their environment and avoid allergens such as dust and mold. Furthermore, parents of asthmatic children should take them to the doctor as soon as they get a cold to avoid further complications. Both the Matron Roberts Health Center and the Cleopatra White Health Center are open daily, weekdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Man Arraigned for Murder of Canadian National in Cayo
34 year old George Hyde was arraigned this morning for the murder of Canadian national Keith Haslam Dawson. The decomposing body of the 68 year old was found on Sunday at a farm land, some 5 miles east of Buena Vista Village. Dawson suffered multiple chop wounds to the back of his head and a fatal chop wound across his windpipe. According to Police, it was Hyde, who after confessing to killing Dawson, led authorities to the area where Dawson’s body was dumped. It is believed that Hyde was allegedly having an affair with Dawson’s wife and murdered Dawson in a fit of jealous rage. As we reported, up until the wee hours of Friday morning, the deceased, his wife, the accused and his brother were drinking at Hyde’s brother’s home. The brother says that he went to sleep at about midnight and when he woke up, noticed the trio was missing and immediately contacted the Police. Police thereafter apprehended George Hyde. And even though Hyde reportedly confessed on Sunday to chopping Dawson, he wasn’t arraigned until today. Deputy Commander of San Ignacio, Inspector Reymundo Reyes, explained that the department was awaiting directive from the DPP.

Elderly Man Gunned Down in Front of his Family
A family in San Ignacio is grieving on this Christmas Eve. That’s because last night an elderly man from San Ignacio, Cayo, lost his life in an attempt to protect his family against two assailants whose prime motive appeared to be robbery. 56 year old Fredy Lopez Sr. of Pond Avenue, San Ignacio was in the Kontiki area at around 9:30 pm walking with some relatives who were in the process of transporting tamales for sale. Upon reaching the vicinity of Arms of Love Primary School, they were approached from behind by two masked men. We travelled to the Kontiki Area where the incident took place. There we met up with Inspector Reymundo Reyes, Deputy officer Commanding the San Ignacio Police. He gave us the details. Insp. Reymundo Reyes- Deputy Commander of the San Ignacio Police “They were approached from behind by two male persons wearing rags over their faces. One of the male persons held the wife of Mr. Freddy Lopez and demanded for them to hand over what they had. As a result, at that same period of time, the gentleman bent over to pick up a piece of stone and that is when he was shot on the right side of his chest and the bullet exited on his lower back”.

Cyclist Fighting for Life After being Hit Down by a Bus
Tonight, the family of a promising young cyclist and scholar is asking the nation to join them in prayer for the recovery of their loved one, who was knocked down this morning. 22 year young Geon Hanson was training for the upcoming Krem Classic cycling competition around 5:30 a.m. on the George Price Highway in St. Matthews Village, when a bus travelling in the same direction hit him down. Hanson was later transported to the Western Regional Hospital in an unconscious state, suffering from internal bleeding and a collapsed lung. He underwent emergency surgery to remove his spleen and afterward was transported to the KHMH. We spoke with Assistant Superintendent of Police, Sinquest Martinez this afternoon who outlined what Police have gathered so far. Sinquest Martinez- Commander of the Belmopan Police Formation “So far to us was that J & J passenger bus that was traveling towards from Belize City, hit the cyclist from behind, but claim to say that there was an incoming vehicle with a high beam, and by the time he saw the cyclist, he tried to avoid, he went to the left hand side up… to the extreme left, but the right hand side of the bus hit the cyclist unfortunately. He was transported to the Belmopan Hospital in a critical condition. After which the driver was detained, we continued to investigate the matter because there some of our police officers in the bus that assisted likewise. So, we continued to record statements. The vehicle has been inspected by the motor vehicle inspector, we have served an NIP on the driver of the bus”.


Chaa Creek Announces New Changes for 2014
The Lodge at Chaa Creek owners, Mick and Lucy Fleming have just announced that new offerings, tours and initiatives at the popular Belizean eco resort will make 2014 “one of the best years to discover or rediscover Belize.” The Flemings, who transformed their family farm into Belize’s first eco-resort in 1981, the year Belize became independent from Great Britain, said the resort’s development has been one of steady growth characterised by evolutionary leaps. “And 2014 promises to be one of those leaps,” Lucy Fleming, who is also Chaa Creek’s general manager, said. “After all the attention Belize and the entire Mundo Maya, or Maya region, experienced in 2012, 2013 flew by as a year of concentrating on other niches and specific offerings, such as our family, inland adventure and rainforest-to-reef all inclusive Belize vacation packages. “And throughout the year we developed new offerings and went into a phase of creative development and looking at new things while enhancing our exciting infrastructure and offerings. And now, with some add-ons to our existing packages and attractions, as well as new offerings and having taken on new staff members that enhance our skills base, we’re looking forward to an exciting 2014,” Ms Fleming said.

Gorgeous Weather, A Christmas Gift And A Bit More
It’s Christmas and New Year’s week in San Pedro, Belize – one of the busiest times of the year. The hotels, restaurants and tours are full, the town is lit and everyone (who is not working) seems to be at the beach. Yesterday was a gorgeous day so I took a walk south. The very pretty Victoria House. Someone was putting up lights on this new little gazebo. I’m imagining it make a beautiful wedding spot. Just south, this is pretty much all that is left of the old “Fido’s South” or Sandbar Restaurant & Bar. I got home and received a call from Desiree at Maya Bags in Punta Gorda. The bag, that I had custom ordered about a week ago, was here. It’s here! My Christmas gift to myself (that I’ve secretly and not so secretly wanted for about a year.) I hightailed it over to Tropic Air cargo and TORE IT OPEN and squealed like a 8 year old.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Joyous Celebrations to Everyone
No matter where you are, how you celebrate and what you believe in, we hope you share in our wish for Peace on Earth, and Goodwill to all Humankind And wish all of you the best during this holiday season. The Fleming family and all of us here at Chaa Creek

“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” -San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Well in today’s edition I bring things virtually up-to-date. I ‘say’ virtually because although I am covering some of what Rose and I experienced yesterday I am not covering everything. As journalist, picture editor, sub-editor, editor, editor-in-chief and the publisher I have total say so over what goes in to an edition. Don’t worry though, I’m not morphing in to some kind of second league Citizen Kane, it’s more a case of holding a little back in case I run out of things to write about. Sort of building up a library. In the last edition I told you that Ofel Flota‘s guys had started work on the fence that we are going to have around the lot that our house ‘sits’ on. Before I bring you up-to-date on this work though I have got (I know I don’t have to but … I want to) to let you know just how much better my ‘me time’ is first thing in the morning. Since the container arrived I’ve had my own chair to sit in (or is it ‘sit on’? – never quite sure). It’s made my mug of black coffee and iPad time so much more enjoyable. No more having to carry one of the only two chairs that we had for our first nine weeks (quite uncomfortable chairs actually) out on to the veranda.

Top Ten Considerations for Bringing a Dog into Belize
If you are importing a dog from the US into Belize, you will need to have all the proper paperwork both for the airline and for BAHA (Belize Agricultural Health Authority). (Refer to point #3 for BAHA requirements). To avoid a 30 day quarantine, you will need to have the USDA APHIS Form 7001 filled out within 7 days of departure by a USDA certified veterinarian who is licensed in your state (find one near you). FED EX overnight the Form 7001 with a check (the fee for stamping/endorsement varies by the number of animals traveling and by the number of tests required for the health certificate. You should contact the APHIS VS Area Office in your state for more information- I think I paid $37 for each dog in 2012) to your states’ USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) AVIC (there is probably only one office in the state for the Area Veterinarian in Charge) with a prepaid return FED EX overnight envelope for them to return the endorsed form back to you. Then pray that the endorsement gets back to you before your flight!

Happy Holidays from Ka’ana!
From our family to yours, we wish you the happiest of holiday seasons. Whether you’re spending your holiday in the tropics or on the slopes, we hope it’s filled with warm smiles, quality time with loved ones, and lots and lots of delicious food! Happy holidays everyone!

