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1/10/2014 to 1/20/2014
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January 20, 2014


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

The San Pedro Sun

Foreign Affairs Ministers of Guatemala and Belize Meet
Guatemala and Belize’s Foreign Affairs ministers met on Thursday January 9th in Belize City. The main purpose of the visit was to strengthen dialogue as part of the confidence building measures between the two countries. During the meeting, the pending referendum to put the Guatemalan claim over portions of Belize to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was discussed. Following the meeting between Fernando Carrera, Foreign Minister of Guatemala and Wilfred Elrington, Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Belize released a joint communiqué outlining the outcome of the meeting. According to the context, the Foreign Ministers agreed to establish, as soon as possible, a Joint Commission of the two countries, in accordance with Article 20 of the Agreement on the framework for negotiations and confidence building measures between Belize and Guatemala.

Sugar Cane Season scheduled to commence on Monday, January 20th
After several month of delay in the sugar cane season Belize Sugar Industry (BSI) has finally reached an agreement with the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) to commence the season on Monday, January 20th. In a press release issued on Monday, January 13th the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) announced that BSCFA and BSI have signed a memorandum to allow negotiations to fix the quota of payment for bagasse (the pulp or dry refuse left after the juice has been extracted from sugar cane). The memorandum stated that the cane farmers are to start the season and deliver sugar cane uninterrupted until the season ends; in return BSI would allow negotiations to allocate a portion of funds for payment for bagasse to BSCFA. This concerned many cane farmers as BSI did not necessarily set an agreement for payments.

Caye Caulker Trio charged with drug trafficking
Caye Caulker police arrested and charged a trio for drug trafficking following a house search. On Tuesday January 7th, at about 3PM, police personnel conducted a search at a house located on Traveler’s Palm Street on the island for illegal drugs and firearms. Present at the time of the search were 32-year-old Maurice Usher, Belizean plumber and 48-year-old Steven Jeffrey Arnold, Belizean Laborer, both of the same address. The search led to the discovery of a small brown and blue plastic container hidden inside a box on a shelf. The plastic container was retrieved and opened in the men’s presence, where it was found to contain 16 small transparent Zip-Lock plastic bags, each containing a white powdery substance suspected to be cocaine. It was learned that the common-law wife of Arnold, 35-year-old Emy Keme, Belizean chef of the same address, also resides at the house. She was later detained at her work place and they were all escorted to the station along with the suspected drugs which was weighed and amounted to 12 grams of cocaine.

Wolfe’s Woofer: Doctor’s Diagnosis
Doctor’s Diagnosis “Mr. Wolfe, what seems to be the problem?” the doctor at the clinic asked. “Sir, I haven’t been to the bathroom for a week.” “Here you go,” the doctor said, handing me a prescription. “This is for a powerful laxative. Give it to the nurse as you leave.” “How much is this going […]

San Pedro Police Report
On Thursday, January 9th at around 5:30PM, police officer on duty Juan Choc smelled a strong aroma of cannabis coming from the cell block of the police station. Upon inspection of the cell block, Choc saw a tall curly hair male in the middle of the cell, identified as 19 year old Simon Velasquez, hide a piece of tissue paper by the window of facing west of his cell. Choc proceeded to retrieve the piece of paper and noted that it contained suspected Cannabis. Velasquez was informed of the offence and was escorted to the front of the station where the drugs was weighed in his presence. The cannabis amounted to 0.67 grams. Velasquez was then charged for drug trafficking.

Misc Belizean Sources

NRM Symposium Call for Abstracts
The 9th Natural Resource Management Symposium is scheduled for March 26th, and they are doing a call for abstracts. This year's theme is, get ready for this: Multidisciplinary strategies to achieving sustainable socio-economic development in Belize through effective natural resource management. The deadline is the end of January, so get yours in now. "Our annual NRM symposium is fast approaching. Submit your abstract for an opportunity to present your work.

Rotaract Hosts Intercitidina 2014
The Rotaract Club of San Ignacio is hosting this year's Intercitidina, where Rotaractors from all around Latin America are invited, at the end of the month. They exchange ideas, have team building events, have a fundraising dinner, and even do a community service project. If you are interested in joining Rotaract, they have their meeting's every Friday night at Hode's starting at 7:30pm.

Embassy of Mexico's Year in Review
The Mexican Embassy has released a video chronicling all the events they did around Belize last year. It's a well done video, and they did do quite a few events around Cayo. "Compendio de actividades 2013 de la Embajada de México en Belize/Summary of activities of the Embassy of Mexico in Belize 2013"

When trust is broken…….This woman’s perspective.
Every woman knows what it feels like to be hurt from being lied to and cheated on. It’s our very worst nightmare to even think that a man we love with our entire being would find comfort in the arms of another. But if the truth can be told when a woman catches her partner cheating in a relationship, the hurt is not rooted in the fact that he has been or slept with someone else. She is mad and hurt because she has been lied to. She is upset because she is now faced with the reality that the man she loves is a deceiver. She realizes that she can never trust him the same again because he has no word! The truth is my brothers you did not live up to who she thought you were, you have lost your integrity in the eyes of your lady. She can never look at you the same knowing you are not a man of your word. You have broken her confidence in you. Her knowing that you will do what you said has been shattered. There was a time in my life that I believed that once integrity had been breached, it was impossible to recover it again. I now realize that it’s just extremely difficult but where there is a real desire to make things work that it can happen and has happen to many couples in and around our small community. The reality that I have come to accept as I look around our small country is that MANY people have relationships that have lasted through infidelity. Many relationships have survived the drunken kiss from a stranger, the one night stands and EVEN full blown affairs. As I listen to the many accounts of the cheating man, I realized that as varied as the forms are the reasons and they range from boredom to immaturity or just good old plain -poor judgment.

Wanted man chopped up during home invasion
Wanted fugitive Kevin “Migit” manzanero’s run from the police has ended. The 27 year old was taken into custody by police this afternoon after he sought medical attention for chop wounds. Information received is that Manzanero, one of two men police believe were terrorizing residents of San Ignacio/Santa Elena and Bullet Tree Falls village, was in the process of burglarizing a house on Collins Boulevard on the Bullet Tree Road when he was chopped. Sources say that Manzanero’s chop wounds were so severe he lost an eye. The aggravated burglary, or what’s commonly known as home invasion, happened around midnight on Saturday; but it was not until Sunday afternoon that Manzanero sought medical attention at the San Ignacio hospital.

Stabbing incident on Burns Avenue in San Ignacio town
A stabbing incident last night in the downtown San Ignacio town has left one man hospitalized in Belmopan. The incident is reported to have happened near the Belize Bank ATM on Burns Avenue. According to preliminary information, the victim, identified as Windel Trapp, was attacked by at least two other men. During the attack, Trapp was stabbed multiple times. Windel Trapp has since been transported to the Western Regional Hospital where he is undergoing treatment. Police have one suspect in custody so far as their investigation continues.


Traffic Accident Victim Died Of Severe Head Injury
Yesterday we told you about a triple car pileup that cost the life of 28 year old taxi driver, Marcelo Aguilar, a resident of Concepcion Village. And while the authorities in Corozal say that speeding may have been a factor for his demise, Dr. Hugh Sanchez conducted a post mortem on the body yesterday at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Dr. Sanchez certified Aguilar’s death as severe head injury, a fractured-dislocation of the cervical spine due to road traffic accident. As we reported, sometime before 8 o'clock on Wednesday night, Aguilar was driving his gray Toyota van, accompanied by a 16 year-old and 21 year-old Nelson Pech. They were heading south, away from the Corozal Freezone, and between miles 87 and 88, he lost control of the vehicle. He tried to avoid a head-on collision with a 10-wheeler truck, but his van slammed into one of its rear wheels.

Belize Chamber Of Commerce Comes Out In Support Of Teachers
Today most schools were closed in Belize City as teachers from the BNTU Belize Branch carried put their rally sending a strong message to GOB. Teachers are rallying for their salary increase, which according to them, is long overdue and other social issues. And apparently, apart from having the support of many Belizeans and other organizations, teachers also have the backup of the Belize Chamber of Commerce. In a release issued today the chamber expressed their support to the BNTU by stating and we quote “The Chamber supports the Teachers in their demand for a wage adjustment that better reflects the increased cost of living experienced by all Belizeans and the importance of the teaching profession for our country. While we understand Government's financial position, we believe that a wage adjustment can be afforded if it is responsibly phased in over a number of years.” End quote.

Duo Charged For Drug Trafficking In Corozal
Two persons from the Corozal District are facing the long arm of the law after being charged for drug trafficking. At around 11:30 yesterday morning Corozal Police conducted a search at the residence of Justin Opobouri located on 11th Avenue, Corozal Town. Reports are that upon police entering the yard Opobouri ran out to the back yard with a black plastic bag in hand. One of the officers managed to catch up with Opobouri before he was able to throw the plastic bag over the neighbor’s yard. The bag was found to contain 92.1 grams of cannabis and as such Opobouri was placed under arrest. While police searched the residence of the accused nothing incriminating was found. Also present at the time of the search was Tiffara Josephine Smith who along with Opobouri was escorted to the Corozal Police Station where they were jointly charged for drug trafficking. Since no magistrate was available today in Corozal, the accused were arraigned at the Orange Walk Magistrates Court this afternoon

Orange Walkenos Study Their Way To A Bright Future
Small business owners have strengthened their business entrepreneurial skills while others took an idea and made it a reality after being part of the Business Entrepreneurship Skills Project. The project was implemented by the Social Investment Fund and facilitated by teachers at the Institute of Technical and vocational Education and Training, ITVET in Orange Walk. The project concluded today with a mini exposition of all small business entrepreneurs who took part. Today, Reporter Dalila Ical takes a look at what was on display. Dalila Ical – Reporting The project began in September of 2013 and was offered to residents in San Jose and Guinea Grass Villages in the Orange Walk District. Twenty residents from each village enrolled and completed the courses. Project Manager Cindy Garcia says the biggest part of the program was enabling the participants to design their business plan.

Corozal Residents To Benefit From Free WIFI, Courtesy "Team Papas"
In this fast moving world one has to constantly be keep up with technology, among them internet. A 2013 survey of Caribbean Internet Service Providers revealed that internet in Belize is not only among the slowest in the region, but it is the most expensive. Hence the service cannot be afforded by everyone. Knowing how important internet access is especially for students, Gregorio Papas Garcia, PUP Standard Bearer Candidate for Corozal Bay and his team have embarked in a special project that will see the launching of free WIFI access at the Corozal Central Park. According to Garcia, the project will be launched tomorrow. Gregorio Papas Garcia- PUP Standard Bearer Candidate, Corozal Bay “It is going to be there for all public use; students, tourists, all people that transit the area so it is free WIFI and the user named is “Team Papas” of course it doesn’t have any password, you know it is for the general use for the public of Corozal.”

Mother Nature Continues To Attack Farmers MOA Assists
The sporadic weather continues to increase losses to farmers across the country. Here in the north, vegetable farmers are experiencing significant losses as some have been unable to plant while those who did, have no crop to harvest due to overly saturated soil. The constant rains have provoked hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of loss in the agriculture sector. Government conducted a damage assessment late last year but as the weather pattern fails to improve, farmers continue to lose their crop. Given the national impact the rains are having, the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, is providing some assistance to farmers across the country. This morning farmers congregated in Orange Walk Town to receive the much needed assistance. Dalila Ical reports. Dalila Ical – Reporting Farmers from the Belize, Orange Walk and Corozal Districts today received seeds, fertilizers and food coupons from the government in an effort of easing the financial loss they have sustained due to continuous rains. Present for the ceremony was Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Gaspar Vega.

Sugar Season Further Delayed
Whilst there has been some breakthrough in the negotiations for payment for Baggasse to farmers, tonight news is that the start of the Sugar Cane season will be pushed back a few more days. This is largely contributed to weather conditions and today, all three parties, BSI, BSCFA and GOB met to discuss a way forward to meet these challenges. Reporter Maria Novelo was there and filed this report. The Sugar Cane Season will see a further four day delay due to the deplorable conditions of the sugar roads, a fact compounded by the inclement weather. As it is, only two of the 18 divisions of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association are ready to supply cane to the Sugar Factory. Financial Controller of BSI, Belizario Carballo Jr says farmers agreed to wait since there is much difficulty in getting cane to the mill. Belizario Carballo – Financial Controller, BSI “This week we have had some rain and so that has delayed further the programs for the sugar roads and so we decided that we will get together today, yesterday the ministry of works carried their assessment of the road conditions and today we met to get a report from the ministry of works engineers, it is a technical decision really and the assessment is like I said the works are just getting underway, weather has not permitted much yet but there is a good feel that we can allow those works to continue for another few days each day that passes works is being advance to complete the whole project that is planned to require about two weeks, they estimate that it would need two weeks that they would be able to have 80 to 90% complete in terms of what they plan to do, in terms of sugar roads.”

Caye Caulker Chronicles

CCVC planning Valentine’s Dance
10pm at the basketball court, Feb. 15th

The Belize Times

Back to PUP Roots! – Party Leader commits to Social Justice for Belizeans
Opposition Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca has declared that under his leadership the People’s United Party will return to its core philosophy of social justice to make the next PUP Government more progressive, just and people-centered. Hon. Fonseca made the declaration on Wednesday, January 15, at the launching of the PUP’s Social Justice Agenda – a 10-point document which sets out the Party’s platforms for development in social and economic areas. “The Belizean people deserve a Government focused on development and less politics, a Government with a clear plan to develop Belize and one that offers solutions,” stated the PUP Leader. The Social Justice Agenda is aimed at making Belizeans have greater benefits and lead more productive lives through the eradication of poverty, universal access to quality and relevant education, allow greater citizen participation in economic growth and the fair distribution of wealth and access to wealth, assistance and support for vulnerable citizens, the democratic and non-political distribution of land, increase in minimum wage, a review of national legislation to better protect the rights of Belizeans, and deepening the protection of our rights and freedoms enshrined in the constitution.

INSIDER TRADING? – CitCo approves opening of Bar in BTL Park!!
Deon Leslie, a current City Councilor and former Deputy Mayor of Belize City could be sitting in the hot seat if reliable reports are confirmed that he has been gifted with the lease to operate a ...

CASTRO Corruption Continues!! – Airport Authority pays Bike Repairs & Dental Care….but for whom?
The messy scandal at the Belize Airport Authority involving the Minister in charge (Ministry of Transport), Edmund Castro, is about to get more nefarious and disgraceful. So far, the BELIZE TIMES has exposed cheques #004951 and #005064 ...

H1N1 Alert!! – Young Belize City mother dies of deadly virus, Health officials warn public
The death of 29-year-old Shahera Bodden from the H1N1 influenza virus last Monday, January 6th, is only the latest failure of Belize’s failed health system that also allowed 13 babies to die in ...

Think About It
SOCIAL JUSTICE The new Leader of the People’s United Party has made a significant move. He choose the 15 of January for his public pronouncement. This date is the birth date of the greatest political leader and co-founder of the P.U.P. – George Price. With his keen vision and foresight, ...

Unions Wake Up!
By G. Michael Reid It seems that the Prime Minister and his United Democratic Party just do not get it. The people of Belize are sick and tired of the blatant corruption and robbing of our taxes and natural resources. The teachers, who have been quiet and tolerant for a long ...

Much to the surprise of Patrick Faber, the teachers of Belize have taken the bold decision to publicly demonstrate against the woes of this corrupt and chancey Barrow administration. Faber has been throwing tantrums on the airwaves, upset that the UDP-friendly union leaders have been unable to tame the masses of teachers and public officers who can no longer stomach the BS that Barrow has been spewing. Promise after empty promise of a salary adjustment, tagged first to a phantom oil find, then to a surplus in revenue to be paid in July (and now maybe August) has caused teachers to become disillusioned, frustrated and skeptical of Barrow and his shenanigans. Understandably, the teachers don’t plan on falling for another “Happy Birthday Dear George Fraser” come July. They are wasting no time bringing it to Barrow. And why should they, when Barrow has publicly declared that he has millions and millions to spend on saving his own backside from losing a seat in Cayo Northeast. Day after day the government continues to demonstrate that they do not consider the teachers a “threat” to their grip on power.

Verdes is #1 entering football playoffs
Verdes F.C. of Benque Viejo Del Carmen will take on 4th place FC Belize when the Belikin Cup football playoffs kick off at the MCC Gardens in Belize City on Sunday, ...

Wesley College undefeated in high school football Wesley College undefeated in high school football
The Wesley College boys are leading undefeated in the high school football competition. On Monday, the Wesley College boys posted their 2nd win against the Anglican Cathedral College boys ...

Team NICH wins Boom to Manatee Lodge canoe race Team NICH wins Boom to Manatee Lodge canoe race
Team NICH’s Oscar Cordon, and brothers Felix and Efrain Cruz won the annual Boom to Manatee Lodge race, in preparation for the grueling 4-day Ruta Maya River Challenge on ...

PUP Marshalls step up to the challenge!
Tired of being neglected by the UDP San Pedro Town Board and UDP Area Representative Minister Manuel Herredia, the PUP Marshalls of San Pedro Town came together to serve their community. Spearheaded by Marshalls member, Nigel Belisle, ...

AMAZING GRACE – If God Truly Exists
In the Operating Manual, Psalms 53:1 harshly states, “The Fool says in his heart there is no God”. For the New Year I decided that I would read the Manual all the way from the beginning and work towards the end. This led me to the story of the first ...

HOME ECONOMICS – Cement Manufacturing in Belize
By Richard Harrison Cement is made from limestone, clay and gypsum...all of which are available naturally in Belize in commercial quantities. Belize imports all its cement supply from Mexico, El Salvador and Jamaica....a total of around US$150 million per year is traded in the domestic market, approximately 0.15 M tpa. A BZ$3.5 billion ...

Bullying: Stop it and Make a Difference
By Angela Banner-Joseph Ten-year-old Samuel was nervous; he had been moody and stayed by himself when he was at home. When his parents asked what was wrong, he started yelling and crying to be left alone. Samuel said that three boys at school had been calling him names, hitting him, and kicking him, ...

Address by PUP Chairman, Henry C. Usher, at launching of Social Justice Agenda
Today 15th January would have marked the 95th birthday of the Father of Belize, Right Hon. George Price. On behalf of the Price family I would like to thank all the Belizeans who attended ...

UDP heavyweights fight over land!!
There is a nasty fight going on among UDP political heavyweights over a small but prime piece of land in Belize City. The land in question is Block No. 16 Parcel ...

Street upgrades in Dangriga begin
The first phase of the much anticipated street upgrades in Dangriga Town, carried out under the auspices of the Dangriga Town Council, has begun. Work has commenced on Isla Street in the Lakeland Area and San ...

REFLECTIONS ON THE PUBLIC SQUARE – George Price and Social Justice
By Francis W. Fonseca This past Wednesday, January 15th, 2014, our People’s United Party marked two distinct yet deeply interwoven events. January 15th is of course the birthday of our Great Leader, National Hero and Father of the Nation George Price. We, the Leaders, members and supporters of the PUP, consider ourselves to ...

Monies Missing at Corozal Town Council – Former Revenue Manager points to Mayor and Town Administrator
The Corozal Town Council, led by absentee UDP Mayor Hilberto Campos and a band of do-nothing Councillors, is the latest to join the list of UDP-ran offices under deep scandal. Monies ...

BNTU protests stingy UDP & Barrow
The People’s United Party government was the last administration to give Belizean teachers and public officers a much-deserved raise in 2005. The failure of the United Democratic ...

AMAZING GRACE – Book Covers… which is yours?
“Man is not what he thinks he is; he is what he hides.” French novelist, André Malraux captures the essence of man’s ability to deceive in this one profound quote. How often have we all heard the age-old proverb, “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Sometimes, what you ...


Bring out Your Inner Island Artist with Painting Classes by Melody
Or realize that you don’t really have one. Either way, painting with talented Melody is very good times. Friday night, I walked down the beach to Feliz Bar for a 6pm painting class. Feliz Bar is located just about 1/2 a mile over the bridge (if headed north from San Pedro town) and they have a very cool upstairs space that is perfect for group events. They have done this class before…quite a few times and featured pictures like this on the Feliz Facebook page.

N. Ambergris Caye Mile 4 Down to Mile 1: A Walk from Las Terrazas Resort to Feliz Bar For Painting Class
Yesterday was a cold grey day in San Pedro, Belize. I honestly don’t remember a day where I wore a long sleeved shirt and a jacket while walking on the beach. Mid-day. BUT it was still a beautiful day. I had a full afternoon planned…take the 12:30pm Coastal Express water taxi up north, lunch at O Restaurant at Las Terrazas Resort (about 4 miles north) and then a slow walk down to Feliz Bar for a 6pm painting class with Belizean Melody. Here is Las Terrazas’ pool and the restaurant. I mean…seriously? Even on a grey day this place looks GORGEOUS. I’m hoping to head up next week, bring some actual sun and take some even prettier pictures. And maybe lounge by the pool for a bit. Inside is pretty cool too. Look at those balls hanging…made from wine corks.

Do you celebrate Martin Luther King Day? Belize joins you!
On the third Monday of January, all of us here at Chaa Creek join the world in observing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and this year, with the recent passing of Nelson Mandela, the day takes on a particular significance and poignancy. We may have lost two great icons of equal rights, but their legacy lives on, and the world is a much better place because of them. This is the importance of Martin Luther King, Jr Day – that each year everything he stood for is remembered and passed on to more and more people. In a world where strife has become commonplace, the non-violent activism Doctor King espoused stands out as something to be not only remembered, but embraced as a way of life. Imagine living in the world that Doctor King, Gandhi and Mandela envisioned. A world where, as Bob Marley put it, the colour of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes, and where everyone has equal access to opportunity and the freedom to pursue their dreams.

International Sources

Tree Fellers Revisited
70 years after he left Belize as a member of the British Honduras Forestry Unit Sam Martinez, who lives in Edinburgh Scotland and is a youthful 103, sees his home village of Barranco for the first time and is greeted by some residents in the Garifuna language.

January 18, 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

Sir Barry Bowen Bridge reopens after urgent repairs
The Sir Barry Bowen Bridge in the Boca del Rio Area of San Pedro Town has been officially reopened after being damaged by the excessive rains. Water had infiltrated the foundation at the northern foot of the bridge, forcing authorities to close off a section to conduct urgent repairs. Those repairs were done by Medina’s Construction, and after eight days, the bridge was re-opened on Thursday January 16th. The urgent repairs included the reinforcement of the basement with concrete material, making it difficult to be washed away in the future. The work to have the bridge fixed, which linked the north and south of island, cost approximately $13,000. According to Mayor Guerrero, in the slow tourism season, the council will be reinforcing the ramps leading to the bridge on both sides with layers of concrete to make it even stronger.

San Pedro Art Group hosts annual benefit art show
Last weekend on January 11th and 12th The San Pedro Art Group hosted their annual “Women in Need” art show to benefit the community. For the last six years the event has been held at different venues, ranging from the Sunbreeze Hotel, Sunset Grill and Tropic Air Guest Lobby, with the last two years being held at Xanadu Resort. This year the group of very talented (and generous) women artists included Rose Escalante, Judy Sheinbaum, Donna Richmond, Carolyn Price, Violet Henderson, Susan Lala and Samantha Alcuin. Art aficionados were treated an array of beautiful water colors, glass jewelry, hand painted cushion covers, greeting cards and more. Proceeds from the art sale will go to women who are in need on the island, with funds discreetly issued to those who are most disadvantaged. The weekend show was a fantastic opportunity for residents and visitors alike to purchase lovely artwork while supporting a community program and The San Pedro Sun applauds these charitable artisans.

Ministry of Works and Transport Holds quarterly Technical Staff Meeting
DSCN5856On Thursday, January 16, 2014, the Ministry of Works and Transport held its quarterly Technical Staff Meeting. Present were Honourable Rene Montero, Minister of Works and Transport, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Errol Gentle, Chief Engineer, Mr. Lennox Bradley, Engineers, District Technical Supervisors (DTS), Assistant Technical Supervisors (ATS), other Technical Staff as well as Senior Staff from the Administrative and Accounts Sections. The Minister commended the staff for work well done during 2013, but emphatically mentioned the projected works in the pipeline to deal with civil works in the North to mitigate the effects of the recent rains as well as other “Hot Spots” countrywide. Making reports were Zone Engineers, DTS’s, PEU (Project Execution Units) Flood Mitigation and the Accounts Section. - Current projects are being carried out by the PEU handling the E.U. Funds in the North and South of the country. - The Flood Mitigation Project in Belize City (IDB Funds) - The National Infrastructure Project funded by Government of Belize.

The Belize Athletics Association Cross Country Trials
The Belize Athletics Association will be holding a training session for persons wishing to become officials in the sport of athletics. This training will take place at ITVET campus in Belize City from 9AM on Saturday, January 18th. Training will be given for theory and practical lessons .Persons wishing to participate in this training can register on the day of the training or contact Hugh Staine at phone number 623-1335 in advance. The Belize Athletics Association will also be having a Cross Country Trials on Saturday, January 18th in the surroundings of the GG Field at 1PM. This event will be held to select athletes to represent Belize at the CADICA Central America Cross Country Championships to be held in February 2014 at Costa Rica. The categories that are needed to be occupied are: Distance Category 2k Infant A female 2k Infant A male 2k Jr C female 4k Jr C male 4k Jr B female 6k Jr B male 6k Jr A female 8k Jr A male 8k Open female 12k Open male Persons wishing to participate can register on the day of the event or with any member of The Belize Athletics Association.

Increase in Liquid Petroleum Gas Prices
The Supplies Control Unit in the Ministry of Trade, Private Sector, Development and Consumer Protection is hereby informing the general public that effective January 17, 2014 the Government of Belize has approved the following controlled prices of Liquid Petroleum Gas Prices.

Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge
Its location gives the name away quite easily. The silhouette etched from mountains and standing starkly against the sky can make you believe that giants do exist. Sure it’s made of a grouping of large trees and thick forest creeping up on massive mounds/mountains, but when nature forms into a familiar forehead, nose, lips, chin, neck and even chest, it is easy to accept that it is in fact, a giant slumbering into oblivion. And nestled at a distance, primed to take in those breathtaking views is Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge. A deliciously luxurious resort designed to showcase the mountains and surrounding flora to full advantage, Sleeping Giant is a fabulous retreat. Taking full advantage of a spring fed creek running through the property, the main building and casitas have been built around its sound and path. Modern amenities are juxtaposed with the rustic charm of the jungle: a gourmet meal served to you on the deck of your casita overlooks the flowing stream that bubbles and gurgles along to the cacophony of birdsong and rustle of leaves overhead.

Ambergris Today

Denque-carrying Mosquito is Host to Another Disease Spreading in Caribbean
In August 2013 San Pedro, Ambergris Caye had an outbreak of dengue and the Health Department and San Pedro Town Council worked arduously and quickly in providing intervention methods such as ultra-low volume (ULV) spraying, thermal spraying of houses, premises inspections, spraying of drains and issuing of bed nets to homes in high-risk areas for dengue. Just as the Dengue scare passed us, the Belize Ministry of Health, confirmed that a 29-year-old female has died from the H1N1 Influenza A virus in the country. And now the Caribbean countries including Belize are being warned of the outbreak of the disease known as Chikungunya. Chikungunya is a viral disease, carried mainly by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and causes a dengue-like sickness. Symptoms include a sudden high fever, severe pain in the wrists, ankles or knuckles, muscle pain, headache, nausea, and rash. Joint pain and stiffness are more common with chikungunya than with dengue. The symptoms appear between four to seven days after the bite of an infected mosquito. The majority of clinical signs and symptoms last three to 10 days, but joint pain may persist longer. Severe cases requiring hospitalization are rare.

Misc Belizean Sources

The “WOW” Factor
13th Annual Tourism Industry Presentation shows growing trends – hosted in Corozal. On Wednesday January 15th for the first time, Corozal hosted the 13th Annual Tourism Industry Presentation sponsored by the Belize Tourism Board. With the growing trends in the industry, other achievements and past performances were celebrated. The Ministry of Tourism announced that it has just secured an eleven million Belize dollar loan for infrastructural development through Taiwan’s International Cooperation for Development Fund (TICDF). A conglomerate of stakeholders in the Tourism Industry, the Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia Jr. officials from the Belize Tourist Board and Belize Tourism Industry Association met at Tony’s Hotel where they discussed past performances and the way forward with the Tourism Master Plan.

Santa Elena Teen Splash
Maximum Radio is having their Teen Splash fun day today at the Santa Elena basketball court, starting at 2:00pm. Bring out the entire family for some fun and games.

Rotary Scholarship Recipient Interview
The Rotary Club of San Ignacio provides many scholarships for needy students, and they've uploaded the video from their interview with Henry Guererro. Henry is currently enrolled at Sacred Heart Junior College, and he's doing great. Thanks, Rotary, and best of luck, Henry. "Our main focus is 'Educate our Youth.' Watch this video and see how Rotary can change the life of a student."

