Recent Belize News
1/1/2014 to 1/10/2014
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Today's Belize News

January 10, 2014


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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

Wow road totally flooded in front of Ramon's yesterday!
More rain photos here. Stormy skies over San Pedro.

Two kidnapping victims rescued in Cayo District
National Police Report: On Thursday, January 9th, 2014 at about 8:30AM, acting upon information received of a kidnapping, police visited the Chaa Creek Office situated on Burns Avenue, in San Ignacio Town, where they met 43 year old Theo Cocchi, Belizean businesswoman and owner of Parrot Nest Hotel situated in Bullet Tree Village, Cayo District. Cocchi reported that about 8:00AM, she left Parrot Nest Resort on board her white KIA Sportage SUV along with two guests: Kathen Kotay, 18, and Manisha Kotay, 22, both American Indian students of Saint Paul Virginia, USA. While exiting her drive way she was approached by two Hispanic male persons armed with what appeared to be handguns. The men boarded the vehicle and drove off, stopping near the cemetery area where they met with two other Hispanic descent male persons. They then drove off in the direction of Paslow Falls road in Bullet Tree Village.

PUP Marshalls assist in street repairs
On Monday January 5th, the Belize Rural South Marshalls of the People’s United Party (PUP) did their part in bringing relief to the streets of Ambergris Caye. Throughout the last few months the island’s roads have not been in the best condition, with flooded streets and large pot holes making transit difficult in particular parts of the island. To assist in relieving the community of this problem the members of the PUP Marshalls were able to place hardcore on a large portion of Black Pearl Drive in the DFC housing area. Funding for the hardcore came from various fundraising activities and generous donors. More hardcore will be distributed in other areas.

BEL Statement on PUC’s Final Decision Regarding Amendments to Electricity Rates
On December 10, 2013 Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) applied for a reduction in electricity rates as a result of an increase in hydroelectricity production in Belize and Mexico and subsequent reduction in the Cost of Power. On Thursday January 2, 2014, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued the Amendment to the 2013 Annual Review Proceeding (ARP) Final Decision for BEL which stipulates a decrease of 8.22% to the Mean Electricity Rate and previously approved tariffs to be applied during the period January 1 to June 30, 2014. This figure represents a 4 cents decrease in the MER from 48.65 cents to 44.65 cents. On Friday January 3, 2014 BEL informed the PUC that the Company has no objection to the PUC’s Final Decision, which is in line with the Company’s Mission “to provide reliable electricity at the lowest sustainable cost, stimulate national development and improve the quality of life in Belize.”

Ministry of Health Cautions the Public on Seasonal Influenza
he Ministry of Health informs the public that over the recent weeks there has been a cluster of patients with influenza. Currently there are a few patients being managed at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital with severe respiratory infections that we suspect could be H1N1. As soon as laboratory results are made available we should be able to confirm or rule out if indeed it is this type of influenza virus. The Ministry reminds the public that we are currently in the flu season. The flu virus is circulating and every person is at risk of catching the flu. While health facilities continue to manage persons suffering from the flu, it is important to note that the flu can be prevented through the following measures:

San Pedro Junior Sailing Club dominates at the Bird’s Isle Regatta
The San Pedro Junior Sailing Club (SPJSC) made their mark at the combined Bird’s Isle and National Championship Regatta (BIZ-13) in Belize City. San Pedro’s Jerdon Anderson took first place out of 32 sailors in the Bird’s Isle Regatta. The two day event was held on Saturday, January 4th and Sunday, January 5th, and was the final two races in a series of seven regattas scheduled for 2013 (the regatta was originally scheduled for December but was postponed due to weather conditions). The regattas were solely Optimist class. Only sailors who had top ranking in the prior five regattas of the season qualified for the BIZ-13, while all remaining sailors participated in the Bird’s Isle Regatta. The National Championship Regatta determines the selections to the Optimist North American Championship scheduled for July 2014 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Ambergris Today

Ministry of Health Cautions the Public on Seasonal Influenza
Belmopan. January 8, 2014. The Ministry of Health informs the public that over the recent weeks there has been a cluster of patients with influenza. Currently there are a few patients being managed at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital with severe respiratory infections that we suspect could be H1N1. As soon as laboratory results are made available we should be able to confirm or rule out if indeed it is this type of influenza virus. The Ministry reminds the public that we are currently in the flu season. The flu virus is circulating and every person is at risk of catching the flu. While health facilities continue to manage persons suffering from the flu, it is important to note that the flu can be prevented through the following measures:

A Young and Energetic Media in Belize
Just before the holidays I went on a Belize media trip organized by the Belize Tourism Board which brought together local media personnel from around the county. The purpose of the trip was for the local media to promote ‘Staycations’ – have Belizeans vacation in Belize. It was a wonderful experience, our second one this year courtesy of the BTB. Belize is a relatively small country but you can still do so much. From north to south, east to west traveling around Belize you realize how BIG the country is, still. It only takes you a few hours from being diving in the Caribbean Sea in the east to ascending the great Maya pyramids in amongst the Maya Mountains in the west.

Misc Belizean Sources

2014 Workshop- Establishing A Business
Are you thinking about starting a business, but don't know where to start? Attending our Establishing a Business Workshop session will introduce you to the first steps in establishing a small business- which looks at your suitability to run a business - to financing your business idea, and identifying initial and on-going sales opportunities. This workshop will provide you with an overview of all the key points you need to consider, along with hints and tips on where to find more detailed information and advice.

Expressing Art: Inga Woods, Jan 17-31 Bliss Centre
January 17th, 2014 is the OFFICAL DATE!!! Come to my "First Art Show" I will be showcasing ALL my work I've ever done! Please SHARE and SPREAD WORD! RSVP TO .

By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez Stella Maris already has a physiotherapist There is also a need for an occupational therapist To teach children to fix wheel chairs, make corner seats and fittings. To make balance boards and all these disability aids We had them once in the ole days. Anyways! There is no speech therapist in the ministry And one is desperately needed in country With Creole being our first language Would a foreign speech therapist be at a disadvantage? Weh happen to the Creole Council What are they doing to make this possible? I guess what’s important is that they have the title of representing the people Specialists are expensive But the ministry must take the initiative They should be training some native If indeed they are thinking progressive National development requires this investment Grenada and Mexico have lots to show With their disability population on the grow They are the future of tomorrow


This week, concerned citizen Russell Roberts bravely spoke out against a pressing issue for ordinary Belizeans: the punitive, barbaric and archaic law that purports to target the real criminals but instead leaves innocent people in harm’s way and risking jail and their reputations on the flimsiest of evidence. No person should be subject to detention and imprisonment without the chance to defend him or herself against the charge. Unfortunately, two recent cases – those of Anwar Zetina, a young Belmopanese who flagrantly violated traffic laws only to be pardoned for his actions, and Reynaldo Verde, a misguided public officer whose last-ditch effort to avoid jail for a gun found on his property found a sympathetic ear in Precinct Two of the Belize City Police Department – show that this right can be abused by those who have more resources and connections. There should never be the appearance of preferential treatment to any Belizean regardless of their social condition or alleged collections. The news is littered with instances of entire families such as the Victoria Street Six and the Meighan family of Banak Street being remanded, and others being jailed for as little as a single round of ammunition on the merest suspicion of their involvement. There is no investigation for these persons as there was for Zetina and Verde. Why?

Police officer detained in Placencia
Why was a police officer detained today in Placencia village? Indications are that the policeman was detained but not charged because he refused to repair a punctured bicycle used in the line of duty.

Lost dogs
A Belmopan resident is asking for the public’s assistance in locating two of his dogs which escaped from his yard on Wednesday afternoon. The Pitbull and a Rottweiler got loose from the yard on Santa Maria Street and the owner believes they may still be around that area of the capital. Anyone with information that could lead the owner to the recovery is his dogs is asked to call telephone number 624-0421. The owner says the dogs are friendly to humans but aggressive to other dogs.

School teacher accused of sex crime
A Belize City school teacher is in the hot seat for allegedly sexually abusing his stepdaughter. Because of the nature of the alleged crime, no names can be revealed; but police say the alleged sexual abuse occurred over a period of time from the child was 7 years old. The now 12 year old girl went to the Belama Precinct 4 station on Wednesday night along with her mother and reported that from 2008 to 2012 (between the ages of 7 and 11), she was sexually assaulted on different occasions by her 51 year old stepfather. The girl says that the alleged abuse happened while she lived at different addresses in Belize City and in Lord’s Bank village. Police say that the 12 year old was checked by a doctor who certified that she was carnally known.

Fishing Report: Dec 29 - Jan 4 , 2014 Report
We had a lot of anglers use spin this week and they found all kinds of fish to target. Norma landed a shark! John landed a 40 lb barracuda! We had several boats prepare shore lunches this week. This takes some time out of the fishing day, but it’s a great experience. The guides cook up what you catch (and yes, they have back up) and the anglers enjoy a tasty fresh hot lunch with fresh tortillas. Yum. Nice going John and Norma.

Channel 7

Police Free Two Tourists Taken Hostage In The West
Tonight, authorities in San Ignacio continue to search for 4 Hispanic men, believed to be Guatemalans after 2 Americans were taken hostage this morning. Police managed to save 18 year-old Kathen Kotay and 22 year-old Manisha Kotay, both tourists originally from the US State of Virginia. It was a race against time, and with the help of the residents of the Cayo District, police managed to foil the plot. Daniel Ortiz was in Cayo today, and he went looking for details: Daniel Ortiz reporting Theo Cocchi embraced her 2 guests this afternoon in front of the police station like they were her family. It was understandable, after all, they did go through a traumatic experience together, and they survived it. The 2 American tourists had made reservations to get a tour of the ATM caves, but because it was closed to the public, they had to make different reservations.

PUP Says Elections And Boundaries Playing Politics, Recall Petition Will Be Taken To Court
Yesterday the Elections and Boundaries Department held a press conference to explain why over three hundred signatures on the Cayo Northeast Recall Petition were rejected. Well, today the PUP had it's reply. And if you thought the party might have been chastened by the various shortcomings that undermined the petition, it was not. Instead the party was angry, saying that the Eelciton office is the one that got it all wrong. The party says it will challenge in court the validate of at least 140 of those rejections:.. Senator Lisa Shoman "We believe that there are atleast and this is our first run through the evidence - 140 signatures of petitioners that ought not to have been rejected." Hon. Francis Fonseca, PUP Party Leader "We reject the finding and conclusion of the Chief Elections Officer. We reject the suggestion that there was no political interference in this matter. We reject the intimidation and threats that have been reported to us that were introduced into the so-called investigation process carried out by the Elections and Boundaries Department and we reject in the strongest possible terms the threat issued by the Chief Elections Officer on behalf of the United Democratic Party government to criminally persecute innocent voters of Cayo Northeast. We view this as a threat to the People's United Party and I strongly advised the Chief Elections Officer to desist from this course of action."

Teachers Get Ready To Rally, Hon. Faber Says, Stay In School
As we reported on Monday, the Belize National Teachers Union plans to start a series of awareness raising rallies to get its membership more actively engaged on a whole host of issues. The first one is set for tomorrow in Orange Walk, which usually means a holiday for school children there. And that's why the Ministry of Education stepped in today, to say "not so fast." The Ministry issued a release this morning saying that no communication about these rallies or the time off has been made to the Chief Education Officer or anyone in the Ministry of Education. The release says quote, "The Ministry expresses strong concern…on the inconvenience to families, unnecessary disruption of classes, and other negative effects on learning by our children and young people that (taking) additional non-school days will cause." End quote. It adds that such rallies and similar events should be planned on weekends when it would not affect school children. The release ends with the reminder that no permission has been sought and none granted.

Guat Foreign Minister Visits: Referendum On Pause, Renewed Effort At Confidence Building
Guatemalan Foreign Minister Fernando Carrerra and a delegation flew into Belize today for a lunch meeting with his Belizean counterpart and his own delegation which included an opposition representative. It's their first meeting of the New Year, which we thought would be the year for the bi national referendum, but it seems the focus is changing. Carrerra and Elrington explained:... Minister Fernando Carrerra, Foreign Minister - Guatemala "In order to start the dialogue 2014 on the right foot, in the right direction in a peaceful manner insist that dialogue is what we are looking for." Jules Vasquez "Will we have a referendum bi-national in 2014?" Minister Fernando Carrerra, Foreign Minister - Guatemala "We are not very sure so far, but definitely what we are going to have is a stronger and better measure of confidence. I think that is what is important today that we started to talk about measures of confidence from the beginning of the year and I think that is going to open the space for that."

Ex Wife Leaves Dentist Knocked Out On The Ground
Tonight, Rafael Gamez and his ex-wife, are facing criminal charges after the couple had a fight which got out of hand and caught the attention of police. San Ignacio Police found the 43 year-old dentist on the ground in an unconscious state in a pool of blood inside his business place, Gamez Dental Clinic. He reported to police that at around 4 o'clock this morning, he and his ex-wife Juana had a fight. While he was dragging her into the street, she managed to grab a knife and she sliced him on the arm. She was detained, and when she was examined by a doctor, it was found that she also had injuries to her body. Both of them are detained, pending charges.

Man Who Stole From Police Coordinator Gets Two Years
25 year-old Robert Young Jr. is spending first night of a 2 year sentence after he was convicted of burglary. The Chief Magistrate found him guilty of burglarizing the home of Douglas Hyde, the Police Department's National Youth Program Coordinator. Young was accused entering Hyde's Hattieville house on September 19, 2012, and he stole an assortment of personal items and government property which amounted to just over seven thousand dollars. Police responded after the burglary, and they were able to lift fingerprints which was sent to be processed and entered into their AFIS fingerprint database. The prints were positively identified as Young's and as a result, police charged him with burglary. He stood trial before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, and after the police witnesses gave testimony against him, he gave sworn evidence that he was somewhere else when the burglary occurred.

What Will Be Belize’s Energy Future?
The Public Utilities Commission has put out what's known as a request for power: it's inviting companies to submit bids explaining how they would provide 75 megawatts of affordable energy to the Belize Electrical Grid. 44 Applications were sent into the PUC and today at BEL, the PUC had a pre-bidding meeting for those applicants. The bids won't be submitted until May 15th and today's meeting was to give them the lay of the land - explain how the process works. PUC Chairman John Avery explained:.. John Avery, Chairman, PUC "This meeting is to clear up some of the questions and issues that potential bidders may have and after this meeting those concerns which need to be addressed, we will meet, we will address them and then we will have to issue new rules or new parameters for the RFP if necessary." Jules Vasquez "How many applications have been received?" John Avery, Chairman, PUC "We've had forty-four expressions of intent to bid. About twenty for solar, a couple for hydro and a mix of other sources including waste to energy, we have quite a good mix of project proposals that we are expecting."

Former Belizean Foster Child Joel Hodgson Becoming An Icon of Perseverance In UK
You may remember the name Joel Hodgson. He's the boy from the Children's Home in Belize who was adopted by a Scottish couple when he was just four and went to live in England. 17 years later he moved to London - and ended up homeless, sleeping on the steps of a British police station. That's when he got a job selling magazines, and 3 years after, his positive attitude and willingness to work earned him a job at a top London law firm. His life was on the up-and-up, and soon after he was chosen to be a torchbearer in the Olympic Torch Relay leading up to the Olympics. Hodgson is now trying to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth games as a representative for Belize. The BBC recently featured his bold attempt and inspiring struggle. You can find a link to that here: But will Joel Hodgson represent Belize at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow Scotland? Well the Belize Athletics Association President Hugh Pinnas Staine has learned that Hodgson is eager to try and qualify in some way to represent Belize. His times in the 400 meter are said to be worthy of consideration.

Channel 5

2 American students are kidnapped; 3 abductors, believed to be Guatemalans, still at large
Two siblings were abducted in the west this morning as they left a resort, but their kidnapping fortunately ended without incident. While unscathed, eighteen year old Kathen Kotay and twenty-two [...]

P.U.P. dresses down the Chief Elections Officer for rejecting the recall petition
The People’s United Party held a press briefing today at Independence Hall to roundly condemn the actions of the Elections and Boundaries Office, which rejected three hundred and thirty-seven signatures [...]

…And introduces disenfranchised voters
As we told you, the P.U.P. came with substance to back up their fire and fury. The party claims that after just a cursory examination, they are prepared to object [...]

Belize and Guatemala Foreign Ministers meet; still no date for referendum
There was a time not so long ago when the Belize/Guatemala referendum on the age-old territorial dispute was a part of daily conversation. All that changed when Guatemala backed out [...]

… But discusses a roadmap for 2014
With all the best intentions and apparent goodwill between both Foreign Ministers, there are still some sticky issues which have led to hostile words and tense moments between countries. One [...]

Guatemalan Foreign Minister speaks on offensive documents and maps
Another sticky issue is the consistent appearance of Guatemalan documents which cast some doubt, at least on that nation’s part, of Belize’s territorial integrity. Just recently, a Belizean delegation to [...]

B.N.T.U. lashes out at Ministry of Education; saying it is trying to sabotage rallies
The Belize National Teachers Union that started the year with a militant tone reacted swiftly today to a release issued by the Ministry of Education. The ministry took issue with [...]

…And says it will proceed with industrial action
So that is where the B.N.T.U. stands tonight…starting at nine a.m. on Friday in Orange Walk Town and in the afternoon in Corozal Town, teachers from the two northern districts [...]

Minister of Education meets with the media on planned rallies by B.N.T.U.
By this afternoon, the Minister of Education Patrick Faber, in a meeting with the media, said that there is absolutely no reason why teachers should be demonstrating on a school [...]

Faber says ministry will not sit by and have union topple efforts of G.O.B.
Faber says that while the ministry is not threatening teachers, it will not sit by idly and watch the efforts of the government be toppled by the union.  FOR VIDEO [...]

Teacher wanted for alleged sexual abuse of stepdaughter
There is heinous crime to report tonight involving a fifty-one year old teacher, who is the stepfather of an alleged abused young girl. A twelve year old is claiming that [...]

Hattieville man convicted, fined and confined for Burglary
Today in the courtroom of the Chief Magistrate, a Freetown Sibun resident was convicted after his fingerprints were lifted from a perfume bottle he came in contact with during a [...]

PUC meets with potential bidders to change dynamics of energy dependency
Belize is looking for energy security and at a lower cost for the next ten years or so. As it currently stands, the national grid requires eighty megawatts of energy. [...]

PUC Chairman says Fortis rights of first refusal for waterways was signed in secrecy
Now, Belize Electric Company Limited operates the Chalillo, Mollejon and Vaca Hydroelectric located in western Belize. BECOL is owned by Fortis, the former Canadian owners of the utility company…prior to [...]

Healthy Living looks at the flu season and Influenza H1N1
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health issued a release cautioning Belizeans about the seasonal flu.  Included in the update was that there was one suspected cases of H-one N-one pending [...]


Elections And Boundaries Reveals Why Signatures Were Rejected For Recall
A press briefing regarding the Recall Referendum Petition for Cayo Northeast was held today in Belize City. As we've reported the petition failed because the People’s United Party came 79 approved signatures short of meeting the threshold. Although being thoroughly condemned by the Opposition, the media and civil society, the dishonored former minister of state Elvin Penner, has not faced any criminal charges for allegedly facilitating a visa for an international fugitive. And today, the final recall petition results show that 5,815 are the total registered electors for that constituency and 2002 signatures were submitted. The threshold that would trigger a recall is 1,744; which make up 30 percent of the electorate. The final statistics reveal that 1,665 signatures were accepted; 52 signatures did not match the petitioners ID, 52 signatures are of those not registered in Cayo Northeast, 52 signatures were not registered, 11 had no signature, 79 petitioners names were submitted twice and 4 signed their names three times which brought the total to 2002. Total rejected signatures were 337 which represent 16.83% of the electorate in the division.

Corozal Police Investigate Burglary And Report Of Aggravated Assault
While Corozal Police continue to investigate the first case of carnal knowledge for that district they are also investigating a burglary and aggravated assault report. First to the burglary report. Fifty five year old Roberto Alvarez, Belizean laborer of Santa Rita Layout, Corozal Town, reported that on the 6th of January 2014 he left his house well secured and upon returning the following day, at around 7:40am he noticed that the padlock on the door was tampered with. Upon entering his home he noticed that it had been ransacked and stolen from the premises were a number of items valued at a total of $46.00. Investigation continues. As for the report of aggravated assault police have detained one person and are looking for another in connection with the incident. Here is what transpired. According to 35 year old Ronaldo Westby of Progresso Village Corozal, on Sunday January 5th, at about 8:00pm, he was walking along with Nestor Heredia, Alex Ken, Matthew Olivera, Nelson Pech and Nigel Cruz, when upon reaching the main street Jose Lopez aka CHEPE and Herzon Lopez rode pass them on separate bicycles.

Case Of Carnal Knowledge Leads To Pregnancy
If our records are right 2014 has recorded its first case of carnal knowledge to be reported to police. And the report comes from the Corozal District. But to make matters worse, the crime resulted in pregnancy. Yesterday, at around 10:35am, a 14 year old minor, accompanied by her mother, visited the station and reported to police that on the 10th of November 2013 she went to the house of a man whom she knows and had sexual intercourse with him. According to the minor, when she missed her menstrual cycle and began feeling sick, she informed her mother that she had sex with a man who has been her boyfriend for the past 8 months. Medical examinations certified that the child is 11 weeks pregnant. Police investigations continue.

Crime And Violence Statistics Released By Police For 2013
Today the police department released the annual statistics for crime and violence for the year 2013. And from what is being reported the overall number of reported crimes in the 12 month period from January to December dropped. There were 46 less homicides committed in 2013 compared to 2012 bringing the total body count to 99. Of note is that when it comes to murders 45 arrests were made, that’s 16 less when compared to 2012. The northern part of the country recorded a total of seven murders, five in the Corozal District and two in Orange Walk. In 2013, the Belize District proved to be the most violent with 58 murders, followed by Cayo with 25 murders. Orange Walk and Toledo were the least violent of all districts with 2 murders each. Burglaries also reduced countrywide with a sum of 890 break-ins reported. Of that number 61 were committed in Corozal and 75 in Orange Walk. The Belize District had the highest number of burglaries with 404, followed by the Cayo District with 155 burglaries.

New Director Of FIU Appointed
News coming out of the Belize Press Office indicates that Eric Eusey, former Commissioner of Income Tax, has been appointed as the new Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), effective January 1, 2014. Eusey takes over Marilyn Williams’. Williams, we understand, gave notice in September 2013 that she would not be applying for a renewal of her contract which expired on the 31st of December 2013, as she intended to go into private practice. Under the Financial Intelligence Unit Act, the FIU is responsible for investigating and prosecuting financial crimes with particular reference to crimes relating to money laundering and terrorist financing. The primary duty of the Director is to ensure the prompt implementation of the recommendations of the G7 Financial Action Task Force and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force to combat money laundering and other financial crimes.

Vendors Complain About Increase In Price On Fruits And Vegetables
Viewers surely heard the following phrase at least once from their mother or doctor, “eat your fruits and vegetables”. It goes without saying that these food groups are key to a well-balanced diet and consequently good health. In fact, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is said to reduce cancer and other chronic diseases as they provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber and other substances vital to health. Reality now is different for many though, if not most of us, as we do not eat nearly as much vegetables and fruits as we need. Part of the reason is plain-many people don’t enjoy eating fruits or vegetables. Another reason is the cost. Prices are often high and fluctuate at certain times of the year as well. What causes this? This is the focus of a three part story we have been working on, trying to find out why the cost of one of the most important part of our diet, vegetables, is unstable. Tonight we take a first look into our investigation. Dalila Ical reports.

Price Of Shrimp Increases, Local Vendors Feel The Pinch
Global Shrimp prices are skyrocketing to all-time highs, amid a disease that's plaguing the three largest prawn producers: Thailand, China and Vietnam and in our region Mexico. The reason behind the global shortage is due to the early mortality syndrome (EMS) spread in aquaculture farms and has its implications to prices. That is the situation here in Belize. Reporter Maria Novelo explored that issue and filed this comprehensive report. Maria Novelo – Reporting Retailers are resisting what is evidently a significant price increase of shrimp and as a result, the local market here in Belize is seeing a reflective shortage of this Cadillac crustacean. While there are seven registered shrimp farms in the country, four of them have an export processing zone status solely for the export market. The other three growers sell on a local level but most of their production gets exported to overseas markets as well. And while the global shortage remains Belize plays a significant role in filling that global demand. According to Secretary of the Belize Shrimp Association, Alvin Henderson, the global shortage is to be blamed for the sky rocketing price and there is no reprieve in sight.

BSI/BSCFA Meet, Is There A Light At The End Of The Tunnel For The Sugar Industry?
Today after much back and forth and back biting representatives of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and the Belize Sugar Industries Limited met to discuss a very important issue, the commencement of the 2013/2014 crop season which has been delayed for more than a month now. While both the miller and the producer have been playing hard ball millions are being lost and most importantly the future of the Sugar Industry is at stake with the current impasse on revenue sharing of bagasse. But there could be a light at the end of the tunnel. Today, as both stakeholders of the industry, along with their lawyers met at the BSI Staff club, the BSCFA presented an interim agreement to BSI/ASR which contains seven pointers. It is the hope of the producer that BSI agrees to the proposals and put an end to the current standoff. Alfredo Ortega- Vice Chairman, BSCFA, Committee of Management “Tuvimos un dialogo adonde le presentamos a BSI un interim agreement adonde queremos firmar así para que podamos entonces presentárselo al canero y de allí ya entonces ya retomar cualquier otro asunto porque ya sabes el inicio de zafra es uno de los puntos fuertes que está viniendo entonces le presentamos a ellos siete puntos adentro de ese interim agreement que se les propuso a ellos para que así entonces una vez firmadas ya podemos lograr otros proyectos.”


Guatemala Officials Want to Work on Confidence Building Measures
Last year, Belize and Guatemala were to hold simultaneously referendum in regards to Guatemala’s claims over Belize. However, that did not happen because Guatemala backed off because of several reasons. But today Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington, met with Guatemala’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Luis Fernando Carrera and his delegation. The goal of the meeting was to design confidence building measures so that a national referendum could be held soon. LUIS FERNANDO CARRERA “We decided to come and pay a visit to our friend here at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the whole commission of the follow ups of the relationship between Guatemala and Belize in order to start a dialogue for this year, 2014 on the right foot, in a peaceful manner and since dialogue is what we’re looking for.” LOCAL REPORTER “Will we have a referendum bi-national in 2014?” LUIS FERNANDO CARRERA “I am not very sure so far but definitely what we are going to have is a stronger and better measure of confidence. I think that is what is important today, that we have started to talk about measures of confidence from the beginning of the year and I think that is going to open space for that.”

Police News: Drugs, Missing Persons, Robbery and Theft
Police officers from Precinct Three carried out a series of searches through Majestic Alley in Belize City on Wednesday. As a result of this operation, 168.5 grams of suspected cannabis was found in an open lot with a further search in the area resulting in the discovery of 131.6 grams of suspected cannabis and a chrome, point 357 live ammunition. All items found were labelled as found property. Police is asking the public to be on the lookout for a missing 13-year-old, a Belizean student of Willows Bank Village in the Belize District. Delita Shanice Roca was reported missing by her mother on Wednesday. According to Delsie Roca, her teenage daughter Delita was last seen on Monday, December 30, 2013 at around 7am in Willows Bank Village. Delita Shanice Roca has dark complexion, is of a slim built, has a narrow face with black puffy hair and weighs about 110 pounds and is four feet five inches in height. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of the young girl is asked to contact the nearest police station.

Minister Faber Appeals To Union on Behalf of Students
In response to the rallies that the BNTU has organized for tomorrow, Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, expressed concern via a press release issued out this morning. Faber told the media that the Union did not inform the ministry about the rally which, Faber says could have been held, on a non-school day. HON. PATRICK FABER “My position is that it is rather unfortunate; as our release states we really believe that because of course of a number of issues but especially because of the rains we lost valuable time in the classroom and I’m sure that teachers will agree to this and so for something like this to be the reason why they would call off school to me is really disappointing and unfortunate, I don’t see any reason. This is a personal view that I have had for so long, why these meetings or these rallies or whatsoever, in case we make the clear distinction that this is not a meeting, this is a rally, why can’t it be done on a Friday or a non-school day if it is they want to make a point and to demonstrate, if they really are wanting to show that concern for the students and for education system. So, I appeal to them like you’ve said they have indicated that it will go on and I know that my appeal won’t necessarily change their mind but I have to make that appeal not only on the part of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports but also on the behalf of the parents and of the managements and of the wider education stake holders for them to be reasonable and for them to understand that this is not a time that we can afford to be missing classes.

Stepfather Accused of Sexual Assault
A minor is accusing her 51-year-old stepfather of sexually assaulting her. The minor, a student of the Buttonwood Bay area in Belize City was accompanied by her mother when they went to the Belama Precinct Four on Wednesday to make the report. According to the child, between the ages of seven and eleven while she was living at various addresses within Belize City including Lord’s Bank area in Ladyville Village in the Belize District, her stepfather, who is a teacher sexually assaulted her. Medical personnel made checks on the minor and found that she was carnally known and has classified her injuries as grievous harm. Police are looking for the stepfather for questioning.

Twenty Two Year Old Stepfather Fondles Teenager
A man is accused of touching his step daughter inappropriately. The minor accompanied by her father told Police that she was awoken when her stepfather began fondling her. The girl told her mother of the incident after which the matter was reported to police. The 22-year-old has been detained pending a charge of aggravated assault of an indecent nature.

Teachers Rally Still On For Friday in Northern Belize
ARTURO CANTUN REPORTING “President of the Orange Walk Branch of the Belize National Teachers’ Union Otilio Munoz says the “teechaz gay u bak” march and rally is still on for tomorrow and plans are underway.“ OTILIO MUNOZ “So, we have the legal permission and ok from the police to go ahead and do that rally for tomorrow. Teachers and school principals have been informed about this movement and the management has been informed as well.” ARTURO CANTUN “How many teachers are you expecting for the rally?” OTILIO MUNOZ “We have a feedback of 95% of the teachers are coming out from their schools tomorrow.” ARTURO CANTUN “In numbers how much does this represent?” OTILIO MUNOZ “It’s more or less over 500.” ARTURO CANTUN “But this morning the Ministry of Education issued a press release in essence stating that teachers of Orange Walk and Corozal do not have permission for a none-classes day. Munoz said despite the letter the march and rally is still on.”

Police in Northern Belize Investigate Cases of Theft
A 37-year-old cane farmer of Libertad Village in the Corozal District has reported to the Police that he had been robbed of a floor jack that was in his garage. According to the farmer, Eiden Romero he had returned from taking his wife to work on Wednesday, in Concepcion Village and upon returning home to do some work on his vehicle he realized the floor jack, valued at 450 dollars was missing. Police is asking the public’s assistance in locating Renan Crawford of Concepcion Village for questioning. Meanwhile a truck driver residing in Corozal Town has reported to police that three HTL brand batteries were removed from his tow head truck that was parked in his yard. The 27-year-old, Luis Marroquin told the authorities that sometime between the hours of 1am and 9pm on Wednesday, January 8, the culprit or culprits entered his yard and removed the batteries valued at $750.00. Police is asking the public to refrain from purchasing stolen goods and should they come across these stolen batteries to report it to the nearest police station.

Estranged Wife Stabs Husband in Western Belize
A stabbing incident reportedly occurred in San Ignacio Town, Cayo District earlier this morning at around four o’clock. Reports indicate that Police in that municipality responded to a 911 call and visited the scene on the George Price Highway directly facing the La Loma Luz Hospital at a Dental Clinic building. At the scene, Police encountered 43-year-old, dentist lying motionless in a pool of blood. After regaining consciousness he informed the Police that he was stabbed by his ex-wife. He received a cut wound to the left upper arm and a small stab wound to the upper chest. Reports tell Love News that Rafael and his ex-wife were engaged in an argument and he was reportedly dragging her on the street. The ex-wife managed to grab a knife and inflicted the cut wounds. He was taken for medical attention to the San Ignacio Hospital where his injuries were classified as harm. Police have detained both persons pending charges.

Gas Station Attendant Robbed in Western Belize
We now join our Cayo correspondent, Elaine Berry for details on an armed robbery that occurred in Western Belize earlier today. ELAINE BERRY “A robbery occurred at the UNO Gas Station in Benque Viejo del Carmen. Love News spoke to the officer commanding the Benque Formation, Superintendent Dinsdale Thompson about the robbery.” DINSDALE THOMPSON “This morning around 10:30, the attendant of the UNO Gas Station here in Benque Viejo Town made a report to the police that he was held up by a single individual with what appeared to be a point 38 revolver while he was at the gas station here in Benque Viejo serving. He was held up at gun point and was relieved of some 1400 Belize dollars. At the time was alone he was dressed in a black shirt and a blue jeans pants of Creole descent. At this moment, we are still carrying out our investigation into this person who the attendant has reported carried out this robbery upon him. That’s what we have so far in relation to the robbery but we are doing our investigation. No arrests have yet been made but we are carrying out our investigation.”

Citizens in Western Belize Help Police Foil Kidnapping of Tourists
Quick response by special constables, villagers of Bullet Tree and the police foiled what from all indications would have been a kidnapping with a demand for ransom for the victims’ release. The perpetrators successfully carried out the first part of their plan when they stalked and eventually held up a white Kia Sportage with its three occupants near the village cemetery. Inside the vehicle were the owner of the Parrots Nest Resort, Theo Cocchi Stevens, and two tourists who were staying at her resort. Reports are that shortly after eight this morning, four Hispanic men, all wearing masks and wielding what appeared to be machine guns, proceeded to carry out their plan. Businesswoman, Mary Cariddi, who was one of the first to be alerted and to respond to the call for help, told Love News how it unfolded. MARY CARIDDI, Special Constable, Cayo District “They were coming out of the other side of the village with the owner and they were held up then and take. They had Theo drive the vehicle because they couldn’t drive because the vehicle kept stalling out. Then they continued on foot and they released Theo, they sent her back with a message saying they wanted seventy five thousand dollars in an hour.”

DPP Will Determine Next Step in Recall Offences
As you heard, seventy nine persons signed the petition twice and four persons did so three times. According to the Recall Representative Act, that is an offence and Tamai says that a file is being prepared of all those individuals who signed the petition more than once for the revision of the Director of Public Prosecution, Cheryl-Lyn Vidal. JOSEPHINE TAMAI “Also that it is an offence under Section 9A of the Recall of Elected Representative Act No. 20 of 2010, to forge a signature on a recall petition and to willfully sign a petition more than once. I must state that any offence under this act is punishable by a fine not exceeding 1000 dollars or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 1 year or to both such fine and imprisonment. On the issue of prosecution, I must say that a file is being compiled for submission to the Director of Public Prosecutions who will advise on a matter of offences.” LOCAL REPORTER “The role of the Elections and Boundaries Office was to verify the signatures and those signatures were up there; the 79 and the 4 petitioners who signed 3 times, yes, they were there more than once, as your record shows but they were there, they did sign on that petition.”


Opposition to Make Legal Challenge on Failed Petition
The People’s United Party is not giving up its effort to recall Cayo Northeast area representative Elvin Penner despite the determination of the Election and Boundaries Department that not enough signatures of registered voters in the division exist to support the petition given to the Governor General in November....

BNTU Rallies Meet Resistance from Ministry of Education
The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) continues to campaign for salary adjustment and as we had reported on Monday’s news cast, BNTU will host a series of rallies every Friday for the month of January starting on the North (Orange Walk and Corozal) this Friday, January 10th. Such rallies,...

Guatemalan Foreign Minister Visits Belize
Today in Belize City Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington hosted his Guatemalan counterpart Fernando Carrera. This time last year the two countries were preparing to launch a campaign leading up to a simultaneous referendum asking citizens whether to take the long-standing territorial dispute between the two to the...

Guatemala Renounces Bad Maps and Incursions
Part of restoring trust and confidence in the peoples of Belize and Guatemala is to remedy two annoying matters for Belize: the odious map that suggests that Belize is part of Guatemala and the constant incursions into the Belizean forests, particularly the Chiquibul. Foreign Minister Carrera issued a strong...

Police and Rescuers Frustrate a Kidnapping Plan In Western Belize
Quick community and policing efforts led to the recovery of two tourists -a brother and sister, who were kidnapped and held for ransom. It happened this morning in the Cayo District. According to Theo Cocchi, owner of Parrot Nest, a hotel situated in Bullet Tree Village, at about 8:00am, she..

The Guardian

Manufacturing in Belize
After many years of trying manufacturing is at last taking off in Belize. Unfortunately, the output of the manufacturing plants is not canned food, powdered milk, bicycles, shoes or any number of other items that have been discussed as possible products for our small population. The plants currently operating have a few well placed sponsors with agendas that are for personal or small group gain and often not in the best interests of Belize. They are concentrating their efforts on manufactured outrage and rumour and have had some success in creating a climate of discontent and resentment. The most well known face of manufactured outrage portrays herself as the lone defender of the rights of citizens against an overweening State, taking on to herself the job more properly done by the Ombudsman. Instead of carful research which weighs all sides she instead parades all cases, acting as prosecuting attorney, in the glare of the media. The public gets an opportunity to hear only one side of the argument and any official response is buried as an afterthought. It may be that the Ombudsman’s office moves too slowly but if people turn to the media and do not report cases of State overreach to his office he cannot be expected to investigate them. Many of the cases being tried in this way involve a bureaucracy that was in any case working to resolve the issue. But the public is left with the impression that the manufactured outrage was necessary to obtain any sort of justice. It is not surprising that the political opposition, which has a history of institutional corruption that siphoned hundreds of millions of public dollars into well-connected private hands, has oiled up its outrage manufacturing machine over the misdeeds of individuals with political connections who may have benefitted from selling an influence they did not actually have. Though corrupt actions must always be condemned there is a huge difference between wrongful acts of individuals and official conspiracies to defraud the public purse.

PUP’s Fraudulent List
The Election’s and Boundaries Department, headed by Josephine Tamai held a press conference in which it explained the serial problems which it encountered while vetting the list of persons who signed a petition to trigger a recall of the sitting area representative of the Cayo North East constituency. The breakdown of the list is as follows: 1665 signatures were accepted, 52 signatures did not match, 52 were not registered in Cayo North East, 52 are not registered at all, 11 had no signatures, 158 signed the petition twice, 12 signed the petition three times all to a total of 2002 which were submitted. The Chief Election’s Officer explained that they received the list on Thursday November 28th after which they had a month in which to verify it and certify those that were legitimate. Their work was to have been submitted by December 28th but because that day was a Saturday, there are provision in which the verified list can be submitted on the next workday which was on December 30th, and they did. Tamai stated that there were 8 senior public officers at the rank of heads of departments and assistant heads of department who headed the process. Included in those conducting the verification was Genoveva Marin from the Forensics Department, her expertise was required for verification of signatures. Tamai said that there were 61 instances in which thumb prints or an X appeared as signatures. In the instances where the thumb prints could not be made out, the assistance of the police was sought and it was determined that even the police could not make out the prints.

Men at Work!!! Violent Crimes Down 35% in 2013
There are several factors that contributed to the significant reduction in crime witnessed in 2013. Those trying to explain the phenomenon may look at the impact that organizations such as Restore Belize, Community Policing Unit, Youth for the Future, Magazine Road Skills Training Center and Crime Stoppers Belize are having in crime plagued communities. However, if you ask the men who were considered by some as “terrorists”, they will break it down for you in the simplest terms. “We are men at work,” a group working on the Lake Independence Boulevard said laughing. It is that simple. Hundreds of young men from Belize City have been busy earning an honest living in the many infrastructure projects being executed by the Belize City Council and the Government of Belize. Violent crimes were down by 35 percent nationally in 2013 due in large part to a 42 percent reduction in the Belize District. Violent crimes are murder, rape, robbery and shooting incidents. In 2012 there were 918 such incidents. In 2013 there were 594. Belize District accounted for 61 percent of violent crimes committed nationally with 562 in 2012. In 2013 there were 327 violent crimes committed in the Belize District, 55 percent of violent crimes recorded nationally. There were 145 murders, 28 rapes, 487 robberies and 258 shooting incidents in 2012. In 2013 there were 99 murders (-32%), 26 rapes (-8%), 296 robberies (-39%) and 173 shooting incidents (-33%). There were 90 murders in the Belize District in 2012 and 58 in 2013, a reduction of 36 percent.

Suspected “Swine Flu” Outbreak in Belize
The Ministry of Health is conducting tests on a number of patients receiving treatment at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for severe respiratory infections that is suspected of being Influenza H1N1. According to a release from the Ministry, over recent weeks there has been a cluster of patients with influenza. Many of those infected were severe cases. There are unconfirmed reports that one of the individual suspected of being infected with the virus died over the Christmas holiday. The Ministry says “As soon as laboratory results are made available we should be able to confirm or rule out if indeed it is [Influenza H1N1].” Tests have been sent to CAREC in Trinidad and Tobago and should return soon. There is no need to panic as experts now know that H1N1 is no more deadly than seasonal influenza. However, the Ministry reminds the public that we are in the flu season. The flu virus is circulating and every person is at risk of catching the flu. One can reduce such risk by simply washing hands frequently with soap and clean water; coughing and sneezing into shirt sleeve and not hands; keeping hands away from your face; keeping common surface areas (such as door knobs, counters) clean and disinfected and limit contact with others as much as possible if infected. The Ministry stresses the importance of visiting nearby health facilities if symptoms are persisting or become more severe.

Newest Belizeans in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
The Guardian Newspaper wishes to congratulate Dr. Adrian Coye, Mr. Rafael Manzanero and Mr. Rodney Harold Neal on their appointment to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Dr. Coye and Manzanero have been appointed by Her Majesty the Queen to be Ordinary Officers of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire. Dr. Adrian Coye receives the appointment for his contribution to medicine. Coye is the Director of Medical Services at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. He is Belize’s first cardiothoracic surgeon and performed the first open heart surgery in Belize on Monday, July 16th, 2012. Rafael Manzanero has been appointed in recognition of his contribution to environmental protection. Manzanero is the Executive Director of the Friends for Conservation and Development and has dedicated himself to the protection of the Chiquibul Forest Reserve. The Chiquibul is the gateway to Belize’s forest and is under sustained pressure due to illegal logging, poaching, illegal agriculture and pillaging of archaeological sites by settlers of some sixty communities on the Guatemalan side of the border. Under Manzanero’s leadership the Friends for Conservation and Development has raised awareness on the importance of and threats facing the Chiquibul Forest Reserve.

Myrtle’s mistakes
She deems herself to be in some level a great statistician and numbers guru and an expert on electoral matters but oh who woefully terribly Myrtle Palacio must feel after the Elections and Boundaries department vetted the list of voters the PUP sent in as petitioners to have Elvin Penner recalled from office. According to the department, the list was fraught with problems, problems which were not limited to persons signing the petition twice or three times. It has other more glaring problems where in instances where fingerprints were to have been put on as signatures, there was just a smudge. Then there were problems where persons did not even sign the petition, yet the names were sent in. Even worse there was one case where a fingerprint was placed on the petition and when the person on the voter's list was contacted, that person categorically stated that she had not place her thumb print. That seems like fraud to us- but that is a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions to proceed on.

Canadian man found murdered in Guatemala
The body 64 year-old Canadian Retiree Brian Townsend, who went missing on Christmas Day, was recovered last week from Guatemala, and his remains have been cremated. It is the conclusion of the worst possible outcome for his family both in Belize and in Canada. Townsend lived in Valley of Peace Village in the Cayo District for 9 years where he did missionary work for the residents. He was beloved by the village because he gave of himself freely to help them during his time there. One of the most significant achievements he made for Valley of Peace was when he led the construction of the Seventh Day Adventist College, which is among the many projects he saw completed in the village. On Christmas Eve, he called his cook and asked her to come in early to cook the Christmas dinner. When she reported to work, she couldn’t locate him, and neither could she reach him on his cell phone. She reported him missing to the police, who responded and found signs of a struggle outside of his house. Missing along with him was a pick up truck, and the officers found a trail of blood which suggested to them that he was either killed or knocked unconscious and dragged to where it was parked. Investigators believe that he was then placed in the vehicle, and his assailants then drove off with it.

Byron Pope captures 24th Annual Krem Radio New Year’s Day Cycling Classic
The 24th Annual New Year’s Day Krem Radio Cycling Classic was held on Wednesday January 1, 2014. The Elite Open/Masters category started at the Belize/Mexico Broader at Santa Elena, while the other categories started at the Town Hall in Orange Walk Town and all concluded at Mahogany Street junction with the Central American Boulvard. In the Elite category, Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes was the first rider to cross the finish line to captured first place when he completed the event in a time of 3:48:11. The second rider to cross the finish line was Carlos Lopez also of Benny’s Megabytes and he was followed by Giovanni Lovell of Telemedia in a time of 3:48:16, and he was followed by Juan Manual Yapur who is unattached and then he was followed by Herman Requena of Team Smart in a time of 3:52:42 to round off the top five finishers in this category. The other top finishers in this category included David Henderson of Benny’s Megabytes in a time of 3:53:47, and he was followed by Jose Eduardo Anguliano-Gonzalez also of Benny’s Megabytes, and he was followed by Manuel Ayala-Balam of Depredadores in a time of 3:53:09, and he was followed by Darnell Barrow of Team Smart in a time of 3:53:15 and he was followed by Gregory Lovell of Telemedia in a time of 3:53:15 to found of the top ten finishers in the 24th Annual Krem Radio New Year’s Day Cycling Classic.

Spoiling for an Argument
As I was about to enter the People’s Store here in Orange Walk Town Friday afternoon past, I heard someone shout out my full name with a sense of urgency. Now I don’t know about you, but when I am addressed by my full name in a high tone I immediately get fretful; the caller is either trying to beg for, or borrow money from me, a commodity that I am always in short supply of. But as I looked around at the gentleman I realized I did not know him, and offered him a warm hello in return, you know, season greetings and all. Without much pause, he continued in his baritone voice, putting a question to me “do you think the UDP will win again in 2017?” At this I decided to proceed very cautiously, since either he was spoiling for an open argument, or, maybe he was a UDP supporter who wanted some reassurance that his Party was in good standing. Since I was unsure which was which, I decided to do some quick wiggling out of this one, and I answered him with a question, “boy, I don’t know what to say, but what do you think?” He hesitated for only a fraction of a second before opining that the United Democratic Party has very good prospects for another victory since the PUP could not even muster sufficient signatures to trigger a recall, even with that threshold being only 30%. I had to agree with his logic on that one. I think that the failed recall is a poor reflection of the PUP’s organizational skills, since they should have submitted at least 2,500 signatures, to cover all possible slips.

Burglar caught red handed in Santa Elena Town in Cayo
A well known burglar who had been operating unimpeded in the Hillview and Santa Cruz Area of Santa Elena Town in the Cayo District since last year has finally been nabbed by San Ignacio Police. San Ignacio Police received a report at 1:25 am on Wednesday of this week of a burglary in progress at Falcon Nest in the Hill View Area of Santa Elena Town. A quick response by the Police led them to a second floor of a building where Nolbert Guzman was discovered hiding behind a bathroom wall in a dark jacket and red warm cap. When Nolbert Guzman recognized that it was the Police, he moved towards the police with a pointed object in his hand and in a stabbing motion. But the Police then responded by hitting Nolbert Guzman with a baton on his knee and arm after which he fell to the ground and was thereupon subdued with handcuffs. A check by the Police with the proprietor of the building revealed that Nolbert Guzman had not been given any permission to enter said building. At this time Nolbert Guzman continues to be detained by San Ignacio Police pending charges of burglary and aggravated assault. His screw driver and metal piece has also been retrieved and deposited as exhibit.

Car Washer Charged with Theft
Kenrick Longsworth, 21-year-old, hustles as a car washer behind the Belize City Magistrates Court but on Monday, January 6th, he was before the court to answer to a charge of theft. 19-year-old Mariani Westby reported to police that on Wednesday, January 1st, she was walking on Douglas Jones Street towards New Road when she was robbed of a tablet valued at $300 and $50 in cash. She immediately reported the matter to police and while she was the station police brought in Longsworth whom she identified as the man who robbed her. Longsworth was arrested and charged with one count of theft. He appeared in the Belize City Magistrate Court on Monday before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. In court, Longsworth was unrepresented and pled not guilty to the charge. Bail was offered in the sum of $1,000 plus one surety of the same amount, which he met. He is due back in court on March 3rd.

Cousin shoots Cousin
Tajah Staine, 19 year-old, and resident of Gladden Street, is receiving treatment at the KHMH after she was shot by a gunman on New Year’s Eve, an assailant who she has told police is her first cousin. That relative has since been remanded for the attack. At around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Staine’s mother sent her on an errand, and while she was on her way out of the yard, a gunman ambushed her and gunned her down right inside her yard. When she fell to the ground, the assailant stood over her and shot her 6 more times to the chest, left shoulder, and left leg. The gunman escaped and left her to die, but fortunately, her mother looked outside the house in time and saw Staine on the ground. She managed to rush her daughter to the hospital, and with the intervention of the medical professionals at the KHMH, she survived the attack. Tajah Staine has told police investigators that it is her 16 year-old cousin who tried to kill her. That 16 year-old was arrested and charged with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, and dangerous harm. He was taken to family court and due to the serious nature of the offences, he was remanded to the Wagner’s Youth Facility until his next court date, which is scheduled for February 4.

Jason Grant Charged for Death of 64-Year-old Patricia Johnson
Jason Grant, 31, appeared in the Belize City Magistrate Court on Monday, January 6th, to face charges of manslaughter by negligence; causing death by careless conduct; driving without due care and attention, driving an unlicensed motor vehicle without third party risk insurance and use of motor vehicle without the consent of the owner. At about 7 p.m. on the night of Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013, police responded to a traffic accident which occurred at the entrance of Bella Vista on the Phillip Goldson Highway. There they met Jason Grant who said he was riding his black Honda motorcycle towards Haulover Bridge when upon reaching Siesta Inn he ran into 64-year-old Patricia Johnson, resident of Bella Vista area. Grant was served with a Notice of Intended Prosecution. Johnson sustained head and body injuries and was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for treatment. However, she later succumbed to her injuries. In court before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, Grant was unrepresented when the charges were read. No plea was taken since the charges are indictable offenses and Grant was offered bail in the sum of $5,000 plus one surety of the same amount.