A Christmas Story
Every year during the Christmas Season, Atlantic International Bank Limited, chooses an organization or a charity to contribute to, in an effort to give back to the community. Every year business establishments would give to the children of Belize and often times the elderly are forgotten. This year we chose a nursing home in San Ignacio Cayo called Octavia Waight Centre to bring back a little Christmas joy to the elderly. This is our christmas story about our visit to the nursing home. On Wednesday, December 18, 2013 we visited 28 residents of the Octavia Waight Centre. The staff and the residents were very welcoming. We met with each and every one of the residents of the Centre one at a time. While visiting with them, many of the residents spoke about their likes, dislikes, the careers that they once had. They shared with us their hobbies, their life stories and even told us their amazing christmas story.

International Sources

21 Christmas Songs You Should Listen To Right Now
Here's our Christmas gift to you: 21 of the best holiday songs ever recorded. Add your own favorites in the comments section below, and enjoy!

Sharks, Marine Mammals Hang in Paradise: Photos
Recent aerial surveys of Turneffe Atoll and the Belizean coastline have documented a record number of Antillean manatees: 507. To put that in context, the global adult population of this endangered subspecies is estimated to be less than 2,500 and declining. The region is teeming with other marine life as well. “Several marine mammal species occur in Belizean waters, including small cetaceans, like bottlenose dolphins, and whales, like humpbacks,” Birgit Winning, president of the Oceanic Society, told Discovery News. She explained that this area is the focus of her organization’s long-term marine research and conservation efforts. Turneffe is the largest and most biologically diverse coral atoll in the Western Hemisphere.

Belize urged to punish human traffickers and assist victims
An independent United Nations human rights expert has called on the Government of Belize to adopt a comprehensive programme to protect and assist victims of trafficking and to ensure that the perpetrators of this scourge are punished. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Friday said Belize is “a country of destination, transit and, to a limited degree, of origin, where human trafficking disproportionately affects women who are mainly trafficked for sexual exploitation – particularly women from the neighbouring countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.” Wrapping up her official visit to Belize, UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, said Belize should avoid a “repressive” immigration policy that compounds the problem of human trafficking and undermines efforts at combating and preventing the phenomenon and providing holistic assistance to the victims.

Monsters Inside Me (Animal Planet)
She's not entirely sure, but her best guess is that the problems started when she was traveling in Belize and was bitten in the scalp by a mosquito. Botflies reproduce parasitically via mosquitoes, which carry the teeny larvae on their abdomens that then fall off onto whatever organisms the mosquitoes bite, and burrow their way into those organisms, sometimes through the mosquito bite holes. So what happened was, when she got these mosquito bites, two botfly larvae burrowed into the holes and started living in her head. What's the Grossest Thing We See? Since the couple have quit their jobs to travel, they don't have health insurance, and decide to try a home remedy they've read about online: Tara's husband Andy smears the bites with Vaseline. The larvae are then forced out of their home in Tara's head so they won't suffocate, whereupon Andy has to pull them out, verrrrrrrry carefully...

Ambergris Caye, Belize
When we were offered 2 weeks free accomodation on this beautiful island surrounded by Caribbean waters we could not resist. We had heard so much about Ambergris Caye and were super excited to be visiting. With only a small town and minimal food supplies there is not much to do, but soak in the sun in a state of permanent relaxation. Anything there is to do we tried to do, so enjoy!

December 24, 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

Boca del Rio Park inaugurated with a Day of Sports
On Sunday, December 15th, the Boca del Rio Park was officially inaugurated with a full day of sporting activities. The sports day was organized the newly formed San Pedro Sports Committee (SPSC) along with the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) and Canary Coves Resort. Events included a cycling race, basketball marathon and a five-a-side football marathon. It certainly was a family friendly environment, and the perfect way to celebrate the newly inaugurated park. The cycling race was divided into two categories, juvenile and juniors. And like always aspiring young athletes were eager to test their cycling abilities. In the juvenile category, 16-year-old Deandre Vasquez made an early lead in the race, winning him his first ever cycling race. But the real competition was between 17-year-old, Byron Lara and 18-year-old, Brandon Santos as they raced in the junior division. In the end it was Lara who won first place, leaving Santos to settle for second place.

Fatima Arceo featured in 2014 Inspiration Calendar
San Pedro’s very own miracle child, Fatima Arceo is one of the eight young Belizeans who are being featured in the 2014 Inspiration Calendar and Agenda. The Inspiration Calendar and Agenda was developed four years ago by the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis Barrow. The calendar showcases artwork by the children with special needs. The purpose of the calendar is to raise awareness on the various disabilities faced by Belizean children, while also advocating for the need to stop stigma and discrimination towards children living with disabilities. The calendar was launched on Friday, December 14th by the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children. The art pieces used in the calendar was obtained through a special program organized by Care Belize and Special Olympics Belize. A biography of each child was also submitted along with the artwork. During the event, a check for $29,000 from the proceeds of the 2013 Inspiration Calendar sales was handed over to Barrow by McNab Designs, the printers of the calendar.

It’s a busy holiday season for The San Pedro Red Cross
On Saturday December 14th, The San Pedro Red Cross held a Christmas Bake Sale at Roadkill Bar on Coconut Drive. The sale featured tasty treats from some of the island’s best bakers and was held from 11AM to 2PM. Islanders had the chance to satisfy their sweet tooth while they contributed to a “sweet” cause, as the proceeds raised went towards funding the training of San Pedro High School teachers in First-Aid. The San Pedro Red Cross Branch was able to find sponsors for all 30 teachers before the sale. During the fundraiser sale, a check was presented on behalf of Mark and Brooke Maggiotto, who generously sponsored 19 of the teachers. Among those that came out to support the Red Cross sale were: Coco Loco’s Beach Bar, Casa Picasso, The San Pedro Lions Club, Sherry (Lil Red), Edward D. Mulligan and Paul of Caye Coffee, who also donated $5 to every bag that was sold. The San Pedro Red Cross Branch extends much gratitude to Wade and Kathy of Roadkill for hosting the event, and also to everyone else who contributed in making this fundraiser a success. Training for these teachers will take place on Friday, December 20th.

Students participate in Kids Meet Sharks Writing and Arts Competition
Over the past few years, the Wild Life Conservation Society has been spearheading the Gulf and Caribbean Sharks and Rays Program in various parts of the region including Belize. As part of the program, children have been one of the focus groups and in Belize they have been targeted through the Kids Meet Sharks program. Over the weekend, students that were involved in this year’s Kids Meet Sharks program had the opportunity to display their knowledge in a writing and art competition. The entries were judged on Saturday December 14th at the San Pedro Lions Den. The Kids Meet Sharks Project started in 2011after Dr Rachael Graham won a monetary award from the Whitley Fund for Nature. In keeping with her sharks and rays conservation effort, Graham embarked in the Kids meet Sharks project as part of the Gulf and Caribbean Sharks and Rays Program educational campaign. Through the program, students from various parts of Belize have had the unique opportunity to swim with sharks and rays and learn about them. The main purpose is to educate them about the importance of these species that are faced with diminished numbers due to increased fishing as a result of the relentless demand from the shark fin markets.

Congratulations Caribbean Christmas Colors winners 2013!
It was another joyful ride for The San Pedro Sun elves – er…staff – as they rode around San Pedro Town on Saturday, December 14th, for their 9th Annual Caribbean Christmas Colors Contest. Joining the merry ride and having the great honor to choose their favorite brightly lit homes were esteemed judges Jan Brown, Melanie Paz and Enrique de Leon. Children were surely happy to see the golf carts adorned with Christmas decorations driving past their streets, as the mini parade went along judging the festively decorated houses while handing out sweet treats in the spirit of holiday sharing. Santa Claus even joined the procession of carts for a moment while he was out checking to see who’s been naughty or nice. Although the rain and challenging roads tried to damped their holiday spirit,the gang still managed to tour through town core, neighboring areas and even ventured over the Boca del Rio Bridge for a short distance. The procession then ventured south, all the way to Escalante. Unfortunately some areas were impossible to reach due to street conditions because of the rain. Despite it all, nothing could stop the fun, which was certainly the sight of the festive houses, each uniquely decorated. The three judges certainly had a difficult task, as all the decorated houses had their own special Christmas touch. The hardest part of the night was choosing the lucky winners. Houses were judged on which portrayed the different categories best: Judges Choice/Best Overall, Best Theme, Most Creative,Jan Jensen Memorial Award, Neighborhood Star, Honorable Mention, Mrs. Claus’ Choice, Best Business, Business Honorable Mention and Editor’s Choice. After a brief deliberation by the judges, decisions were made and the choices were unanimous.