Health PSA 1
The Ministry of Health has released a series of Public Health Announcements designed to give information to the public on preventing illnesses such as the flu. Here is one of the PSA's

British tourist attacked in Consejo, Corozal
A British woman who lives in Consejo village, Corozal was the victim of an assault and attempted robbery on Thursday. Deborah Thomson reported to police that she was riding her bicycle about two miles from Corozal Town when she was approached from behind by a man of Hispanic descent on a bicycle. Thomson says that the man poked her with a stick and tried to grab her purse which she had in the basket of her bicycle and run her off the road. Thomson fought off her attacker and pedaled faster, yelling for her husband. The woman says that the attacker she fought off was later joined by another man as they pursued her, but fortunately her husband came to her aid just as the duo was about to catch up to her. The intervention of Thomson’s husband caused the attackers to flee into nearby bushes leaving behind their bicycles.

My Body is Precious - Girl Empowerment Campaign
The Special Envoy Belize kicked off the "My Body is Precious - Girl Empowerment Campaign" at 2:00 pm at the UB Gymnasium yesterday. Let's join in the campaign to remind our girls that they are Beautiful Flowers!

The Chamber supports the Teachers in their demand for a wage adjustment that better reflects the increased cost of living experienced by all Belizeans and the importance of the teaching profession for our country. While we understand Government's financial position, we believe that a wage adjustment can be afforded if it is responsibly phased in over a number of years. As we have said in the past, the Chamber believes that smarter and more efficient government spending, along with a serious effort at the elimination of waste and corruption could provide the financial savings that would cushion wage adjustments and result in improved government services.

Who wouldn’t want to camp out in Belize?
It was our first night in Belize and things were not starting out well. “You didn’t tell me we were camping!” exclaimed my 16-year-old daughter Kelsey. “I would never have agreed to come if I had known we were camping.” She had a point. I hadn’t used the word “camping,” because to me camping means a sleeping bag on the floor of a tent. We were in a comfortable wooden cabana with beds, mattresses, pillows and sheets. There was electricity and a central shower area with running water and flush toilets. This wasn’t really camping. I suspected the underlying problem was really a slight case of nomophobia, or fear of being out of cellphone contact. With no cellphone signal and no Wi-Fi, the cabanas were practically prehistoric — in a teenager’s mind, anyways. When I booked the trip with Island Expeditions, I had hoped that a few days away from technology on a mother-daughter adventure trip would be good for both of us.

The Creoles are losing power but they have not collapsed yet
I read an article written by the owner and publisher of the Amandala, Evan X Hyde, several times and I disagree with him that the Creoles have collapsed. It is more accurate to say that they are losing power. The Creoles are in the position that they are in due to the ethnic, economic, historical and political transformation that has been taking place in our country over the years. The indigenous people of our country are the Mayas and they were there for centuries before the Spanish and the British came to this part of the world. Both the Spanish and the British governments implemented many inhumane policies to deprive these people of their native land and eradicate their culture but failed. In the neighboring countries of Mexico, Guatemala and other countries in Central America, the native Mayas are still treated as third class citizens.

Belmopan vs. BDF
The Belmopan Bandits play the BDF tomorrow night at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in the first round of the semi-finals of the PLB. The game starts at 7:30pm. "PLB Belikin Semi-final Game Belmopan Bandits FC vs BDF Saturday January 18, 2014"

Channel 7

Teachers “Raise-a-pay” Rally, City Style
Today thousands of primary and secondary scholars got a holiday, as their teachers took a day off to rally for a buffet of social causes, but mostly their own: they are demanding a raise, which they'll get, but they're also demanding that the Prime Minister commit to a minimum increase, which he has refused to do. So, they're throwing that on the fire, along with many other issues that are out there, to strike up the most organized union machinery in the country. The second week of rallies brought them today to downtown Belize City, and 7News was at the front row to hear what they had to say, and to count the numbers. Here's how it looked:... Daniel Ortiz reporting Approximately 350 teachers moved off from Constitution Park at around 8:30 this morning, ready for the day's rally, taking over Cemetery Road, and the main downtown area, and by the time they got to the Battlefield Park, the stragglers who arrived late boosted the numbers to about 410.

Chamber Supports Teachers
And today the teachers' cause got support from an unlikely place: the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry. We say unlikely because the chamber has always espoused merit based increases and careful public spending, but today the Chamber said the teachers deserve a raise. A statement issued this morning says quote, "The Chamber supports the Teachers in their demand for a wage adjustment that better reflects the increased cost of living experienced by all Belizeans and the importance of the teaching profession for our country." It adds that, quote, "we believe that a wage adjustment can be afforded if it is responsibly phased in over a number of years…smarter and more efficient government spending, along with a serious effort at the elimination of waste and corruption could provide the financial savings that would cushion wage adjustments and result in improved government services."

Teachers Says They Will Support Immigration Officers Who’ve Been Recommended For Termination
Today Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse confirmed that Immigration Director Maria Marin has recommended the termination of three Immigration Officers who produced the Citizen Kim passport. Hulse explained that hers is only a recommendation and the public services commission will now have to decide if it will grant a hearing for termination - at which point the officers would be allowed to defend their actions and have union representation. So they are a long way from termination, but Hulse told us that the Director had no choice because two of the officers in questions are data entry clerks, and they had the responsibility to make sure the person applying for the passport was there sitting in front of them in September of 2013 when the Citizen Kim passport was issued. Of course, he could not have been there because he was in a Taiwanese jail. Instead they used an old picture from his South Korean passport, and superimposed it into the Belize passport. Now, much has been made of the fact that they have been recommended for termination, while Penner is still a member of the House with all the pay and perks. But, Hulse says that Penner was fired from Cabinet - which was the most that can be done.

Sugar Season Delayed Again
Earlier this week we told you that cane deliveries should start next week Monday at 10. Well, tonight, the latest information is that those deliveries won't start until next week Friday, January 24. The decision came out of a meeting between BSI, BSCFA, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Works, which happened today. Contracts have been signed, but the works on the sugar roads, which are in a very bad condition, have been very slow, and all parties believe that they will not be passable on Monday. They have delayed it for another 4 days to give the contractors more time. Estimates from the experts are that for every week that the season is delayed under the amended scheduled, that's about 3 million dollars in production that is lost.

Magistrate: Extradite Deon Bruce
Yesterday, Rhett Fuller escaped extradition - but today Belizean Deon Bruce wasn't so lucky. Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith ruled that he must be extradited to the US to face charges of murder and attempted murder. Bruce is charged for allegedly shooting at Aaron Carter and Bryan Rodgers in Chicago on July 28, 2010. After hearing arguments from his attorney, Godfrey Smith, in December of last year, the Chief Magistrate deliberated for over a month, and today she ruled that Bruce must be sent to the US. Bruce was visibly shaken when he exited the court today, and he has only 15 days to apply to the Supreme Court to appeal the decision of the Chief Magistrate, or that decision becomes final. Today, 7News spoke to his attorney, and he told us that he will meet with the family next week to decide whether or not they will appeal. Judging from his physical reaction today, it is very likely that Bruce will not let the decision of the Chief Magistrate stand without challenging it.

Big Tom Targetted By GSU
Kenneth Big Tom Flowers….he was deported from the USA in November of 2013 after getting off a murder rap. The 36 year old told us that he was making a change in his life, that he was ready to forgive and move on. But he did confess that his past might catch up to him in Belize, and, it seems, so it has. The GSU today charged Flowers for a little used offence: associating with a criminal gang in violation of his compliance letter as a deportee. He was arraigned and pleaded not guilty. The matter was adjourned for March and he was released on bail. It turns out Flowers was arrested for the same offence on December 18 where he also pleaded not guilty and that matter is set for trial on Feb 21, 2014.

The Pressure Builds For The Palencia And Its Cargo
Tonight, makes it exactly one week since the international cargo vessel, the CFS Palencia has been under arrest, anchored and held in Belizean waters. Michael Young today confirmed that he has been retained as attorney for the ship owner, but he could not comment beyond that. But, from what we've been able to determine, there's been no progress in the standoff between Government, which has detained the ship and the owners. Caught in the middle are the Belizean importers and exporters, who depend on the ship's weekly route to and from Jamaica to move their shipments. The ones feeling the pinch most acutely right now are the Belizean exporters who have 20 containers on board - not the eight we reported last night. Those 20 contain citrus concentrate, shrimps, corn, cornmeal and black-eyed peas. Almost half of the containers, 9 of them to be exact are being exported by a Mennonite cooperative out of Spanish Lookout, named Bel-Car. CEO Otto Friesen told us that the products they have on the ship are valued at seven hundred thousand dollars. He says his company's buyers are getting impatient, and feed mills in Surinam and Guyana which depend on his corn to feed poultry operations are about to run out of feed. He says if his corn shipment doesn't go through, he'll lose the business. Friesen says if their shipments earn a reputation as being unreliable, his company stands to lose 5 million dollars in sales over the next six months.

Ms. Cunna Says Remand Of Her Son Is Police Acting Personal
The last time we told you about 33 year-old Darrell Henry, he had been forced to spend the Christmas holidays in prison after he was charged with firearm offences. As we had told you, he was charged with possession of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol, and failure to provide a specimen. Those charges were dismissed by Magistrate Dale Cayetano who upheld a no-case submission from his attorney, Dickie Bradley. As he was exiting the courtroom, he was immediately rearrested and charged with keeping an unlicensed firearm, keeping unlicensed ammunition, handling stolen goods, and possession of a false document. The firearm charges are an automatic remand, so when it was brought to court, even though his attorney argued that the decision was an abuse of process, he still had to be arraigned and remanded. Despite Bradley's submission that Henry had basically just been acquitted on the same charges, Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer had no choice in the matter. Today, after 24 days n remand, his case came up, and Henry's family was very hopeful that he would be granted bail. Senior Magistrate Frazer told him however, that the matter has to be heard in the Supreme Court, and she had to remand him to a further date until that bail application goes through. We spoke to his mother, the well-known "Miss Cuna", and she told us that her family believes that a personal grudge is at play:

Teenager Mauled, Stabbed, Survives
A 15 year old boy was stabbed yesterday in front of a Panades shop in the Lake Independence area. Yesterday afternoon at around 2:00, Christian Martinez was riding home when three males pulled up, got out of a car and stoned him in the back with a maul. He fell to the ground and they then stabbed him multiple times in the left shoulder. He was taken to the KHMH where he was still admitted today with non life threatening injuries.

US State Department Shows Respect To “Prince Joe”
Sadly, dozens of young men are killed in Belize annually, but 18 year old Joseph Sanchez is the very first to have his passing noted by the US State Department. A highly unusual release issued from the US Embassy in Belmopan today says, quote, "The Department of State condemns the brutal killing of transgender teenager Joseph Sanchez in Belize on January 12. We send our condolences to Joseph's friends and family and the entire LGBT community in Belize." It concludes, "No one should be subjected to violence because of who they are or who they love." Sanchez was we have reported was a young man with a transgender orientation who was killed last week Sunday morning on Elston Kerr street. Police say it was a robbery; LBGT activists say it was a hate crime.

Belize’s Artifacts On the Move, Carefully
Last month, we took you to St. Paul Minnesota to show you the very impressive Mayan exhibit called Hidden World Revealed crafted by the Science Museum of Minnesota. It's news here because artifacts and research from Belize feature very prominently in the show. And now after 7 months on display in St Paul at the Science Museum of Minnesota, the exhibit is on the move to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. And going along with it are 160 pieces of precious Mayan artifacts from Belize. They have to travel about 900 miles by road to Denver, the end of a two week process of taking all the pieces down form their displays and packaging them with multiple layer of protection,. NICH"S Sherilyne Jones who oversees the entire process to make sure utmost care is taken. Today we spoke to her in Minnesota where she has braved subzero temperatures for weeks. First we spoke to conservator Rececca Newberry: Rebecca Newberry, conservator - SMM "We really put a lot of care into all of the travelling; all of the things that are going on the tour." Sherilyne L. Jones, Director, Museum of Belize & Houses of Culture "The detail planning that went into moving the objects and packing the objects was on par. I have never seen such detailed planning and preparation."

Rare Mayan Mural In NW Bze
And the new research on the maya just keeps coming. The publication Popular Archaeology reports a find at a little known site in northwestern Belize which is called Tulix Mu. From the road it looks like just an area of overgrowth, but it is an ancient Early Classic Maya site that contains evidence of at least two standing vaulted rooms. That's nothing to exciting, but beneath the plaster in one of the rooms, researches have found evidence of a polychrome, fine-line mural. The magazine says the mural style appeared generally similar to that found years before by other archaeologists at San Bartolo in Guatemala. There are only a few other known Maya murals found in Central America.

These Kids Are Winners….
Today, the National Sport Council sport the 2014 Primary School Football Championships at the MCC Grounds and the Raccoon Street Police Station Football Field. It was an all-day tournament, where a male and a female team from each of the 6 districts competed against each other to determine who would be the national champs. After 10 games, the girls from Richard Quinn RC School in the Stann Creek District emerged as the champions defeating Santa Elena Primary of the Cayo District final match which ended with a score of 2 to 1 in a penalty shoot-out after. The most valuable player chosen was Renisha Requena who scored 5 goals in the tournament including the winning penalty. In the boys category, Trial Farm Government School won their first national championship after defeating Santa Elena Primary from the Cayo District after a very close game which went to a penalty shoot-out. The final score was 5 to 4. The most valuable player was chosen as Johnny Cawich, who scored for goals for his team. Trial Farm won the match after their goalkeeper, stopped Cayo's fifth penalty shot.

Channel 5

The damning nationality report on Won Hong Kim….the details
There is confirmation by Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse of a story we broke on Wednesday that Director of Immigration Maria Marin has recommended the termination of three passport officers [...]

Belize City teachers take to the streets
The unions have promised that 2014 will be the year of the worker, and agitation has been ramped up since the beginning of the New Year. The Belize National Teachers [...]

B.N.T.U. pledges support for suspended immigration officers
As we told you earlier in our newscast, it has been reported that three public officers – Sharon Neal, Omar Phillips and Erwin Robinson are on the chopping block based [...]

….And lashes out at Minister of Education, Patrick Faber
The Minister of Education Patrick Faber came under fire from the teachers for criticizing the industrial action, the union and them. Faber is often outspoken, and defends his comments as [...]

Another delay to the beginning of the crop season
Following the signing of an interim agreement between B.S.I. and the B.S.C.F.A. early this week, the 2013 – 2014 sugar cane crop was to have gotten underway on Monday, January [...]

Family devastated when Darrell Henry could not get bail
A family in Belize City was devastated today by the news that their loved one would not be coming home from court with them. Thirty-three year old Darrell Henry has [...]

Extradition request for Deon Bruce is granted
In July of last year, twenty-eight-year-old Deon Bruce was arrested by Belize City police and held in detention at the Queen Street Precinct pending what his family believed would have [...]

U.S. issues a statement on the murder of cross-dresser, Joseph Sanchez
Eighteen-year-old Joseph Sanchez was fatally stabbed by two men at about two o’clock on Sunday morning while en route to a party.  The teenager was dressed as a woman, clad [...]

Belize Chamber of Commerce comes out in support of B.N.T.U.
While a throng of teachers from the Belize District converged on Battlefield Park this morning to make known their demand for a salary adjustment, its social partner, the Belize Chamber [...]

S.S.B. investigating identity theft cases
There are two reported incidences by the Social Security Board of identity theft under the names Carmen Cantun and David Cruz.  The S.S.B. said today that the cases remain under [...]

Fifteen year old viciously attacked by three men
Fifteen-year-old Christian Martinez, a resident of Balan Street in Lake Independence, remains hospitalized tonight, following a vicious attack on Thursday evening during which he was stabbed multiple times to the [...]

B.D.F. soldier charged for the manslaughter of Staff Sergeant Abimael Carrillo
On December twelfth, 2013, B.D.F. Soldier Abimael Carrillo, who had been serving the Belize Defence Force for almost two decades, was killed in a traffic mishap. Today, one of his [...]

An art exhibit by Inga Woods
Meet twenty-one year old Inga Woods….she’s a painter, poet, jewelry designer and does almost anything during her spare time to create impressive pieces. And tonight at the Bliss Center for [...]

A Good Samaritan on a mission to assist women affected by violence
Rayford Benguche, a Belize City resident turned Good Samaritan, is on a mission to assist women who are experiencing hardships because their loved ones have been caught in the vicious [...]

The winners of the National Primary School Football Championships
Junior female and male ballers converged on the MCC grounds today to kick off the national school football championships. Before the start of the one day competition, the students heard [...]


LPG Price Sky-rockets
At midnight tonight, the first increase in butane gas for the year 2014 will come in effect, and it’s by a whopping $5.00. According to the Supplies Control Unit in the Ministry of Trade, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection, the new controlled price for a hundred pound cylinder of Liquid Petroleum Gas imported from Mexico is as follows: Belize City $125.00, Belmopan & San Ignacio $127.00, Benque Viejo Del Carmen $128.00, Orange Walk $126.00, Corozal $125.00, Dangriga and Punta Gorda, $129.00 and $130.00 respectively. The price for the hundred pound cylinder of butane imported from Central America will stand as follows: Belize $121.00, Belmopan & San Ignacio $123.00, Benque Viejo Del Carmen $124.00, Orange Walk $122.00, Corozal $121.00, Dangriga $125.00 and Punta Gorda $126.00.

PUP Says Gun Law Is Counter Productive
Yesterday we reported on the Launching of the Peoples United Party’s Social Justice Agenda, which seeks equal rights and opportunities for all Belizean citizens. And while there are many uneven, even outdated laws that need amending, one such law which has been brought to the spotlight is the Gun Law where any gun related charges is an automatic prison sentence. The media asked PUP Party Leader, Francis Fonseca to give his view on the issue and here is what he told us. “Anyone who looks at the record would know that at the time they introduce that gun law, the People’s United Party in the National Assembly opposed that particular section of the law and in fact made some very strong statements, we made recommendations for improving that law and we remain consistent with that position we have consistently said to the government that we believe that law is being applied unfairly, we understand that there are dangerous people on the streets and we need to deal with them and we need to get out guns out of the hands of dangerous people but we do not need at the same time to use those laws to penalize those law abiding citizens who are trying to protect themselves, their families and their businesses and a lot of that is happening, a lot of innocent people are being caught up in this web that has been thrown and so we need to look at that law and other laws to make sure that they are being effective and that in fact they are not having a counterproductive effect on the innocent people of our country.”

MOA Also To Assist Cane Farmers
The assistance rendered to farmers and cattle producer’s ranges somewhere around eight hundred thousand dollars. Another big sector of the agriculture industry that is being gravely affected by the bad weather is sugar cane. In this area alone, farmers in the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts are being affected by flooded fields and the heavy rains have also further damaged sugar roads making it difficult for farmers to access their crop. Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Gaspar Vega says that government is also rendering the assistance needed in helping to alleviate the negative impact the rains are having in this particular industry by allocating at least 2.5 million dollars in the rehabilitation of sugar roads. Honorable Gaspar Vega – Deputy Prime Minister of Belize “Again we’re going have to wait and see how far that will go because at the beginning the Prime Minister had allocated 2 million dollars for them but we know that it was not enough and we have increase just of lately just like a past few days a 2.5 million dollars.”

Peace Work International Donates Much Needed Equipment To Schools
A few days ago, we told you about the US volunteer team, Peace Work International, who arrived in Belize to conduct some work and training in horticulture, Information Technology and nursing with several groups across the country. The team has been visiting Belize for two years and this time, before departing, they made a significant contribution to under resourced schools. Today, we caught up with the Field Director of the group and the recipients of the contributions made. Jess Falla – Field Director, PeaceWork “There are a number of laptops as well as projectors that came from Gateway Technical College students from Wisconsin and the computer and laptops are being donated to various schools here in Orange Walk. We have been working with Ms. Karla Alvares to figure out which schools were the most in need so some of these schools that are getting laptops do not have any laptops until now, we wanted to make sure that the resources were fairly distributed so she was able to identify which schools really were in need of computer and laptops.”

Man Charged For Communicating With Prisoner
In the Orange Walk Magistrates Court today, one man was charged for communicating with a prisoner. Yesterday, about 8:30am, Officer Commanding the Corozal Police Formation, Superintendent Andrew Ramirez, was in his office located on the south end of the police department, close to the cell block area, when he heard someone talking. He made physical checks and noticed that a male person was talking to one of the prisoners, namely Francis Flowers. The person talking to the prisoner identified himself as Marvin Rancharan. Ramirez cautioned the man that he was committing the offence of communicating with a prisoner, and placed him under arrest. The individual then confessed that his real name was Jason Jonathan Espinosa, 20 year old Belizean jockey of South End, Corozal Town. Espinosa was then charged for communicating with a prisoner and mischievous act. He was brought to the Orange Walk Magistrate's Court where he pled guilty on both charges and fined $100.00 on each count. The public is reminded that it is an offence to communicate with a prisoner without authority.

Traffic Accident Claims Life Of A Taxi Driver
A 28 year old taxi driver from Concepcion Village in the Corozal District lost his life in a road traffic accident last night. Authorities in that municipality say speeding may have been the contributing factor to his demise. Reporter Victor Castillo followed that story today and filed the following report. Victor Castillo – Reporting It was after 8:00pm when Pedro Mendez, uncle of the now deceased Marcelo Damien Aguillar, received a call from a friend only known as Santiago, informing him of the dreadful and deadly accident. Pedro Mendez - Uncle “Llamaron eso como de las ocho y cuarto en que él había chocado con un camión pero el que me llamo el no confirmo si él estaba muerto y porque él no estaba en el puesto de los danos todavía, cuando el llego en el puesto el me llamo que ya estaba muerto en que choco con u cabezal en la llanta de atrás y lo mando encima de un pickup.”

Mother Nature Continues To Attack Farmers MOA Assists
The sporadic weather continues to increase losses to farmers across the country. Here in the north, vegetable farmers are experiencing significant losses as some have been unable to plant while those who did, have no crop to harvest due to overly saturated soil. The constant rains have provoked hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of loss in the agriculture sector. Government conducted a damage assessment late last year but as the weather pattern fails to improve, farmers continue to lose their crop. Given the national impact the rains are having, the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, is providing some assistance to farmers across the country. This morning farmers congregated in Orange Walk Town to receive the much needed assistance. Dalila Ical reports. Farmers from the Belize, Orange Walk and Corozal Districts today received seeds, fertilizers and food coupons from the government in an effort of easing the financial loss they have sustained due to continuous rains. Present for the ceremony was Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Gaspar Vega. Honorable Gaspar Vega – Deputy Prime Minister “En esta zona como dije se produce como el 70% de toda la cebolla, producimos un poquito más del 50% de todos los vegetales que se produce en el país. En el distrito de Orange Walk se produce un poquito más del 50% de todas las carnes que se produce en Belice, todo el ganado, así es de que ustedes son gente muy especial, muy importante para la economía de Belice.”

British National Escapes The Wrath Of Criminals
A British tourist residing in Consejo Village, Corozal, is tonight recuperating from a frightful ordeal after she was nearly attacked by two men. On Wednesday, Deborah Jayne Thomson was heading back to the Village of Consejo on bicycle when she was approached from behind by a male person of Hispanic descent who was also on a bicycle. The individual, who was dressed in a bright red shirt, got in Thomson’s way trying to make her swerve off the road into some bushes. The individual then tried to grab her purse which she had in the basket of her bicycle. Thompson, though; managed to hit the male person causing him to stay behind and she rode faster while calling her husband. As she turned around she saw that the same male person was right behind her.

Wild Tracks Assists In The Illegal Pet Trade
When humans and wildlife share the same area, problems are often bound to happen. Unfortunately it is often the wildlife that has to suffer the consequences. And with a specially designed program, that is where Wildtracks, a rehab center for primates and manatees, comes in. The center provides a temporary sanctuary for monkeys and other wildlife casualties that have been taken out of the wild and kept in captivity or are being used as pets. Belize is home to two species of primate – the Yucatán black howler monkey and Geoffroy’s spider monkey. Both are considered globally endangered, and Belize’s populations are being pressured by increasing tropical forest clearance, and capture of young animals for the illegal wildlife trade. It is common knowledge that wild animal species do not make good household pets. And tonight, Reporter Maria Novelo takes a look at how the Wildtracks rehabilitation center plays an important role in helping to alleviate a great deal of this problem, by providing the much needed service to the abused animal wildlife, the communities, public and Government at large.


US State Department Applauds Belize for Swift Investigation
Earlier this week we told you about the murder of eighteen year old Joseph Sanchez which UNIBAM described as a hate crime. Sanchez, who is a member of the LGBT community in Belize, was stabbed to his chest. Police believe that Sanchez was a victim of a robbery that turned fatal. UNIBAM’s Executive President, Caleb Orozco, told Love News that Sanchez was target because of his lifestlye. Today the Department of State of the US sent out a comment in which it states that the Department, quote, “condemns the brutal killing of transgender teenager Joseph Sanchez in Belize on January 12end of quote. The Department concludes its statement by saying that the Department is encouraged by the Belizean authorities’ swift investigation into the killing, and echoes the government’s commitment to ensure that all citizens, without exception, enjoy the full protection of the law. No one should be subjected to violence because of who they are or who they love,” end of quote. Sanchez’s family told the media that Joseph Sanchez quit school because he was receiving death threats. They believe that he was lured to his death. Hours after Sanchez’s body was discovered, a Facebook Profile under the name of John Young appeared. The user of the profile shared Sanchez’s profile picture and captioned it as “one by one uno wah dead”.

Attorney General Makes Observation on Judiciary
Rhett Fuller legal fight from extradition to the United States was done over a course of fifteen years; one of the longest in Belize. Fuller became a free man yesterday after Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington, decided that for the best interest of Belize and Fuller’s family, that he be not extradited. Today Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith ruled that Deon Bruce be extradited to the U.S. where he is wanted for murder and attempted murder. However, his attorney Godfrey Smith plans to appeal the decision which may lead Bruce to years of years of fighting not to be extradited like Rhett Fuller. According to Elrington the long course of legal battle is caused by the attorneys and the Judiciary’s inadequate resources. HON. WILFRED ELRINGTON “In every part of the world, it seems that the lawyers and the practitioners find a way to make the courts work slowly. Courts need to work swiftly and efficiently but for that you have to have people who work very hard and you need to have very smart people and who work conscientiously. It is only when you have that combination of people that you can move things through the courts expeditiously, swiftly but even when you have that combination of people, the lawyers do everything in their power to stall the process and so, the court cases are now dragging and taking much longer time to go through the process than when I started to practice thirty years ago.

Teachers Rally on Battlefield
This was the tone set sometime after nine this morning when members of the Belize National Teachers Union’s filed into the Battlefield Park in downtown Belize City, for the third in a series of weekly rallies to amplify its demand of the Government. The teachers, led by their National President, Luke Palacio, want their salary adjustment, which they say has not been upgraded since 2005. By our own estimate, the assembly numbered between five and 600 at its peak of a total of 720 members, inclusive of retired teachers, in Belize City. It was a turnout with which Palacio said he was pleased. LUKE PALACIO, President, BNTU “The majority of our membership is out here and again, like we said, those who are not out here would be the ones who would answer why they are not out here. We’ve only had two rallies so far, the one in Orange Walk and the one in Corozal and we are satisfied with the turnout.” While that was the picture in Belize City today, in the other districts, the eye-catching green T-shirts marked, “Teachers Got Yoh Back”, were also a part of the day’s activities.

Chamber of Commerce Increase in Wages Should Be Based on Performance and Productivity
When the Belize National Teachers Union had their rally in Orange Walk they saw the support of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and today the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed support for the teachers. In a release the Chamber says that it supports the teachers in their demand for a wage adjustment. While the Chamber understand the GOB’s financial constraints, in it release it says that the wage adjustment can be afforded if it is responsibly phased in over a number of years. The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports the notion that any increase in Public Sector wages should be done in an objective and reasonable manner based on evaluated and measurable performance and productivity. The Chamber emphasizes the link between responsible public spending and just compensation for our public officers, by the absolute need to provide an improved oversight to public finances. The Chamber has called and continues to call for the appointment of the 13th senator and a more autonomous Public Accounts Committee.

Social Security Board Investigates Identity Theft
The recent story of identity theft hit the news earlier this week when Police issued a report of a Tanzania woman, Teena Isaac attempting to get a Belizean passport with a fake birth certificate and social security card. Today the Social Security Board issued a release to say the incident along with others is under investigation. The release says preliminary findings suggest the birth certificates presented to their office for registration purposes were obtained under misrepresentation as the photographs presented were certified by Justices of Peace. The SSB release says that they do take these cases of identity theft quite seriously. Currently, Belizeans can obtain a social security card by presenting the original birth certificate with a photo ID or a passport while foreigners are required to present documents verifying their legal status in Belize such as a work permit, nationality certificate or a CSME certificate. It is to be noted that recently, there have been several attempts to register fraudulently with Social Security and the offices countrywide have been placed on alert especially with new applications.