Haitian caught with a Fake Visa
Hatian National, 37-year-old, Sanon Vertus, was caught with a fake visa at the Phillip Goldson International Airport on Monday January 6th. According to police reports, Vertus arrived at the PGIA on January 6th and Immigration Officer Eldon August escorted him to the Immigration Office in Belize City along with his Haitian passport. At the office, Officer Gilroy Guzman interviewed Vertus and launched an investigation into his passport and visa (#V00076309). Guzman relayed the information to Belmopan and learnt that the visa was fake and not confirmed or printed in Belize. Vertus was charged for being in possession of a false document. He appeared before Magistrate Clyve Lino on Tuesday, January 7th, and pled guilty to the offense. He was fined $1,000.

Man shoots his father
Hensleigh Ryan Jones, 30 year-old, Corozal resident, has been remanded to the Belize Central Prison for allegedly shooting his dad in the head. Corozal Police responded to an incident in Ranchito Village on January 1, and they were informed that it happened at the home of 53 year-old Hensley “Nick” Jones. When they arrived at the house, they found Hensley Jones suffering from 3 gunshot wounds to the head. He told police that his son, Hengsleigh Jones, shot him for no apparent reason. Fortunately, he survived the incident, and he was rushed to the KHMH where the medical professionals were able to save his life. The officers found a .38 special revolver at the house with 5 live rounds inside it, and based on the report from the dad, Hensleigh Jones was charged with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, and dangerous harm. He was arraigned on Friday, February 3, in front of Magistrate Merlene Moody, who remanded him to prison until his next court date, which is scheduled for March 5. In an interesting note, the 3 brothers, Ezekiel, Edwardo And Carlos Hall who were remanded for trying to smuggle contraband from the Corozal Free Zone on Thursday, December 19, are all employees of Hensley and Hensleigh Jones. It was their garbage truck that these brothers used to try to move the goods, pretending that it was just a part of the garbage load. Jones is the owner of the contract to conduct sanitation works in the communities around the Free Zone.

Man Jacked and beaten, dies days later
The family 45 year-old Don Tillett are trying to piece together what happened in the last 6 days which caused the well-known Belize City resident to suddenly die on Sunday night Up until Saturday, he had been hospitalized after Ladyville Police found him on the banks of the Belize River between miles 6 and 7 of the Northern Highway. He had been beaten and left for dead; unfortunate events which occurred after he picked up 3 total strangers trying to give them a lift. On New Year’s Day, he was checking on a house off Central American Boulevard, and while heading back home, 3 men asked him for a ride, which he obliged them to. While he was taking them to their supposed destination, one of the men clubbed him over the back of his head rendering him unconscious. When he woke up, he was in the mud and water, and he crawled to the roadside where he was discovered. He realized that his nephew’s car, his $1,800 cellular phone, and $2,000 in cash were all stolen from him. He was rushed to the KHMH, where he received medical treatment. Due to his collapsed lung, he had to be placed on life support and in an induced coma. He recovered somewhat, and when he regained consciousness; the professionals at the KHMH told him that he was well enough to go home. He was discharged and according to his family, he remained bed-ridden until Sunday night when he had a sudden change in health. His wife realized that his ailments spiked, and though the best efforts were made to save his life, he was pronounced dead at the KHMH. The medical professionals who discharged him have since come under pressure, the family has been requesting that they explain why they felt it necessary to discharge him that early, and why they believe that he was well enough to survive without their care. The KHMH has not given a response to those questions, but the family says that they will press for answers.

Cuban Woman and Son Busted at PGIA with Fake Panama Passports
Nairoby Aleyada Gonzalez Villareal, 53-year-old and her 15-year-old son arrived in Belize around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 7th, on a flight from San Salvador, El Salvador. Immigration officers at the Phillip Goldson International Airport noticed discrepancies between her name on a Panamanian passport she presented and the signature on her arrival form. According to authorities, the woman presented a Panamanian passport to the Immigration Officers as Nairoby Aleyada Gonzalez but signed the form using another name, D. Reyes. For her son, who is listed as Ricardo Daniel Hernandez, she signed as Nairoby Aleyada Gonzalez. What made authorities even more suspicious was in the section for permanent address they wrote Havana, Cuba, which was different from the country that was listed on the Panamanian passports. The officers searched their luggage and found Cuban passports with their photos, name and Cuban identification cards. According to Immigration officials, after they were taken in for questioning the woman said she paid US$3,000 to get the fake passports prepared for her and her son. She was arrested and charged with one count of using a passport not entitled to and one count of assisting a person in using a passport not entitled to. She appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano on Wednesday, January 8th, where she pled guilty to both charges. Magistrate Cayetano ordered Reyes to pay a fine of $2,000 forthwith or spend two years in jail. A removal order requested by Immigration Department was also granted. She was unable to pay the fine by Wednesday evening and was escorted to the Belize Central Prison.

First Two murders down south
Police officers from the Intermediate Southern Formation in Independence Village are investigating the first 2 murders of the year, 2 completely separate chopping incidents which claimed the life of 25 year-old Guatemalan farmer Rene Arturo Perez, and 41 year-old Maria Domitilia Perez, a business owner residing in Benque Viejo Town. The two have no relation to each other. Rene Perez, a banana farmer, was discovered on last week Friday January 3rd by his employer, near to his banana farm in Trio Village on the Southern Highway. The last time the farm owner saw him, he was leaving work for home on Thursday night. Police say that he was seen in the company of an individual they know only as “Donaldo”, and on the next day, Perez’s body was found with multiple chop wounds all over his body.

Significant Upgrade for George Price Highway
On Monday, January 6th, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development signed agreements with two contractors as part of the Belize Road Safety Demonstration Corridor Project. A contract was signed with TEICHROEB & Sons Ltd for Road Safety furniture and delineation. The contractor will be responsible to install safety barriers, Pedestrian crossings, chevron signs, warning signs and delineation - road marking along the 80 kilometer stretch of the George Price Highway from Belize City to Belmopan. A second contract was signed with M&R Construction Ltd. for Resealing of the road. The contractor will be responsible for the installation of road studs, and resealing of the section on the George Price Highway where the running surface is presently of limestone chippings. The Belize Road Safety Demonstration Corridor Project is in line with recommendations made in the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) Belize Report of 2012 and will improve the safety of road infrastructure along the 80 km corridor of the George Price Highway between Belize City and Belmopan. The project was officially launched on March 14th 2013 and is being implemented through a $14,495,000 loan from the CDB with GOB counterpart contribution of $3,191,000. The contracts are for a 12-month period and should be completed by June of 2015.

GOB Assistance to Cattle Farmers
The widespread impact and sustained flooding is described as the worst adversity to have affected farmers nationally and even more severely in the Belize District. Increased and continuous rain combined with the inability of channels to carry off floodwater discharge has resulted in the damage of key agricultural products and areas inundated. The unfavorable conditions have resulted in pasture loss, decreased livestock production as well as increased pest and disease in key local agricultural commodities. In response to the challenges caused by climatic conditions the Ministry of Natural Resource and Agriculture has committed itself to providing assistance in the form of animal feed and some agricultural inputs to severely impacted farmers in highly vulnerable agricultural zones.The planned action was drafted as a result of feedbacks from farm visits, farmer meetings and extensive consultation with national counterparts resulting in an identified and prioritized strategy to help alleviate the existing conditions. The proposed intervention will commence on Saturday 4th January with the provision of cattle feed to livestock producers in the Crooked Tree and Blackburn livestock productive zones. On Wednesday January 8th assistance will be provided to the communities of the Belize River Valley and on Friday January 10th the communities along the old northern highway (Maskall zone).

Eric Eusey Appointed as New Director of Financial Intelligence Unit
Mr. Eric Eusey, former Commissioner of Income Tax, has been appointed as the new Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), effective on January 1, 2014. He takes over from Mrs. Marilyn Williams who had given notice in September 2013 that she would not be applying for a renewal of her contract ,which was due to expire on the 31st December 2013, as she intended to go into private practice. Under the Financial Intelligence Unit Act, the FIU is responsible for investigating and prosecuting financial crimes with particular reference to crimes relating to money laundering and terrorist financing. The primary duty of the Director is to ensure the prompt implementation of the recommendations of the G7 Financial Action Task Force and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force to combat money laundering and other financial crimes.

Liquor License Board holds meeting in San Ignacio Town
A 2014 to 2015 liquor license board meeting was held on Monday of this week at the Center for Employment Training in San Ignacio Town. At this special meeting, bar owners and liquor sellers had an opportunity to share their concerns regarding other bar owners or on why their operations should remain in business. Administrator of the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Board Mrs. Karen Fernandez informed the bar owners on the requirement to pay the Town Council garbage, trade license and Liquor license fees as well as property tax. Fernandez reported that property tax arrears to the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council now stand at one million dollars. The operations of bar owners and liquor consumption has in the past been the subject of frequent discussions within the People’s Coalition of Cayo PCC, which is a police and citizen group working towards the reduction of crime. Also, the recent brawl at a bar at the Cayo Welcome Center that has gone viral on You Tube as well as the recent death of a minor at the hands of another minor in San Ignacio Town has brought the operation of liquor license holders under focus.

New Leader of Oceana Belize
Janelle Chanona, former News 5 anchor and one of the most respected journalists in Belize, has replaced Audrey Matura-Shepherd as the new Vice President of Oceana-Belize. Chanona assumed the post on Monday January 6th, and promises to build on the “incredible foundation” that Matura-Shepherd has left. Chanona says her first order of business is to meet with allies and supporters in order to “make plans for the next steps needed to win more campaigns for Belize and our reef." She is a graduate of St. Johns College in Belize, of Loyola College in Baltimore, U.S.A. and she received a Masters degree with distinction from Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom. Chanona has produced documentaries for several environmental groups in Belize and looks forward to continue championing Oceana’s three ongoing campaigns in Belize: the ban of offshore drilling, protecting juvenile fish stocks and the ban on gill net fishing. Oceana CEO Andrew F. Sharpless says Chanona “has the right combination of skills and passion to be an excellent leader and to help Oceana win policy victories that protect Belize's amazing barrier reef and its marine resources." Sharpless may also be comforted by the fact Chanona is unlikely to continue the confrontational style of the former firebrand executive. Chanona says, “I really plan on bringing my own brand to the organization.” Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world's oceans.

Rains have major impact on farmers across Belize
The incessant rains since September of last year has placed at risk many agricultural crops across Belize. Too much rain has destroyed onion seedlings on the saturated ground and has also destroyed some potatoes. Likewise the production of RK beans in Belize will be very poor this year because of the sporadic rainfall. Farmers can take some measures to protect small crops from the rain such as building green houses with covered structures. But that measure is out of the question for such crops like corn and beans, which are normally produced in large quantities for economic sustainability. Additionally, while the preceding months have brought much rain there could also be an unpredictable long periods of dry as well. While crops have been lost, the Belize River Valley Area, where beef production is concentrated, is also being affected by the rains. The flooding of the Belize River soaks up the pastures of the livestock in the Belize River Valley and with the receding of the waters exposes grass and other plant matter to recurring dry periods, placing the food source of cattle to scarcity.

Belize now holds seat on UNESCO
In November 2013, UNESCO’s General Conference was held in Paris, France at the UNESCO Head quarters. Yours truly, the Secretary General of Belize attended the conference. This conference is held every two years in Paris. There were a number of official elections and many resolutions that were passed including the UNESCO’s budget for the next year. One of the most important elections was to be a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO. The Executive Board is the Governing body of UNESCO. Since Belize became a member of UNESCO in 1982, she has never served on the Executive Board. I therefore submitted Belize’s name for election and lobbied the member states for their vote. Of the 146 Countries that voted in the election, Belize received 132 votes. Only Trinidad and Tobago received more votes than Belize in the CARICOM Group of Countries (Group 111). This is historic for Belize and is a very high privilege to be serving as a member of the Executive Board. We want to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ambassador’s Office in Paris, the Ministry of Education, Youth & Sports, the Central American Countries (GRULAC), and the CARICOM Countries and Secretariat for all their help in supporting this move by Belize to be a part of the election and also winning a seat on the Executive Board. Thank you. Submitted by Rev. Dr. Rudolph Anthony Secretary General UNESCO, Belize

Year in Review 2013 Part II
July Although the Government has had a formidable challenge in fighting crime, its persistence in implementing programs to keep the incidents of crime down paid off by the middle of 2013. In July, the Ministry of National Security released the crime statistics for the period of January to June 2013 and the numbers are reflective of a significant decrease in crime across the country. The statistics showed figures for murder, rape, robbery, burglary, theft and carnal knowledge. With the exception of theft and carnal knowledge, there has been a reduction in every other one of the crimes. As compared to the first half of 2012, there has been a reduction in the numbers of murders from 75 to 59 up to the end of June this year. Similarly rapes have gone down from 18 to 12; robbery from 242 to 135, and burglaries from 547 to 468. Showing slight increases are thefts which went up from 469 to 473, and carnal knowledge cases from 22 to 41. Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar believes the figures are encouraging and prove that new policing strategies implemented in Belize City, which include the precinct system which has increased community-based initiatives is contributing to the decrease in crime statistics. He added that this coupled by increased employment generated by the Belize City Infrastructure programs and the Southside Poverty Alleviation Program has also assisted in the crime reduction. Congratulations are in order for the Police Department, the Ministry and the Minister as they are proving that with a new outlook and guided vision, crime can be reduced in Belize.

National Primary schools football championship this Friday
The 2013-2014 National Primary Schools Football Championships will be played this coming Friday January 10, 2014, at the MCC Grounds. The Official Opening Ceremony is scheduled to commence at 8:30 am immediately followed by the first game in both the boys and girls competition. The National Primary Schools Football Championship will feature the champions in both the boys and girls category from all 6 districts in the country. The following are the representatives of the six districts:

Police United blanks FC Belize to stay in playoff hunt
The Premier League of Belize Opening Season for the Belikin Cup is fast coming to an end with the regular season ending this weekend. However, the competition continued over the last weekend with three games on the schedule. On Sunday January 5, at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, the visiting Verdes FC and the host team the San Ignacio United FC played to a 2-2 draw. The home team San Ignacio United was the first to get onto the scoreboard when Joel Guzman scored the 1st goal of the game in the 30th minute of play to give his team an early 1-0 lead. The lead was further increased when Carl Vasquez scored his team 2nd goal of the game in the 35th minute of play for a 2 -0 lead. The first half of the game ended in favour of the San Ignacio United. It was not until the second half of the game that the visiting Verdes FC made it onto the scoreboard when Marlon Meza scored his team’s 1st goal of the game in the 73rd minute of play via a penalty that was able to cut the deficit in half. The Verdes FC offence continued on its onslaught of the San Ignacio United defence and was able to penetrate its defence once more when Richard Jimenez scored the equalising goal in the 83rd minute of play to tie the score at 2-2.


Beach Therapy
The wind was not so bad today but once again the rain has returned and has been coming down in buckets off and on. By the end of the day the weather had finally shifted and the sun even came out for a short while. Tacoboy did mention this morning that the cold front was supposed to be on it’s way out. I sure hope he is right, I realized I am long overdue for some beach therapy as I was choosing pictures for this post. While Belize is not generally known for long wide stretches of beach like the ones in Mexico, there are still some really nice beach areas as you will see in my pictures below. On Ambergris Caye we have soft while sand, our beaches are public and for the most part docks are too but some do have private locked gates. Generally people do not thrown down their towels ‘lay on the beach’ but you will find people enjoying hammocks and lounge chairs at most resorts. People tend to come to Belize come more so for the Caribbean Sea and the reef.

Paint or Be Painted: 2014 Carnaval in San Pedro – Fun Photos & Selfies
ANOTHER fantastic time to visit Belize, if JUST for the photos: CARNVAL. Carnaval, San Pedro’s celebration before Catholic Lent begins, is a very unique and totally fun town tradition. The holiday is known mostly for “Comparsas” or parading groups that cross-dress & dance and PAINTING. Why let towns like Rio and New Orleans have all the fun with Mardi Gras time? Lots and lots of painting. Kids and adults running through the streets painting and be painted. My favorite picture that I took in 2011 – needed no enhancement. Just last year, the event seem to get a bit better organized and promoted by the Town Council. They have an official facebook page with lots of pictures and some write-ups that do a good job of describing this tradition that, I think, only takes place on Ambergris Caye.

Global Ocean Conservation’s New face in Belize
Oceana, the world’s largest environmental organization focused solely on protecting oceans, has appointed a new head of operations in Belize, and according to the Lodge at Chaa Creek’s Natural History Centre manager, the global organisation has made an excellent choice. Janelle Chanona, a former Belizean news reporter and anchor is now the new face of Oceana Belize, and, joining a large group of celebrity supporters, will make an effective advocate for protecting Belize’s Great Barrier Reef, its hundreds of small islands and Caribbean coastline, according to Chaa Creek’s Brion Young. “When we recently heard the news we immediately thought that Janelle was an excellent choice,” Mr Young said, “She is known to many Belizeans and has an international education that makes her a perfect choice for thinking globally while acting locally,” he added.

Barbara's Spicy Chili
I've test tried so many recipes for Chili in the past and they always came out awful. Finally my children and I decided to wing and make up our own recipe and the end result is this awesome delectable dish. This is a crowd pleasing spicy, full bodied dish that is sure to satisfy on a cold winter's day.

“Come On In” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
It was another chilly morning when I got up shortly after 05.00 hours yesterday. In fact I would go so far as to say it was cold. Well it was cold to me. I ventured out on to the veranda (the eastern one on the first floor for a change) but scuttled back in to the house – too chilly (cold) for me- and had my first mug of black coffee for the day there. Oh, and I browsed The Times online and picked up on my In Box before turning my attention to start to ‘knock out’ yesterday’s edition of the blog. Rubio arrived shortly before 06.45 hours (told you he is ‘keen’) and he had got all of the tools out of the store room/garage before Moses, Pablo and Mike had arrived (all of them arriving before 07.00 hours). I then showered, shaved, brushed my teeth and got dressed (with an even thicker sweat top than the previous day) and made the drive to ‘Town for breakfast at -yes, you guessed it – Estel’s where I had virtually the pick of the tables (the drop in temperature obviously deterred people from eating outside). I finished my breakfast and had just started selecting photos for the edition I was working on when I heard “Excuse me but are you John Henry that does the blog?”. I turned to the side and responded that I was and I wasn’t. Confused (you I mean, not me)? I explained that although I use the name Johnhenry my real name is (just) John. The addition of Henry being in memory of Dad whose name was John Henry.

The FDA ruled that ractopamine was safe and approved it for pigs in 1999, for cattle in 2003 and turkeys in 2008. As with many drugs, the approval process relied on safety studies conducted by the drug-maker — studies that lie at the heart of the current trade dispute. The drug, ractopamine hydrochloride, is fed to pigs and other animals right up until slaughter and minute traces have been found in meat. ref Pharmacologically, it is a beta-adrenergic agonist. It is the active ingredient in products known as Paylean for swine and Optaflexx for cattle, developed by Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly and Company, for use in food animals for growth promotion. Ractopamine aka Paylean and Optaflexx has been banned in the European Union, mainland China and Russia, citing concerns about its effect on human health, limiting U.S. meat exports to key markets. Some U.S. food companies also avoid meat produced with the feed additive, including Chipotle restaurants, meat producer Niman Ranch and Whole Foods Markets. The FDA ruled that ractopamine was safe and approved it for pigs in 1999, for cattle in 2003 and turkeys in 2008. As with many drugs, the approval process relied on safety studies conducted by the drug-maker — studies that lie at the heart of the current trade dispute.

Vicitmized by the Vega Family
I am re-sharing this from a friend of mine. This is a classic case of bullying because you can and your family is in Government so you think you are untouchable. Let it be known by me, Elisa Awe Guerra, that my husband (Carlos Aurelio Guerra) was TODAY Jan 8th, 2014 on his BIRTHDAY, TAKEN OUT of his house valued at more than $400,000.00 with his family of 8 persons varying from ages 23 to 3 months. My husband owed Eduardo Vega and Alma Guerra Vega ( his sister) the total amount of approximately $55,000.00 . So sad to say that the Vegas did not want to accept the payment or other properties for the money owed to them. They just wanted the HOUSE and for us to get out. We strongly assure that they have been advised by his faithful Dog SHREK and the Bruja LAMBISCONA. This has been a POLITICAL VICTIMIZATION since I contested the last Town Council elections in Benque as a PUP candidate and topped the votes in my group and want to bring me down politically.

International Sources

Retiring in Sanctuary Belize: Tarnished Dreams
Writer Bashes "Sanctuary Belize" Project. As many of you know, I've been executing on a long-term dream of first creating a vacation home, then retiring in Belize. I've been putting some rigor into the effort to make sure the perception of the dream doesn't outpace reality. I've often been brought in on projects (like Zune) that should have been shut down early, largely because executive staff had lost track of reality. I don't want to make the same mistake with this important project. My wife and I just spent 10 days in different parts of Belize, and we asked a lot of questions. We did see some improvement, but there seems to be a recurring theme there of developments that fail, and the place we chose appears to be on a similar path. So, we're putting a temporary hold on our efforts there until and unless things improve. I'll fill you in on that and close with my first product of the week for 2014. Choosing a Place to Retire One thing you need to consider is that you'll become less mobile as you age, and you'll need more medical attention. In addition, you'll be on a fixed income and you'll want to stretch your savings as far as possible. From an economic standpoint, Belize is still ideal with low or no taxes on income or property. Violent crime remains low -- which is important because you become increasingly vulnerable -- and labor is low, so you can hire the help you'll increasingly need. All of these appear to be in place in Belize and haven't changed. However, there are other areas that also need focus.

Surprise winner in frontier debt last year
Which was the best performer in emerging bond markets last year? The sector had a pretty torrid year overall, with sovereign dollar bonds finishing 2013 almost 7 percent in the red. But there were exceptions. The best returns were to be had – hold your breath — in little-watched Belize, a member of JPMorgan’s NEXGEM frontier debt index. Someone who bought Belize debt at the start of last year would have been in the money, with gains of 50 percent, though the returns were in fact down to the restructuring of Belize debt early last year. Second on the list was Argentina, despite court wranglings over hold-out funds from the country’s 2002 default. Just as frontier stocks outstripped emerging stocks in 2013 (Bulgaria was top dog in that index), the NEXGEM index as a whole outperformed emerging debt, enjoying returns of 5 percent last year. Interestingly, the top 10 also included Ecuador, Jamaica and Cote d’Ivoire, three other countries that have been in default in the recent past.

Fortis Inc. Announces Closing of $1.8 Billion Offering of Convertible Debentures Represented by Instalment Receipts
Fortis Inc. (TSX:FTS) ("Fortis" or the "Corporation") announced today that its direct wholly owned subsidiary, FortisUS Holdings Nova Scotia Limited (the "Selling Debentureholder"), has completed the sale (the "Offering") of $1,800,000,000 aggregate principal amount of 4.00% convertible unsecured subordinated debentures of the Corporation represented by instalment receipts (the "Convertible Debentures"). The Offering includes a bought deal offering (the "Public Offering") of $1,594,000,000 aggregate principal amount of Convertible Debentures underwritten by a syndicate of underwriters co-led by Scotiabank, RBC Capital Markets, TD Securities Inc. and CIBC, and including BMO Capital Markets, National Bank Financial Inc. and Desjardins Securities Inc. The Offering also includes the sale of $206,000,000 aggregate principal amount of Convertible Debentures to certain institutional investors on a private placement basis. In connection with the Public Offering, the underwriters have been granted an over-allotment option to purchase up to an additional $239,100,000 aggregate principal amount of Convertible Debentures, at the offering price, within 30 days from the date of closing solely to cover over-allotments, if any.

Get Romantic At Belize’s Hamanasi Resort
If you’re searching for a romantic getaway for your honeymoon or, perhaps, a unique place to hold your wedding, Belize’s Hamanasi resort may be the place for you. Located near the village of Hopkins on 21 acres of coastal forest, Hamanasi gives you the best of both worlds, featuring beach activities, reef exploration, and cultural adventure for those who want to venture inland for frolicking and fun. In addition to five-star amenities, Hamanasi has an a la carte menu of romantic perks, including couples massages, video to record your nuptials, and a private beach setting on a night you specifically choose. Cuisine Hamanasi resort has a smorgasbord of scrumptious Caribbean-inspired fare for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Whether you prefer seafood, chicken, or beef, Hamanasi has a variety of dishes to satisfy. Looking for a light snack? There’s always ceviche, chips, and salsa to curb your appetite until you’re ready for the main entrée.

Belize Arrest Shows Once-Mighty Guatemala Narco Clan Still Alive
The heir to what was once one of Guatemala's premier drug trafficking organizations has been arrested in Belize, illustrating both the diehard nature of the region's "transportista" groups and the role of this often overlooked corner of Central America in the drug trade. Adolfo Eribel Rodriguez Barrientos was arrested in Belize by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), reported Emisoras Unidas. Following the arrest, police and prosecutors launched a series of raids on properties in Guatemala linked to Rodriguez, who now faces a US extradition order. According to Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla, Rodriguez had taken over drug trafficking operations once run by Jorge Mario Paredes Cordoba, alias "El Gordo," who was arrested in Honduras in 2008 and then extradited to the United States.

Un”belize”able Belize: A Day at Rendezvous Caye
Our first destination of call during our Royal Caribbean cruise this past Christmas was to Belize. After exploring Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras, Belize has been on my wish list for quite some time and unfortunately I’d only get a taste of this un”belize”able place (as the tour operators rightly called Belize). But a taste was enough to whet my appetite and understand why so many tourists are flocking to the amazing English-speaking cayes (small islands) off the coast of Belize. By far the largest attraction in Belize is her beautiful, vibrant barrier reef. Belize boasts 190 miles (300 kilometers) of the 560-mile long (900 kilometers) of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System which is the second largest barrier reef in the world spanning from Cancun on the northeast tip through the Riviera Maya and up to Honduras. Most people come to Belize to enjoy the diverse scuba-diving and snorkeling activities afforded by the reef, however, there are many other fabulous things to do and see in Belize. Belize hosts her own share of noteworthy Mayan ruins, adventure sports and amazing wildlife.

The beaches here in Placencia have crystal clear water and warm Caribbean water. While these beaches may be a bit less “manicured looking” vs. beaches in Mexico, the sea life and total lack of crowds give it a cool vibe all of it’s own. Here is an amazing before-and-after look at what it takes to maintain the beaches among the think jungle that grows right up onto the beaches in Belize. This blog is also a great travel resource written by an American-owned Belize adventure travel company. It’s easy to see lots of sea life in the water right from the beach… picture walking down the beaches with hands full of starfish! There is something special about these beaches, as people return here again and again; year after year or even a few times a year! The weather is best from December – June, or their dry season, but really year-round the weather is quite good. Bonus for going in summer months, or the rainy season, is that it’s also lobster season!

January 9, 2014


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Specials and Events

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

Wanted man, Edly Atherley could be in Belize
Eldy Atherley, a 29- year old US citizen with Belizean relatives, is wanted by San Bernardino, California USA police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the murder of his wife, Ashley, 28 years old. Reports from San Bernardino Police stated that Ashley’s body was found on Sunday, December 1st. Atherley who was charged on a warrant with the homicide of Ashley, had already fled by the time police discovered the scene. Atherley is suspected to have fled the area but could be in either California, Florida or Belize where he is known to have friends and relatives. Ashley was found with her throat slit, and she had been stabbed and badly beaten. According to reports from Ashley’s family, Atherley was a possessive and abusive husband who had a history of abusing his wife, including a charge for domestic violence in 2008. However, he was released after Ashley refused to press charges. The couple had been married for seven years and had two young daughters, who were not at home at the time of the murder. The couple was in the process of separation due to Atherley’s violent behavior. “He isolated her from most of her family. We begged Ashley to come home before something bad happened, but it was too late,” said Ashley’s mother, Lucia Roble.

Government of Belize to improve road saftey
The Government of Belize through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, in keeping with the long-term Vision for improvement in road safety, that through an integrated and comprehensive approach, together with demonstrated respect between all road users, the frequency and severity of traffic collisions (road trauma) is reduced, is pleased to announce the award of contracts to TEICHROEB & Sons Ltd for Lot 2 (Road Safety furniture and delineation) and M&R Construction Ltd for Lot 3 (Resealing). The Belize Road Safety Demonstration Corridor Project is a first step in developing a comprehensive and long-term road safety strategy. The project was officially launched on 14th March 2013 and is being implemented through a BZ$14,495,000 loan from the CDB, and GOB counterpart contribution of BZ$3,191,000.

Ambergris Today

Belize Sailing Association National Championships
11 year old Trent Hardwick is the New National Champ in Youth Sailing - Belize City. Jan. 6, 2014 - Trent Hardwick of the Belize Sea Scouts (BSS) emerges as Belize Sailing Association’s National Champion in the Optimist Class after 2 days of tough sailing over the weekend. With variable weather that saw mostly north westerly winds between 15 and 3 knots in front Birds’s Isle, sailors used mostly light wind techniques and risky strategies. The smaller sailors had an obvious advantage but experienced sailors still topped the races with better technique. Here are the other top finishers: Antonio Ricardez, Jr. of the Belize City Sailing Club (BCSC) took 2nd place, silver and Christopher Young of Corozal Bay Sailing Club (CBSC) took the 3rd place bronze. The other Top 10 finishers were: 4th, Nashira Ricardez of BCSC; 5th, Isaac Ritchie of Placencia Sailing Club (PSC); 6th,Tyler Garbutt of PSC; 7th, Carlos Villatoro of PSC; 8th, Wilson Rivera of PSC; 9th, Jazmin Campos of CBSC, and 10th, Carla Lopez of PSC.

San Pedro's Person of the Year 2013 Alfonso Castillo
Mr. Castillo hails from Pomona Valley Stann Creek and became a friendly face in Ambergris Caye when he arrived on the island in 1995 and became manager of the Belize Bank San Pedro Branch. It was at this time that he created both business and personal friendships and established himself as a prominent businessman and resident of the island. It was in the year 2000 that Mr. Castillo ventured as an entrepreneur and opened Castillo’s Hardware in San Pedro Town. His flourishing business saw the construction of the now large Do It Best Castillo’s Hardware building in 2002 and consequent larger storage facilities just south of town. His love for San Pedro grew throughout the years as he came to see the island develop into the tourism mecca that it is today. The community has seen his business prosper and has come to trust and depend on his services and products that help develop the island. In return Mr. Castillo has given back tremendously to his customers and even more so to the residents of Ambergris Caye. Mr. Castillo is a generous man and never rejects assisting in community events and endeavors; he donates to local non-profit groups like the San Pedro AIDS Commission, Cancer Society, Lions Club, supports schools and schooling events, sponsors major events like the International Costa Maya Festival and has been sponsoring Miss San Pedro candidates since 2001.

Misc Belizean Sources

A STORY OF SUGAR FROM A SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE. This is a compilation of the history of the sugar cane industry in Corozal. We have at best made every effort to be accurate on the information compiled. It is an important part of Corozal’s history. The closure of the Libertad Sugar Factory in 1985 created extreme hardships for the Northern region of Belize, particularly the Corozal District where the Libertad factory was located. The direct impact of this factory closure was a severe job loss. This resulted in thousands of Belizeans, mostly Corozaleños, to migrate to the United States of America and Mexico. A lot of these farmers and their families began to lose their homes and lands as security to the local banks. Many Asian merchants began picking up these foreclosures at rock bottom prices. Sugar cane production has been in the jewel as early as the 1800’s. Perhaps only the norteños knew its economic and social development in Corozal for the most part. Between the Spanish conquest and 1848, the Corozal region was virtually uninhabited. The British were interested only in its timber resources which depleted soon after, and in turn forced them to venture into sugar cane production. In 1857, a hundred barrels of sugar produced in British Honduras were sent from Belize to Liverpool. During these early years sugar cane was planted, much by small growers in rural Corozal. During the 1860's several British investors established sizeable estates in the Corozal region which, in contrast to the earlier mestizo haciendas, may be referred to as plantations. During the 1870's and 1880's these estates gave the haciendas serious competition.


Health Ministry Cautions Public on Influenza
Currently there are a few patients being managed at Karl Heusner with severe respiratory infections that we suspect could be H1N1.

More Hard Core at San Marcos!
(9 photos)

Gomez Highlights 'Unknown Belize'
Gomez must know by now that people the world over come to visit him at the Green Iguana Conservation Project. Fox News Travel just ran a great article about Belize, and Gomez is one of the stars. There's a lot about the Maya, and Cayo too. Since when is Belize 'unknown?' "Some of the ancient sites, like Cahal Pech and Altun Ha, are easy to get to, but others, like Caracol and Lubaantun, set amidst gorgeous, lush tropical jungle, are far enough off the beaten track that when you arrive, you have that awesome Indiana Jones-like feeling of discovery that makes the effort well worth it. For a real adventure, book a trip to Caracol on a Polaris utility vehicle through Mystic River, a superb, off-the-grid jungle resort located right on the Macal River outside San Ignacio."

Blues Workshop with Tabby Johnson
Tabby Johnson held a blues workshop at the Soul Project while she was touring Belize. She had a sold out show at the Soul Project in December, and it was fantastic. Safe journeys back to Canada, Tabby!

Men and Marriage – What’s the problem nowadays?
Are Belizean men running away from marriage? Read this opinion piece and then be sure to share your thoughts on the issue.

Esperanza community centre repair nears completion
Repair work on the Esperanza Community Centre is nearing completion. A check of the facility today found workmen completing plastering on the back section and preparing to commence the new ceiling. In addition to the complete roof replacement, the contractor says that a new indoor bathroom has been built. The contractor says there was a minor setback caused by the inclement weather and rains over the last few weeks; but he expects that the project will be completed by the middle of February. In the meantime, the community PreSchool which is housed in the Centre is being temporarily accommodated in a nearby building.

Penner Recall Petitition fails; signatures did not add up
The Election and Boundaries Department this morning hosted a press conference to explain the reasons why the attempt to recall the Honorable the member for Cayo Northeast Mr. Elvin Penner was not successful. According to statistics released by the Election and Boundaries Department today, there are 5,815 registered voters in Cayo Northeast. The People’s United Party (PUP) aspirant in the area Mr. Orlando Habet submitted 2,002 signatures on the petition to the Governor General to trigger the Recall Mechanism. In the breakdown offered by the Election and Boundaries Department 1,665 of the signatures were accepted during the verification period. 53 signatures did not match those on file at the Election and Boundaries Department. 52 signatures were rejected because the person is not registered in Cayo Northeast. 52 signatures were rejected because they are not registered voters.

The Barrier Reef from in Belize
VIDEO,’s Kat Lonsdorf explores Belize by boat to learn about the barrier reef.

Suspected H1N1Cases Being Monitored
The Ministry of Health says it is monitoring cases of severe respiratory infections that could be H1N1 which is also called swine flu. A press release issued today from the Ministry of Health says that in recent weeks there has been “a cluster of patients with influenza.” Laboratory tests are being conducted to determine whether the cases being managed at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital are the H1N1 strain of the influenza virus. The Ministry says that since Belize is in the flu season, the flu virus is in circulation and advises Belizeans to practice hygienic measures designed to prevent the spread of the flu virus.

Channel 7

Finally: Sweetness and Light In Sugar Industry, Date For Season Opening In Sight
Tonight, there is palpable relief in the Sugar Industry after a positive meeting between the cane farmers and the factory owners which finished an hour ago. At the end of the meeting at the BSI Staff Club in Orange Walk, the Vice Chairman of the BSCFA’s Committee of Management and BSI Representative Belizario Carballo declared to the media waiting outside that the crop may start on January 16, if the farmers and ASR agrees to a new proposal which they discussed today. Belizario Carballo - CFO, BSI "Both sides expressed mutual interest to getting on with the crop, and I think that this is hopefully what will drive us. We know that the conditions aren't ideal. We know that we will be starting the crop under very difficult road conditions, but clearly, we have to make a start, and time is not in our favour. Certainly, we are hopeful that we can start the crop within a short period of time. We have tentatively been discussing the possibility of starting January 16, next week Thursday. Hopefully, we will be able to agree on that."

One Dead From Influenza, Four Others Being Treated
One person has died from a severe strain of influenza, and four more persons are being treated for acute respiratory distress at the KHMH. Technical personnel from the Health Sector held a major meeting this morning in Belize City to review the cases to see if a pattern of infection is apparent. They have concluded it is a flu virus, possibly an advanced strain of the influenza that hasn’t appeared in Belize so far. No one will know for certain what strain of influenza it is until test results come back from CARPHA in Trinidad on Friday. Those test samples were extracted from the first victim who died at the KHMH over the Christmas holidays from acute respiratory distress. That victim tested positive for influenza in an influenza rapid test, which is done in Belize. Today the Ministry of Health sent out a press release saying that quote, “over the recent weeks there has been a cluster of patients with influenza.” It adds, quote, “Currently there are a few patients being managed at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital with severe respiratory infections that we suspect could be H1N1.”

Elections And Boundaries Says PUP Submitted Sloppy Petition
As we reported last week, the PUP recall petition for Elvin Penner in Cayo Northeast was rejected. The party came 79 approved signatures short of reaching the 30% threshold needed to trigger a recall. Since then, the elections and boundaries office has come under heavy criticism from the PUP for playing politics. Today the Department held a press conference in Belize City to defend its work, and explain why they had to write off over 300 signatures. Jules Vasquez reports: Jules Vasquez Reporting These are the signatures that 50 staffers, including 8 very senior public officers pored over between November 28 and December 30th. They worked right through the holidays and found that 1665 signatures were acceptable, 523 signatures did not match, 52 were not registered in Cayo Northeast, 52 were not registered at all, 11 of the petitions had no signature at all, and 79 petitioners signed twice while four signed three times:

KKK In "The Hood"
Many Belizeans probably aren’t familiar with the Klu Klux Klan, or the KKK, but in America it is one of the most well known and widely despised racist organizations promoting white supremacy. It has a terrifying history of violence against African Americans and other ethnic groups. Now, you’re probably saying what does all that have to do with my evening news, right? Well, it turns out that a former KKK Imperial Wizard – which is the national head, or the equivalent of the President of the Klan is a resort owner in Belize. Bill Wilkinson who headed the Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan from 1975 to 1983 is the owner of the Seven Seas Resort on San Pedro. We called him today to ask him about his past and the Louisiana native told us it’s quote, “a bunch of baloney.” He said he’s been here for 27 years now and is 71 years old. When we pressed him, he said “all that stuff”, as he called it, happened 35 years ago. He said he’s just trying to live his life out peacefully, and he will stand on his record on San Pedro where he interacts with all kinds of people. He said, quote, “they all know me and we get along.” That seems to imply some sort of live and let live approach after being the head of a white supremacist organization 30 years ago. Wilkinson told us, quote, I’ve made a clean break from anything that I was” end quote.

Cuban Mom And Son Busted With Bogus Panama Passport
53 year Deysi Reyes Avila, a mathematics teacher from Cuba, is at the Belize Central Prison tonight after she flew into Belize along with her son using fake passports. Avila and her 15 year-old son arrived at the PGIA yesterday at 5 p.m. from San Salvador, El Salvador. They produced Panamanian passports to the Immigration officers at the arrival section of the airport. With just a cursory inspection, you wouldn’t not know that these passports are fake. The Cubans almost did pass through Belize Immigration, but they made a huge mess while trying to fill out the forms which every passenger has to fill out and hand in to Immigration. On the fake Panamanian passport, Reyes Avila had her name as Nairoby Aleyda Gonzalez, but when she signed the form she placed D. Reyes as her name. On the fake passport for her son, he was listed as being Ricardo Daniel Hernandez, but when she signed on the bottom, she slipped up once more, and signed her actual name on the document. One final but major slip up that they made was that in the permanent address section, they both placed on the document that they lived in Havana, Cuba. That’s a completely different country than what was listed on the Panamanian passports.

FIU Director Moves Unto Pvt Practice; 50 Case Files, Penner Included, Still Open
The Financial Intelligence Unit has been much in the news recently with its investigation into Elvin Penner after the Citizen Kim Scandal. But now that is one of more than 50 unfinished investigations that former Director Marilyn Williams left for her successor when she demitted office on December 31st. Williams, who led the office for five and a half years, has moved on to private practice where she has taken over the office of the ailing Lionel Welch – who, according to reports, is terminally ill. Williams has been in his office in Dean Street for about a week now, while former commissioner of income tax Eric Eusey was appointed as the new FIU Director on January first, 2014. According to an official release, Williams gave notice in September 2013 that she would not be applying for a renewal of her contract, which expired on 31st December 2013. Williams’ tenure is seen as having brought the FIU into its own, increasing from a staff of 3 to 16, and implementing various pieces of legislation to bring Belize’s financial regulations in line with post 9/11 requirements. She also famously secured Belize’s first money laundering conviction.

Another Southern Hwy Fatal Accident
On Monday, 7News told you about the accident which killed 61 year-old Juan Oh on the Southern Highway. Well, some 13 hours later, there was another fatal traffic accident on the very same highway. 49 year-old Dangriga resident Charles Noralez was driving his motorcycle. At around 6:30 p.m. when he arrived at an area between Miles 2 and 3, he did catch up in time that his lane was blocked, and he ended up slamming into the back of a Blue Bird bus which was parked on the highway. The force of the impact was enormous and he died instantly from extensive head and bodily injuries. According to police, the motorcycle ended up embedded in the left side of the rear bumper after the collision.

Support For Bze District Farmers
We’ve all seen the products of the rains on our streets and highways, but what has gone largely undocumented is the devastation that the excessive rains have had on the agricultural sector. It’s been sever in the Belize District and over the weekend staffers from the Ministry of Agriculture visited Crooked Tree Village to assist farmers affected by the floods. The provisions came in the form of animal feed and agricultural inputs. And even though it might seem like just a handout or a short term fix, for these farmers, it could not have come at a better time. Hon. Edmund Castro - Area Representative, Belize Rural North "This is an initiative from the Government of Belize and the Ministry of Agriculture in trying to assist the livestock farmers in the Crooked Tree area. We'll be dealing with the livestock area issuing over 300 bags of feed today in Crooked Tree on Wednesday, we'll be doing the same thing for the farmers in the Belize River Valley, and on Friday for the affected livestock farmers in Maskall and the old road area. It is important due to the fact that the water is acting the farmers in the area, and Ministry of Agriculture came in. They have done their assessment, and we are reaching out to those farmers who mainly affected by this flood."

A Different Dimension In Downtown
Today was a big day for the tourism industry, 5 ships with over twelve thousand guests made a port call in Belize City. All that load ensured that there would be a constant stream of tourists in the downtown area. It’s a downtown that’s coming around after major investments in the Tourism Development Project. Sure, it’s not anywhere near a tourist haven, but one business on North Front Street is trying to change that grimey image of Belize City. Photographer turned entrepreneur Jeremy Spooner is cashing in on the upgraded street and sidewalk, which came under the Fort Point Sustainable Tourism Project. Today, Daniel Ortiz visited with him, where he explained his own project: Daniel Ortiz Reporting From afar, it could look like a sidewalk café in some breezy European capital, but it’s Belize City, the sidewalk and surrounding environs prettified by the Tourism Development project. Photographer turned entrepreneur Jeremy Spooner had the idea to open a café as he saw the area being redeveloped:

Major Crime Down In 2013
The final figures for major crime in 2013 are in and they show that, as projected, major crime was down significantly compared to 2012. As we’ve reported, murder went down by 32% from 145 to 99. The greatest decrease was in the Belize district which recorded 58 murders compared to 90 in 2012. Cayo was the only district that recorded more murder with 25 in 2013, compared to 20 in 2012. Toledo and Orange Walk each had only two murders for the whole year. But looking at major crime nationally, reports of robbery and burglary went down significantly while theft and carnal knowledge went up. We note also that there was a huge increase in cannabis seizures, which went up almost 300%, cannabis seeds which went up almost a thousand percent, and cannabis plants which went up over 300%. All this is due to the assistance of the US military which provided helicopter support for the BDF as it went into remote areas of cannabis cultivation.

Channel 5

Cane Farmers and B.S.I. meet…will there be a crop season next week?
Tonight there is a development up north where the sugar industry has been at a standstill. And there is light at the end of the sugar-cane crop tunnel, as both [...]

Millions of dollars reported in losses in delayed crop
This is the first time in Belize’s history that the sugar cane crop season has been so delayed. Generally it kicks off in the middle of November. Mother Nature has [...]

Chief Elections Officer, Josephine Tamai, explains rejected signatures in recall petition
The move to recall U.D.P. Cayo Northeast Area Representative Elvin Penner is dead in the water. In a letter to the Governor-General dated December thirtieth, 2013, Chief Elections Officer Josephine [...]

Tamai says 52 signatures were not registered to vote at all
If you’re a Boledo regular, you might want to buy fifty-two tonight. The Penner recall petition, as it became known during its famous but short life, was shot down because [...]

…And 79 duplicated signatures were struck out
While fifty-two might be the rake for Boledo, the number which is giving the Opposition heartburn tonight is seventy-nine – and with good reason. The Elections and Boundaries Department rejected [...]

P.U.P. to hold press conference on failed recall petition
The People’s United Party will be holding a press conference on Thursday to discuss the failed recall petition and, we assume, other pressing issues. But today, even as the Elections [...]

2 from influenza and there are suspected cases of H1N1
The flu season is taking its toll in Belize. And so far, we can confirm that there have been two deaths due to influenza and there are several patients admitted [...]

Ministry of Health launches investigations into leptospirosis
There is another health concern. As we reported on Tuesday night, former traffic officer, Michael Lewis died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital by what his family says was a [...]

Final Report by Auditor General still pending
The Immigration scandal has gone into an induced coma – lulled to a deep sleep by the deafening silence from officials in the Ministry of Immigration. Reports of multiple investigations [...]

Sports Council says MCC Grounds to stay open until ongoing games are completed
On Tuesday night, we reported that the MCC Grounds had closed for much needed repairs and that the football community was up in arms because the Premier League of Belize [...]

Meet the new head of the Financial Intelligence Unit, Eric Eusey
There is a change tonight at top of the Financial Intelligence Unit.  Via government press release it was confirmed today that Marilyn Williams, had stepped down and that she is [...]

Cuban national caught at P.G.I.A. with fake Panamanian passport
A Cuban national was today busted on arrival at the P.G.I.A. with documents that purported that she was a Panamanian national.   Nairoby Aleyda Gonzalez Villareal who also goes by the [...]

Guatemalan Foreign Minister visits Belize on Thursday
The Foreign Minister of Guatemala, Fernando Cabrera, arrives in Belize this Thursday on an official visit on the heels of changes in the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry which saw the removal [...]


Elvin Penner Stays As Area Representative; Recall Mechanism Fails
On September 27, 2010, the Senate signed off on the Bill to recall elected representatives before their term expires; this is now referred to as the Recall Mechanism. This mechanism was recently put to the test by PUP’s Standard Bearer for Cayo Northeast, Orlando “Landy” Habet last year following the passport scandal involving former Minister of State in the Ministry of immigration and Area Representative for Cayo Northeast, Elvin Penner….but it failed as according to the Elections and Boundaries Department, the opposition party did not meet the required number of valid signatures from the electors in the Cayo Northeast constituency in order to trigger the Recall Mechanism. JOSEPHINE TAMAI, Chief Elections Officer “The total number of signatures reviewed amounted to 2002 which represented 34.4 percent of the total electors in the division; this therefore means that 2,598 or 4.4 percent were presented above the required 1,744. The total number of signatures accepted was 1,665 or 28.6 percent of the total registered electors in the electoral division.”

14-Year-Old Tests Pregnant; Police in Northern Belize Investigates
Authorities in Corozal are investigating a case of carnal knowledge. Police reports indicate that a fourteen year old girl went to the station in the company of her mother and told the police that on November 10, 2013 she had gone to a man’s house and they engaged in sexual intercourse. The minor further stated that she has missed her period and has been feeling sick recently. She added that for the past eight months she has been engaging in sexual intercourse with her boyfriend. As a result of the child’s report, a medical examination was conducted and a doctor has verified that the young girl is 11 weeks pregnant. Police have not indicated whether they have picked up the man in question or whether charges will be levied against the man.

Sugar Cane Farmers Loses Millions
Weather conditions have been playing havoc with the agricultural sector and it is expected that the impact will be felt ultimately by consumers. Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture Jose Alpuche was a guest on Love FM’s morning show today. JOSE ALPUCHE “The ministry and government understand fully well the plight that they are going through at the moment. We started a first wave of assistance to the farmers and because it’s an ongoing and quite frankly, drawn out disaster we’ve got to continuously monitor what’s going on to see how best we can assist the farmers. Every sector is being affected; the last crop that was already in the ground for many crops will be affected. Unfortunately, for some plantings that should have occurred before the Christmas holidays could not be done because of the weather conditions. This means that we will have issues of supplies going well into the year. It will, unfortunately, not be a good year for farmers. As I said government is fully aware of this and we will do what we can to try to assist.

Immigration Officer Romero Nabs Suspicious Immigrants
Fifty-three year old Deysi Avila, a Cuban national who came to Belize yesterday with her 16 year old son, both of them having Panamanian passports, pled guilty to charges of using a passport she was not entitled to use and assisting a person to use a passport he was not entitled to use when she appeared today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. She was fined $1,000 for each offence and she was ordered to pay forthwith. If she defaults on payment she will serve 6 months for each offence with the stipulation that the sentences are to run concurrently. The Immigration Department has made an application for a removal order for her and her son to be deported to Cuba either after she has paid the fine or served the time. Avila, who said she is a math teacher, arrived with her son at Phillip Goldson International Airport around 5 p.m. via an Avianca flight from San Salvador. Immigration officer Romero noticed that she was acting suspicious and requested her and her son to accompany her to the office at the airport. While there it was discovered that the passports had their photographs but not the names that were on their identification cards. As a result, it was detected that the passports were not theirs and Avila was charged.

Police Finds Marijuana in Vacant Lot
On Tuesday morning, Belize City Police of Precinct Two conducted a search in an abandoned lot at the corner of Central American Boulevard and Doris Brooks Street that resulted in the discovery of 138.8 grams of suspected cannabis in a black plastic bag. The suspected drug was taken to the Raccoon Street Police Station where it was labeled as found property since no one was found in the immediate area.

Eusey Takes Over Financial Intelligence Unit
Former Commissioner of Income Tax Eric Eusey has been appointed as the new Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit. Eusey takes over from Marilyn Williams whose contract expired on December 31 last year. Williams reportedly had indicated that she would not seek to renew her contract. Under the Financial Intelligence Unit Act, the FIU is responsible for investigating and prosecuting financial crimes with particular reference to crimes relating to money laundering and terrorist financing. The primary duty of the Director is to ensure the prompt implementation of the recommendations of the G7 Financial Action Task Force and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force to combat money laundering and other financial crimes.