Ambergris Today

Tropic Air Assists Six Families with Christmas Food Drive
Tropic Air Belize Ltd. has been proudly serving the country of Belize since 1979 and is dedicated to the highest quality of customer service. This year in the spirit of goodwill and giving, Tropic Air decided to give back to all the Belizean communities they serve by holding a Holiday Food Drive. The Belize Airline collected basketfuls of items at each of their nine stations countrywide, asking customers, friends, and staff to contribute to this worthy cause by donating non-perishable food items. All collected items were matched by Tropic Air and given to the less fortunate of each area. Tropic Air Station Manager, Alberto Wade, was in charge of finding families that were in most need of help in San Pedro Town and on Monday, December 23, 2013, six lucky families were handed out boxes of goodies just in time for Christmas. The families were that of Susana Mejia, Juana Choc, Chantal Rubio, Sandra Novelo, Mike Campos and Maria Dias.

Crime Rate Down to Almost Nil in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
Even though there was an attempted armed robbery over the weekend in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, which resulted in the shooting death of one of the suspected robbers, the San Pedro Police Department is reporting a significant decrease in crime on the island since the start of the festive season. Officer in Charge of the San Pedro Police Department, Luis Castellanos, updated town officials and heads of neighborhood watches last week that since the beginning of the month, only three burglaries and three thefts have been officially reported at the station. This includes three consecutive days of crime free reports at the department; December is proving to be a pretty safe month for the island. San Pedro Mayor Daniel Guerrero attributes this decrease in crime to the fact that there has been an increase in confidence on the San Pedro Police Department; the heads of the department are more approachable and easier to work with, says Mayor Guerrero. Castellanos adds that residents are now less afraid to make police reports which is of great assistance to the department.

Belize Pro Dive Center Christmas Toy/Food Giveaway
Christmas is the season of spreading joy and happiness and with this in mind The Belize Pro Dive Center held its first annual food and toy drive. The management and staff of Belize Pro Dive Center are a close knit family and believe in the spirit of sharing, caring and always have the community of San Pedro at heart. Food and toys were donated to the dive center by locals and visiting divers. On Saturday, December 21, 2013, the staff of Belize Pro Dive Center, along with Santa, visited about ten families in different areas of the island and delivered chicken, rice, beans and canned goods, along with other food items and toys, apples and sweets to the children.

25 Years Ago: Old Timers on New Year's Tradition
Now this is funny but there is something called old timers during the old times. Yes, these are the old people or the married people who lived in the 1950. The teenagers and children in the 1950’s are actually today’s old timers. Got it? Well, this being cleared, we can now begin to appreciate the differences. The old timers in the old times attended a special dance on New Year’s Eve called ‘El Baile de los Viejos” or the dance for the old people. Actually it was a special dance held only once a year on this day for all the married couples of the village. They could not go and would not be accepted to enter the dance for the youngsters. And similarly teenagers would not be accepted to participate in the ‘Baile de los Viejos’. Old timers attended their dance usually at Tio Pil (Felipe Paz) residence. They had their own musical group comprised of some of the best guitarists, vocalists and an accordion. It was the same thing for the youngsters who held their dance at the customary place, Daddy’s Club. At the teenagers’ dance every boy tried his best to stick to his young love. At the ‘Baile de los Viejos’, on the contrary, each man danced with his wife at the beginning and then with his ‘comadre’, ‘prima’, or any woman that would be willing to. (a comadre is a woman who stands as your child’s godmother. A prima is a cousin)

Flashbacks: Children of San Pedro in Christmas Celebration
If there is anyone who enjoys Christmas, it must be grandparents who delight in seeing the children opening their gifts. No, it must quite likely be the parents wrapping gifts and hiding them under the beds and the Christmas tree. Or could the happiest persons be the teenagers concentrating in clothing, fashion, and going to party all night long. I am now certain that even as of many years ago in San Pedro the most thrilling moments of Christmas were experienced by children who patiently await the arrival of Santa Claus. And even though the Christmas tree was pretty pale the toys were always a thrill. Bigger was better as were the talking dolls, walking dolls, crying dolls, and even dolls who wet their pants or could wink their eyes. Ask Odilia Nuñez about her Walking doll. Or you can ask Mundo Nuñez about his huge top which could spin for two minutes and whistled a tune at the same time. A bag of 500 marbles also made a great Christmas gift as was a tea set something to boast. What about play stations? Sorry, not 25 Years Ago in San Pedro.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belizean Humor - Belizean diving dog video
Only in Belize. Have u ever seen a dog dive before? Have u ever seen a dog dive 10-15 feet to the bottom of a river with a heavy shell in his mouth? Just watch.....

The bridge will be accessible to vehicular traffic such as GOLF CARTS, MOTORCYCLES and TAXIS ONLY!

MORE HARD CORE! The road by by Zaak Bajo has received a few loads of hard core. More hard core is on its way!

Good day, It went really well! We did not come to a final solution, but everyone agreed to work hand in hand with the San Pedro Town Council, such as providing machinery, tools and to an extent financially.

Commissioner of Police Christmas Message 2013
As we celebrate and remember the birth of Christ at this time of the year the Belize Police Department would like to extend season greetings to your families, friends and love ones. As the season approaches we reflect on our past achievements, strength and weaknesses. In addition, I would like to express my profound gratitude to the members of the Police Department and the General Public for the support in the decrease of crime during this past year. Without your support; there would be no success. Whilst we saw a general decline of crime statistic earlier this year; we must be cognizant of the fact that there are still major challenges to overcome despite the decrease in crime.

How Moving to Belize Changed My Life
Following the third year of my mother’s severe depression, I suggested dad that we should probably go for a family vacation; to a place where there is fresh air, fresh food and nature; the doctor said my mum needed a lot of fresh air, a healthy diet and loads of sunlight to recover and feel better. So we looked up for locations that have the perfect mix of all these things – We chose Belize. It took quite a lot of convincing, struggle, and scolding to take my mother not only out of her bed but also out of the country for a vacation; we finally succeeded. The moment we set our foot on the Belizean land, my father and I looked at each other in the eyes and then to my mother, and we knew it; this IS the place where we have to be. Belize felt like heaven. It’s simply breathtakingly beautiful, beaches meet the blue horizon, and the greenery spreads as far as you can look. This beautiful Caribbean destination worked wonders for my mother; in only a couple of days she started responding to little things and taking interest in things – saying things such as “this place is beautiful”. This was just a big milestone for us. After years of depression, silence and negative feelings, this, coming from my mum, was a treat for us all – Belize did well to her, to all of us. Belizeans are amazingly warm and friendly people. The official language is English so it wasn’t hard getting through places to buy food, or search for places. The traditional Belizean cuisine is so delicious, I believe it’s because they used fresh local produce in it. Open markets are found everywhere in Belize; costermongers sell fresh spices, fruits and vegetables, and almost everything really. I guess that’s what’s good about Belize, it believes in simple living.

Corozal's Christmas Parade
Here are some photos of Corozal's Christmas Parade last night as Doc leads the way with his golf cart. From the Corozal Daily, here is wishing you and your loved ones peace, health, happiness and prosperity in the coming New Year

Channel 7

Jealous Husband Chops Canadian Man To Death In Buena Vista Village
A Canadian man was murdered on Friday in the village of Buena Vista in the Cayo District. 68 year old Keith Haslam, who lives in Salvapan was found murdered on a farm five miles from Buena Vista. He had been beaten and chopped to death. Why such a brutal end? Well, the man who allegedly did it thought Haslam was having an affair with his wife! Daniel Ortiz went west to find out about his confession today:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting This farm, some 6 miles outside of Buena Vista village, is where the body of 68 year - old Canadian Keith Haslam Dawson was found. He had multiple chop wounds, and it is believed that the one he suffered to windpipe was the fatal injury. The man he was staying with was the first person to realize that he was missing. Nelson Hyde - Reported Him Missing "I notice the man was missing because on the morning that I woke up, I know that he didn't have anywhere to go and I saw him missing. I had figure that something was wrong because I saw some hair from him in my yard. That's the reason I figure that something had happened to him and I ended up making a report to the police because the incident happened at my house and I wasn't involve in that in any way. I have my children that are very young to take care of and I don't want to shield those kind of things because it is a serious matter."