Police News
A fifteen year old minor of a Balan Street address in presently undergoing treatment at the Karl Huesnor Memorial Hospital after he was stabbed multiple times. Police say that it happened yesterday at about 2:00pm when the teenage boy was riding his bicycle on Balan Street. According to police say that the minor was accosted by three male persons of dark complexion who exited a vehicle and threw a maul which hit him on his back and one of the men inflicted the injuries with an ice pick. The attackers sped off and the 15 year old was rushed to the KHMH for treatment. Police are investigating. A security guard from AAA Security Firm in Belize City reported to police that while he was performing his duties at the Inspiration Center yesterday at about 12:00, he was approached by two dark complexion male persons from behind, who jumped over the fence of the center and placed a short firearm to the right side of his head. The other then took his chrome with black handle .38 revolver containing (5) .38 rounds and (1) hand held radio belonging to the said security firm. Also taken was his grey Samsung brand smart cellular phone valued at eighty five dollars. Then assailants then hit him to his head with the firearm and then made good their escape. Police investigations continue.


400 Belize District Teachers Rally in the Old Capital
The BTL Constitution Park this morning was filled with teachers of the Old Capital and bused in from the River Valley and cayes. It was part two of the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU)’s efforts to raise awareness on key national issues and also to make their case for...

Chambers Support Teachers’ Call for Wage Adjustment
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce has expressed its support to the Teachers in their demand for a wage adjustment. The Chamber says while they “…understand Government’s financial position, believe that a wage adjustment can be afforded if it is responsibly phased in over a number of years.” The...

Deon Bruce to be Extradited to U.S.
American authorities lost a high-profile target yesterday in Rhett Fuller, who dodged extradition to Miami, Florida after a decision was made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington not to take him away from his family. But 28 year old Deon Bruce lost the first hurdle of his...

BDF Charged in Connection to a Fatal Accident That Killed his Colleague
Staff Sergeant Abimael Carrillo, had been serving the Belize Defense force for almost 2 decades before he lost his life on a traffic mishap dating back to December 12, 2013. This morning 43 year old Juan Tuyub (a BDF soldier and Carillo’s colleague) was arraigned at the Belize City...

15 Year old Stabbed Multiple Times
A 15 year old is presently undergoing treatment at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after he was stabbed multiple times. Reports to PlusNews is that yesterday, at about two in the afternoon, the minor was riding his bicycle on Balan Street in Belize City when he was accosted by...

Elderly Man Found Hanging from a Tree at Dangriga Cemetery
Police are treating the death of a 71 year old who was found hanging from a tree, as suicide. On the 10 of this month, at about 4:00 pm, the deceased Hubert Alexander Belezair, left his residence in Belmopan in a cab, en route to the Belmopan bus terminal....

Security Guard Robbed of Firearm
A security guard was assaulted and robbed of his firearm while on duty last night. The 27 year old Haitian guard, attached to the AAA Security Firm told Police that he was performing security duties at the Inspiration Center, when around midnight, two men approached him from behind. The...

British National Chased by Robbers on Bicycles
A British national residing in Consejo Village, located in the Corozal District, had a bizarre, yet frightening encounter with would-be robbers. The woman told Police that on Wednesday, the incident occurred while riding her bicycle about 2 miles from Corozal Town. She was approached from behind by a Hispanic...

US Department of State Comments on Death of Belizean Cross-dresser
Yesterday, on the 16th of January, a webpage called the US Department of State (mobile)” commented on the recent death of Belizean cross-dresser Joseph Sanchez. it stated, and we quote, “The Department of State condemns the brutal killing of transgender teenager Joseph Sanchez in Belize on January 12. We...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Taiwan Scholarships Available
The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is pleased to announce that on Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 at 10:30AM at the Chateau Caribbean Hotel, Belize City, this Embassy and Belize-Taiwan ICDF Alumni Society in Belize will host the 2014 Scholarships Programs Briefings for this year’s scholarship applicants. Started from 2002 and 2004 respectively, this Embassy has accepted and recommended hundreds of applicants to apply for the Taiwan Scholarship and Taiwan ICDF Scholarship annually to pursue their degrees from Bachelor, Master to Ph.D programs in Taiwan in various fields such as public health, agriculture, business administration, engineering and information and communication technology. Until 2013, there are a total of 232 recipients accepted and around 100 persons had finished their study and returned to Belize to contribute their learning to this country.

Island Flyboard Day Postponed
Reefwater Sports is postponing the Island Flyboard Day to Saturday, January 25th 2014 due to the weather conditions.


The Belize City Council (CITCO), specifically Mayor Darrell Bradley, and the Lands Department are caught in a bitter back-and-forth which has gone public over a prime seafront property located on Seashore Drive in the Caribbean Shores area in the suburbs on the outskirts of Belize City. In April of 2013, the City Council was verbally informed that the property in question – parcel #3820 –would be issued to a private individual, Giovanni Blease. Upon receiving the information, the Council immediately lodged a caution on the property in that same month. In November of last year, however, the Belize City Council received a letter from the Commissioner of Lands, Wilbert Vallejos, notifying City Hall that Blease is requesting a court hearing to remove the caution on the land. The reason that CITCO is in opposition to the transfer of Parcel Number 3820 is that, according to Belize City’s Mayor Darrell Bradley, the Belize City Council has always maintained that the entire section of seafront along Seashore Drive is reserved for public use. That use, however, has already been limited by three mansions and a high-fenced mooring area.

Marcelo Damien Aguilar, 28, a taxi driver of Concepcion, Corozal, died after he suffered massive head and body injuries as a result of a 3-way collision between a van, a pick-up truck and a 10-wheeler truck, which occurred between Miles 87 and 88 on the Philip Goldson Highway at about 8:00 last night. Aguilar was declared dead on the scene. The other persons involved in the collision are Servando Salazar, 44, of Orange Walk Town, the driver of the 10-wheeler truck; Gabriel Pott and his wife Elodia Pott, who were traveling in the pickup; and Francisco Hernandez, 16, and Nelson Pech, 21, both of Concepcion, who were travelling with Aguilar. Police said that Aguilar was heading from the northern border to Corozal; Servando Salazar was driving the 10-wheeler truck to the Northern Border from Corozal, and travelling behind him in their pickup truck were Gabriel Pott and his wife. According to police reports, upon arriving between Miles 87 and 88 near the Chan Chen junction with the Philip Goldson Highway, Aguilar lost control of his van and slammed head-on into the 10-wheeler, causing Salazar to lose control of the truck, which ran off the road and overturned – landing with its 10 wheels in the air, on the right side of the road.

Russell Roberts—the activist who last week emerged to publicly challenge an existing gun law which has seen a pregnant mother, a reputable teacher, and a grandmother, among scores of other persons, unjustly slapped with gun or ammunition possession charges—said that attorneys are now looking at the possibility of lodging a class action suit in the Supreme Court of Belize. Roberts is furthermore leading a campaign to get affected persons to document their experiences, so that a case can be made to Prime Minister Dean Barrow for the revisiting of the law, which, some say, violates Belizeans’ constitutional right to freedom, as well as the judicial presumption that they are innocent until proven guilty. Roberts said that they are aiming to get 100 to 200 names, which would be submitted to the Prime Minister, to demonstrate the need to give ear to the concerns. This morning Roberts was joined by the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) at a Radisson Fort George Hotel press conference at which COLA announced that it won’t let Roberts go out there alone to fight what the COLA president, Geovannie Brackett, describes as a “barbaric law” which “has to be done away with…” because, according to Jihad McLaren, another COLA official, “…it makes every person in this country a possible criminal.”

It’s been 17 weeks since the Penner Passport Scandal broke in September 2013, and today a group of concerned Belizeans called a press conference to decry reports that three immigration officers—who they contend are now sacrificial lambs to be offered instead of former Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration, Elvin Penner—are facing termination, while the Minister who held the reins over the passport portfolio has still not faced any major repercussions apart from his ouster from Cabinet. “If the average citizen was caught up in that scenario, they would have long been thrown in jail…,” said Geovannie Brackett, president of the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA). Brackett told the media today that it is “appalling” that, “the big fish gets to walk, but the little fishes now will feel the brunt of it…” COLA’s Rufus X said that Government is now sacrificing three for one, and if this pattern persists, Belize is doomed! “If those three public officers are terminated, we will go to the streets and we call on the Public Service Union [PSU] to find the testicular fortitude to defend your members. Those are not members of COLA, but we are going to defend them. Where is the NTUCB [National Trade Union Congress of Belize] in this regard? How many public officers, how many members of the union should be disrespected before we hit the streets?” Brackett questioned.

Today, businessman Rhett Fuller, 42, who was fighting extradition for 15 years on proceedings initiated by the United States of America, and his family experienced long-awaited ecstasy when Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, announced that he did not see it fit to send Fuller to the US to answer to charges of homicide in that country. The US had asked for Fuller’s extradition on charges of first degree murder in connection with the death of Larry Miller, which occurred during a robbery in the southern state of Florida back in 1990. The Government of the United States initially requested his extradition almost 16 years ago, in 1998; and the then Chief Magistrate gave the order to proceed with it in 1999; however, it was appealed in 2002. At the time, his original attorney, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, argued that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who signed the extradition warrant, did not have the power to do so. With the appeal pending, nothing happened and Fuller went back to having a regular, productive life in Belize. But 6 years later – in 2008 – the appeal finally came up and Rhett Fuller was back in court fighting extradition to the United States for a crime he was accused of 18 years before.

Back in July 2009, the Ministry of Health in Belize reported that there had been 23 laboratory-confirmed cases of swine flu, caused by the H1N1 strain of the influenza “A” virus in Belize—a virus which medical experts now reveal had caused deaths way back in 1918, around the time of World War I, and again in the 1960s, as confirmed by Dr. Federico Gerardo de Cosio, WHO Representative in Belize. Belize and the rest of the world panicked when reports surfaced four years ago that the virus was spreading again and causing multiple fatalities. Director of Health Services Michael Pitts said at a press conference held in Belize City today that in 2010 and 2011, the country saw mild cases of H1N1 – never severe ones – and since October 2013, they have been seeing increased cases of H1N1 flu in the region. Today, however, he reported that they have confirmed Belize’s first death due to the swine flu. Currently, medical authorities are treating a 14-year-old who arrived at the hospital with severe respiratory illness, and has been manifesting that condition over the last 36 hours.

Population-wise, Belize is a small place, but Belize is much larger in land and sea territory than CARICOM powerhouses like Jamaica and Barbados. Belize has always had a lot of development potential, but that development potential, we here submit, has been secondary in importance to Belize’s strategic location in the nationalist, post-World War II era. The largest market in the world in the post-World War II era has been the United States of America, and Belize was just 600 miles away from America, from Florida, to be precise. Cuba was only 90 miles away from Florida, but Belize, compared to Cuba, had lived a protected life because of Belize’s status as a British colony. Cuba’s pains in the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth, ended up contributing to the gains of Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, a revolution which has achieved great social, educational, and technological advances for the Cuban people. Cuba has gone through different experiences from Belize’s, and has suffered from a cruel economic embargo enforced by the aforementioned United States of America for more than a half century. (Castro’s revolution became communist, whereupon the former ruling classes of Cuba migrated to America, and have been plotting to overthrow him ever since.)

“And Jesus answered and said unto them: ‘Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.’” - MATTHEW 24: 4, 5, and 6 There was once a man in Belize who was living two lives. He was living one life by day, and another life at night. On one violent occasion, it appears that these two lives intersected, and the upshot of that intersection was that one of his family members was killed. I was editor of the newspaper at the time, and, try as I might, I couldn’t figure out the violent incident. I did not know how totally contradictory his two lives were. The years went by, and then the gentleman himself was killed. I am not sure if I had become aware of the violent contradiction between his two lives before he himself was killed, but I did become aware of the individual’s two lives at some point. The story has haunted me through the years, because of several reasons. One of these reasons is the fact that this individual must have been tortured by some terrible demons, but one could not gather this just by looking at him. Another reason is that there were innocent human beings involved with the tragedies in his life. And another reason is that this case taught me that there are secrets buried so deep within the social realities of Belize that one must never feel that he or she knows everything there is to know about this society.

Independence police have arrested and charged Manuel Ernesto Urguia Mencias, 51, a Honduran manager of Green Gold Banana Farm in the Stann Creek District, in connection with the killing of Maria Domotila Perez—the second murder to have occurred in the new year. On Monday, Mencias was taken to the Independence Magistrate’s Court, where he was arraigned on the charge of murder and remanded to the Belize Central Prison until April 30, when he will be returned to court. Police charged that Mencias was the man who chopped up and almost severed the head of his lover, Perez, 41, a Honduran businesswoman of Benque Viejo, over money that she allegedly stole from him. The incident occurred at about 10:00 Saturday night, January 4, in the Green Gold Farm area. The Commander of Independence police, Assistant Superintendent Alton Alvarez, told Amandala that their investigation revealed that Perez, who lived in Benque Viejo, travelled to the Green Gold Banana Farm where she met her lover, Mencias, and went to his home. While at the house, Mencias went to the bathroom, and on his return, Perez and his money had disappeared.

When I first learnt about the entire country of Belize being leased to oil companies I felt a rage towards the People’s United Party, because they were the ones who signed the contracts without public knowledge and without competitive public bidding. Then when I read the contents of the contracts, called production sharing agreements (PSA), the rage multiplied ten fold upon ten fold. I could not understand how any leader of this country could agree to terms that are basically a sell-out of our patrimony and a sellout of our natural heritage. This land is our birthright. The moment we are conceived in our mother’s womb we become an inheritor and the moment we pop out of her womb we become a shareholder. No one has to write a will to give us an interest in the bounty of our land and we do not need for anyone to die, to pass us this “legacy.” No matter where you go, once you are born in Belize, your homeland you not only inherit, but you have a God-given obligation to protect your inheritance. So when a leader, by contract or conduct, agrees to terms that amount to a giveaway of this, our birthright or inheritance, to someone else, especially a non-Belizean, this giveaway of what is ours, comes off as them selling us out, because they underestimate our value and true worth. To begin with, there is no price that can be placed on what is our natural bounty. And there is no price that can replace our forests, wetlands, reefs, atolls, rivers, mountains, flora and fauna. Oil companies must destroy some of these to first investigate if there is even oil, through seismic testing, and then destroy even more through extraction, and then transportation out of Belize. So leaders need to consider this before proceeding to sign their names on the dotted lines of any oil contract.

The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) this morning announced a new initiative being undertaken in partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin for a two-year residency program to train Belize’s emergency response personnel, under the Belize Emergency Development Program. KHMH spokesperson Niall Gillett told Amandala that the training—which should bolster the country’s trauma response—is especially needed since the country of Belize has been seeing an upsurge in shootings and killings. He said that the capacity-building project is being developed through the University of Wisconsin, whose chief liaison is Dr. Mark Bruce, who has been collaborating with them since 2005. The Belize Ministry of Health is also partnering in the initiative.

Double-speak… “It has not failed, but it has not worked” is the best we can say of the Westminster system of government after 30 years of apprenticeship (17 years of self-governing status) and 13 years of “running ourselves”. It obviously “has not failed” because in all its glorious inefficiencies and incompetencies, it keeps lumbering on like a 19th century locomotive. “It has not failed” because those who have paid the price of slander, gossip, rumor-mongering, character assassination, who have survived the insults to their persons and families, broken marriages and families, suffered financial distress, once elected know they will get their chance to pay back; they will get their opportunity to drink at the people’s trough. They will be able to live their wildest fantasies, touring the world, hobnobbing with presidents and queens, posturing before international meetings, rhetoricizing about this and that, knowing all the while that one of the giants need but sneeze, and the country is blown about like a feather in a hurricane. “It has not failed” because these brave few, having sacrificed their consciousness and souls to the paramountcy of the party, rationalize these sacrifices by apologizing for their inability to lead by “all over the world this is happening”, “everywhere there is escalating crime and unemployment”, “increasing teen pregnancy”, “there is a breakdown of the family unit,” “our products are subject to market forces beyond our control”, ad infinitum, all the while enjoying the perks of the successful candidate, legislating with perfect aplomb the statement of Bill Vaughn, “the tax collector must love poor people – he is creating so many of them.”

In an effort to highlight the triumphs and challenges of Belize’s tourism industry in 2013, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), as well as other relevant stakeholders, convened at the Tony’s Inn Beach Resort in Corozal Town today, where they not only looked back at the previous year, but they also looked forward to the oncoming year in tourism. After a cultural presentation by a group of traditionally dressed Mestizo dancers, the Chairman of the BTB Board of Directors, Einer Gomez, reflected on the role of tourism in Belize and the advantages that it has brought to the country. Thereafter, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Hon. Manual Heredia, Jr., remarked on the 2013 tourism season, and described it as another “groundbreaking” year for tourism in Belize. He cited unprecedented records of tourist arrivals in 2013, amounting to 7% growth compared to 2012. In addition, the Minister informed the gathering of a 5.7% rebound of cruise tourist arrivals which was categorized as an “above average” trend for the industry. Also of note is that in 2013, there was a 21.2% increase in the number of tour guide licenses that were issued, along with an 8.4% increase in the granting of hotel licenses.

The death penalty in the Americas was the subject of a debate held today by the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) at its headquarters in Washington, DC, USA. Belize is not among the thirteen countries in the Americas which have acceded to the OAS Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty, which binds states parties to an agreement to “not apply the death penalty in their territory to any person subject to their jurisdiction.” According to a release from the OAS, “Numerous permanent Council representatives took the floor to explain the different positions of their countries on the death penalty, ranging from absolute opposition to those who consider the death penalty as the result of a democratic process and a debate that in many cases remains open.” Mexico has been a frontline country promoting the debate. Emilio Rabasa, the Permanent Representative of Mexico to the OAS, reported that his mission called for the inclusion of the issue of the death penalty on the agenda, because for his country the matter, “from the perspective of promoting and protecting human rights, should be listed as a priority issue on the agenda of our Organization, its highest political authorities and its bodies and specialized mechanisms.”

A 16-year-old girl from Selena Village, Cayo District, has been reported missing. Kathryn Illeana Medrano, a Belizean student, was at home throughout the day yesterday, Monday, but at about 5:30 in the evening, she ran away to areas unknown, and has not contacted her family since. Kathryn’s mother, Mayra Corina Ramirez, a domestic, told police that Kathryn is slim-built, about 4 1/2 feet tall, has a fair complexion, and weighs about 120 pounds. She has long black hair, and there is a mole near her left eye. She was last seen wearing a red blouse with a brown skirt and black shoes. Anyone who sees Kathryn Illeana Medrano or knows her whereabouts is urged to contact the nearest police station, or 0800- 922 – TIPS. Her mother is very worried about her and wants her to return home quickly.

A grandmother and her grandson suffered burn injuries when their concrete home on Giles Street, in the Junesville area of Lake I, caught fire at about 9:00 Friday night, January 10. Yvonne Michaels, the house owner and grandmother, suffered burns to her face and forehead, while her grandson, Ryon Martinez, 8, suffered 2nd degree burns to his face, hands and body, and was admitted for treatment at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) after he was rescued from the burning house on Friday night. As a result of the fire, ten people – four adults and six children— are now homeless. The house was completely destroyed, along with all household appliances, furniture and furnishings. The family said that nothing was saved. The estimated loss to the family is about $80,000.

A corporal of the Belize Defence Force (BDF), who is suffering with a brain tumor and needs a brain surgery that must be carried out at a medical institution abroad, is getting the runaround from the higher-ups in the BDF and the Ministry of Defence. Corporal Norman Rodriguez said that he was diagnosed with the condition two years ago and an order was made for him to go abroad to receive the needed surgery to remove the tumor – a procedure which reportedly costs $75,000, but he has not been able to access the assistance that he needs to go away to get the necessary treatment. When he checked on the status of his request for assistance, he was told that the documents which had been submitted were being looked at by the defence ministry and BDF officials. Rodriguez, who has been a soldier for the past 13 years, said that he is being let down by the army, and that he is suffering from depression and seizures as a result.

There has been a lot of behind the scenes grumbling in the Premier League of Belize during the current Belikin Cup 2013-2014 Opening Season competition. In a previous competition just over a year ago, the Police United team was the beneficiary of a very controversial league decision regarding the fielding of a Placencia Assassins player who was supposed to have served a suspension, according to the tournament rules regarding red and yellow cards. The thing is, the suspension was supposed to have been served in a scheduled game against FC Belize; but the then short-staffed Assassins decided on still fielding the player, and still lost the game, 1-0, on Sunday, March 24, 2013. In their subsequent mid-week Thursday night game, on March 28, against Police, the Police management insisted that the said Placencia player should then serve the suspension; Placencia was adamant that the suspension had only applied to the previous game, and persisted in fielding the player. They promptly defeated Police, 3-0, in that game, which was also at the MCC, then Police’s home field. Police lodged a protest, and the League decided to award the 3 points to Police, which resulted in Police taking Placencia’s spot in the playoffs and going on to the championship. The disgruntled Placencia Assassins did not participate in the subsequent PLB Opening Season 2013-2014.

With the Civic Center demolished, the only venue in Belize City half-way suitable for holding top level basketball is Bird’s Isle, and, according to latest reports, a marathon is planned for next Saturday, January 25, to launch the new BBF Elite Basketball League, which will fealture teams from Orange Walk, San Ignacio, Belmopan, Dangriga, Toledo, Corozal, San Pedro and Belize City. We expect to hear more about the long awaited return of “semipro” basketball in the days ahead. Team names we are hearing include, Orange Walk Runnnin Rebels, San Ignacio Western Ballers, Belmopan Bandits, Dangriga Culture Warriors and San Pedro Tiger Sharks. No names have been announced yet for the teams out of Toledo and Corozal, but we have been reliably informed, not to our delight, that the name being proposed for the Belize City franchise is “No Limit.” A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Are you ready to jump on board, city fans? The start date of the inaugural season of the Elite Basketball League is reported to be on Friday night, February 7, when the official opening ceremony will be held at Bird’s Isle. Competition games will be played at the home courts of all the different teams, according to a home-and-away schedule.

Dangriga sports stats
The Dangriga Zone secondary school football tournament started on Sunday, January 13, at the Carl Ramos Stadium with Ecumenical and Delille Academy meeting in both male and female. In the female game, Delille Academy won over Ecumenical, 2-nil; both goals were scored by Quinaya Caliz. In the male game, it was again Delille Academy over Ecumenical, this time by a 2-1 score. Clint Logan and Brandon Flores shook the net for Delille, while Kyle Valerio scored for Ecumenical. The tournament was scheduled to continue yesterday, Wednesday, with Anri vs Ecumenical in both male and female, but the games were postponed due to weather conditions. These will be back matches. The tournament will now follow its normal schedule on Friday, January 17, at 2:30 p.m. with Delille Academy vs ANRI, the female game being at 2:30 p.m., followed by the males. On Monday, January 20, it is back to the high school rivalry in the second round of the tournament, as it will be Delille Academy vs Ecumenical in both male and female.

A spirited and energized boxing veteran, in the person of Henry “Boxer” Gill, visited our sports desk this morning to inform us of encouraging news in his quest to realize his dream of operating his own boxing gym in the Lake Independence area of Belize City, where he presently resides. (We last reported on Boxer’s plans in our issue of Sunday, October 20, under the caption, “Boxer raring to go, needs a spot for a gym in Lake-I.”) After an approximately 30-year sojourn in the U.S.A., Boxer has settled down in his old hometown for the past few years and has nurtured a vision of providing training for wayward youths, thus putting them on a positive path in life, at his own boxing gym. Today, Gill likened the recent positive news to a good round in a boxing bout. “I feel like I just put in some good work, you know, some body blows on my opponent; and his head will soon be dropping lower down, so I can catch him with my left hook in the later rounds.” Boxer was referring to the news that a friend, tour guide Michael Pollard has offered him the available space in his yard to use for his boxing gym. “It’s only walking distance from my home on Electric Avenue,” declared Boxer, “and it has enough space to build a decent sized structure for the gym.”

City fans are joyful and thankful that, by the slimmest of margins, FC Belize has made it to the post season playoffs in this, the most hotly contested “semipro” season ever. The good news will certainly be well received by FC Belize owner Lionel Welch who is recovering from illness in the U.S. Best wishes to ‘Nel for a speedy recovery from all of us in the Jewel.

James Elijio, 29, a mentally challenged man who resides at the corner of Flamboyant and Poinsettia Streets, is recovering at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) after he was shot in the neck at about 10:30 last night in his yard. Elijio had come out of the house through a side exit to urinate in the yard when two men walked up from the direction of Casuarina Street and fired at him, hitting him in the neck. The gunmen then escaped in the direction of Black Orchid Street. Police from the nearby Mahogany Street Police Station responded quickly and took Elijio to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was admitted in a critical but stable condition, and is recovering in the Emergency Care Unit.

Four persons of Orange Walk were released on bail yesterday by the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court after being charged with robbery, aggravated burglary, wounding, and taking a conveyance without authority. Ronald Bruhier, 21, of San Jose Nuevo Palmar, Orange Walk District, and one minor, 17, of Savannah Street, were offered bail of $2,000, while Anthony George Tillett, 19, of Juventud Street and another minor, 14, were charged with the same offences, but were additionally charged with harm. They were offered bail of $5,000. They were all ordered to return to the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, March 5. Tillett was arrested at his home on Tuesday after he escaped from police Saturday morning.

Corozal police are seeking two thieves who stole a bag containing over $2,200 worth of items from a woman and her son, who were sitting under a bus stop in front of the Libertad Clinic. The incident occurred about 6:00 yesterday evening. Janice Gurney, 55, a Canadian artist of Corozal Town, told police that she and her son, Mitchell Duke, 18, were waiting for a bus at the bus stop when two young men on bicycles approached. One of them – who was reportedly of medium build, and had braids on both side of his head— grabbed her multi-color canvas sling bag from off the cement seat where she was sitting. The bag contained her white iPhone in a green plastic case, which has an estimated value of $1,600; a small pink camera, valued at $170; and a brown wallet containing a 20 pesos note, $450 in cash, two bank cards, her driver’s license and other documents, all totaling $1,873 in value. After grabbing the bag, the robber left the scene on his bicycle.

A 9mm pistol with serial number A2802 valued at $2,000 is in the hand of criminals after the owner of the gun and his friend were held up and robbed in their office on Racoon Street Extension in Belize City. Berrisford Bowen, 48, a contractor and resident of Marage Road, Ladyville, Belize District, told police that about 3:30 Tuesday evening while inside his office with Leonard Wright, two men with firearms entered the office. One of the bandits was of dark complexion, slimly built, and about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a narrow face; the other had a brown complexion, was medium built, and was about 5 feet 8 inches tall. The robber of dark complexion reportedly searched Bowen and stole his gold Cuban link chain with an elephant medal valued at $2,000 from around his neck, a gold bracelet with a metal plate in the middle of it that bore the letters B.R.B engraved on the top of it, valued at $1,000; a gold Lodge ring with a Lodge symbol on it in gold, valued at $350, and Bowen’s black 9mm Luger pistol.

A 51-year old teacher is presently remanded at the Belize Central Prison after he was accused of sexually assaulting his 12-year-old stepdaughter. The child, accompanied by her mother, went to the Belama Precinct Four last Wednesday, January 8, to make the report. The 12-year-old minor reported to police that while she was living with her mother, her stepfather, 51, who is a schoolteacher, sexually assaulted her. Police investigated the matter and on Saturday, January 11, the schoolteacher was arrested and charged with seven criminal offenses, including carnal knowledge and aggravated assault of an indecent nature.

Three of four men who were pulled over by police during a search for four bandits who held up and robbed two women at their home in Orange Walk and escaped in their vehicle, have been remanded to the Belize Central Prison on charges of keeping a prohibited firearm and ammunition. Jamal Tablada and Jareth Usher, both residents of Belize City, and a minor, 17, who was with them, were taken to the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Tuesday, where they were remanded to prison until March 18. According to CTV 3 News, on Saturday night, police were on mobile patrol in response to a robbery that had occurred earlier Saturday evening in Orange Walk. They were on the Philip Goldson Highway in a search for the robbers, who had escaped in a vehicle belonging to the victims, when around 12:30 a.m. they saw an SUV parked. Police drove up to the vehicle and saw three persons in the vehicle, one of whom they recognized as a George Street gang member.