Cayo Police Intercepts Burglary in Progress
San Ignacio Police was called out to Santa Elena Town around 1:25 this morning due to what neighbors reported as a burglary in progress. Police officers visited Falcon Nest in the Hillview area where one of the neighbors told them that he saw a man whom he recognized as Nolbert Guzman entered the establishment wearing a dark jacket and a red warm cap. Upon a search of the premises, Police found Guzman hiding in the bathroom holding what was described as a shiny object in his hand and later found to be a red screw driver. Police directed him to release the object but he refused and instead raised his hand in a stabbing motion. Guzman was subsequently subdued and escorted to the San Ignacio Police Station. The 34-year-old laborer is expected to be charged with burglary and aggravated assault. Meanwhile the screw driver that Guzman had in his possession has been placed as exhibit.


Elections and Boundaries Responds to Concerns Over PUP Recall Petition
With the postponement of a press briefing scheduled for today at Independence Hall, the Elections and Boundaries Department had the floor to explain to Belizeans why the threshold of 30% for the recall of Cayo Northeast area representative Elvin Penner was not met by the petition presented last November. 1,665

Auditor General Updates on Immigration Investigation
This afternoon, Auditor General Dorothy Bradley met with the press at her office on North Front Street. The purpose was to give a general overview of how audits are carried out by the Audit Department and a brief synopsis of the current investigation at the Immigration and Nationality Department

Financial Intelligence Unit Appoints a New Director
The Financial Intelligent Unit has appointed a new Director. Mrs. Marilyn Williams gave notice in September of last year that she would not be applying for a renewal of her contract, which was due to expire on the 31st December 2013. Williams says she will pursue private practice. Eric

Statistics Show Belize Experienced 13.6% Crime Decrease in 2013
Belize seems to have experienced a slight decrease on the level of crime for the year 2013. Although it is the small decrease is no cause for celebration, it does provide some sense of relief to know that the Belize experienced an average of 13.6% reduction in major crimes.

Belize Teacher’s Union on Rise and Shine Today
Audrey Matura-Shepherd, dubbed (… for the people) has had, to the say the least, an unforgettable year in 2013. After coming out with a strong personal conviction on homosexuality, the then Vice-President for OCEANA in Belize, received a great deal backlash from the LGBT community. Agitators went as far

Man dies after blow to head
Police have classified the death of 45 year old businessman Don Tillett of Belize City as sudden death, rather than murder, as their investigations continue. Tillett reported to police before his death around 8:00 p.m. Monday, January 6, that on New Year’s evening, exact time unknown, he picked up

Prime Minister says 2014 will be a year of historic milestones
The Prime Minister’s New Year’s message outlined a number of proposed Government guided initiatives, projected to get underway in 2014. Noteworthy, is a reform agenda, intended to improve the mandate of the current administration and to provide for better transparency. Just as important, are plans to outfit national security.

Concerned Citizen Addresses Unequality in Gun Law
Two recent cases, those of a Belmopan resident with alleged political connections who was spared traffic charges after a hair-raising night on the town, and a Belize City man whose story of conspiracy sounded fit to the ears of police who wanted to charge him for possession of an

Waste Control’s Woes with City Council Continue
The Belize City Council is not yet out of the woods with regard to its contretemps with Belize Waste Control. The sanitation company is demanding that City Hall address its issues with enforcement of their contract. For context we take you back to December 19, when Mayor Darrell Bradley

Works continue on land despite injunction?
On December 30th of last year, an emergency injunction was ordered by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to halt works on Parcel 2127 located in Belama Phase 1, at the corner of Albert Hoy Avenue and Chetumal Boulevard. The injunction was granted in favor of Bernadette Pickwood, and against Maude

Shooting Reported in City Neighborhood
Police have made no formal reports, but we spoke today to area residents of Supal Street who say there was shooting in their area sometime last night. This morning, one resident actually found a bullet in her house which had impacted her window. She spoke to us about it....


Island art and craft sale
A small group of island women get together weekly to paint and enjoy each other company. Once a year usually in December or January, the art group puts on an Island art and craft sale to raise money that gets used to help women in need. This year the Island art and craft sale is Saturday Jan 11th and Sunday 12th at Xanadu resort. So stop by and shop, not only will you get super cool art work, you will also be helping a great cause.

BCSP Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 2
Development of National Policies for ICT and E-Government

“One Fine Day” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
In yesterday’s second edition of the day I mentioned that the temperature had dropped and it was chilly. What I should have ‘said’ was that it was cold. Very cold (OK by the standards of where many of you are reading this it would be considered warm but here? Itwas COLD). So cold in fact that when I got up at around 05.15 hours and had made my mug of black coffee and ventured out to the veranda with my iPad I realised – and very quickly – that it was NOT the place to take my early morning ‘me time’, so I headed back indoors, quickly. The drop in temperature didn’t stop work on our fence though. Rubio arrived -early as usual – at around 06.40 hours – and within minutes was setting up the tools for the day and he hadn’t quite finished doing this when Mike, Moses and Pablo followed each other in quick succession and after a brief chat (I assume discussing the ‘action plan’ for the day) got ‘to it’ on the fence. But not before they had taken advantage of the ‘breakfast cart’.

International Sources

Travel Channel's January Sweepstakes Destination is Beautiful Belize
This month, Travel Channel is giving you the chance to win a trip to another fun destination. Get the chance to visit beautiful Belize from Travel Channel's January 2014 Belize Sweepstakes, plus daily instant prizes. The grand-prize winner will receive a $10,000 vacation in Belize including cave tubing and zip lining, a tour of the city, a visit to a butterfly farm, and more. Plus, the daily instant winners will each receive a Travel Channel tumbler. Entry into Travel Channel's January 2014 Belize Sweepstakes is open to US residents above the age of 21. Enter daily through January 31, 2014. Get more details and enter...

Travels in Belize: Eco-Tourism, Mayan Temples, Snakes That Chase You, Pasta with Coppola
Simon Worrall first traveled to Belize more than 20 years ago to do a travel guide for Fodor’s. “It was just as Belize was getting on people’s radar,” he says. “I knew it was one of those remote corners of the British Empire, and I was intrigued.” Now Worrall, who has written about Patagonia, a fatal desert exodus, and other subjects for National Geographic, has collected three stories from various trips to the country over the years in an e-book called Coppola in Belize (and Other Adventures). National Geographic spoke with Worrall about the project. You write with great affection about the country. Why are you so fond of it? It’s only the size of Connecticut, but it’s got the second biggest barrier reef in the world, it’s got these wonderful jungle highlands, it’s got Mayan temples, and it’s got an amazing collection of people. I think it’s still one of the few places in the world where the color of your skin really doesn’t matter — and that includes being white. Belize is the only country that has racial harmony built into the national flag, which shows two woodcutters cutting down a mahogany tree, one of the country’s big exports. One woodcutter is black and one is white, and there they are chopping down the tree together.

Unknown Belize
Rico, the Belizean bush doctor I had come to see, was out making a delivery. But his sister, Yolanda, had an offer for me. She was running a homemade raffle, offering two-dollar chances to win a case of beer, a case of stout, a bottle of wine and two cases of soft drinks. But when would I be back in the Roaring Creek neighborhood of Belmopan to find out if I won? As I waffled, Gilbert, my guide, who lives clear across the country, was handing over rumpled bills and signing his name in Yolanda’s spiral notebook. “You don’t even know this woman,” I said, fresh off the plane from Chicago and not yet in a no-worries, we’re-in-Belize frame of mind. “What if she just takes all the money?” “Belize is a small country,” he said. “She can’t cheat us because we’d be sure to run into her again sometime.” I forked over two Belizean dollars (worth $1 in the U.S.), and as I signed my name in the notebook, I realized Gilbert was right. With a population of just over 300,000, Belizeans have a strong incentive to treat each other right. But as I found out during a weeklong visit in December, little Belize punches above its weight -- travelers can spend a lifetime exploring this small country and never exhaust all the places it has to offer.

Belize launches climate change resilience consultancy tender
The Belize Social Investment Fund (BSIF) has published a tender for technical assistance for the country's spatial data infrastructure policy.

Hopkins Trained Doctor Fights Hopkins Expansion Plans in Baltimore - Marisela Gomez on RAI
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore. And welcome to Reality Asserts Itself. That was a segment from The Wire. That's what most people think of (that have seen that show) Baltimore looks like. Well, Baltimore's way more than vacant homes. And a lot of people weren't all that happy that The Wire presented Baltimore almost as only that. But it is a big piece of Baltimore--30,000 abandoned homes and lots, and thousands of people displaced from their communities. And that's part of the crisis of today's Baltimore. Now joining us to talk about these issues is Marisela Gomez. She's a community activist, an author, a public health professional, and a physician scientist. After leaving the Air Force, she earned her masters of science at the University of New Mexico, her PhD, MD, and masters of public health from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She spent over 20 years as an activist and an organizer in east Baltimore during and after her training at Hopkins. She also served as the executive director of Save Middle East Action Committee, a community organization in Baltimore that strove to represent community interest and needs in the redevelopment of what's called Middle East, Baltimore. She's also the author of Race, Class, Power, and Organizing in East Baltimore: Rebuilding Abandoned Communities in America.

Supermodel Beauty Secrets: Iyina Shayk
Irina Shayk, one of today's sexiest supermodels, has posed for covershoots all over the world. As the ambassador for Beach Bunny Swimwear, the Russian stunner knows a thing or two about being camera-ready. Being a sought-after beach babe, Irina spilled a lot of her beauty secrets to fans in her latest YouTube video. We know it's still winter, but for those gals gearing up for vacation, grab a paper and pen! The 27-year-old talked about all the items that she carries in her beach bag while modeling one of her Irina Shayk for Beach Bunny swimsuits in Belize. Of course, Irina has the usual suspects on hand when she shoots in the sand all day long. "When I go to the beach, I definitely bring a [hat for my head because] you have to cover your face," dished Ms. Shayk in the clip. "You have to remember that every time you're going to the beach you have to bring tons of sunblock. You have to spray yourself [with the product] every time you go to the water."

FPC-Midland Belize Mission: We've Arrived
From January 4 through January 11, 2014, a team from 1st Presbyterian Church-Midland will be traveling to the Central American country of Belize, and working with The Word at Work ministry. This will be an opportunity to reach out and share the gospel with the people of Belize while working side-by-side with the local community and The Word at Work staff on a much-needed construction project. Apologies for the delay in posting this ... Saturday was a loooooong day, but a successful one. We have arrived in Belize, on time and in good shape. In a previous post I expressed my confidence in the preparations for that trip ... And that confidence was borne out by timely connections and smooth transfers through the many stops along the way ... check-in, security, customs, baggage-claim, you name it. Smooth ... but as I said, long. The airport is near Belize City, in the eastern part of this country. There would still be a couple. Of hours on the road as we made our way to Belmopan, the national capital, closer to the center of the country. There was a also a special stop along the way ... MORE ON THAT IN A LATER POST. By the time we had checked-in to our lodgings, unpacked, and enjoyed dinner, then a team meeting with our partner/hosts from The Word At Work, I was ready for bed ... With plans to get back on my blogging schedule the next day ... which I am. Bottom line ... We're in Belize, and ready to get to work!

January 8, 2014


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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

Red Cross asks for assistance for the Eastern Caribbean Islands
The Belize Red Cross today announces the launching of an appeal for financial donations only to assist victims of disasters that affected the Eastern Caribbean Islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and St. Lucia. This appeal is being launched in solidarity with the University of the West Indies Open Campus in Belize. During the Christmas holidays the islands were affected by heavy winds and torrential rains which caused mudslides and tsunami type floods resulting in several deaths, destruction of homes and millions of dollars lost in agricultural crops. The Belize Red Cross and the UWI call on all Belizeans to assist thousands of our Caribbean brothers and sisters affected by this disaster. Former students of Mona, Cave Hill and St. Augustine Campuses of the University of the West Indies are being urged to support this appeal.

Be Kind Belize provides resources for free online
Be Kind Belize is an education program developed in 2007 promote humane education in Belize. The Be Kind Belize education program quickly grew, receiving much support from animal lovers across the country. The program provided free resources for schools, educators and community organizations to promote humane treatment towards animals. 2014 has now seen the launch of an education resource website to facilitate these resources to educators via At many times, people are unaware of the great responsibility that comes with having pets and when they cannot cope with the animal they simply release it into the streets or ill-treat the animal, not giving it the proper attention and care it needs. Animals that have been abandoned by their owners either starve to death or create havoc in the area (tearing garbage, defecating on the streets, spreading disease, over breeding, and even biting humans). Pets do not know life without human interaction and will not run to the forest if abandoned; they will simply stay around the area they know as home. Be Kind Belize was created to educate the public, especially young children, on the value and importance of taking proper care for the animals they have and taking responsibility for it.

Ambergris Today

Janelle Chanona Becomes Oceana's New Leader in Belize
Oceana, the world's largest international ocean conservation group, announced today that Janelle Chanona has joined Oceana as its new leader for Belize. The former Belize newscaster and Belmopan native will lead Oceana's efforts to protect Belize's barrier reef. "We are very lucky to have Janelle join Oceana," noted Oceana CEO Andrew F. Sharpless. "She has the right combination of skills and passion to be an excellent leader and to help Oceana win policy victories that protect Belize's amazing barrier reef and its marine resources."

Meet San Pedro’s New Year Baby 2014 – It’s a Girl!
It is always an honor to be first - first in your class, first in a competition or race, first in arriving to some goal. But it’s also cool and extra special being the first born in new years! For the past eight years Ambergris Today has celebrated the first baby to be born on New Year and businesses around town are always generous in showering the lucky baby with gifts. The newest and youngest baby in San Pedro is a lovely bouncing baby girl, Alexandra Alexia, born to Yolanda Ramirez and Oscar Iboy. This proud Sanpedrana was born on Sunday, January 5, 2014, weighing 6 pounds 8 ounces and receives the generous prizes offered by Ambergris Today through its generous sponsors.

Old Timer or Modern Sanpedrano? Num. 20
You know you are a modern day Sanpedrano because when you purchase chewing gum you have a lot of brands to choose from. Another thing is that you might be asking for sugar free gum and be prepared to pay over one dollar for a pack of gum. YOU KNOW YOU ARE AN OLD TIMER SANPEDRANO because you only had two kinds to choose from and they were Novo gum or PK gun. These were the ultimate gums and considered expensive because they sold for five cents for a small pack of four tablets. The most popular customers for these minty gums were young boys going to visit their fiancées at their homes. A pack of Novo was a customary daily gift to a young lady.

Misc Belizean Sources

11 yr old Trent Hardwick is the New National Champ in Youth Sailing
Trent Hardwick of the Belize Sea Scouts (BSS) emerges as Belize Sailing Association’s National Champion in the Optimist Class after 2 days of tough sailing over the weekend. With variable weather that saw mostly north westerly winds between 15 and 3 knots in front Birds’s Isle, sailors used mostly light wind techniques and risky strategies. The smaller sailors had an obvious advantage but experienced sailors still topped the races with better technique. Here are the other top finishers: Antonio Ricardez, Jr. of the Belize City Sailing Club (BCSC) took 2nd place, silver and Christopher Young of Corozal Bay Sailing Club (CBSC) took the 3rd place bronze. The other Top 10 finishers were: 4th, Nashira Ricardez of BCSC; 5th, Isaac Ritchie of Placencia Sailing Club (PSC); 6th,Tyler Garbutt of PSC; 7th, Carlos Villatoro of PSC; 8th, Wilson Rivera of PSC; 9th, Jazmin Campos of CBSC, and 10th, Carla Lopez of PSC.

Try out the new full motion Cessna Caravan Simulator at Tropic Air
No experience needed…though you DO need reservations!

End Result of San Pedrito Streets after applying hard core material.
2 photos

By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez After reading the UNICEF 2013 study on special needs and disabilities I am left with many queries Do insurance companies insure people with disabilities? Are they entitled to special polices? It seems to me they give out currencies based on Loss of part of anatomies and life expectancies Maim, and loss of extremities Insurance after all does offer remedies When people suffer casualties Insurance in layman terms means, “When stuff happens” We need to re-examine the premise upon which their policies are written It seems to me they are capitalist driven What about social security Since there has been talk about disqualifying some elderly Because they are believed to have support from their family Hell, man, I served my country in various capacity Then to top it off SSB has been giving loans to Zabaneh Are they taking me for a ride because of my disability? I have already worked for my pension and gratuity

A Family Affair in Unitedville
A Family Affair was at Mount Hope in Unitedville on Saturday. Drums Not Guns was there to promote peace and music. "Drums Not Guns- Belize City was invited to 'A Family Affair' on Saturday January 4th. The event was hosted by The Afrikan Advancement Association of Belize (AAAB) and The United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in honor of our ancestors. We are truly grateful to have been a part of this."

Sowela and SHJC Students Start Playgrounds
Feelgood news of the day. Arms of Love primary school in Kontiki got a swingset and slide today. Sowela students are on their service learning trip, and they teamed up with Sacred Heart Junior College's Hands for Life club to make the playground a reality. The kids loved their new playground. Future plans are to add on tire playgrounds. Thanks, Sowela and SHJC! "Sowela Technical Community College has a service learning student group visiting, and they worked with some of SHJC's Hands for Life students today, and started a playground at Arms of Love primary in Kontiki."

U.S. Embassy Education and Culture Meet and Greet
U.S. Embassy hosted a reception for the Education and Cultural sectors in Belize, and Panerrifix performed at the event. In related news, they are doing their 'Screen on the Green' on January 30th, and will be showing the movie 'The Great Debaters.' "Last night the steel drum band, The Panerrifix, performed at the U.S. Embassy's Education and Culture meet and greet. They were AWESOME!!!!"

Important Tourism Industry Presentation in Corozal by Belize Tourism Board
Corozal will be an important Tourism venue on Wednesday January 15th for the 13th Annual Industry Presentation sponsored by the Belize Tourism Board. All stakeholders in the industry are urged and welcome to attend. Venue will be Tony's Inn Jan 15th at 9:00 a.m.

Channel 7

Family Says Hospital To Blame For Man’s Death; They Released Him Too Early
On New Year's morning 45 year old Belize City resident Don Tillett was found on the shoulder of the Northern Highway; he had been severely beaten and left for dead. How he got there is a mystery. All he can remember is giving three men a ride in the city - and one of them clubbing him over the head. Since then, he had recovered consciousness and been showing encouraging signs of recovery - and when we checked yesterday, we learned that he had been discharged from the hospital and was at home. But, last night things took a sudden turn for the worse, and by 8:30 he was dead. Today we found his family trying to put together the pieces of what has been a disastrous, puzzling start to a new year:... Daniel Ortiz reporting 45 year-old Don Tillett passed away last night, 6 days after he was abducted, beaten, dumped out of his stolen car, and left to survive on his own on the banks of the Belize River in an area of the Northern Highway just after the Haulover Bridge.

Supal Street Shooting Grazed “Soup”
On the news, we talk a lot about the remarkable downturn in murders in Belize City in 2013 - but gun violence is still very prevalent, and too often, the sound of gunshots shatters the silence of the southside at night. That's what happened last night on Supal streets when almost two dozen gunshots rang out, leaving the surrounding neighborhoods terrorized and frozen. Everyone wanted to know who got shot, or who got killed? No one did, very luckily, but one man was grazed, and an innocent elderly couple was caught in the crossfire. Daniel Ortiz has the story:... Daniel Ortiz reporting Terror erupted last night on Supal Street after 20 gunshots were fired, in what seems to be a botched gang attack. Innocent residents were placed in danger after a gunman opened fire on Jason "Soup" Williams.

City Man Died After Leptospirosis Diagnosis
A Belize City man died after testing positive for Leptospirosis - and some public health concerns have been raised because of it. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease spread through the urine of rats and other infected animals. Humans get it mostly by exposure to contaminated water, or when drinking water is contaminated - which often occurs during floods. That's what Michael Lewis was diagnosed with the day before he died. Lewis, who worked for years as a traffic warden - died on New Year's Day after he was ill for almost two weeks. Lewis lived alone in the city on Castle Street in this wooden shed in a clean, high yard - he had no kitchen, stove or refrigerator in his shed. His neighbors who were like family to him told us that he was first diagnosed on December 21st. by a private doctor with a respiratory type illness, and then on Boxing Day, the 26th. they had to rush him to the hospital when he appeared gravely ill. Doctors came upon a few ailments with his liver and lungs, but they couldn't figure out exactly what was making him deathly ill. On New Year's Eve, a test at a private lab confirmed that he had Leptospirosis - and on New Year's Day, the 47 year old died.

Auditor General Balks At Press Conference, Chief Elections Officer Invites It
For weeks, the media has been trying to get useful information on any of the ongoing investigations into irregularities at the Immigration Department - and yesterday, one of our colleagues at the Amandala Press gave us a burst of hope. He said that Auditor General Dorothy Bradley had agreed to host the media at a press briefing regarding her investigation into the passport scandal. It was scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, and like kids at Christmas we wanted today to just fly by, so we could get to Wednesday. But, to our dismay we learned today that the Auditor General is only willing to meet with media who have made previous requests of her office, and is only willing to discuss in general terms how investigations are carried out. But, as we understand it, she will not discuss the specifics of her current investigation at the Immigration Department. Bradley told KREM News today that she will not entertain holding a press conference when she has not yet completed her report nor touched base with the relevant authorities.

Haitian Busted With Fake Visa
Yesterday, 37 year Haitian auto mechanic Sanon Vertus arrived in Belize via the PGIA with the intention that he was going to find work and make more money than what he was getting in Haiti. But instead, he is an inmate Belize Central Prison tonight. When he arrived at the immigration section of the airport, Officer Eldon August detected that the Belizean visa that Vertus had in his Haitian passport was false. He was immediately detained, and later charged with attempting to use a visa permit not issued by lawful authority. Vertus was fined $1,000 today by Magistrate Clive Lino and ordered to pay forthwith, in default 6 months after he pleaded guilty to the charge. Vertus was unable to pay the fine, so he was taken to prison. He broke down in tears while he was in the dock. He asked Magistrate Lino not to send him back to Haiti, but Magistrate Lino told him that he has no choice in the matter. The Immigration Department has indicated that they will apply for a removal order for him to be deported to Haiti after he has either served the 6 months or paid the fine.

Man Charged For Boom Shooting
Last night, 7News told you about 28 year-old Adrian Myvette who was shot at the horse track in Burrell Boom. Well, the man who police believe was the gunman is 24 year-old Ryan Gillett, who is at the Belize Central Prison tonight. Gillett, a resident of Burrell Boom, was arraigned this afternoon for charges of attempted murder, dangerous harm, and use of deadly means of harm before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. Due to the nature of the offences, he couldn't be granted bail, and he was remanded until February 9. As we told you, Myvette was riding his bike on Saturday night when a man sped past him on motorcycle and shot him in the chest and abdomen. The gunman escaped, but fortunately, Myvette was rushed to the KHMH, and he continues to receive medical treatment.

Hard Knocks At Honey Bees?
28 year-old businessman Ming Pei Chen, the owner of Honey Bees Supermarket in Ladyville, is making the news once more, this time for allegedly assaulting one of his employees. Deon Usher reported to police that Saturday, he had a misunderstanding with Chen which escalated when chen slapped him in the face. Police arrested and charged him with common assault, and he was arraigned before Magistrate Hettie May Stewart where he pleaded not guilty. He was released on bail of $1,000, and his case has been adjourned until March 17. According to our records, this is Chen's third criminal charge; he was busted by the Gang Suppression Unit on March 19, 2012 for allegedly being in possession of 6 unlicensed bullets. The next day, he was charged with employing an illegal immigrant.

Man Upset With Uneven Application Of Gun Laws
On Friday we told you about Reynaldo Verde - the Sales Tax collector who was detained by police after an unlicensed firearm was found in his house. But, he was never charged because senior police concluded that someone was trying to set up Verde to get remanded on a gun charge. They concluded that the gun had been planted in Verde's washroom - and then police were fed information to go look for it. So Verde beat the odds and was released without being charged. That worked out for him, but one city resident is not too happy about it. Russell Robert said he seen too many regular people sent to jail on strict gun laws, while the law isn't evenly applied. He explained:... Russell Robert "Mr. Verde - you could see it plain that he got charge two times for attempted murder. He was getting charge for a gun and he got off again - everything he gets off from. I guess these are the unusual Belizeans that Mr. Deputy Leader says that they are - only they can get away from things. Only they are immune to things. If it's only them then better this law doesn't be around for any of us because only they are getting off. The poor people are suffering. Like I said Mr. Verde shot his last victim in San Pedro in the presence of his child. They ask for his license to be revoked, but he still has a license and still he ended up with another gun problem and still got off from that again. So, tell me what is the problem with this law?"

A Modern Mess Over Cigarette Supremacy
Modern Cigarettes, it's a top Chinese brand and a major seller in the Corozal Free Zone where the agent is a well-connected Chinese businessman. But now, another company, is muscling in on his territory, and circumstances suggest that's what led police to stop a forty foot container which was on its way to the Benque Viejo border Friday. The container from Hong Kong with one thousand cartons had already cleared customs in Belize City and was escorted by a customs guard. Police say they got information that the cigarettes are fake, or that the container may have undeclared items. That's usually a matter for customs, but the Police Mobile Interdiction Team was sent to intercept the container. That's a major turf issue for customs, but both sides agreed to store the container at the secure Customs compound at the Benque Viejo Border until it could be re-checked. That happened today when customs and police went into the container to verify its contents. As expected, nothing untoward was found and the container was released to the importer, Beta Benque Duty Free, which we have learned is not actually in the Benque Viejo Free Zone, but in an adjoining area.

Hattieville Police Need A Ride
On Friday we told you about Robert Robinson, the senior restaurant owner in Hattieville who turned away robbers - even after one of them chopped him. The suspects are believed to be form the area, but no one has been detained by Hattieville police. Yesterday we asked the officer in charge of Belize Rural is the lag in arrests has anything to do with a shortage of transport for police:.. Supt. Chris Noble, O/C Ladyville "It was an attempt and they did injured him. The person is known to him and we will continue to look into the information and see we make an arrest." Jules Vasquez "Is it true that the Hattieville Police Station has no vehicle right now?" Supt. Chris Noble, O/C Ladyville "We are transport deficient in all aspects when it comes to our organization and we definitely have transport to move back and forth when it comes to any area when it comes to policing."

You Can Help Flood Victims In Eastern Caribbean
After the Christmas holiday, 7News told you about the catastrophic floods which affected the Eastern Caribbean island of St Lucia, St. Vincent and Dominica. As we've told you at least a dozen lives have been lost, more are injured and many continue to be displaced from their homes. Well, the Belize Red Cross, which is a part of the regional Red Cross organization, has started a fund raising event to assist the victims. Today, the public relations officer explained the situation on the ground in those countries, and why you should help: Rodell Beltran-Perrera, PR officer - Belize Red Cross "It been referred to as a holiday storm; it's something unexpected that happened in the southern part of the Caribbean region and it affected St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as the island of Dominica. This sudden storm has affected communities in those 3 islands, it caused a lot of damage to crops, highway and of course destroyed even we lost some lives on those islands."

Channel 5

Well known body-works man dies, is it murder?
A well known Belize City body-works man died on Monday night. Don Tillett took his last breath in an ambulance as he was being rushed to the K.H.M.H. after he [...]

Family thinks KHMH is responsible for the death of Tillett
The post-mortem examination may reveal that Tillett died as a result of the head wound he suffered on New Year’s Day…or as a consequence of his heart condition, related or [...]

Home of an elderly couple riddled with buletts
Tonight there are very reliable indicators of a possible resurgence of the bloody gang warfare which marked Belize City as a danger zone. Things had cooled off noticeably since the [...]

And our question for tonight is…
And our question for tonight is: Do you think that the rejection of the recall of Elvin Penner is legitimate? Yes or No? Send your comments and responses using your [...]

Five people die from Leptospirosis, is the Ministry of Health launching an investigation?
Tonight there are unconfirmed reports that the Ministry of Health has launched an investigation into five deaths, allegedly caused by an infectious bacterial disease known as leptospirosis. Lepto occurs in [...]

BNTU not happy with the PM’s back and forth with dates for salary adjustment
On Monday, the Belize National Teachers Union indicated that in 2014 it will be upping its profile in a slew of national issues. And during a fiery press conference, the [...]

Palacio says unions are still in negotiations with the P.M.
According to the B.N.T.U. president Luke Palacio, they, along with the Association Public Service Senior Officers and the Public Service Union, remain in negotiation with the Government of Belize and [...]

Cane Farmers hoping to sign an agreement with B.S.I. tomorrow
The BSCFA and BSI will go back to the negotiating table in Orange Walk on Wednesday afternoon. With one week to go before the imposed deadline of January fifteenth, time [...]

Haitian busted with Fake Visa
The findings of the immigration scandal have still not been revealed but tonight we can report that a Haitian national was busted on Monday with a fake visa issued as [...]

Adrian Myvette charged with attempted murder of Boom resident
A man from Burrell Boom has been charged for the shooting of another Boom resident. Adrian Myvette was shot at the entrance of the horse track in Burrell Boom over [...]

Belizean citizen asks to revisit Gun Law
Official statistics on violent crimes in Belize have yet to be released, but at least where murders are concerned, there has been a dramatic decrease. Police attribute a large part [...]

MCC Grounds closed for much needed repairs
There is unease tonight in the football community over the closure of the M.C.C. Ground. The field was abruptly closed for renovation at an inopportune time for the Premier League [...]

Dismantlement of City Center 75% complete
The dismantlement of the Belize City Center is nearing completion, after three months of diligent work by the company assigned to take down the structure.  The project commenced at the [...]

The Red Cross launches appeal for assistance for affected flood victims in the Caribbean
Relief efforts, in the form of cash donations, are underway locally to assist victims of deadly rains and floods that washed over several islands within the Eastern Caribbean on Christmas [...]


2014 Records Its First Two Heinous Murders
We are merely six days into the New Year and not one, but two murders for 2014 have been recorded, both of them in the South. The first incident played out on the 3rd of January when the body of 25 year old Rene Arturo Perez was found with multiple chop wounds on Felix Paz Gevara farm located five miles east of Trio Junction with the Southern Highway in the Toledo District. Perez’s body was observed with chop wounds to the upper right side, lower right side and left side of the neck, right shoulder blade and right hand. Reports are that on the 2nd of January about 8:00pm last person Perez was seen was with one Donaldo (AKA) “Tatero”. Both men were hanging out at the residence of Felix Paz when they decided to leave together. Perez’s dead body was discovered the following morning, art around 7:00am, by Felix Paz as he was on his way to work. Paz alerted the police who then visited and processed the scene. The following step was to search Tatero’s residence but he was nowhere to be found. The body of Rene Arturo Perez, Guatemalan laborer of Finca San Jose Carrizal Gualan, Guatemala, was transported to the Southern Regional Hospital Morgue. It currently awaits a post mortem examination. Police investigation continues.

Belizean Woman Accused Of Running Red Light In Chetumal
A woman of Belizean Nationality is in big trouble with the Mexican Law after she crashed her vehicle into a residence upon running a red light. According to Mexican Newspapers yesterday at afternoon at around 2:30, Yara Oliva, of Belizean Nationality, was driving her Isuzu Rodeo on Primo de Verdad Street under high velocity and upon reaching the traffic light located on Independence Street she ran the red light. As a result, allegations are that Oliva crashed into another vehicle which was crossing the green light. The driver of the vehicle, who sustained minor injuries, was later identified as 32 year old Edgar Manuel Medina Flores. Due to the impact Olvia’s vehicle rammed against the wall of the garage of a house located nearby.

New Year, New Aims For The Education Sector
The holidays are over and by now most children have worn out the batteries in their new Christmas toys. So maybe it’s just as well that they’re back at school. Today over 3,000 students from the Corozal District got up early and got ready for their first day of classes. Without a doubt it’s going to be a long haul but luck for the students they have the support of their teachers who are more than willing to go the extra mile in order for them to receive quality education. And since today marked the first day of class, Corozal’s District Education Manager, Jahmor Lopez took the opportunity to welcome back students and teachers. educationJahmor Lopez – District Education Manager “I want to take this opportunity to welcome all of our stakeholders, our principals, teachers, our students and also our parents for the first day of school. Our plan as the Corozal DC is for us to be more vigilant in terms of supervision, we will be utilizing a number of instruments going into the schools and ensuring that there is greater accountability on the part of our school leaders so we will be working closely with our school principals to ensure that they are doing what they are mandated to doing by law, ensuring that they are supervising and supporting and mentoring their teachers and that teachers are delivering the curriculum to the students so we will be looking at a lot of baseline data that we get from the schools in terms of looking at their enrolment, their dropout rate, their pass rate etcetera and then we go into those instrument’s to see how it is that we are performing and then we provide the school community our observation and make certain recommendations and this is all in alignment with what is required by the school inspector so we kind of doing like what we would say a formatted evaluation, like a midpoint kind of things and in the vent that the inspector comes to that school to do their overall assessment.”

Knowing The Traffic Safety Rules
School Zone safety is everyone’s responsibility; and since tragedies occur when drivers and pedestrians don’t know how to follow the rules of the road, Reporter Victor Castillo decided to pay a visit to Corozal’s Municipal Transport Manager Richard Quan, who told him about the DO’s and DON’Ts of school zone traffic safety. Here’s that report. traffic_rulesVictor Castillo – Reporting Reviewing the “rules of the road” for the Corozal Town can help save lives and Keep children safe in designated school zones are top priorities for everyone. As a driver, the most important thing you can do to protect children in school zones is to slow down. Parents, teachers and drivers not only have the responsibility of safely sharing the road with other motorists, school buses, pedestrians and cyclists, but they also have the added duty of teaching children about traffic safety. Well today we took time to learn a bit more about road safety especially as it pertains to school zones.

Oceana Belize Has A New Leader
Oceana, the world's largest international ocean conservation group, has a new leader for Belize. The announcement, that former Belize newscaster and Belmopan native Janelle Chanona will lead Oceana's efforts to protect Belize's barrier reef was made today. Chanona replaces Attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd who vacated her position on August 22nd, 2013. "We are very lucky to have Janelle join Oceana," noted Oceana CEO Andrew F. Sharpless. "She has the right combination of skills and passion to be an excellent leader and to help Oceana win policy victories that protect Belize's amazing barrier reef and its marine resources." Chanona, a former reporter and anchor with News 5 in Belize, most recently ran her own media and production company. She has produced documentaries for several environmental groups in Belize. She is a graduate of St. Johns College in Belize, of Loyola College in Baltimore in the United States and received a Masters degree with distinction from Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom. As a passionate diver, she is a frequent visitor to Belize's barrier reef.

Case Of Howler Monkey Goes Back To Court
Ten months after news broke on the savage, heartless beating of an adult black howler monkey which made headlines both at home and aboard, the alleged perpetrators appeared in the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court today. The culprits, four students, two of them minors, and teacher Angel Carillo, who are currently out on bail, appeared before Magistrate Marlene Moody who recorded the statement of several witnesses including Forest Officers Daniel Chi and Wilbur Sabido. While the session went on for close to two hours, it was adjourned for continuation on Tuesday afternoon. The media was not allowed to listen in on the case since minors are involved. Viewers might recall that at the time of the incident, on March fifth, the black howler monkey was captured and savagely beaten allegedly at the hands of four third form students of the Belize High School of Agriculture located in southern Orange Walk. But despite immediate rehabilitation at Wildtracks located in Sarteneja Corozal, the endangered primate did not survive the attack and perished exactly one week later, on March twelfth. Video circulated showed that in an act of animal cruelty, the primate was tied up and harassed. An investigation was launched by the Forest Department which led to charges being levied against five persons—the teacher, Angel Carillo and four students. Each of the accused was charged with Unlawful Hunting. The Primate Rehabilitation Centre has now been hosted by Wildtracks for three years, in close partnership with the Belize Forest Department. The goal has been the successful implementation of a zero-tolerance policy towards the illegal trade in and keeping of primates in Belize. Hunting, according to the laws regarding wildlife, is defined as the act of killing, molesting, taking or attempting to kill, take and/or molest any species of wildlife by any method. The maximum penalty is one thousand dollars or six months imprisonment.

Tate And Lyle questions Belize's Commitment to Produce Fair Trade Sugar
And while the BSI/BSCFA saga continues, our news center got wind of a letter sent to the Chairman of the BSCFA, Committee of Management Leonardo Cano by Tate and Lyle Sugars, the largest purchaser of fair-trade certified sugars. The letter, dated December 18th, 2013 states that the company is gravely concerned with the current impasse between the miller and the producer something which can threaten the industry if a meaningful compromise is not met. According to Tate & Lyle, since they are the ones responsible for the sugar supply chain between Belize and customers in the European Union, it is important for them to know that not only for 2013/2014 but for future years that sufficient supplies of Fair Trade sugar will always be reliably and securely available from Belize. The release goes on to state that if this commitment cannot be met, Tate and Lyle will deem it necessary to make alternate arrangements to meet the contractual commitments to their customers by purchasing Fair Trade sugar from other certified suppliers. As mentioned, we got wind of the letter and as such it has not made it media rounds. It is important to note though that Tater and Lyle forms part of ASR.

BSI Calls BSCFA To the Negotiating Table
On Friday we told you about the latest move coming out of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association on requesting of the Prime Minister to sign a Memorandum of understanding between the Association, BSI/ASR and the Government of Belize. According to the Association, BSI wants to negotiate with the farmers on a payment for bagasse, but the farmers want them to put it in writing that a payment will be made before any meaningful negotiations can begin. And while Ortega said that the MOU was drafted by the Associations Lawyer, that document was sent to the Prime Minister for review and approval. The BSFCA says it is beneficial to all parties but tonight, there is still no word coming out of the PM’s Office about an agreement to sign. In previous interviews with Vice Chair Fred Ortega, he stated that on the two separate occasions that they met with the PM, he said that whenever they are unable to reach to a dialogue with BSI that he (PM) will be ready to jump into the picture and have something clear where they can both agree upon. Up to news time, no update was given, indicating that the Association is still waiting to hear from the leader of Belize. Meanwhile another point of contention is the start of the crop season which all parties hoped would start on January 15th.


Business Man Dies Days After Being Hijacked
45-year-old, Don Tillett, a resident of Belama area in Belize City is dead after being hijacked on New Year’s Day. Reports from the family and the Police indicate that Tillett was attacked by three men who he was giving a ride to in the City but that good deed turned detrimental as it was the beginning of the end for Tillett. Love News Reporter, Hipolito Novelo and cameraman, Myles Gillett went looking for answers today. NORMA TILLETT “He told us that they found him on the highway apparently crawling out of the bushes trying to get help. They started questioning him and he was going in and out of consciousness and they asked him what happened to him and who did this to him and all he could say was that it was three men; a Spanish guy with long hair in ponytail and two black men, they attacked him.”

Shot While Riding Bicycle in Rural Belize
Twenty-four year old Ryan Gillett, a caterer and wine maker of Burrell Boom, became an inmate of Belize Central Prison today when he was arraigned on a charge of attempted murder. Gillett was also charged with dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser explained to him that the court cannot offer him bail because of the nature of the offences. She remanded him into custody until February 19. The incident occurred around11:40 p.m. on January 4. Police reports are that 28 year old Adrian Myvette, a construction worker of Burrell Boom was riding his bicycle on Mosul Creek Road when a man riding a motorcycle came from behind and shot him the right side of his abdomen and the left side of his chest. Myvette was admitted to ward at KHMH where his condition is reported to be critical but stable.

Haitian Imprisoned After Entering Belize With Fake Visa
Thirty-seven year old Haitian auto mechanic Sanon Vertus, who arrived in Belize yesterday with a fake visa, became an inmate of Belize Central Prison today when he appeared before Magistrate Clive Lino and pled guilty to a charge of attempting to use a visa permit which was not issued by lawful authority. Vertus was ordered to pay a fine of one thousand dollars forthwith, in default six months imprisonment. He was unable to pay, so he was taken to prison. It was immigration officer Eldon August who detected that the visa was false when Vertus arrived at Phillip Goldson International he checked Vertus Haitian passport. August handed over Vertus to immigration officer Gusman who checked with the Belmopan office and verified that the visa was not genuine and as a result, Vertus was charged. The false visa for which Vertus said he paid 150 US dollars, was issued on December11, 2013 and it was to expire on March 11, 2014. He said he did not go to the embassy to get the visa and someone brought it for him. While he was in court Vertus broke down in tears at the prospect of being deported to Haiti. He said that he was going to make much more money plying his trade in Belize and asked Magistrate Lino not to send him back home. But there was nothing Magistrate Lino could do because the Immigration Department will apply for a removal order for him to be deported to Haiti either after he has paid the fine or served the time.

Government Enters Initial Phase of Road Safety Strategy
The Government of Belize through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, awarded contracts to TEICHROEB & Sons Ltd for Lot 2, Road Safety furniture and delineation, and to M&R Construction Ltd for Lot 3 Resealing. The Belize Road Safety Demonstration Corridor Project is a first step in developing a comprehensive and long-term road safety strategy. The project was officially launched on 14th March 2013 and is being implemented through a fourteen million dollar loan from the Caribbean Development bank, and GOB counterpart contribution of three point one million dollars. CEO in the Ministry of Economic Development, Yvonne Hyde, says that the contracts are for a 12-month period and are staggered to undertake the various road upgrade to complete the resealing and road safety furniture and delineation along an 80 km corridor of the George Price Highway, between Belize City and Belmopan.

Teachers are Prepared for Battle Against Government of Belize
Before the start of the New Year, Prime Minister Dean Barrow sent out a New Year’s televised message that should have made Belizeans happy especially those who have ongoing issues to overcome with the Government of Belize. In his message, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, stated that teachers would get their salary adjustment in August restrictive April 1st, 2014. That didn’t sit well with the Belize National Teachers Union who had already agreed with the PM that the salary adjustment would come in effect in July. Today the Union called a press conference to make their stand clear. BNTU wants Prime Minister Barrow to put things into perspective and do so in writing. Luke Palacio is the President of the BNTU. LUKE PALACIO “So we do take great umbrage and we are very much concerned that the Prime Minister will use his New Year’s message to give us what we consider to be a wrong signal. The reasons being that the three unions: BNTU, APSLL and the Public Service Union have been negotiating in good faith. In fact, we have been very patient in trying to ensure that our members keep their calm, that our members try to understand what is going on and how negotiations work. But when it appears that the Prime Minister wants to move the goal post, we feel very much offended and our membership wants us to demonstrate this in no uncertain terms that we are not satisfied. We have been clamoring against the disrespect that has been shown to the unions in these negotiations and we are very much concerned that that practice continues. So, we are taking our stand that this salary adjustment becomes effective July 1. The other matter we want to clear up as it relates to the Prime Minister’s New Year message is, he is saying that in addition to the 2% increment, that this increase will be substantial.


Castillo-Williams Land Dispute Weighed in Favour of the Pickwoods
On December 30th of last year, an emergency injunction was ordered by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to halt works on Parcel 2127 located in Belama Phase 1, at the corner of Albert Hoy Avenue and Chetumal Boulevard. The injunction was granted in favor of Bernadette Pickwood, and against Maude...

Motorcycle rear-ends Parked Bus killing cyclist
There was a second road accident on the Southern Highway later that night, which claimed the life of a Dangriga resident. Police investigation has revealed that 49 year old Charles Norales was travelling on his motorbike, when he rear-ended into a parked bus. Correspondent Harry Arzu has the details...

Contract to Upgrade George Price Highway Signed; slated to Finish 2015
Major road upgrades are to take place along the Demonstration Corridor, namely, the George Price Highway. This will be done through the Belize Road Safety Demonstration Corridor Project which was first launched in May of 2013 and is being implemented through a $14,495,000 Belize dollar loan from the CDB,...

Ryan Gillet Charged with Attempted Murder of Adrian Myvette
In relation to the shooting which occurred on Saturday and injured 28 year old Adrian Myvette, a Boom resident was today slapped with three charges. 24-year-old Ryan Gillett, a wine maker and caterer of the Burrell Boom area was charged arraigned this evening for one count of attempted murder,...

Construction at Belmopan Junction has City Council dodging Casino Questions
PlusNews has received information from very reliable sources of the construction of a hotel and casino on the outskirts of the capital city. The site, which is located on the George Price Highway, a few yards from the Belmopan junction, but well within city limits, is still under early...

Two Robberies in Same Hours in Belmopan got Cops Investigating
Last night we told you of a robbery at the Belize Post and Mail Services in Belmopan sometime before noon. Well just few hours later, there was another robbery in the city, targeting a Belmopan resident. At about 7.35p.m., the 26 year old male was making his way down...

PUC Approved Decrease Electricity Rate Effective from 1st January-June 30th
On December 10, 201, the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) applied for a reduction in electricity rates as a result of an increase in hydroelectricity production in Belize and Mexico and subsequent reduction in the cost of power. On the 2nd of this month, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued...

Haitian Caught With Fake Visa
A Haitian national caught with a fake visa, plead guilty today in the courtroom of Magistrate Clive Lino. He is 37-year-old Mechanic Sanon Vertus. Reports reaching PlusNews are that yesterday, upon Vertus’ arrival into Belize via the PGIA, he was escorted to the Immigration office for a private interrogation....

Two Fatal Road Accidents on the Southern Highway
An elderly man was knocked and killed early yesterday morning on the Southern Highway. At about 6:10, 61 year old Juan Oh, was riding his bicycle from the direction of Santa Rosa Village toward Mayan King, when near Mile 23, he was hit by a motorcycle being driven at...

Robbers Target BPMS Postal Service in Belmopan
This afternoon, PlusNews received reports of a robbery at the Belize Package and Mail Services in Belmopan. Details are still forthcoming at this time, as Police are still in the early stage of investigating. Speaking with Assistant Superintendent in Belmopan, Sinquest Martinez, this evening, he was able to confirm...

International Acting Promoted in Belize
An emerging faucet in the Belizean society is theatre production. Not only is it an unrestrained outlet for creative expression, but it is a means for keeping the cultures of Belize alive through storytelling. And with this form of art growing increasingly popular among the youth, the need for...

Oceana’s New Leader Janelle Chanona Clarifies Floyd Neal’s Dismissal.
Oceana axed its Administrative Director Floyd Neal after 3 years of service. In August of 2013, Floyd Neal, temporarily took charge of Oceana’s office in Belize as the acting Vice President. At the same time, Alex Munoz, Vice President for Oceana in South America, took responsibility for Oceana in...

“Teechaz Gat Yu Back,” declares BNTU in Rebrand
Perhaps because they have been fighting for it for so long, the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) and its partners the Public Service Union (PSU) and Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM) have increasingly become identified with obtaining a salary adjustment for teachers and public officers – and...

Restaurant Owner Attacked in Hattieville
Last Tuesday owner of Rob’s Cool Spot outside of Hattieville, Belize District, Robert Robinson, was targeted by two armed robbers demanding money. At six on New Year’s Eve, Robinson, 61, was accosted by men carrying a gun and machete. When they tried and failed to get money from him,...

Shooting Reported in Burrell Boom
Violence has been reported in the usually peacefully village of Burrell Boom in the River Valley. According to police, 28 year old Adrian Myvette of the Butter Cup hamlet next to Burrell Boom was riding a purple ladies’ model bicycle on the Burrell Boom Road near the entrance to...

DPP’s Office not Consulted on Gun Investigation
On Friday we told you about serious allegations that senior officials in the Police Department intervened and stopped charges from proceeding against a Belize City resident who is no stranger to the law. Following a search at a Rio Bravo Crescent residence in Belize City on Friday morning the...


Health authorities are investigating reports that four people may have died in recent weeks due to a bacterial infection known as leptospirosis – carried by cattle, pigs, horses, dogs, and wild animals, but most notably by rats, particularly in light of concerns that flood conditions may result in an outbreak of the potentially fatal disease. Several cases of leptospirosis were reported in Belize City in 2000, after Hurricane Keith. In 2006, businessman Ramon “Moncho” Galvez contracted leptospirosis after eating from a loaf of bread bought at a Chinese store. He did not realize, until after having eaten some of it, that rats had bitten through the pack of bread. Last week, on New Year’s Day 2014, a former traffic officer succumbed to the disease. “Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. In humans, it can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which may be mistaken for other diseases. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all.

The New Year has just begun, and already, two persons have been murdered over the weekend in the Independence area, in the Stann Creek District, in two separate chopping incidents. Jealousy may have been the motive for the vicious chopping that caused the death of a woman of Benque Viejo, known as Ufareila, 41, who was found in a hacked-up state at the Green Gold Banana Farm 16, in the Independence area, while Rene Arturo Perez, 25, a Guatemalan laborer of Finca San Jose Carrizal Gualan, Guatemala, was chopped up during a drinking spree in the Trio Village area. Ufareila was found at about 1:00 this morning, Monday, about 90 feet off the main road leading to Sagitun Farm, in some grass. She had been chopped on the right elbow; both wrists were chopped, with one hand almost being severed; there were three large chop wounds in the right back side of her head and a chop wound in the back of her head leading to the right side of her face.

The Belize Water Services (BWS)—the Government-owned utility company which supplies roughly 150 million US gallons of potable water each month to roughly 44,000 customers—has asked the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to grant a “16.25% increase in tariffs, fees and other charges in order to provide the increase in revenues required to finance the vitally necessary capital investments.” The company has written to the PUC, saying that, “BWS has strived to keep water rates as affordable as possible, but the company is faced with increasing costs and the need to expand and improve its assets to enhance the development of the country.” In a financial report supplied to the PUC which details the tariff history of the company, BWS said that Cascal, the former owner of BWS, had requested a 31% tariff increase to take effect in 2005, but a 17.2% increase was approved for the period April 2004 to March 2009. Then, a 12.1% increase was granted for the full tariff review period spanning April 2010 to March 2015, lower than the 25% tariff increase requested by the company. The first decrease was implemented in 2012, when the PUC ordered a 7.2% decrease in tariffs. However, the Belize Water Services now says that, “This reduction in rates, which was effective April 2012, is of particular concern, especially given the need for increased pipeline replacement works as well as expansion.”

Penner recall petition short by 79 votes, Elections and Boundaries rules, but CEO Tamai refuses comment. “If she claims that so many signatures are not genuine signatures of electors, then she can implement section 9 (a) of the Recall Act—if indeed some persons are forging signatures—so why does she not investigate and take these persons to Court, as the Act provides for? - Landy Espat, PUP member of the Elections and Boundaries Commission Landy Habet, the Opposition member who still has ambitions of becoming the area representative for Cayo North East, told Amandala today that the Opposition People’s United Party should be given an opportunity to resubmit the election petition to remove Elvin Penner—the current United Democratic Party representative who Prime Minister Dean Barrow has asked to resign from his party over an immigration scandal which broke last September 2013. Earlier this week, the Office of the Governor-General informed the PUP that its recall petition, submitted on November 28, 2013, had failed because it had “not been duly signed by the requisite number of electors” – that is, 1,744 of the 5,815 registered voters. The PUP had submitted 2,002 names on the petition and the Government rejected 337 of them, meaning that those which were validated amounted to 1,665. The PUP was, then, short of 79 valid signatures, according to the ruling.