15 Year Old Killed In Cayo By 17 Year Old
And there was another murder in the Cayo District this weekend. It happened in San Ignacio Town. The victim is only 15 and the accused is a 17 year old. This one happened on Saturday night on Burns Avenue - and as Daniel Ortiz found out, the stabbing death was motivated by a petty misunderstanding:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting On Saturday night, San Ignacio resident, Alexander Aguilar lay on the ground struggling to trying to survive a stab wound to the chest. Residents gathered around trying frantically to save him. But ultimately he passed away from that injury. Insp. Reymundo Reyes - Deputy OC, San Ignacio "About 10:55pm San Ignacio police visited an area in front of Venus Hotel where on arrival they saw a male person bleeding from the left side of his chest. He was immediately rushed to the San Ignacio Hospital but died on arrival at the hospital. His name is Alexander Vasquez Aguilar, 17 years old. Present for that investigation we have a minor in custody and investigation is being conducted, statements recorded and it will be forwarded to the office of the DPP for advice also."

Chinese Grocer Shoots Robber On San Pedro
And another young man was killed this weekend - allegedly in the commission of a robbery. 21 year old Ajlan Raheem Requena was shot once to the chest when he was allegedly involved in the robbery of a convenience store on San Pedro. It happened at W and W Convenience Store in the DFC area of San Pedro Town at 8:00 on Saturday night. The San Pedro Sun reports that the storeowner's wife and her 14 year old son were tending the business when two men pulled up on bicycles with their shirts pulled over their faces. One of them pulled out a 38 revolver, and pointed it at the storeowner's wife while the other jumped behind the counter to get to the cash. The 14 year old slipped out and alerted his father who came back in with his firearm, a licensed Ruger 9 millimeter pistol. He fired a warning shot and the armed robber responded. Gunshots were exchanged and that is when Requena who did not have a gun was shot. He dashed out the store and fell dead in a drain at the back. He was found with the shirt still pulled over his face.

Woman Dies In Traffic Accident
AND, there is another death to report on tonight. This time, the victim died in a traffic accident on Saturday Morning. Police have not sent any official details on the accident as yet, but 7News has confirmed that Independence Resident, Victoria Bol, who is originally from Silk Grass was killed when the vehicle she was in collided with a Special Branch van. Inside the van were all off-duty police officers coming from a department party, some of whom are attached to Belmopan Police, and today, the Officer Commanding that station updated the media on the information they have so far. Here's what he told us: ASP Sinquest Martinez, O.C., Belmopan "Police responded to a fatal traffic accident on Saturday morning around 12:45 where they saw two vehicles: one was a pickup GMC truck was extensively damaged and then a van. The van was traveling in the direction to Belize City, while the other vehicle was traveling in the opposite direction when they collided and unfortunately we had a fatality."

Late Evening Shooting In City
A man is at the KHMH after he was shot in Belize City an hour ago. Mechanic Delton Flowers was at his shop at the corner of Peter Seco and Consuelo Streets around 6:00 pm when he was shot. He was rushed to the KHMH but we were unable to find out his condition this evening. Police were processing the scene for rounds and other evidence. We'll have more on this tomorrow.

Gang Feud?: Moses Shot In City On Sunday Morning
And a man was shot not far from that area on Sunday morning in what is believed to be a gang feud heating up. Around 10:00 am, 34 year old Moses Gongues was walking on Mahogany Street near Public's when four shots were fired at him. He received multiple fractures to his lower body and is in a stable condition at the KHMH. Gonguez is from nearby Lakeview Street and Police believe that two neighboring gangs are at war.

Sugar Standoff Remains
The Cane Farmers and ASR/BSI met for three hours today at the BSI staff club in Orange Walk. And the news tonight is that there is no breakthrough; the stalemate remains and the season for this important industry continue to hang in the balance. The meeting had a three point agenda, but according to our reports, no progress was made ultimately because the Cane Farmers insisted on having a commitment that BSI would pay for bagasse in black and white. BSI's position is that it has committed to negotiate a payment in a letter to the BSCFA Chairman and the prime minister. Now, if the difference between agreeing to a payment and agreeing to negotiate a payment sounds like splitting hairs, it is, but for big companies like ASR, the splitting of those hairs could mean the difference of millions of dollars.

Delta Direct, From LA to Belize
Los Angeles has one of the largest Belizean Americans populations, but to get there, or to get to here from there, travelers have always had to take a connecting flight from LA to either Miami, Houston, Dallas, or Charlotte, and then fly from those cities to Belize. Well, Los Angeles is now open to Belize on a direct flight from Delta Airlines, which officially opened for business on Saturday. Daniel Ortiz was there: 150 passengers arrived on that first flight from LA.

City Pays Waste Control Half Of Court Ordered Payment
The unease between City Hall and its sanitation contractor, Belize Waste Control, continues tonight. Attorney for Waste Control Fred Lumor confirms that this afternoon he received a cheque for three hundred thousand dollars, about half of the court ordered payment that is due from City Hall. Lumour says he has gotten no indication when the other half will be forthcoming. The City undertook to pay Waste Control 654 thousand dollars last week Friday as settlement of an arrears dispute. Mayor Darrell Bradley told 7News on Friday that though he undertook to pay the money, such payments have to be reasonable, and the contract with the sanitation companies he claims are unreasonable. Lumour says that he awaits instruction from his client, Waste Control and they may have to go back to court in the New Year.

“Hutchy” Shared Out Of Christmas Cheer
We've reported extensively on Government's Christmas Cheer programme, which is being apportioned by area representatives and UDP political caretakers. Well one caretaker who is none too cheerful about it is the UDP's Michael Hutchinson. The former Belize Rural Central Representative has been holding over for the UDP in the area since he lost the last election in 2012. But now he's about to face a convention with two challengers, Dean Samuels and Beverly Castillo. And he says that three way race is why he's been boxed out of his share of Christmas Cheer:.. Michael Hutchinson "People have been flocking me and ask me when am I going to spend my $25,000. It's sad that it had happened this way and it is also sad that sad that it had announced that care takers that this money that would be given to Belize Rural Central would be disperse through the village council. I have no problem with that being disperse through the village council. By any means whether it came through me or the village council, it would be given to the people, but the thing is that it was not given to me and I am still getting a flogging for it by the people; people are not only harassing me but also my family members, throwing all sorts of insult of me receiving cash and withholding. I want to set the record straight and let the people of Belize Rural Central know that they need to speak to their village council; their chairman or other council members, so that they can received whatsoever benefits they can received from the $25,000."

Hon. Herredia Says Caye Caulker Residents Playing With Sand
Another UDP politician who needs to clear things up is Manuel Juniour Herredia. Last week, we told you about the sand situation in Caye Caulker, where sand is being removed and taken to San Pedro. The company's representative, Damien Chamberlain, has smoothed things over with the villagers, but the real problem is the streets. Those residents say they feel doubly neglected by Heredia; they claim that he's focused on San Pedro and ignoring their island. During another event this weekend, was asked Heredia about their concerns: Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism "When people react is because that they dont probably like, but of you can recall the rain is something natural that is all over Belize and all over our region and if you go to the island of San Pedro likewise and resources are limited. Our Prime Minister had made an extra effort to make sure they assist every single area of Belize and Caye Caulker and San Pedro will be no exception and I have given the goods and services, or sometimes even more than what San Pedro gets."

George Hyde Charged For Canadian Killing
At the top of our newscast, we told you about 68 year-old Keith Haslam Dawson, the Canadian man who was found chopped to death outside Buena Vista Village. Well, the man who confessed to it was just charged. DPP Cheryl-Lynn Vidal has perused that statement, and she has just issued the directive for George Hyde, the brother of Nelson Hyde, to be charged with murder. George Hyde, seen here, will be arraigned tomorrow in San Ignacio, at the earliest convenience. As we had reported, George Hyde and Ruth Jones, the woman in the middle of the love triangle which caused the Canadian to be killed were charged and arraigned on perjury in Belmopan on November 4 for deliberately given evidence to mislead police who were investigating the murder of Orlando Smith.