Independence police have arrested and charged Manuel Ernesto Urguia Mencias, 51, a Honduran manager of Green Gold Banana Farm in the Stann Creek District, in connection with the killing of Maria Domotila Perez—the second murder to have occurred in the new year. On Monday, Mencias was taken to the Independence Magistrate’s Court, where he was arraigned on the charge of murder and remanded to the Belize Central Prison until April 30, when he will be returned to court. Police charged that Mencias was the man who chopped up and almost severed the head of his lover, Perez, 41, a Honduran businesswoman of Benque Viejo, over money that she allegedly stole from him. The incident occurred at about 10:00 Saturday night, January 4, in the Green Gold Farm area. The Commander of Independence police, Assistant Superintendent Alton Alvarez, told Amandala that their investigation revealed that Perez, who lived in Benque Viejo, travelled to the Green Gold Banana Farm where she met her lover, Mencias, and went to his home. While at the house, Mencias went to the bathroom, and on his return, Perez and his money had disappeared.

The Reporter

PUP introduces Social Justice Agenda
On what would have been George Price’s 95th birthday, the People’s United Party (PUP) launched its 10-point Social Justice Agenda. Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca introduced the new Social Justice Agenda at Independence Hall on Wednesday morning, following a short wreath-laying ceremony at […]

Supreme Court opens new legal year
By Aaron Humes Freelance Reporter Amidst the pomp and ceremony of the opening of a new legal year, there was a greater sense of the importance Belizeans place on the Judiciary to dispense justice, despite heightened challenges and limited resources. “2014 must be a year of action,” declared President of […]

Cane harvest begins
The 2014 sugar cane harvest will begin at 10 o’clock Monday morning, January 20, according to the terms of an interim agreement which the Belizean Farmers Association signed with representatives of Belize Sugar Industries Ltd at BSI Staff Club in Orange Walk Town late Monday evening, January 13. BSI undertook […]

O.Walk & Corozal teachers rally for 5% pay hike
Students in Orange Walk and Corozal districts got a free day from school last Friday, January 10, as their teachers turned out en masse for the first of a month-long series of nationwide rallies. Chief among the teachers’ demands is the case for a minimum five-percent pay increase by July. […]

Independent parties say “No confidence” in Belize/Guatemala negotiations
The Peoples National Party and the Vision Inspired by the People have stated that they have “no confidence” in Government’s latest attempt at negotiations with Guatemala. PNP leader, Will Maheia, said Monday that last Thursday’s meeting between Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington and his […]

Verdes lead Belikin Cup football
BY William Ysaguirre Verdes FC of Benque Viejo del Carmen won through to the playoffs of the Belikin Cup football tournament as the top-ranked seed, finishing the regular season with 20 pts, despite a dismal showing in a scoreless draw when they hosted the second-ranked Belmopan Bandits at the Marshalleck […]

NICH canoe wins Boom to Manatee Lodge race
BY William Ysaguirre The N.I.C.H. team of Oscar Cordon, Felix and Efrain Cruz won the first canoe race of the New Year, organized by the Belize Canoe Association in preparation for the annual Ruta Maya, in a 1:14;14 paddle from the Black Orchid Resort in Burrell Boom to the Manatee […]

Belize’s billion dollar industry? Cornerstone to Belize’s Development part two
In the last Our Economy, we looked briefly at the Private Sector Assessment Report and some of the more key points highlighted, including the role of innovation in terms of private sector development. Picking up on where we left off, let’s refer to the work of 1987 Nobel Prize winner, […]

The Re-Indianization of the East Indians of Belize
By: Dorian Barrow, Ph.D. Florida State University Descendants of Asian Indians comprise approximately 3% of the population of Belize, which, as you know, is the most culturally diverse nation in Central America. We consider ourselves to be both a part of the Caribbean and Central American, even though we have […]

Teacher remanded for having sex with stepdaughter
Fifty-one-year-old teacher, Verden Samuel Blease, was remanded to prison on Monday, for unlawful carnal knowledge of his step daughter. According to police, the 12-year-old victim, along with her mother, reported to Belama police on January 9th that Blease had been having sexual relations with her […]

Teen cross dresser killed
An eighteen-year-old member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, Joseph Sanchez, was killed early Sunday morning and his body was discovered on Elston Kerr Street before 2:00 a.m. Sanchez was found dead on the sidewalk wearing a white sleeveless blouse and a […]

CITCO provides online driver’s license renewal service
Belize City has around 15,000 drivers and of that amount those who wish not to endure the long lines at the Traffic Department to renew their licenses don’t have to do so any more. That’s because the Belize City Council this week unveiled its online driver’s license application and renewal […]

Butane prices going up
A country-wide price increase for liquid petroleum gas will take effect on Friday, January 17. According to the report from the Belize Bureau of Standards, the cost of a hundred pound cylinder of 60 percent butane to 40 percent propane distributed by Belize Gas Limited and Western Gas will increase […]

Asthma: Altering diet may ease symptoms
Fruits, vegetables and whole-grains might be an unlikely treatment for asthma according to animal studies. Tests on mice, published in the journal Nature Medicine, showed that a high-fibre diet could reduce inflammation in the lungs. The extra fibre changed the nutrients being absorbed from the gut, which in turn altered […]

Vitamin D boosts child muscles
Higher levels of maternal vitamin D during pregnancy have been linked to better muscle development in children, say researchers. The study on 678 children, published in Endocrine Research, showed vitamin D levels in the womb were linked to grip strength at the age of four. The team at the University […]

Nigeria bans same-sex marriage
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has signed into law a ban on same-sex marriage in Africa’s most populous nation. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry slammed the decision Monday. “Beyond even prohibiting same-sex marriage, this law dangerously restricts freedom of assembly, association and expression for all Nigerians,” he said in a […]

Violence fears in Thailand rise
Rights groups and others have called on Thai authorities and anti-government protesters to respect human rights and avoid violence during mass demonstrations in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok. The People’s Democratic Reform Committee protest group — which hopes to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office — launched its “Bangkok shutdown,” intended […]

It appears that the leaders of the People’s United Party knew of the duplicate and triplicate names which formed part of the recall petition which was submitted to the Governor General in last year. The petition to recall the elected representative of Cayo Northeast was the first step of the […]

Free at last! 24-year-old legal battle over for Rhett Fuller ends
At the order of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General Wilfred Elrington, businessman and father of three, Rhett Allen Fuller, 45, is at home with his family. Elrington’s ten-page decision, released Thursday, is the final straw in a 24-year saga that began with the death of Larry Miller in […]

Beware! H1N1 endemic in Belize
A woman, 29, died of atypical pneumonia caused by the H1N1 influenza virus at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital last Monday, January 6, Dr. Marvin Manzanero announced at a press conference in the K.H.M.H. conference room on Wednesday, January 15. Dr. Franz Murray, the National […]

COLA lobbies for change to gun law
Activist Russell Roberts has garnered support of several groups to amend Belize’s gun laws, and is now seeking signatures to trigger an audience with the Prime Minister. Roberts held a press conference on Thursday, informing that he has consulted with attorneys on the sections of […]


Importance of Bilingual Speakers in the Workplace
The importance of having bilingual speakers in the workplace has grown as the number of people who speak languages other than English has increased. Businesses that take advantage of adding bilingual speakers to their payrolls can benefit extensively because of the larger market of clients and customers they can capture. Over the past 30 years, the number of people who speak a language other than English has grown exponentially. Estimates place the percentage of this group at about 20 percent of the U.S. population. According to ORC Networks, the percentage of people who spoke non-English languages by 2007 had grown 140 percent, while the nation’s overall population grew by 34 percent.

Amish Bakd Oatmeel
So Thishere is whut oatmeel is spozed ta taste like! Thishere is a lil bit o'culinree Heeve ta start off yer monin', an' trust me – oncet y'all’ve had thishere, y'all’ll nev'r go back ta whut y'all’ve becum accustomet ta callin “oatmeel” agin. T' recipe at I deecided ta try allows y'all ta mix up all o't' ingredyints t'nite befor, an' let everthang sit n' t'frigidairy overniite (thishere allows t'oatmeel ta becum nice an' soft). T' nex monin', y'all jes take it out, stir it up, an' bake it. Let everyone add thar favert toppings, an' enjoy! If'n y'all have inny leftovers, thay a'ken be refrigeratid an' heetid up n' t'microwave lat'r un n' t'week.

A Look Around the Fort Street Cruiseship Village in Belize City
Yesterday was THE most beautiful day to visit Belize City. Bright warm sun, but cool in the shade. I was wearing my long sleeved shirt and North Face windbreaker, visitors, bikini tops and shorts. I took the 830am San Pedro Express Water Taxi from San Pedro to the city. One hour and 15 minutes. To visit the cruise ship village on its most busy day, Thursday. A three ship day in the harbor day. (You can see one of them in this picture below…off behind the fishing boats.) Ft. George Village is the first stop for all visitors that are getting off the cruise ships in Belize. So technically, it is the most visited place in Belize. By far! So how can I write a blog about Belize without visiting this hot spot? This hub? Makes no sense. In fact, I’m starting to get more and more questions from cruise ship visitors. Time to get in and take a look around.

International Sources

US condemns killing of transgender teenager in Belize
The United States has condemned the “brutal killing” of a transgender teenager in Belize. “The Department of State condemns the brutal killing of transgender teenager Joseph Sanchez in Belize on January 12,” US Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki said. “We send our condolences to Joseph’s friends and family and the entire LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community in Belize,” she said, urging Belizean authorities to swiftly investigate the killing. “And we echo the government’s commitment to ensure that all citizens, without exception, enjoy the full protection of the law. No one should be subjected to violence because of who they are or who they love.” Media reports in Belize said that Sanchez, who identified with a transgender orientation, was found dead on Sunday. He had been stabbed and dumped on the side of a street.

Why Botflies Love Your Scalp and Face
The life cycle of the botfly is a special one. An adult fly, full of eggs and joie de vivre, lands on a mosquito. What results is something that looks like a brutal mugging, but instead of taking anything, our ladyfly leaves a gift for our blood-sucking victim. She leaves her eggs. The hapless mosquito, violated and confused, eventually recovers from the attack and does that special thing that mosquitos do: it feeds on the blood of mammals. Once the mosquito has had its dinner, the botfly eggs fall into the little hole created by the mosquito's proboscis. Once inside, well, you know the story by now. It feeds on your body, turning human flesh to fly flesh, and emerges for another generation of carnage.

Excuse me while I go to Belize to taunt monkeys, for research
Please don't hate me for this, but I am leaving this morning for Belize, a tropical paradise where palm trees sway and rum is said to be cheaper than Coke. This will be my first visit to Central America. It also is my first visit to a country where monkeys reside. To me, monkeys are as exotic as wildlife can be. I hope they throw feces at me. I will wear it as a badge of honour. "What's that on your shirt?" "It's monkey feces, actually." What I really want to see is how they throw feces. Do they whip it overhand like a baseball pitcher or do they have some other way of throwing? The answer could shed light on human evolution.

January 17, 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

BC’s Beach Bar to relocate
After 16 years of operating in one of San Pedro’s prime locations, the lease is up for BC’s Beach Bar and the island icon will be relocating to a surprise location. Owner Charlene Woods is not yet releasing the new location for BC’s, but she assures her beloved patrons that it will be on the beach. Charlene explained that the lease may be up, but it’s not the end for BC’s. As a matter of fact, this is BC’s fourth move. The bar was originally located at Mata Rocks resort. In 1995 BC’s relocated to Coconut’s Resort, and just three years later it moved to its current location. BC’s, which is located on the beach front directly south of the Blue Water Grill, is a well-known and beloved bar for locals and tourists alike.

Christopher Newport University teacher-students collaborating with Ambergris Caye educators
A group of 15 students from the Christopher Newport University (CNU) from Newport News in the State of Virginia, USA are on Ambergris Caye collaborating with teachers. The students are in their final semester in the Teacher’s Education Masters Degree program and their visit to Belize is part of their program’s requirement. They have been on the island for the past two weeks and are exchanging teaching methodology with teachers at both the primary and secondary school levels. The students are being led by Professor Rita Kohr and Doctor Judy Pantelides, both professors at the US based university. When speaking with The San Pedro Sun, Professor Kohr indicated that they are happy that their teacher students are able to partner with Belizean teachers and share ideas. “We are with a class from CNU which teaches cross cultural education in that we learn from other countries and other countries can learn from us. What we do every year is that we come and work together in the classroom, bringing new strategies that we’ve learned. We share with the Belizean teachers and also work with the children and we in turn learn from them. Teaching now requires us to share and learn new ideas. It is a very effective way of learning from each other,” said Professor Kohr.

San Mateo electrification project underway
After 16 years of neglect residents in the San Mateo area of San Pedro Town are finally about to get direct electricity from the national grid owned Belize Electricity Limited (BEL). For years residents have had to live in the area with limited infrastructure, especially electricity, and they had to resort to unsafe hazardous connections. However, according to the Mayor of San Pedro Town, Daniel Guerrero, after much backlash from the island residents and the media, works have begun on the San Mateo Electrification project. He said that all residents will have access to connect directly to BEL before the Easter holidays. The Mayor also indicated that not only will residents soon enjoy direct connection to BEL, but they are now also connected directly to the Belize Water Service Limited (BWSL) water system. For many years, residents have been paying for water to the council at a rate far higher than the rest of the island. That was because all residents in that area were connected to one meter registered under the San Pedro Town Council. The amount of water the council was consuming through that water meter fell under commercial usage and rate, which was far higher than that of household and business usage rates.

Ambergris Today

H1N1 Influenza A Cases Confirmed in Belize, Kills One
Although there have been three confirmed cases of the swine flu in Belize, the Ministry of Health says that there is no need to panic as it is not pandemic in the country yet, but Belizeans need to be cautions as there is an increase of influenza activity. In 2009 there was a swine flu scare due to outbreaks in Mexico and other neighboring countries, which caused many deaths. That particular strain of influenza was confirmed in Belize in 2011 and 2012, but that is not the strain of virus to be affecting Belize during this flu season.

Misc Belizean Sources

The Business Chamber of Spanish Lookout
The Spanish Lookout Business Chamber is organizing its biannual Spanish Lookout Commercial/Industrial Expo on Friday and Saturday, February 28 and March 1, 2014 from 9:00a.m. - 5:00 p.m. on each day to be held at the Country Side Park in the Spanish Lookout Community. We hereby extend an invitation to the wider Business Community in Belize to be a part of our highly anticipated expo. Kindly note the floor plan attached. Booth in Building $400.00 Booth in Tent $300.00 Booth Outdoor $700.00 (20x30) For booth reservations call Norman Dueck at 610-2238. Expo Sponsorship:

Long-standing US extradition request finally denied by Belize
At 11:30 am on Thursday, Belizean Rhett Fuller's 15-year fight against extradition to the United States to stand trial for his alleged participation in a 1990 murder in South Beach, Florida, came to end. Belize's attorney general and minister of foreign affairs Wilfred Elrington on Thursday formally denied the US extradition request following a brief hearing. Elrington said that he was swayed in his decision by the hardship that Fuller's family would have to endure if he had upheld the extradition order. Fuller is the father of an autistic child. The US formally made its extradition request in 1998, and Belize's chief magistrate gave the order to proceed in 1999, but Fuller appealed to the Belize Court of Appeal. His appeal was not heard until 2008 and a judgement rendered in 2009 dismissed his appeal. He was subsequently imprisoned. He then appealed to the Judicial Committee of Privy Council in London and that appeal was dismissed in 2011. The Privy Council ruled that the court had no jurisdiction in the matter and only the minister of foreign affairs had the discretion to discharge a person committed in an extradition proceeding on the grounds of abuse of process.

Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the San Pedro Town Council have been battling the littering issue for quite some time now but it seems that it is still a problem. It is really sad to see that people are throwing garbage on private properties and on the streets. We should all realize that this little piece of paradise is our HOME, and we should ALL take care of it and always maintain it clean. We are asking for every one to be more aware of your surroundings. Let us all make an effort to make this place a better place for all - residents and visitors. If you see people dumping garbage on a private property or on the streets, please call the San Pedro Town Council office at 226-2936 and report it. LITTERING IS A CRIME!

Sir Barry Bowen Bridge REOPENED to all vehicular traffic EXCEPT DELIVERY TRUCKS AND HEAVY MACHINERY!
(7 photos)

Lost dog in Belmopan
Attention BELMOPAN residents, this lost dog could be from behind A&R area, Tiger Town, Police Housing....that general area. Please call BHS 602-7947 for info.

The University of Belize continues to be on life support as the Ministry of Education and an incompetent Board of Trustees lock horns with yet another President of this faltering Institution. Given the present uneasy state of affairs and the repetition of conflicts between the Ministry of Education and successive Presidents of UB, one needs to again question the competence of the Minister of Education and the Ministry in manipulating the functions of the University with political dictates rather than guiding its role to meet the developmental needs of the country. There are evidently no guiding policies established by the government as to how it perceives the role and functions of this State-owned Institution to prepare a high caliber cadre of young men and women that will be able to fill the demands across the board to meet the development expectations of this nation. MISGUIDED Misquided as they are by the Ministry of Education and the University’s unqualified Board of Trustees, there is also a serious divide among the faculty, some of whom have been politically appointed and with questionable credentials, while others have passed the professional litmus test for the delivery of higher education. As was envisioned by the Musa Administration which gave birth to the Institution, the vision was that the University of Belize was to become the premier centre of higher learning and to provide the opportunity for more young Belizeans to attain a high quality of tertiary education to prepare for the professional world of work.

Today, we continue our tribute to Belizean women in DANCE with Miss Althea Sealy.
Althea started her dance training in the 1960s under the tutelage of the legendary, Bob Reneau, and have received training in classical, modern, contemporary and Belizean Folk dance in the decades that follow. She has also taught dance in the schools and has trained, performed and travelled extensively on behalf of the country. Her formal training encompasses structured classes at the Edna Manley School of Dance in Jamaica, the Sarasota Ballet Arts School in Florida, the Compania Danza del Caribe in Cuba and numerous workshops and cultural exchange programs in North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe. She has represented Belize in DANCE at numerous CARIFESTAs (Caribbean Festival of Arts) and Dance Festivals held all over the world. Althea is a founding member and currently the Artistic Director for the Belize National Dance Company and continues to perform, teach and pass on the "Spirit of Dance" in Belize.

Reach Variety Show at GPC
There will be a variety show, the 'Reach Show,' at the George Price Centre, at 4:00pm on Friday. "Come hear how to make your dreams a reality."

Rosita's Restaurant Relocates
Rosita's Restaurant has relocated to Joseph Andrews drive, right next to Vivian's Coffee Shop. They'll have the same great food that they had when they were downtown. They've got indoor and outdoor seating, and they have a mini snack shop and gift shop too. "Rosita's Restaurant has moved from downtown to Joseph Andrews drive, right next to Vivian's Coffee shop."

Blue Hole National Park
While many of the caves are closed due to rains, the Blue Hole is still open. The Audubon Society went there, and got some great pictures of the visitor's center. "A quick look around St. Herman's Blue Hole National Park, January 15th, 2014. Have you visited lately? Cellphone photos by: Dirk Francisco"


Channel 7

Rhett Fuller Beats His Extradition After 15 Years In Court
Rhett Fuller is at his Belize City home with his family tonight - and after 23 years of being a wanted US fugitive, and the main suspect for a murder, he can rest easy because the Government of Belize says they can't have him. Fuller had been on remand since August of 2011, and today Attorney General Wilfred Elrington heard second his appeal. But he did so this time with specific instruction from the Court of Appeal, and after 5 months, Elrington gave his decision. It's a major outcome for Fuller and his family who have resisted the extradition in the courts for 15 years -where they've lost in every court at every level. But with their attorney Eamon Courtenay, they kept fighting, exhausting all options, not once, but twice. And finally it worked out...tonight, Daniel Ortiz looks back at the last 2 years of the Fuller saga, leading up to today's release: Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Minister of Foreign Affairs "I informed Mr. Fuller that I had agreed to his application not to be surrendered to the United States authorities under the provisions of the extradition act of Belize."

Triple Car Pile Up End In Fatality
Corozal police continue to investigate a terrible three car pile-up on the Northern Highway near the Belize Mexico border which claimed the life of a resident of Concepcion Village in the Corozal District. Sometime before 8 o'clock last night, 28 year-old Marcelo Damien Aguilar was driving his gray Toyota van, accompanied by a 16 year-old and 21 year-old Nelson Pech. They were heading south, away from the Corozal Freezone, and between miles 87 and 88, he lost control of the vehicle. He tried to avoid a head-on collision with a 10-wheeler truck, but his van slammed into one of its rear wheels. That sent the truck and it's trailer careening out of control and it completely flipped with its wheels ending up in the air off the side of the road.

Health Ministry Still Vigilant About H1N1
Last night we told you about Belize's first h1n1 death, Shahera Bodden, the 29 year old mother of a 12 year old daughter. Her death has puzzled and worried health officials because she was a healthy female with no underlying illnesses. Yet when she was taken to the KHMH emergency room on January 2, 2014, she was in very dire condition. She had to be admitted to the intensive care unit and within four days she was dead. And that's why there are concerns for a 14 year old buy who's now in the intensive care unit. New information is that he has tested NEGATIVE for influenza, but he still has respiratory distress and kidney failure. He is an induced coma, and the good news tonight is that Doctors report he is doing a bit better. They stress that he's not off the hook yet, but with dialysis he is improving slowly and the prognosis appears slightly more positive tonight. We'll keep following it.

Activists Want Gun Law Reform
Russell Roberts has been in the media for two weeks making noise about the Reynaldo Verde case where an unlicensed firearm was found in the senior sales tax collector's home but he was never charged. The file is with the DPP who has told the police to gather more information, and while they do that, Russell Roberts is gathering momentum. Other grassroots activists are latching unto his cause which has swelled into a gun law reform movement. Today at a Press Conference at the Radisson, COLA jumped on the bandwagon. Roberts made a public call to all those who've suffered because of the laws which impose mandatory remand for all offences. Russell Roberts, gun law activist "We are looking towards finding some of the victims that are affected by this law. I would offer my number to them, 620-7828 so that they could contact me. I could go and interview them and get some of their information and pass it on to the law. I want them to understand this is pro-bono; nothing will come out of their pockets for this." "We are going to look into their cases and try to see how best we could assist them in their cause."

Innocent Belize City Man Gunned Down
29 year old Belize City resident James Elijio is in critical condition after he was shot last night. Monica Bodden visited his home in the Lake Independence area today and found that it isn't the first time that violence has been visited on his yard, but this time the victim was truly blameless. Here's the story:.. Monica Bodden reporting It was inside his yard that 29 year old James Elijio was shot once behind the neck. It happened at his Flamboyant Street address just before 10 last night. The mentally challenged man woke up and went outside to urinate - That was when 2 men came walking from the direction of Causarina Street and fired 2 shots at him. Tanya Elijio, sister of James Elijio "What happen is that I was at home in my bed when my father brought to the news to me that my brother got shot. He said that my grandmother had just given him food to eat and after eating, he (James) exited through the back door whereby he went to urine and on his way coming back inside the house from backwards a gun man passed and fired two shots at him which one caught him at the back of his neck."

Reports Of A Second Identify Theft At SSB
Last night, we told you about the frightening forgeries which were revealed when Tanzanian Tina Iron Isaac tried to use the stolen identity of a Belizean woman to acquire a Belizean passport. It was only the vigilance and the alert thinking of officers at the Immigration Department which caught her in the act, after she had already gotten a fake birth certificate and a Social Security Card. Well, information to 7News today is that the Immigration Department will start to investigate the Belizean guarantors who forged information on her behalf so that she could fly under the radar of the new passport regulations. They are working on building a case against these persons. While they continue to do that, there is a report that there was another irregularity at the social security board which allowed a US fugitive to get a fake social security card to be processed using a stolen identity. We've been reliably informed that this fugitive used the stolen identity of a David Cruz to get a social security card issued in Belmopan.

CFS Palencia Still Under Arrest: Causes Shipping Delays
Tomorrow will make it one week that the international Cargo vessel CFS Palencia has been anchored in Belize, under arrest as a sister ship to another that damaged the reef near English Caye and sailed out of Belize waters, on a false promise that it would return. But it never did, so now the government won't let the Palcencia go, until some commitment is made to pay the over 9 million dollar environmental fine arising from damage to the reef. And while government seeks to vindicate its rights, the shipping industry is in a state. You see, the CFS Palencia is one of the ships that makes call in Belize almost every week bringing cargo out of Jamaica which originates in the far east, EUROPE, the Caribbean and Panama.

Teachers Didn't Show Up For Bike Rally
Belize District Teachers are having their pay-raise rally starting at 7:30 tomorrow morning, and today they planned a warm up event, in the form of a bike rally. It was advertised on facebook, but it didn't draw the expected crowd. We asked one of the five bikers who gathered what went wrong:.. Joel wade, teacher "We are trying to bring awareness to the general public. We want them to be conscious of the fact that we will be having a rally tomorrow." Daniel Ortiz "We understand that the teachers were supposed to assemble on Cemetery Road in mass to try to make the effort as visible and vibrant and effective as possible. What happened?" Joel wade, teacher "It was supposed to be a bike ride and like for me I had to go and borrow a bicycle to be in this. I know we have some teachers who I guess can't ride and I guess at some point there had to be a miscommunication, but like we are out here and we are not looking behind to see who is not with us but we are just pressing forward and just basically doing what we were supposed to do; bring awareness and distribute some flyers."

Caye Caulker Police Continue Drug Crackdown
Caye Caulker police continue to clamp down on drug pushers. Yesterday, 30 year old Hubert Palacio was arrested and charged for (2) Counts of Possession of Controlled Drugs and Possession of Pipe after police took him off his bike and found cannabis, a pipe and crack cocaine. It weighed in at a negligible 2 grams of cannabis and 0.6 grams of crack but he was charged for 2 Counts of Possession of Controlled Drugs and Possession of Pipe. And this morning at around 5:30am, Caye Caulker police conducted an Anti-Drug Operation on the island which took them to the residence of 37 year old Shawn Bennett on Traveler's Palm Street in Caye Caulker Village. They found a black plastic bag with 66.9 grams of cannabis. They were formally arrested and charged for the offence of Drug Trafficking and will be escorted to San Pedro Magistrate Court on Friday January 17th for arraignment.

OAS To Visit Belize For Anti-Corruption Convention
For the last few months, the VIP party has been campaigning hard for the Government of Belize to sign on to the OAS anti-corruption convention. The issue, along with the actual convention, has gone mostly ignored by Government, but now the OAS intends to send delegates to the country to see how far along the process to implementation is. It's called the MESICIC (the Mechanism for Follow-Up on the Implementation of Inter-American Convention against Corruption) and delegates will be coming to Belize between September 22 and October 17, 2014. They also intend to visit Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname, in the framework of the Fourth Round of Review of the mechanism.

Geon Hanson Improving
22 year old Geon Hanson is at home in Belmopan recovering. The cyclist was knocked down on Christmas Eve and suffered substantial injuries including a ruptured spleen and small intestine, eight broken ribs and a fractured vertebrae in his spine. Well, doctors say due to his youth and physical fitness, he recovered and is expected to make a full recovery. He still has difficulty walking and due to his collapsed lung, he is trying to defer a scholarship opportunity to go study in FIHI until he is fully healed.

Inga's First Art Exhibit
We always feature Francis Woods on the news -and he's known for his socially progressive civil works projects. But while he oversees a construction empire, his daughter Inga Woods is a self-styled artist. She's mounted her first exhibit at the Bliss center and she gave us a preview today:.. Inga Woods, artist "My exhibit is a lot about expressing yourself and it has a lot about colors and a lot of movement. A lot of them range from like either 15 minutes or just like a whole day of doing the wall paintings or all of the varied." Monica Bodden "You have any specific piece that you enjoy doing the most?" Inga Woods "The glass crowns that I did. Definitely those are like my most prized possessions right now."

Butane Prices Going Up
The price of LPG gas, or what we call "butane" is going up again - this time by five dollars. The supplies control unit today announced that Central American Gas - which is less efficient - will sell for 121 dollars per hundred pound cylinder undelivered din the city. And Mexican butane which is more efficient, will sell for 125 dollars. The difference? Mexican LPG has 60% propane to 40% butane while the Central American version sold by BWEL, Southern Choice Gas, Zeta and Tomza is 90 percent propane and 10% butane, which is less efficient, but cheaper.

Channel 5

After fighting extradition for 15 years, Rhett Fuller is finally home free
His legal struggle against extradition to the United States lasted fifteen years, but tonight, Rhett Fuller is finally a free man. Following a decision handed down by Minister of Foreign [...]

Attorney, Eamon Courtenay, speaks on client’s ruling
The decision by Minister Elrington was based on a submission to him by attorney Eamon Courtenay, which made the case that Fuller’s family would have disintegrated without his presence. He [...]

Taxi driver is killed in a traffic accident in Corozal…five others are injured
But while the Fuller family has every good reason to celebrate, a family up north is grieving the loss of one of their own. On Wednesday night, there was a [...]