General’s press conference Wednesday on Penner Passport Scandal It has been almost three months since the “carefully guarded” investigations into the most recent passport scandal were launched in late September due to rampant allegations of corruption and irregularities within the Immigration and Nationality Departments. Since then, details and updates in regard to the substance of the investigations have not been forthcoming – at least not as they were expected by certain members of the public. Today, Amandala sought to find out what is the current status of the investigations and how those investigations have been progressing since the Penner passport scandal rocked the nation to its core in the latter part of 2013. Of all the investigating bodies that are involved in the investigations – namely the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the Auditor General’s Office, the Police Department and the Ministry (of Immigration and Nationality) itself – only one was able to provide us with any substantial information regarding the ongoing investigations into the circumstances surrounding the scandal, whose principal figure is a South Korean fugitive by the name of Won Hong Kim, incarcerated in a Taiwan jail.

Despite wasteful fishing practices, EU praises fishing deal with Morocco. Even as Belize has been slapped with sanctions by the European Union (EU) on allegations of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing by high seas fishing vessels using the country’s flag for convenience to fish in the world’s oceans, environmentalists and activists from the African continent and abroad have expressed outrage at what they described to be wasteful fishing operations by a Moroccan fishing vessel – Adrar – a pelagic trawler which carries the Belizean flag. However, they are furthermore outraged by the EU’s move to formalize a fishing accord with Morocco, despite these environmentally unsound practices. The agency Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) released a story last November in which it published a series of photos and a video, showing how tens of tons of dead fish were being discarded in a single day off the Western Sahara, where the Moroccan fishers exploit the fisheries resources in the face of military occupation of that African territory. When we checked the location of the vessel this evening, via, it indicated that it was near Dahkla – a city in Western Sahara under Moroccan control.

The MCC was a muddy mess, for players as well as for game and team officials on the edge of the sidelines and on team benches; but the Premier League Belikin Cup Week 13 game was played with intensity and emotion yesterday afternoon at the football Mecca of Belize City, where the home squad FC Belize fell 2-0 to a highly motivated and talent laden Police United team, in a game that was considered a “do or die” for both clubs, but especially so for Police, in their efforts to secure 1 of 4 spots in the semifinal playoffs. The game was fierce and physical for the full ninety, and referee Victor Williams came close to losing control of the hostilities when he allowed a Police break-away attack to continue despite it coming off an apparent “stomp block” that saw nearby linesman Gilroy Swaso wave his flag; moments later, the play resulted in the first, and what would prove to be the game winning goal for Police, as their hottest striker Clifton West scored his first of two goals at the 37th minute off a rebound from a save by FC Belize goalkeeper Glenford Chimilio.

We reported last week that FC Belize management had been informed by Sports Council officials that the MCC Grounds would be closed “for renovations” beginning today, Monday. But there has been no announcement as to when the Marion Jones Sports Complex, which has been closed to the public for almost three years now, will be opened. If FC Belize does not make the PLB Belikin Cup Opening Season 2013-2014 playoffs, it will not be the end of football in Belize City. Until the next PLB season, there are a number of initiatives that will require the use of the MCC or some adequate facility to keep our football youth busy. And FC Belize, the only active “semi-pro” team in Belize City right now, will have to prepare for the PLB Closing Season which follows shortly. The overall winner of the two seasons, the Opening and Closing seasons 2013-2014, get to represent Belize in the next CONCACAF Champions League tournament.

There are branches of some Mestizo families who were fixtures in Belize City for decades and generations. These were families like the Perdomos, the Aguilars, the Cuellars, the Castillos, the Matuses, the Bautistas, the Alamillas, the Zetinas, and so on. But, by and large, Belize City was known as a Creole city. The masses of city residents were descended from African slaves brought here to cut logwood and mahogany in the forests in Belize, and a few of these families featured European DNA derived from relationships between white “Baymen” and black/brown women. The Creoles were roughly three centuries old in the settlement, and the Mestizos, who had taken refuge here after the Caste War began in the Yucatán in 1847, were roughly a third of that age here. In 1862, the Baymen in Belize had opted, under some financial duress, to become a British colony, Great Britain being at that time arguably the most powerful nation in the world. So then, before the nationalist revolution began in 1950, the British ran the government departments, the police, the military, the judiciary, the school system, and so on. The center of their operations was Belize City, the capital of the colony called British Honduras. The majority Creole population in the city enjoyed some advantages from the fact that they lived in the administrative center of the colony. As time went on, the Creoles took those advantages for granted, and a section of the Creole people, especially the civil servants, identified with the British administration of the colony.

There are stories I have yet to tell, and one reason they have not been told is that these stories probably belong in fiction instead of in a newspaper column. Over the years I have spent much time thinking about what was happening to me and what had happened to me, and the most important thing, I submit, is not to feel sorry for yourself, and the second most important thing is not to nurse any feelings of bitterness. Ours is a small community, and a small society, and this presents a problem for Belizean writers: it’s hard not to step on toes. I remember some years ago I wrote of a barber from my childhood who was a drunk. He was not an abusive or criminal drunk: more a quiet and pleasant drunk, I would say. I did not think my reference was hostile, but a family member of his took it that way, and proceeded to make personal attacks on me and my family. This is an example of how tricky it is to write in a small community, small society. Even though you are supposed to reduce the danger of your offending people when you write in fiction, people can still say, well, that character must be so-and-so. I’ve done that myself. In Zee Edgell’s second novel, In Times Like These, I felt sure that one of her characters was basically Odinga Lumumba. Very few readers would have known Lumumba as well as I did, so they would not have speculated as I did. I’m just saying that even a professional writer like myself can experience the tendency, in a small community/society, to look for familiar faces and familiar places. This tendency makes the job of the writer from a small community/society more difficult.

Teachers only have six months’ waiting tolerance, says BNTU VP, Kathleen Flowers. The Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) declared today that it takes “great umbrage” with what it said was a unilateral announcement by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow, indicating that Government would push back the date for the payment of a long overdue salary adjustment to teachers and public officers, from July 2014 to August 2014. The BNTU made its stance known at a press briefing held at its Belize City headquarters on Monday morning, January 6, 2014. The BNTU also expressed concern that the negotiations have been dragging on for far too long. BNTU’s national president, Luke Palacio, said that their last negotiations, which began with their first face-to-face meeting with Government reps in 2009, were held in July 2013 and they will now push for talks to be concluded by mid-year, 2014. “If we have to get to industrial action, well, let’s roll it out…” said Kathleen Flowers, the BNTU’s 2nd national vice president and chair of the BNTU’s PR committee.

A family of five from rural Belize is requesting the public’s assistance after a blazing inferno charred their home and belongings last night at around 7:00 p.m. The McKay family – who have been living in Ladyville village for the past 25 years – are now homeless after a raging fire completely gutted their 3-bedroom house, which was situated on Cusco Street in the Mitchell Estate area of Ladyville. Fortunately, no one was at home at the time of the blaze. The cause of the fire is believed to be a lit candle which was left unattended inside the home. Jenna McKay, 22, who was one of the occupants of the house, told Amandala that she went across the street to her mother’s house sometime after 7:00 p.m. on Thursday night to get something for her children to eat. While there, she said that her mother noticed that flames were coming out of one of the rooms of her (Jenna’s) house; and upon making further checks, they saw that the bungalow structure was ablaze.

He hit 2 vehicles, damaged a garage and caused over BZ$20,000 in damage. A Belizean driver got himself into trouble in neighboring Chetumal, Mexico, after he ran a red light and slammed into a parked vehicle and damaged the side of a garage. The estimated cost of the damages he caused is over $100,000 Mexican pesos, or about $20,000 Belize. The driver of another vehicle was also injured by the crash. The incident occurred about 2:30 Saturday evening on the Primo Truth Street in Chetumal. Authorities have said that the Belizean driver, in an Isuzu Rodeo, was distracted and speeding when he ran the red light on Independence Street and collided with a pickup being driven by Chetumal resident Edgar Manuel Medina Flores, 32, who was driving across the street after his traffic light turned green.

Boris Vostry, who is declared to be wanted by INTERPOL on charges of fraud, and who in his absence was handed a jail sentence of 9 years by the Prague High Court in October 2012, contacted our newspaper today and reported that he is not wanted by the Belize authorities, and he is presently living in Belize. Vostry was exonerated by a Cayman Court judgment in 2007, and based on this judgment, he was also cleared by the Belize Supreme Court, and is living here free after he was cleared by the court. He said that he has appealed the 9-year jail sentence handed down to him by the Prague High Court, and will travel to Europe to clear his name. According to an online Bloomberg article dated October 17, 2012, the Appeals High Court in Prague, on October 16 upheld a 10-year prison sentence for former Harvard Funds president Viktor Kozeny, convicted in absentia of fraudulent trading in securities that caused damage worth billions of crowns to Harvardsky Prumyslovy Holding (HPH) in the 1990s. The court lowered the sentence by one year, to 9 years in jail for Kozeny’s colleague, Boris Vostry, who, too, has been prosecuted as a fugitive.

There are allegations coming from the north of extortion of money from Mexican nationals by Belizean police officers at the new northern border crossing known as Chactemal. Two Mexicans reported to the Mexican authorities that on New Year’s night they were forced to pay 500 pesos, or BZ$100, and 150 pesos, or BZ$30, respectively to be released by Belize police officers who were operating a checkpoint near the Belize-Mexico border that night. Assistant Superintendent of Police, Andrew Ramirez, told Amandala that they have no report of the incident and strongly urge the Mexicans to come forward and make an official report. Ramirez also said that police officers from other units operate in the area without consulting him. Information to us is that one of the Mexicans told their officials that at about 2:00 New Year’s morning he approached the checkpoint on his return trip to Chetumal from the Corozal Free Zone. He was asked for his driver’s license, and he told the officers that he did not have it at the time. The police officers then reportedly requested 500 pesos for the offense, after threatening to take him to jail.

Jihadul Gill, 19, a resident of #8379 Diego Street, was charged with drug trafficking when he appeared before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart this afternoon. According to police, on January 2, 2014, members of the Gang Suppression Unit were on patrol on Jones Street when they saw Gill. When Gill saw the officers, he turned to walk into a yard and was observed pushing something into his pocket. The officers then approached Gill and after being told that they had seen what he had done, he told them that it was only a little bit of weed that he had in his possession. But when officers searched his pocket, they found a black plastic bag that seemed bulky to them, and when they opened it, they found it to contain suspected cannabis.

Kenrick Longsworth, 21, was charged with robbery when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser this morning. According to police, on January 1, Mariani Westby, 19, was walking on Douglas Jones Street toward New Road when she was robbed of a tablet valued at $300 and $50 cash. Westby immediately reported the matter to police and while at the station, police brought in Longsworth, who was positively identified as the person who robbed her. Longsworth pleaded not guilty to the charge and was offered bail of $1,000 with one surety of the same amount. He is scheduled to appear back in court on March 3, 2014.

Perez had a bandage over his right eye and a blood stain in his right ear and told the court that he was beaten up in the cell block at the “piss house.” Jorge Perez, 21, a resident of #5903 Western Avenue, was charged with aggravated assault of an indecent nature when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser this morning. Amandala couldn’t obtain any information on the incident, but what we know is that the incident occurred on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2014, and the assault was committed against a 15-year-old female. When Perez appeared in court today, he had a bandage over his right eye and blood stains on his shirt and in his right ear. When the Senior Magistrate queried the blood stains on his shirt and the bandage, Perez told the court that he was beaten up in the cell block at the “piss house”.


“Polar vortex” hits San Pedro Belize
I have not checked the temp, temp but sitting here with cold hands n feet and I am wearing socks. It feels crazy cold today, there is a strong wind that has been howling off and on all morning. In addition to a hoodie and long pants, I have a bandana on and airline blanket while working at my desk. I also pulled out our comforter for later and we switched our evening plans and invited Matt to watch basketball at our house instead of going to Lola’s and watching it on their League Pass. I am far too cold to leave the house today and Paul just wanted to come home after work and relax. Before long in our back and forth in fb messenger about tonight, Matt and I got talking about the weather. He linked me to what he was reading - U.S. Midwest, Northeast hit by bitter cold temperatures and What is a polar vortex? Both good articles. The second one has easy to understand graphics and a short write up about the cold snap that is gripping North America as cold Arctic air moves south. He is probably right in his assumption about it causing our frosty weather, it sure feels like the “Polar vortex” has hit San Pedro Belize.

The Polar Vortex Moves into Belize And It’s Kinda Beautiful
Ha. I’m not even sure what a polar vortex is…but the US News stations are ALL ABOUT IT right now. Temperatures at ridiculous levels like -65F. The Weather Channel asks: How cold can it get? Brrrrr-meggedon 2014. Late afternoon yesterday, the storm system moved from the north across Belize and it made for a dramatic sunset after what had been a gorgeous afternoon in San Pedro. The day at about 2pm…high 70s and warm sun. As I walked/ran to town yesterday a big orange cloud crept southward…and boats raced back to town to beat it.

“Needles and Pins” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
What’s this? Two editions in one day. Has amnesia set in and he can’t remember what he’s done you are probably thinking. No. The memory might not be as good as it once was (and it was very, very good once) but it’s not bad. I’m blaming it on the weather. Why? Well there was stuff I was going to do outside but it was too cold – the memory is still OK but there’s no argument that my blood has thinned – so I decided to let you know (who cares I sense you thinking) what yesterday held for me today, rather than making you wait until tomorrow. Showing you the caring and sensitive side of me, aren’t I. Right, so what about yesterday. Well it was chilly when I got on to the veranda with a mug of coffee and the iPad shortly after 05.00 hours. Given the weather of the last few mornings I assumed that it would be chilly and dressed accordingly ie I put a sweat top on. The extra attire and the hot mug of coffee were all I needed to enjoy my ‘me time’. And I did until Rubio arrived at 06.45 hours to resume work on the fence. By the time he had got the tools out of the store room/ garage Moses, Mike and Pablo had arrived and then the action began with Moses and Pablo concentrating on the fence on the southern side and Rubio and Mike working on the northern side.

My good frien Lucille frum Dayton, Virginny, sent me a cookbook frum thar communitee fer Christmus. I wuz eggcited ta receif' it as I luv a'lookin through cookbooks gittin new idees fer recipes. Try thishere recipe un one o'these cold wint'r days! CHEDDAR CHOWDER 2 cups wat'r 2 cups dicet potatoes 1 /2 cup dicet carrots 1 /2 cup dicet celery 1 /4 cup choppet onion 1 teespoon salt 1 /4 teespoon black pepp'r Direckshuns: Combine all ingredyints n' a large kettle. Bawl 10 ta 12 minnuts. Meenwhile make white sauce. Stir sauce into undrunet vegetabull mixture. Heat throughout.

A year later and still no answers. Written by: Aria Lightfoot.
It was reportedly a stormy late night January 7th or early morning January 8th, 2013, when several people (likely men), entered into the apartments of Keino Quallo; Anthony Perez, Albert Fuentes and Leonard Myers and brutally, savagely and gruesomely murdered them. Although the houses in that neighborhood practically sit on top of each other, no one heard or saw anything. It may be a coincidence that the police visited the house the same night and broke a lock the assailants came through; and it is plausible that the police surveillance camera was not working that night; Belize get equipment donated without technical support. What was unimaginable were the the heinous crimes splattered all over the media; showcased by the police; and hurriedly theorized by media as gang affiliated murders. Evident were the unprofessionalism and incompetence on proud display. The murder scene quickly turned into a public spectacle filled with reporters, onlookers and police officers; treating the crime scene as a blood filled sideshow; trampling through an unpreserved crime scene; with no regard for family and friends who looked on in horror. It was a very disrespectful and unethical event behaving as if the lives taken meant nothing.

International Sources

Fitch Withdraws Belize Sovereign Investments III (Cayman) Limited’s ‘A+’ Rating
Fitch Ratings has withdrawn the ‘A+’/Stable rating assigned to the $85.7 million notes issued by Belize Sovereign Investments III (Cayman) Limited (BSI). The rating withdrawal follows Fitch’s recent withdrawal of the ‘AA-’ Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) rating assigned to Steadfast Insurance Company (Steadfast). The rating of the notes was based on credit support from two insurance policies underwritten by Steadfast, and therefore linked to the IFS assigned to Steadfast. The BSI notes are backed by two restructured government of Belize (GOB) sovereign obligations from the country’s 2007 debt restructuring and benefit from the aforementioned insurance policies, which cover non-payment by the GOB. Since 2012, Steadfast has made three payments to BSI under the policies related to partial payments by the GOB, enabling timely payment of interest on the notes.

Austerity offers impetus to band Caribbean islands together
The West Indies Federation, an ambitious political union of British colonies and protectorates in the Caribbean, collapsed more than half a century ago amid intense bickering. Yet an economic crisis of unprecedented proportions may force the former members to band together once more. The scale of the problems varies. Trinidad and Tobago, for example, is prosperous thanks to natural gas exports. But many of the anglophone Caribbean countries have foundered in recent years, dragged down by a tourism decline, withering banana and sugar industries and debt incurred by government overspending. Many economists, international officials and even local politicians concede that part of the solution lies in closer union and that this will inevitably involve some loss of sovereignty, a touchy subject in states that were not so long ago under the colonial yoke.

John McAfee: I'm glad Intel is dropping my name
John McAfee, the flamboyant millionaire who founded the eponymous anti-virus software pioneer that Intel Corp bought for $7.7 billion, says he is glad that the chipmaker plans to drop his name from the product. Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich announced the decision to abandon the McAfee name late on Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, saying the company plans to transition those products to the "Intel Security" brand. "I've been begging them to drop the brand or fix the product," McAfee said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. He did not speculate on a reason for the move, which was not completely unexpected. Last June, McAfee appeared in a profanity-laced video attacking the quality of the software produced by the company he founded in the late 1980s. He said he frequently gets emails from customers who complain that it degrades the performance of their computers and is difficult to remove.

January 7, 2014


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The San Pedro Sun

Veteran journalist Janelle Chanona to lead Oceana in Belize
Former journalist and newscaster Janelle Chanona is the new leader of Oceana in Belize. The announcement was officially made on January 6th, via a press release from Oceana’s office in Belize. Chanona replaces Attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd who vacated her position on August 22, 2013. The new country leader of Oceana joins one of the world’s largest international ocean conservation groups. The former Belize newscaster and Belmopan native will lead Oceana’s efforts to protect Belize’s barrier reef. Chief Executive Officer of Oceana Andrew Sharpless is quoted as saying that “We are very lucky to have Janelle join Oceana… She has the right combination of skills and passion to be an excellent leader and to help Oceana win policy victories that protect Belize’s amazing barrier reef and its marine resources.” Chanona is a graduate of St. John’s College in Belize, of Loyola College in Baltimore in the United States and received a Master’s degree with distinction from Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom.

Farmers impacted as a result of unfavorable weather conditions
The widespread impact and sustained flooding is described as the worst adversity to have affected farmers nationally and even more severely in the Belize District. Increased and continuous rain combined with the inability of channels to carry off floodwater discharge has resulted in the damage of key agricultural products and areas inundated. The unfavorable conditions have resulted in pasture loss, decreased livestock production as well as increased pest and disease in key local agricultural commodities. In response to the challenges caused by climatic conditions the Ministry of Natural Resource and Agriculture has committed itself to providing assistance in the form of animal feed and some agricultural inputs to severely impacted farmers in highly vulnerable agricultural zones.The planned action was drafted as a result of feedbacks from farm visits, farmer meetings and extensive consultation with national counterparts resulting in an identified and prioritized strategy to help alleviate the existing conditions. The proposed intervention will commence on Saturday 4th January with the provision of cattle feed to livestock producers in the Crooked Tree and Blackburn livestock productive zones. On Wednesday January 8th assistance will be provided to the communities of the Belize River Valley and on Friday January 10th the communities along the old northern highway (Maskall zone).

Snorkeling is a ‘Splash” at the Silk Cayes!
Some experiences stay with you long after they’re over – memories tiding you over until you can relive the moment once again. Thoughts of vibrantly colored fish, curious sharks and even a territorial turtle or two, mingling with spotted eagle rays and southern stingrays swimming through iridescent blue waters certainly brightens up the day. Where did this experience take place? At the Silk Cayes off the coast of Placencia in Southern Belize! The Silk Cayes (also known as Queen Cayes) are two beautiful patches of white sand dotted with coconut trees, and rings of coral just waiting for the snorkel expedition of a lifetime. Taking us on that journey was the 2012 Tour Operator of the Year Splash Dive Center. When we finally arrived at one of the picturesque islands after a 45-minute boat ride, there was no dock awaiting us. The boat simply slowed down and pulled up to the brilliant white sandy shore. Just ahead, we could see a small lemon shark cruising, watching our arrival and quickly darting away when we began to alight.

Ambergris Today

Belize Farmers Impacted by Unfavorable Weather to Receive Assistance by Government
The widespread impact and sustained flooding is described as the worst adversity to have affected farmers nationally and even more severely in the Belize District. Increased and continuous rain combined with the inability of channels to carry off floodwater discharge has resulted in the damage of key agricultural products and areas inundated. The unfavorable conditions have resulted in pasture loss, decreased livestock production as well as increased pest and disease in key local agricultural commodities. In response to the challenges caused by climatic conditions the Ministry of Natural Resource and Agriculture has committed itself to providing assistance in the form of animal feed and some agricultural inputs to severely impacted farmers in highly vulnerable agricultural zones. The planned action was drafted as a result of feedbacks from farm visits, farmer meetings and extensive consultation with national counterparts resulting in an identified and prioritized strategy to help alleviate the existing conditions.

Puma in our midst – Keeping community and wildlife safe in San Pedro
On Friday, December 20, 2013, there was a great deal of excitement following eyewitness reports of a puma south of San Pedro Town. While Sanpedranos are very proud of their marine and land creatures, there was also, understandably a great deal of concern and fear about this uncommon and large predator in a populated, residential area. Mayor Daniel Guerrero did the right thing and immediately called the Belize Wildlife Conservation Networks’ (BWCN) Wildlife Advice Hotline for advice and assistance. This hotline is for the general public to report injured, orphaned, nuisance or abused wildlife. When a response is necessary they partner with the Forest Department and any relevant wildlife organization to ensure the best outcome for the caller and animal concerned. Because this is a voluntary organization with no paid members, funds were sought privately to fly a team to San Pedro to investigate as it appeared to be a matter of urgency. Unfortunately, the puma had disappeared by the time they had arrived and due to heavy rains; there was very little evidence that allowed them to gather information about the puma.

Flashbacks: Mexico’s Smallest Man in San Pedro -Margarito Esparza Nevares
The Mexico’s smallest man has been to San Pedro. He is Margarito Esparza Nevares born on June 10, 1936 in Sinaloa Mexico and is 27.5 inches small (about 2 feet). He is a well rounded artist having performed as a comedian, singer, composer and television conductor. Because of his small stature, he is known as “ El Enano Margarito” (Margarito the Dwarf). Margarito was well known at the time and it was Mayor Gilberto “Chico” Gomez who arranged for his appearance in San Pedro to perform on the occasion of the anniversary of San Pedro’s Township. The irony of life in that “Chico” (Small) brought the smallest man to San Pedro. Needless to say, he put on a first class performance that delighted everyone with his singing, guitar and comedy. Today Margarito is living in Monterrey, Mexico,is married and has three children, ten grandchildren and is still working in the television media.

Pic of the Week: Nothing Beats a Great Sailing Day in Ambergris Caye, Belize
There is nothing better than a fun day of sailing in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Whether it is for a snorkeling trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley, day trip to visit nearby Caye Caulker, Barbeque picnic in North Ambergris Caye or a spectacular sunset sail, the packages offered are fun-filled and always make for great memories. Pictured here is a shot of Central Park in San Pedro Town as La Gaviota sailboat arrives back to the island after a superb sailing trip.

Misc Belizean Sources

Janelle Chanona becomes Oceana's new leader in Belize
Former newscaster joins ocean conservation group, pledges to win campaigns to protect Belize's reef. Oceana, the world's largest international ocean conservation group, announced today that Janelle Chanona has joined Oceana as its new leader for Belize. The former Belize newscaster and Belmopan native will lead Oceana's efforts to protect Belize's barrier reef. "We are very lucky to have Janelle join Oceana," noted Oceana CEO Andrew F. Sharpless. "She has the right combination of skills and passion to be an excellent leader and to help Oceana win policy victories that protect Belize's amazing barrier reef and its marine resources." Chanona, a former reporter and anchor with News 5 in Belize, most recently ran her own media and production company. She has produced documentaries for several environmental groups in Belize. Chanona is a graduate of St. Johns College in Belize, of Loyola College in Baltimore in the United States and received a Masters degree with distinction from Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom. A passionate diver, she is a frequent visitor to Belize's barrier reef, the largest such reef in the Western Hemisphere.

Belize Electricity Limited - Power Plants and SWOT Analysis, 2013 Update
Summary The report contains a detailed description of the power generation companys business operations, history, corporate strategy, and business structure. This report contains a detailed SWOT analysis, information on key employees (executives), and major products and services. Scope - Major Power Plants (assets) - summarized and detailed information about the power plants (assets). - Operational Metrics (capacity, generation, revenue, sales, number of consumers). - Business description - A detailed description of the companys operations and business divisions. - Corporate strategy - summarization of the companys business strategy. - SWOT analysis - A detailed analysis of the companys strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. - Company history - Progression of key events associated with the company. - Major products and services - A list of major products, services and brands - Key employees - A list of the key executives and personnel heading key departments/functions. - Executive biographies - A brief summary of the executives employment history. - Financial deals - Coverage of key financial deals from 2006 onwards, depending upon information availability - Important locations and subsidiaries - A list of key locations and subsidiaries of the company, including contact details.

Belizeans with dual citizenships need a political party in Belize
By Wellington C. Ramos When Belize became independent on September 21, 1981, under the People’s United Party (PUP), natural born Belizeans who became citizens of other countries and obtained dual citizenships lost their Belizean citizenship. The Belizeans who possessed dual citizenships with the United States brought this to the attention of the United Democratic Party (UDP) during the political campaign of 1984. The United Democratic Party defeated the People’s United Party in the election of that year by a margin of 21 to 7. This was more than enough votes to amend the constitution of Belize. The UDP amended the Belize constitution to reinstate the citizenships of natural born Belizeans to get passports and some benefits but there were ambiguities in the constitution and the laws of Belize dealing with other fundamental citizenship rights. Some of these rights include voting by proxy, running for political office and holding other offices in Belize while still maintaining their dual citizenships.

San Pedrito gets Hard Core! Patching up the big holes... (10 photos)
Thank you, Mayor Daniel Guerrero...I like your idea, more hardcore less fireworks. Your priorities are sound!!

More streets get Hard Core Material. Sea Grape Drive, Princess Drive and San Juan Area. (14 photos)

Masters Degree Scholarship Opportunity

Fatal accident on the Southern Road heading to Placencia. (4 photos)
Mein thats so sad ... prayers goes out to the family who have to deal with this tragedy.. May God have mercy

Yoga and Coffee at Soul Project
En-lighten Up Yoga is starting up again Friday at the Soul Project. They'll also be having their 'yogi coffee house' after yoga. Yoga is one way to achieve your new year's resolutions. "Starting up This Friday!!!! Look forward to seeing everyone there!!!"

Motorcycle and passenger bus collide.
There are reports of a road traffic accident on the Southern Highway. Reports are that it happened earlier tonight at about mile 2 on the Southern Highway. Indications are that a motorcclist crashed into the rear of a parked passenger bus that was on the right hand side of the road. The first pictures from the scene show the impact of the crash, with the mangled motorcycle and the injured rider sprawled on the pavement.

Missionary doctors offer free clinics in Cayo villages
A group of missionary doctors is currently offering free, basic medical services, for residents of Georgeville and surrounding areas. The base for the free medical clinics is the Shining Light Baptist Church on the outkirts of Georgeville. Persons wishing to access these free clinics can just show up at the church. The free clinics in Georgeville will wrap up at 5 pm today, after which the group will move on to Buena Vista village which is near Spanish Lookout.

New Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital
Join our friends at the Challenge Gobie Foundation as they journey from Punta Gorda Town to Belmopan to raise BZ$1,000,000 for the New Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital! Find them on Facebook for more information and Register today. Registration closes on Thursday, January 9th.

Channel 7

Woman Hacked To Death In South
Tonight, we report on the first 2 murders for 2014, 2 of them involve brutal choppings, and both of them happened over the weekend in the Banana Belt. We start first with 41 year-old Maria Domitilia Perez, a Naturalized Belizean businesswoman of Benque Viejo Town. She was found on early Sunday morning on the Green Gold Banana Farm, located just off the Placencia Road. She had been savagely chopped to death most of the injuries to her head. Today, 7News spoke to the police officer commanding the Intermediate Southern Formation, who told us about what police found: Superintendent Alton Alvarez - Officer Commanding, Intermediate Southern Formation "Police responded to a report of a woman that was seen lying motionless somewhere within the Green Gold area in the Stann Creek judicial district. Independence Police responded and they came upon the said female lying motionless. The female has received multiple machete wounds to the head and body. On the scene the police recovered a cell phone. The cell phone was found on the person of the deceased and we believe that that cell phone is the property of the deceased."

Man Chopped To Death In Trio Village
Police are also asking for help from the public in locating the main suspect in the murder of 25 year-old Guatemalan Rene Arturo Perez. He was found chopped to death last week Friday in the Trio Village, near to the banana farm that he works. The last time he was seen alive, he was with one Donaldo, on Thursday night. He left his employer's banana farm, and on the next, day, his body was discovered. The officer commanding ISF told us today that this Donaldo, a Guatemalan who is still believed to be in the country, is their main suspect because they found evidence which suggests his involvement: Superintendent Alton Alvarez - Officer Commanding, Intermediate Southern Formation "On Thursday sometime around 8:30am Independence police received information with regards to a body that was found in the Trio area; that would be 5 miles east of Trio Village; that's on the Southern Highway leading towards from where we are at heading towards the Toledo District. This body was discovered by a concern citizen within that area. He is the farm owner in that area and he has called the police with respect to information. The police responded and came upon the body of one Rene Arturo Perez, 25 years old. He is a Guatemalan national. Apparently he has been working within that area as the assistant to that farmer that had called."

Teachers Bristle At PM’s Month Mix Up
One of the key features of the Prime Minister's New Year's Message was the raise of pay for teachers and public officers. The PM spoke of the increase in glowing terms and said it would be "substantial." That was all good and well - but it seems he mis-spoke when he talked about the date of implementation for the raise. The Prime Minister said it would be paid in August - but he told the union that it would be July. Now, it's only a technicality, because the effective date would still be April first - but the teachers say it is an important and consequential difference. Now, it would seem to be the kind of thing that could be cleared up with a simple phone call, but today the unions flexed with a press conference to say the PM is sending a wrong signal:.... Luke Palacio, National President - BNTU "The Prime Minister's New Year's message, he indicated that the salary adjustment would be effective in August, retro-active to April 1st 2014. Our understanding and agreement so far with the Prime Minister before his new year's message was that this salary adjustment would have been come effective on the 1st July, retro-active to April of 2014. We do take umbrage and very much concern that the Prime Minister would use his new year's message to give us this - what we consider to be a wrong signal."

Man Shot In Boom
A man was shot at the horse track in Burrell Boom on Saturday night with a nine millimeter pistol. At about 11:30, 28 year old Adrian Myvette was riding a bicycle when he was shot once to his chest and twice to his midsection by a man on a motorbike. The gunman sped past him, and left Myvette for dead at the entrance to the racetrack. Fortunately, are residents heard the gunfire and called police, who rushed Myvette to the KHMH. Now, it's the kind of thing that happens all too often in the city, but very rarely in small rural villages such as Burrell Boom. Today the officer commanding for those rural areas told us two persons are detained:.. Supt. Chris Noble, O/C Ladyville "That incident we do have very minimal information on. We know that somebody is at the Karl Heusner Hospital, the hospital authorities there are doing their best to deal with him. We have 2 persons in custody, we are continuing our investigation and what we have so far is that we are following up on a shooting incident in Burrell Boom."

Older Man Knocked Down On Southern Highway
Independence police are investigating a fatal accident that killed 61 year-old Juan Oh, a resident of Santa Rosa Village who was knocked down on the Southern Highway this morning before five thirty. 18 year-old bus conductor Freddy Acosta was on his motorcycle and he was heading toward South Stann Creek. He told police that while traveling at mile 23, he saw Oh riding on his bicycle. When he was about to overtake Oh, the elderly man allegedly swerved in front of his motorcycle, and he couldn't avoid a collision. Oh was run over, and he suffered severe bodily injuries, and he was rushed to the Southern Regional Hospital. The doctors tried their best, but he succumbed just before midday today. Acosta has been served with a notice of intended prosecution, and police will be verifying his version of events with persons who allegedly witnessed the accident.

Brian Townsend’s Funeral
Canadian Brian Townsend has been cremated, and now memorial services are being planned. On Thursday, with the facilitation of the Canadian Embassy in Guatemala, representatives of the family went to San Benito Guatemala to identify the decomposed body. It had been found in the Macal River on the Guatemalan side of Arenal Village on December 27th. One of those who went was Gelder Gamboa, a pastor for the 7th day Adventist Church who was assigned to assist the family since Townsend was a church brother. He told us that it was a grim mission - but it gave the family some closure:.. Gelder Gamboa "We went as a team to San Benito to identify the body. The body was 60% decomposed. He had multiple wounds on the body, but certainly we were able to identify brother Brain, it was him. From there the Guatemalan counterparts brought the body to Belize, where his son also identified him. Certainly it was Brian. It brought a closure to him. His body has been cremated and on this Sunday 12th, we will be having a funeral service at Valley of Peace Seven Day Adventist Church and then the remains will be guided back to Canada for the 19th of January for a funeral service by the family."

Modern Cigarettes A Commercial Dispute
Unless you frequent the Corozal Free Zone, you probably haven't heard of Modern Cigarettes. But, apparently the Chinese Brand is very popular with Mexicans, and now one company called Benque Duty and Tax Free wants to make it similarly popular west of the border in Guatemala. But that's become the subject of a bitter commercial dispute - one that's become so heated even the police got involved. The subject of dispute is a recent shipment of one thousand of what are called master packs of Modern Cigarettes. It's a lot of cigarettes, one full 40 foot container imported into Belize from Hong Kong. On Friday the container was headed to the Benque Viejo Free Zone when, acting on information, police stopped it at Roaring Creek. Now, Customs is the department which usually deals with containers, not police. But police got info that the container was suspect, and so they stopped and searched it.

Belize Woman Allegedly Ran Red In Chetumal
Belizeans drive freely in Chetumal - so much so, that it can seem like second nature. But, those traffic lights can be tricky and that's just what a Belizean driver who ran a red light found out. News reports from Chetumal say that Yara Oliva ran a red in her Isuzu Rodeo causing another driver in a Chevrolet Malibu to crash into the side of her vehicle. Mexican authorities say the collision caused over 15 thousand dollars in damages. The Mexican driver Edgar Manuel Medina Flores says his light was green and he crossed the intersection, and could not avoid hitting Oliva's vehicle as it ran through the intersection. The impact sent the Rode careening into the garage of a nearby house and crashed into a wall.

Major Road Upgrades Coming
Two major road contracts were signed today in Belmopan. They will benefit the Western and Hummingbird highways. On the Western, there will be major upgrading of signage and reflectors, while on the Hummingbird, 7 miles of intolerably bad roads will be re surfaced. CEO in the Ministry of Economic Development, Yvonne Hyde explained to the Government Press Office:.. Yvonne Hyde, CEO - Ministry of Economic Development "The first contract that we signed is geared towards to the provision "furniture," putting up signs, marking the road, putting in mile posts and ensuring that the road in terms of the laws is properly put together." Reporter "And these are for what area?" Yvonne Hyde, CEO - Ministry of Economic Development "The signage and the furniture will be along the highway itself. You can't mark part of the road and don't have the other part marked, so we will mark the entire thing and the signs will be along the 50 miles of road; from Belize City, the round-about at the Cemetery up to the cutoff at Roaring Creek - that the 50 miles."

Janelle C Is New OCEANA VP
Audrey Matura Shepherd left OCEANA Belize in august, and since then OCEANA International has been going through applications for country vice president. Today, last week's rumour was confirmed; the new vice president is well known television news reporter Janelle Chanona. And while Chanona is a journalist by profession, in a sit down interview with 7news today, she told us why she is fit for the job. Janelle Chanona, VP OCEANA "I really didn't think about it until I was asked to apply and that happened after Ocean's last press conference in Belize and it really came down to wanting to be a part of change. I just want to make sure that the resources that we do have are still here well into the future, if not healthier. It really was a no brainer after a while." "I really loved what I was doing. The private production work was really exciting for me and I love going out and meeting people. I did a lot of environmental projects as a private consultant, but this wasn't a bog leap for me; I want to do good. I want to make positive change." Monica Bodden "I know Mrs. Matura filled some big shoes. What's the plan you have for Oceana?"

Manslaughter For Man Who Knocked Down Elderly Woman
In October of last year, 7News told you about 68 year old British National Patricia Johnson, who was knocked down and killed near mile 2 and a half on the Northern Highway. Well tonight, 31 year-old Jason Grant, the driver who hit her, is out on bail after he was taken to Magistrate's Court today. Grant was arraigned before Magistrate Dale Cayetano this afternoon on charges of manslaughter by negligence; causing death by careless conduct; driving without due care and attention; driving an unlicensed motor vehicle; driving a motor vehicle without third party risk insurance; and using a motor vehicle without consent from the owner. He was granted bail of $5,000 which he was able meet, and he must return to court on March 17.

Hilux Hand Over
On Christmas Eve we told you about the lucky school teacher who won the brand new Toyota Hilux that was being raffled. Samuel Nicholson bought only one of the hundred dollar tickets and he did so for charity; he didn't even know what his ticket number was. And so today, after all the paper work and transfers were done, this unlikely winner got the keys for his new pickup which was delivered right to his school at EP Yorke. He told us he's still in shock.. Samuel Nicholson, winner "Actually, to be honest I am still in amazement. I never thought that something like this would have happened to me. I bought the ticket and now actually seeing the vehicle in front of me I could say that I actually won this vehicle. I am still in a bit of shock, but I'm getting there." Jules Vasquez "You don't drive standard and its a 5 speed standard. Is this something that concerns you and might you just want to hand it over to me now?"

Channel 5

2 murders in the south: a woman is hacked to death
There have been two murders reported in Belize for 2014. Both of them occurred in the south and both victims were viciously chopped to death. The first murder occurred on [...]

…And a Guatemalan is chopped to death outside of Trio Community
  The first murder of the year also occurred within the jurisdiction of the Intermediate Southern Formation. Like Maria Perez, the victim was savagely chopped to death and left bleeding [...]

Burrell Boom resident is ambushed as he headed home
  There was more violence over the weekend. In Burrell Boom, eight expended shells were found at the scene of a shooting just before midnight on Saturday. The victim, Adrian [...]

B.N.T.U. comes out swinging on long-awaited salary adjustments
The Belize National Teachers Union came out swinging this morning on a number of issues. The union took umbrage to the prime minister’s recent New Year’s address, in which he [...]

Palacio says pending increments and salary adjustments are 2 different things
According to Luke Palacio, the fixed date was set by government and the delay, he says, needs to be explained by the prime minister.  Furthermore, Palacio maintains that there is [...]

OCEANA names Janelle Chanona as its Belize Vice President
After several months without a country manager, following the resignation of Audrey Matura-Shepherd, OCEANA in Belize has a new vice president.  Former Channel Five reporter and freelancer Janelle Chanona assumed [...]

Chanona says she will advocate for the protection of Belize’s natural resources
Admittedly, the bar which has been set extremely high by Chanona’s predecessor is a hard act to follow. And Chanona says she does have the best interest of the country [...]

B.N.T.U. reaffirms its support for the Occupational Safety and Health Bill
Back to the Belize National Teachers’ Union…During the last house meeting on December twelfth, executives from the National Trade Union Congress of Belize were ejected from the gallery after vocally [...]

Minister Balderamos-Garcia steps in to assist Lake Gardens Community
On Friday, a group of irate residents living along the Old Northern Highway threatened to block access to the road if businessman Roque Matus did not address the issue of [...]

Car washer charged for theft
A car washer, who works at the parking lot located behind the Belize City Magistrate’s Court, was today in front of the court to answer to a single charge of [...]

Electrician arraigned for October 2013 fatal traffic accident
Also in the court, an electrician who was involved in a traffic accident back in October 2013 was today charged with several traffic offenses in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court. [...]

George Price Highway to get much needed facelift
Tonight, there is some extremely welcome news for motorists and commuters who frequent the George Price Highway between Belize City and the capital. That stretch of road has been responsible [...]

Body of Canadian Missionary brought back to Belize and cremated
Around one p.m. on Thursday, the body of sixty-four year old Brian Townsend, a former missionary living in Valley of Peace was exhumed in Flores, Peten. Townsend’s body was found [...]

E.P. Yorke teacher drives off in a spanking new 2014 Toyota Hilux
Samuel Nicholson, a high school teacher at E.P. Yorke, is the lucky winner of a 2014 Toyota Hilux.  He won the annual Rotary Christmas Raffle after purchasing a single ticket [...]

Football, softball and cycling in Sports Monday
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   Week 13 in the Belikin Cup brought a pivotal showdown to the MCC Grounds yesterday as FC Belize in [...]


Electrician Arraigned Following Fatal Accident
The police’s investigation into a traffic accident that occurred in October last year in which 68-year-old, American national, Patricia Johnson was knocked down and killed has resulted in the arrest of 31-year-old, Jason Grant, an electrician of Los Lagos. Grant appeared today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano and he was arraigned on 6 offences. He was charged with manslaughter by negligence, drove motor vehicle without due care and attention, causing death by careless conduct, drove an unlicensed motor vehicle, drove motor vehicle not covered by third party insurance and used motor vehicle without the consent of the owner. No plea was taken because the offences are indictable. He was released on a bail of $5,000 and his case was adjourned until March 17. The incident occurred on October 22 between miles 3 and 4 on Phillip Goldson Highway. According to reports, Johnson was crossing the highway when she was knocked down by a black Honda motorcycle driven by Grant. She received injuries to her head and body and died on the spot.

Another Meeting Date Set; Will Sugar Crop Season Start Soon?
Belize Sugar Industry, BSI, has positively responded to a letter from the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association requesting for a meeting. The date of the meeting is set for Wednesday January 8, at the BSI Staff club. On the agenda are the same issues that started to be discussed on Dec 23, 2013, when talks between the two stakeholders resumed after almost three months of cold relations between the two. BSI is looking forward to cane farmers agreeing on a date for the crop season to commence and agree that once the crop starts there will be no interruption. In the other hand, the BSCFA has said it will not agree to start the crop if first BSI does not legally compromise to make payment for bagasse. Last week Thursday the BSCFA sent a letter to the Prime Minister requesting for his intervention for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between BSI and BSCFA where both stakeholders agree to start crop the earliest possible but under certain conditions. Up until news time there has not been any official word coming from the PM’s office, but LOVE NEWS understands that when he spoke last Friday with a BSCFA director the PM said he will not agree to sign any MOU.

Belizean Woman Causes Collision in Chetumal
A Belizean woman is in trouble on the Mexican side after failing to heed at a red light in Chetumal, Quintana Roo. Reports indicate that Yara Oliva was driving an SUV in that municipality when the incident occurred which caused a traffic collision and the destruction of a concrete garage fence. The incident happened on Sunday, January 5 at around 2:30 in the afternoon. It is reported that Oliva was speeding on Avenida Primo de Verdad when she ran the red light at the intersection with Calle Independencia thus causing the collision between the Isuzu Rodeo and a Chevrolet vehicle driven by Edgar Manuel Flores. As a result, Flores sustained an injury to his nose and was taken to seek medical attention. According to Mexican Police, the estimated total of the damages caused is one hundred thousand pesos or seventeen thousand Belize dollars. Meanwhile the owner of the concrete fence that was destroyed is asking for its replacement.

Doctors Predict Full Recovery of Teen Injured at Sea
A teenager who was involved in a boating incident on Sunday in Corozal Town is said to have regained consciousness and is expected to make a full recovery. 19 year-old Ishak Trapp reportedly went for a boat ride in the Corozal Sea along with relatives and a friend in a boat. Reports are that the youths noticed that the boat was sinking and they attempted to bail it out. The vessel, however, capsized before they could reach to safety and the youths fell overboard. Trapp, who is unable to swim, went under the water and was eventually pulled up in an unconscious state. He was taken to the Corozal Community Hospital and then transferred to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Today the youth regained consciousness and while he does not remember the incident, he is said to be responding well to questions. His family has declined comment and says that doctors have projected a full recovery for him.

Police Officers Assaulted In Line of Duty
Two police officers were attacked in separate incidents while in the line of duty in Orange Walk. The first incident occurred last Thursday when police officers responded to a report of domestic dispute in Trial Farm Village. Upon arrival at the scene, the police officers spoke with Alicia Wagner who told the officers that one John Wagner had inflicted a wound to her right elbow. Later during the day, while on police mobile patrol, the accused was identified and was approached by PC Zenubio Coc who informed Wagner that he will be detained. In insulting words, Wagner told PC Coc that he won’t go anywhere. Another officer, Abel Perez who went to render assistance was pushed in the chest by Wagner. Both police officers managed to subdue Wagner placing him under arrest and transporting him to the Orange Walk police station. While being transported Wagner allegedly threatened PC Mendez telling him “I know you good; you ride a motorcycle; I will kill you.” He was later charged for assaulting a police officer, insulting words, resisting arrest and using threatening words towards PC Coc.

Victim Identifies Tablet Thief
21 year-old Kenrick Longsworth, a resident of Castle Street, was charged with theft when he appeared today in Magistrate’s Court. He pled not guilty to the charge and Senior Magistrate, Sharon Fraser offered bail of a thousand dollars and adjourned his case until March third. The complainant, 19 year old Marianni Westby, reported to the police that on January first she was walking on Douglas Jones Street, heading towards New Road when a young man grabbed her tablet and ran. She said the tablet has a value of 300 dollars. While she was making the report, Longsworth was brought to the police station and she identified him as the person who stole her tablet. As a result, Longsworth was charged.

Senior Citizen Dies Following Traffic Incident
Independence Village police are investigating the death of a senior citizen which occurred between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Correspondent Harry Arzu has the details on this. HARRY ARZU “A senior citizen of Santa Rosa Village in the Stann Creek District succumbed to his injuries as the result of a traffic accident which occurred early this morning. The victim has been identified as 61-year-old, Juan Oh. Police investigations revealed that at about 5:50 this morning Oh was riding his bicycle towards Santa Cruz Village on the Southern highway and upon reaching mile 23 he was knocked off his bicycle by 18-year-old, Freddie Acosta who was traveling in the same direction on a motorcycle. Police say that Acosta reported that Oh strayed into his path which caused the accident. As a consequence Oh sustained head and body injuries and was transported to the Southern Regional Hospital for treatment but died sometime this afternoon. Acosta has now been served with a notice of intended prosecution while the body of Oh awaits a postmortem examination at the said medical facility morgue.”

Oceana’s New VP In Place
Janelle Chanona is the new leader for Oceana Belize. Today is Chanona’s first day as the Vice President of the world’s largest international ocean conservation group. Oceana’s CEO, Andrew F. Sharpless says that Chanona has the right combination of skills and passion to be an excellent leader and to help Oceana win policy victories that protect Belize’s amazing barrier reef and its marine resources. Chanona will lead Oceana’s campaigns in Belize which includes efforts to stop offshore drilling, as well as efforts to promote responsible fishing practices in Belize’s waters. Today, Chanona told us that she is ready and very capable in carrying on with Oceana’s battles. JANELLE CHANONA “I am a Belizean and I am a Belizean that loves what we have in Belize and I think at the end of the day that passion, as you know, you can’t get around that; if you don’t really truly care for something then no matter what they do to you, you can’t force it. So, I think if anything, if I can presuppose that’s what I think they liked about me, that I am positive about how much it means to me and that I want to make sure that it is as healthy as possible for my niece and my nephews and for your family, to make sure that it is as good as it can be.”

Veteran News Reporter Replaces Matura As Oceana’s VP
Floyd Neal acted as Audrey Matura-Shepherd’s right hand when she was the Vice President of Oceana Belize. Today, Love News confirmed that Neal has been fired from his position as the Administrative Director. Neal told Love News that his termination did not come as a surprise because a couple months ago, he realized that his job was being advertised on a website. Neal received his walking papers yesterday and was told that his post was being made redundant. Neal, however, is not making a fuss about it and told us that he will move on and hopes to find another job. And as for who will take over Matura-Shepherd’s post, we understand that former veteran news reporter, Janelle Chanona will do so and her first day in office is this coming Monday. We could not reach Chanona for confirmation.


Devastated Family, Community and Friends Mourn Brian Townsend’s Goodbye
Canadian Seventh Day Adventist missionary 64 year old Brian Townsend’s decomposed body was found in Peten, Guatemala, a few days after his disappearance from his home in Valley of Peace, Cayo District. The news is equally devastating for Townsend’s family and his son Kory who coordinated the search and...

Teachers Ask for Protection from Government
The BNTU this morning also commented on other pressing labour issues promoted by parent body the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB), several of whose members were famously ejected from the House of Representatives in December after loudly calling for the implementation of the Occupational Health and Safety...

Teachers’ Union Clarifies Salary Proposal
The Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) has been pressing for a salary adjustment from 2005 – and after comments by Prime Minister Dean Barrow in his New Year’s Address to the Nation, it would seem they are on the verge of getting it. But before we get into the...

Assassin Machete-man Kills a Guatemalan National in Toledo
Meanwhile, Independence Police are seeking a man known to them as Donaldo, also known as “Tatereto,” in connection to the chopping death of 25 year old Rene Arturo Perez. Here again is PlusTV correspondent Harry Arzu reporting from the Stann Creek District. Harry Arzu- Dangriga Correspondent “Independence police continue...

Benquena Businesswoman Maria Perez Chopped to Death in Southern Belize
A woman was victim to a savage attack in the Stann Creek village. 41 year old Maria Perez was found with severe chop wounds to her body on a farm located off the Placencia Road. Police investigations have revealed that yesterday, at about 4:00pm, Perez arrived in the village...