A Play For The People
Last week, 7News told you about the production called "Nowhere to Fly, Gangs and Boys", the first play to leave the theatres and actually hit the streets of Belize City. It's a very interesting social experiment, and 7News went out to Central American Boulevard to see how City residents would receive them. Daniel Ortiz reports: "Nowhere to Fly" will have 3 repeat performances in different areas in Southside Belize City. The project is funded by the UNESCO "Peace in the Parks" Program.

“Navidad” Both Good And Bad
And, our news team also hit the streets today. We wanted to find out the answer to the immortal question: "How is the Christmas coming?" We found that the "navidad" is a mixed bag, with both good and bad:..

Channel 5

Two murders in the West: 1 minor is stabbed to death by another
There are two murders to report in tonight’s newscast, both coming out of the west and which occurred within less than twenty-four hours of each other. The first occurred early [...]

Would be robbers hit Chinese store in San Pedro; 1 dead and 1 on the run
One man is dead and another remains on the lam, following a daring attempt at holding up a Chinese grocery store in San Pedro over the weekend.  It is reported [...]

Retired Canadian National brutally killed in Buena Vista Village, Cayo
As we told you earlier in the newscast, there were two murders in the west. The second occurred early on Saturday morning. Retired Canadian national, sixty-eight year old Keith Haslam [...]

Woman killed in fatal traffic accident on Hummingbird Highway
Another person was killed in the west, but it was as a result of a road traffic accident.  Just before one on Saturday morning, forty-two year old Victoria Bol lost [...]

Help is on the Way; Caye Caulker streets to be repaired says area rep
Last Thursday, residents of Caye Caulker voiced their discontentment with the ferrying of sand dredged off the coast of the island for use in neighboring San Pedro.  A group of [...]

ASR/B.S.I. representatives meet with BSCFA; bagasse on the discussion table
Our news team is just back from Orange Walk, where they were awaiting the decision out of a meeting between B.S.I. and the BSCFA. The session started at two and [...]

But no decision on the start of the Sugar Cane Season
There seems to be some confusion. As you’ve heard, B.S.I. is waiting for indication from the BSCFA on what it needs to move forward, while the BSCFA is waiting for [...]

Football and cycling on Sports Monday with James Adderley
Good evening I’m James Adderly welcome to Sports Monday. Week eleven in the Belikin Cup found the Belmopan Bandits hosting a struggling Police United inside the Isidoro Beaton Stadium Saturday [...]


Fifth Murder in Corozal for 2013
Corozal Police is investigating the fifth murder for the year in that municipality. The body of 28 year old Darwin Salazar was found partially nude in the wee hours this morning in the Village of Chan Chen. Senior Superintendent and Officer in Charge of the Corozal Police Department, Andrew Ramirez told Love News that the motive for the murder is still unknown. ANDREW RAMIREZ “Acting upon information received the Corozal Police visited Chan Chen on the road to the northern border on the Philip Goldson International Highway where they observed the motionless body of a male person to be identified as Darwin Salazar of San Jose, 28 years old. He had what appeared to be stab wounds on the back of the neck area and a severe gouge to the left side of the neck. That’s the information we have about the incident; we will try our best to figure out the matter of this heinous crime. We have no motives and no leads at this time.

PUC Explains Lower Energy Rates
As Love News had reported on Thursday, come 2014, electricity consumers will pay cheaper rates. This comes about because of a number of factors. Engineer in the Electricity Sector of the Public Utilities Commission, Derrick Davis, says that the law allows the PUC to review rates in December for the months from January to June of the following year. And during that review, they discovered that there were cheaper rates from Belize’s Mexican supplier, as well as higher water levels at the dams. The reduction in rates, Davis says, is eight percent. DERRICK DAVIS “The Commission met on Wednesday and decided that it was adequate to give 8% reduction in rates to customers. BEL made a submission to the PUC; that’s way the process works. They proposed a three cents reduction, the Commission reviewed the situation and decided on a 4 cents reduction raise equivalent to 8%.

BNTU Educates Executive Members
Executive Members of the Belize National Teachers Union met for a two day seminar in Corozal. The seminar is held every two years and the President of the BNTU Corozal Branch Esteban Cruz told us more. ESTEBAN CRUZ “It deals mostly with educating our executive members; most of the themes and topics we discussed are based on national issues within the education area and also we have our own business that we discuss. Like this year we have reviewed a little bit of our constitution; we also dealt with our strategic plan that we have had and those were the main topics that we had in our seminar. The seminar is mostly concerned on that process of continue educating our executive members because the seminar was based with executive members from all the different branches so every branch, remember we have 10 branches from all over the country and every executive member is present in that. This is an education process. So we have the seminar through an educative process for all executive members. So it’s not like a workshop where we are learning so we can it’s not that.” The seminar was held on the 17 and 18.

Solid Waste Management Goes Modern
The Solid Waste Management Authority says that with the New Year come new standards. After years of limited funding, the current government of Belize acquired a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank, IDB and the OPEC Fund for International Development for a Modern Solid Waste Management Project. The objective of the project is to improve waste management practices in the Western Corridor by moving away from harmful environmental practices such as the burning of household garbage, illegal dumping and unsanitary landfills, to a more sustainable and environmentally sound waste management system. The loan has allowed the Belize Solid Waste Management Authority, which was formed by an Act of Government in 1991, to assemble a staff of qualified environmental, sanitary and civil engineers who have been busy during the past year establishing relationships with key partners involved in waste management. During 2012 and the first half of 2013, the Authority has worked very closely with its partners to close and secure the old landfills located in Belize City, and at mile 73 on the Western Highway which served the San Ignacio/Santa Elena and Benque Viejo areas. The old landfills have been replaced by transfer stations, where the garbage that is collected is manually then separated and that which is to be disposed of, transported to the new sanitary landfill that was built at mile 24 on the George Price Highway, while the recyclable portion is baled. The new landfill is designed to protect ground and surface water from contamination, minimize the accumulation of toxic landfill gases and allow for green use of the landfill after it has reached the end of its useful life. As 2013 draws to a close the Authority says that they are currently preparing to focus its energies on introducing and sensitizing everyone to this new solid waste management system.

Armed Robbery at Money Gram
A Money Gram office in Belmopan was robbed this morning. Reports are two female employees were inside the Money Gram office at the Emporium Plaza when two men entered. One of the men was armed with what appeared to be a nine millimeter pistol and dressed in a gray tee shirt and long black pants with a cap over the face. The other was wearing a red and white polo shirt. The armed man walked up to the cashier, pointed the gun to her head and demanded money. The men made off with five thousand eight hundred dollars in Belize currency, five hundred US dollars and three cellular phones. The men then escaped in a getaway vehicle that was waiting for them. Police investigations continue.


Canadian National Murdered, Wife and Alleged Lover Detained
Did a love triangle end in death for Canadian national 68 year old Mr. Keith Haslam Dawson? That is one angle that San Ignacio Police are exploring tonight. Dawson was found with a large cut wound to the back of his head on a farm land about 5 miles east of Buena Vista Village, two days after being reported missing. According to reports, Dawson was last seen in the company of his wife and a male friend; those persons we understand, are in Police custody, pending imminent charges. We note that such duo are also the main suspects in the recent murder of Belmopan cab-driver, Orlando Smith. We spoke with the male suspect’s brother Nelson Hyde, today at the San Ignacio Police Station. It was at Hyde’s house that Dawson and his wife were staying for some three days prior to Dawson’s death. All four individuals were reportedly drinking under a shed at Hyde’s home on the night of December 20th. Hyde says he went to sleep at around midnight and the following morning, woke to find his visitors gone. He noticed strands of white hair in his kitchen and grew suspicious.

15 year old Murdered, Accused Minor Turns Himself In
Alex Vasquez. Initial investigations revealed that Vasquez had a misunderstanding with another minor, who reportedly inflicted the fatal injury. Saturday’s deadly confrontation, says Deputy Commander in San Ignacio, Inspector Reymundo Reyes, is the result of a long-standing rival between the two minors. Inspector Reymundo Reyes- Deputy Commander of the San Ignacio Police “This is an ongoing rivalry that has been apparent in these two guys that they had; something that stemmed up with fights. The young man is alleging that a month ago he was attacked by the deceased and that he was injured with stab wounds to that effect, but no report was made to the police. In fear of that, when they met by the Welcome Center on Friday, it steamed up again to throwing up phrases and so forth and that is eventually laid up in front of Venus where the young boy was approached and stabbed”. The person who is believed to have stabbed Vasquez, a seventeen year old, is currently in Police custody. Our Cayo affiliate Kent Pandy spoke with his father earlier today. He said that his son told him he was acting in self-defense.