Butane prices go up
Consumers of butane, that’s just about every household, restaurant or hotel in the country, are bracing for an additional increase in the cost of fuel.  Earlier today, the Belize Bureau [...]

Outrage at attempt to terminate public officers named in immigration scandal
The Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, better known to as COLA, held a press conference today at the Radisson Fort George. The briefing had dual purposes and started with [...]

Teachers plan to take to the City streets
On Friday, teachers from the Belize District and the Cayes will march in Belize City before holding a rally in Battlefield Park. That move is part of a series of [...]

LGBT Party hosted at Belize’s High Commissioner’s London House
On December sixth, Belize’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom hosted an LGBT party at the official residence in London, Belize House. The event was reported recently in the media, [...]

COLA condemns ‘archaic’ gun laws
Last week, the firebrand activists at COLA issued a statement recording their concern over the “archaic gun laws” that result in the unlawful detention of persons. COLA also condemns those [...]

Activist calls for the immediate detention of Reynaldo Verde
As we said, COLA is now putting its full support behind Russell Roberts, who is championing this move to have the law removed or revised. Since then, Roberts says that [...]

Belize City man in critical condition following shooting
A Belize City resident is tonight in critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. The family of twenty-nine year old James Elijio is hoping for the best because Elijio [...]

Caye Caulker police continue to crack down on drug trafficking
Caye Caulker Police continue to rack up impressive statistics in the fight against drugs on the island. During a pre-dawn operation today, Police visited the home of thirty-seven year old [...]

FIFA instructors in the jewel to train local referees
With the World Cup to be played in June and July this year in Brazil, football fever is expected to be pitch-high. Billions are expected to view the games on [...]

Survey of economic freedoms ranks Belize at 115
A recent survey indicating the economic freedoms of countries around the world ranks Belize at number one hundred and fifteen of one hundred and seventy-eight reviewed.    With a score of [...]

Healthy Living looks at good practices for a healthy lifestyle
It is the beginning of the year and many of us surely over indulged in food and other goodies over the holidays so it is time to get back to [...]


Another Price Hike for LPG
Liquid petroleum or butane, as it is commonly referred to, has become a daily necessity in the lives of Belizeans. Currently, there are several providers around the country who either import LPG from Mexico or from other Central American companies with a difference in prices and the ratio of butane to propane. Today, the Belize Bureau of Standards issued a release announcing the increase in prices for butane effective, Friday, January 17. But before we tell you how much more you will be paying for butane, it is important that we explain to you the difference between the two choices of LPG that is now available in Belize. As we mentioned earlier, there are companies in Belize who get their butane directly from Mexico. The Mexican LPG is the more expensive gas because it has a ratio of sixty percent propane to forty percent butane which in truth makes this butane more efficient due to its higher butane content. This Mexican LPG is carried by providers such as Belize Gas Limited and Western Gas and has now gone up by seven dollars in each district. Belize City and Corozal will now pay one hundred and twenty seven dollars per cylinder; Belmopan City and San Ignacio will now pay one hundred and twenty seven dollars per cylinder with Benque Viejo del Carmen paying one hundred and twenty eight dollars, Orange Walk – one hundred and twenty six dollars; Dangriga – one hundred and twenty nine dollars and Punta Gorda – one hundred and thirty dollars. Meanwhile, the less efficient LPG which is imported from other Central American countries has seen an increase in prices ranging from two dollars to three dollars. This particular LPG carries a ration of ninety percent propane to ten percent butane and is distributed by companies such as BWEL, Southern Choice Gas, ZETA and Tomza. With this increase, Belize City and Corozal carry the lowest cost for a hundred pound cylinder at one hundred and twenty one dollars with Punta Gorda being the highest with one hundred and twenty six dollars per hundred pound cylinder. It is to be noted that the last increase in LPG took place in the latter part of October 2013 and was by one dollar across the board.

Deputy Prime Minister Says He is Relieved by The Interim Agreement
BSI and BSCFA signed an interim agreement on Monday which finally gave way for a date for the start of the sugar crop season. In speaking with Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega today he told us it’s a relief knowing the two stake holders in the industry are on the same page once again. HON. GASPAR VEGA “It’s a great relief truthfully; I believe that we will come out ahead. Both parties understand that we need to do a lot of confidence building where they will be able to trust each other. A lot of our problems are sometimes because of the limited trust that we have for each other and I am hoping that the negotiations will bring more interaction between them so that there is always this cooperation and to show each other that both parties wellbeing depends on the cooperation of both of them.” ARTURO CANTUN ‘One of the reasons this took long to sign is because the cane farmers were reluctant and doubtful that BSI was actually acting on good faith. How is the Government involving itself in ensuring that the confidence is built between the two parties?” HON. GASPAR VEGA “We only can serve as arbitrators or facilitators because at the end of the day, they are two private entities and no one can dictate to them. Our role is to ensure that we create that conduit of communication for them so that they can talk to each other without disrespecting each other. So, therefore have an increase in confidence. I believe that the attitude will get belter for both players because in the past weeks they have realised that we don’t have to have riots or these kinds of manifestations to get some kind of agreement. People have to learn to come to the table, be firm, be sincere and say what they mean without hurting each other and at the end of the day, the same negotiations will help them to start building the foundation for trust.”

Police News: Shooting, Robbery, Attempted Robbery
Police in Belize City are looking into a shooting incident that occurred last night at around 10pm. While Police were at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital last night doing their regular checks, they came across 29-year-old, James Elijio, a resident of Flamboyant Street in Belize. Elijio was being treated for an apparent gunshot wound the he received in the back of the neck Initial investigations have shown police that Elijio was standing at the front of his home when two men, one of dark complexion and the other one with a clear complexion walked in his direction fired two shots at him. The men, reportedly, ran off towards Black Orchid Street. So far, one man has been detained Police are seeking another. A Belizean contractor, Berisford Bowen of Ladyville Village in the Belize District has told Police that he was in his office in Belize City on Raccoon Street Extension on Tuesday, January 14, in the company of Leonard Wright when two armed men entered his office at around 3:30pm. One of the men, bearing a dark complexion, proceeded by searching 49-year-old, Bowen and relieved him of a gold Cuban linked chain along with a medallion of an elephant, a gold esclava engraved with the initials, BRB, a gold lodge ring bearing a square and a compass and the letter,’G’, one black 9mm Luger brand pistol with serial number A2802 and five hundred dollars in cash. Meanwhile the second assailant searched Wright and both made good their escape.

24 Years Later – Rhett Fuller is Freed; No Extradition Ordered
This morning, Belize City Businessman Rhett Fuller finally became a free man after spending fifteen years evading his extradition to the United States. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington, made his decision to release Fuller and not extradite him to the US where he is wanted for his alleged involvement in the murder of Larry Miller in 1990. Fuller began fighting his extradition order in 1998 and after more than 15 years of legal challenges, Fuller walk out of Elrington’s office this morning as a free man. Fuller fight for not have himself extradited is one of the longest seen in Belize. Fuller became a free man after Elrington weighed the pros and cons of having Fuller extradited to the US. A key factor that played into Fuller’s release, is his family, who Elrington says would have suffered is Fuller was sent to the US. Love News spoke to both Elrington and Fuller’s attorney who stuck by him side for many years, Eamon Courtenay. EAMON COURTENAY “As you know, the Extradition Treaty and the Extradition Act between Belize and the United States gives to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the right to decide whether or not he is going to extradite someone who is requested by the United States. In this particular case, the American Government had requested the extradition of Mr. Fuller in 1998 and after many legal fights, the Minister finally decided today that he will not extradite Mr. Fuller. We had appeared before the Minister on December 20, 2013 and we made submissions to him to justify to him why he should not extradite Mr. Fuller and his decision today was to confirm that he agreed with our submissions and he will not extradite him.”

COLA President Says Union Needs to Find Testicular Fortitude
The Immigration scandal of 2013 is still very much alive and at the forefront of discussions in 2014. That was COLA’s second point of contention with the Government. And President Geovanni Brackett was not a happy man. He said that COLA will not stand for the dismissal of the three suspended Immigration officers while former Minister of State in Immigration, Elvin Penner, remains in his words, an untouchable. Geovanni Brackett, President, COLA “It is sad to see that you can throw a bullet in somebody’s yard and if they cannot afford three or four attorneys, they would be thrown into jail. It is sad to see and appalling that you have families who have been torn apart because of this barbaric law and so, we at COLA strongly condemn both this law as it is and we strongly condemn selective justice. What we mean by selective justice is that someone who is not of affluence or who is not politically gave the story that Mr. Verde gave, they would not have been treated in a similar fashion. But we also caution that we note that the way how the law is set up, people can be set up including Mr. Verde as COLA is not here to pronounce guilt on anyone but we are also here to state categorically that the Police are not to be the judge or the jury.”

Father Says His Son Got Shot By Mistake
Police in Belize City are looking into a shooting incident that occurred last night. While Police were at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital last night doing their regular checks, they came across 29-year-old, James Elijio Jr., a resident of Flamboyant Street in Belize. Elijio was being treated for an apparent gunshot wound the he received in the back of the neck Initial investigations have shown police that Elijio was standing at the front of his home when two men, one of dark complexion and the other one with a clear complexion walked in his direction fired two shots at him. Elijio’s father, James Elijio Sr., told Love News that his son has no enemies and it might be a case of mistaken identity. JAMES ELIJIO SR. “I was here last night when I heard two gunshots and then he ran inside and said that he got shot. So, his cousin and I took him to the hospital when the Police vehicle came. He didn’t see any faces because he was coming in the house and it was in the back he got shot. My son isn’t too correct and so he doesn’t have any enemies because he doesn’t fool around with anyone. I don’t why anyone would want to hurt my son; I think it was a mistake. He received injury to his lower back; when I went to hospital earlier he was still in surgery and I will be going back to the hospital shortly to check on him. This happened around eight or nine o’clock. I didn’t see anyone and he ran inside and we held him up. I am not sure if he has given the police a statement but I will find out when I go to the hospital to talk to my son.”


Mr. Rhett Fuller’s Imprisonment in Belize is Over
The long personal nightmare of Belizean businessman, Rhett Allen Fuller is over, after Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington today ordered his immediate release from the Central Prison, where he was remanded under the threat of extradition to Miami-Dade County, Florida, U.S.A. on a charge of murder....

Minister says Extradition Law and Process to be Reviewed
The case of Rhett Fuller has made for compelling television at times, and while he will never get those years back, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington, who is also Attorney General, says they will do something with the archaic English-based law which dates back to 1870. Hon....

Level Gun Law Across the Board or Revoke it Completely
And joining in solidarity with COLA and other concerned citizens is the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association (BGYEA). BYGEA states: “This law is contrary to the spirit and integrity of our Constitution, which allows that no person should be unlawfully deprived of his personal liberty save and except where it...

Severe Accident Causes one Death and Various Persons Injured
Yesterday, January 15th at around 8:00 p.m, a three way collision in the Corozal District claimed the life of one man and left several injured. Police investigations have revealed that a ten wheeler with license plate OW-A-00282 was being driven by 44 year old Servando Salazar of Orange Walk Town...

The Guardian

Eden Martinez takes UDP Toledo East Convention
UDP Caretaker for the Toledo East constituency, Peter Eden Martinez, was resoundingly elected as the new UDP Standard bearer in that constituency on Sunday January 12th. The party has commenced the process of selecting 13 standard bearers and Martinez's convention was the first to be held. The voting process started promptly at 10 in the morning and it carried along until 5 in the evening. The voting was brisk and enthusiastic as the constituents chose between Peter Eden Martinez and UDP stalwart in the constituency, Heston Wagner. By the time the polls closed 1,714 persons had cast their ballot with Martinez receiving 1,311 votes while Wagner received 390 votes. There were 13 spoilt ballots. | At the end of the convention, Martinez addressed the gathering during which he pledged to continue to work for the people of his constituency. Since we are now moving into an election year, next year, Martinez added that his efforts will even more so be concentrated on doing more work in Punta Gorda town. As the crowd of supporters cheered and applauded, Party Chairman, Alberto August administered the oath of office as standard bearer while the UDP Secretary General, Pearl Stuart observed.

Government Saves Sugar Industry Again!
After the long weeks of delay, and about 10 million dollars lost in revenue to the sugar industry, a date has been set for its start, and the factory owners will carefully negotiate with the farmers for a payment for bagasse. It has been widely covered by all the major media houses that the farmers had placed an indefinite embargo on the deliveries of cane to the sugar mill. Without the cane from the farmers, the 2013/2014 crop season has not been able to begin. It should have started sometime around November 15, but it has not, principally because of the bagasse dispute between the farmers and the factory owners. The dispute was continuing on with no clear end, and the country was losing revenue because of it, but the first big step to a temporary resolution came on Wednesday, January 8, when the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association tabled an interim agreement in their negotiations with the Belize Sugar Industry. BSI and its principal investor, ASR, continued to refuse giving a commitment to pay for bagasse, even after the Prime Minister Dean Barrow showed his support on behalf of the farmers based on the merit of their claim. He has made interventions in the dispute, and it would seem that his efforts, and that of the Government, has assisted. The interim agreement was supported by the cane farmers, after hours of discussion with their association’s executive on Sunday, January 12. Both sides signed the interim agreement the next day.

2M for Drains in Belize City and 50 more Streets
Mayor of Belize City, Darrell Bradley, is continuing his aggressive infrastructure campaign in the city. Bradley told the Guardian Newspaper that a 1.8 million dollar contract has been signed with CISCO construction to build drains alongside 21 streets across the city. Work crews began to be deployed in work sites across the city on Monday January 13th. As the work program rolls out, employment will be created for an additional 200 more young men in addition to those already employed in the street construction project. Mayor Bradley says that 1.8 million dollars had been scheduled for the drain works however that has been expanded to 2.5 million dollars. CISCO will be doing the work on 17 of the streets which will include the digging and concreting of the drains as well as placing of culverts and driveways to home entrances. Bradley said that the drainage work will see great improvement in the flooding conditions on the streets in particular the streets on the Southside of the city. The drainage program aside, Mayor Bradley also explained that the street concreting program will also continue where at least 30 more streets will be paved. Additionally 20 other streets will be upgraded to just before paving standard. In these works, residents of the city will see installation of drains, culverts, walkways and driveways. The work plan includes upgrading of streets in the Belama phase 2 and 3. Councilor in charge of the roadwork is Dean Samuels who has already completed work on Lord Rhaburn Street where it was elevated to about 6 to 10 inches from where it was before.

National Primary Schools Football championship this Friday
The 2013-2014 National Primary Schools Football Championships which was scheduled for last Friday January 10 that had to be postponed because of the wet conditions of the football fields will now be played this Friday January 17, 2014 at the MCC Grounds and the Queen’s Square Football Field. The Official Opening Ceremony is scheduled to commence at 8:30 am at the MCC Grounds and this will be followed immediately with the first games in both the boys and girls competition. The National Primary Schools Football Championship features the champions in both the boys and girls category from all six districts of the country. The schools that will participate in the championship are from the Belize District - San Pedro Roman Catholic boys and girls; from the Cayo District - Santa Elena Primary School boys and girls; from the Corozal District - San Narciso Roman Catholic girls and Copper Bank Roman Catholic boys; from the Orange Walk District-Trial Farm Government boys and girls; from the Stann Creek District - Richard Quinn Roman Catholic girls from Georgetown and Sacred Heart Roman Catholic boys from Dangriga Town and from the Toledo District - San Jose Roman Catholic girls and Golden Steam Government School boys.

Usual Complaints at 2014 Supreme Court Opening
The annual Opening of the Supreme Court provides an opportunity for the Chief Justice, Attorney General and President of the Bar Association to speak on matters affecting the justice system of the country. There is one point of agreement among all parties; the criminal justice system is in crisis; however, rather than offering solutions to the challenges this year’s opening was another finger pointing exercise. The opening of the Supreme Court session is held on the second Monday in the month of January so that the court can render an account of its performance in the previous year to the people of Belize. This year’s ceremony began with an ecumenical service at the St. John’s Anglican Cathedral. Immediately following the service, the Belize Defense Force band led a procession which included the Justices of the Supreme Court, Attorney General, Magistrates, members of the Bar Association of Belize and officers of the Court. The procession ended at the steps of the Belize Supreme Court. There was a small crowd gathered in the Battlefield Park to look on as the Justices of the Supreme Court arrived and were escorted before the Guard of Honour. Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin then came down from the Supreme Court building to inspect the Guard of Honour. Following the inspection, Chief Justice Benjamin made his way to his chambers to give a report on the state of the Judiciary.

Teachers Led Astray
About 500 teachers from the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts took to the streets in a parade and rally, supposedly in an effort of advocacy on behalf of the different social issues facing the country. This newspaper says “supposedly” because while their National President, Luke Palacio, spoke on some of those issues, he spent quite a lot of time on their disputes about their salary increase, which the Government of Belize has already approved after extended negotiations. On the morning of Friday, January 10, approximately 250 teachers from the Orange Walk branch of the BNTU marched a short route through the streets of the town, and then gathered at the Queen Elizabeth Park. The main address was given by Luke Palacio who spoke about corruption in public life, social security concerns and public insurance, to name a few, but he also spent a large portion of his time talking about the salary increase. They were mostly philosophical differences in opinions on how the salary issue is viewed, but the biggest tell on what it really was about came when the media asked the teachers supporting their union. Yes, they gave the advocacy answer, but quite a few of them said that it was about their pay increase. Even if they didn’t list it as their primary reason for supporting, they did at least offer it as one of the reasons. Their Minister, Hon. Patrick Faber, still isn’t convinced that important school hours need to be used to conduct these rallies. Speaking briefly on the logistics, Faber told the media that if the teachers, really wanted to, they could use a small amount of those Friday hours and still conduct classes accordingly. That could be a reasonable compromise, since the teachers have completely rejected the idea of conducting the rallies on the weekend.

Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association Agree to Memorandum with BSI/ASR
Belmopan. January 13, 2014. The Office of the Prime Minister welcomes the decision of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association yesterday to sign a memorandum with Belize Sugar Industry (BSI) providing for negotiations to fix the quantum of payment for bagasse; and providing for a start date for 2014 deliveries. The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) is pleased that the efforts of the Government in getting ASR/BSI to accept the obligation to pay farmers for bagasse, have helped with this breakthrough. The OPM also takes the opportunity to announce that the two million dollars ($2M BZD) worth of works on sugar roads that GOB promised, will commence immediately.

BTL Park almost ready
Over the months, the BTL Park has undergone a monumental transformation where it was basically leveled to the ground in order to give way to a bright and spanking new facility such as has never been seen in Belize City. Now the park is nearing completion and it is living up to all the hype. According to Mayor, Darrell Bradley, it is now 95 percent complete and the council will be launching the park on January 21. On that day there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony along with some entertainment to officially inaugurate the park. As it is work crews are working on the final touches of cleaning and landscaping and getting ready to place beach sand along the seawall of the park. Mayor Bradley added that already the pier has been built and other facilities including a amphitheater, benches, kiosks, swings, walkways, a police booth and other amenities have been put in place. The park said Bradley is to be an economic area for the city where it will be a major tourism and entertainment area for Belize. Plans are already underway to retrace the history of the park and even going so far as placing a replica of Lindbergh's plane "Spirit of St. Louis" placed in the park to recall that it was in that very area that the famous landing took place. The council is currently looking at zoning it as such. More than this however, the park will be an area where 28 new businesses will be established. Through financing from CARILED, the entrepreneurs who will occupy the park will be given incentives such as a $1,500 grant to get them ready and started.

Catholic Principals applaud Government
The Belize Catholic Association of Principals of Secondary Schools (BCAPSS) notes with great appreciation the decision of the Government of Belize to support, based on economic need, eligible Belizean secondary school students by paying for up to six CSEC exams as of the 2014-2015 school year. This new policy will not only make the CXC regional exams more accessible to students, but it will also increase the number of students that will be able to access junior colleges, as success in six CSEC exams (including English A)guarantees a tuition grant to the tertiary school of the student’s choice. We especially applaud the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, the Honorable Patrick Faber, and his management team, for this massive investment which signals their commitment to development of the young people of this nation. We urge qualifying students to utilize this opportunity to develop their potential for the benefit of Belize.

Belize City Council sets up Infrastructure Fund
The Belize City Council is in the process of setting up mechanisms to finance an infrastructure fund. According to Mayor Darrell Bradley, when the council floated the 20 million dollar bond, it simultaneously set up an Infrastructure Fund at the Central Bank of Belize where the bond's proceeds were deposited. These moneys however have already been invested with the council using the last half million dollars that were available. Now the council is seeking to capitalize the fund permanently and as such, the council is looking to enact legislation to allow for revenue that is collected by the Belize City Traffic Department to be deposited in the Infrastructure Fund. This fund says Bradley will be a non-discretionary one where the finances will be used exclusively for road construction and repairs. According to the mayor, as part of the Traffic Department's revenue streams it had always been empowered by law to collect a 10 dollar fee for vehicle inspections. That fee however has never been put into effect and now with the move to finance the Infrastructure Fund, the council has begun to now collect that fee.

New Age: Belize City Drivers Now Renew Licenses Online
One of the qualities that made Deputy Mayor Bernard Pitts a key part of the UDP 11 team for Belize City was his background in Information Technology. The team already comprised of legal experts, a medical doctor and community activists and with a city ready to turn the page to a modern era Pitts’s expertise in information technology was a key part of the formula for effective governance. On Tuesday, January 14th, Deputy Mayor Pitts introduced an online drivers license renewal program for the Belize City Council. Drivers whose licenses are expiring can now complete the renewal process from their couch at home. It means no more trips to the Traffic Department’s main office where lines can require more than 30 minutes of patience. Drivers can visit the Council’s website at then go to the subheading “Web” and click “Driver’s License Renewal”. There you will be asked to fill out a form which asks for license number, issuance date, expiration date and other identification information. The process takes less than ten minutes. Presently the program is only available for individuals with Atlantic Bank credit cards since the institution has been the main sponsor of the initiative. Pitts says the Council hopes to open payment options to debit card and account transfer transactions. Pitts says other banks are welcome to approach the Council to speak about expanding the program to their institution if they are willing to sponsor development of the program. The Council is also offering delivery service to individuals renewing licenses at $10 within city limits. Delivery services will be extended to holders of Belize City driver’s license countrywide in the next few months then eventually to Belizeans living or studying abroad.

Julian Cho High School wins Toledo District Competition for National Secondary School ‘Oil in Belize’ Debate
Today, The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage hosted the 3rd debate in the National Secondary School Debate Competition on ‘Oil in Belize’. Julian Cho High School and Toledo Community College competed for the chance to represent the Toledo District in the semi-final competition. At the end of the debate, Julian Cho High School was victorious in their arguments for the affirmative of the debate resolution: “Indigenous Mayas should be consulted on all oil exploration in communal lands and deserve 5% royalty.” Following their win, Julian Cho High School now advances to the semi-final competition where they will meet the Belmopan Comprehensive High School in Dangriga Town on February 17. The next debate competition takes place in Belmopan on January 29 at the UB Jaguar Auditorium between Belize High School and Stann Creek Ecumenical High School. The National Secondary High School Debate Competition on ‘Oil in Belize’ is one of the many initiatives that The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage is carrying out to keep Belizeans informed and engaged on issues related to oil in Belize. The debate took place at the Fr. Ring Parish Hall in Punta Gorda Town

PUP demonstrates against PUP
The howls of complaints have already begun against the leadership of the People’s United Party after they took the decision that no sitting area representative or anyone who ran in the last election can be challenged. This of course goes against their own constitution and their entire party now stands on the brink. The decision was not taken lightly and the PUP’s in Cayo North East have made the clear point that they will not stand idly by as this happens. The PUP in that division took their stand and demonstrated against Myrtle Palacio making it clear that they did not want Habet to represent them in that division. No matter how much they protested however, in the most arrogant of ways, the leadership went ahead and endorsed Habet in that division. This latest act only proves that the PUP are just a bunch of self serving individuals who are willing to go even against its own constitution in order to serve themselves. To get a better understanding of what is taking place with the PUP, imagine that the government of Belize passes a Statutory Instrument which puts the constitution of Belize on hold. That of course, is completely and totally illegal, but that is what the PUP has done. We are sure that the demonstration by residents of Cayo North East will not be the only ones to rail hell against Myrtle and Henry Charles. There is much, much more of these to come. We will simply stand by and wait as this unfolds.

The PUP’s Rebranding Gimmicks
The People’s United Party recently announced that it is returning to its “Social Justice Roots”. Apparently, they lost their way during the Musa Led Era. They seem willing to concede the fact that with Said Musa as leader they operated solely in the interest of multi-millionaires and billionaires. As they rubbed shoulders with the rich and infamous they crafted numerous schemes to enrich themselves. As a result, the PUP of the Musa Led Era will be remembered for bloated contracts, irresponsible loans from the public purse, plundering of government assets and pillaging of the country’s resources and who can forget the Superbond. Since 2008, the PUP has been trying desperately to pass itself off as a “new” party. Meanwhile, Belizeans are looking at them, seeing the same old crooks, and asking themselves, “What is so different about them?” This new branding scam is the PUP’s latest attempt to convince Belizeans that it is a new party. They proclaim to be no longer slaves of the billionaires but rather champions of the people. Not even Deputy Leader Ferguson is inspired by the return to roots. As the party leader delivered his “great” speech at the rebranding launch, Ferguson was in the background snoring-dreaming of the good old Musa days of plenty.

Concrete Roads now in Dangriga and PG
Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow announced a few weeks ago that the government will be investing $500,000 in Dangriga for the upgrade of streets in that municipality. It has become painfully apparent that the town board does not have the capacity to do the work that they were elected to do, so the UDP central government has had to step in to fill the breach. On December 9th, CISCO began work to repair the streets in Dangriga, these include Church, Isla and Benguche streets. As it is, the work on Benguche is nearing completion and according to CISCO's Francis Woods, they will be moving on to Isla street as soon as BWSL completes its work. So far there are some 25 workers employed with the company and that number is expected to be expanded to 40 workers within the next few days. Work is to also commence on roads in Punta Gorda on Thursday January 16th on West Street. On this project 30 workers will be employed.

Taiwan Scholarships Available
The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is pleased to announce that on Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 at 10:30AM at the Chateau Caribbean Hotel, Belize City, this Embassy and Belize-Taiwan ICDF Alumni Society in Belize will host the 2014 Scholarships Programs Briefings for this year’s scholarship applicants. Started from 2002 and 2004 respectively, this Embassy has accepted and recommended hundreds of applicants to apply for the Taiwan Scholarship and Taiwan ICDF Scholarship annually to pursue their degrees from Bachelor, Master to Ph.D programs in Taiwan in various fields such as public health, agriculture, business administration, engineering and information and communication technology. Until 2013, there are a total of 232 recipients accepted and around 100 persons had finished their study and returned to Belize to contribute their learning to this country. There are 21 Universities and 32 programs provided by Taiwan ICDF this year, including 11 Bachelor programs, 19 Master programs and 2 Ph.D programs. The application deadlines for Taiwan ICDF Scholarship and Taiwan Scholarship will be March 14, 2014 and March 31, 2014 respectively. For more detailed information, please visit the Embassy’s website:, or contact the Embassy by telephone: 227-8744, 223-1862 or e-mail: [email protected]

Tanzanian Woman charged for Identity Theft
On Wednesday, January 15th, 55-year-old Tanzanian national Teena Isacc was escorted to the Belize City Magistrates Court to face criminal charges for trying to steal a Corozal woman’s identity. According to reports, Isacc visited the Immigration Department in Belize City on Tuesday morning, January 14th, to apply for a Belizean passport using the identity of Carmen Cantun, a resident of San Narcisco Village. She presented a Social Security card and birth certificate as Cantun but Immigration officials were suspicious of the document. They executed a quick investigation into the documents and found that Carmen Cantun was not the woman applying for the passport. Isacc was detained and eventually handed over to police. In Court Isacc appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano where she was read four charges: one count of using a document she is not entitled to use (Social Security card number #514140), one count using a birth certificate not entitled to, a third count for fabricating a document in applying for a Belize passport (passport form) and a fourth count for failure to comply with a visitor’s permit. Isacc arrived in Belize on July 22, 2012, and was granted stay in the country for one month. She has no proof to show she was ever granted an extension. In court Isacc was unrepresented and wasted no time by pleading guilty to all charges. Magistrate Dale Cayetano imposed four $1,000 fines plus four $5 cost of court fees. Being unable to pay the $4,020 fine, Isacc will have to serve a year at the Belize Central Prison in default.

Indians caught illegally beg not to be send back home
Indian brothers, 31-year-old Kuldeep Singh, and his younger sibling 28-year-old Manjimdes claim they left their home country because they fear for their lives. The two men were caught by their own admission when they slipped up and spoke to a police officer telling him they were in Belize illegally. They were promptly arrested and were taken to court on Tuesday January 7th. Allegations are that on Sunday, January 11, they were found on board a local bus heading from Benque Viejo to Belize City. Immigration Personnel said that the officer after speaking with the brothers on board the bus took them into custody and were later handed over to the Immigration Department.