Enjoying Relationship With God Brings Every Joy of Life
Our verse for this week is taken from….. Psalm 20:4” May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” -And that’s the news. From all of us here at PlusTV…Have a blessed new year 2014!

Jennifer Tillet out on Bail
Since Friday night, 33 year old Jennifer Tillett of Jane Usher Boulevard is out on bail of $3,000 after being charged for burglary. She was arraigned on Thursday for breaking into the home of Farima Gordon on Fabers’ Road around two Thursday morning. Nothing was taken, and in court...

BAY Complies with no Random Cleaning of the Independence Park
Members of the Belmopan Active Youths also known as BAY got down and dirty earlier today and spent their Friday cleaning up the Independence Park in Belmopan. Project Director for the Belmopan Active Youths Sharlette Lopez, explained to us that today’s clean up on the park is no random...


Ka’ana Resort: A 5-Star Boutique Hotel in Belize…Really.
Ka’ana Resort just outside San Ignacio is a relatively new one and one that I found pretty unique for Belize. It was designed by two super star Irish brothers, Ronan and Colin Hannan. I’ve never met them but after reading a bit about them in BusinessWeek, I can describe them with cool words I never get to use…like urbane and jet-setting. I stayed at Ka’ana for one night in November and was really hoping to meet the duo. But it wasn’t to be. They were probably at the Four Seasons Marrakesh or flying fishing on Christmas Island, perhaps sunning with Gwenyth in St. Barths. Next time… Ka’ana Resort is billed as a 5-star boutique hotel. A tall order for lodging in the Belizean jungle but the resort, set just outside of San Ignacio on the main road, surprised me in lots of ways. From the dual yoga mats provided in my walk-in closet to the beautiful turn down service, the resort is beautifully done and the final touches, impeccable. My pictures don’t do it justice…honestly…but here they are.

Belize Tops Caribbean for Decline in Murders
The Lodge at Chaa Creek welcomes news that, while the rest of the Caribbean has seen an increase in murders during 2013, Belize is the only Caribbean and Central American country where the murder rate has dropped – and substantially. Chaa Creek’s Safety and Security Manager Emil Bradley pointed to a January 3 2013 Belize 7 News report quoting recently compiled figures on crime in the region, and said this is good news for Belize’s fledgling tourism industry. “While one murder is way too many, Belize’s drop in crime, and especially in murders, is excellent news and bodes well for the future,” Mr Bradley said, “We have to commend both the police and the public for a great result in 2013,” he added. Mr Bradley also said that it was important to note that violent crime in the region rarely impacts tourists. “Unfortunately, it occurs among the disadvantaged in society and in the drug trade,” he said. While 7 News cautioned that their figures were preliminary and not yet finalised, the statistics put Belize well ahead of the region with a decreased, rather than increased murder rate last year. The figures coincide with those released by Belize’s Amandala newspaper late last year, which described a dramatic reduction in crime overall.

La Declaratoria de la Cumbre de Presidentes del SICA apoya la gestion de CENPROMYPE La Declatatoria de la Cumbre de Presidentes del SICA apoya la gestion de CENPROMYPE

What is a Business Plan & What Can It Do For You?
Below you will find a business plan template or business plan format, describing the main components of a traditional business plan. It’s basic design has been around for many many years, maybe even hundreds, I’m not sure, but it goes way back. A business plan is important both for you and for others who want to know about your business. It describes your business, it’s goals, and financial projections. In short, it serves as your business’s resume. Every business, of course, needs a direction and a strategy. That’s what a good business plan will give you. Remember this: a well-written business plan must provide your business with a blueprint for success. Your business plan will also go a long way to help you keep your thinking organized and in perspective. Your plan does not have to be long and complicated, especially at the beginning. For smaller businesses, keep it as simple and succinct as you can, yet informative. Use it as a living document, try to keep it flexible, modifying it often as needed. I actually know some small businesses without one and still doing pretty good. However, most business people would agree that every business needs a business plan in order to reach its full potential.

The Beauty of Belize
White sand beaches, untouched coral reefs, ancient Mayan civilizations and impressive marine life – Belize has it all. Divers and snorkelers will find an abundance of marine life at Glover’s Atoll, a protected reef system and the southernmost and smallest of Belize’s 3 atolls. Divers frequently encounter dolphins, turtles, sharks and manta rays there. Catch a glimpse of the largest fish in the world – the whale shark – from Placencia, Belize. The gentle (believe it or not) creatures are typically found within only 20 feet of the water’s surface, and congregate in Belize each year to feed on fish eggs.

International Sources

CES Live: Intel CEO Makes Big Move Into Wearables, Says No More McAfee
The McAfee brand, which took a hit in recent years after eccentric founder John McAfee made headlines in 2012 as a fugitive in Belize, is being abandoned and replaced with the name, “Intel Security.”

CES Live: Intel CEO Makes Big Move Into Wearables, Says No More ...
Security firm McAfee might be something of a household name these days, but that has more to do with the over-the-top antics of the company’s founder rather than what it’s achieved in the security space. That’s in spite of the fact that John McAfee hasn’t worked for the company in almost two decades. But apparently, Intel, the company that snapped up McAfee back in 2011, doesn’t like the brand name of its acquisition being dragged through the mud, as it were. So what’s it going to do about it? Why, it’s going to change the name in an effort to distance itself as much as possible from its ex-fugitive founder, although the software (and the logo) will remain exactly the same. The rebranding was announced at the CES show in Las Vegas on Monday, during Intel CEO Brian Krzanich’s keynote. He said that the McAfee name would slowly be phased out, replaced by the name “Intel Security”.

7 secret Caribbean islands
The Caribbean -- home to cerulean waters, vibrant coral reefs and sugar-white beaches -- is a near-perfect vacation destination, especially when it's arctic cold at home. There is just one problem: Everyone you know wants to go there. How to lose the crowds when seeking an ideal tropical getaway? Forget well-traveled spots, where the sprawling hotels are thicker than coconut palms. If you really want to leave the only footprints in the sand, go to one of the Caribbean's lesser-known islands. Petit St. Vincent, for example, a gem-like private island resort in the Grenadines, falls happily under the radar compared to its sister island, Mustique. Cayo Espanto Just off the coast of Belize, this diminutive private island -- at just four acres, it contains six luxe private villas and one overwater bungalow -- has hosted a staggering list of seclusion-seeking A-listers (Tiger Woods and Leonardo DiCaprio among them). As befits such a clientele, every aspect of the experience here can be tailored to guests' whims. The chef customizes daily menus, and staffers arrange outings like guided bird-watching treks, tours of Mayan ruins and beachside aromatherapy couples' massages. Rooms start at $1,495; 910-323-8355;

Finally, A 3D-Printed Drone for Archaeologists
Though archaeologists have come a long way since Indiana Jones, they sometimes still cling to antiquated technologies, like balloons and ladders to take photos of their discoveries and trenches from above. This month, a company formed by recent college grads called Arch Aerial rolled out a small drone designed to accompany archaeologists on far-flung expeditions. Arch Aerial showed off their small vehicle — which is made largely from 3D-printed parts and runs on open-source flight software — here at the Archaeological Institute of America's annual meeting this past weekend. The team traveled to 12 excavations in Belize and Italy over this past summer to test out their prototype and check out the competition before coming up with a final design. Just in those test runs, Baker says they helped make some unexpected archaeological discoveries. For instance, on their second day of excavations in Belize run by their alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin, they found new structures after doing an aerial survey from more than 300 feet (91 meters) up.

Climate change a priority for new Caricom chairman
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said yesterday that he would use his six-month term as chairman of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) grouping to deal with the deleterious effects climate change is having on the socio-economic future of the 15-member bloc. St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia and Dominica are now emerging from the effects of a weather system that left a trail of death and destruction over the Christmas holidays. Caribbean countries have also had to deal with the annual hurricane season and in many cases, like in Haiti, unseasonal rains that cause widespread devastation. "The big issue... is global warming, climate change. We are having systems affecting us outside of the normal rainy season and the normal hurricane season," he said, making reference to the floods in April last year and the Christmas Eve rains that resulted in the deaths of nine people and hundreds of millions of dollars in damages here.

Belize's Wild Interior
Cayo, referred to as 'Belize's Wild Interior,' got a great write up in the adventure section of Men's Journal magazine. They mention Caracol, Xunantunich, the Black Hole drop, and Waterfall Cave, among other great activities. Happy tourist season! "Avoid the cruise-ship crowds at Altun Ha and head to Xunantunich and Caracol, deep in Cayo district. On a hilltop seven miles outside the backpacker hub of San Ignacio, Xunantunich is reached via a hand-cranked ferry across the Mopan River and a hike. The ceremonial center, including the 130-foot-tall El Castillo pyramid, has been restored to its eighth-century glory. For a more strenuous outing, trek to the lost city of Caracol. Buried in Chiquibul National Park and only partially excavated, the 15-square-mile complex has the stones (including the 141-foot-high Caana pyramid, still the country's tallest structure) to prove its former might."

Belize, a Country that will Leave you Captivated!
It’s easy to understand why so many people love Belize. It’s quirky, diverse and fun…with tropical landscapes and stunning beaches. It’s close to the U.S. – and it’s English-speaking. One little peninsula in Belize offers the relaxed Caribbean beach lifestyle so many of us dream of. It’s a barefoot paradise with plenty of charm and a laid-back atmosphere. Come and explore this tranquil location for yourself and check out the hottest properties on the market on a personalized property tour.

January 6, 2014


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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

Celebrate our birds of Belize on National Bird Day!
Today January 5th is National Bird Day, which gives us pause to praise our avian friends. In Belize we are blessed with more than 590 species of resident and migratory birds, and although we are hardly birding experts we never hesitate to stop and admire these winged wonders while on our travels throughout the county, or even in our own backyard! Photographing them is a whole new challenge but every once in a while we do manage to capture one poising for the camera. Here is a fraction of the photos we have collected over the years, and while enjoying them please keep in mind the amazing and very important facts listed below. Why National Bird Day? The beauty, songs, and flight of birds have long been sources of human inspiration. Today, nearly 12 percent of the world’s 9,800 bird species may face extinction within the next century, including nearly one-third of the world’s 330 parrot species. Birds are sentinel species whose plight serves as barometer of ecosystem health and alert system for detecting global environmental ills. Many of the world’s parrots and songbirds are threatened with extinction due to pressures from the illegal pet trade, disease, and habitat loss.

Belize’s top tourism destinations capture international awards in 2013
« Older: A puma in our midst Newer: » GIRLS RULE IN 2014! Belize’s top tourism destinations capture international awards in 2013 Saturday, January 4th, 2014 Belize’s top tourism destinations captured impressive awards in 2013. Top accolades included Ambergris Caye being named the number one island in the world by TripAdvisor. The international traveler advisor organization also recognized other destinations in Belize in separate awards. In addition, Belize’s leading marketing organization, The Belize Tourism Board also received recognition from Earlier in the year, Ambergris Caye, the most populated island in Belize, was named the #1 Island from a list of ten top islands worldwide as part of the Traveler’s Choice 2013 awards. Other islands that received recognition as part of top 10 island in the world were St John US Virgin Island, Bora Bora Society Islands, Islas Mujeres Mexico and Santorini Cyclades amongst five others. Ambergris Caye was also recognized by TripAdvisor as one of the ten Destinations on the Rise in the world.

The first three babies born at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for the year 2014 are all girls! Jasmine Martinez, 20 years old from Scotland Half Moon Village in the Belize District, delivered the first girl at 6:20 a.m. weighing in at 6 lbs 7 oz. She was followed shortly after by Christina Montejo, 16 years old from Belize City, who brought her 6 lb pink bundle into to the world at 10:00 a.m. Finally, Judith Middleton, 22 years old from Belize City, gave birth at 9:39 p.m. to her 7lb 10oz daughter.

San Pedro Red Cross reports on activities
The San Pedro Branch of the Belize Red Cross (SPBRC) is very fortunate to have strong local business support in their efforts to make a difference on Ambergris Caye. Crazy Canucks has been doing a wonderful job with ongoing fundraising for the San Pedro Red Cross. They have designated the last Friday of their weekly trivia as Red Cross night. Think and Drink Trivia has raised $500 since June, with $175 of the total pouring in from last Friday’s Trivia. Without a doubt, it is one of the busiest and most popular trivia nights on the island. The owner Rob has a phenomenal sense of humor which guarantees everyone has a great time while raising money for a good cause. On the same day of the first aid training for our local High School teachers, Coco Loco held a first aid supplies drive. Not only did they help collect some much needed and useful supplies to complete a first aid kit for the San Pedro High School, but the event also raised $387. Michael and Rob from Bamboo Chicken and Legends Burger House came out to support the event with some great live music.

Doctor Love: Something’s Missing
Readers, please send your letters. They can be formal letters or handwritten notes. They are edited solely for grammar and spelling. Also, they are sometimes edited for length. Dear Doctor Love, A year and a half ago I ran into a guy I used to know and we made a date to meet for lunch. […]

Wolfe’s Woofer: Dream Job
“Check this out,” I said to Charlie. “Here is an ad in the paper. They are looking for an older man to act as an assistant for Miss Pan America beauty pageant contestants.” “What? Let me see that.” “Why? You don’t need a job.” “Maybe not, but this one sounds interesting,” he said. “Besides, retirement […]

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize Tops Caribbean for Decline in Murders
“While one murder is way too many, Belize’s drop in crime, and especially in murders, is excellent news and bodes well for the future,” Mr Bradley said, “We have to commend both the police and the public for a great result in 2013,” he added. Mr Bradley also said that it was important to note that violent crime in the region rarely impacts tourists. “Unfortunately, it occurs among the disadvantaged in society and in the drug trade,” he said. While 7 News cautioned that their figures were preliminary and not yet finalised, the statistics put Belize well ahead of the region with a decreased, rather than increased murder rate last year. The figures coincide with those released by Belize’s Amandala newspaper late last year, which described a dramatic reduction in crime overall. The Belize 7 News report states that Trinidad and Tobago had 405 murders in 2013, 6% more than the previous year, putting their murder rate at 30 per hundred thousand.

Belize's Timbuktu
By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez Belizeans in the Diaspora I feel like a pregnant mother Having complications to deliver I beckon you to contribute towards the restoration of Belize’s Timbuktu The legacy Garvey and Haynes left for you It’s gone full circle and his philosophy has proven to be true Many of you who were the 40s, 50s and 60s babies Can remember when Liberty Hall on Barack road was the epicenter Most of our elders were Garveyites Elders can remember their space on the floor When Liberty Hall opened its doors Liberty Hall was a boxing gym, a place where carpentry was taught in-depth Decade before what we call ITVET We talk about apprenticeship program Well Liberty Hall was the number one It was the practice place for the original messengers It was the birthplace of all major political parties in the homeland It was the birthplace of the Labour movement That set the stage for Belize’s hijacked Jesuit political movement PUP, NIP, UBAD, Black Carcasses and L & POB It was the place to be and became a hallmark of the country

Education, Entrepreneurship, & Community Service
Putting the focus on the needs of the country's youth. An Opinion piece from Toledo. We all know that in an ever changing world, BELIZE needs to adapt quickly, or the country and its people will lose its grasp. Our Government understands this for sure. But they need to reinforce dynamics into its young people. These younger generations today, are fast adapting to technology, internet and cable TV, for instance. However, they need to learn to apply it usefully, and properly to accommodate Education, Entrepreneurship, & Community Service. These high points are areas which must be “worked into” the mentality of the young people in BELIZE to ensure that the future is not only promising, but feasible to growth, and development of the economy. Let’s take a firm look at EDUCATION. Without a proper education, you can’t be properly employed. Getting an education that encompasses both academics and technical “hands on” experience is a necessity. That is solid education. Majority of young Belizeans today are accustomed to going to school because they “have to” – because their parents send them. That MUST change. Parents are sending their children to school to LEARN, and make the best of themselves. They invest considerable time, and money to ensure that their children could get the best of what they could afford, even if it’s just a little. Young Belizeans need to change their “lag and learn” mentality to “learn, improvise, and act”. We must take advantage of ALL the opportunities that come forth at school. We must LEARN, LEARN, and LEARN some more. When we try to learn new things, its helps to broaden our scope of knowledge, and aid us to make better, healthier decisions. Education can help us not to move mountains, but to learn to travel the rainforests in BELIZE, and face any challenge of the wild with vibrancy, [literally speaking]. Young people, at first, need to take FULL ADVANTAGE of their educational opportunities because this is your foundation for the future. This is your foundation that would help to build BELIZE in the years to come. Don’t say you will do it tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow. Get up; Stand up, take advantage now.


Cane Farmers Ask P.M To Sign MOU
Yesterday we told you about a possibility of progress in the horizon for the cane farmers and the Belize Sugar Industries impasse. Well, tonight in trying to tie up all loose ends, Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association is requesting from the Prime Minister to act as mediator so that all parties involved draft up a memorandum of agreement indicating BSI’s commitment regarding payment of the bagasse and negotiation of quantum of payment. Vice Chair, Alfredo Ortega told us today that in view of the mistrust by cane farmers in BSI, the MOU would confirm payment and eliminate any parties back tracking on their word. Alfredo Ortega– Vice Chair, BSCFA "The lawyer is working on it. We sent it yesterday to the Prime Minister indicating to him that we would want to have a meeting with him where we can sign an MOU between BSCFA, BSI and the Government of Belize and the lawyer is working on that presently. We are looking forward in something that transpired in 2010 when BSI was in financial problems when we were called to sign an MOU together, so that they can get the 10 million dollars from the Government. We are seeking something favorable in that same regard."

Getting To Know More About Leukemia
When you hear that someone has cancer, the first thing that comes to mind is a huge tumor in some part of the body. But there are different types of cancer including Leukemia which has nothing to do with a tumor. Tonight we will educate you on what and how Leukemia, or in simple terms, the blood cancer, is introduced in the body. As previously mentioned, Leukemia is a cancer that starts in early blood-forming cells. Most often, leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells, but some start in other blood cell types. The following is an educational animation of how it is reproduced and what are some measures taken to control the spreading and to a point kill the virus.

2 Year Old Fighting Leukemia Needs Your Help
Leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of immature white blood cells called “blasts". Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases. In turn, it is part of the even broader group of diseases affecting the blood, bone marrow, and lymphoid system, which are all known as hematological neoplasms. Leukemia is the most common cancer in children and teens, accounting for almost one out of three cancers. But the good news is that if detected in time it is curable. That is what is keeping the flame of hope alive for a family from the Corozal District, whose loved one, a two year old baby girl, is currently undergoing chemotherapy for Leukemia in Guatemala. Reporter Victor Castillo has the story. Tonight a family in Corozal Town are trying to gather as much funds possible to keep providing Chemotherapy to their two year old baby that is in for a long battle against Cancer. Victor Castillo has the story. Victor Castillo – Reporting Meet two year old Nichol Raquel Pinkney, better known as baby Nikki, who is currently hospitalized at one of the cancer centers in Guatemala. She is expected to remain there for the next six weeks as she undergoes chemotherapy to battle leukemia a deadly type of cancer.

Another Street Cemented In O/W And The Work Continues
Orange Walk’s pothole ridden road networks are receiving some much needed remedial repair. A few weeks ago, the Town Council embarked on an aggressive road repair campaign as they are strategically fixing some of the major intersections in Town. Mayor Kevin Bernard says the council’s priority is streets and the continuing work will bring much relief to commuters and residents of town. This morning we caught up with Mayor Bernard at the intersection of San Andres Street where the work has begun. Kevin Bernard– Mayor, OWT “We started with the corner of Cinderella and Fonseca a little further with San Narciso and now we are coming in this area San Andres and Fonseca because this is a crucial area as well, a lot of busses, a lot of vehicle travel this area and immediately after this we will go to the junction between San Francisco and Fonseca which also is another area, we are hoping that this work will complete within a week and a half max, so we ask pedestrians, drivers to bear with us like they did on the other side and so it is all n the benefit and betterment of our streets and we have decided and this is the best option, cementing these intersections because it is something we saw we were constantly repairing these intersections with asphalt tar and it keeps tearing up and so we belive it is something permanent and it will benefit everybody.”

Teachers To Hold GOB Accountable or Salary Increase In 2014
The Belize National Teacher’s Union is starting the year in full swing as it is holding government to its word in granting public officers and teachers a salary adjustment by mid-2014. The union’s Council of management has met and decided upon a plan of action to ensure that government keeps its word. This plan has also been looked at by the Union’s Public Relation Committee. The Orange Walk branch Executive met with members this morning to present this plan and to get their input. President, Otilio Munoz says the plan will be executed by all branches across the country. Otilio Munoz – President, BNTU Orange Walk Branch “What the union is looking is about salary adjustment on the collective bargaining agreement that we have been negotiating with the government. What we are doing in this point in time is requesting to the Prime Minister a black and white documentation as to what percentage we are going to be getting for that salary adjustment; is it 5%, 10% you tell us in black and white and we are going to be happy waiting for July retroactive April that is what we have agreed which is contradicting with what the Prime Minister is saying in his message, he said in August, but we have negotiated July so there is a little confusion there but that is where we are standing, we are demanding from GOB to give us the percentage and to have it in black and white and that is it to make it more fundamental.”

Mexicans Accuse Belizean Authorities Of Extortion
Tonight there are serious accusations of extortion being made against Belizean authorities and it’s not Belizeans who are making the accusations. According to an article written on the Por Esto Mexican Newspaper, a little after midnight on New Year’s, police set up a checkpoint at the height of the junction before crossing the Chactemal International Bridge which joins Belize and Mexico. Four officers were manning the checkpoint and according to the article, those four officers were the ones extorting Mexican Nationals who were heading back home after spending some time at the casinos. One person, who was apparently interviewed by the correspondent who wrote the story, is quoted as stating that when he approached the checkpoint at around 2:00am he thought that an accident had occurred but then noticed that Belizean authorities were carrying out inspections. According to the interviewee, who preferred to remain anonymous, as he reached the checkpoint he was asked to produce his driver’s license which he did not have on him. He was then informed of the offence committed and told that he will be taken to the Corozal Magistrates Court.

Son Charged For Shooting Father On The Head
On New Year’s, at around 10:00pm, 30 Hensleigh Ryan Jones shot his father on the head while they were both standing in the kitchen of their home located in the Village of Ranchito in the Corozal District. Fifty year old Hensley Jones was taken to the Corozal Community Hospital where doctors discovered three bullet holes on his head; two on the left side and one to the back. What caused Ryan Jones to commit the unthinkable is yet unknown. But what we can tell you is that he has been charge for the crime and will be spending quite some time at the Kolbe Correctional Facility. Since there was no Magistrate available in Corozal Jones’ case was brought to Orange Walk and we were there when he was pulled out of the Corozal Police Mobile and escorted into the court room. Victor Castillo – Reporting It was a little before midday this morning that the Corozal Police mobile pulled up in front of the Orange Walk Magistrates Court. Locked up inside were a number of prisoners accused of various crimes. But the media was there to capture one man primarily, no other than 30 year Hensleigh Ryan Jones, accused of shooting his father, 53 year old Hensley Jones on the head three times with a .38 revolver. Since there was no Magistrate in Corozal the 30 year old was brought to Orange Walk to be officially charged for attempted murder, means of deadly means of harm and dangerous harm.


Celebrating cold weather in Belize and our 8th Ambergris Caye Island anniversary
The best way to somehow manage to celebrate the cold weather we have been experiencing is to appreciate those who have it worse from afar. I have been getting some very serious reminders of that lately with some snow and great ice storm pictures. No matter where you are the pictures below will not make you any warmer, but neither would a pic from here if I had snapped one this morning, the gray sky would have been a good match to the icy cold. The first series if icicle pictures are from Matt who is here now with his girlfriend Sara and dog Johnson. While they were getting ready for their visit, the big ice storm hit Ontario and Matt was one of the people keeping me in the loop about huge loss of power and how Johnson had to postpone his last vet appointment before traveling due to power outs caused by the weather. They all deserved a tropical get away in Belize after the full on ice storm experience. He keeps telling me I look like a gumshoe [An old slang term for a detective or investigator] wearing my trench coat because it is so cold :)

It’s Chilly In Belize Too!
Chilly is relative. And this is in no way a post to garner sympathy…not at all. Purely informational. There ARE seasons in Belize. Those I have described in detail. But like much of North America, Belize is being influenced by these cold fronts right now. We get “cold” like this a few times each year…usually in December, January and February. I KNOW IT IS COLDER where you live. But I live in the Caribbean. And it feels chilly to me. Current temperatures: Dallas, TX at 30F, San Francisco, CA at 46F, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan at -28F , San Pedro, Belize…we were at 71F all night. COLD FOR BELIZE. Here are some pictures of the very late afternoon yesterday – as the sun was setting. The sky has been grey and well…winter-like for the last few days. Another thing to put my information into perspective. I saw plenty of happy tourists around yesterday…going diving, swimming in the sea, walking about in bathing suits. Cold is relative.

Belize’s unique New Year’s adventure arrival
When Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez De Balboa did it in the 1500s it was a big deal. Now that another Spanish adventurer is making the same trip, why is it a big deal? Because Alvaro de Marichalar is doing it all by Jet Ski. When Balboa became the first European to set foot in the Pacific Ocean via Panama he at least had a ship and crew, but de Marichalar is travelling from the US mainland to the isthmus of Panama all alone on a Jet ski, a 260 horsepower water scooter called “Numancia”, with 1,300 cc engine. Just like you see tourists zipping around on. So when he pulled into the Princess Marina in Belize on New Year’s day, the average onlooker would be forgiven for thinking this was just another sun-darkened tourist out for a day of fun, and anyone would be hard pressed to believe he crossed the open seas from Havana, Cuba on his little machine. Why, you may ask? Let’s let Mr de Marichalar tell us in his own words. “The purpose is setting a new world record for my country (Spain) and commemorate 500 years of the discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Vasco Nunez de Balboa who was the first European who saw it from Panama peninsula. We are celebrating as well the 5th centennial the discovery of Florida by Juan Ponce de Leon, who was the first European to see the United States of America.”

6 Fundamentals That Can Make You A Better Manager In 2014
When it comes to management, I’ve always been a bigger believer in fundamentals than fancy. Sure, there’s nothing at all wrong with, say, presentation skills that spellbind an audience of thousands, but when it comes to operational effectiveness, chances are that will be determined by how well you execute fundamentals day in and day out. In that spirit, here are 6 fundamentals that can make you a better manager in 2014. 1. Be open to new ways of looking at things - The best managers are flexible, adaptable, and closely attuned to their environment. They’re always looking for opportunities. Be a good listener. Many of the best process improvement ideas routinely come from employees in the trenches, as they’re the ones closest to the actual work. Rigidity is the enemy of progress. Don’t be afraid to shift the paradigm and move away from, “This is the way we’ve always done it here.” 2. Expect excellence – Set high but not unattainable standards and expect your employees to meet them. The best managers are ultimately not those who are “toughest” or “nicest,” but those who get the best results from people in their charge. Once your employees recognize you have unfailingly high standards, that’s key data they won’t forget. If your employees know you demand excellence from yourself, they’re more likely to find it in themselves.

“(I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Yesterday began much as any other day for me. I got up slightly later than usual at 05.45 hours. Grabbed (well I had to make it first of course) a mug of black coffee and my iPad and headed for the veranda. The western one on the first floor. There was a strong wind with a chilly ‘bite’ in it so I went inside and put on a sweat top. Much better. We’ve only been living here permanently for around twenty months but must be coming acclimatised – we are both feeling a drop in temperature so much more. Or is it that we are just getting older and the older you get the more you feel the cold? Anyway, back to the veranda. I spent a little time reading The Times online and then just thought about life in general until my reverie was interrupted by Rubio who had arrived early (by now it was around 06.40 hours) to recommence work on our fence. With the mood ‘broken’ I decided that there was only one thing for it – breakfast at Estel’s so I quickly showered, shaved and dressed (including a sweat top) and was on my way by 07.15 hours. I spent around ninety minutes there. I’m a slow eater but not that slow. It’s just that when I sit there I find the ambience so calming that I just lose track of time. I’m sure that Estel’s would much prefer a much quicker turnover of customers but – “the customer is always right”, or so they say!

International Sources

‘A Speck in the Sea’
Riveting story by Paul Tough for the New York Times Magazine:
Looking back, John Aldridge knew it was a stupid move. When you’re alone on the deck of a lobster boat in the middle of the night, 40 miles off the tip of Long Island, you don’t take chances. But he had work to do: He needed to start pumping water into the Anna Mary’s holding tanks to chill, so that when he and his partner, Anthony Sosinski, reached their first string of traps a few miles farther south, the water would be cold enough to keep the lobsters alive for the return trip. In order to get to the tanks, he had to open a metal hatch on the deck. And the hatch was covered by two 35-gallon Coleman coolers, giant plastic insulated ice chests that he and Sosinski filled before leaving the dock in Montauk harbor seven hours earlier. The coolers, full, weighed about 200 pounds, and the only way for Aldridge to move them alone was to snag a box hook onto the plastic handle of the bottom one, brace his legs, lean back and pull with all his might. And then the handle snapped.

Say no to boring retirement with these alternatives
After spending 50 years in the workforce, you’re supposed to walk away, sit in your rocking chair, and live on earnings that aren’t enough to fund your habits. It’s supposed to be easy: flip the switch and go from being a productive member of society to, well, not. It doesn’t have to be that way. Seniors today are living longer, healthier lives, and loving their retirement via “alternative retirement” lifestyles. Alternative retirement means telling the man to take his rocking chair and use it for firewood. It means living life on your own terms and taking no one’s flack about what you should be doing with the rest of your life. Don’t want to stop working? Don’t. Want to see the world? Do. Florida used to be the retirement locale of choice. More and more seniors are moving to places like Belize, where life is cheaper, but English is still spoken. (One advantage of moving to a non-English speaking country: you’ll be able to learn a new language, keeping your mind active and your adventures interesting.) Move somewhere new and see the world as you never have before.

Aboriginal school a cultural ambassador for all ethnicities
The school partnered with the Glenora Rotary Club to establish a leadership program for students, the Interact Club, which started a year and a half ago. Interact students are travelling to build a playground this spring for a poor community in the Central American country of Belize. They’re also raising money to build a playground for preschool children attending a Head Start program that moved into Amiskwaciy’s building in the fall. Amiskwaciy students have also started helping build houses through Habitat For Humanity programs.

Irina Shayk Sizzles in the 2014 Beach Bunny Spring Collection
The Russian brunette beauty sure knows how to catch someone else's eye and attention effortlessly. She just needs to show off her voluptuous body and pouty lips, and any guy wouldn't want to look on anything else, that's for sure. Shayk modeled her latest Beach Bunny bikini collection in Sanctuary, Belize. The latest swimwear line features equestrian-inspired bathing suit with accents of gold as well as shades of bronze and red. During the photo shoot, Shayk was kind enough to reveal to everyone the things she keep in her bag whenever she hits the beach. Shayk is indeed a model with an eccentric personality. She was entertaining and comical as she shared the things she takes with her whenever she goes to the beach. What could even be sexier than a sexy hot Russian girl with a good sense of humour?

Diving with the biggest shark in the deepest hole
The Great Blue Hole is known to be one of the world’s top ten dive sites, dubbed by the famous Jacques Cousteau, who discovered it in 1971. I along with many other divers would not disagree. It is here, even as a Dive Master, I have experienced one of the best days of diving ever. Belize is a little country in Central America; it’s located on the southeastern side of Central America, just below the most eastern part of Mexico and fronting the Caribbean Sea. I spent 5 days just off the coast on an Island called Ambergris Caye, which is just north of another amazing island named Caye Caulker, famous for its super chilled vibe. From either of these two Islands you can take tours out to dive or snorkel the famous Blue Hole. The day tour that I took consisted of 3 dives, which I will never for the life of me forget. Our first dive was into the Great Blue Hole,

Things to Do in San Ignacio, Belize: How a Delay Led to a Great Trip
Sometimes, when it seems like things are going from bad to worst, all you gotta do is hang in there for a bit until the sun comes out again. After barely being allowed into Belize, we were able to get to the insurance office on time. At 3:00p.m. we were still harboring hopes that we’d be able to get down to Belize City in time to catch the 4:30p.m. Water Taxi to Caye Caulker. “So, Insurance Guy, how far are we from Belize city?” Insurance Guy, who looked suspiciously Guatemalan, responded in perfect Belizean-accented English: Oh, about 2… maybe 2 and a half hours.” Our hopes dashed, I mentally made a note to check the wireless signal on my Guatemalan Tigo modem when the vehicle’s paperwork was complete. After meeting the all-Black crew manning the Customs’ entry port, I assumed, like an idiot, that the guy was a Guatemalan guy that lived across the border. So, I asked Insurance Guy where he was from. “I’m from Belize,” he cheerfully replied. Instead of just nodding and smiling politely, I put on my surprised face (I told you I was an idiot) and asked him: “Reeeeally???” …in a tone that probably sounded something like “I don’t believe you! Show me your birth certificate!” Insurance Guy was slightly ticked off, but I credit him for smiling and politely responding through semi-clenched teeth: “Of course I am… I was born here.”

10 Reasons to Live in Belize
Belize has long been a favorite for expats and travelers alike. From its Caribbean shores to its jungle interior, this nation has great natural beauty to be discovered—blue water and deserted beaches, and inland retreats where jaguars and scarlet macaws still live in their natural habitats. People are attracted to Belize for many reasons including the warm, English-speaking people, the natural beauty, and the air of freedom and opportunity. Belize offers a fantastic Qualified Retired Persons Program for those looking for the ideal place to retire. It also offers economic stability, and ease of living at a low cost. Add to that the protection of assets and terrific fishing and diving and you can understand why Belize is so captivating to so many.

January 5, 2014


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

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

Misc Belizean Sources

Mr. Francisco Leal
Mayor Daniel Guerrero, the San Pedro Town Council and Staff would like to extend its deepest condolences to the leal family on the passing of Mr. Francisco Leal. May his soul rest in peace.

The widespread impact and sustained flooding is described as the worst adversity to have affected farmers nationally and even more severely in the Belize District. Increased and continuous rain combined with the inability of channels to carry off floodwater discharge has resulted in the damage of key agricultural products and areas inundated. The unfavorable conditions have resulted in pasture loss, decreased livestock production as well as increased pest and disease in key local agricultural commodities. In response to the challenges caused by climatic conditions the Ministry of Natural Resource and Agriculture has committed itself to providing assistance in the form of animal feed and some agricultural inputs to severely impacted farmers in highly vulnerable agricultural zones.The planned action was drafted as a result of feedbacks from farm visits, farmer meetings and extensive consultation with national counterparts resulting in an identified and prioritized strategy to help alleviate the existing conditions. The proposed intervention will commence on Saturday 4th January with the provision of cattle feed to livestock producers in the Crooked Tree and Blackburn livestock productive zones. On Wednesday January 8th assistance will be provided to the communities of the Belize River Valley and on Friday January 10th the communities along the old northern highway (Maskall zone). There are several other supportive actions expected to be realized during the two month timeline offering direct complementary support in the form of training, capacity building and developing resilience to climate variability and change. All farmers and agricultural producers affected by rain and flooding in the Belize District are called to the attention of this release and urged to contact the Department of Agriculture at 203-2842 for consideration.

ISIS Students Check Up on Iguanas
The Institute for Sustainable International Studies has another group of vet students in, and they've been doing check ups and cleanings on the resident iguanas at the Green Iguana Conservation Project. Have fun, and thanks, ISIS. In related news, the Green Iguana Conservation Project has a like page so you can keep up to date on Roxy and the other iguanas. "The first field trip is always a hit! Thanks to the always enthusiastic and well trained guides at San Ignacio Hotel Green Iguana Project, and of course thanks to the many amazing green baby animals... a great time was had by all. This was the introduction and we will be back to get a bit more 'involved' for the regular check up and maintenance of 70 - 100 iguanas next week."

Overtaking on a hill?
The dangers of driving on our roads and highways are sometimes magnified by seemingly insignificant things that motorists do. Recently on the Hummingbird Highway at Mile 29, this scene was captured, showing a frightening occurrence involving three large trucks. The driver of truck laden with a load of oranges decided to overtake another truck hauling oranges. The thing is, the overtaking was done on a hill and at the same time another cargo truck was coming in the opposite direction.

Golden Arrow Technical Divers "Exploring The Elbow" Turneffe Marine Reserve
Featuring Golden Arrow Technical Divers our guest from Dominican Republic, Brazil and Panama. Join as we explore 'The Elbow" Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve, Belize. Central America. "Denis, It was a pleasure diving with you all and we look forward to your return."


“Take That to the Bank” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
It’s been relatively quiet since the last edition on New Year’s Day. I’ve (obviously) been getting up in the morning having my ‘me time’ on the veranda (the western one on the first floor if you are interested) with a mug of coffee (black) and my iPad. Not the new one though. It’s been too damp (it’s rained a lot over the last few days – well months actually) to expose my new iPad Air to the elements! Work on the fence had slowed to a standstill because Rubio (the main man) had told us that after working on 30 December he was heading off to spend time and celebrate the new year with his family in Punta Gorda and would not return to work until Monday 6 January. Although Rubio hails from the mainland he has lived most of his life on Ambergris Caye having arrived here in 1975 fearing that the San Pedranos would not allow him ashore. They did though, and he has been here ever since. Rose and I took advantage of the lull in the fence building. She by starting work on making the curtains ((more on this in a future edition(s))for our new home. And me? Well I picked up on some ‘must do’ administrative stuff. Our “QRP” (Qualified Retirement Program) status needed renewing (although I didn’t gain entry in to the ‘Program until the end of last May the permit (card) expired on 31 December – all permits, whenever they are issued, run as per the calendar year).

International Sources

FBI Fugitive for Murder Has Strong Ties To Belize
PLEASE PLEASE publish this in your paper and on your has been a month and this murderer is still at large and being sought by the FBI...he slit my nieces throat several times and stabbed her to death after beating her so badly she was hardly recognizable. He left behind 2 little girls (2 and 5 years old) who adored their mommy who was an amazing person. He has family and friends in Belize who may be harboring him and may not even know what he has done...

A case for compensation for climate change
CAN the countries of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom) take international legal action against the states that are warming the planet with devastating consequences, not only for their survival, but in some cases even their existence? This question comes into sharp focus in the wake of the damaging effects of flooding and landslides in St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, and Dominica as 2013 came to an end.

Stalking complaint dismissed against McAfee
A judge in Oregon dismissed a civil stalking complaint on Friday against an anti-virus software entrepreneur who left Belize to avoid police questioning in a fatal shooting. The temporary protective order against John McAfee was obtained in November by Connor Hyde, property manager of a high-end Portland apartment building where McAfee lived. Hyde claimed the evicted McAfee had threatened him. The complaint was dismissed by Judge Terry Hanson after neither Hyde nor McAfee appeared in court for a hearing on whether a permanent order should be granted. McAfee, 68, moved to Oregon last winter after leaving the Central America nation of Belize, where authorities sought to question him as a person of interest in the fatal shooting of Gregory Faull, a U.S. expatriate who lived near McAfee's home. McAfee has denied any involvement.

Challenging teen pregnancy -- new focus of Caricom/UNFPA
Over the past week, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) disclosed in its latest report what is widely known by citizens across the Caribbean/Latin America region — that 2013 was not a good year for economic performance. Additionally, that the forecast for 2014 is an estimated less than three per cent growth in gross domestic product. But it is the assessment of a serious human rights threat facing teenage girls of our Caribbean Community, as assessed by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Caricom Secretariat, that is the primary focus of this article. With an estimated one-third of Caribbean teenage girls being married before their 18th birthday, among them those compelled to do so by unexpected/unplanned pregnancies, this very challenging problem had engaged the attention of Caricom's Council for Human and Social Development (COSHOD) during 2013.

January 4, 2014


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

A puma in our midst
On the 20th of December there was a great deal of excitement following eyewitness reports of a puma south of San Pedro Town. While San Pedranos are very proud of their marine and land creatures, there was also, understandably a great deal of concern and fear about this uncommon and large predator in a populated, residential area. Mayor Daniel Guerrero did the right thing and immediately called the Belize Wildlife Conservation Networks’ (BWCN) Wildlife Advice Hotline for advice and assistance. This hotline is for the general public to report injured, orphaned, nuisance or abused wildlife. When a response is necessary they partner with the Forest Department and any relevant wildlife organisation to ensure the best outcome for the caller and animal concerned.

Three Belizeans appointed to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
In a News Release from Belize House in Belmopan, the Office of the Governor-General Announces that Her Majesty the Queen has been graciously pleased to make the following appointments to the MOST EXCELLENT ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE on the occasion of NEW YEAR HONOURS 2014: Order of the British Empire OBE To be Ordinary Officers of the Civil Division of the said Most Excellent Order of the British Empire: Rafael Manzanero, for contribution to Environmental Protection Adrian Alexander Coye FRCS Ed CTh, DM CTh, for contribution to Medicine

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 Domestic Tourist
It was a week-long trip I was glad to be away on. Through the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), I would be travelling to destinations right within the 8,867 sq miles of my homeland, Belize. I was eager to look at my country through the eyes of a tourist, seeing what they saw when they ventured our terrains, falling in love when they snorkeled our renowned waters. I already know our country is without a doubt, beautiful. But what I wanted to know is, just what it is that keeps them coming back to our tiny jewel, time and time again? My journey began with a 20 minute fight via TropicAir to Belize City. The short flight provided me with a scenic view of the cayes and the iconic barrier reef that vividly contrasted some parts of the blue waters that lay beneath. With my camera, a few changes of clothes, and a spirit ready for adventure, I was prepared to have a week filled with Belizean experiences. Normally we tend to overlook this sort of travel because it’s in our own “back yard” but really, we don’t need to cross borders for adventures and vacations! Just read on as I share some of my adventures with you;maybe you’ll start packing for your very own Belizean adventure!

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Branch of Belize Red Cross Successful Activities
The San Pedro Branch of the Belize Red Cross is very fortunate to have strong local business support in their efforts to make a difference on Ambergris Caye. Crazy Canucks has been doing a wonderful Job with ongoing fundraising for the San Pedro Red Cross, they have designated the last Friday of their weekly trivia as Red Cross night. Think and Drink Trivia has raised $500 since June, with $175 of the total pouring in from Last Friday's Trivia. Without a doubt, it is one of the busiest and most popular trivia nights on the island. The owner Rob has a phenomenal sense of humor which guarantees everyone has a great time while raising money for a good cause.

Misc Belizean Sources

A puma in our midst – How to help keep the community safe and save our wildlife in San Pedro
On the 20th of December there was a great deal of excitement following eyewitness reports of a puma south of San Pedro Town. While San Pedranos are very proud of their marine and land creatures, there was also, understandably a great deal of concern and fear about this uncommon and large predator in a populated, residential area. Mayor Daniel Guerrero did the right thing and immediately called the Belize Wildlife Conservation Networks’ (BWCN) Wildlife Advice Hotline for advice and assistance. This hotline is for the general public to report injured, orphaned, nuisance or abused wildlife. When a response is necessary they partner with the Forest Department and any relevant wildlife organisation to ensure the best outcome for the caller and animal concerned. Because this is a voluntary organisation with no paid members, funds were sought privately to fly a team to San Pedro to investigate as it appeared to be a matter of urgency. Unfortunately, the puma had disappeared by the time they had arrived and due to heavy rains; there was very little evidence that allowed them to gather information about the puma. One of the team members was from Panthera, an organisation that specialises in studying and conserving large cats in Belize. Dr. Bart Harmsen of Panthera said; “You are probably wondering if you are in danger from this cat. Give a cat room to escape and they will do this. It is unlikely that this cat will attack people if not driven into a corner. This does not mean you should not be cautious, especially with children and pets. If you see the cat try and stay calm and do not turn your back on it or run away. Enjoy the sighting as many of you may have never seen a wild puma. If the cat approaches you - it will most likely move away- no matter what, stand your ground and wave your arms around and shout. This will assure it will move away. If reliable reports keep coming in that the cat remains around the town, we have to act and try and trap this cat and remove it from its location. For this we need your help.

Be Kind Belize website
I'm delighted to announce a softish launch of the new Be Kind Belize website. Be Kind Belize has evolved from a humane education programme, available in a few schools in Belize, to now becoming an online resource for all teachers, educators, community workers and volunteers across the country. The resources have been developed after several years of working in schools in Belize and in cooperation with teachers, conservation organisations and other volunteers, whose help I cannot express enough gratitude for. All of the resources are easily downloadable and absolutely free for use in schools or for any other organisation that can benefit. I'd be grateful if any of my friends, who are teachers, parents or who know teachers would pass this information on and share it with anyone who might be able to use it.

Leading by Example: An Interview With First Lady Kim Simplis Barrow of Belize
Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, First Lady of Belize, has been described as the Michelle Obama of Central America and is on a mission to improve the welfare of women and young people in Belize. 2013-12-31-WashingtonGala1.JPG Kim is the wife of Prime Minister Dean Barrow and is also the founder and director of one of Belize's most acclaimed NGOs, Lifeline Foundation, which focuses on improving the quality of life for the children of Belize. I met with her to talk about her latest work and her role as First Lady, and here is how our conversation went: LIFELINE FOUNDATION Please tell me more about Lifeline Foundation. Lifeline Foundation started in 2006 and is a registered charitable foundation and NGO in Belize. Its objectives are to assist generally with the welfare of children in Belize, looking out especially for their social, health and educational needs, and being concerned particularly with those that are economically disadvantaged or suffering from any kind of disability. The foundation is run by a board of directors comprised of 10 women, with a mix of professional and business interests and backgrounds.

San Pedro Liquor Licensing Board Notice
Meetings Jan 13, 14 at Lion's Den

Channel 7

Cane Farmers Want GOB To Agree To MOU And Enforce It On BSI
It's January 2014, and the cane season still hasn't started; what's worse is no one can say for sure when or if it will start. A part of the reason is the heavy rains since August, but the largest part of it is the still simmering dispute over bagasse. The latest timetable says that the season must start on January 15, but once again, the stalemate between the cane farmers and the factory owners continues, so the season may not begin on that date. The latest disagreement between both sides is that BSI wants to negotiate with the farmers on a payment for bagasse, but the farmers want them to put it in writing that a payment will be made before any meaningful negotiations can begin. That fairly fundamental difference led to today where the branch chairmen of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association met to discuss the latest letter to the association from BSI on New Year's Eve.

16 Year Old Male Charged For Shooting 19 Year Old Female Cousin
On this newscast we can talk all we want about the fewer murders in 2013, but when a 19 year old female is shot 7 times in the street by her 16 year old male first cousin - then we know that violence is still rampant in Belize City. That's just what is alleged to have happened on New Year's Eve in the Lake Independence area when Tajah Staine who was shot multiple times and called the name of her cousin as the gunman. Today, that young man, a 16 year-old, was taken to family court on charges of attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, and dangerous harm, and due to the nature of the offences, he was remanded to the Wagner's Youth Facility at the Belize Central Prison. We have his name and photograph, but we cannot release it because he is still a minor.

Man Charged For Shooting Father In Head
In an update to the other New Year's family shooting we told you about, 30 year-old Hensleigh Ryan Jones was arraigned today in Orange Walk's Magistrate's Court for shooting his own father three times in the head. His dad survived, and so the son was read charges of attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, and dangerous harm when he appeared before Magistrate Merlene Moody this morning. They are firearm offences so remand is automatic. He will be brought back on March 5. As we told you, Corozal police responded to a shooting incident in Ranchito Village on New Year's night, and when they visited the Jones Residence, they found his dad, 53 year-old Hensley "Nick" Jones with 3 bullet wounds to the head. He told police that his son, Hensleigh Ryan, shot him in the kitchen for no apparent reason.

Cool Spot Rob Refused Robbers, Got Chopped
Of the scores of "Cool Spots" all across Belize, we'd like to think that "Rob's Cool Spot" just outside Hattieville is among the most well liked. And that's because the owner, 61 year old Robert Robinson wakes up early every morning and gets on his fire hearth going to prepare delicious Rice and Beans with other local delicacies. By the evening, he's winding down - and on New Year's Eve at 6:00 pm, that's when 2 men tried to rob him. Monica Bodden found out more when she went to meet "Rob" at mile 17 today:... Monica Bodden reporting Robert Robinson has been making fire hearth food at his restaurant Robs Cool Spot for four decades. But on New Year's Eve at 6:00 in the evening, as he sat at his usual lookout, two armed men came looking not for food but money. Robert Robinson - Business Owner, Rob's Cool Spot "Two guys just pull up from around the corner and I didn't see them. When I look through here I saw one with a gun and the other came with a machete. The machete man chopped, but I wasn't sure if it was a chop I got. I thought it was a stick, but when I feel the coldness of the shirt, I lifted up my arm and I saw the chop. I then yelled for my wife and the men turn around and ran."

Family Loses Everything In Fire
Tonight, a Ladyville family of 5 is homeless after their house and all their possessions were destroyed in a fire. The McKay family house caught fire last night at around 7, and the cause is believed to be a candle which fell over. Luckily no one was home, and Jenna McKay told us that she left to go get food for her children. She never suspected that a mishap would end up claiming all their belongings: Jenna McKay, fire victim "I wasn't taking long. I went to get something to make food for my kids to eat at my mom's house and mom told me that my house is on fire. All my things got damaged; my passport, clothes, TV, everything that a house would have got destroyed." Benisford Matura - Operations Officer, Fire Department "Last night about quarter after seven, the Ladyville Station got a call from the Ladyville Police of a fire on Cusco Street. They immediately dispatched and upon arrival a 20' X 22' wooden structure approximately 3 feet off the ground was totally engulfed in flames. They got into operation and did their best to extinguish the fire." Jenna McKay, fire victim "I had leave on the candle and the candle supposedly knocked over on my bed and caught the house on fire."

Belize’s Murder Rate Going Down, Caribbean and Latin America Going Up
We've been reporting on the decrease in murders in Belize for 2013 - down from 145 to 99. We stress 99 murders is nothing to celebrate, but 46 fewer murders is reason to feel relief. While everyone has their own answer for the downturn, we wondered how it compared to other crime-ridden countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. According to statistics obtained by 7News from a colleague in the Caribbean, in most countries the murder rate is up. This is according to preliminary and unofficial figures. In Trinidad and Tobago, there were 405 murders, which is 6% more than the previous year, putting their murder rate at 30 per hundred thousand. In Jamaica, there were 1241 murders, which is up 15% from the year before putting their murder rate at 46 per one hundred thousand, which is expected to be one of the highest in the hemisphere. In the Bahamas, there were 118 murders, which puts that country's murder rate at 32, which is up 6% from last year. In Guyana, where end of year figures were hard to come by, there were 142 estimated murders, putting their murder rate at 19, which is up 3%.