Where’s the spirit and Crime Stoppers Belize Christmas Greeting
For some reason this year the spirit of Christmas has just not hit me. For the past 8 years (almost) we have lived here I have always enjoyed taking pictures of all the colorful and sometimes tropical decorations as many people and businesses San Pedro town go all out and this year I have only made one attempt at Christmas pics. Friday night on our way home I tried to get a shot of the wings pickup truck all decorated with lights, a strange tall character, Micky and Minnie mouse on the back. We both had a good laugh at their live drive by commercial, unfortunately it all happened so fast and my camera settings were not right so all my pictures came out fuzzy or as crazy light images. Paul said I should post some anyways, so in the spirit of the fun time we shared at that moment, here are a couple of not so great pictures :) Even though I could not capture my own, I knew where to go to find the Holiday Spirit and a good picture to go with this post, all I had to do was Google the 9th Annual Caribbean Christmas Colors Contest hosted by San Pedro Sun.

San Pedro Scoop: My Best of 2013 – Part Three
I’m really dragging this out…but let’s keep it rolling. Part One took me through the first half of the year, Part Two most of my busy summer, I’m going to soldier on… Hardly hard work, I love looking at all of these pictures. I pick up at the end of August. I took a trip to Placencia for the first time ever to see the caye, Harvest Caye, that was sold to Norwegian Cruise Lines and will be developed as a cruise ship port. UGH. The area is so beautiful. Dolphins raced us as we made our way over to the Caye, just a short ride from Placencia. I also developed a bit of a food and beach crush on Placencia. What a beautiful place to visit (or live). Here’s the colorful deck at Barefoot Bar.

Ramon’s Village in San Pedro – Did They Make the Construction Deadline?
Ramon’s Village in San Pedro has been FEVERISHLY rebuilding after the huge fire at the end of August. I took pictures the morning after the fire while many of the buildings were still smoldering and then pictures in mid-October and then in the beginning of December. COULD Ramon’s open for the official date, would they have the big town party? If I was a good reporter and REALLY on top of my game, I would have taken the exact same picture at four different points to show, really show, the development. But…I am not that guy. Well…due to HEAVY rains for a few days last week, construction was slowed and they had a Thursday night staff party but not the big party for everyone else. That is postponed until the New Year. It is ALMOST done and the bar and inside restaurant are being finished as the place packs up for Christmas. Here are my pictures from yesterday afternoon. The place looks super cool. It was a beautiful day. Wind was kicking up the sea so it was a bit murky by the shore.

A New Rum From Belize!
Belizean rums may not be world famous, but the fans are legion and widespread. Just the other day an email between and Australian and New Mexican were extolling the virtues of one of Belize’s most well-known rums. And now there’s a new one entering the market. Tiburon, Spanish for shark, is the result of a partnership between Basil DeStefano and Travellers Liquors, producers of the aforementioned drop. According to the makers, The rum is aged and blended in a “variety of barrels,” then given a second go in Kentucky oak bourbon barrels. The final product is a blend of four, six and eight-year-old small-batch rums, with the goal of producing about 12,000 bottles a year. We haven’t had a taste so far, but the makers say Tiburon has a golden amber colour and an aroma of vanilla and caramel.

Belize Cops Invite Public to Join in and Celebrate Drop in Crime
While we anxiously wait for the finally tally of crime in Belize – 2013, all concerned with such matters say major crime in Belize City is the lowest it’s been in maybe ten years. Pretty cool, isn’t it? So, to say thanks to Belizeans, the Police Performing Arts Club staged a free night of dance and drama on Saturday night at the Bliss Center, where all the lead roles were played by police. Commander of Operations for Eastern Division Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster (who did a solo dance routine himself!) explained that COPS is a loose anagram of Commissioner of Police Offering Peace to Society, and that all actors and participants would be from the Police department. We were truly sorry not to have been able to make it, but did what we could and checked out a taste on YouTube – we loved it, and bet you will too. Watch it here at:

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Orange an' Lemon Marmalade..a Gift …
Jam is always a nice lil gift ta gif' someone fer Christmus. Thishere brite an' purty marmalade is simple ta make. It’s wunderful servet un toas, biscuits, er buns. Er add ta yer meetball sauce fer a lil pizazz. And let me nairy fergit, have y'all tride marmalade muffins? These air jes a few idees but no matt'r hoe y'all will use is deliciyus! And thar is jes t'bes citrusy aroma waftyun' through t'rayler as thishere jam cooks. So if'n y'all air still wunderin whut ta gif' someone er add ta a gift basket..wunder no mer, y'all a'ken quicklee whip up a batch o'thishere marmalade!

International Sources

Acoustic Archaeology solves a mystery at Chichen Itza
Without acoustics, archaeology is deaf. Without archaeology, acoustics is blind, and “acoustic archaeology” is merely acoustics. Clearly, convergent facts from both fields are needed for an investigation to be designated as acoustic archaeology. These are the opening words from David Lubman’s research abstract into the Acoustical Solutions to Archaeological Mysteries at Chichen Itza’s Temple of Kukulkan which he presented at the 2nd Pan-American/Iberian Meeting on Acoustics in Cancun earlier this month. Historically, archaeologists have largely ignored acoustical science as a tool for archaeological discovery. This however is changing with the advent of acoustic archaeology. The study, begun in 1998, employed acoustical science to study a problem that had puzzled archaeologists for decades involving the serpent shadow that appears on the northwest balustrade of the north staircase of the temple of Kukulkan at Chichen Itza, Mexico. The phenomenon starts at the spring equinox, and continues for about a week. Is however, the equinox shadow the result of intentional design? Despite compelling ethnographic ties linking the equinox display to ancient Maya culture, Maya archaeologists found no evidence of intentional design. Without such evidence, the pyramid’s solar orientation (responsible for the equinox shadows) is seen only as a coincidence.

Can Sustainable Tourism Thrive in Belize?
Interview with Mike Green, Sustainable Tourism Consultant in Belize Two weeks ago, I attended the 28th Annual General Meeting of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) in Belize City. The BTIA is the largest tourism association in Belize with over 25 years of membership commitment and is the voice of tourism related concerns. "Tourism Business and Sustainable Development" was the theme of the general meeting and the special guest speaker at the event was Dr Kenrick Leslie, a world-renowned scientist on climate change who spoke about the intricacies and challenges of climate change in the tourism industry and why the BTIA has to play an instrumental role in leading an effective sustainable tourism movement in Belize. After the meeting was over, I met with Mike Green who is a sustainable tourism consultant and independent Green Globe auditor to talk about sustainable tourism and the rise of green certification in Belize.

Oil and gas losers of 2013
New World Oil and Gas (NEW) has seen continued problems from its operations in Belize in 2013, which have caused the shares to plummet and then kept them low. It began with a 10% dip in January as New World announced that drilling of its Blue Creek #2A side-track well in Belize had been slower than anticipated, and accelerated to a 44% plunge when the well was eventually abandoned at the beginning of February. New World has attempted to salvage the situation through focussing on its Danish licences, and the discovery of a new drill-ready prospect on the Danica Resources project did boost the shares by around 4% in early August, but so far this has not been enough to make up for the losses provoked by Belize.

How to Blog Your Way to a Beachfront Income
The ocean breeze blows in through the open door as I sit in my rocking chair—a surprisingly favorite Nicaraguan furnishing. Sunlight glitters on the ocean, almond and coconut trees sway in the wind. This is my office for today, a four-bedroom house right on the beach that we rent for $350 a month. Previously we spent time on the shores of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, beneath the shadow of three majestic volcanoes…swimming in one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, shopping in the local markets, and interacting with the indigenous people who still wear their traditional clothing and speak Spanish as their second language. Our entire family liberally learns of language, culture, and tradition—one of the major reasons we love to travel. Our family of seven has spent several months exploring the richness of Mexico, climbing ruins, swimming in rivers, and exploring world-famous museums. We’ve snorkeled in the Caribbean waters off the islands of Belize and eaten pupusas (thick corn tortillas) in El Salvador. How can we afford it? With my laptop and an Internet connection, I have the freedom to work from anywhere. Sometimes that has been in the highlands of Guatemala, on a tropical island in Belize, or like today, beachside in Nicaragua. Next month, it may be in the Central Valley of Costa Rica.