Transvestite stabbed to death
The popular cross-dresser, 18 year-old Joseph Sanchez, was stabbed to death early on Sunday, January 12, and the local gay community is outraged by the crime. Police found Sanchez motionless body on Elston Kerr Street, behind Gwen Lizarraga High School. He had a single stab wound to the chest. They’ve since reviewed camera footage of the attack which reveals that Sanchez was walking on the sidewalk when two men on bicycle rode up to him. He realized that the men intended to rob him, so he threw his phone away. At knife point, they frisked him, and he didn’t resist them in anyway. After taking what they wanted from him, the man with the knife inexplicably stabbed Sanchez in the chest. Investigators are puzzled as to why the assailants decided to murder Sanchez, since he cooperated completely. Local gay rights organization UNIBAM has come out strongly against the attack, calling it a hate crime against the LGBT community. Their sentiments join with those of his family who believe that someone may have lured him to his death. Sanchez is openly transgendered, and he has attracted a lot of enemies simply because of his physical appearance. His family says that in the week leading up to his death, he received numerous death threats which he didn’t share with anyone except his closest friends. Sanchez has made a lot of friends but he is best known as a participant in the annual Carnival King and Queen competition. He entered 2 years in a row, and he came in third in the 2013 competition. Police have no leads at this time, and they have no suspects.

Two tourists kidnapped in Cayo
There was a kidnapping of two Americans for at least forty five minutes in various locations of Bullet Tree Falls and Paslow Falls in the Cayo District on Thursday January 9th. But the well coordinated actions of a Bullet Tree Falls Special Constable, Police and others resulted in the release of the kidnapped persons and no physical harm to them. Two siblings, 18 year old Kathen Kotay and 22 year old Manisha Kotay from Saint Paul Virginia, USA were accompanying Theo Cocchi, the owner of Parrot Nest Hotel in her vehicle about 8:00 am. The Businesswoman, Theo Cocchi, was coming out of her driveway when they were ordered to stop by two armed Hispanic men. The men then went inside the vehicle and drove off, stopping at a secluded area in Bullet Tree Falls where two additional male persons boarded the vehicle. After relieving her of a Smart Cell phone and jewellery, Theo Cocchi was released by the Kidnappers but ordered to come up with US $75,000.00 within two hours for the release of the two tourists. Theo Cocchi then proceeded to San Ignacio Town and called the Police. Quick actions by Police lead to the discovery of Manisha Kotay later on that morning.

Two men killed in one weekend
Cross-dresser Joseph Sanchez was but one of three murders which happened over the weekend. 38 year-old Emerson “Ras Emo” McDonald and 25 year-old Derrick “Beng” Parham were gunned down in two separate shootings over the weekend. McDonald, a father of 3, was walking with a friend on Central American Boulevard on Sunday, January 12, at around 5 p.m. He was a short distance away from his home when a masked gunman pulled up on bicycle and shot him in the back when he tried to run. An innocent bystander, Joseline Maximo, was shot in the leg by the spray of bullets. Both of them were rushed to the KHMH, but McDonald succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment 2 hours later. Two and a half hours after McDonald passed away, (at around 9:30 p.m.) Parham was walking home from a party at his aunt’s house. His aunt was with him, and he was a block away from his house, but that didn’t matter at all when a red car drove up suddenly. A gunman, who was described as being “dark-skinned with dreadlocks” jumped out of the car and shot him in the back. He died half hour later at the KHMH while undergoing treatment. Both families don’t understand what motivated the attacks on the men. They were both described as family men. Parham’s family told the media, however, that he had enemies because he stood up to anyone who tried to take advantage of his family members.

Verdes FC top team into Belikin Cup playoffs
clifton west scoring for police united.jpg - 80.71 KbThe regular season for the 2013 Premier League of Belize Belikin Cup Opening Season came to an end on Sunday January 12, 2014. There were three games on the schedule. In the game played out at the Marshalleck Stadium in Benque Viejo between the number one seed into the playoffs Verdes FC and former champions the Belmopan Bandits ended in a 0-0 draw. At the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga Town, the Belize Defence Force and the Paradise/Freedom Fighters played to a 1-1 draw. The visiting Paradise/Freedom Fighters got onto the scoreboard first when Alexander Peters scored his team’s only goal of the game into the 50th minute of play to give his team a temporary lead. However, the Belize Defence Force got onto the scoreboard when Carlton Thomas scored the equalising goal in the 80th minute of play for the draw. And in the final game of the day played out at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the host team Police United won over San Ignacio United by the score of 3-1. The goals for Police United were scored by Clifton West in the 5th, 54th and 67th minutes of play, while the lone goal for the San Ignacio United team was scored by Eric Guzman in the 53rd minute of play.| On Friday January 10, in a backmatch game played out at the Marshalleck Stadium, Police United and Verdes FC played to a 1-1 draw. The goal for Verdes FC was scored by Richard Jimenez in the 33rd minute of play, while the equalising goal for the Police United was scored by Clifton West in the 53rd minute of play. Clifton West has captured the Most Goals scored trophy with a total of 8 goals in the 2013 Opening Season. The playoff round will commence this coming Saturday January 18 at 7:30 pm out at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium between the Belmopan Bandits #3 seed and the Belize Defence Force # 2 seed. It will then continue on Sunday January 19 at 4:00 pm at the MCC Grounds between FC Belize #4 seed and Verdes FC # 1 seed.

BAA to hold Athletic Training and Cross Country Trials
The Belize Athletics Association will be holding a Training session for persons wishing to become officials in the discipline of Athletics. This training will take place at the ITVET on Saturday January 18, 2014 commencing at 9:00 am. The training will consist of both theory and practical. Persons wishing to participate in the training can register with Hugh Staine on the day on the training or he can be contacted at 623-1335. Meanwhile, the Athletics Association will be holding a Cross Country Trials also on Saturday January 18, commencing at 1:00 pm in the vicinity of the Governor General Field and the surroundings. The event will be used to select athletes to represent Belize at the Central American Cross Country Championships (CADICA) to be hosted by the Costa Rican Athletics Federation in February. Persons wishing to participate can register on the day of the event or with any member of the association. According to the association registration is free. The categories and distances are listed to the right:

189 days to the opening of the XX Commonwealth Games
The XX Commonwealth Games is only 189 days away from its opening in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 23, 2014. As we go to press, the Queen’s Baton Relay, which has been the curtain opener to all of the Commonwealth Games since Cardiff, Wales, in 1958 has only just arrived in Rwanda. The first Commonwealth Games were held in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada, where 11 countries sent 400 athletes to take part in 6 sports and 59 events. Since then, the Games have been conducted every four years except for 1942 and 1946 due to World War II and the event has seen many changes, not least in its name. From 1930 to 1950 the Games were known as the British Empire Games, from 1954 until 1960 the British Empire and Commonwealth Games and from 1970-1974 they took on the title of British Commonwealth Games. It was the 1978 Games in Edmonton that saw this unique, world class, multi-sports event changed its name to the Commonwealth Games. The Games are often referred to as the ‘Friendly Games’ only single competition sports had been on the programme from 1930 up to and including the 1994 Games in Victoria. The 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur saw the introduction of team sports with nations taking part in cricket, hockey (men and women), netball (women), rugby 7’s (men). At the 2006 Games in Melbourne basketball accompanied hockey, netball and rugby’s 7 on the programme.

National Primary Schools Football championship this Friday
The 2013-2014 National Primary Schools Football Championships which was scheduled for last Friday January 10 that had to be postponed because of the wet conditions of the football fields will now be played this Friday January 17, 2014 at the MCC Grounds and the Queen’s Square Football Field. The Official Opening Ceremony is scheduled to commence at 8:30 am at the MCC Grounds and this will be followed immediately with the first games in both the boys and girls competition. The National Primary Schools Football Championship features the champions in both the boys and girls category from all six districts of the country. The schools that will participate in the championship are from the Belize District - San Pedro Roman Catholic boys and girls; from the Cayo District - Santa Elena Primary School boys and girls; from the Corozal District - San Narciso Roman Catholic girls and Copper Bank Roman Catholic boys; from the Orange Walk District-Trial Farm Government boys and girls; from the Stann Creek District - Richard Quinn Roman Catholic girls from Georgetown and Sacred Heart Roman Catholic boys from Dangriga Town and from the Toledo District - San Jose Roman Catholic girls and Golden Steam Government School boys.

Failing Grade
Imagine teachers in Belize entering their classrooms one morning to find them half empty. The Ministry of Education does not have any information to explain the empty classrooms but enquiries reveal that a letter had been sent to the various Managements informing them that students would be attending rallies on designated Fridays to learn more about their rights. The rallies are being organised by a group of concerned parents who have read reports showing that high repetition and drop-out rates can be largely attributed to poor teaching and school administration. The Management Authorities appear ineffective in weeding out poor teachers, the Teachers’ Union mandate is to protect teachers and so the full brunt of this institutional failure falls on parents and students. Some parents therefore decided to take matters into their own hands and hold sessions in every district to teach the students and their parents how to monitor the quality of the education they are receiving, rate their teachers and school administrations as well as report instances of inappropriate or inequitable behaviour and poor educational practices. Managements, Unions and the Ministry of Education would be outraged and the students who missed school would be subject to demerits, suspensions and even expulsions even if they brought letters from their parents supporting their actions. Some voices would query whether the parents were not overstepping their authority and these issues should more properly be dealt with by the government and managing authorities. However, many people would agree that the sessions were an important component of raising educational standards. Regardless, almost everyone would be concerned that the sessions had been scheduled for a school day. They would want to know how students who missed school would catch up with the work covered during their absence. Most teachers would reasonably be unwilling to hold extra classes after school or on weekends to teach the missed material. Re-teaching it during regular sessions would not be fair to the students who had gone to school and ignoring it would leave the absent students at a disadvantage for tests and examinations. Other concerned persons would also reasonably ask if any roll call was taken to show which students had actually attended the full sessions, who had gone for only a short time and then left and who had just taken the day off.

Accident on Arenal Road in Cayo
Benque Viejo del Carmen Police responded last Friday to an accident at Mile Seven on the ‘Hydro Road’ in the Cayo District. Police were called to the scene of a collision between a van and an 18 wheeler truck, which was coming from Arenal; leaving some eight persons injured. Benque Police have thus far recorded a statement from a male driver of the truck, whose outlook was favorable and as a result came out of the hospital on Monday of this week. Police are now awaiting a report from the driver of the van, who was more seriously injured, while being accompanied by six other Belize Electric Company Limited BECOL co-workers. “At present all occupants (of the van) are at the hospital and we are continuing our investigation”, reports Dinsdale Thompson, Officer in Charge of Benque Viejo Police.

Book Launched in Belmopan
A colorful children’s book depicting the Garifuna Culture was launched on Wednesday of this week at the National Heritage Library on Mountain View Boulevard in Belmopan. Present for the occasion were staff members from the Belize National Library Service and Information System, the National Institute of Culture and History - NICH as well as primary school children from the Belmopan Area. Felicia Pelayo from NICH told the children that a book is a work of art awaiting reception. She encouraged the children to make reading a part of their lives. There was an opportunity to learn via video from Mali Cayetano, the main illustrator of this second book, ‘Wanaragua’ that the dance Wanaragua or Jankunu Dance is celebrated in Belize, Honduras and Nicaragua. According to Mali Cayetano some of the dance's features are shared with German and European traditions. This is the second book produced by the family of well known artist Pen Cayetano and author wife Ingrid Cayetano. Their first book, ‘We are Free’, tells the story of the journey of the Garinagu from Africa into the Caribbean.

Desmond Lewis Buys a TV and Drives Home with a Truck
Garden City Primary School teacher, Desmond Lewis, 25, went to Courts to purchase a television for Christmas and because of that he is now the owner of a 2012 Great Wall Wingle pickup truck. Lewis went to Courts on December 10th to purchase a television as a Christmas gift to himself. There he was informed by the sales representative that there was a brand awareness promotion on 32” TCL (The Creative Life) televisions. Lewis was told that if he purchased the 32” TCL television he would receive a ticket to win a 2012 Great Wall Wingle pickup truck. He bought the television but was not really concerned about the raffle because he “has never won anything before”. After he wrote his contact information on the raffle stub, that was the end of it in his mind. According to Kovenka James, Marketing Officer at Unicomer Belize, “the promotion was held from November 8th to December 31st and during that time lots of TCL TVs were sold and customers learned a lot about the brand.”

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Liquor License meeting set for Jan 22nd

Catholic Principals applaud Government
The Belize Catholic Association of Principals of Secondary Schools (BCAPSS) notes with great appreciation the decision of the Government of Belize to support, based on economic need, eligible Belizean secondary school students by paying for up to six CSEC exams as of the 2014-2015 school year. This new policy will not only make the CXC regional exams more accessible to students, but it will also increase the number of students that will be able to access junior colleges, as success in six CSEC exams (including English A)guarantees a tuition grant to the tertiary school of the student’s choice. We especially applaud the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, the Honorable Patrick Faber, and his management team, for this massive investment which signals their commitment to development of the young people of this nation. We urge qualifying students to utilize this opportunity to develop their potential for the benefit of Belize.

Government may pay for up to 6 CSEC exams per student
According to a news items in the UDP Guardian, the government may pay for up to 6 CSEC exams per student. A student who passes 6 CSEC exams are eligible to receive a tuition scholarship to a 6th Form of their choice. The Belize Catholic Association of Principals of Secondary Schools (BCAPSS) notes with great appreciation the decision of the Government of Belize to support, based on economic need, eligible Belizean secondary school students by paying for up to six CSEC exams as of the 2014-2015 school year. This new policy will not only make the CXC regional exams more accessible to students, but it will also increase the number of students that will be able to access junior colleges, as success in six CSEC exams (including English A)guarantees a tuition grant to the tertiary school of the student’s choice.

For those graduates of SCA…
The Office of Alumnae Relations takes this time to extend its wishes at the start of a new year. In doing so the attached invitation is yours to join in the celebration of Foundation Day Mass 2014. The event will be held on the Campus grounds on Monday, January 20th at 8:00am. The celebration of 130 years of service is a milestone paying great tribute to our founding Sisters whose mission has only manifested in the great successes of all our graduates. In addition, we call on all Alumnae to join with the SCA student body, faculty and Sisters of Mercy as together we can only continue to BUILD up, a STRENGTHEN the MERCY family. Best wishes to you, your families, and loved ones during this New Year. Regards, Ms. Adelaide A. Sabido, BSc. Director SCA Alumnae Relations

Tourism development plan for Caye Caulker?
On Jan 15, 2014 in a Channel 7 interview, Director of Tourism, Laura Esquivel-Framption made mention of a “…tourism development plan for Caye Caulker…” “Laura Esquivel-Frampton – Director of Tourism “We plan to look at the development of waterfront strategy for Punta Gorda, a tourism development plan for Caye Caulker, and since one of the reasons we also chose Corozal was to also announce that we plan to work with the residents of Corozal for the development of a waterfront strategy for Corozal Town.” Does anyone know what this entails?


The last hurrah at BC’s beach bar and a bit of it’s history
Last night marked the end of an era, BC’s beach bar final night in it’s current location. I was planning to go with Mary bad weather had her deciding to cancel. I texted tacoboy for a plan b option and he was willing to stop by and get me from the land of lakes :) when he was done work. We agreed we would go for one drink and call it a night. It was pretty packed when we got there and of course we decided to stay longer, enjoy everyone’s company and remember all the good times spent there. One of my favorites was the Gringo’s Gone Wild party that Charlene agreed I could host there. We packed the house that day, so many good pics of the message board gang in that post. As I was looking it up, I even found the old thread 10 page thread about the party on

Caye Caulker: Checking out A Few Hotels
Caye Caulker is absolutely teaming with people. And it’s a hot spot for lots of reasons. One is the definitely the affordable hotels. They have a wide range of spots to stay starting with a bunch of hostels and rustic cabins to smarter hotels. There are so many to check out so I decided to just start with a few to beef up my hotel listing (Hotels in Caye Caulker)… First… one that I’ve heard good reviews about for a while. De Real Macaw Guest Rooms and Apartments. Situated on the main road just across from the beach, the pretty painted fence always catches my eye. Behind the gate, they have cabanas/small two story buildings and on the top floor on the main house, with the very cool front porch that would be an IDEAL spot to watch the Caye Caulker world go by while sipping a Belikin, I checked out an apartment that you can rent for your stay.

International Sources

"Dramatic" New Maya Temple Found, Covered With Giant Faces
Archaeological "gold mine" illuminates connection between king and sun god. Some 1,600 years ago, the Temple of the Night Sun was a blood-red beacon visible for miles and adorned with giant masks of the Maya sun god as a shark, blood drinker, and jaguar. Long since lost to the Guatemalan jungle, the temple is finally showing its faces to archaeologists, and revealing new clues about the rivalrous kingdoms of the Maya. Unlike the relatively centralized Aztec and Inca empires, the Maya civilization—which spanned much of what are now Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico's Yucatán region was a loose aggregation of city-states. "This has been a growing awareness to us since the 1990s, when it became clear that a few kingdoms were more important than others," said Brown University archaeologist Stephen Houston, who announced the discovery of the new temple Thursday. El Zotz, in what's now Guatemala, was one of the smaller kingdoms, but one apparently bent on making a big impression. By 2010 archaeologists working on a hilltop near the ancient city center had discovered 45-foot-tall (13-meter-tall) Diablo Pyramid. Atop it they found a royal palace and a tomb, believed to hold the city's first ruler, who lived around A.D. 350 to 400. Around the same time, Houston and a colleague spotted the first hints of the Temple of the Night Sun, behind the royal tomb on Diablo Pyramid. Only recently, though, have excavations uncovered the unprecedented artworks under centuries of overgrowth. The sides of the temple are decorated with 5-foot-tall (1.5-meter-tall) stucco masks showing the face of the sun god changing as he traverses the sky over the course of a day. One mask is sharklike, likely a reference to the sun rising from the Caribbean in the east, Houston said. The noonday sun is depicted as an ancient being with crossed eyes who drank blood, and a final series of masks resemble the local jaguars, which awake from their jungle slumbers at dusk.

52 Places to Go in 2014
50. Belize More flights and lodges in Central America’s eco-frontier. Twenty years ago, when Francis Ford Coppola opened Blancaneaux Lodge in western Belize, relatively few travelers had ventured into this small Central American country. Slowly they arrived, many of them curious to witness the scenery that had captivated the film director, which he described in an email as “completely remote, with a beautiful pristine river you could drink the water out of and the most star-studded night sky I had ever seen.” Since then, upscale rustic hotels have cropped up all over Belize — there’s the one-year-old El Secreto in Ambergris Caye, for example, and Belcampo, an eco-lodge and sustainable farm in the south that’s about to unveil a sophisticated redesign — adding to the lure of rain forests, Mayan ruins and coral reefs. It helps that Belize is easier to reach: Delta recently announced nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Belize City, and regional carriers like Tropic Air have expanded their routes, connecting Belize to resorts like Cancún and making remote towns like San Ignacio more accessible.

CARIBBEAN VIEW: The Harsh Effects of Being Less Well-off
Throughout the Caribbean, people feel less well off. The only people who may be exceptions to this general sentiment are those in Guyana whose per capita income (now US$3,410.00) has increased in recent years. But even in Guyana, the per capita income level is so low -- higher only than Haiti (US$760.00) in the Caribbean Community -- that any perception among the majority of doing better is marginal. Unemployment has risen in several countries affecting families across the board. They either have less collective income or those fortunate enough to be employed have to contribute to the survival of those without jobs. Disposable incomes for all have declined as higher costs for utilities and higher income and value added taxes devour increasingly larger portions of wages and salaries. Again with the exception of a small number of countries, the decline in real family incomes has adversely affected the construction industry with a decelerating effect on economies. The construction of individual homes or housing schemes is a provider of jobs and has a multiplier effect on economies stimulating economic growth.

Hear the Surprising Sounds of Ocean Life
Most people know what a whale or a dolphin sounds like, but have you ever heard a toadfish grunt? Or a sea lion talking to its mother? Thanks to a team of ocean conservationists, now you can. And soon all these natural sounds will be used to tell the stories of ocean life through creative interpretations of leading artists. Francesca von Habsburg is the founder and chairman of the Vienna-based foundation Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21). The foundation’s TBA21-Academy integrates art, science and sustainability, a fellowship bringing artists, scientists and thinkers together at sea. The Academy’s vessel, Dardanella, places them in unique geographical contexts that raise ecological, economic and social issues. Francesca gathered a small team of experts to go on a four-year expedition initiated by her foundation and its academy program, to record ocean life using its unique underwater techniques. She plans to share the sounds through a series of opuses and art installations by leading artists and composers in hopes of bringing attention to the importance of fragile marine life. “We wanted to bring the art world to the rescue of the marine world,” Francesca said in an interview from the expedition ship in the Galapagos.

Hurricanes & Risk of Exposure to Parasites
Howler monkeys in Belize suffered from more parasite infections as a direct result of hurricane damage to the forest where they live. Biological anthropologists found that the monkeys caught the parasites in the wake of a category four hurricane from eating Ceprocia, a plant that blooms in forests after natural disasters. The plant houses many parasite-hosting ants, which the monkeys accidentally consume along with the Ceprocia leaves. The research highlights the dangerous effect that climate-related disasters can have on animals' diets and behaviours, and therefore on the structures of ecosystems. It is well documented that when wild primates are found in disturbed forests they tend to have higher levels of parasitism. This is generally thought to be due to the fact that in such forests food is less available and often of lower quality, which can lead to nutritional stress. This sort of stress can have negative implications for many body systems including the immune system, potentially making animals more susceptible to contracting diseases, including parasites. This synergism between nutrition, stress and parasites was the topic of my PhD research, which documented the impact of a major hurricane on a wild howler monkey population in Belize. As co-author, Dr. Mary Pavelka, had been running the monkey River study site prior to the hurricane, I was able to use this natural experiment as a means to investigate how changes in diet and activity following severe habitat alteration affect the nutritional intake, stress levels and parasite load of the population and in turn how that related to patterns of population recovery.

OAS Anti-Corruption Mechanism to Visit Six Caribbean Countries
The Anticorruption Mechanism of the Organization of American States (OAS) will hold on site visits in April to Belize, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname, in the framework of the Fourth Round of Review of the mechanism. The process of on site visits to the six Caribbean countries, which are carried out with their consent, began last December, when the governments of these nations sent their replies to the questionnaire sent by MESICIC (Mechanism for Follow-Up on the Implementation of Inter-American Convention against Corruption) delegates as a prior step to the visit of the delegations. Each subgroup is composed of representatives of two member countries, with the support of officials from the OAS Department of Legal Cooperation.

Trinidad Oil Spills Leave State-Owned Energy Company Scrambling To Clean Up
At least 11 oil spills have crippled parts of Trinidad and Tobago, coating miles of beach with crude as the state-owned energy company scrambles to control what's being called one of the country's worst environmental disasters. Petrotrin, Trinidad's state-owned oil company, first responded to an oil spill near La Brea on Dec. 17, according to a report from the Trinidad Guardian. Over the past month, the company has confirmed at least 11 spills and was slapped with a $3.1 million fine from the country's Environmental Management Authority last week, which the company's president, Khalid Hassanali, called "harsh." Here's where it gets weird. The pipeline responsible for the first of the leaks at Petrotrin's Point-a-Pierre facility, which resulted in an initial spill of more than 7,000 barrels, may not have undergone any inspections for the past 17 years, according to a confidential report commissioned by the company and obtained by the Trinidad Guardian. Of the other 10 leaks, Petrotrin has accused saboteurs of causing at least 2 while releasing a series of media releases praising what they describe as "significant progress" during clean-up efforts, saying the beaches would be clean one to two weeks after the spill.

The Land of Make Belize
My last day on San Pedro was my favorite day. I went on an adventure with my new friend Joey. We got bikes from our hotel and under my yoga teachers instructions were going Over The Bridge. I didn’t know where the bridge was or what was over it but that was were we were heading for the day. We cycled through town on our snazzy bikes and crossed over the bridge. The other side of the island is so different from San Pedro Town. A few minutes on a bike but it feels like another World. It is even more beautiful and peaceful there. First stop on our adventure was a photo opportunity at an abandoned cinema followed by lunch in a hotel bar. Outside was a warning sign advising us to show caution as the island was under dispute of ownership. Well fear not. It WAS under dispute, I own it now. Everyone is welcome, clothing is optional. I had heard around town about a place called the Palapa Bar. We stumbled on it by accident. The Palapa Bar is without a doubt the most beautiful bar in the World. Over looking water so clear that from our stools we could see sting rays and octopus playing below.

January 16, 2014


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Micky’s Place Says Goodbye
After 26 years of service in San Pedro Town, the iconic Micky’s Place Restaurant said its final good-bye, officially closing its doors on December 31, 2013. Micky’s was well known for dishing out local food that was anything but ordinary. “I wanted to serve local food to both the San Pedro community and tourists. I always cooked in a manner that makes my food feel like a comforting home cooked meal,” said Michaela. Of course no restaurant is complete without dedicated staff, and Micky’scertainly had one! Helping Michaela prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner were two dedicated and hardworking women: Clara Castellanos who worked at Micky’s for 10, years and Maria Muñoz who has been there for 12 years. “I don’t think Micky’s would have been able to achieve so many years of success without the help of my workers. They have been here in good and bad times. They have become like family to me,” said Michaela.

7th Annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Canoe Race – Post Race Report
The 2014 paddling season kicked off with the 7th Annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Race, sponsored by Bear Mountain Boats, Architectural Accents, Belize Global Travel Services, and Joseph and Taylor. The race was held on Saturday, 11th January, 2014. The race got start at little after 10am. The river was high so teams time to complete the course was one of the fastest ever with the first place team NICH, Oscar Cordon, Efrian and Felix Cruz, completing the race in 1:14. Second place in the male category went to team BTL Cobb’s Arm, Roy Cano, Erick Cano, and Andres Cabb. The Belize Bank Bulldogs Armin Lopez, Amado and Daniel Cruz, finished third. D & A Construction slipped into the fourth spot with Leon and Ray Gillett and Jeremy Sanchez paddling for their team. Hener and Ervin Cruz along with Jerry Cante brought their Westrac team into fifth place finishing just ahead of the Joseph and Taylor team made up of Francis Codd, Jerry Rhaburn and Chris Guydis, in the seventh position overall. Rounding up the male category was Watt A Ting from Sea Sports Belize made up of John Searle, Robert Bailey and Tyreek Thompson.

BSU establishes student-exchange program with UB
On Saturday January 11th, Dana Mohler –Faria, President of Bridgewater State University (BSU) in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA, along with Dr. Lisa Battaligno, John Marvella, and Mary Comeou were on Ambergris Caye as part of their visit to Belize. The university representatives travelled to the country to sign an agreement which would establish a student exchange program between BSU, The University of Belize (UB) and the Ministry of Education (MOE). Students are chosen for the exchange program based on an established criterion through UB and MOE. Once selected, the students receive a semester scholarship to BSU inclusive of boarding. Such a program allows academic credits to be interchangeable between the two establishments. Upon completion of the exchange, credits are then transferred back to the University of Belize. Students and teachers also have the opportunity to further their professional studies at BSU through any of the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs being offered at the university through the exchange program.

Introducing ‘12’, San Pedro’s new Lifestyle Brand
Living on an island as unique as Ambergris Caye usually leads us to search for similarly unique items that fill a variety of niches. Whether it is a gift, party favor, or home décor item, our search can be endless. Well the search is over, thanks to ‘12’. A subsidiary of Lemon Crush Belize and Romantic Travel Belize, ‘12’ is introducing the Belizean “lifestyle brand”. But what are lifestyle products? Think of items that not only look pretty but represent the culture, heritage and the overall identity of a region or person. Lara Goldman, creator of Lemon Crush Belize and Romantic Travels Belize, has tapped into her deepest creative passions providing the island with local Belizean luxury artisanry. ‘12’ offers gift sets, home items and party favors for all your special occasions, and you can bet they are unique!

Misc Belizean Sources

To The Point
New show coming soon!!. --Politics--Social Issues--Discussions--Debates--Much More!!! Keep tuning Reef tv on Channel 20 for the best programming in La Isla Bonita.

Kelly McGuire "Singing for SAGA" Feb 11 at Fidos
Live in Concert at Fido's Restaurant & Bar Auction with one of the World’s Best Auctioneer Donation by Fido’s for Draft beer & wings orders Raffle prizes Support Operation SNIP , which will reach cats and dogs that will probably never see a vet in their lives. The goal is a healthy population of cats and dogs who cannot reproduce.