Senior Sales Tax Collector Verde Escapes Charges For Gun Found In House
But the reduced number of homicides masks the fact that violence, especially gun violence remains very prevalent in Belize. One man who knows well about that is Reynaldo Verde. In April of 2013, he was remanded for attempted murder, after he shot a man in San Pedro. It was the second time the senior sales tax employee was remanded for attempted murder. But in 2013, the victim asked not to press charges, so he got off. And he got off today too, in a case that for most average folks would result in automatic remand and at least 15 days in jail. Acting on information this morning at 6:00 police searched Verde's home off Faber's Road and found a Glock 380 pistol in the washroom. Police say he has two gun licenses but none for that weapon, and so he was taken to the police station pending charges. Usually, those are pretty much automatic, but in this case, Verde had the ear of senior police officers who listened to the senior sales tax collector when he told them he had been set up and that the gun had been planted.

Two Cops Knocked Down In Separate Incidents
Two police officers were knocked down by drivers over the past three days. The first was Mario Coc, who was riding a police motorbike on Faber's Road on New Year's Day at 11:00 am, when a Geo Tracker came charging out of Watermelon Street - didn't indicate as it should have and veered right, then left. Coc says he swerved to avoid a collision but crashed into the front of the vehicle which caused him to fall to the pavement and slide across the street. He received abrasions to the right knee, abrasions to the left arm, a cut wound to the left side of head, and multiple fractures of the right leg. Today he had to have surgery on his leg and is reported in a stable condition. The driver of the tracker was a 68 year old woman, Ismay Bulwer - who has received a notice of intended prosecution. And then last night on Caesar Ridge Road near Bismark Club, a policeman on bicycle was knocked down in a hit and run. 21 year old Tyrelle Tillett attached was one of two officers on Bicycle patrol when a brown Toyota Camry knocked him down from behind. The car drove off leaving him on the ground. Tillett was not seriously hurt and complained of pain to his left leg.

Man Charged For Grabbing Teenaged Girl
21 year-old Jorge Perez, a resident of Western Avenue, is out on bail for a charge of indecent assault after he was taken to Magistrate's Court today. A 15 year-old girl told police that New Year's Day, Perez grabbed her chest and fondled it. Police arrested and charged him with aggravated assault of an indecent nature, and he was arraigned before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, and because he had bruises and blood on his shirt, Senior Magistrate Frazer asked him about them. He said that he was beaten up while inside a cellblock when he was detained. He was granted bail of $2,000, which he was able to meet, and he must return to court on February 28.

Man With Bze Roots Wanted for Wife’s Murder In Cali
The FBI is offering a ten thousand dollar reward for a California man with roots in Belize after he's accused of killing his wife and the mother of his two children in San Bernadino California on November 30th. According to news reports, Edly Albert Atherley was charged with murder in December but has allegedly fled, possibly outside the state's jurisdiction. The FBI says Atherley may still be in San Bernardino but they say he has ties in Florida and Belize. Atherley is five-feet, nine-inches tall and weighs between 160 to 170 pounds. He is African-American and has a tattoo on his right shoulder. The FBI says Atherley has a criminal history. An FBI release says, Anyone who knows of Atherley's whereabouts is urged to use extreme caution and contact their local FBI office or dial 911. The FBI also cautioned residents not to take independent action should they come into contact with him.

PUP Says Recall Failure Was All But Foretold
On New Years' Eve, 7News told you about the rejected petition which the People's United Party made to recall Cayo North East Representative Elvin Penner. The disgraced former minister of state, although being thoroughly condemned by the Opposition, the media and civil society, has not faced any criminal charges for allegedly facilitating an international fugitive. More than that, he is an area representative and a sitting member of the House of Representatives in good standing; he also enjoys additional perks like a salary over a hundred thousand dollars, his government vehicle, and health insurance. So, with this hurdle of the failed petition in the rear view, he is one step closer to distancing himself from the immigration scandal. With those things in mind, we spoke with Julius Espat, the Deputy Leader who has been there with caretaker Orlando Habet every step of the way. He told us yesterday that the party expected that first attempt to fail, no matter how hard they tried: Hon. Julius Espat - Representative, Cayo South "It is a national executive decision, so the Party Leader has requested a national executive meeting to go over the details. Presently we have been informed as to the detail as to why they didn't accept it which is something that we expected by the way. So now we will have the legal advisor and his team gives us their advice as to how we should move forward and then a decision will be made at the national executive."

Cruise Rules On the Ground
Back in November, 7News told you about the rotation system at the Fort George Tourism Village which caused some of the operators to be up in arms, saying that they weren't getting a fair opportunity to engage the tourists. But in an environment where regulation is tough, and where there are often more operators than needed, there is often one quarrel or the other. Well, the Belize City Taxi tour guides and other freelance operators have joined up merging 5 different entities into one. One of the main criticisms that the Belizean operators get is that their approach to engage the tourists often come off as harassment, which the new union's leadership says should not happen: Arton Bowen, President FTGZ "It has provided a lot of benefits in the sense that, before like Mr. Pollard mentioned, there were a lot of difference in opinion and a lot of back and forth between the different groups. What have happen is that we have all decided to bridge that gap, we came together and we have put in place a set of rules that will basically govern all the freelance tour guides and taxi people in the zone, so that we could have a better working relationship."

Assisting Agriculture
The relentless rains in the last part of 2013 destroyed the roads, but it did the same to the agriculture sector. And now, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture has committed to providing assistance in the form of animal feed and some agricultural inputs to severely impacted farmers in highly vulnerable agricultural zones in the Belize District. It starts on Saturday 4th January with the provision of cattle feed to livestock producers in the Crooked Tree and Blackburn livestock productive zones. On Wednesday January 8th assistance will be provided to the communities of the Belize River Valley and on Friday January 10th the communities along the old northern highway (Maskall zone). All farmers and agricultural producers affected by rain and flooding in the Belize District can call the Department of Agriculture at 203-2842.

Channel 5

3 months after sugar industry meltdown, still no word on when production will resume
Today representatives of the eighteen branches of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association met in Orange Walk. The only item on the agenda for today’s session was a look at [...]

BSCFA asks P.M. Barrow to intercede in the deadlock over bagasse proceeds
According to Ortega, the Prime Minister has told the BSCFA that if negotiations break down he would be willing to intercede. Well, for all intents and purposes negotiations have crumbled, [...]

More bad news? There’s equipment malfunction at tower hill factory
And even as the gods seem to be frowning on the crop season, with more rain, less sucrose, impassable roads and the bagasse impasse prevailing, there is more bad news. [...]

M&M Engineering accused of tearing up the Old Northern Highway; residents up in arms
Residents along the Old Northern Highway are tonight up in arms, following the destruction of the road at the hands of a construction company.  They contend that M&M Engineering Ltd. [...]

Fire in Ladyville leaves a family of five homeless
A family of five is tonight homeless after a fire in the Mitchell Estate Area of Ladyville gutted their house. The McKay family has been living in the three bedroom [...]

Hensleigh Ryan Jones arraigned for the attempted murder of his father
On New Year’s Day, many families generally celebrate by spending quality time together. But on New Year’s Day in Ranchito Village just outside Corozal, thirty-year-old Hensleigh Ryan Jones shot his [...]

Eldy Atherley wanted by FBI for murder of his estranged wife
San Bernardino Police and the FBI are hunting for a man who is said to have strong ties to Belize. Edly Albert Atherley is wanted for the murder of his [...]

Reynaldo Verde released despite being found with unlicensed gun
Persons charged for illegal firearm offences are in the news on almost a daily basis. People are hauled away regularly for unlicensed guns or bullets found on them, in their [...]

2 Honduran nationals guilty of illegally entering Belize
In news from the courts, two Hondurans caught living unlawfully in Belize were today charged with illegal entry and ordered to pay one thousand dollars each. But tonight, the men are [...]

21 year old man charged for assaulting 15 year old female
Also in court, a twenty-one year old man, who is being accused of assaulting a fifteen-year-old female, was today before the court with injuries he claims he sustained while in [...]

B.T.L. Park to be officially opened
B.T.L. Park remains under construction after several months of diligent restorative work.  The relentless rains, however, have caused major delays in the reopening of the recreational space.  Despite an initial [...]

C.E.O. at the K.H.M.H. speaks on improvements to the medical facility
In May of 2013, a bacterial outbreak at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital flooded the airwaves when some seven babies reportedly died after they were infected with enterobacter cloacae within [...]

…And discusses the record number of birthday at the hospital
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in 2013 had a record number of births with approximately seven hundred and ninety-eight normal deliveries and over eight hundred via C-Section; in December alone, [...]

Belize Water Services Ltd. Ants an increase in water bills
On Tuesday, Belize Water Services Ltd. applied to the Public Utilities Commission for an Annual Tariff Review for the period April first, 2014 to March thirty-first, 2015.  The company is [...]

Residents of inundated rural Belize to receive much needed relief from G.O.B.
Tonight there is good news for farmers in the Belize District, affected by incessant rains resulting in widespread flooding. That flooding has caused damage of agriculture products, as well as [...]

Miss World Belize places in regional pageant
Miss Trifinio Mundo…the pageant was held this weekend in Honduras and features some seven delegates from the Central American countries including Mexico. The pageant promotes the point where the borders [...]


Fire Guts Family Home in Rural Belize
Last night, a fire in Ladyville gutted a house leaving a family of five homeless. It happened at around 8pm on Swallow Street when 22 year old Jenna Mckay left home on an errand. No one was at the house at the time and the cause of the fire is said to be a candle which was left on. Reporter Hipolito Novelo found out more. HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING JENNA MCKAY, Owner of House “I have nowhere to stay, I have nowhere to go, I have nothing and I started crying and then the thought came to me about where my babies and I will live.” HIPOLITO NOVELO “Twenty Two year old Jenna Mckay along with her two children, her sister and her nephew is homeless tonight after this blazing fire destroyed their wooden bungalow home last night. The fire started at around 8 o’clock. The cause of the fire is believed to be a lit candle in one of the bedrooms in the house. “ JENNA MCKAY, Owner of House “I left the candle lit and the candle knocked over on the bed and caused the fire; I believe that is what caused the fire because no one was at home. I wasn’t taking long; I had gone to my mom to get something for the children to eat and my mom yelled and told me the house is on fire and all my stuff got damaged including my passports, my clothes, my television, everything that a house would have got destroyed. My daughter was with my mom and my baby was with me. I think it was the breeze that knocked over the candle.”

Father Remains Hospitalized; Son Remanded to Prison
Thirty year old year old Hensley Ryan Jones of Ranchito Village in Corozal was charged with one count of attempt murder and use of deadly means of harm when he appeared in the Orange Walk Magistrate Court. Jones is accused of shooting his father in the head and this morning, Magistrate Marlene Moody remanded Jones into custody until March 5th. As we reported, fifty three year old Hensley Jones, also known as Nick Jones of Ranchito Village was shot in the head at his home, allegedly by his son on New Year’s Day. Police say when they arrived at his home, Jones, with blood running down his head, approached them. He was taken to the Corozal Community Hospital for treatment. Police say Jones was at his home when he was shot. The son fled the area and was apprehended by police a short time later.


BISE Symposium at UB Brings Educational Partnership Together
The fifth annual Belize International Symposium of Education (BISE) was held this morning at the George Price Center, in Belmopan. BISE was developed about five years ago with the purpose of reaching out to the educational institutions in Belize, primarily those at the primary level. Executive Director and Founder...

PLUS Crew to the Valley of Peace Encountered Challenging Road Obstacles
Earlier this week, PlusNews travelled to the village of Valley of Peace in the Cayo District, to cover the story of Canadian national Brian Townsend, but we encountered some unexpected obstacles. It had nothing to do with the story we intended to pursue, but with the condition of the...

CitCo Completes Garbage Collection Payment to Belize Waste Control
Yesterday, Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley told PLUS News that the Belize City Council this week finished paying the last of a $1.2 million judgment enforced by the Supreme Court last April in favour of Belize Waste Control. The maintenance company which collects and disposes of the City’s garbage...

100 Streets of Belize City will be Concreted by Mid-January
In that interview with our colleagues at KREM, the Mayor also updated on some infrastructure projects which he expects to be completed by the middle of this month. The Mayor said that over the Christmas holiday, City Hall has been working hard to finalize some of the existing projects...

Allegation of Higher Heads’s Interference in Police Investigation
PlusTV has been reliably informed that this morning, sometime between the hours of 6:30-7:30, a group of police officers conducted a search on a premise on Rio Bravo Crescent. There, they discovered an unlicensed firearm on the property. We were told that a charge sheet was written up to...

Minor, 17, Charged for Attempted Murder of Tajah Staine
PLUS News has learned that a seventeen year old minor has been arrested and charged in connection with the attempted murder of his cousin Tajah Staine. Staine was shot seven times, in the chest, left shoulder and left leg. As we reported yesterday, the 19 year old was heading...

Son Arraigned for Attempted Murder of his Father
30 year old Hensleigh Ryan Jones was today escorted to the Corozal Magistrate court, where he was arraigned for the attempted murder of his father. Jones is accused of shooting 53 year old Hensley Jones three times to the head on the night of January 1st. The two were...

Hit and Run Accident Leaves a Police Officer in Pain
A Police Officer was the victim of a hit and run on yesterday, 21 year old PC Tyrelle Tillett attached to Belize City precinct says that last night around 7:45 p.m., he was on official duties, riding a Police Bicycle on Ceasar Ridge Road in a Western direction. Upon...


Official information released to our newspaper tonight by Chief Engineer Lennox Bradley confirms that the damage to the country’s infrastructure, caused by the incessant rains over the past two months, has been substantial. Figures provided to us put the tab at $5.88 million, including $2.2 million in damages to the country’s sugar roads. Damage to public roads in the districts was reported at nearly $4 million. Of note is that the figure does not include prior disrepair to the national road network. Bradley informs us that, “The Ministry has already identified various contractors from the private sector who are assisting the Ministry in completing the works as soon as practically possible. The continued rains have affected the pace of the execution of works; but nevertheless, slow progress is being achieved and we are confident that with the anticipated improvement in weather conditions in January, we will be able to step up the pace to complete the works in a timely manner.” He added that due to the impact of the recent rains, the Ministry of Finance has provided the Ministry of Works with the necessary funds to complete the San Roman Bridge in the Orange Walk District and the Crique Sarco Bridge in the Toledo District. He said that $353,300 has been earmarked for the Crique Sarco Bridge and $300,000 for the San Roman Bridge.

“Caribbean must improve infrastructure and logistical services in order to lower transaction costs and make their industries more competitive” The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is forecasting that economic growth in the Latin America and Caribbean region, which includes Belize, will amount to 3% during 2014, according to a report released earlier this week. It said that during 2013, the region’s economy grew by 2.7%. Of note is that latest statistical information from Belize authorities indicate that for the first nine months of 2013, the country’s economy has lagged well behind this regional average, at less than half-a-percent. The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) reported national GDP expansion of a mere 0.4% for the first 9 months, with certain key sectors – including petroleum and agriculture – reporting challenges in production. The IDB report said that on the regional front, “The year now coming to a close was marked by an external context that did not encourage a strong economic performance in Latin America and the Caribbean.” It added that, “The high degree of volatility that rattled international financial markets and the fall in prices for basic goods took a toll on the region’s GDP growth, which averaged 2.7 percent.”

At about 10:30 p.m. on New Year’s Day, a Ranchito businessman, Hensley Jones, 53, was shot three times in his head by his son, while they were at home together. Police said that their initial investigations revealed that Hensley Jones was in the kitchen area with one of his sons, who shot him twice on the left side of his head and once in the back of his head for no apparent reason then drove off in a brown Isuzu Rodeo SUV en route to Corozal Town, where police later nabbed him and took him into custody. According to police, they responded to a report of a shooting at Jones’ residence in Ranchito Village, and on their arrival, Jones approached the police vehicle with blood running down his head. He was immediately taken to the Corozal Community Hospital.

As we go to press tonight, the family of Brian Townsend—the 64-year-old Canadian whose disappearance from his home in Valley of Peace in the Cayo District was reported over a week ago on Christmas Day — has confirmed that the body found in Guatemala was that of the missing missionary. His body was found near the Belize-Guatemala border last Friday, December 27 – and buried by Guatemalan authorities because it was already decomposing. However, it was only today that the identity was confirmed by Townsend’s family. In a Facebook post released at around 5:00 local time, the family said that, “With grieving hearts, we inform you that the body found in Guatemala is Brian Townsend.” Meanwhile, a memorial service was held today by Valley of Peace residents to honor Townsend’s memory. Modesto Duenas, Valley of Peace chairman, told Amandala on Tuesday when we visited the village, that they were saddened by the news that Townsend’s body might have been taken to Guatemala and dumped by his abductors, and they hope that the assailants are caught and brought to justice as soon as possible. Reports are that investigators from the Belize Police Department made their way to the border village of Arenal, Cayo, earlier this week after receiving tips that Townsend’s vehicle – which had also been stolen at the time of his disappearance – had been spotted one night crossing the Belize-Guatemala border through a remote road, not usually patrolled by security forces.

New Year’s Day 2014 began with more heavy rains and overcast skies, as the 24th running of the Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic got under way from the northern border for the Elite and U-23 riders, and from Orange Walk Town for the Female, Junior/Youth and Masters Cat 4/5 races, all heading for the finish line near the intersection of Central American Boulevard with Mahogany Street in Belize City. But by the time the cylists neared Ladyville, the sun was shining brightly and it remained clear skies and bright sunshine till the end of the race, and in fact for the rest of New Year’s Day. With a lucrative package of station prizes and finishing prizes, there were enough foreigners in the field of Elites – Americans, Mexicans and Guatemalans, for some local fans to be wary of all the “treasures” possibly leaving for foreign shores. But the era of team riding is now firmly entrenched in the cycling community, and the “spoils” are reportedly shared to some extent among team members. Nevertheless, race fans still instinctively root for our local boys, especially in the Krem Classic and the Cross Country, the two biggest races on the cycling calendar; it certainly adds to the spice of the race. And they were not disappointed yesterday.

A mother is outraged that a young man whose life she said she had once saved tried to shoot her daughter to death on New Year’s Eve night. More appalling, though, is the fact that the gunman and the victim are cousins, who grew up together but who apparently had issues because of the girl’s association with his rivals, said the mother. Tashia Pauline Staine, 19, was entering her yard when her younger cousin, known as “Bigga,” 17, allegedly rode up and opened fire on her. When she fell to the ground, the gunman allegedly stood over her and fired more shots before riding away on his bicycle. The incident occurred a little before 11 New Year’s Eve night, on Gladden Street, just off La Croix Boulevard in the Lake Independence area of Belize City. Today, Staine—who had been shot 7 times—is recovering at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), while charges have yet to be levied against the young man whom she named—while on the ground gasping for air—as the shooter.

The sugar industry crisis—which came to a head in late 2013 with deadlock between cane farmers and the Belize Sugar Industries—will no doubt spill over into 2014. The impasse has emerged due to an ongoing dispute surrounding the payment for bagasse, a byproduct of sugar cane. Belize’s local sugar producer, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI), utilizes bagasse to generate electricity, which it sells to Belize Electricity Limited; and this practice has led to a protracted feud between the stakeholders of the vital sugar industry because the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), and by extension, the local cane farmers want to be paid for the bagasse. For over the last two months, the farmers and BSI – specifically its parent company American Sugar Refineries (ASR) – have been at loggerheads concerning a negotiated payment for the bagasse; while the 2014 sugar cane crop season has now been delayed for an entire month, in part due to this issue. The most recent meeting between the opposing parties took place on Monday, December 23, 2013, at the BSI Staff Club in Orange Walk Town, where both parties met for the first time in three months. However, after around three hours of deliberations, no middle ground was reached; therefore, the stalemate continues and the fate of the next sugar crop season is still uncertain.

The DCE (December Chess Extravaganza) 2013 Swiss Tournament is now history. Twenty participants took part in two categories, nine in the junior and eleven in the senior. The turnout was rather unexpected, because of the very high number of those who pre-registered. However, the twenty participants gave good account of themselves. In the junior section, participants ranging in age from seven to eleven played their hearts out. From round one to five, their focus/attention was on their game. Upsets with their losses were mingled with happiness in their victories. The upset game of round one was between young Akeem Roches and Alexander Musa, who came in first and second, respectively, in the tournament. It lasted six minutes. Young Akeem, in Creole parlance, was “in his thing.” He was cool, as he moved his pieces across the checkered board. Alexander was noticeably uncomfortable. Fifteen moves after the game started, it was over. Of interest in round one was the game between two of the female players, Philany Palacio and Evian Berges. Both girls went after each other aggressively. After nineteen minutes, Philany emerged as the winner. At the end of the tournament, Evian received the Best Sportsmanship award and Philany the Best Female award.

champion, Brown Bombers, who edged rivals Hattieville United by the same 1-nil score that they had lost to Hattieville by in the 2012 finals. The championship game, which was preceded by the 3rd place game between City Boys and Ladyville Rising Stars, took place at the MCC Grounds on Sunday, December 22, before the Premier League clash between FC Belize and BDF. Rising Stars defeated City Boys for the 3rd place spot. The SMART 13 & Under championship game was evenly matched, with the decisive goal coming in second half from a long free kick by Tyreek Muschamp, who played sweeper for Brown Bombers in first half, then moved up into the attack in second half. The kids played their hearts out on both sides, but the goal by Muschamp stood up to secure the 1-nil victory and the championship for the Bombers. Immediately following the game, beautiful individual trophies were issued to all members of the 3rd place, 2nd place and championship teams. Big team trophies for 1st , 2nd and 3rd place teams were also received by their respective coaches and captains; individual award trophies were given for outstanding players in the different positions; and there was a special Fair Play trophy for the most deserving team.

Following a traffic mishap blamed on the indiscriminate use of high-beam lights and on wet road conditions, a promising young cyclist suffered 8 broken ribs and had to have his spleen removed after he was knocked down by a bus near St. Matthew’s Village on the George Price Highway. The young cyclist, 22-year-old Geon Hanson, was training for the KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic. The Belmopan resident was found on the side of the highway, between miles 36 and 37, at around 6:15 a.m. last Tuesday, December 24, 2013, after he was unfortunately knocked down by a J & J commuter bus, traveling in the same direction. According to Saul Castellanos, the bus driver, he was eastbound when the lights of an oncoming vehicle temporarily blinded him. He said that when he regained his sight, he saw the cyclist in his path and tried to avoid hitting him but wet road conditions compounded the problem, causing him to hit Hanson. Hanson, whose lungs had collapsed, was subsequently transported in an unconscious state to the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan, where he underwent an emergency surgery to remove his spleen. He was later transported to the KHMH in Belize City for another emergency surgery.

2013 is fast winding down, and the New Year 2014 is almost here, and it begins with the full blown spectacle of the 2nd biggest cycling event in the 2014 calendar – as over a hundred cyclists, male and female, from Youth to Masters, local and foreign, first timers, veteran warriors and past champions are all getting ready to gear down for what has become a Belizean tradition now about to enter its 24th year – the Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic. Coincidentally, the first KREM Cycling Classic, won by Michael “Big Wire” Lewis, took place on New Year’s Day of 1991, the same year that the first semi-pro football season kicked off in Belize. The Premier League is right now in the heat of perhaps its toughest and most exciting race to their playoffs. Playoff bound teams will likely not be finally decided until next weekend, although some teams might clinch a playoff spot from this coming Sunday. But cycling is a different story. In this Wednesday’s KREM New Year’s Classic, it will all be decided once and for all on New Year’s Day, when fans will welcome the winners as they cross the finish line at the junction of Mahogany Street and Central American Boulevard. The “playoffs,” if there are any, are being decided with registration deadlines and the technical meeting tonight at the UWI campus on Princess Margaret Drive. And all vetted cyclists will get a chance to compete for the prestigious KREM Classic championship which comes along with what is certainly the most enticing package of prizes ever for this race. Where previously the race station prizes only included one of a thousand dollars, there are now four such prizes along the way to the finish, where there is an even bigger bag of prizes for the champion. And there are many other smaller station prizes along the way.

As we enter the New Year of 2014, the newspaper would like to review the last couple years of ruling UDP and Opposition PUP party politics. Our readers will have noted that we have been trying in these pages to cut through the shrill personality aspect of Belize’s politics in order to analyze core philosophical issues of socio-economics. It has not been an easy task. There has been, it appears to us, a considered effort to confuse the Belizean people with all kinds of noises and distractions. The campaign to confuse originates from the same places which gave us slavery, colonialism, and neocolonialism: you can fill in the blanks. There was a kind of golden age in Belizean politics where socio-economics was concerned. Quite arbitrarily, we would say this golden age was roughly from 1958 to 1968. Under Hon. George Price, the PUP government was seeking to remove the ethnic injustices and class differences which had been characteristic of British colonialism here. This was the sociology. On the economic side, the PUP plunged into agricultural production in a determined effort to improve the living conditions of the people in the midst of declining forestry resources and revenues.

You know, there are different ways of looking at life. What works for you, works for you. It’s quite popular for some people nowadays to say that you can be anything you want to be. In the old days, some people used to put it like this: reach for the stars and maybe you’ll reach the moon. Personally, I look at things somewhat differently. I think it’s important for oppressed people, especially those with sensitive personalities, to know their place, so to speak. For sure this sounds defeatist, but it’s also realistic. What works for me, works for me. Once you come from a certain background, your margin of error is limited. That is why we have so many human shipwrecks in our community. One or two mistakes, and you’re wasted. And that is why our parents used to beat us seemingly without mercy. It was because they knew that our margin of error would be limited, and they therefore sought to ensure that we kept our tail between our legs, as the saying goes. Sometimes I think I am one of the individuals that rich people call “bleeding hearts.” As I drive around my community, it hurts to see those of my people who would be referred to as “losers.” At this stage of my life, I am considered a modest success, but I can’t spend any time congratulating myself. I know that with a little change of luck here and there, things would have been disastrously different for me.

The Ministry of Natural Resources fired back today against allegations that its former Chief Executive Officer, Beverly Castillo, has been involved in a scheme to defraud a Belizean-American, Bernadette Pickwood, of land to give to her (Castillo’s) mother and son. In a statement issued today, the Ministry of Natural Resources maintained that it followed the right procedure before forfeiting Pickwood’s lease (No. 253/1989 in Belama). However, Pickwood’s attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, and her brother, Bernard Pickwood, told the media today that the forfeiture was not legal, as the required notice had not been given to the leaseholder. “This is the crux of it: Was Bernadette Pickwood given this notice and reasonable time to address it? And we are saying no!” Matura-Shepherd said. In an unusual disclosure, the Lands Department today made public Pickwood’s rent statement, which claims that as of January 2013, she had $720 in arrears, accrued because she had not paid rent on the land she received.

by Audrey Matura-Shepherd. This is my first writing to be published in 2014 and so I want to start by thanking all those people who have fervently read what I write and encouraged me to continue doing so. You may never know how many days I am pressed for time and I am totally exhausted, but the thought that I cannot disappoint you and that you are looking forward to hear from me on the issues of our loved country, makes me become re-energized to fulfill my implied and understood commitment to you. Also special thanks to those thousands who keep praying for me. Many ask how I find time to write and what helps to embolden me to speak so openly and frankly about issues. Let me tell you, it is all possible because of the grace of God and all those prayers from the heart keep adding to my account and multiplying my grace. Thank you so much and whoever you are, I too pray back those same blessings on you, that our Almighty Father may hold you up in 2014 and give you all you need to manifest and achieve His purpose for you in life.

Teachers and public servants have continued to plead with the Government to speedily implement a cost of living adjustment to offset what they say is a rise in the cost of living exceeding 30%; and as the New Calendar Year, 2014, has dawned, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow used that occasion to announce that those workers will be getting a salary adjustment – just not quite yet. In his New Year’s Day speech, Barrow said that the headline grabber is the decision of the Government to pay the raise – but not until August 2014, retrospective to April, the start of the fiscal year. He offered no explanation why the raise would be delayed. The Prime Minister also did not specify the quantum of the raise. He described it merely as “substantial” – pointing to an agreement, in principle, to pay teachers and public officers 50 cents out of every $1.00 government gets in extra revenue. Barrow also announced that effective January 1, 2014, the National Bank of Belize, which Government had previously said would especially target teachers and public officers for lending, would be expanding its portfolio to include small business and vehicle loans – and the ceiling for business and mortgage loans would be $175,000. Since its launch in September 2013, the bank’s lending ceiling has been fixed at $100,000.

Two Ladyville residents have been left homeless after a fire gutted their home in the Mitchell Estate area at about 6:30 this evening. Unconfirmed reports are that the wooden/plycem bungalow structure, which was occupied by two females, may have caught fire because a candle was left unattended inside one of the rooms. Vigilant neighbors reportedly saw the fire and alerted the occupants. Thereafter, one of the females rushed in to save her child, who she had allegedly left inside the house. Luckily, no one was harmed; however, one of the witnesses who spoke with Amandala said that the fire officials – who the witness said seemed unprepared – took a long while to arrive on scene.

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued final notice today of new electricity tariffs due to take effect this month, amounting to a decline in electricity rates ranging from 6% to 9% — depending on the classification of customers. Most residential customers will experience an 8% decrease in rates while industrial customers will benefit from a 9% reduction in tariffs. (See table accompanying this article.) “This represents a decrease in the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) from 48.65¢ to 44.65¢,” the PUC said. BEL, however, had applied for a decrease in the mean electricity rate to 45.65¢ per kilowatt hour. In a statement on the PUC review, BEL had said that the decision would result in more revenue loss than the company had anticipated. The company said in a press release that, “The projected revenue from PUC’s proposed tariff basket is $23.5 million below the revenue expected from the current MER.”

The Belize Coast Guard has called off the search for four of five fishermen missing for more than three weeks now. On Monday, December 9—the same day that their relatives reported them missing—the body of one of the five men, Thomas Levi Young, 58, of Lucky Strike, Belize District, was found floating in the sea about 1 mile off the shores of Colson Cay in the Stann Creek District, in the area where they reportedly went to fish. Young, who had evidently suffered a brutal murder, was in an advanced state of decomposition. He had several chop wounds and a post-mortem revealed that he had been shot to death. Young had gone to sea with Derwind Gentle, 26; Elgin “ Ricey” Graham, 24; Sergio Flores, 34; and Kenrick Devin Chi, 26. The men departed the city aboard a 25-foot skiff, Natasha, at about 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 4, to fish in the Colson Cay area. They were to have returned on Saturday, December 7 – but never did. Their families reported them missing the following Monday, December 9.

The first three babies born at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for the year 2014 are all girls! Jasmine Martinez, 20, of Scotland Half Moon Village, Belize District, delivered the first girl at 6:20 a.m. She weighed in at 6lbs 7oz. She was followed shortly after by Christina Montejo, 16, of Belize City, who brought her 6lb pink bundle into the world at 10:00 a.m. Finally, Judith Middleton, 22, of Belize City, gave birth at 9:39 p.m. to her 7lb 10oz daughter. “The births of these babies reflect the positivity of life… and hope for the New Year,” said KHMH CEO Dr. Francis Longsworth, at a short ceremony honoring the new mothers this morning. All told, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital saw a total of 1,789 births for the past year 2013. From January to November, 813 of those were via C-Section and 798 as normal deliveries. The number of births for December alone was 178.

Belizean national, Joseph Budna, remains behind bars in Guatemala, with more charges to which he will have to answer in March 2014. Amandala has been informed that in December 2013, Budna was to appear in court on charges of kidnapping against Kevin Pacheco and kidnapping and abduction against Herson Abimael Palma; but those cases have been deferred. Our sources say that the trial on the Pacheco case was postponed to March 2014, after Budna demanded to have an English-to-Spanish translator, because he is not a native Spanish-speaker. He also protested that three of the judges hearing his case be removed. The case against Budna for a shootout with Guatemalan security officers has reportedly been dismissed; but he still remains on a 25-year conviction, handed down in August 2012 for the kidnapping of a US teenager, Luis Byron Reyes Onofre. (That case, we understand, is on appeal.)

The Reporter

Mayor says street works will continue in 2014
Belize City Mayor Darrel Bradley announced that the infrastructural work in Belize will continue into the next year with the entire length of Vernon Street and Youth for the Future Drive. The works are to be completed by mid-February 2014, Bradley explained. He said that by December, the Belize City Council had reached their goal of concreting 100 streets for the year 2013 and that they are currently finishing streets such as Baghdad Street, Park Avenue, Madam Liz Avenue, and Alexander Street. Bradley also stated that through funding from the Ministry of Finance the Belize City Council would be able to do the area of Princess Margaret Drive in front of St. John’s College, and the area in front of the Marion Jones Stadium. Bradley also addressed the concerns of residents who say that a portion of Baymen Avenue has noticeably been left undone for an extended period of time now. He explained that the reason there has been delay in this area is because the Flood Mitigation Project is going to build a canal under that street. He said that the Flood Mitigation Project, which is being done through the Ministry of Works, is responsible for the delay in finishing Baymen Avenue and Cinderella Plaza because they are awaiting a design from a German company.

Brown Bombers win SMART Mundialito championship
The Brown Bombers triumphed 1-0 over the defending champions, Hattieville United Youth Sporting Club, in the championship finals of 2013 SMART Mundialito Football Tournament at the MCC grounds in Belize City on Sunday, December 22. Sherwin Requeña and Jovan Ramos had led the Brown Bombers offensive supported […]

Guardian Bombers lead men’s softball finals 2-0
The Guardian Bombers are one win away from clinching the 2013 championship . They are leading 2-0 in the finals of the Belize City Men’s Softball Competition which continued at Roger’s Stadium on Wednesday and Friday nights, December 4-6. The Bombers won 19-12 over the Oceana Strikers […] Jarret Davis

Verdes lead Belikin Cup football
Verdes FC of Benque Viejo del Carmen now leads the Belikin Cup Football Tournament with 17 pts from five victories and two draws, after they blasted FC Belize 4-1 in the 11th week of competition organized by the Premier League of Belize at the Marshalleck Stadium in […]

Belize can do more to fight human trafficking – UN Special Rapporteur
Belize’s repressive immigration policy compounds the phenomenon of human trafficking, and undermines efforts at combating and preventing trafficking in persons and helping the victims, United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on human trafficking, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo told reporters at a press conference at the Radisson Fort George […]

NO Sea cucumber fishing license – protecting a possible cancer cure
Sea cucumbers are not exactly daily fare on most Belizean’s diet, but they are prized as a delicacy and for reputed medicinal properties in many parts of Asia and China, fetching a premium price of up to US$150 per pound for the dried product on international […]

Healthy New Year’s resolutions
New Year’s resolutions are a bit like babies: They’re fun to make but extremely difficult to maintain. Each January, roughly one in three persons resolve to better themselves in some way. A much smaller percentage of people actually make good on those resolutions. While about 75% of people stick to […]

Eating nuts during pregnancy may curb allergies
Children are less likely to have a nut allergy if their mother ate nuts while pregnant, a study has concluded. The work, published in JAMA Pediatrics, looked at the health and diets of more than 8,000 children and their mothers. The US researchers believe that early exposure in the womb […]

Mayor says street works will continue in 2014
Belize City Mayor Darrel Bradley announced that the infrastructural work in Belize will continue into the next year with the entire length of Vernon Street and Youth for the Future Drive. The works are to be completed by mid-February 2014, Bradley explained. He said […]

PM promises to reconstitute PAC
In his New Year’s address, the Prime Minister stated that as part of the government’s Reform Agenda, they would be reconstituting the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). As it is now, the PAC is comprised of four government members and two Opposition members, of which, […]

Delta Airlines’s new service: a direct flight from LA to Belize
The reception committee from the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and other concern parties were in place when Delta Flight #N3F8NW landed at the PGIA on Saturday, December 21, around 7:30 a.m. with its 150 passengers, on its inaugural, no-stop red-eye flight from Los Angeles. […]

Xmas accident kills four
Four young people died tragically in a traffic accident near mile eight on the Philip Goldson highway around four o’clock in the afternoon on Christmas Day. Hector Daniel Gongora, a 22-year-old student; Shakir Shamir Monima, 23; Henry Gabourel Reyes, 20; and Dulce Yanira Cobb,17, all […]

Tablets in the classroom: Promise and pitfalls
By Bevil M. Wooding “Imagine a future where our children are more motivated because they are immersed in the same technology that is increasingly surrounding them in life.” The education sector globally has traditionally been slow to adopt new technology. A wave of affordable, mobile computing devices, particularly tablets, is […]

CARICOM on schedule with five-year strategic plan
CARICOM is on schedule for the completion of its 2014-2018 strategic plan in early January, said CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque this week. LaRocque, in his end of year message, described the plan as one of the key milestones of CARICOM’s work, saying that the […]

Belize has seen significant blessings since the end of the year 2013. There has been a noticeable pick-up in economic activity, and apart from the recent troubles brought about by untimely demands by cane farmers, the sugar industry has made substantial progress under the leadership of American Sugar Refiners, the […]

Gang hit claims life of Belize City man
The violent gang warfare that appears to have receded suddenly flared up on Sunday, when a 28-year-old working man was gunned down in gangland style in the city, as he rode his bicycle. Belize City Police reported that they visited the KHMH around 7:30 on […]

BSI-BSCFA negotiations drag on
There seems to be no end insight for the negotiations between cane farmers and Belize Sugar Industries Limited, as farmers continue to agree to start the 2013-2014 crop without BSI put their agreement to negotiate a price for bagasse in writing. The company’s Chief Executive Officer Joey Montalvo wrote the […]

Townsend’s body recovered!
Clifford Brian Townsend, 64, who went missing on Christmas Day, was found dead and positively identified onThursday, two days later. Townsend’s son, Cory, who travelled to Belize soon after his father’s disappearance was reported, crossed into neighbouring Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala, to identify his father’s remains. While a post mortem […]

Son shoots father in the head
Hensley Jones, 53, a businessman of Ranchito Village, Corozal, hangs onto life in the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after he was shot three times in the head, allegedly by his son. The incident happened at around 10:30 on New Year’s night at his home, where it is reported that his […]

GOB to pay CXC fees
The Government of Belize will pay the fees for high school students to sit the Caribbean Secondary Education exam, commonly called CXC exams, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced in his New Year’s message. Barrow stated that government would pay the examination fees for up to a maximum of six CXC […]

CEO’s land procedures under microscope
The Lands Department has issued a statement regarding a lease cancellation and the subsequent granting of the lease to relatives of the former CEO of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Beverly Castillo. In the January 2 press release from the Commissioner of Lands, the […]

GG rejects PUP’s petition of Penner’s recall – not enough valid signatures
The People’s United Party is in the process of discussing their next move, after the Governor General, Sir Colville Young, Sr., rejected several of the signatures on their petition for the recall of incumbent, area representative,Elvin Penner in Cayo North East. Late last year, the PUP’s Cayo Northeast standard bearer, […]


San Ignacio Resort Hotel Renovations
The San Ignacio Resort Hotel, as you might have noticed, has been making some big renovations. New Year's Renovations, if you will. They're in the process of posting the pictures. The look on the inside is great, and the new look on the outside will be definitely be different. It looks like the final result will be beautiful. In related news, the Green Iguana Conservation Project has a like page: "Yes we are under construction! However our service and accommodations are still the BEST in the west. All of these images were taken 1/2/2014"

Kim Simplis Barrow Named Woman of the Year
Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, the Special Envoy for Women and Children, was named 'Woman of the Year' by Complexd Magazine. Congratulations, Mrs. Simplis Barrow, for a well deserved award! The picture is from the 2014 Inspiration Calendar and Agenda launch. "Starting the New Year with some great news! Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow is named Complexd Magazine's Woman of the Year 2013!"

International Sources

Ten Ways Air Travel Will Change in 2014
A few years of airline mega-mergers and consolidation (including the recent American and US Airways merger) have vastly changed the industry landscape. There’s some good news in all this for fliers, as airlines turn their attention to modernizing their fleets and adding more inflight amenities. But fewer airlines could put more consumers at the mercy of just a couple of behemoth airlines. So what’s in store for airline travelers in 2014? Here are ten ways flying will change in 2014: Security improves as TSA’s PreCheck takes off, Air travel taxes head higher, Inflight Wi-Fi becomes ubiquitous, The seat squeeze gets worse, Airlines battle for bicoastal business fliers, Transatlantic budget airlines make a comeback, We finally get do-it-yourself bag tags, We pay more fees, Inflight phone calls are coming, whether we like it or not, Private jets get more affordable.

Cuba's classic cars set to disappear with rule change on new vehicle imports
President Raúl Castro's council of ministers abolishes tight controls that forced most people to refit cars made before 1959. One of Cuba's most distinctive anachronisms – roads full of classic cars from the 1950s – looks set to fade into history following the most sweeping relaxation of vehicle imports since the revolution. For most of the past half century, Havana's traffic has been jammed with Pontiacs, Studebakers, Oldsmobiles, Chevrolets and Soviet imports as a result of tight domestic controls and US sanctions that made it difficult to buy parts and fuel. Only officials, doctors and others with government connections or proof of foreign exchange income were allowed to purchase new imported cars. Everyone else had to make do with buying, selling and refitting cars made before Fidel Castro took power in 1959. But in the latest of a series of economic reforms, the council of ministers headed by his brother – the current president, Raúl Castro – on Friday abolished the need for permission and opened up the car market to all citizens. The Communist party's official newspaper, Granma, said the new regulations "eliminate existing mechanisms of approval for the purchase of motor vehicles from the state". The measure was partly designed to overcome public frustration at the old regulations, which gave an unfair economic advantage to those who could buy cars and sell them on the black market, often at four or five times the original price. Granma said the previous system created "resentment, dissatisfaction and, in not a few cases, led to speculation and enrichment".

Canadian missionary reportedly chopped up by machete-wielding thugs in Belize
Brian Townsend’s body was found in Guatemala, just over the border from his adopted homeland of Belize. The missionary from Edmonton had spent nearly a decade working in the Valley of Peace. A Canadian missionary's body was discovered in Guatemala, reportedly covered in chop wounds from a machete. Brian Townsend's son identified his father after seeing photographs of the remains. The son had traveled to Central America from Canada on Dec. 28 hoping to find his dad alive. "This has been such an insane trip for me. You go searching for results and sometimes you dig farther than you want to dig," Kory Townsend told CTV. Brian Townsend had been working as a Christian missionary in Belize for the past nine years, building schools and friendships with people in the Valley of Peace. He was first reported missing on Christmas Day. The 64-year-old had hired a chef to cook a Christmas dinner and when she arrived, Brian's truck was missing and his house had been ransacked. The chef spotted a trail of blood outside the home and alerted the authorities. Back in Edmonton, his family members started to worry. The Townsends created a Facebook page "Brian Townsend Missing Belize" and tried to raise money so that son Kory Townsend could travel to Belize to search for his dad.

10 Best Caribbean shore excursions in the water
As you daydream about a Caribbean cruise vacation, there is likely clear-blue sea in the picture. Perhaps you see yourself sitting on a white-sand beach, frozen drink in hand watching the waves. But there are other ways to experience water on fun — and sometimes thrilling — shore excursions. Check out these water-based Caribbean excursions. Belize Put on a headlight for a cave tubing experience, as you follow your guide on a fascinating float through an underground limestone cave system, sacred to the Mayans. Views include stalactites and stalagmites that spectacularly emerge in the darkness.

What The Ancient Maya Can Teach Us About Living Well
In the modern world -- when technological advances and information overload have left many of us with a desire to get back to basics -- the need for ancient wisdom may be more important than ever before. Ancient health and healing secrets are making something of a resurgence, and for good reason. The ancient Greeks asked the big questions about what it means to live a good life, and some of their theories on ethics and happiness have been backed by modern science. Thousands of years ago, Indian sages developed a system for stilling the thoughts that's now practiced across America. The early Maya civilizations, too, developed healing systems that have influenced holistic healthcare to this day. The Maya civilization thrived for six centuries through areas that are now Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, and Chiapas are in Mexico, as well as parts of Belize, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala before collapsing mysteriously around 900 AD. The Mesoamerican civilization -- advanced in its art, architecture and mathematics -- may not have survived, but many of their secrets to good health, healing and living well are still alive to this day.

UN General Assembly: Tourism can foster sustainable development in Central America
Sustainable tourism is an ally of poverty eradication in Central America and the three dimensions of sustainable development - social, economic and environmental - as reflected in the UN resolution on "Sustainable tourism and sustainable development in Central America". The 193-member UN General Assembly adopted the resolution unanimously during its 68th session. This represents an important step towards mainstreaming sustainable tourism in the international development agenda and the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (New York, USA, 22 December 2013). Emphasizing that sustainable tourism in Central America is a cross-cutting activity with close linkages to other sectors and thus generating trade opportunities, the UN General Assembly recognizes tourism as a fundamental pillar of regional integration and an engine of social and economic development, income, investment and hard currency in the region. The resolution further “encourages giving appropriate consideration to the issue of sustainable tourism in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda", which will follow the deadline of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Visit the unspoiled frontier of Belize
On the shores of the Caribbean Sea and nestled between Mexico and Guatemala, English speaking Belize marries spectacular waters, dramatic rain forests and a culturally rich heritage with a collection of barefoot beach retreats, luxurious yachts and hip jungle hideaways, making it one of the most unique, exciting and beautiful places to visit on the planet. Absolute Belize has crafted a gourmet tailor made voyage that takes you through the pristine azul Caribbean waters on a luxury yacht, into the lush rainforests of the Toledo district, your destination being an 'agro-eco-chic' retreat perched high in the verdant jungle canopy. The journey begins on your own private luxury 50ft catamaran, with just your skipper to raise the sails and your private chef to cook the catch. Sail to the most exclusive and untouched private islands that dot the barrier reef. Swim, snorkel, kayak, fish, spot dolphins or simply relax – you pick the tempo.

January 3, 2014


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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

Blackhenoh- Diamond in the Rough
Blackhenoh is a Jamaican born singer/ songwriter residing in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye. The artist has put out a total of six (6) albums since he began actively pursuing his career in reggae music in early 2006. While Jamaica is known as being the Mecca for reggae music, Blackhenoh states that he loves Belize, and would love to be recognized among the various local artists that are pioneering the upcoming reggae market in Belize. Music has been known to have the power to bring across messages and Blackhenoh states that his music promotes sustaining and promoting unity as one people. Blackhenoh’s latest album “Island Buay Emancipation,” features twelve (12) songs and his personal favorite “I know you don’t care,” is a tribute to the iconic Jamaican reggae artist Buju Bonton. You can check out Blackhenoh’s music at : . The album is also available for purchase at Friki Tiki Gift Store (San Pedro Town), or from him directly.

Einstein Bodden beats the odd of disabilities and obtains Medical 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” and they ensured that he did not miss out on any physical activities at school.

San Pedro ushers in 2014 with a bang!
A large crowd also gathered at the San Pedro Lions Den for the annual Lions New Year Dance. A tradition for many local families, partiers shared well wishes and the first few hours of the New Year along with friends. Many danced until 8AM on January 1st with the music of Super Furia from Orange Walk Town. The Lions Club also conducted their annual New Year’s raffle and the winners are as follows: Refrigerator (Castillo’s Hardware Store) – SEAduced by Belize Round Trip Ticket to Belize (Tropic Air) – Ali Morgie Round trip ticket to Belize City (Caye Caulker Water Taxi) – Hector Salazar Round trip ticket to Belize City (San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi) – Linden Mora Round Trip Ticket to Belize (Tropic Air) – Estevan Morales $100 gift certificate (Wings) – Pam Morrill Round trip ticket to Caye Caulker (Caye Caulker Water Taxi) – Anika Gongora $100 Gift Certificate (Caprice Restaurant) – Luis Nuñez One night Stay for two (The Palms) – Mata Chica Round Trip Ticket to Belize (Maya Island Air) – Roman Kay $100 gift certificate (Wings) – Rudolph Dominguez Intro to Diving Package (Belize Diving Adventures) – Norma Graniel Lunch for two (Hurricane Restaurant) – Roman Kay Toaster Oven (Lion Peter) – Ernie Runway Bar and Grill $100 Gift Certificate (Blue Water Grill) – Nesher Acosta Panini Sandwich Maker ( Harmouch Hardware) – Emma Varella Tupperware (Nai Nels) – Alexis Guerrero $20 gift certificate (A & R) – Isaac Cabb $20 gift certificate (A & R) – Charles Worthington 20 Gift Certificate (A & R) – Shelly Del Valle *Winners can collect their gift on Friday at the Lions Den during bingo.

Ambergris Today

First Lady of Belize named Complexd Woman of 2013
On New Years Eve The First Lady of Belize Mrs. Kim Barrow was named joint Complexd Woman of the year alongside Pediatric Surgeon Dorothy Kufeji FRCS (Eng), FRCS (Paed). Two inspiring women capable of instigating major change coming together through Complexd Woman magazine to discuss Mrs. Barrow’s efforts to raise funds for The Belize Children’s Trust made it the most memorable moment in 2013. Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Mrs. Barrow were first featured in the Island issue of Complexd Woman magazine in 2011. Mrs. Barrow’s courage, determination to battle cancer and continue to raise awareness about the disease led to her gracing the cover of the Women of Strength issue in 2012. In June 2013 Mrs. Barrow visited the UK alongside her husband Prime Minister Dean Barrow to host The Belize Children’s Trust Charity Gala. The mission was to raise money to develop and construct a children's intensive care facility at the national referral hospital in Belize.

San Pedro Celebrates the New Year by the Thousands
Ambergris Caye, Belize was in full celebration mode during New Year’s Eve with residents, visiting friends and tourists flocking by the thousands to various venues that offered entertainment and party favors for even more reason to cheer in 2014. The San Pedro Town Council once again lined up entertaining performances at Central Park once again this year and an amazing fireworks display that got everybody in the celebratory mood. Central Park was teeming with thousands of people, but everywhere you turned there were people having their own great time. Other happening places in town during the New Year’s Eve celebrations were Lola’s Pub, Fido’s, Señor Marlins, Caprice/Holiday Hotel, Carlos and Ernie’s Runway Bar, Jaguar’s Temple Night Club, Daddy Rock and The San Pedro Lions Den.

Misc Belizean Sources

CLICK HERE for The Placencia Breeze, January 2014
A recap of Holiday Season events on the Peninsula and more!