December 23, 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

Wolfe’s Woofers: Words of Wisdom
“Ring!” “Hello, Dennis speaking.” “Dennis, this is your big sister.” “Geney, what’s up with you?” I asked. “Is everything going O.K. in West Virginia?” “Not really,” she said. “Grandma is on her deathbed. You need to come home.” When I got to West Virginia the whole family was gathered at the bed of my 103 […]

Police Report
On Saturday, December 14th, 46 year old Daniel Nah visited the San Pedro Police Station to report that on Friday, December 13th his house had been vandalized. According to Nah, sometime around 11:30PM he was awakened by his common-law wife, Sylvia Lopez, who informed him that she heard someone throwing stones at the house. Nah quickly responded and went to investigate what was causing the disturbance. Upon investigating, Nah found a Hispanic male, known to him as Nigel, throwing stones at his house. Nigel was taken away from the font of the house but returned shortly again and continued to throw stones, which hit Nah’s glass door causing it to break. According to Nah, the door is valued at $800. Court action was requested.

Doctor Love
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, We have lived together for sixteen years. When we first started sharing a house it was understood that it was temporary. We would […]

Misc Belizean Sources

Power brokering!
By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez Instead of listening to the noise in the market we should have checked our change The Mennonite community won’t let any dictator make their own estranged They are power houses within the country Those have in the past helped to finance political parties States within the state For example the Mennonites are multi-millionaires Look what they have been able to achieve after fifty years They have been establishing communities every where Orange Walk, Cayo and Corozal They produce food, furniture, houses and even mechanical equipment for all

BVAR The Experience
A quick little video with some highlights of the 2013 BVAR Field School experience. All the (session 1) filming was done at Baking Pot, Cay Caulker, and Hode's Restaurant.

YNOT Bakery and Deli celebrates its first successful anniversary
Where there is a will there is a way. YNOT Bakery and Deli celebrates its first successful anniversary on Saturday December 21st in Corozal. If you’re craving doughnuts, jelly-filled bismarcks, cakes or fresh-baked breads, you’re in luck. The YNot Bakery is truly a special family affair and offering just in time for Christmas to stack up on your special sweets and treats for friends and family. The bakery is the brainchild of “Don” Polin Herrera with the assistance of his son Tony (YNot - spelt backwards) Herrera and his wife Mercy Herrera of Corozal Town. Assisting in the bakery is Mr. Polin’s humble wife, Mrs. Rosa Maria Herrera. (Pictured above Left-Right, Tony, Rosa Maria, Don Polin and Mercy Herrera). The managers and staff of YNOT Bakery wish everyone in Corozal a warm and sweet Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Sailing boat that ferry villagers and cargo to and from town
There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them - Denis Waitley. Here is one innovative way our fellow brothers and sisters of Sarteneja Village and the surrounding areas have been travelling to Corozal Town for sometime now because of the extreme bad road conditions in that area. Here is a sailing boat that ferry villagers and cargo to and from town. If you happen to see so much people from Sarteneja in town recently, it is becuase they would normally end up in Orange Walk when the road was passable to do their daily business of trade and shopping. Let us treat our fellow villagers warmly and kindly while they visit and shop with us here with the hope that with this experience, they will be no longer need to continue shopping elsewhere. Merry Christmas to all our brothers and sisters of Sarteneja, Chunox and Copper Bank.

Know where your Cheese comes from
Contraband cheese found stuffed in a Corozal Free Zone garbage truck, and yes the garbage truck was full of garbage.This could be a potential health hazard for anyone who may be buying and consuming this contraband cheese. We have no idea how long it has been happening. For many in the hustle sector of the economy, Christmas is contraband time, and the hustle often starts at the two borders but particularly in the Corozal Free Zone where premium liquor and Mexican beer is cheap. And for those who can get past the customs checkpoints, it can mean making a killing on contraband. But, getting past those checkpoints has been tough lately, and we are told, even a few customs officers have been caught. And so that's why one group of smugglers found a novel way to get their contraband out of the zone: They hid it in a garbage truck! You heard right, a garbage truck. Yesterday morning at 5:00 am, the truck entered the zone and went about its garbage collection business, but when it left at 6:30 am, customs, acting on excellent intelligence followed it. The truck went about a mile and a half to the nearest dumpsite, which wasn't unusual. But when they got there, they started to unload a major contraband haul!

Twocanview on Blog Radio Dec 29, 2013 @ 2pm
Communication is awesome, revolutionary and fast-paced. The mediums are growing that are empowering the average non-corporate citizens of the world with a voice in a seemingly powerless world. I was approached by someone who will sponsor me for a radio blog to enhance my current blog Hubert Pipersburg initiative to start his own radio blog addressing pressing issues facing Belize is revolutionary. Issues in Belize are many times clouded by political labeling, fear of political backlash and apathy borne out of years of failed promises. Please listen to Hubert premiere show here:


Prisoners Take Over Chetumal Prison
There is disturbing news coming out of Chetumal Quintana Roo tonight. Mexican Newspaper Por Esto is reporting that the Prison in Chetunal has been taken over by criminals. The report states that a number of prisoners, headed by Carlos Cabanas Catzin, detained in the month of February 2013 for the trafficking of 45 kilos of Crystal meth are carrying out illicit activities inside and outside prison walls. What’s more alarming is that, according to reports, prisoners carry out their criminal activities under the protection and administration of Secretary of Public Safety Carlos Bibiano Villa Castillo who is protected by two men accused of the murder of a police officer.

2014 To Bring Reduction In Electricity Rates
Belizeans will see a decrease in their light bill come the New Year. That’s according to the Public Utilities Commission who has taken the decision to reduce electricity rates by eight percent. The decision was made after the Belize Electricity Limited submitted a proposal to the PUC to reduce electricity rate in January 2014 by 3 cents. The good news is that after review the PUC decided to reduce the rate by 4 cents and it was all due to the rainy weather. “BEL when they presented their proposal they suggested a three cents reduction, the PUC has decided a four cents reduction, or every hundred dollars you spend on the bill you now going to spend $92 because you get a 8% reduction, a number of things happened this year 2013 which cause this situation that we can reduce the rates, first one being CFE prices you could say on average reversed and it went back to normal, in 2011 CFE prices were approximately thirty cents per kilowatt hour, in 2012 it went to thirty seven cents and in 2013 it went back down to thirty cents, so that is the first thing that happened, that is a substantial amount of money of saving that can be passed on to the public, the second thing that happened is that the hydro production which is energy at let say twenty cents per kilowatt hour also increase in other word it went back to the levels that it was in 2011.”

Corozal Police Hunt For Two Men Considered Armed And Dangerous
Corozal Police is tonight asking for the public’s assistance in locating two men wanted for the crime of robbery. Alex Reid (aka cat) and Kevin Manzanero (aka midget), both from the Cayo District are considered armed and dangerous. Andrew Ramirez- O/C Corozal Police Formation “I ask the public at large, we are still trying to locate the individual who committed the crime of robbery here in Corozal namely Alex Reid and Kevin Manzanero, we still consider these guys to be armed and dangerous, they are wanted by other municipalities specially San Ignacio, we were made to understand that these guys were from the Cayo area however we may still believe that they may be lurking around so we asking the public to please be on the lookout for these individuals don’t approach them but call the police who have the necessary resources to try apprehend them of course alive preferably.”