San Pedro Town power outage Jan. 16th
Belize Electricity Limited advises its customers in San Pedro Town that the supply of electricity will be temporarily interrupted from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 16, 2014. Areas to be affected: entire San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye. BEL apologizes for the inconvenience caused but this scheduled power interruption is necessary for the Company to conduct urgent repairs to the San Pedro Substation transformer. For customer inquiries and information on power outages call us toll free at: 0-800-BEL-CARE OR 0-800-235-2273. To view scheduled outages via our website visit:

Of the five cases sent for testing at CARPHA in Trinidad, three were confirmed positive. Two females were treated and released from the Western Regional Hospital. The third was a 29 yr old female, Belize City resident who died earlier this month. DIFFERENCES between Cold, Seasonal Flu, and H1N1 Symptoms:

Western Ballaz are Cayo's Elite
The Western Ballaz, Cayo's Elite Team. They have their coach, Karim Juan, their colors, red and gold, their logo, a soaring eagle, their schedule, and they are practicing non-stop until the middle of February, when they'll start their streak towards the gold. They'll be playing at Sacred Heart College's new auditorium, and their first home game is February 21st, at 9:00pm. "The Western Ballaz will be Cayo's team in the new elite basketball league. They'll be practicing often for the games, which start in the middle of February."

National Hero George Price
"On 15 January, 1919, George Cadle Price, considered the Father of the Nation, was born. How many can still remember seeing him in and around Belize and feeling proud of his contributions to our country!? Here is an informational panel with some facts about one of our National Heroes' contributions to Belize."

Belize, Guatemala and the OAS: The poppy show enters stanza 2... and we're ready!
Belizeans and true friends of Belize, from the latest account, it appears as though the principles involved in the ill-fated scheme to get Belizeans to place our sovereignty at the mercy of the jurisprudence of the so-called, “learned Justices” at the ICJ, are back at it again. As our fellow Caribbean brethren might dub the matter, “dem wheel an cum again”. This comes as no surprise because the principles behind this debauchery still believe their mystical hold over the psyche of Belizean citizens, especially when it involves political matters, will carry over into this critical issue. Well, I have some words of wisdom for them… YOU ARE DEAD WRONG!

Disability Cooperatives!
We dare to dream of opportunities Despite our country lacking visionaries Why are we importing toys from foreign countries? With enough talent here to channel those energies Perhaps we could set up cooperatives For persons like me living with disabilities If public sector and private sector could pool together their resources Then we could offer products and services With adequate training in agro- business (processing) We do not want to become menaces We want opportunities in business We can produce jams, jellies and juices Those into trade can do well with help from BELTRADE We can help build wheel chairs for Help Age The young ladies, could get into sewing, embroideries, curtains and gift baskets, earrings, trinkets and bracelets All they would need is capital and an outlet They can have stores and take orders

Wing Stop Grand Opening
Cayo is getting a Wing Stop on Burns avenue, and they are having their grand opening this Friday. Mistah Geeh, Cloud 9, DJ Richie, and DJ Karizma will all be there for your musical pleasure. "The wingstop comes to Cayo!!!! Grand opening this friday night!!! New location downtown Burns avenue"

Basic Macaroni and Cheese: Easy and Simple
In this video I show you 2 recipes for Mac and Cheese. The basic and the Cheesier version. You will love how simple it it to make and will love even more how tasty and satisfying they both are.

Multiple vehicles crash in Corozal; one dead
A multiple vehicles crash on the Phillip Goldson Highway tonight has claimed the life of one man and left several others injured. The accident is reported to have happened around 8:30 pm near Chan Chen village, Corozal. Information received says that it involved a trailer-truck, a passenger van and a pickup truck. Sources say the one fatality is a man from Concepcion village. The name of the man is being withheld at this time, pending proper notification of his family. At least 3 other persons were transported to the community Hospital in Corozal for treatment.

Channel 7

First H1N1 Casualty Is A 29 Year Old Mother
Last week Monday, Shahera Bodden, a 29 year old mother, died at the KHMH – at the time her cause of death was listed as pneumonia. But yesterday she was confirmed as Belize’s first h1n1 fatality. It’s a tragedy unto itself, the loss of such a young life…but it’s also a worrying medical event, because Shahera was young and robust, but now she is a victim of what seems to be a particularly strong strain of h1n1. Her death raises all kinds of public and personal health questions – and today at a press conference we asked ministry of health officials what you need to know about her shocking death, and your health concerns: Jules Vasquez Reporting Dr. Marvin Manzanero - Director Epidemiology Unit "Of the 5 cases reported only one came back positive for h1n1, which is the patient that died last week Monday. The other 2 cases are from western region, hj1n1 positive, but these are ambulatory patients that recovered and they have no further complications." The patient that died is Shahera Bodden - a 29 year old mother of a 12 year old. She is the first h1n1 casualty in Belize and what worries authorities is that she had no other illnesses:

Tanzanian Woman Tried To Get Passport by Identity Theft
Tonight, 55 year-old Teena Isaac, a citizen of the East African country of Tanzania, is at the Belize Central Prison after she stole the identity of a Belizean woman and used it to try to apply for a Belizean passport. The passport document would have been the last document she needed to get to fully assume the identity of Carmen Cantun. She already had a birth certificate from the Vital Statistics Unit, complete with all the information belonging to Carmen Cantun. It says that she was born in San Narciso Village in the Corozal District in July of 1966 and that she is supposedly the daughter of Cebastiana Cantun, who resides in San Narciso Village. This birth certificate indicates that it was issued on December 30, 2013. She also has a social security card which looks authentic, with her picture in the location instead of the real Carmen Cantun. The work of the forgery is impressive; you wouldn’t be able to tell that it’s fake document if a public official didn’t tell you that it was. The social security card was issued 2 Fridays ago on January 3, 2014, and it expires on January 2, 2024.

Going to The Great Man's Grave
Today was National Hero George Price’s birthday. He would have celebrated his 95th birthday, and in memory of his great accomplishments, the PUP held a short wreath laying ceremony at his grave in the Lord Ridge Cemetery. 7News was there this morning, and the Leader of the Opposition said it’s about reminding the younger generation of Price’s lifetime achievements, and the service he gave to Belize: Hon. Francis Fonseca - Leader of the Opposition "We all have paid tribute to Mr. Price's work, his service to our country, and I think all Belizeans recognize that it is critically important. It think especially at a time when we see all the challenges facing Belize. We very often hear people say, 'Well, what would Mr. Price be doing differently?' So, I think that it is very important for us all across the country, as leaders, but also as citizens of the country, to remember the great work and service of George Price, his life, his legacy, and what it meant for Belize. Our young people in particular, many of them, of course, are growing up without knowing enough about Mr. Price's work. Many of them were born after Mr. Price left office, after Independence. They don't fully appreciate the struggle and the fight that he led to give us our Belizean identity. So, I think it's critically important, and as I've said, we in the People's United Party obviously, we are the children of George Price, and we feel a special responsibility, a special obligation."

PUP Back to Its Roots?
Keeping with the significance of George Price and his contribution to the party, today the PUP hosted the launch of it’s first party policy paper – part of a series it wants to do to engage voters. This first one is all about the ideal that Price abided to while in service to the country: social justice. This principle was the pillar of the party’s roots, and the new generations of PUP’s have been widely criticized for abandoning one of the cornerstone of the party’s credo, which, lest we forget, is to “serve the People.” So today, 7News attended, and we tried to find out if the new PUP is really serious about going back to the beginning. Daniel Ortiz reports: Daniel Ortiz Reporting The symbolism was in full effect at Independence Hall, this morning, at the cradle of the People’s United Party, on George Price’s birthday, the party would make a gesture to go back to its roots, and promise the return to the policies which made it the winningest party in Belize’s political history.

What Were Shahera’s Symptoms?
As we told you at the top of the news, 29 year old mother Shaheera Bodden is the first victim of h1n1 in Belize. She died on January sixth, 2014 at the KHMH intensive care unit. At the time, her family thought she died of pneumonia, but now they know it’s h1n1. So what symptoms did she present? And is there a public health lesson in it? That’s what Monica Bodden asked her grandmother today – she wished to appear off camera, but she told us what she observed about Shahera’s illness:.. Voice of: Shahera's Grandmother "Well, she came home and she was feeling well. That night, she got sick, and got a high fever. We gave her all kinds of medicine, and the fever refused to break; she wasn't feeling better." Monica Bodden "So, you guys were treating it as a flu, like a normal flu right?" Voice of: Shahera's Grandmother "Yes, she wasn't feeling well. We took her to the hospital in the ambulance, and they held her the whole day. The next evening, they sent her home, and from there she got sick, and she didn't feel better. We did everything we could for her when she came back home."

Wisconsin Doctors Train Belize Medics In Accident and Emergency
A team of 6 Doctors, 4 nurses and 3 paramedics from the Medical College of Wisconsin in the United States is in Belize conducting training in Accident and Emergency treatment. But, it’s not their first time here. The team has been coming for years, but after a decade of discussion, six months ago, a memorandum of understanding was signed to provide structured training in emergency medicine and response for Belize’s A and E personnel. Head of the team, Dr. Mark Bruce who’s been coming to Belize since the 90’s explained: Dr. Mark Bruce - Medical College of Wisconsin "The focus of this is elevating the status of the speciality of emergency medicine, and we have identified many of the A & E physicians that are passionate about this also. They have been engaged for the last two weeks in training. This is the beginning of a 2-year modular curriculum, and the design of this is to have multiple teams from the Medical College of Wisconsin return to Belize and to do similar type of work. During the summer, it is expected that there will be representatives from out counterparts here; the doctors, nurses and paramedics will exchange, come up to our home base in the Milwaukee area, where the Medical College of Wisconsin is located, and work in our simulation laboratories, doing specific skill development, and also rotating through 3 of our A & E's in the Milwaukee area."

Guate No Mas on Tucanos
It made big news in April when news came out saying that Guatemala’s military was acquiring six light attack planes known as Super Tucanos to patrol the Mayan Bisophere reserve in Peten, which is next door to Belize. Well, if that caused you concern as a Belizean, you can rest easy tonight. That’s because in November it was reported that Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina has cancelled the purchase. Apparently, the Guatemalan military had a price dispute with the Brazilian manufacturer and has decided instead to repair other older plans that have fallen into disuse. And that’s where Guatemala’s old ally, Israel steps in. In December, the President was scheduled to go to Israel for talks about projects including aircraft and weapons systems.

PUP Says Gun Law Was Bad From The Jump
In our last segment, we showed you the launch of the PUP’s Social Justice Agenda, an idyllic vision where every citizen enjoys equal rights and protection under the laws. But, in the real world, 30 plus years of independence has taught us that’s usually just a fantasy: justice is mostly reserved for those who have strings or who can afford a good attorney. One law, which has recently come under scrutiny for uneven application, is the gun law where remand is automatic for all gun charges. As we’ve showed you, grassroots activists have been up in arms about the case where Reynaldo Verde, a senior tax collector, escaped criminal charges. That’s after the police officers determined that the unlicensed Glock 380 pistol, which was found in his house, had been planted there. Today, the media asked the Leader of the Opposition about the gun law in that context. He said that from the time the law was being proposed, the opposition foresaw situations like this:

Tourism Industry Celebrates
The BTB’s annual Industry Presentation is an important event for this key industry. Part stocktaking, part self-congratulation, it’s about looking ahead, while building on the past. Today the show went to Corozal, where there was a lot to celebrate, and even something to look forward to for that northern town, long neglected as a tourist destination: Jules Vasquez Reporting Tony’s Inn in Corozal was the venue for this year’s industry presentation and mestizo dances set the tone for this northern-most town. There was a lot to celebrate as this promotional video shows: (Clip of the Video) Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. - Minister of Tourism "Our performance in touism over the past year has been well over the average global growth level. In fact, it has placed Belize at the forefront of our region. Our neighbors both to the north and south of us are paying close attention to what we are collectively doing to achieve such success as they continue to slowly rebound from the recession."

Caulker Police Bust Resident With Drug Use Apparatus
Caye Caulker Police have increased their efforts to crack down on drug use on the island, and their efforts have already begun to result in seizures. 38 year-old Tito Rosado, a Caye Caulker resident, is facing criminal charges after he was caught with a crack pipe this morning on Avenida Langosta. Police officers searched him at around 3:50 a.m., and found a crack pipe of inside his pants. As a result, he was arrested and charged with possession of a pipe, and he was arraigned today in San Pedro Magistrate’s Court.

Channel 5

Director of Immigration makes recommendation on officers suspended in Immigration scandal
Back in September, the immigration scandal shook up the government, but it is almost four months later and there is little information on the status of three simultaneous investigations. But [...]

African woman poses as a local to obtain a Belize passport
Since the scandal broke involving the illegal issuance of passports, nationality documents and visas, a number of foreign nationals have been caught by alert immigration officials with fake immigration documents. [...]

29 year old Belize City woman dies from Influenza A-H1N1 (Swine Flu)
The H1N1 also known as the swine flu has resurfaced in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico. But there is no need to panic, there is need for caution, because [...]

Although there are 3 confirmed cases, swine flu is not pandemic to Belize
At this time of the year, there is increased influenza activity so there is need for caution by the public. Back in 2009, there was a scare due to an [...]

Ministry speaks on easy practices to prevent spread of influenza
It is well known that prevention is better than cure. The ministry says that easy practices and good hygiene such as the covering of mouths when coughing can assist to [...]

Is there another case of swine flu up north?
Another suspected case of H-one N-one, Influenza A virus, has been reported in the north.  While it remains to be confirmed by the Ministry of Health, News Five understands that [...]

The P.U.P. launches social justice agenda
In politics….National and political icon George Price died on September nineteenth, 2011, following a fall in his Belize City home. The man hailed as the father of the nation would [...]

P.U.P. leader, Francis Fonseca, says party to commit to more aggressive advocacy
With the launch of its social justice agenda, the P.U.P. is also making a commitment to more aggressive advocacy and agitation on social issues. The party has been seen as [...]

The latest on the recall petition
The P.U.P. last week held a fiery and upstart press conference where leader Francis Fonseca and other outspoken members of the party lashed out. The focus of the attack was [...]

Annual Tourism Presentation: industry in good health
The B.T.B. and B.T.I.A.’s annual tourism presentation was hosted in Corozal Town this morning. Along with a respectable growth in tourism numbers, the industry was celebrating other achievements. There are [...]

Checks issued to Minister Edmond Castro from accounts of Belize Airports Authority
On any given day, evidence that a Minister or Minister of State used his authority to get money from a department in his portfolio would be big news. Checks issued [...]

Caye Caulker Police crack down on sale, distribution and use of illegal drugs
Caye Caulker Police have been cracking down on the sale, distribution and use of illegal drugs on the island. And their diligence and increased patrols have been paying dividends. On [...]

U.S. medical practitioners do emergency medicine residency training at the K.H.M.H.
Prior to the press conference by the Ministry of Health on the reports of Influenza A H-one N-one, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital held an informal press briefing to introduce [...]

…the benefits of the 2-year program in Belize
According to the team, emergency medicine, if not the most popular, is one of the top choices of specialty training in the United States. While its practice is relatively young, [...]

Ministry of Health confirms that a 47 year old man died from leptospirosis
Earlier we reported that a twenty-nine year old mother, Shahira Bodden had died due to the H-one N-one influenza. Another disease that has been detected in Belize is Leptospirosis. And [...]


US National Involved In Boat Accident Speaks Out
On December 27th, we reported on a vessel that capsized on the New River while transporting visiting tourists from a tour to the Lamanai ruin on Christmas Day. And while the incident saw several of the passengers sustain varying degrees of injuries, the incident went under the radar despite the Port Authority’s declaration that an investigation was ongoing. But tonight, a family of four which make up almost half of the occupants onboard the vessel at the time of the mishap are outraged that nothing is being done, about a tour trip that almost ended in tragedy. Linda Lekarczyk contacted us from Albuquerque, New Mexico and recounted the dreadful experience. Reporter Maria Novelo revisits the story and filed the following report.

Belize City Men Charged For Firearm Offence
Police are still looking for one man in connection to the firearm and ammunition bust made last Saturday morning. They have charged Jamal Tablada and Jared Usher both residents of Belize City for possession of prohibited firearm and unlicensed prohibited ammunition. A seventeen year old who was along with the men was also charged for the same crimes. The bust occurred along the Phillip Goldson Highway as authorities mobilized to set check points in response to a home invasion that was reported earlier in the night. Police report that they observed a black rodeo SUV with Belize City license plates parked at the side of the road facing Belize City.

The Fight Against Aids Continues
The National AIDS Commission of Belize aims to provide updated and relevant information on HIV for persons living with HIV, at-risk groups, social partners, health professionals, the public and other stakeholders in the response to HIV. Several activities were hosted back in 2013 to bring across awareness as to how to avoid the deadly virus. Today, President of the National Aids Commission in Corozal Town met with his directors to set up a road of plans for 2014. The plan for this year is to have more activities to bring more awareness to the general public. “We’ll be getting more support be it financially, be it technical support from the secretariat itself on what we want to implement in Corozal District and also we talked a little bit about how and where we will be meeting as the committees and also as secretariat, to join hands when it is relevant for us to execute different programs. One thing that I am glad for is that we really came to an agreement where we assured that we won’t be reading from different notes, where we will be singing from the same hymn notes and that is something that makes me remain calm and tranquil.

BMHS Honours Students With 4.0 GPA
Students are back in school and the second terms or semester for high school students is well underway. But there is much reason for some to still be celebrating their successes in the early part of their school year, like for example three of the top scoring students at Bishop Martin High School. Liyan Moralez, Adalinie Juchim and Maria Pech all scored a perfect grade point average of 4.0 at the end of their first semester and the school was not shy in making sure these top performers received due recognition.

Play Big Foundation Gives Back To The Community There is no arguing that Orange Walk residents are some of the biggest football fans in the country and the sport is popular among young persons. To keep the sport alive and more than anything to keep supporting a positive recreation for youth, the Play Big Foundation, a none profit organization handed over an assortment of football equipment to the Orange Walk Football Association. Receiving the equipment was Chiarman of the Association, Rafael Avila. Rafael Avila- Chairman OWFA “I would like to thank the Play Big Foundation for this generous contribution of the balls, cones, disc and bibs for the youth academy which should be launch the 25th here in Orange Walk.”

Did Corozal Resident Die Of H1N1 Virus
Three years ago, in 2009 to be exact, the H1N1 Virus, better known as the swine flu first emerged creating public panic in Belize. While the panic diminished the H1N1 did not disappear. It has always been here in Belize as it was detected in 2012 and 2013 yet no deaths were recorded. But apparently things have changed. Here in the country of Belize two persons have died from a severe strain of influenza, and four more persons were being treated for acute respiratory distress at the KHMH up to the 8th January 2014. At the time when the news broke out personnel from the Health Sector held a meeting in Belize City to review the cases to verify if there was an apparent pattern of the infection and concluded that it was a flu virus.

O/W Police Department To Introduce New Methods To Fight Crime
In last night’s newscast we presented you with the report on the performance of the police formations in both the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts. The overall report is that there was more successes achieved in 2013 as compared to 2012 since both formations report a decrease in major crimes for last year. The major crimes highlighted include murder, rape, robbery, burglary, theft and carnal knowledge. Superintendent Joseph Myvette, Northern Regional Commander, admitted that despite the success there were challenges in 2013 but their efforts ultimately brought about the decrease reflected in the reports. Superintendent Joseph Myvette – Northern Regional Commander “Several crime initiatives had to have been put in place, one was the increase in operation targeting criminals, two was that we adopted a similar strategy as Belize City, where Belize City was divided into four precinct and we have divided both northern districts into different zones, Orange Walk is divided into three zones whilst Corozal is divided into four zones. This is being able to put police officers in a more timely response time; one and it is certain officers who are in charge of the different zones are held responsible for those zones. Forming community groups as well will assist or have assisted these officers who are in charge of the different zones having a quicker police response will certainly have a greater impact on crime.”

Students From Calgary Conduct Research On Primates
A student from the University of Calgary, Canada is in the country collecting DNA samples for research on primates in Belize, particularly spider monkeys. New techniques have been developed to add to the possibilities to study primates; one of them is the use of non-invasive monitoring. With this technique DNA of mammals can be collected in the field without disturbing them. CTV3 News spoke with research student, Jane Champion, who is currently working closely with Wildtracks, Manatee and Primate Rehabilitation Centre in Sarteneja. Jane Champion– Primatology Research Student “I do research on spider monkeys research area in Belize near la Democracia, that is the only wild spider monkey research in Belize and I am coming up here to get samples to compare it with the wild monkeys from there. So we will figure out through the DNA how monkeys are to the ones in that area and eventually hoping overtime will collect more samples of wild monkeys and be able to figure out all where all these confiscated ones come from originally.”

One More Person Sought For Friday Night's Home Invasion
Orange Walk police continue to look for one more person believed to be involved in the home invasion that occurred on the night of Friday last into Saturday morning. Police have charged Ronald Bruhier, a twenty one year old of San Jose Nuevo Palmar Village and two minors, both seventeen years old of a Savannah Street address. They have all been charged for aggravated burglary, wounding, and taking conveyance without authority. Police are still looking for one person in connection to the incident. The invasion occurred sometime around ten in the night at the residence of Maria Elisa Artiga. Artiga and her daughter were arriving home and opening the gate to their yard when four armed masked men approached them from behind and forced them into their house. They were taken into one of the rooms at the house which was ransacked. Artiga at one point became involved in a struggle with her assailant, and was hit to the right side of her lip.


Wisconsin and Belize Partner in Emergency Management Training
Physicians, nurses and paramedics are the benefactors of a training program being conducted by personnel from the Medical College of Wisconsin, USA. Officials at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital have identified thirteen individuals from the Accident and Emergency Department who will be undergoing the training sessions that will span over the next two years. Team leader of the Wisconsin group, Dr. Bruce Mark says that while they are here to conduct training sessions, the experience will be two-way experience for them. DR. BRUCE MARK “The focus of this is elevating the status of the specialty of emergency medicine and we have identified many of the A & E physicians that are passionate about this also. They have been engaged, for the last two weeks in training that include didactics, lectures in which they have participated, they have presented cases and then we talk about those cases and lectures; that has been on a daily basis for several hours. In addition to that, each one of our faculty have worked alongside their counterparts, the paramedics at BERT, the A & E nurses and the A & E doctors. We have worked with them and they are assigned shifts, been a resource to them, answered questions and we have learnt as much from them as we have imparted to them in terms of our fund of knowledge and so, it has been a truly two-way experience for us.”

Tanzanian National Uses Fake Documents to Get Belizean Passport
Fifty-five year old Tanzanian national Teena Isacc, who attempted to get a Belizean passport by using a Belizean birth certificate and a Belizean social security card, was sent to Belize Central Prison today after she appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano and pled guilty to charges of falsifying a document, failure to comply with the conditions of a visitor’s permit, using a document she is not entitled to use and using a certificate she is not entitled to use. She pled guilty to the charges and she was fined $1,000 for each offence. She was ordered to pay the fines forthwith. In default of payment, her sentence is one year for each count with the stipulation that the sentences are to run concurrently, so she will serve one year. She was unable to pay she was taken to prison. About 11:45 a.m. yesterday, Isacc went to the Immigration Department and submitted an application for a Belizean passport. She used a Belizean birth certificate and a Belizean social security card, both of them in the name of Carmen Cantun of San Narciso, Corozal. She was unable to answer some questions put to her by an immigration officer and after she was questioned extensively she admitted that the birth certificate and social security card were false. It was discovered in her Tanzanian passport that she came to Belize from the northern border and her visa permit has expired. The Immigration Department has made an application for a removal order for her to be deported to Tanzania either after she has paid the fine or served the time.

Mexico Drops Fee for FMVL Border Card
With Belizeans flocking to various parts of neighboring Mexico, many have taken advantage of the FMVL card that was issued out in order to ease the hustle in crossing Belize’s border with Quintana Roo. Over the years, the access to this card has seen some changes mainly in the area of its cost. In November 2013, the Mexican embassy had announced that a new card was being distributed and existing card holders were advised to have their old card replaced. That replacement carried no cost to the card holder but for new card holders, they would be taxed two hundred and ninety five pesos or an estimated fifty Belize dollars. Today, the Mexican Ambassador updated us on changes that took effect at the start of 2014 regarding the FMVL card. AMBASSADOR VELASQUEZ “For all Belizeans, they have to know that the actual card for crossing the border as of the beginning of January, it will be free. There is no fee; anybody can get that card without paying anything.”

Three Patients Test Positive for H1N1 Virus in Belize
The H1N1 virus is an infection caused by a kind of influenza virus that spreads from one person to another. It is an infection that is known to cause severe flu symptoms and if left untreated can lead to death. A press briefing was called for today by officials from the Ministry of Health to update the media on the current situation regarding H1N1. Dr. Michael Pitts, Director of Health Services explained what the health ministry is doing in an effort to combat the spread of the virus. DR. MICHAEL PITTS “The sixth of January, last week Monday, we got a report over the weekend of five cases with severe illness; one in the private sector and four in the public sector. So, we said it was important for us to determine what were the causes for those cases and in particular, we said, let us rule out the influenza viruses, particular attention to the H1N1 and any of those subgroups. In Belize, we have the capability to do the initial screen and we did that; however, we have the backup conformity arrangement with CARPHA in Trinidad and we used that facility.”

Young Mother Dies – First Recorded Death by H1N1 Virus in Belize
A 29-year-old woman of Belize City has died as a result of contracting a strain of the H1N1 influenza virus. Hospital authorities confirmed that the mother of a 9-year-old daughter was admitted into the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital on January 2 and passed away on Monday, January 6. Today, several health authorities gathered in the conference room at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where the Dr. Marvin Manzanero of the Epidemiology Department in the Ministry of Health briefed the media on the situation regarding the woman’s health and outcome. DR. MARVIN MANZANERO “We couldn’t determine based on the clinical history and in talking with the doctors that she had any other underlying cause. So, it seems to be a direct result of a typical pneumonia.” Dr. Manzanero says that the hospital followed the proper procedures in this case but the woman came in severely ill. DR. MARVIN MANZANERO “She had been here, in her docket we found that she was here on the 28th of December and given treatment and came back. When she came back on the second, she is reported to have been severely ill. We have heard that she was here prior to the 28th but we couldn’t find that in our file and so, we don’t know what happened between the 28th and the second which is a period of about five days but when she came on the second, the first note is that the ME says that she is severely ill with a heart rate of 148, fever of 103 and respiratory rate of 28; just based on that, you can tell she was severely ill.”


PUP Cries Challenge on GOB’s Rejection of Signatures for Recall
Last week, the PUP firmly rejected the ruling of the Election and Boundaries Department in disallowing 337 signatures from the 2,002 presented by voters of the Cayo Northeast constituency asking to recall former Minister of State and representative Elvin Penner. The party had said that it would challenge at...

H1N1 Flu Claims First Victim
The first recorded death from Influenza A (H1N1) in Belize has been confirmed by tests of influenza samples sent by the Ministry of Health to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the amalgamated regional authority responsible for public health, located in Trinidad and Tobago. The unfortunate victim is a...

Senior Man Dies from Leptospirosis in Belize City
A 47 year old man died as a result of contracting leptospirosis. He was infected with the deadly bacteria Leptospira, commonly carried by animals, especially rats and transmitted by contact with infected waste matter such as urine and feces. It had not been reported in some time and the...

PUP Pays Posthumous Honours to Former Leader George Price
The Right Honorable George Cadle Price, former Chief Minister, Premier and two-time Prime Minister of Belize, would have turned 95 today, January 15. He died in September 2011 at the age of 92. The party he led for 40 years and co-founded, the People’s United Party (PUP), continues to remember...

PUP Unveil Social Justice Agenda
Following the ceremony at Lord’s Ridge, the PUP unveiled its Social Justice Agenda. PUP leader Francis Fonseca listed a number of principles addressed in the agenda. Chief among them is reducing poverty. Hon. Francis Fonseca- Leader of the People’s United Party “This January 15th, 2014th, we the People’s United Party...

The Blue Party say they Support Teachers’ Movement
With the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) beginning its- rally to support teachers’ salary adjustments and against other pressing national issues in the North last week, opinion has been divided about the purpose and necessity of their action. The Government has expressed its disapproval while refusing to appear vindictive...


A trip to the Tuesday morning prodice market and Yancey de Veer singing Lyin’ Mayans
Selection and quality are two good reasons to try the the Tuesday morning market on the lagoon. I will say the pricing is not always cheaper, but it is still worth going. You will never know what you will find and the produce is nice and fresh for the most part. This week they had a good mix of fruits and vegetables. I got a big cauliflower for $10.50 sold by weight at $3.50 BZD a pound. Mary’s cilantro was $1.00 cheaper than she paid in town last week and very fresh. The thing that caught my eye the most was a box filled with plastic containers of juicy looking strawberries, I knew they would be pricy and at $13 BZD I was right. Fresh fruit and vegetables come in from Belize City by boat every Tuesday morning.