2013 Rainfall Statistics, Green Hills, Cayo District
The past year was extremely wet as everyone would complain....or was it? My Green Hills data don't show anything out of the ordinary. Yes, wetter than average, but nothing dramatic. Temporal distribution of the rainfall rather than actual rainfall quantity was probably the reason for all our troubles.

Belikin Fest Glow Party
The New Year's Eve Belikin Fest at The New piccadilly Lounge and Bar in Benque was a wild time. New VYBZ Sounds and Deejay David welcomed the new year in style. Happy New Year!

Fruit Bun
This recipe is by special request from one my viewers who lives in Ireland. I used the 1 loaf recipe for Belizean Creole Buns and added fruits and powdered sugar glazed.

Channel 7

Woman Shot 7 Times By Relative; Survives
On New Year's Eve, we reported that there had been 99 murders for 2013 - that's bad enough and it almost went up to 100 before the New Year came in. That's because 19 year old Tajah Staine was shot up by a man she claims is her own cousin. She was shot 7 times at close range, yet somehow she survived. She's in critical condition tonight, but her mother told me about the terrifying shooting which she witnessed. Here's the story: Monica Bodden reporting Across the street from her home, that's where 19 year old Tajah Staine fell to the ground as the trigger man stood over her and then opened fire at least 6 more times. The young woman was shot a total of 7 times - to the chest area, left shoulder and left leg. It happened on Gladden Street off La Croix Boulevard on New Year's Eve night. Her mother Jermaine Thompson stood at her window the entire time looking on, unaware that it was her daughter. Jermaine Thompson - Mother of Shooting Victim "I had sent my daughter to buy soap powder to wash up the dishes while I was in the kitchen cooking. She went and came back because she had forgotten what she was supposed to buy because she was on the phone. She came back to ask me and then she went. A little bit after, I heard the bursting of dynamite because the kids were outside bursting dynamite. I didn't pay it any mind, but then it sounded so close, I peep through my window and saw a young man known to me as "bigga" shooting someone in my yard. I said oh my God, who do him something? Who did he have problems with not knowing that it was my daughter down there."

Man Shot 3 Times In Head By Son; Survives
And if that cousin on cousin shooting wasn't bad enough - in Corozal on New Year's Day, a son shot his own father. And didn't just shoot him once. He shot him three times! In the head! Tonight, the amazing part of the story is that 53 year old Hensley "Nick"Jones survived and is in stable condition. The father and son, 30 year old Hensleigh Ryan Jones live alone together in Ranchito Village just outside of Corozal Town, and at 10:30 on New Year's night police got a call that there had been a loud argument at the house followed by a shooting. When the police mobile arrived at the area, the father ran to the vehicle with blood running down his head. They rushed him to the Corozal Community Hospital where a total of 3 bullet holes were found in his head, (2) on the left side and (1) to the back of his head. Police say that the two were in the kitchen when the son shot him in his head for no apparent reason.

Brian Townsend Is Confirmed Dead
A half hour ago, 7News confirmed with Benque Viejo Police and with Kory Townsend that the body buried in Melchor, Guatemala is indeed the missing Canadian, Brian Townsend. On the family Facebook page they released a statement which say's quote, "With grieving hearts we inform you that the body found in Guatemala is Brian Townsend." End Quote. It is the worst news that Townsend's Belizean and Canadian families can receive, and now that the uncertainty is over, they begin their grieving process. 7News was in Benque Viejo and Valley of Peace, and Daniel Ortiz reports: Daniel Ortiz reporting Ever since word from Guatemala arrived that there is an unidentified body in that country that could be Brian Townsend, his family has switched gears from being hopeful, to a desire for closure. Kory Townsend - Son of Brian Townsend "Hope has been kind of all we've been have up to this point. Hope is not something that we have anymore. Closure is what we are pursuing at this point. It's been a wild couple of days; I've been emotional very much so in the last couple of days. My father would have wanted me to pursue this and finished it out, complete the task. I am doing that for not only myself but my entire family back home. The final confirmation is kind of what we are waiting for not only for closure for the entire family but to make this official and to make it - moving to the next level with death certificates and funeral homes. We need to have final confirmation, so that's what we are waiting for."

New Year, New Rates
New electricity rates went into effect yesterday. The final decision from the Public Utilities Commission confirms a decrease of a little over 8%, which works out to 4 cents per kilowatt hour less that you'll be paying on the average rate. Of course, what is known as the tariff basket has different rates for different classes of users, form the social rate, which is 24 cents to 45 cents for residential users in the middle range, while commercial and industrial users pay more and government pays the most at 51 cents for streetlights. The 8% decrease is about half of the 17% increase introduced exactly one year ago.

Audrey Says Land Forfeiture Was Invalid
On Monday, we showed you Audrey Matura Shepherd's passionate condemnation of former Natural Resources CEO turned UDP Aspirant Beverly Castillo. Matura- Shepherd alleged that before she resigned her post, Castillo used her high office to disenfranchise her client, Bernadette Pickwood. Matura Shepherd claims that Castillo cancelled Pickwood's lease for a parcel of land in Belama and then transferred that land to her own son and mother. On Tuesday Lands Commissioner Wilbert Vallejos disputed Matura's characterizations and the timeframe she put forward. And today, in a demonstration of how important the image of Beverly Castillo is to the Government, an official 2 page, eight point statement was sent out explaining the transaction, and, again, defending Castillo's integrity. It opens by calling Matura Shepherd's interview "misinformation" and then goes unto say that the lease issued in 1993, for 30 years was violated because land rental was never paid and the property was not developed in the timeframe required. A cancellation notice went out in October - which the Pickwoods say they never got - and it was forfeited on November first. 5 days later, on November 6th, Minister Gaspar Vega approved the new lease for Maud Williams and Marvin Castillo Jr.

BNTU President: Teachers Entitled To Raise
In his New Year's message, the Prime Minister confirmed that there will be a raise for Teachers and public officers - specifically, 50 cents out of every additional dollar of recurrent revenue - though there's no telling right now how much that will work out to be. The PM says it will be "substantial." And today the Teachers' Union President Luke Palacio issued a release saying that sounds just right to them. It says, "this salary adjustment; is one that we have already worked tirelessly for. It is also one which would close the economic gap; created by the contraction of our spending power, brought on as a consequence of inflation and the high cost of living. Our salary adjustment, once obtained, would benefit all." Developing on the theme of entitlement, it adds, "We must be respected and paid our fair share from our nation's coffers." The final figure for the increase likely will not be known until mid - 2014, but it would be paid retroactive to the beginning of the fiscal year in April 2014.

We Heal The People With Music
There are so many programs to increase the peace in the community. Activitist Perry "Stix" Smith has his Days of Healing, Restore Belize has their many programs, and so does the Police Department. And maybe in 2013, it's the crystallization of all those efforts which drove the number of murders in Belize City SO DRAMATICALLY. No one knows for sure, but what we do know is that every little bit counts. That's what musician Naphty is doing, adding in his share. He has started a very interesting program and over the Christmas Holidays, Daniel Ortiz visited with them to see it in action. Here's his report: Daniel Ortiz reporting It looks like a band of well-trained musicians at a band practice preparing for a show, but actually, these are ordinary citizens, who have an interest in learning the art of drumming. More importantly, majority of them are people who want a positive outlet of recreation. That need, plus the availability of patient musicians spawned a movement called "Drums Not Guns". It's intent to give young people an opportunity to express themselves through music, rather than violence.

Woman Accused Of Weird Home Invasion
33 year-old Jennifer Tillett, a resident of Jane Usher Boulevard, is out on bail tonight for breaking into another woman's house Farima Gordon, a resident of Faber's Road, told police that she was in her bedroom at around 2 o'clock this morning when she was awakened by sounds inside her house. She went looking around and she found Tillett in her dining room with a cloth wrapped around her head. She immediately called police who arrested and charged her with burglary. She was arraigned today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, where she pleaded not guilty the charge, saying quote, "I was in a paranoid state, and I went into the wrong house." End quote. Magistrate Cayetano granted her bail of $3,000, which she was able to meet; she must return to court on March 4, 2014.

Firsts’ Babies Are All Girls
Every new baby is special, but the first baby of the New Year, has a special symbolism. And that's because he or she was born at the right time, right when everyone is turning a new leaf. The first baby is also a mini media sensation - he or she gets as many cameras as the Prime Minister during a scandal, and the best part is he or she has no clue what the fuss is all about. This year, the first three babies are all girls! And the first, Alice was born at 6:20 am to 20 year old mother from Scotland Half Moon Jasmine Martinez. I visited her today:.. Monica Bodden reporting After 3 hours of labour pain, Jasmine Martinez gave birth to her beautiful 6 pound baby girl Alice Lodge. The infant was born at approximately 6am on New Year's Day. Jasmine Martinez, mother of first-born for 2014 "I am really happy because its New Year's and it's a gift and that is a blessing. I have to thank God for that and I am excited about it." Monica Bodden "Were you guys expecting baby Alice on New Year's Day or was that a surprise?"

Man Accused Of New Years’ Eve Robbery
22 year-old Keron Pinto, a resident of Benbow Street, is at prison tonight for allegedly robbing a man at gunpoint. According to Jayford Cacho, a photographer of Raccoon Street, just before midnight on New Year's Eve, he was on West Collet Canal, and when he rode past 3 men on his bicycle, one of them shouted for him. He said that Pinto, who he recognized, was one of the men who was there, and when he stopped to see what they wanted, Pinto begged him for a dollar. When he said that he had no money, Pinto allegedly pulled out a gun and pointed it in his face. Pinto then handed the gun to one of the other men, searched his pocket and stole his iPod Touch. All three men then rode off on bicycle escaping with his device. Police arrested and charged Pinto and he was arraigned before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, who was forced to remand because the crime was allegedly committed with the use of a firearm.

Well Known Personalities Gets Queen’s Honours
The Queen's New Year's Honours list was announced yesterday and some well-known names in the media are making it into the esteemed ranks of the old empire. Receiving OBE honours are FCD's Rafael Manzanero, who is well known for his tireless work on protecting the Chiquibul. Also on the OBE list is DR. Adrian Coye, Belize's first cardio - thoracic surgeon and the medical chief of staff at the KHMH. And getting MBE honours this year is Rodney Neal, the chairman of the security services commission. The Date for the presentation of awards will be announced later.

Belizeans Keep KREM Classic Championship
And finishing up all the New Year's News - we take you to the finish line of the KREM New Year's Classic Cycling Race. Byron Pope crossed the line first, in an unexpected win, for the rider who looked shaky coming out of Ladyville. And he was tailing two Mexicans as they entered the city, but he saw at break as they entered the city at the flag monument roundabout and seized on it:... Byron Pope, winner - Benny's Megabytes "I was in the right position and when the two Mexicans entered the curve, they kind of took it too hard and they went a little bit out, so I hit the inside and when I did that I say this is the time now to move and I attacked on the climb to the bridge and I got the gap and I just manage to hold out." Carlos Lopez, Benny's Megabytes "What I have found is that the Belizean riders knowing that he is a top rider in excellent physical condition tend to want to ride behind him and to leave him to lead the race and do all the hard work, but he is willing to take on the challenge knowing that at the end they will be there to challenge him."

Channel 5

19 year old woman shot by cousin in murder attempt on New Year’s Eve
A seventeen-year- old of the Lake Independence Area of Belize City is tonight in police custody after being accused of carrying out a hit on his nineteen-year-old female cousin. Sometime [...]

Ranchito resident shot multiple times by his son on New Year’s Day
Fifty-three year old Hensley Jones, a Belizean businessman of Ranchito Village in Corozal, is tonight recovering from gunshot wounds inflicted by his son on New Year’s Day.  It is alleged [...]

Land dispute continues despite court order
Controversy surrounding the issuance of a piece of prime land in the Belama area persists, despite an injunction from the Supreme Court on Monday to halt construction on the property.  [...]

Body of missing Canadian identified
Eight days after being reported missing, the body of Canadian national Brian Townsend has been formally identified by Belizean authorities. Townsend is believed to have been attacked on his compound [...]

Careful investigation ongoing on rape case in the West
News Five has been following the investigation into a rape which occurred in the early hours of Boxing Day. A teenager alleges that she was held down by two persons [...]

Man remanded for robbery
A Belize City youth has been remanded to the Belize Central Prison for robbing a man at gunpoint. Twenty-two-year-old Keron Pinto appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano this morning, where he [...]

Woman suffers paranoia and trespasses into another’s home
A woman, who is accused of burglarizing the home of Farima Gordon, claims that it was a state of paranoia that caused her to enter the Faber’s Road home and [...]

P.U.P. looking at closely at details of rejected signatures
As we announced on New Year’s Eve, the petition to recall disgraced former Minister of State Elvin Penner has been rejected. That disappointing news is still being analyzed by the [...]

Byron Pope, winner of the annual New Year’s Day Cycling Classic
The annual cycling race on the first of January, to commence the New Year, was held on Wednesday, as thousands of spectators lined the highway from Corozal to Belize City [...]

3 bouncing baby girls born on New Year’s Day in Belize City
With a new year comes new life and this morning at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital there was a celebration of new births to the Jewel. The first three babies [...]

Kim Simplis Barrow is named Woman of the Year by U.K. Magazine
Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis-Barrow, wife of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, has been named Woman of the Year 2013 by Complexd Woman.  The UK publication chose Simplis-Barrow, [...]

Meet 3 outstanding Belizean men
A trio of outstanding Belizean men, in various areas of service to the country, has been appointed to the Order of the British Empire.  They are: Rafael Manzanero, Dr. Adrian [...]

Healthy Living looks at New Year’s resolutions
New Year’s resolutions are often promises made after a long year of striving to walk the straight and narrow.  For some, determination and consistency make the oath achievable, while others [...]


2014 Holidays
For 2014, Belizeans will see a whopping 13 Holidays scheduled for the Calendar Year, announced the Ministry of National Security today. And while one of them has passed, being January 1st, the next holiday is scheduled for Monday March 10th to observe National Heroes and benefactors Day (in lieu of Sunday, March 9th); Good Friday will be April 18th followed by Holy Saturday and Easter on April 19 and 21st, respectively. Labor Day will be observed on Thursday May 1st, while Commonwealth Day will be observed on Monday in lieu of Saturday May 24th. Wednesday September 10th will be observed as St George’s Caye Day whilst Monday September 22nd will be observed as Independence Day; this is in lieu of Sunday September 20th. Monday October 13th will be observed as Pan American Day, Wednesday November 19th is Garifuna Settlement Day and Thursday and Friday will be observed as Christmas and Boxing Day respectively. The Christmas break will be the longest standing holiday weekend in the 2014 Calendar Year.

Seventy Cyclist Ride Towards The Big Win
This year seventy cyclists hit the road in the annual Krem Radio New Year’s Day Cycling Classic. This marks the 24th running of the Cycling Classic. Male female and junior cyclists broke away from the starting point from northern Belize towards Belize City, among them some ten to fifteen foreigners who joined the race this year. Fitzgerald Joseph, committee member of the Cycling Association gave a summary of the winning slate. Fitzgerald Joseph- Cycling Association “One full 24th running of the Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic, beautiful race, we had over 70 participants including about 10 to 15 foreigners, the race slowed mostly together, they had a few breaks that won most of the, they had four one thousand dollar prices; the first one at San Roman and that was son by Joel Boland, Team Telemedia; the second one by Shell, Johnny Briceno donated that one in Orange Walk Town was son by S’ and Spend of Western Spirits; the third was by Maskal cutoff by Byron and the other one at Ladyville, Kubuli at mile 9.5 was also won by Byron who eventually ended winning the race so; Byron was first, second was his team mate Carlos Lopez, he is 2009 cycling Champion as well; third was Telemedia, Jovanny Lovell, fourth was Manuel, Mexican out of Yucatan, Carlos Lopez also a Mexican as well, and fifth place was Herman Hijo Requena of Team Smart.”

Where Is All The Rain Coming From?
There are many who believe that how you spend the first day of the New Year is how you will pass the rest of 2014. So does this mean that Belizeans will experience and increase in inclement weather throughout the year since it rained cats and dogs on New Year’s Day? Well we can’t answer that question but what we can tell you is that while we all know that the Belize rainy season extends from June to November, this year the country has experienced a prolonged rainy season. This is rather odd since we should be experiencing cold fronts instead of rain. So what is causing the sporadic rainy weather and when will we see an improvement? Those are the questions we posed to the on duty Forecaster, Michael Gentle at the National Met Service today. Here is what is he said is contributing to the unstable weather patterns. “The main factor is the current cold front moving down towards Yucatan Peninsula and stalled in just north of the country and this has been happening for part of November and into December. The cold front installed and we have a north easterly over us and we get a lot of rainfall recently so that is the main factor that has been producing the rains. We also have when the front stalled over the area and winds go back around to the east just about the surface begin warmer air over running the cool air of the surface and this aids the development and showers of rain and it is all linked to the stationary front moving down, the general idea is that the colder months for us January and February we expect that we should be getting stronger cold front that would cross the country and this would imply that we get cooler and drier air and less rain fall but from the projections we have right now the cold fronts would seem to do the same at the Yucatan Peninsula and stall and then we get about couple days of rain and then they move back out so it would later during the month of January to February and we get these intense frontal passage that usher in drier and cooler air.”

Meet Corozal's First Born Baby For 2014
Yesterday while many party revelers were celebrating the start of 2014, a couple from the Corozal District celebrated the New Year by welcoming with open arms a new addition to their family. Baby Zeidy Salas was born yesterday at 11:00am at the Corozal Community Hospital and with that became the town’s first New Year’s baby. Reporter Victor Castillo visited the happy couple today and filed the following report. Victor Castillo – Reporting Around 11:00am on January 1st, 2014, the first cries of a baby girl could have been heard in the hall way of the Corozal Community Hospital announcing the arrival of the first baby to be born on New Year’s Day. Today when we visited the hospital the smiles of 20 year old Elsie Salas and 20 year old Alfred Salas were priceless as both became parents for the first time. Elsie Salas- Mother “Es algo inesperable pero bien.” Victor Castillo – Reporter “Esperabas a tu nene que naciera el primero de enero?”

Not Giving Money To Purchase Alcohol Gains Man A Stab Wound
A resident of San Andres Village is listed in critical condition tonight after he sustained a stab wound to the abdomen on Tuesday December 31st around 2:30 in the afternoon. Fifty two year old Pedro Valerio Tun and another individual only identified as a male person of dark complexion were socializing near a meat pie shop on 5th Avenue and 2nd street North of Corozal Town when the male person asked Tun for money to purchase more alcohol. Apparently Tun refused and as a consequence, the unidentified person stabbed him on the lower abdomen. Tun was transported to the Northern Regional Hospital for treatment and police investigations continue.

More Than A Month Has Passed And Still No Crop
The negotiations between the Belize Sugar Industries Limited and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association on revenue sharing for bagasse are still looming. Several meetings and press releases later, today there is the possibility that some progress is in the horizon. As we told you on Tuesday night’s newscast, late Tuesday evening BSI issued a letter to the BSCFA in response to the Association's letter issued on December 24th, 2013. That letter was a response from farmers on BSI's letter in which it had listed six points in their intention to consider a payment for bagasse and to finalize a new cane purchase agreement. Farmers basically rejected three of the points and modified the remaining which was forwarded to BSSI/ASR and the Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Barrow. This morning, BSCFA officials met to discuss BSI's letter. Vice Chair of the Committee of Management Alfredo Ortega says that BSI stated it will begin negotiations for payment on Baggasse but the Association needs a clearer answer on the matter.

Man Hospitalized After He Is Shot Three Times By His Son
Tonight, a well known businessman of Corozal Town is lucky to be alive after he was shot, not one, but three times on the head. It’s a rather unique case because the alleged shooter is said to be the victim’s son. But what led to the violence in the Jones’ home? That is a question that still remains unanswered as the victim, 53 year old Hensley Jones, a resident of Ranchito Village in the Corozal District, has been unable to provide a statement to police as he is currently hospitalized at the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital under stable condition. Our Corozal based Reporter, Victor Castillo, has been following the story and filed the following report. Victor Castillo – Reporting The peaceful community of Ranchito Village in the Corozal District was shattered around 10:00pm last night as a gun shot rang out, breaking the silence of the night and leaving residents concerned. Corozal police were immediately called to the residence of 53 year old Hensley Jones also known as Nick Jones, who is the proprietor of Nick’s Waste Management. As police arrived in the area Jones approached the police mobile. This is when police noticed that he was bleeding from the head and was immediately rushed to the Corozal Community Hospital via ambulance. While Jones was receiving medical attention doctors discovered not one but three bullet holes on his head; two shots on the left side and one to the back. And while authorities are investigating a motive, Jones remains hospitalized at the KHMH in a critical condition.


Electricity Rates Decreases
While consumers’ light bills went down on New Year’s Day, there are a few amendments that the Public Utilities Commission made to keep things balanced between consumer and supplier. Last week Love News reported that the reduction will be roughly eight percent, there will be some minor changes. Engineer in the Electricity Sector of the Public Utilities Commission, Derrick Davis, says that there were only a few categories where people will pay a penny more per kilowatt hour, and today, January second, the Commission released its final decision on energy tariffs. DERRICK DAVIS “The initial decision, as you remember was done late last year but now the Commission has released that schedule which is final. With this final schedule, the same concept applies; the Commission had decided on a four cent reduction in tariffs, approximately 8% reduction and that same concept applies. However the problem with tariffs is that it is not an exact science to forecast how much energy will be sold in the new year and therefore what the average rate would be depending on the individual rates which we use. So, basically BEL had some concerns saying that, ‘you are giving the 4 cents and the 8% but we do not believe that if you use those initial values that we will achieve the average rate’. So, the Commission listened to what they said and asked us to use the latest forecast from BEL and come up with new figures, if necessary. So, we came up with a few new figures in the residential tariff category, the first bracket was, in the initial decision it was 35 cents now it’s 36 cents; in the commercial one bracket it’s the same thing from 35 to 36 for the first bracket only per kilowatt and for the commercial two bracket, the last bracket which is over 20,000 kilowatt hours it was moved from 44 to 43 cents. Now with those changes it is anticipated that the average tariff will be achieved.”

Police News: Shooting, Stabbing and Burglary
An hour before New Years Day, Tajah Staine was shot multiple times, including on the chest, left shoulder and left leg. Preliminary police report says that Staine was in the area of Gladden Street just off La Croix Boulevard when she was shot by an unknown assailant. Staine was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in a stable condition. Police say that are seeking one suspect as investigations continue. Corozal Police are also investigating a stabbing incident. It happened on December 31st, at about 2:30pm on 5th Avenue on Corozal Town. Police say that upon visiting the area, they observed fifty two year old Pedro Valerio Tun, bleeding profusely suffering from a stab wood inflicted on him on the left lower abdominal area. Police say that on that afternoon, Tun, who is originally from San Andres Village, was socializing along with another man behind a bar at the corner of 5th Avenue and 2nd Street North where the person asked him for money to buy more rum. Tun refused and not liking Tun’s response, the man stabbed him once on the left lower abdomen. Tun was transported to the Northern Regional Hospital in a critical condition. Police are looking for a suspect.

1,789 Belize City Births for 2013
The first three babies born at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for the year 2014 are all girls. Twenty year old Jasmine Martinez from Scotland Half Moon Village in the Belize District, delivered the first girl at 6:20 a.m. weighing in at six pounds-seven ounces. Martinez was followed shortly after by sixteen year old Christina Montejo, of Belize City, who brought her six pounds pink bundle into to the world at 10:00 a.m. Finally, twenty two year old Judith Middleton, of Belize City, gave birth at 9:39 p.m. to her seven pounds-ten ounces daughter. Chief Executive Officer at the KHMH says that the birth of these babies reflects the positivity of life… and hope for the New Year. The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital saw a total of 1,789 births for the past year 2013. From January to November, 813 of those were via C-Section and 798 as normal deliveries. The number of births for December alone was 178.

British Empire Appoints New Honorees
The Office of the Governor General has announced that Her Majesty the Queen has been graciously pleased to make the following appointments to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The Order of the British Empire will be bestowed to Rafael Manzanero, for his contribution to Environmental Protection and Dr. Adrian Coye for his contribution to medicine in Belize. Also, Rodney Harold Neal has been recognized to be an Ordinary Member of the Civil Division of the Said Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his contribution to Public Service. The Date for the presentation of awards will be announced on a later day.

Official Public and Bank Holidays Published for 2014
Twenty two dates have been set to be holidays for 2014. The first holiday for 2014 was New Year’s Day which was observed on a Wednesday. Following that, Heroes and Benefactors day will be observed on Monday, March 10, this will be in lieu of the date, March 9. The Easter will fall on a long weekend, from Friday April 8 to 21 which will fall on the following Monday. Saint George’s Caye Day will fall on September 10, a Wednesday while Independence Day will fall on a Sunday with a holiday on Monday, September 22. At the end of the year, Christmas Day will fall on a Thursday following by Boxing Day on the Friday. All in all, the year will consist of five long weekends.

Son Allegedly Shoots Father on New Year’s Day
Corozal police are investigating the shooting of a man on New Year’s night in which his son is alleged to have been the shooter. The incident happened in Ranchito Villageat about 10:30 on Wednesday night at the residence of 53 Hensley Jones, also known as Nick Jones. When police arrived they discovered Jones with three bullet holes in the head and blood running down his face. Police later discovered that Jones was at home when his son approached him and shot him in the head for no apparent reason. The son then made good his escape in a brown Isuzu rodeo SUV towards Corozal Town. Police say that no expended shells were recovered at the scene. Jones’ son was later arrested and is in police custody. Police have recovered a .38 revolver special Smith and Wesson brand pistol with five live .38 rounds. Nick Jones now lies in a critical condition at the K.H.M.H.

Woman Awakes to Find Another Woman in Her Dining Room
33-year-old, Jennifer Tillett, an unemployed of Jane Usher Boulevard in Belize City was charged with burglary when she appeared today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. Tillett wanted to plead guilty to the charge but Magistrate Cayetano entered a plea of not guilty when she said that she was paranoid and she went into the wrong house. She was offered a bail of three thousand dollars and her case was adjourned until March 4. The incident occurred around 2:10 a.m. today. The complainant, 22 year old Farima Gordon, reported to the police that she was at her home on Faber’s Road asleep when she was awakened by a noise at her front door. She said when she got up and checked she saw a woman standing by her dinner table. She said she called the police and Tillett was arrested and charged.

Kim Simplis-Barrow is Complexd Woman of the Year
Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis Barrow, has been named the Complexd-Woman of the year. Barrow shares the title with Pediatric Surgeon Dorothy Kufeji. These two women are described as inspiring and capable of instigating major change who came together to carry out Barrow’s initiative to hold the Belize Children Trust Gala as a form of a fundraiser to develop and construct a children’s intensive care facility in Belize. Complexd-Woman is an online magazine operating from the United Kingdom. Editor and Chief of the Magazine, Kered Clement, appeared in a Grenadian TV show-Chit Chat, where she spoke about the Complexd-Magazine. KERED CLEMENT “So there was that yearning to see diversity in publications and just also represent the women of today who travels much more, who is much more curious about other cultures and countries. I mean, the solo-female traveler amazes me; just that people pack their bags travel somewhere and just go to learn and infiltrate themselves into a community and that’s the type of woman I feature, that’s the Complexd Woman. There is a lot to learn from that type of woman because a lot of the things she sees and experiences, the stories are amazing. There is so much that you can learn from these women which is why it’s not focused on celebrity; it’s not that I wouldn’t feature a celebrity on the cover but they have to be exceptional but it’s the fact that moving away from celebrity culture, there are women who go through things in life that other women may not have gone through yet or may eventually go through and there’s something to learn from them because of their honesty and she is very vocal about it as well, about the things she has learned. So interviewing her was amazing and hearing her story; speaking to her and interviewing her even after what she has gone through and how she changed, that’s the kind of story that I feature in Complexd Women.”

Firearm In the Face For A Dollar
Twenty-two year old Keron Pinto, a resident of Benbow Street, became an inmate of Belize Central Prison today when he appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano and was charged with robbery. Pinto pled not guilty to the charge. He was denied bail and was remanded into custody because the offence was committed with a firearm. His next court date is March 10. The incident occurred around 11:55 p.m. on December 31, 2013. The complainant, 20 year old Jason Cacho, reported to the police that he was riding his bicycle on West Collet Canal Street, heading towards Cemetery Road, when he encountered three men standing in front of an apartment building. He said one of the men, Pinto, whom he has known for 6 years, stopped him and asked him for one dollar. Cacho said he told Pinto he has no money but Pinto insisted on getting something and Pinto pulled a firearm from the waist of his pants and pointed it in his face. He said Pinto then handed the pistol to one of the men and one of them punched him repeatedly in his face. Cacho told police that the men then stole his touch screen Apple I- pod, valued at two thousand five hundred dollars. On January 1, police detained Pinto and reported that they recovered the I-pod from Pinto’s residence.


God’s Good Plan for You
Our verse for this week is taken from….. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” -And that’s the news. From all of us here at

Missionary Brian Townsend’s Body Found in Guatemala
When we ended our newscast on Tuesday evening, local authorities were headed to the far west of the country, where a body was found floating in the Mopan River, close to the Melchor area of the watercourse. By that time though, the decomposed remains, which were found by Guatemalan

Kim Simplis Barrow Featured as Woman of Strength In ComplexdWoman Magazine
On New Years Eve the First Lady of Belize Mrs. Kim Barrow was named joint ComplexdWoman of the year alongside Pediatric Surgeon Dorothy Kufeji FRCS (Eng), FRCS (Paed). Two inspiring women capable of instigating major change coming together through ComplexdWoman magazine to discuss Mrs. Barrow’s efforts to raise funds

First Babies of the Year 2014 Receive Tradition Packages
It’s a new year, and as is tradition at the nation’s largest public hospital, there is a celebration of new life. The first baby born on New Year’s Day at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City today received a gift package from Santiago Castillo Group of Companies.

Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Celebrates Hundreds of New Lives
While gathered at the hospital’s pediatric ward to celebrate new life, thoughts inevitably turned to the thirteen babies who died in a three-week period in May at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The culprit was an outbreak of the bacteria enterobacter cloacae, which is officially blamed for eight

Is the BNTU at the Crossroads of Salary Adjustments?
The Belize National Teacher’s Union this morning released its President’s address, where it highlighted the asked for salary adjustment for teachers and public officers, affirming “Teechaz gat yuh bak!” It is a part of a Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiated by the BNTU alongside the Public Service Union and the

Where did New Year’s Eve Turned Bloody
A New Year’s eve turned bloody after a man was refused money to buy more rum. According to police investigations, on Tuesday December 31st, 52 year old Pedro Valerio Tun, of San Andres Village, Corozal District, was socializing with a dark skin man behind Chueko’s Bar, located on the

Corozal Man Shot Three Times Fighting for his Life
A Corozal man is tonight fighting for his life, after he was shot three times to the head, while Police are questioning the alleged shooter, his son. The incident occurred on New Year’s Day, at about 10:30 at night. Investigation has revealed that 53 year old businessman, Hensley Jones

Grief Hits Family of Another Shooting Victim
The grief and anger of relatives of shooting victims, some of whom are murdered, is a regular feature of this newscast. Most times the incident is done outside of the public eye. But in this case, the shooter knew his target, and executed with ugly precision. 19 year old...


The beauty of Roaring Creek and Sir Colville Young’s story
It has been raining off and on and I decided the weather was perfect day for sorting and posting more Roaring Creek pictures as promised in From Camping to Couture, the YWAM Roaring Creek Belize Experience. As I went through my stock, I got thinking about when Governor General of Belize Sir Colville Young took the podium. He greeted us with kinds words and a warm friendly smile. Then he proceeded to tell an old Buddhist parable about long silver chopsticks, and Heaven and Hell that went something like this…. An old man wanted know what Heaven and Hell were like so he went to see the wise man in his village and asked to be shown. The wise man took him to a large banquet hall, inside was filled with large tables piled high with delicious food. Around the tables sat miserable, starving people, each one with a pair of extremely long silver chopsticks. The two watches on as The hungry people tried to feed themselves, but due to the length of the chopsticks, they could not reach their mouths and all the food kept falling to the floor causing their miserable moods. The old man now knew understood What hell was like. The wise man led him towards Heaven and again the old man found himself in a large banquet hall with tables piled high with the same delicious food he had seen in Hell. Around the big tables sat people with the same long silver chopsticks but instead of being hungry miserable, they were happy and laughing. The man immediately understood the clear difference between Heaven and Hell. The people in heaven were giving each other helping hand, with their too long chopsticks. By feeding the person across the table from them, everyone was well fed and enjoyed their meal in harmony. The moral of the story is a simple one, and a good message to consider for the start of a new year. Heaven and Hell can be seen here and now and are direct the results of our interactions with the world and specifically, with those around us. A person can find ‘Hell’ anywhere there is unrest such as selfishness, hunger, crimes, war. Where there is a spirit of generosity, happiness and peace, that can be called Heaven.

Don’t Miss the Lamanai Mayan Site: Orange Walk’s #1 Attraction
A few weeks ago, I visited the town of Orange Walk in Northern Belize for 3 nights. I ate the tacos, attempted a visit to the local rum factory, got a good feel for the town but there is one main reason that tourists overnight in the OW (although I think it has lots more to offer)…Lamanai. One of the most spectacular ruins in Belize and as I described in a post earlier in the year, a beautiful river tour, a visit with monkeys and lots more. The trip from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye is a longer day and a more expensive trip. You take a 6:30am boat to the mainland, then a bus to the New River and then you get on your river tour. You can read about that in the post above (or below), here is how you do it if you spend the night in Orange Walk. My tour van arrived at the Hotel De La Fuente in down town Orange Walk at 9am. The tours to Lamanai go out every day and cost about $50US. Just a few minutes outside of town, we pulled up to the McAfee residence. Yes THAT McAfee. John McAfee, the creator of the computer anti-virus company, who fled Belize (in a way that made him look totally CUCKOO) when wanted for questioning in last year’s murder of his neighbor. He owned a property on North Ambergris Caye and a supposed jungle compound in Orange Walk. One he allegedly used as a bath salt drug lab and harem for under aged Belizean women.

Who else supports GMO regulations for Belize?
As the debate for and against the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Belize continues, the Lodge at Chaa Creek’s Natural History Centre hailed some outcomes of a December 2013 conference on Agro-biotechnology and Bio-safety in the Belizean capitol of Belmopan as an important step in safeguarding the country’s green reputation and natural resources. One outcome of the meeting was consensus by both those in favour and against the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Belize that regulatory mechanisms must first firmly be in place before they are introduced, according to Belize’s The Guardian newspaper Brion Young, manager of the Natural History Centre, said that this was an important step, and that Belize’s reputation as a pristine environment, as well as the environment itself, could become compromised by the introduction of GMOs, especially in corn production, which some Belizean farmers are proposing.

Belize Government’s Further Development Plans create new market facilities
It’s been revealed that phase two of the Belize Rural Development Project has started, as the EU continues to work with those living in Belize to better conditions of everyday life. Two market groundbreaking ceremonies have been held as construction workers prepare to build the new facilities that will offer services and centers of commerce for those living in rural areas. This will help people expand their businesses, whilst also developing new rural jobs. Both of the ceremonies were attended by the Minister of Works & Transport, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the Minister of State and officials working for the Ministry of Rural Development and the Ministry of Works. In addition, area representatives for both sites, as well as town and village councilors, were in attendance. The first ceremony took place in Independence on December 16th. Here, the new market plan consists of two buildings, each being around 1,332sq foot in size. Four permanent stalls will be placed in each, allowing up to eight vendors to rent new places for their work to be sold. A parking lot will also be created which, in addition to easing traffic, can also be used for additional event space. On December 17th, the second groundbreaking ceremony took place in Benque Viejo del Carmen. Here, six permanent stalls will be built for long-term rent. In addition, four stalls with roofs, but with open sides, will be developed for daily or short-term rentals. The short-term stalls can be additionally divided into four spaces for maximum space on event and market days. If all goes according to plan, then both markets will be ready for operation in September 2014.

Belize: A Travel Photo Essay by DAVID WEBB
Belize is fast becoming one of adventure travel’s premier destinations — and after a week spent there, I can see why. Some of the world’s finest sea kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding combines with a snorkel mecca in a sunny, sandy, culturally rich paradise on the sea. In This Belize Photo Essay You Will Discover: Unique Kayaking Experiences Underwater Scenes Paradise Beach Huts And More! In December, I spent a week kayaking along Belize’s southern barrier reef with Island Expeditions. We explored the Southwater Cayes Marine Reserve, a near 50,000-hectare preserve replete with coral, fish, invertebrates, sandy beaches, mangroves and conch shells. And stingrays. Lots of stingrays. I was squirted with ink by a surly squid, got up-close with an octopus, snorkelled in a mangrove stand, sailed a kayak, paddled to a Smithsonian Marine Institute, paddleboarded offshore a desert island and ate lots of Marie Sharp’s hot sauce. Wanna see for yourself? Check out my Belize Travel Photo essay; a week in the Paradise Islands:

International Sources

Body in Guatemala identified as missing Edmonton missionary
Belize police are treating the death of an Edmonton missionary as a homicide after his body was positively identified in the Central American country of Guatemala. Brian Townsend, 64, had been missing since Christmas Day, when a cook arrived at his Belize apartment in the Valley of Peace and found evidence of a struggle inside and outside the suite. Reports from Channel 5 Belize say a body was found floating in the Mopan River by Guatemalan authorities two days after Townsend was reported missing. The decomposed body was not identified and was immediately buried. Authorities from Belize and Guatemala then began to work together to identify the body. Now that the body has been identified, police in the Benque Viejo area of Belize confirmed the case has been upgraded from a missing person file to a homicide. The confirmation of Townsend’s death was announced on his family’s Facebook page Thursday afternoon. “With grieving hearts we inform you that the body found in Guatemala is Brian Townsend,” wrote Ian Lund, an in-law of the Townsend family. “We want you to know how much it meant to us, the support and prayers we received from all of you. We have celebrated what Brian has been able to do in Belize and the difference he has made in the community of the Valley of Peace.”

Bugging Out to Belize: A Paradise for Preppers
Belize, better known as “Mother Nature’s Hidden Secret”, is fast becoming the ideal “bug out” location because of the many advantages that most survivalist and preppers deem as critical should a terrible disaster befall humanity. Belize is a small country on the Yucatan peninsula just south of Mexico. It’s known for its lush tropical jungle, friendly people, and scenic islands known as Cayes (pronounced “Key’s). Formerly known as British Honduras, this tiny little country of about 350,000 people is not well known to many. Over the past years, many Americans have relocated to this tropical paradise for retirement. However, in recent months, Craig McMahan of BZE Tours, a company that specializes in retirement and relocation tours in Belize, has been seeing a lot of interest from preppers.

Gay-rights community fights to advance cause in Latin America and Caribbean
Two years ago, a gay couple and their friend vacationing in St. Lucia were tied up, beaten, threatened with knives and guns, and told that they would be killed if they tried to escape. The men later freed themselves, climbed out a window and hiked down the mountain to a friend’s house. That incident was the worst case of anti-gay violence on record on the small Caribbean island, according to Kenita Placide, co-executive director of St. Lucia‘s United and Strong, which works on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Placide said she has received several threats “just because I am an advocate for LGBT rights.” Two men held her up on the steps of a local department store and threatened to kill her if she did not stop advocating for gay rights on television, she said. In the Caribbean, “the media have played a major role” in the international visibility of the struggle for gay rights in Jamaica, Belize and Trinidad and Tobago. But Placide said the scrutiny in those countries has overshadowed the worsening human-rights conditions in other Caribbean nations.

A Case for Compensation for Climate Change Destruction
Can the countries of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) take international legal action against the States that are warming the planet with devastating consequences not only for their survival, but in some cases even their existence? This question comes into sharp focus in the wake of the damaging effects of flooding and landslides in St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia and Dominica as 2013 came to an end. The Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, described the flooding and landslides as “unprecedented”. He gave a preliminary estimate of damage in his country alone to be in excess of US$60 million. People who live in the Caribbean know from their own experience that climate change is real. They know it from days and nights that are hotter than in the past; from more frequent and more intense hurricanes or freak years like the last one when there were none; from long periods of dry weather followed by unseasonable heavy rainfall and flooding; and from the recognisable erosion of coastal areas and reefs. Sceptics continue to deny that these phenomena are in any way related to climate change. But, increasingly, scientific evidence points to human-induced effects of climate change – something that the science-sceptics have not been able to disprove.

10. The Exquisite Corpse Project. From its premise, Ben Popik’s The Exquisite Corpse Project should never have worked out to be anything more than a simple writing exercise and unmitigated narrative disaster. With only a few short months until Popik planned to move to Belize he decided to make real on a dream that he always had, directing and producing a feature-length film. He decided to roundup all of his comedy writer friends, who had been growing apart over the years, for a special project. Each of them was challenged to write fifteen pages of a screenplay, after having read only the previous five pages of the script that the previous writer had provided. What we, the audience, are treated to is not just the finished project, which is just as crazy as you might expect it would be, but is ultimately a hilarious portrayal of all the drama and fun that can go into any creative project. Each segment of the film tells us more about the author, their individual interests, and how they interact as a group. Meanwhile, the documentary aspect of the film, featuring the different writers discussing their work, adapts to fit each writer’s personality and hilariously updates the film like a director’s commentary. The film is a triumph of the vision and editing that Popik and his team had for the project and ended up being, for me, one of the best films about filmmaking, creativity, and friendship that I have ever seen.

A colourful political year but tough one for Caribbean
In Belize, Prime Minister Dean Barrow sacked his junior minister of immigration, Elvin Penner based on the fact that he "did not discharge his responsibilities with either the due judgment and balance, or the scrupulous regard for appearances, which the Prime Minister demands for all his Ministers".

Desde su origen como especie, el ser humano ha experimentado fascinación por toda clase de belleza, de tal forma que hasta la persona más insensible gusta de rodearse de objetos hermosos. Esto ha propiciado que muchas de las especies y de los espacios con los que compartimos nuestro planeta, se vean amenazados por nuestra existencia, por nuestra codicia y, en algunos casos, incluso por nuestro buen gusto. La blancura del marfil, la delicadeza del coral, el salvaje atractivo de una piel de jaguar, el encanto de un cachorro de primate, el colorido de los peces tropicales, la magnificencia de una mesa de caoba o el esplendor de las plumas de un quetzal son algunos de los atributos que han condenado a sus portadores a una persecución sin tregua, que en muchos casos ha diezmado sus poblaciones hasta comprometerlas peligrosamente. Esto es lo que le sucede a los últimos guacamayos escarlatas (Ara macao) de Guatemala y Belize, donde acompañamos a un equipo de vigilancia al Parque Nacional Chiquibul. Allí, la presencia continua de personal del proyecto y las patrullas realizadas en algunas de las zonas con alta densidad de nidos durante los últimos dos años, han conseguido que el porcentaje de pollos que logran volar sin ser capturados por los traficantes aumente considerablemente.

Civilian Photography, Now Rising to New Level
Review: The Phantom 2 Vision Photo Drone From DJI. Five years ago, the DJI Phantom 2 Vision would have seemed like a science fiction film prop or a piece of surveillance hardware flown only by the sexiest of superspies. But it is the first camera-carrying drone you may want to own — and you could do that without spending thousands of dollars. This drone is an intelligent, remote-controlled air vehicle that can fly far out of direct line of sight of its operator. It can record great video and photo stills from a thousand feet in the air over whatever “target” you can imagine. If it loses the connection to its remote control, it can even use GPS to fly automatically back to its launching point and land by itself. It is just like what you see on the news, only smaller, with about 20 to 25 minutes of flying time and less aggressive missions.

January 2, 2014


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

Hello 2014!! Happy New Year to our readers!
The year 2013 has left us in the capable hands of 2014. The Editor and Staff of The San Pedro Sun have (literally) scribbled their thoughts on 2013 and wishes for the new year.

San Pedro rings in the New Year island style!
A wonderful way to bring in the New Year was watching the fireworks over the Caribbean Sea from the shore of Ambergris Caye. Enjoyed this with Tamara, Jem, Nana, Tara and Trey!

Misc Belizean Sources

Fabulous photography of Belize (especially Caye Caulker) by Fran Dwight - Happy New Year to all!
Below are different links to different online galleries from the last few years of photos from Belize. The first link is to Tony and Mel's little wedding party last year. You can order prints from the first and last gallery, if any of them catch your fancy. And I think you can download ( "right-click" "save-as" works) images from the other galleries as well (but not order prints). Some will be familiar to many, maybe there are some surprises here, too. Please feel free to forward the links around to those who might enjoy. Fran

Extensive Trip Review of Ambergris Caye
First of all, I’d like to thank all of the people who have posted up on the San Pedro forum. We were very prepared and had lots of “local” knowledge before we even stepped into the city. I’ll try and give you our experience and hit on the major topics and questions that come up here on TA very often. My family consists of me, my wife, and two sons (16 and 21). Our primary focus was to SCUBA dive. Accommodations: We stayed at the Holiday Hotel right in the center of town. The HH was very clean, quaint, and functional. Our room was right on the beach. It had 3 beds, one queen and two twins, and a pull out futon. The air conditioning was ice cold and the showers had more hot water than we could ever use. Housekeeping was super functional and did a great. The cost all said and done was $2400 US for 12 days and 11 nights. I know there are cheaper places in San Pedro. But there is a Golden Rule in travel that never gets broken: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!!! ALWAYS!!!!!!! The key to the HH is the location, you are in walking distance of almost everything on the island that is touristy. We were able to get to all of the major attractions north and south in less than a 20 minute walk. I’d give this a huge plus. We dove with a family that was staying at one of the swanky places north of the bridge and they liked the resort but hated the constant travel back and forth into town.

“My favorite 2013 experiences”: Lets get crocking for Hope with ACES, or my first flight to the rescue.
I know blog updates have not been forthcoming. I have been too incredibly busy, chronically, to the point of exhausted. But I shall try again, I promise. When I started to think about my favorite 2013 experiences I realized there are so many to still be mentioned, like the Tamandua with skull fracture cared for amazingly by Ella Baron, or the field visit for the Peregrine Fund, and the spay and neutre clinics, especially the one on Tobacco Caye, and not to forget the amazing people I have gotten to work with this year. Definitely there are too many stories for one blog. And there is too little time in my life to write. I and BWRC will attempt to produce a biannual Newsletter in 2014 to not forget the many amazing critter stories. So to keep it short highlighting the best of 2013 and some of BWRC’s amazing partners one at a time here another crazy wild animal rescue assistance we were able to provide. It starts as usual...

NEW YEAR'S EVE 2013 (45 photos)
Central Park was swarmed with spectators to bid the year 2013 farewell and to welcome the new year 2014! The San Pedro Town Council held its annual countdown in front of the town clock where the timer was set at exactly one minute away to guide us in counting down the last few seconds left to the new year! Before the clock hit 12, the crowd was treated to performances by the San Pedro High School's band the New Generation as well as a reunion from the the San Pedro High School Band from 1997. Following their performance was Blackhenoh featuring Dale Wallace and music from Skynet Soundz. Mr. Clive Welsh from the Lighthouse Christian Radio graced us with a prayer to welcome the new year. Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism & Culture welcomed everyone to the event and wished every one the best for the upcoming year.

San Pedro Mayor's New Year's Message 2014
20 second video

Counting down 2014 live from Lola's Pub
Downtown San Pedro always comes alive on New Years Eve. This video is the official countdown from Lola's Pub street party as a Giant Coconut Drink "dropped" from Belize Bank.

2014 Holidays - Happy New Year!
Public and Bank Holidays 2014

Byron Pope wins Krem New Year’s Day race
The 24th annual Krem Cycling race was staged on the Phillip Goldson Highway today January 1, 2014. In the Female section of the race, Shalini Zabaneh successfully defended her championship finishing the race in solo fashion. In the Junior male category, Tarique Flowers is the 2014 champion. In the elite section, Byron Pope won the New Year’s Day race in a time of 3 hours 48 minutes and 11 seconds. Coming in second was Carlos Lopez, while Giovanni Lovell rounded off the top three finishers. The race started this morning at 9 o’clock in Corozal and riders rode the entire length of the Phillip Goldson Highway finishing at the intersection of Mahogany Street and Central American Boulevard in Belize City. That is a total of 97 miles. The Krem Cycling race is the second biggest event on the Cycling calendar in Belize.

Channel 5

News 5 - Year In Review 2013
54 minute video


Celebrating NYE downtown San Pedro Style
Some years it is a case of the older we get the more it changes how we celebrate :) We started out planning to go to the big NYE party at Lola’s and do town, as the day got closer, decided for something more low key like the party down south at Lone Star or dinner at Black Orchid Restaurant. By the time tacoboy got home from work at 7:30 and I could tell that even though he was still willing to get cleaned up and go out on a date, he was feeling tired and over socialized from work. I was still working and messaging back and forth with Matt about how their plans for the night were shaping up after their dinner at Caprice. Part of me wanted to go meet them in town for the party but decided on a quiet night at home watching tv. It was totally what I needed and I was asleep by 10:00pm or so not long after tacoboy :) The rapid machine gun fire of neighborhood firecrackers woke me up just in time to catch the fireworks display in town, we get a partial view from our house. As I stood there watching the colorful fireworks, I thought even though I was missing a good party and most of our friends were there, I was glad I opted out of the party this year.

New Year’s Eve 2013 – 2014 in San Pedro: Belize Style
Clearly New Year’s Eve is a massive party around the world. And San Pedro, Belize is a party town. There is something going on pretty much every night of the year. So on New Year’s Eve, things need to be turned up just a bit. They need to be cranked to eleven if you know what I mean. You really didn’t have to go far to find the next party. They walked passed the Lions’ Den (the party that really doesn’t get going until the wee hours of the morning)… Lola’s Pub (THE place to watch sports in San Pedro) was the expat party hub. They had a full block party set up. I’d been there earlier in the day…

“All Night Long (All Night)” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
This has got to be the busiest week of the year for the restaurants, bars and hotels and being in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye to see in and celebrate the beginning of a new year is the primary reason for the high level of bookings and increased level of tourism spending. Oh, and by many of those that live here too! So, although It’s not my usual type of ‘gig’ I thought that some of you might like to see some photos of how New Year’s Eve was celebrated and Rose and I chose Lola’s Pub in Barrier Reef Drive for this. We went to the inaugural block party for last New Year’s Eve and it was good, really good but this year Steve Jacobson, owner of Lola’s Pub, surpassed it. And by some. We arrived around 21.15 hours and the area in front of the bar was already busy and the street was throbbing with the sounds of The Cover-Ups who were playing in front of the Belize Bank.