House Is Gutted By Fire, Family Of Three Is Left Homeless
An Orange Walk family is left wondering what they will do for Christmas after their home was destroyed by fire on Thursday night. Luckily, no lives were lost. Reporter Maria Novelo went looking for answers in the cause of the misfortune and filed this report. Screen_Shot_2013-12-20_at_8.01.42_PMMaria Novelo – Reporting Less than one week before Christmas, an Orange Walk family is picking up the pieces after a fast moving fire broke out at their home sometime after nine on Thursday night. Charred remains of what were the possessions of the Ramirez family were all that was left when we arrived at the scene this morning. At the time of the blaze, the house was being occupied by two females and a minor, who were awoken by the smoke. A relative of the family recounted the tale. Relative “My sister called and then she told me that the house is on fire and then she manages to come out with my sister in law and my nephew and then when my mother ran to bring my brother over there it were already on fire.” Senior Officer at the Orange Walk Fire Station, Kenneth Mortis, told us what investigations have reveled so far. Kenneth Mortis - Senior Officer at the Orange Walk Fire Station “We responded to a fire on Doctor Guerra Street and on arrival se observed a cement bungalow house totally engulf in flames, the fire department got into operation in trying to extinguish the fire and from there we did a preliminary investigation as to the cause and origin of the fire.”

Onions Rot In The Fields, Huge Losses Are Recorded
The source of our vegetables for most of us is of no concern. Who toils the soil, cares for the crop, basically the entire work it entails before the vegetables reach the market. The only time consumers complain or grow concerned is when prices are extremely high or when there is a shortage in one item. Presently the price of several vegetables keeps rising but soon enough consumers will be facing a shortage of onions. Our news team travelled to the largest onion producing community in the Orange Walk District, San Carlos Village to find out why. In San Carlos Village a majority if not all families make a living through farming. Here farmers grow mainly potatoes, carrots and onions. The latter is produced in the largest quantity by some thirteen to fifteen farmers.

Three Brothers Charged For Contraband Goods
As the days to Christmas narrows down the hustle at the Northern Border increases, especially due to the Corozal Free Zone where premium liquor and Mexican beer are cheap. While Belizeans often visit the zone, getting their purchase goods pass the Customs Checkpoint at the Northern Border is a whole other scenario. In fact, at this time of the year, it is a complicated one since Custom Officials are on high alert looking for those contraband goods. But as they say where there is a will there is way,the only risk taken is if you get caught. And that is exactly what happened to three brothers from Corozal who were caught smuggling contraband goods out the free zone in no other than a garbage truck. This morning Ezekiel, Edward and Carlos Hall were arraigned at the Corozal Magistrates Court where they were charge for being recklessly in control of un-customed goods and recklessly carrying un-customed goods.

Days After Being Set Free Darwin Salazar Is Brutally Murdered
With only eleven days remaining in the Calendar year, the relatively calm community of Corozal Town was rattled with its fifth registered murder for the year. It was a brutal one which saw the untimely death of a 28 year old man from Joseito Layout in Corozal Town. All indications are that the victim was brutally beaten, stabbed and bludgeon to death. And tonight, Corozal police are left piecing the puzzle to this latest homicide; Reporter Victor Castillo has that story. Tonight there are more questions than answers as the family of Darwin Salazar is clueless as to why someone would want their loved one dead. The incident occurred around 7pm last night when police from the Corozal Department where called to an area within the village of Chan Chen where the body of 28 year old Darwin Salazar was seen lying motionless on the road side in a pool of blood. According to Officer commanding the Corozal Police Department Andrew Ramirez, his department is looking at all possible angles.


San Pedro Scoop: My Best of 2013 – Part Two
Yesterday I meant to do a recap of my year (Part ONE) and going through pictures, I made it through 2 months only. I guess I was busier than I thought in 2013. Not a bad thing…not a bad thing at all… SAP ALERT! Belize is really the coolest country ever. I spent about 5 years living on just Ambergris Caye…not a bad gig at all. But over this past year…year and a half, I’ve had a chance to explore so much more of my new home – from the mountain Pine Ridge area to the deep south, Punta Gorda to Orange Walk – I am surprised on each and every trip. By how diverse the people and the landscape are…by how friendly, welcoming and proud Belizeans are to me and just how much I love this country. I can’t think of another place I want to live. Stop rolling your eyes! Let’s get to the pictures: July! I started going to Crossfit Belize here in San Pedro and met a very cool group of people. We took a boat trip to Grand Belizean Estates on the lagoon side of the island.

How to Cross the Guatemala – Belize Border. Plus, Meeting the Keystone Cops
The time had come. That time every digital nomad at first loves, because it feels exciting and new… until later it becomes one more inconvenience in a long list of gripes. It was… Tourist visa renewal time! In Guatemala, you can renew your visa at the 90-day mark without leaving the country. After your visa is renewed, you can take your passport to SAT’s Custom’s office and extend your vehicle’s permit as well. At six months, or 180-days, one HAS TO leave the country. Rule also applies to whatever foreign vehicle you’ve brought with you, because its Temporary Import stamp has to match your passport. It took about 4 hours, from Guatemala City, to reach the turnoff for Peten (Tikal) and the Belizean border. From the turnoff, it was about 35 minutes to Rio Dulce, a cool little town next to Lake Izabal and home to the largest bridge in Central America. From Rio Dulce, it takes about 3 hours to reach Flores, the base of expeditions into Tikal and other archaeological attractions in the Peten Department.

Homemade Ginger Snaps
Ginger Snaps are Joe's favorite biscuits or cookies. This recipe is pretty simple and tasty. The cookie is very hard just like Ginger Snaps usually are and the ginger is just the right amount for any palate. I'll never buy store bought Ginger Snaps again.

“Back When” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Instead of starting today’s edition by regaling you (well I think some of you find it amusing) with my early morning exploits- you know, black coffee, etc – I thought I’d start off by including another of Melissa and Ken Fellure’s pictures from yesteryear. The Barrier Reef Hotel in Barrier Reef Drive (front street). One of the first meals that Rose and I had when we first visited Ambergris Caye was back when The Barrier Reef Hotel was operational. We had dinner on the veranda and if I recall correctly it wasn’t the greatest cuisine I’ve experienced but the atmosphere and the view (Rose of course -she was as ‘tasty’ then as she is now) were tremendous.

International Sources

4,000 People Arrested during INTERPOL’s “Operation Cage” that Targeted the Illegal Trade in Birds
More than 8,700 birds and animals, including reptiles, mammals and insects have been seized and nearly 4,000 people arrested in an operation across 32 countries coordinated by INTERPOL against the illegal trade and exploitation of birds and their products. Operation Cage, which included national wildlife enforcement authorities, police, customs and specialized units, also saw the seizure of trapping equipment, guns and ammunition during a series of interventions and raids conducted at sites including ports, airports, postal services, markets, pet stores and taxidermists in South and Central America and Europe. While the operation focused on the illegal trade of birds, a number of other fauna and flora were found, including elephant ivory, turtles, fish and other live wildlife which were rehabilitated where possible. Operation Cage was launched in response to the growing illegal transborder trade of captive-bred and wild birds and eggs, and the increasing involvement of organized crime networks in their transit from Latin America to Europe. “Operation Cage once again clearly demonstrates the global scale of the problem of the illegal trade in birds and other wildlife, which is not just an organized crime issue, but also represents a biosecurity risk,” said David Higgins, manager of INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Programme.

Belize urges solution to Guatemala’s long-standing territorial claims
Guatemala’s claim to more than half of neighboring Belize has gone on way too long, say Belizean officials, warning that the ongoing territorial dispute is an “existential threat” to the former British colony. Belize is slightly larger than El Salvador but has fewer than 350,000 inhabitants, making it the most sparsely populated country in Central America. It is also the isthmus’ only English-speaking republic. For nearly two centuries, Guatemala has claimed the 12,272 square kilometers of Belize south of the Río Sibún as its own. The controversy dates to 1821, when Guatemala gained independence from Spain, and England was occupying what later became Belize. Earlier this year, the Guatemalan government outraged people in Belize by introducing a new passport that depicted a map of Central America on its cover with Belize and Guatemala separated by a dotted line – not a solid line indicating an international border.

Drone Use Soars in Latin America, Remains Widely Unregulated
From aerial surveillance to three-dimensional geographic modeling of rugged terrains and even speedy pizza delivery service, manufacturers have begun to promote the infinite capabilities of domestic drones. At the same time, they are specifically targeting developing markets in Latin America for the martial use of drones in law enforcement and military operations. In response, human rights groups have been raising concerns over these fast-evolving technologies, citing the potential for abuse by various state agencies. Recent advancements have allowed governments to adopt and, in some cases, begin building their own UAV fleets, but regulation on domestic drone use remains non-existent throughout the Americas aside from preliminary laws adopted in Brazil, Canada and the United States.

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