International Sources

A Mexican Coachella gives new meaning to 'roots rock'
Mexican rock bands sing in Tzotzil, Zoque and other disappearing languages of native pueblos, part of an effort to save the ancient tongues. Valeriano Gomez was standing on a festival stage cradling his black guitar as fans spread out before him, waiting for the count-off, the downstroke, the next electric blast. Gomez and his group wore matching woolen ponchos, dyed jet black, that made them look like some far-out garage band from the late LBJ era, the flavor of a long-gone week at the Whisky a Go Go. But the scene took on a different tone when Gomez, 28, began to sing: Mi xa na', bu likemtal la tsunubale Albun mi x-vul ta ajol … Gomez's group, Yibel Jme'tik Banamil, was among the featured performers at Mexico's polyglot version of Coachella, a festival of rock not en español. The language was Tzotzil, a tongue spoken by Gomez and about 300,000 other indigenous Maya in the central highlands of Chiapas, one of Mexico's poorest states.

Brian Townsend Missing: Body In Guatemala May Be That Of Edmonton Missionary
The Edmonton family of a Canadian man missing in Belize since Christmas fear the worst may now be reality. Brian Townsend, who was working as a missionary in the Central American country, went missing on Christmas Day and a body fitting his description has been found in Guatemala, according to a Facebook page set up to help with the man's search. "It is with sad and heavy hearts that we report the developments of yesterday," states a post on the page. "The body fits the description of Brian. We are awaiting final confirmation of the identity of the body. We ask for you to pray for the family and to pray that these countries will work together in harmony so we can confirm who this person was." Channel 5 Belize recently reported the body was likely Townsend, a Canadian missionary who had been living in the small town of Valley of Peace since 2001, and probably met with foul play.

The ups and downs of 2013 shark conservation policy, and a forecast for the new year
It’s been another exciting year in shark and ray conservation policy! Once again, there’s a lot to herald, quite a bit to regret, and much work yet to be done. Here’s my take on the year’s high and low points as well as a preview of key opportunities in 2014. This post obviously reflects my perspective, and is therefore focused on science-based limits on shark and ray fishing and trade. While the work has sometimes been exhausting, and this review is quite long, the scope is by no means exhaustive. While a huge chunk of the year’s social media and press attention was focused on satisfaction over bans on shark fin soup and shark fin transport, as well as dismay over problems implementing bans on shark fins in several US states (met with differing opinions), there were also significant developments related to bans on the practice of shark finning (a different thing, ICYMI). Most notably, the shark fishing powers of the EU and India both mandated in 2013 that sharks be landed with fins naturally attached. Such a policy is widely regarded as by far the most reliable method for enforcing finning bans. The EU has also begun proposing stronger international finning bans with fins attached rules through the Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs), in most cases joining forces with the US, which has been urging such improvements for years. This represents a significant shift as the EU was responsible for weakening the first international finning ban (from what the US proposed by insisting on a high fin-to-carcass ratio) and not long ago was a vocal opponent to change. So far, all of the fins-attached proposals at RFMO meetings have been defeated, primarily due to opposition from Asian countries, but momentum for ending at-sea fin removal is growing. At the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) in November, a long-standing fins-attached proposal from the US, Belize, and Brazil gained seven new co-sponsors.

January 1, 2014


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

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

The San Pedro Sun

Sea Cucumber fishing license delayed issued for 2014
2014 fishing licenses for Sea Cucumbers (Holothuroidea) will not be issued on January as scheduled. In a press release sent out on December 27, 2013, the Belize Fisheries Department stated that no Sea Cucumber fishing or export license will be issued since the Sea Cucumber fishery will remain closed until further notice. This is due to the need to assess the ecosystem of Sea Cucumbers in Belize in order to determine if the industry is sustainable to Belize’s marine life. Sea Cucumber is a delicacy in both Asia and Central America, and buyers pay top dollar. The market for them is quickly growing, and the increasing demand for the product is causing overfishing in many countries. Asia alone consumes 95% of the world’s Sea Cucumber export.

United Nations rights expert urges Belize to “Protect the victims, punish the traffickers”
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, called on the Government of Belize to adopt a comprehensive protection and assistance program for victims of trafficking, and entrench a culture of zero tolerance for corruption and complicity of public officials with traffickers. “Belize should avoid repressive immigration policy that compounds the phenomenon of human trafficking and undermines efforts at combating and preventing trafficking in persons and providing holistic assistance to victims of trafficking,” Ms. Ezeilo said* at the end of her official visit to the country, the first ever by an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Right Council Belize is a country of destination, transit and, to a limited degree, also of origin, where trafficking disproportionately affects women who are mainly trafficked for sexual exploitation; particularly women from the neighboring countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Ambergris Today

Vote for Ambergris Caye for Best Island in Caribbean and USA TODAY Travel are asking its viewers to vote for the Best Caribbean Island and Ambergris Caye, Belize is on that list. So of course we ask our faithful readers and lovers of La Isla Bonita to vote and make Ambergris Caye #1. With contenders at St. Lucia, Tobago, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico, Grenada, Cozumel and Curacao we know that Ambergris Caye has something unique to offer and is one of the top destinations in the Caribbean. Heck we were named #1 Island in the World by readers and reviewers of Trip Advisor’s 2013 Viewers Choice Awards. Why not top another Best List! Please click on the link below and cast your vote for Ambergris Caye, Belize. You can vote once a day until January 6, 2014 at noon. Thank You!

Teen Talk: Keeping your New Year’s Resolution
It is that time again - to break into a New Year and everyone is ready for a change in themselves and doing so with New Year’s resolutions. But most of these resolutions, or attempts at it, usually last only two to three months after ringing in the New Year. So how do you keep your resolutions? For me, I don’t really have any resolutions because I don’t really see any point to it. If I would like to change something in myself I would do it no matter what is the time. But for those who challenge themselves with one at every turn of the New Year, well the answer is simple. All you have to do is keep pushing yourself to accomplish what you want. The problem comes when you start to get a little lazy and you are ready to give up, but don’t feel bad it’s not really your own fault it’s just human nature. So how is it possible to overcome this?

Where to Celebrate New Year in Belize?
The holiday season and Christmas spirit continues to a weeklong celebration touching down to New Year, a perfect time to celebrate and make amazing memories with family and close friends. So if by chance this New Year’s you happen to be in Belize, you just got lucky! This beautiful Caribbean destination in Central America is full of energy, zeal and smiles. Even though Belize has a very calming and relaxing image, and is definitely so at all times, except when its New Year, Belize is deeply engrossed in wild celebrations! The night life in Belize comes to surface and you see bars, restaurants, outdoor places, malls, celebrating the arrival of New Year in Belize. So where can you celebrate New Year in Belize that you remember for a life time?! Here are some exciting places to celebrate your New Years at: 1. Ambergris Caye Belize’s most popular caye, with natural beauty bursting from right, left and center, Ambergris Caye is alive on the New Year’s eve like no other evening in the year! And the celebrations run way into the following day, as people forgo their sleep so as to bring in the New Year with a bang. Around New Year, the Caye and other Cayes in Belize are packed with tourists and foreign visitor because of its beautiful beaches and wide assortment of outdoor activities.

Misc Belizean Sources

The Belize People’s Front New Year Message

Fireworks in Central Park, NYEve 2013

Waterfall Climbing Expedition, Belize

Feliz Ano Nuevo! Mensaje de ano nuevo del Primer Ministro.

Happy New Year, Belize! Listen to Prime Minister Dean Barrow's New Year's Message here.

Dec 22 - Dec 28, 2013 Fishing Report
We had a wonderful Christmas week here at El Pescador. Tons of great food and laughter made for a fun holiday with our guests and EP family. I had several calls to make sure Garth from Bozeman was all set for his fly fishing this week. His beautiful wife Cara, suggested they have a break in warm weather. Then she said it could also be a fishing vacation! Garth happens to be a busy surgeon, besides a passionate fly fisherman. What is important to my buddies in Bozeman is that he is their goaly for the hockey team. I’m thrilled Garth was able to land a permit, and hopefully tomorrow a tarpon! Tom, Carol and Kelsey – it was hard to say good bye! We really enjoyed you around here and look forward to when you can return. Thank you to all of our guests this week. It’s been great to see your fishing skills improve but most importantly, we all feel we have made new friends of El Pescador. Until next year! With a ton of fishing blessings from the fishing department!

Channel 7

PUP’s Penner Recall DOA at E&B: 75 Signatures Short!
In 2013, one of the biggest, most explosive names in news was former Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration Elvin Penner. He’s been accused of facilitating an international fugitive in getting a Belize passport, cast aside by his own party, and harshly condemned by the opposition, media and civil society.

Body Found at Bze-Guat Border, Could It Be Missing Canadian?
All day today, authorities in Belize have been trying to negotiate with their Guatemalan counterparts to have Canadian Kory Townsend go over to that country to see if he can positively identify a body strongly believed to be that of Brian Townsend.

Plan To Pave City Streets Getting Back On Track
Today is the final day for 2013, and the deadline that Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley gave to the public when he promised to cement 100 of the city’s 500+ streets. But, some of the street works are still unfinished, and today Bradley called a press conference to update residents on their progress.

Police Sweep Park For Public Safety
It’s New Year’s Eve and tonight at the memorial park city residents will be taking in the fireworks at LOVE FM’s New Year’s countdown.

Crime Downturn Was One Of The Biggest Stories In 2013
With all the political scandals that got hours of coverage in the headlines, 2013 was a big year in news. And while scandals from Mark King at the Casino to the Social Investment Fund to Penner's passport and Castro's visa recommendations dominated the headlines, one thing we reported much less on was crime, especially murders. And that, in itself, is one of the biggest stories of the year! The most recent crime statistics which take us up to December 17th show that murders dropped from 136 for the same period last year to 94 for this year. That's up to December 17th, but since then there have been five murders, bringing the unofficial total to 99 murders. If it stays that way, 2013 could be the first year since 2009 to record less than 100 murders. In 2009 there were 97 reported murders, and it's been on an upward trend since then. And last year, it peaked at 145 murders. Now, 99 or 100 murders are nothing to celebrate, not at all, but the drop is significant and would be the greatest single year downturn ever recorded. It would also bring Belize's murder rate per hundred thousand to just a shade under 30, specifically 29.91. That would also take Belize's murder rate out of the international top ten where it had been for some years. It also brings the murder rate under the civil war benchmark of 30.

BSI to Cane Farmers: “Let’s Talk”
The sugar industry standoff remains in effect - one month after the crop season was to have started. Yes, a lot of that is also due to weather, but it's also due to the fact that both sides still can't come to an agreement on bagasse. Today the cane farmers put a statement in the Amandala saying quote, "it is BSI who is causing the stalling of the commencement of the sugar cane crop by first delaying negotiations and now by refusing to unconditionally make a payment for bagasse." End quote. That statement is dated December 23rd, and a letter dated today from BSI to the cane farmers deals directly with the bagasse payment. The letter says, quote, "it is BSI/ASR's intent to negotiate and make payment for bagasse at a quantum to be determined through negotiations (if possible)." Whether that is the unconditional guatrnatee the farmers want is left to their interpretation.

Four Cruise Ships For New Year’s Day
3 cruise ships came sailing in on Christmas day in the morning, and tomorrow morning, on New Year’s Day, 4 cruise ships will make a call in Belize, and so while the rest of the country enjoys a holiday, the tour operators will “stay on it”.

PM Promises Sugar Plums And Free CXC’s For 2014
And that's the kind of lift that Prime Minister Dean Barrow is hoping for across all sectors in 2013. All in all, 2012, wasn't great for his party's political fortunes. Economic growth flatlined, and successive scandals rocked the government - the aftershocks of which can still be felt. But, 2013 is a new year, and to start it out on the right foot, the Prime Minister unveiled some seriously sweet sugar-plums. Here are the three main offerings of the new year's message:.. That message, as well as a quite grim voiceover from the leader of the opposition are airing in tonight's news.

Mayor Says City is Paying BWC As Best It Can
All this year, we’ve been reporting on the dispute between the Belize City Council and Belize Waste Control where the sanitation company got a court order to collect over a million dollars in arrears.

Mayor On Sanitation Contracts: Errors were Made
But, as we showed you, the city council, after the go-slow from BWC, decreased their debt to the company from 15 weeks to 9 weeks in arrears for garbage collection. As you’ve heard many times on this newscast, since Bradley became mayor, he’s lamented that the City cannot continue to pay both BWC and Belize Maintenance Limited for sanitation because payment to these contracts sap up 45% of their annual revenue.

New BTL Park Project Slowed By Rains
And in our last item from the Mayor, he also gave an update on the progress of BTL Park. City residents were expecting to use the renovated park for the City Council’s Christmas Concert, which would have also served as its reopening ceremony.

He Came, He Saw, He’s Gone
Last night, 7News introduced you to the Spanish Navigator, Alvaro de Marichalar, who is in Belize as part of his navigation to Panama in commemoration of the 5th Centennial anniversaries of the European discoveries by Spanish Explorers Vasco Nunez de Balboa and Juan Ponce de Leon. He's going for another long distance world record by traveling the route of these explorers using only his water scooter. He arrived in Belize on Sunday, and today he headed out to Honduras, after being delayed due to mechanical failures. Before his departure, he spoke to the media about his brief first trip to Belize: As a part of his expedition, he's trying to raise awareness for the organization, End Polio Now.

A Race Of Rivalries, Personalities and Prestige
The second biggest race on the cycling calendar will roll out tomorrow. It's the KREM New Year's Day Cycling Classic in its twenty fourth running. Today, Race Promoter Kwame Scott told us about the rivalries, the personalities and the prestige on this 90 mile ride.

Rider Hanson Critical But Prognosis Encouraging
One rider who had hoped to be on that podium is 22 year-old Belmopan cyclist Geon Hanson. He was knocked down by a bus on the Western Highway on Christmas Eve between miles 36 and 37. He has endured major surgery at the KHMH to save his life and deal with the extensive injuries he sustained in that accident. He remains in a critical condition at the KHMH, but his vital signs look promising. His family hopes that he will make a full recovery, and they thank the doctors and caregivers who have helped him to get to this point.

Vallejos Says Matura Shepherd Misrepresented
Last night, 7News told you about the Pickwood/Castillo land dispute which attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd said former CEO of the Natural Resources Ministry, Beverly Castillo, used her influence to take away a piece of land from Bernadette Pickwood and give it to her mother and son. Well, the Commissioner of Lands, Wilbert Vallejos, says that this is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. Vallejos told us by phone tonight that the major charges that Matura-Shepherd brought are misguided. First, Beverly Castillo, as the CEO, does not have the power to cancel a lease or grant any lease to applicants; that was in relation to the allegation from Matura-Shepherd made saying that Castillo personally gave the directive to cancel the lease and transfer it to her family. Next, he said that Lands Department stands by their information that Bernadette Pickwood owes rent to the Government, and therefore breached her lease conditions. Next, he claims that the notice of intent to cancel the lease was sent out on October 1, 2013, and there was not need to Gazette this nor the actual cancellation of the Lease, which happened on November 1, because of the nature of the lease that Bernadette Pickwood had.

The Streets Indifferent About New Year’s
Tomorrow is New Year's Day and though it falls in the middle of the week, the day holds promise and symbolism for all of us. Whether you're the type that makes bold resolutions or just privately hopes to do better - the idea of a fresh start, a clean page, appeals to the optimist in all of us. Today our colleague, the vox-pop king Geovanni Brackett took to the street to get a sampling of public opinion on the merits of new year's resolutions:..

2013, Looking Back
And, as we end the year on that up note, we close this new year's eve newscast as we have for the better part of two decades: with a musical look back at some of the images that made news in the year past. It is by no means comprehensive, after all we aired about 85 hours of edited content in 240 newscasts - which if you played them back end to end, they would last about 15 days. It's been our pleasure and honour to do that for you, and we hope to do more and better in 2014, but right now it's time to say goodbye to 2013, the good, the bad, the tragic, the inspiring, and the unforgettable. That piece was edited over long hours by James Ayala. And while that's only a 4 minute flashback - to get a fuller picture, tune in tomorrow morning at 7:00 am or tomorrow evening at 5:00 pm, to see our pick of the 113 stories that made news in 2013. News junkies can get an endless fix on that one tomorrow, but for now, Goodnight, and have a safe and enjoyable new year's, join Monica Bodden back here on Thursday for our first newscast of 2014.

Channel 5

Opposition gets bad news in its first attempt at a recall in Cayo Northeast
The People’s United Party has received some less than welcome news to bring in the New Year. The petition to recall former Minister of State Elvin Penner has been rejected [...]

Body is found in the Mopan River…is it Canadian Brian Townsend
Our last newscast of 2013 brings no good news to family and friends of Canadian national Brian Townsend, missing and believed murdered on Christmas Eve. Reports early this afternoon suggested [...]

Rape victim identifies two of three men, but no charges brought against them
In the early hours of the morning of Boxing Day, a teenager was raped in San Ignacio minutes after she exited the Princess Casino in that western town. The young [...]

Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association says B.S.I. is being duplicitous
For the first time in history, the year will end without the start of a sugar cane crop season. In fact, at this point there is still much uncertainty and [...]

Cane farmers desperate for resolution on bagasse issue
Now, eight days ago, the Belize Sugar Industries and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association came to the negotiating table for the first time since late September. As the fiery [...]

The impact of delayed start of sugar cane crop season
While BSCFA and B.S.I./ASR battle semantics, legalese and bagasse, the rains continue to pour down over the north of the country. Generally rain is a blessing where agriculture is concerned, [...]

B.S.I. responds to cane farmers in late evening release
Late this evening, News Five received a copy of a letter from B.S.I.’s Chief Executive Officer, Joey Montalvo, dispatched earlier today to BSCFA Committee of Management Chairman, Leonardo Cano on [...]

A taste of what Belizeans are committing to for 2014
New Year’s resolutions are annual vows taken after a sober look at one’s life over a twelve-month period.  The pledge often precedes an approaching calendar and is usually honored well [...]

Spanish Adventurer, Álvaro de Marichalar, departs Belize to Honduras
Spanish Adventurer, Álvaro de Marichalar, has left the jewel. He left Florida on the twelfth of December en route to Panama and is expected to complete the journey on January [...]

1 year later, second man charged for attempted murder of Ellis Meighan Jr and Malik Dixon
It took police over a year to make a second arrest in a shooting that occurred in Belize City back in October tenth, 2012 when two men attempted to kill [...]

Eldon Hendy charged with manslaughter for fatal traffic accident
A senior citizen, seventy-five year old Gregory Lopez, was hit and killed on December fourth, 2013 on the Phillip Goldson Highway between miles six and seven.  It has been twenty-seven [...]

Mayor Darrell Bradley gives an update on payments to Belize Waste Control
Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley hosted a press conference this morning during which he updated the media on three major projects that are being concluded for 2013.  Those initiatives include [...]

…..And addresses a major headache; the streets
The streets have been a major headache for the Belize City Mayor. Mayor Bradley says that the concretization of streets, which is part of the Municipal Development Project, have been [...]

A flashback at 2013 and a vision for 2014
2013 is just a few hours away from being recorded as another eventful year in the chronicles of Belizean history.  While we welcome a new year with the singing of [...]

The lucky winners of Western Union Treasure Chest Raffle
Today at the offices of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the lucky winners were chosen for the December 2013 Western Union Treasure Chest Raffle. The raffle is done [...]


Burning Of The Ano Viejo
Around the globe, countries have special or unusual New Year's customs. Some customs are shared; others vary from country to country. Some are amusing, such as the custom of throwing water on people; many are intended to bring good luck during the New Year ahead. Other such customs involve of eating 12 grapes as the clock chimes twelve midnight. Here in Belize especially in the northern part of the country the tradition also varies from eating of grapes to burning the old year man doll or ‘Juan Viejo’ which is a much anticipated event. Reporter Victor Castillo got in depth view of the tradition and filed the following report. Burning "Mr. Old Year" or Juan Viejo is a New Year's tradition for many within the four corners of Belize. As families reunite to welcome the New Year, part of the entertainment and highlight for many would be the burning of the male figurine. It requires the participation of the entire family. It is a lot of fun; they fabricate a big stuffed male doll that is symbolic of the old year. Then they stuff the doll with different materials. Sometimes they put some little fire crackers in it to make it more exciting at the time they burn it. And the main purpose of it is to also put things inside that they don't want anymore, objects that can bring sadness or bad memories of the year past.

What Is Your New Years Resolution
New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. From more patience to losing weight to starting to savings account, Reporter Dalila Ical found out what the New Year Resolutions of the people are. Here is that report. Mateo Arcurio “Siempre entre luchas hay buenos tiempos y malos tiempos. En la iglesia siempre seguimos en las cosas de Dios cantando, alabando en las misas, cumple años, quince años de todo.” Marleni Esquivel “Hasta a horita me ha traído muchas buenas cosas, bendiciones, este me ha traído un poquito más de sabiduría porque he tratado de cambiar mi vida un poco y otras cosas, amor a la familia pero acido un buen año para mi hasta ahorita.” Estamos a horas del ano Nuevo pero como estos amigos, muchos estan todavía recordándose de lo que trajo el 2013. And even the young have their favourite memories.

Chines Community In Corozal Up In Arms Over New Law
The Chinese Community in Corozal were in an uproar over the Christmas Day holiday as they claim they were cheated out on making sales on their alcoholic beverages stock specifically, beers. In a release sent to the Corozal Liquor Licensing Board, the Chinese community made their discontent known citing that on the 25th of December the liquor licensing board and the police department informed them that they can only open after 6 PM and sell alcoholic beverages. When 6:00pm arrived they opened their stores, only to find police forcing them to close down their businesses. They were told that this is a new law that was just being enforced on Christmas Day citing that all businesses should be closed all day, not only up until 6:00pm as before. The release went on to say that the night of the 25th was also the night of a Christmas Day Event being held by the company who imports Kubuli into Belize “RC Imports”. The event at the Civic Center was allowed to go on and RC Imports was allowed to sell their beers all night long while all the businesses in the whole entire town were forced to close down.

San Andres Resident Charged For Robbery
A Belizean mechanic of Corozal Town, Ramiro Pineda, reported to police that on Thursday December 26th at about 8:30pm while he was walking on an unnamed street in San Andres Village, he was approached by two male persons who were riding individual bicycles of which he recognized as one Fernando of San Andres Village. Pineda reported that Fernando robbed him of his touch screen cell phone valued at $350.00. Pineda says he managed to hold on to one of his attackers whilst he attempted to flee with the stolen item, a struggle ensued among them where Pineda’s assailant dropped the cell-phone causing the screen to break beyond repair. As a result, police arrested and charged 23 year old Fernando Olivares of San Andres Village, for the crimes of "Robbery" and "Damage to Property".

Immigration Officer Accused Of Extortion
An American- Belizean who visited his birth country Belize over the Christmas holidays is crying foul after he was allegedly extorted by an Immigration Officer at the Santa Elena Border. Aladino Flores claims that on Christmas Eve, he, along with his girlfriend of Guatemalan Nationality, took a taxi in Corozal and asked the driver to be taken to the Corozal Commercial Free Zone. Upon their arrival at the zone, Flores claims that they realized that they did not stop at the Corozal Border for a departure stamp on their passports. Upon returning to the border, the couple informed the immigration officer on duty of what happened earlier. While Flores was advised of the offence he had committed, he is alleging that the officer took advantage of the situation; here is what he told us via telephone this morning.


New Year’s Resolutions and Greetings
A new year is upon us. In a matter of hours, 2013 will be but a thing of the past and that means those new year resolutions are all set to put into practice. But if you’re still pondering on what changes you’d like to see this coming year,...

Krem’s New Year’s Classic to Run on Wednesday
The KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic on January 1 is the traditional start of the cycling season for the last 23 years. But this year’s race carries numerous wrinkles. There are a total of 70 riders, 11 of whom are from outside Belize. Race promoter Kwame Scott shares...

CAHSU Looks Forward to Growth of Medical Education in 2014
The Central American Health Sciences University along the Burrell Boom Road is also known as the Belize Medical College. Over the course of 2013, much has been said about these types of medical universities in Belize. However, according to the Central American Health Sciences University’s director of special projects,...

Belama Family in Land Dispute with Former Lands CEO
There is news of a major land dispute involving former CEO in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Beverly Castillo, who has resigned to contest the seat of Belize Rural Central in a convention for the United Democratic Party (UDP). It is alleged, however, that before she left...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Unhappy Caye Caulker Resident
I write to you today out of sheer frustration due to my inability to protect my family’s health and well being. I have spoken to all public officials and see that I am being disregarded and treated like a third class citizen. Let me set the stage. My family and I are being forced to face serious hazards where we now live like prisoners in our own home. We are suffocating in the strong odor of lighter fluid and smoke released from a barbeque grill that Roses restaurant has placed in front of my home where my ten month old baby girl sputters and chokes at night as she tries to sleep. When I chose to raise my family on a clean pollution free island this was definitely not my intention. Everyday from 4pm to 10pm my family and I are imprisoned in our own home, where we keep all windows closed. The smoke still manages to seep through every window with an acrid burning smell which has now become the veil of perfume that we wear on a daily basis. Despite the immediate discomfort we face, I know this will have some serious long term effects to my family where all of you are aware that smoke being inhaled regularly is a carcinogen which causes cancer. I ask all of you as responsible citizens and parents to join me in my stand to have the local authorities exercise their power to get this restaurant to relocate its grill to another location where he will continue to gain profits while my family and I continue to enjoy our right as citizens to healthy air and living conditions which are fit for human.


Canadian man flies to Belize in search of missing father. “On December 25 my father mysteriously went missing while at his residence in The Valley of Peace, Belize. Let’s hope he is found soon.” “I am not sure exactly what we will find or even how much help we will be in Belize, I realize that. I realize that there are dangers involved. Those same dangers are surrounding my father right now. I must go.” Kory Townsend, of Edmonton, Canada, traveled to Belize this weekend in an attempt to uncover the whereabouts of his father, Brian Townsend, a well-known missionary here for more than a decade who the son believes was abducted in Valley of Peace, Cayo, on Christmas Day. “In my father’s sleeping area, there were signs of an aggressive struggle that carried out the door and across the lawn to where his truck [a Chevy Silverado] was parked. [The] truck is missing. Abduction,” Kory wrote in a Facebook post on Friday, December 27. In his latest Facebook update, posted this evening, he said, “The Belize police are continuously working to find Brian. Canadian Foreign Affairs and Canadian Embassy have been working with local officials to aid in any way possible. An organization called BDaRRT (Belize Disaster and Rescue Response Team) had a team of 8 individuals out today helping search for Brian. I want to recognize all the local individuals that with their own time, money and energy have been searching for Brian.”

Three separate road traffic accidents over the Christmas week, between Saturday, December 21, and Thursday, December 27, claimed the lives of 6 people. The most tragic of the accidents happened on the Philip Goldson Highway on Christmas Day, December 25, when four young people lost their lives after the vehicle they were traveling in careened into a tree. Hector Daniel Gongora, 22, of Lake Gardens, Ladyville; Shamir Shakir Monima 23, of Daly Street, Belize City; Dulce Yanira Cobb, 17, also of Daly Street; and Henry Gaboural Reyes, 20, of Antelope Street Extension, all lost their lives in the accident near Ladyville. The night before, on December 24, Armin Nair Rodriguez, 22, of Calcutta Village, Corozal, was knocked down and killed. Two days earlier, on December 22, Victoria Bol, 42, a mother of 5 children and resident of Silk Grass Village, Stann Creek, succumbed to injuries she sustained when the vehicle she was in collided with a police van and overturned.

Court issues injunction in Belama land dispute involving family of former Lands CEO and political hopeful, Beverly Castillo. Amid a controversial land dispute which has the family of a former CEO turned politician at the center, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has issued a 28-day injunction to stop construction works on the property over which the dispute has arisen, and to stop the Government of Belize from finalizing the forfeiture of the title from Bernadette Pickwood, a Belizean living in the USA. Pickwood returned home for the holidays planning to lay the foundation for the dream home she intends to settle in upon her retirement – only to find out that her land had been taken away and given to another well-connected family. Audrey Matura-Shepherd, her attorney, told the media today that the only reason they have decided to come public is because they have not gotten a satisfactory response from the Lands Department, which has told them that they would deal with the matter after New Year’s. The problem is that someone else is today building on the land for which Pickwood has had a lease since the 1990s; and Matura-Shepherd said that although the law requires that a leaseholder be granted natural justice, and demands that the leaseholder is given notice of the intent to cancel the lease and a fair opportunity to defend his or her position – her client was denied her legal right.

Three outstanding Belizeans were the first to receive special year-end awards presented today by the Amandala newspaper, for their outstanding national contributions. They are Woman of the Year: Audrey Matura-Shepherd, and Men of the Year: Ian “Yellow” Gaynair and Woodrow Wilson West. Amandala has previously acknowledged persons for their nationalistic contributions by featuring them on the front page of the year-end issue. This time, the newspaper has decided to take things up a notch, by presenting rosewood awards to the recipients. “I can’t even explain how I feel! The way I feel right now is like when I had scored that goal against America. Awesome feeling!” said Ian Gaynair, who plays right defense for Belmopan Bandits, and who scored Belize’s only goal in the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2013. West said that receiving the award “feels good!” “Every time I receive an award, I realize how grateful people are,” West told us. West and Gaynair are being acknowledged by Amandala for turning down a match-fixing bribe in July this year, when a European who had befriended them in Guatemala incidentally showed up in Portland, Oregon, trying to get them to “sell out” the game.

Why April Fool’s Day? “… Those who continued to celebrate the end of New Year Week on April 1 were referred to as fools,” says Encyclopedia Britannica. March was New Year’s in British territories The Gregorian calendar is today’s internationally accepted civil calendar and is also known as the ‘Western calendar’ or ‘Christian calendar’. It was named after the man who first introduced it in February 1582: Pope Gregory XIII. (Source: by Pope Gregory’s time, the Julian calendar was 10 days out of sync with the seasons; in 1582, to bring the vernal equinox (and thus Easter) back to its proper date, 10 days were dropped (October 5 became October 15). Most of Catholic Europe soon adopted the new calendar; Great Britain and its colonies (1752) and Russia (1918) followed much later. (Source: In Belize, New Year’s Day is usually welcomed with dancing and fireworks, and in New York City, by the highly anticipated Ball Drop at Times Square¯where perhaps the most grand spectacle is seen by millions. In fact, the 2014 version of the kaleidoscopic 12-foot wide ball, weighing almost 12,000 pounds and patterned with multicolored triangles, pentagons and hexagons, is ready for Tuesday night’s countdown.

TOP 10 stories for 2013 1. The Penner Passport Scandal 2. KHMH cloacae calamity: 12 babies die under mysterious circumstances 3. Cañeros lock horns with BSI over bagasse payment: Cane season unable to start 4. Belize debt restructuring – new superbond sealed 5. Belize faces mounting LGBT challenges; 2013 Gender Policy sparks massive protests 6. Aborted Referendum on Belize-Guatemala issue 7. Murder rate drops 8. Felicia Chen faces charges for the murder of her three children 9. Four George Street gang leaders brutally executed 10. Noh Mul destruction

2013 is fast winding down, and the New Year 2014 is almost here, and it begins with the full blown spectacle of the 2nd biggest cycling event in the 2014 calendar – as over a hundred cyclists, male and female, from Youth to Masters, local and foreign, first timers, veteran warriors and past champions are all getting ready to gear down for what has become a Belizean tradition now about to enter its 24th year – the Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic. Coincidentally, the first KREM Cycling Classic, won by Michael “Big Wire” Lewis, took place on New Year’s Day of 1991, the same year that the first semi-pro football season kicked off in Belize. The Premier League is right now in the heat of perhaps its toughest and most exciting race to their playoffs. Playoff bound teams will likely not be finally decided until next weekend, although some teams might clinch a playoff spot from this coming Sunday. But cycling is a different story. In this Wednesday’s KREM New Year’s Classic, it will all be decided once and for all on New Year’s Day, when fans will welcome the winners as they cross the finish line at the junction of Mahogany Street and Central American Boulevard. The “playoffs,” if there are any, are being decided with registration deadlines and the technical meeting tonight at the UWI campus on Princess Margaret Drive. And all vetted cyclists will get a chance to compete for the prestigious KREM Classic championship which comes along with what is certainly the most enticing package of prizes ever for this race. Where previously the race station prizes only included one of a thousand dollars, there are now four such prizes along the way to the finish, where there is an even bigger bag of prizes for the champion. And there are many other smaller station prizes along the way.

The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) announces that all Inter-District games postponed last weekend will be played this coming weekend. The schedule is as follows: Friday, January 3, 2014 (Back match) 7:30 p.m. – San Martin FC vs Hope Creek – Isidoro Beaton Stadium Week 6 games: Sunday, January 5 Zone 1 7:00 p.m. – MnM Steelers vs Police FC – Michael Ashcroft Stadium 4:00 p.m. – Mavericks vs GB United – Toledo Union Field Zone 2 3:30 p.m. – Roaring Creek United vs Hope Creek Pumas – Isidoro Beaton Stadium 4:00 p.m. – Green Gold FC vs San Martin FC – Carl Ramos Stadium

At Kremandala, we never take the support of the Belizean people for granted. That is because, where classic business theory is concerned, we are not a sustainable proposition. Kremandala is not a sustainable proposition because we are always on the “wrong” side, in business terms, of major issues. We are on the wrong side of the bagasse issue; we are on the wrong side of the Harmonyville/BGYEA issue; we are on the wrong side of the cave tubing issue; we are on the wrong side of the offshore drilling issue; we are on the wrong side of the Sarstoon/Temash issue; we are on the wrong side of the marijuana issue; we are on the wrong side of the Guatemala border issue. Because we are almost always on the wrong side of issues, we take positions and make decisions which are not “sensible” business positions and decisions. So then, the content of the material Zinc Fence delivers to the Belizean people is not a content designed to solicit support from the wealthy sectors of Belizean society. The Kremandala content is aimed at informing and educating the masses of the Belizean people so that the people can make sensible decisions, decisions which will benefit the people of Belize over the course of time.

There was a week or two during the Heads of Agreement crisis in 1981 when I got the feeling that Belize had been totally cut off from the rest of the world, as if nobody out there knew what was happening to us. This is how it feels when the mighty powers of the planet, in Belize’s case these being the United States and Great Britain, are turning the screws on you and forcing you to submit to their decisions and instructions. During the recent Amandala holiday, I was watching John Pilger’s documentary on the Diego Garcia story. Diego Garcia is one of the Chagos Islands, a range situated in the Indian Ocean between East Africa and Southwest Asia. A couple thousand people of African and Indian descent had been living on Diego Garcia for three or four generations when the said United States and Great Britain decided to get rid of them because they wanted the island for an American military base. There was a point in the twentieth century when the black population of British Honduras appeared to be of the opinion that we held some value for the British Empire. I suppose this kind of thinking would have reached its peak in the years immediately after World War II. The British had been the leaders of the Allied war effort (1939-45) which stopped Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, and Belizeans had fought in that war on behalf of British “democracy.”

The UBAD Educational Foundation will be holding its 2013 Kwanzaa Celebration at 5:00 p.m. on January 1, 2014, at the Library of African and Indian Studies on the Kremandala compound at 3304 Partridge Street. Iyanifa Omitade Adediran will be the guest speaker. Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 to January 1 annually. It was founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor and Chair of Africana Studies, California State University-Long Beach; Executive Director, African American Cultural Center (Us); and author of Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture and Introduction to Black Studies, 4th Edition. This year’s Kwanzaa theme is “Celebrating and Living Kwanzaa: Sowing and Harvesting Seeds of Good”. Karenga said, in his address published last week by Los Angeles Sentinel, that “…the sowing of seeds of good, of necessity, turn here to principled practice, i.e., the practice of the Seven Principles, the Nguzo Saba, which are the cultural hub and hinge on which the holiday turns. Indeed, it is these principles practiced throughout the year that ensure that Kwanzaa is not only a season of celebration, but also a living and lived tradition.” Karenga said that to practice the Seven Principles is to sow and harvest seeds of good.

The Embassy of Mexico is hosting a free exhibition – “The Alignment” – featuring works by Belizean artist Nelson Young until Friday, January 17, 2014. The works are presented at the gallery of the Institute of Mexico in Belize City. Among them are the most recent productions which Young had not previously made public. Nelson Richard Young was born in Belize City on April 3, 1958. He lived in the City until age 4, after which he moved to Caye Caulker. He had been painting with oil and acrylics since 1981, when he went away to Sweden for 5 years and continued painting and studying art. On his return from Europe, he resettled in Caye Caulker, where he currently resides.

Ian McNab, 26, this morning pleaded guilty to fondling a 5-year-old girl when he appeared in Magistrate’s Court #4, and he was sentenced to 3 years in prison for the crime. It is alleged that on the afternoon of Friday, December 20, the little girl was walking down the stairs of her home when McNab, known to her as “Baby,” pushed his right hand into the little girl’s pants and began to fondle her parts. The incident allegedly occurred in broad daylight – around 3:30 p.m. The little girl went to tell her father and when he came out of the house, McNab ran away. The child’s father reported the matter to police later that day. McNab was unrepresented when he appeared in court today.

Keithton Arana, 19, a maintenance worker of 5863 Lavender Street, Belize City, was remanded to the Hattieville Prison after he was charged this morning with grievous harm and abetment to grievous harm. Arana appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano unrepresented and pleaded not guilty to both charges. According to police, on December 23, they visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where they saw Denton Flowers suffering from a gunshot to his right leg. Flowers told the police that at 5:55 that evening, he was on Consuelo Street, near his home. When he was about to mount his bicycle, he was approached by two men who were riding one bicycle. He told police that one of the men took out a chrome handgun and fired a shot at him, injuring him

Two residents of Carmelita Village, Orange Walk, have been hospitalized for stab wounds sustained over the holidays. Minor Jordon, 22, a Guatemalan laborer of Carmelita Village, received a large cut wound on his left arm and is recovering at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Meanwhile, Enrique Ocampo, 28, also of Carmelita Village, suffered two stab wounds to the left side of his back and is recovering at the Northern Regional Hospital. Both Jordon and Ocampo are said to be in stable condition. A police report on the incident states that at about 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 25, 2013, while Minor Jordan was socializing with some friends at the residence of Davis Fernandez, he was approached by Enrique Ocampo.

Felicia Richardson, 22, a resident of 39 Far West Street, Belize City, was charged with handling stolen goods when she appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano this morning. According to police, Gregorio Gutierrez reported that between December 18 and 19, his Meilun motorcycle, valued at $1,749, had been stolen from in front of his house. Police said that while they were on routine patrol, they saw Richardson riding a cycle without a helmet. They stopped her and asked where her helmet was, but upon doing so, they realized that there was no key in the ignition of the cycle. Police asked Richardson for the key but she could not produce any. Police said that when they inspected the cycle, they found that it had the same VIN as the one reported stolen by Gutierrez.


Strong support from Ambergris Caye businesses
The San Pedro Branch of the Belize Red Cross is very fortunate to have strong local business support in their efforts to make a difference on Ambergris Caye. . Crazy Canucks Beach Bar has been doing a wonderful Job with ongoing fundraising for the San Pedro Red Cross by designating the last Friday of their weekly trivia as Red Cross Night. Think and Drink Trivia has raised $500 since June, with $175 and the highest total to date from Last Friday’s fundraiser. Without a doubt, it is one of the busiest and most popular trivia nights on the island. The owner Rob has a great sense of humor which guarantees a super fun time while raising money for an important cause. We had the Red Crossers and the Cross Redders and Forrest wore his red shirt in support of the night. Thankfully Steve was our guy and he did the the two of three tie breaking drink challenges we were called up for. Congratulations goes to the Panty Rippas who took the win. You can Play Think and Drink Trivia any Friday night at Crazy Canucks, indulge in reasonably priced food and drinks, plus you get to hang out with good friends or make some new ones.

The BEST Dessert in San Pedro, Belize (and The Entire Country)
2013 has been a good year and unofficially, it has been my year of desserts. After deciding not to worry about things like calories or vitamins, minerals or fiber content (for the time being!)…a big slice of pie or cake seems like the perfect lunch, a brownie, a very satisfying dinner. A stop at an ice cream place is a delicious night time snack. But this has not just been about gluttony…I had a goal. To name the best single dessert in San Pedro, Belize. Drum roll please… WAIT! First…let me hem and haw. Not because I don’t have a favorite…I do. But because there are so many delicious desserts. So here are some runner ups. (For all information on the restaurants, scroll to the bottom of the post. It’s all in my directory.) Best Chocolate Desserts: The Chocolate Boutique’s Chocolate Torte. This is also the winner in the “budget category”. Small but SO CHOCOLATE, great with a cup of their chocolate coffee. Best Key Lime Pie: Key Lime pie is a classic in Belize. And though it seems like a simple recipe, there are tweaks that can make it even more delicious to me. I have two favorites…depending on my mood. Frozen Key Lime Pie at Elvi’s Kitchen. I can’t get enough of this. Tart with a dollop of frozen whipped cream (you have no idea what a difference that make) with a THICK DELICIOUS buttery, sugar ginger snap cookie crust. I’ve probably eaten 20 slices in the past 6 months.

Charity Event: Distribution of Toy to the Children in Belize
My mom and dad were able to make the trip to Belize to distribute the toys that were purchased from your donations. They hosted 2 events and distributed approximately 275 toys. You can see the joy on the kids' faces as they receive the gifts.

Dean on the PSU, Diaspora, Marijuana and other items
I find it funny as hell that he needs the opposition to change the constitution for the Diaspora but does as he pleases with everything else.

In our little corner of the world, Corruption is up and in your face. The politicians are not afraid to do it outright and say they are proud of what they do, some even say they deserve it because they are not Normal Belizeans, while others simply feel they are entitled for whatever reason. Corruption in general undermines the stability of a business or group but when it comes to Political Corruption, you put the entire nation and it’s people at risk. It undermines the “democracy” of the nation and violates the basic principle of civic virtue. So what is Political Corruption? Political corruption is the use of power by government officials for illegitimate private gain. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties, is done under color of law or involves trading in influence. Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. Corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking, though is not restricted to these activities. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by private persons or corporations not directly involved with the government.

International Sources

Eating Tilapia is Worse Than Eating Bacon
We all have the notion that eating fish would be the better option over bacon when it comes to health. And the truth is, it really is! Fish is a low fat, high protein food that has a range of health benefits. However, given what we know of fish and its sources today, we may have to re-examine this statement. Fish can either be one of the best foods for you or detrimental to your health depending on where it is sourced. There is a world of difference between fish that is caught in the wild, farm-bred or farm-raised fish. The most common farm-raised fish are: salmon, tilapia, sea bass, catfish, and cod. So why would farm raised fish be toxic to our health? What are the dangers of eating farm-raised fish? We’ll answer all of those queries below! Why Farm-Raised Fish is So Bad for You Recent Studies have found that farm-raised Tilapia may cause more inflammation – Farm-raised tilapia has always been a popular source for fish, not only because it is widely available in the US, but it is also very inexpensive. However, before you stock up on Tilapia, you may want to know about its correlation to inflammation. Recent studies have concluded that eating Tilapia may worsen inflammation that can lead to heart disease, arthritis, asthma and a world of other serious health problems. People who resort to eating more fish as a way to get their dose of omega-3-fatty-acids and lessen their risk of heart attacks may want to hold off on the tilapia. In fact, scientists have found that the inflammatory potential of tilapia is far greater than that of a hamburger or pork bacon! 1 Farmed salmon may have at least 10 times the amount of cancer causing organic pollutants compared to the wild variety – This can most likely be attributed to the feeds that are used on farm raised fish.

Pass Over the Puffer: Dolphins Get High
Have you ever looked at your dorsal fin — I mean, really looked at it? Dolphins, nature’s playful jokers, apparently have a little habit they’ve been keeping a secret: They get high. A BBC film crew recently captured some unusual footage of dolphins passing a puffer fish between them. The fish then secretes a toxin — a defense mechanism — which the dolphins appear to enjoy — a lot. As the dolphins nudged the puffer fish back and forth, they fell into a trancelike state, reports the Guardian. “At one point the dolphins are seen floating just underneath the water’s surface, apparently mesmerized by their own reflections,” according to the Guardian. Filmmaker John Downer cleverly disguised underwater cameras as squid, tuna and other dolphins to record the footage.

Edmonton man bracing for worst in search for missing father in Belize
An Edmonton man who travelled to Belize to search for his missing father says he is preparing for the worst. Speaking from the Central American country Tuesday morning, Kory Townsend said searches have led to no sign of his father or his father’s missing grey pickup truck. Kory said his 64-year-old father Brian Townsend, a missionary, moved there from Edmonton nine years ago. A cook arrived at Brian’s apartment in the Valley of Peace on Dec. 25 and found evidence of a struggle inside and outside the suite. “We’re remaining optimistic, but the reality is it’s been six and a half days,” said Kory, 32. “At this point, we’re treating it as a body recovery.” The ongoing search in Belize has shocked members of an Edmonton church closely connected to Brian’s work.

Best Places to Retire Abroad in 2014
If you could retire anywhere in the world, where would you go? As we find ourselves at the beginning of a brand new year, that's a question worth asking. The very good news is that we are living in a time when it's not only possible, but easier than ever to launch the retirement adventure of your fondest day dreams almost anywhere on earth that appeals to you. Specifically, here are the best, most comfortable, affordable, convenient and rewarding spots worldwide for retirement in 2014. Which one is calling your name? Ambergris Caye, Belize Monthly budget: $2,000 Monthly rent: $800 Warm, welcoming, independent and private. These four perhaps seemingly contradictory adjectives best describe both Belizeans and their country. Belize is also one of the safest countries in the world, despite what you may read about it. Belize was a colony of Britain until 1981, meaning the people here speak English. They also value their freedom, as it's relatively new. In the nearly 30 years that I've been spending time in this country, I've joked that "the good news from Belize is no news from Belize." This is a sleepy Caribbean nation with but 350,000 people and three highways. On the other hand, little Belize offers a whole lot of what many retirees are looking for: A chance to start over on sandy, sunny shores. Prices for a bit of sand on Ambergris, the most developed of Belize's islands, are not cheap, but it is cheaper than elsewhere in the Caribbean. And it is this island, home to the country's biggest expat community, that has the services to cater to retirees. I would recommend Ambergris to any retiree dreaming of retirement on the Caribbean Sea this new year.

10 Best Places to Ring in 2014
What better way to kick off 2014 than swaying in the hammock on a tropical beach? Here are the top 10 most affordable tropical destinations, the best places on earth to escape the cold right now. Belize: Clear turquoise waters lapping gently against soft white sand. Palm trees rustling in the warm breeze. Fishing boats bobbing on the horizon. Birdsong and island tunes all around... Ambergris Caye, Belize, is unadulterated, unpretentious Caribbean, the sea, sand and sunshine of the Caymans or the Virgin Islands without the price tag. San Pedro town, a former fishing village, is the center of activity and home to a growing expatriate community of North Americans and Europeans catered to now by dozens of restaurants, shops, art galleries and community organizations. You could settle in here quickly and easily, as the language (like everywhere in Belize) is English.

The big challenge—teen pregnancy
THE INTER-AMERICAN Development Bank reminded us this past week in its latest report what is widely known and has been experienced by citizens across the Caribbean/Latin America region—namely that 2013 was not a good year for economic performance. And additionally, that the forecast for 2014 is an estimated less than three per cent growth in gross domestic product (GDP). Within Caricom, despite an overall fall in total fertility rates, adolescent birth rates remain relatively high. As pointed out by the Caricom Secretariat, among girls aged 15-19 years old, the birth rate ranges from 26 to 97 per one thousand adolescents. Guyana, Belize, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda and Suriname are reported to have the highest teen pregnancy rates in the region.

2013 Caribbean year in review
Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart won the political battle but loss the economic war in 2013. His Trinidad and Tobago counterpart, Kamla Persad Biissessar set a record by losing four political battles in a year, while Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell set another record by leading his New National Party (NNP) to a clean sweep of all 15 seats in the February general elections. This was the second occasion he had achieved the feat within a decade. St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas defied calls to debate a motion of no confidence in his administration for a year even though the matter reached the courts and in Nevis, the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) defeated the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) to take control of the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) after a year of wrangling in the courts over the validity of the last elections. In Suriname, President Desi Bouterse dismissed calls to step down following the arrest of his son by United State law enforcement officials on drug trafficking and terrorist related charges. But during the year, President Bouterse fired his Finance Minister, Adelien Wijnerman, because of the slow progress achieved in clearing government’s payment arrears. Since coming to office in 2010, Bouterse has replaced 10 ministers.

We ignore the disastrous storms in the Caribbean at our peril
As tens of thousands people suffered through a flooded and powerless Christmas in Britain, 5,000 miles away unexpected weather was also unleashing havoc on the Caribbean. Torrential rains on Christmas Eve, with 15in falling in 24 hours, led to dramatic floods and landslides that washed through St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia and Dominica. So far eight people in St Vincent and five in St Lucia have died, water and electricity are down and thousands of properties have been damaged. The clean-up bill is expected to be in the millions. The crisis cut short the holiday of the prime minister of St Vincent, Ralph Gonsalves, who happened to be in storm-hit London, after a trip to see the pope in Rome. Gonsalves – whose cousin was killed in a landslide during the rains – said it was "a disaster of a proportion the likes of which we have not seen in living memory". The secretary general of the Organisation of American States, José Miguel Insulza, also noted the "unreasonable nature" of the rains, and said "the flooding raises once again the impact of climate change in the Caribbean region".

Belize: Beautiful by Land and by Sea
It's my first time in a tiny 12–seater plane and despite being a little bit nerve–racking, the view below is breathtaking. Bright, lightning streaks of red-clay roads cut through hundreds of miles of trees and muddied rivers. This is the first leg of my surf and turf tour of Belize and my fourth flight of the day. I started out from Mexico City, then puddle–jumped to San Salvador, San Jose, and finally Belize City, where I and the group I'm with loaded into a Maya Island Air charter flight headed to Chaa Creek Resort, a 30–minute ride into the interior of Belize. The airport in Cayo, where we land, feels like an isolated outpost straight from "Out of Africa." We are escorted to Chaa Creek as dusk falls and are greeted with chilled towels and jamaica water. I can already feel the humidity melting my achey muscles and the night is starting to come alive with crickets and tree frogs. Chaa Creek is a 365–acre resort in western Belize established by Mick and Lucy Fleming in the early eighties when they came down to carve out their own little piece of paradise. They started with a few simple cabins for visiting friends and the place has grown to include 23 palm–thatched villas, a nature center, a medicinal trail through the rainforest, a butterfly house, an infinity swimming pool, an organic farm, horse stables, and a wood–working shop.

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