Second Citizenship and Passport Scams
For those who are looking to obtain a second citizenship and passport it might be a vital task, being done once upon a life and thus very important. It’s normally well-known that you have at least to spend several years in a foreign country before it allows you to apply for its citizenship. Some may have also heard that there are quicker programs called economic citizenship programs or fast-track naturalization programs supported by a number of countries. Here is where rumour and misinformation start giving the ground for numerous scammers looking for your money. Facts to Know About Second Citizenship: There are only three official economic citizenship programs in the world today.* Those are being offered by the Commonwealth of Dominica (not the Dominican Republic), Saint Kitts and Nevis and Austria, and require contribution of at least US$ 100,000 in case of Dominica and millions of dollars in case of Austria. They also call it citizenship-by-investment programs. Countries like Belize, Grenada and some others that offered the same a while ago have already stopped their programs. Panama second passport program was re-enabled in 2008 with new requirements.

Caribbean Export Hosts the Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Financial Services
The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in collaboration with The Government of Barbados convened a meeting on the Financial Services sector in CARIFORUM at the Radisson Hotel, Barbados on December 9, 2013. The meeting of Ministers with responsibility for financial services and key industry professionals was assembled to develop the strategic direction relating to the continued development of the industry, to develop recommendations relating to the governance structure of the regional initiative, and to determine the strategic engagement of the Overseas Countries and Territories in the overall process. Chaired by The Hon. Donville Inniss, Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Barbados the meeting was convened within the context of the importance of a vibrant financial services industry to the sustained economic development of the region, and the severe challenges facing that industry in light of the global economic crisis.

Why is my water brown?
When you turn your faucet or shower on and brown water comes out, you know there’s something wrong there. Discoloration can range from a light straw yellow color to dark brown. It can be caused by a number of things including: Naturally occurring substances Disturbance of mains deposits Corrosion of service pipes Internal plumbing issues There are several reasons why water turns brown, the main one being rust.

International Sources

A mosquito-borne virus appears to be spreading quickly in the Caribbean during the winter tourism season just weeks after epidemiologists first found local transmission occurring in the French dependency of St. Martin. Scientists said Tuesday that St. Martin now has as many as 200 cases of chikungunya, a virus found mainly in Africa and Asia that can cause a debilitating but rarely fatal sickness with fever, rash, fatigue and intense muscle and joint pain. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said new cases have been confirmed on the French Caribbean islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe and St. Barthelemy. The virus also infected a couple of residents of Dutch St. Maarten, which shares an island with St. Martin that was already battling dengue fever, a more serious mosquito-borne illness.

A Little Girls Potato Experiment Will Change The Way You Think About Food!
A little girl decided to do an experiment with a sweet potato, and her results will change the way you think about the fruits and vegetables you buy at the grocery store.

Genetically modified mosquitoes will be used in Panama to control dengue outbreak
Panama will try to control a dengue outbreak that has claimed six lives this year by releasing transgenic mosquitoes to render infertile female transmitters of the disease, officials said. Health Ministry director Carlos Galvez told AFP the technique has "shown promise" in Brazil and the Cayman Islands. In Panama, it is being run by the Instituto Gorgas tropical research institute. "The GM male mosquitoes have contact with the females that transmit dengue; then the eggs the (non-GM) females lay no longer produce (dengue-)transmitting mosquitoes," he explained. Galvez said the GM mosquitoes are not a danger to humans because they do not feed on blood, but rather on fruit. GM mosquitoes live for just a week, while normal ones live for a month. The ministry plans to release the GM bugs in two weeks, numbering in the hundreds for each estimated dengue-transmitting female.

The Heritage Foundation's 2014 Index of Economic Freedom [Belize = # 115 of 186 countries]
Today, we live in the most prosperous time in human history. Poverty, sicknesses, and ignorance are receding throughout the world, due in large part to the advance of economic freedom. In 2014, the principles of economic freedom that have fueled this monumental progress are once again measured in the Index of Economic Freedom, an annual guide published by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation, Washington’s No. 1 think tank. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Index of Economic Freedom. With its user friendly format and straight-forward analysis, readers can track up to two decades of advancement in economic freedom, prosperity, and opportunity. The Index covers 10 freedoms – from property rights to entrepreneurship – in 186 countries.

Louisville eye doctor helps patients in Belize — and teaches son
Louisville opthalmologist Dr. Albert Smolyar recently took a mission trip to Belize to provide eye care — and teach his teenage son about the need to reach out to those in need throughout the world. Smolyar said he worked with the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired, performing 17 cataract surgeries for poor residents in Belize City. They brought all the medical supplies with them from the United States. “For my son (Yonatan Smolyar), who is a junior at North Oldham High School, it was quite an experience and shock,” he said. “Although he had no professional eye care knowledge, he was quite helpful since BCVI is very short on staff.”

Backpacking Mexico and Belize: A slightly different tropical adventure, Pt 4: Birding Belize: Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve
I'm in the midst of a trip to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and we're about to cross the border into Belize. Crossing the border into Belize is no easy task. It costs money. A lot of it. One thing to understand, when crossing a border in tropical America, there is always a fee of some kind. Sometimes there is more than one fee. Sometimes corrupt officials will try to get you to pay more than the fee so they can bolster their pockets. In any case, you should find out what the fee is before you get there. The other catch to crossing into Belize from Mexico is that the border is in no-mans land. On the Mexican side, Chetumal is the closest town. On the Belizean side, Corozal is the closest town. That's a distance of several miles between cities, an area in which no buses run. The main means of transportation across the border is by Taxi. These are people who easily recognize Americans and attempt to charge them ten times what the actual fee is. We managed to cross inexpensively by jumping aboard a Collectivo (a van that runs on a flat fee split between all the occupants. the more people, the cheaper it is). Once in Corozal, we caught a bus to the old Belizean capital, Belize City. The bus rides of course were interesting. Traveling from Chetumal to Belize City, we birded our way along, out the bus window. Water birds were plentiful. Ibis, Herons, Jabiru and Wood Storks, Tropical Kingbirds on the wires, a few hawks here and there. There was always a lot to see. Tired as we were from traveling, falling asleep often meant missing a good bird (our only Jabiru of the entire trip was out the bus window).

VIDEO: Top 10 Smart Animals - Earth Unplugged
There are some outstanding animal behaviours in the natural world and this film celebrates the most amazing wins on Earth. Elephants have shown remarkable levels of intelligence by cooperating with each other to solve a puzzle.

Dolphins Are 10 Times Stronger Than Human Athletes
Dolphins routinely produce 10 times more power than the fittest human athletes do, concludes a new study on the herculean marine mammals. The discovery helps to explain why dolphins seem to swim with ease next to boats propelled by powerful engines. At first scientists thought dolphins always benefited from some kind of fluid-flow trickery, but now we know the truth: Dolphins are ultra strong. Lead author Frank Fish (that’s his real name!) is a talented researcher whose work I’ve covered before. He heads up the Liquid Life Laboratory at West Chester University, where he’s also a professor of biology. Prior to the study, Fish and his team had a clear goal in mind. “Let’s see how much power a dolphin can produce,” Fish said in a press release. “So,” he continued, “I used some hydrodynamics models that looked at the motion of the flukes (dolphin tails) and came up with the realization that dolphins could produce very high amounts of power.” He and his colleagues tried out something very unexpected. They used a technique designed to measure the muscle power of Olympic athletes on dolphins.

Destination Travel Magazine 2014 Travel Planner Idea Book

Belize: Underwater Photo Essay
Join me on an underwater exploration of Belize’s Barrier Reef — experience some of the world’s finest snorkelling and most abundant marine life. In this Belize Photo Essay You Will Discover: Huge Variety of Fish Gorgeous Coral Stinging Jellyfish And More! Belize has the finest snorkelling I’ve experienced. Better than Thailand. Better than Bali. Better even than Aruba. Better, dare I say it, than what I’ve experienced in my beloved Hawaii. Belize is home to the world’s second-largest barrier reef (I’m sure you can guess where the largest is), which harbours staggering marine biodiversity. You’ll discover fish, like the social wrasse, found nowhere else in the world. Plus, there are plentiful parrotfish, French angelfish, queen angelfish, gruntfish, cowfish, leopard rays, eagle rays, southern stingrays, trumpetfish, needlefish, neon-speckled squid, triggerfish, octopus, seahorses, invasive lionfish… too many to list. See for yourself:

Caye Caulker for the day
Karen and I decided to venture out and take a day trip to the island of Caye Caulker today. We started with breakfast at Estel’s on Ambergris Caye after purchasing our round trip water taxi tickets to Caye Caulker from Caye Caulker water Taxi. ($35BZ round trip). We have had breakfast a couple of times now at Estel’s and I would recommend it as a place to begin your day. Hard to go wrong getting a piping hot breakfast served to you as you sit on the beach. We have tried the bloody Mary’s and coffee, I would suggest the coffee to start the day. The water taxi trip to Caye Caulker was uneventful. As in it left right on time and arrived without excitement. The 21km trip takes 30 minutes. It is a little loud on the boat and the seats are just fibreglass but I found it very good and would use it again without a doubt.

January 15, 2014


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Specials and Events

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The San Pedro Sun

Midtown Violets Release New Album “Don’t Give Up”
The Midtown Violets are no strangers to San Pedro. Songstress Karen Waldup first brought her dynamic voice and charm to San Pedro in September 2012 when she performed benefit concerts for the Mama Vilma Family Home at both Wet Willy’s and Grand Caribe. In May 2013 she returned to La Isla as a Midtown Violet with partner Ashlee K Thomas to again hold benefit concerts for the same cause. Islanders had a chance to listen to melodious songs from the pair of gifted musicians, becoming more than just fans but friends of the ladies as well. Now Midtown Violets enthusiasts can enjoy even more of their music on the newly released album “Don’t Give Up” which came out on January 12th. This album is the first collaboration for the ladies since they began performing as a duo in 2011 and contains tracks by both Karen and Ashlee. In speaking with The San Pedro Sun the excited ladies shared with us quite a bit on their new album and on how the Midtown Violets came to be.

Mad Storme triumphs at 2014 Captain Morgan’s Wahoo Challenge
On Saturday January 11th, fishing enthusiasts gathered at Captain Morgan’s Retreat for a day filled with cold drinks and good food as they awaited their favorite contenders from the 2014 Wahoo Challenge. Of the 15 boats registered in this year’s competition, only five were able to battle the waters and conquer the catches in time to make it back for the 5PM weigh- in time at Captain Morgan’s. Those vessels were: Reel Challenge, Mad Storme, Another Princess, Fishing Unlimited, and Dos Locos. The day proved itself to be a fine one for fishing as spectators were surely impressed with the large catches brought in by each vessel. At the end of the competition the results were as follows:

Ambergris Today

7th Annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Canoe Race
The 2014 paddling season kicked off with the 7th Annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Race, sponsored by Bear Mountain Boats, Architectural Accents, Belize Global Travel Services, and Joseph and Taylor. The race was held on Saturday, 11th January, 2014. The river was high so teams time to complete the course was one of the fastest ever with the first place team NICH, Oscar Cordon, Efrian and Felix Cruz, completing the race in 1:14. Second place in the male category went to team BTL Cobb’s Arm, Roy Cano, Erick Cano, and Andres Cabb. The Belize Bank Bulldogs Armin Lopez, Amado and Daniel Cruz, finished third. D & A Construction slipped into the fourth spot with Leon and Ray Gillett and Jeremy Sanchez paddling for their team. Hener and Ervin Cruz along with Jerry Cante brought their Westrac team into fifth place finishing just ahead of the Joseph and Taylor team made up of Francis Codd, Jerry Rhaburn and Chris Guydis, in the seventh position overall. Rounding up the male category was Watt A Ting from Sea Sports Belize made up of John Searle, Robert Bailey and Tyreek Thompson.

Video Pick: Ten Days Vacation in Belize
“I decided to take just a single GoPro, GoPole and head strap for this 10 day adventure. See what is possible with only these three things as we climb Mayan ruins, play with monkeys, swim with sharks and dive with all forms of sea creatures. Cars, taxis, boats, planes, kayaks, bikes, canoes - this is Belize.” Davis Paul, of GoPro Media, took a vacation with his wife Somerlyn Wood Paul to Belize and with just one GoPro camera he took this amazing footage of his adventures. “Take a trip through the beautiful country of Belize with us!” he says.

San Pedro Junior Angler Receives International Award
Fishing is a way of life for many, just ask 11-year-old Jhoan Hernandez who says that fishing is his favorite past time here in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Jhoan has been fishing since the tender age of four and takes advantage of any opportunity he encounters to do what he loves the best, fishing of course! For his hard work and dedication Jhoan was awarded the Central American Junior Angler 2013 Award during assembly at the Holy Cross Anglican School which he attends on Ambergris Caye. This is the first time that a Belizean was nominated and has won such an award. Presenting Jhoan with a picture plaque with the signatures of the board members of Accurate Reel was Rudy Lewis of Fishing Strike Force Belize and Roberto “Robbie” Guerrero, President of the San Pedro Game Fishing Association.

Flashbacks: Drastic Changes at San Pedro Roman Catholic School Area
This little corner of old San Pedro village in the 1970’s is totally different today. The children could enjoy first of all a large campus for sports as we see Lisa Forman and Miguel ‘Sykes’ Guerrero in the forefront. Children’s sports days were very common and popular. No five a side court, no buildings for classrooms, not even a fence. Straight in the center at the back there is no sign of El Fogon Restaurant or Susan Eiley’s residence. The green bush in the background has been replaced by several streets and an entire residential area. I wonder whose little white wooden house it is on the right? This is now the site of Island Galleria, a busy commercial building right downtown San Pedro. Is there at least one coconut tree remaining there? Look at the tiny three-seater airplanes at the extreme left. Those have been swapped by fourteen-seaters and their parking space has been substituted by a spanking Tropic Air terminal building. This is what we mean from a quiet laid back fishing village to a bustling little town in the tropics.

Saga Humane Society Cook Off - Appetizers
Saga Humane Society is pleased to announce the first Cook Off for 2014, Appetizers! Join us Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at Luna Loca to try all the excellent dishes. VIP Table- No waiting in line for food, food will be served to you! Seating for up to 6 person per table at a great price of $25 BZ per Person.

UNIBAM Denounces Hate Crime in Belize
UNIBAM joins other concerned and disheartened members of our community in decrying the vicious, senseless and inhumane killing of young Joseph Sanchez which took place on Sunday, January 12, 2014, in the early morning. The Board of Directors, staff and members of UNIBAM reach out to his parents and family members with condolence and empathy. Even though many members did not know him personally, the entire advocacy movement shares the family’s confusion, anger, and grief. As the leading agency for rights defence of sexual minorities such as transgendered individuals UNIBAM denounces this vile act and calls for the most comprehensive investigation to send a clear message to the rest of society that in Belize we won’t tolerate this kind of hate crime.

Misc Belizean Sources

Saga Humane Society Cook Off - Appetizers
Saga Humane Society is pleased to announce the first Cook Off for 2014, Appetizers! Join us Wednesday January 22 at Loca Luna to try all the excellent dishes. VIP Table- No waiting in line for food, food will be served to you! Seating for up to 6. Only is one table available at $25 BZ Per Person. To reserve call Katia at 610 - 0992 Bark Bark Meow!

Power interruption San Pedro today
Power interruption 9:00am to 12:00pm Wednesday, January 15 entire San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye. BEL to conduct urgent repairs to the San Pedro Substation transformer.

On Thursday, November 21, 2013, the Washington University of Health and Science: Belize Campus in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, held its White Coat Ceremony at the Paradise Theater where 28 of their medical students made the transition from their preclinical studies to that of clinical health sciences. Before the Ceremony, Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism & Culture along with managers of the Commercial banks, Principal of SPHS and representatives of the Ministry of Education were given a tour of the facility.

Road rehabilitation project for Tropical Wave Street and Crocodile Drive
Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Councilor Severo, Councilor Gabriel and Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism & Culture make assessments along with Medina's Construction for the road rehabilitation project for Tropical Wave Street and Crocodile Drive. Medina's team was on site to measure both streets. IT'S COMING! (6 photos)

Unprecedented in Belize
The elevation of 3 women Attorneys to the rank of Senior Counsel - Jacqueline Marshalleck, Magali Marin Young and Cheryl-Lynn Vidal.

Great Wall Wingle
A Belmopan teacher is the winner of a 2012 Great Wall Wingle courtesy of Courts. Today the standard three teacher of Garden City Primary School, Desmond Lewis was handed the keys to a brand new pickup truck valued at fifty thousand dollars.

Conch Fritters with Lighthouse Lager
Flavors of Belize and Chef Sean Kuylen make some delicious conch fritters, and the beer batter is made with Lighthouse beer. Check out those bite sized beauties. The sweet and sour sauce looks as good as the fritters too. In related news, they are having a photo competition to win a copy of the Flavors of Belize cookbook. Just make one of the dishes, and send in a picture. "A classic Belizean dish, perfect for an appetizer at dinner time or a quick snack. And as usual, Chef Sean puts his spin on things adding Belikin Lighthouse Beer to the batter while giving chefs at home good tips when preparing this simple dish."

Wanaragua Book Launch
The book launch for Wanaragua, written and illustrated by the Cayetano's, is tomorrow at the National Heritage Library, starting at 10:00am. "Book launch of Wanaragua: A unique story about a traditional mask dance, written by Ingrid and Ibo Cayetano, illustrated by Mali Cayetano."

Island Time at Cahal Pech
Cahal Pech is featured in the latest Caribbean Coolers commercial. Island Time's coolers are a great treat, especially on hot days, and now you can find them in most markets around Cayo. "Even when it's a little cool outside - one sip of of your Caribbean Cooler takes you right back to Island Time… sitting on a hammock on an island of your own…. RUM TO GO! Your own taste of Belize anytime…."

Rt. Hon George Price Memorial Mass
It's George Price's birthday today, and in his honor there will be a memorial mass in Belmopan, starting at 6:30am. "You are cordially invited to the annual memorial mass for the Father of the Nation Belize at Our Lady of Guadelupe Church in Belmopan"

Hanna Stables New Website
Hanna Stables has a great new website to go with their new high ranking on Trip Advisor. Check it out, and if you want a great ride to Xunantunich, they are the ones to call. "Hanna Stables is amongst the oldest horseback riding establishments in Belize, and it is part of a larger network that includes Nabitunich accommodations and the 400 acre San Lorenzo Farms. All of the properties have been in the Juan family for four generations. Santiago Juan is currently the head operator of the properties. We are happy to provide all guests to Belize with ample horseback riding tours of nearby Mayan ruins at Hanna Stables as well as comfortable overnight accommodations at Nabitunich cottages and educational opportunities at San Lorenzo Farms."

Don't miss the bike rally on Feb. 7th & 8th 2014 hosted by the Black Pearl Motorcycle. We are expecting 300 bikes from Central America and Mexico. Entry 18 years and over are welcomed to the evening's event at the Hour Bar grounds in Belize City. Live music will be performed by Belize No. 1 Rock 'n Roll band Ascenthium. Admission is $20 per person. This is going to be a big event.

Jan 5 - Jan 11 2014 Fishing Report
We expect storms from the north this time of year, but no one prepared us for all the rain we had this week! The good news is that today it is sunny, wind at about 5, and you can hear the tarpon rolling over on Savannah. I’m so hopeful for our anglers out there today. For our anglers that endured the rain, you get the highest praise. It’s one thing to go out when it’s perfect and make it happen, but when you go out and make it happen in tough conditions – that’s flat out good sportsmanship. Some might call it ridiculous, but it is those that take these times and work with the conditions – you show the world around you about passion and fun. And today…. “Like ya read about.” When it happens, embrace it! Thank you everyone for a nice cozy week after the holiday.

Joseph Sanchez is dead, but who am I? written by: Aria Lightfoot
Joseph Sanchez is dead but who am I? Who am I must be the one universal question we have all asked ourselves while staring at the reflection in the mirror staring back at us, mimicking our moves and sending back signals to our brains. We have tacitly accepted the reflected image is actually who we see. Some scientist believe that we would not be able to recognize ourselves if we could actually see ourselves outside of a mirror or picture. We see a face staring back at us and many times we are left with more questions than answers. Am I pretty? Am I fat? Why is that flaw so prominent? Who am I? Many of us depend on the mirror to help us project the image we consider acceptable or want to share with the world. Most of us would never leave the house without visiting the mirror for confirmation that we have portrayed the right image. We take care in what we wear to fit into certain cliques, or professional groups; we look to the mirror to determine our ratio of sexiness or decency; sometimes we want to ensure we are emulating our heroes by copying his or her dress, or hair or make up; we sometimes want to seem intimidating; regal; sometimes we want to look “fresh” or stand out; but most times we just want to fit in. The way we choose to dress many times gives a glimpse into who we want to be but not necessarily who we are. One thing for sure, we all inhibit some level of insecurity about the image staring back at us, maybe wishing we had the money, or DNA, or will power to change it.

Channel 7

Influenza Test Results Troubling
Last week we told you about the influenza samples that the Ministry of Health sent to CARPHA, the regional testing center in Trinidad. Well the results didn't come back as expected on Friday evening, nor did they come on Saturday, Sunday or Monday. But they did come back today, and best reports say they aren't good. How bad are they? We can't say yet, because the Ministry of Health wants to disseminate the information clearly and in context at a press briefing tomorrow morning. An official press invitation refers to the lab results and the management of the recent H1N1 Influenza cases across the country. As we reported, one person who died of acute respiratory distress at the KHMH in late December tested positive for influenza in a quick test - and other patients were showing similar symptoms. By tomorrow, those blanks in the story should be filled in, and we'll have the full story, telling you what it all means for your health.

Police Say Cross Dresser “Prince Joe” Was Robbed
The murder of 18 year-old Joseph "Prince Joe" Sanchez is not just another murder. It's a unique case, possibly the first we've reported on where police found the victim and thought it was a female because he wore a skirt, a sleeveless blouse women's underwear and had the physique, hair, makeup and jewelry of a woman. But it turns out Sanchez was a well known member of the LBGT Community - long recognized for his preference to dress in drag. Now, that LBGT community says that the 18 year old who identified with a transgender orientation was killed in a hate crime. But the police aren't so sure that he was killed because he dressed like a woman. Today, the deputy commanding officer of Police Precinct 2 told us that the evidence they have suggests that it was a robbery: ASP Calbert Flowers - Deputy OC, Police Precinct #2 "On Sunday morning January 12, 2014 sometime around 1:50 am police visited Elston Kerr Street where the apparent lifeless body of a person was seen lying face down on the pavement. Initially we thought it was a female. It was dressed in female clothing. However, we shortly discovered that it was a male, due to certain things that were recovered from the scene. The body was examined where officers observed what appeared at the time to be a single stab wound to the chest area."

War of The Red’s Over Seashore Drive Park?
The City Council is locked in a battle with the Lands Department and private landowner, Giovanni Blease. We first reported on the story six weeks ago - where parcel 3820 in Caribbean Shores was under dispute. The council and area residents want to preserve the entire parcel as a park; Blease's attorney said they can have their park, but the other half of the parcel is for her client. It's being going back and forth since then - but now it seems that forces are aligning against the council. That was apparent after the Lands and Survey Department sent City Hall a cease and desist letter. But if you know Mayor Darrell Bradley, that kind of resistance is what gets him going - and he was on today when the media asked him about the land dispute:..

Cane Compromise Imperfect, But It’ll work
Last night, the news was that after a protracted and bitter dispute, the cane farmers and BSI finally agreed to put aside their differences for the time being, and start the cane season. Like all compromises hatched in the hurly burly of an industrial dispute, the resolution to move forward is an imperfect one. It was signed at 6:00pm, so last night, we were only able to provide you with a rough outline of what's in the final deal. Tonight, Daniel Ortiz revisits the signing from yesterday, and tries to put it in context of entire bagasse standoff: Daniel Ortiz reporting The executives of both BSI and the cane farmers association arrived at the Staff Club about a half hour later than expected. That's after the meeting was pushed back another hour and a half. For a season that was already delayed for 2 months, what was another 2 hours, right?

Women Targeted In OW Home Invasion
3 men are under investigation tonight for a home invasion in Orange Walk town where the assailants terrorized 2 businesswomen. Maria Elisa Artiga and her daughter had just locked up their family store, Elisa's shop, and when they got home to their house on the Palmar Boundary Road, 4 masked men ambushed them with a toy gun, and held them hostage in their own home. Yesterday, one of the victims spoke with 7News, and she asked to appear off-camera while describing what happened. Voice of: Maria Elisa Artiga, home invasion victim "We were reaching at my house then my mom opened the gate. When she open the gate one of the guys came and pull her and then when I turned backwards I saw 3 more. They pull me from the car and they pushed me to the ground. One of them put their foot on my head. My mom was fighting with them and then one of them had a toy gun and my mom break it. Afterwards they forced us to go into the house to my mom's room and covered us with a sheet. They ask for all the money and we told them that all the money was in the purse. They said that they want more, but we told them that we didn't have any more."

Rainfall Was Way Up in 2013
No matter where you live in Belize, you know how rainy it was in 2013. And now, we have the numbers to say just how wet it really was. For all of 2013, Libertad in Corozal collected 39% more rainfall, and the figures were almost the same at the Tower Hill Collecting Station in Orange Walk. Moving to Belize City, St. John's College reported a 45% increase in rainfall, while the PGIA reported a 32% increase. In the west, Belmopan was 36% above average; Central Farm was about the same, while Baldy Beacon recorded the greatest increase at 43%. Increases in rainfall were less in the south, but still markedly above average.

City Residents Can Now Renew Licenses Online
Soon, Belize City residents won't have to worry about going into the Traffic Department to renew their driver's licenses. That's because, starting tomorrow, the council is offering online renewal of driver's licenses. With a web connection, and a credit card, in just a few clicks you'll be able to renew your driver's permit. At the launch today at City Hall, the Deputy Mayor explained that they expect about a third of license holders to use the service immediately. BQ Pitts Jr., Deputy Mayor - Belize City "For the 15,000 you would say at least we have about 5,000 - 7,000 would use the service and it's a matter of convenience really because most people want to get the service quick. You'd spend about 15 - 30 minutes in traffic and then to wait another 15 minutes to get it, but with this service now, you will cut that by half or even less."

Darrell Carter Taken To Family Court, Accused By Magistrate Wife of Breaching Protection Order
Darrell Carter is a well-known former politician and businessman in the furniture upholstery and repair business, but tonight he's making the news for being taken to family court yesterday. That section of the court is not open to the media because of the nature of the cases it deals with. Information is not forthcoming, but 7News understands that he was arrested for allegedly breaching a protection order, which was brought to the court by his wife Natalia Carter. If that name sounds familiar, it should; Natalia Carter is a sitting Magistrate, and the Acting Director, in the very same family court. He had been in police custody since Saturday, and he was escorted on the prison bus to the Magistrate's Court. He had to be escorted to court where he answered to the charge and pleaded not guilty. He was granted bail, which he was able to meet, and he must return to court on January 27.

Parandero Paul Nabor In PG Hospital Recovering From Pneumonia
Legendary Paranda singer and songwriter Paul Nabor is in the Punta Gorda Hospital recovering after falling ill with Pneumonia and some dehydration last week. We became aware of the story when, the 85 year old, who is a few weeks away from his 86th birthday was flown into Belize City via air ambulance from Punta Gorda yesterday. He was flown in for a CATSCAN because doctors in the south thought he might have had a stroke. According to Darius Avila, the well known PG-based cultural activist who is overseeing his care, the scan was negative for a stroke and Nabor was flown back to PG as was his wish. Avila says he spoke to Nabor today where the legend said he was feeling better. Avila says that they're hoping for a full recovery because they plan to throw a party for him on PG Day on February first.

Fire Burns 8 Year Old
An eight year old child is hospitalized tonight with second degree burns while his family is left homeless after their concrete house was destroyed by fire of Friday night. It happened on Giles Street in the Mahogany Extension area. The child was at home with his family when the fire started in the front bedroom of the house. Today Monica Bodden visited the area to find out more. Monica Bodden reporting The fire started just before 9 on Friday night at this home on Giles Street. It ignited in this front room of the house and it wasn't long before the entire concrete structure was engulfed in flames. Kimberly Michael - Fire Victim "The house burnt down Friday night about 8pm but I wasn't here, only my mom and my sister was here along with the kids." Monica Bodden "Do you know what happened?" Kimberly Michael - Fire Victim "Not really, but we got a phone call (I was at my older sister) and they said that my mom's house is on fire. By the time we got here the house was already on flames."

Verden Blease, Corrected
Last night, we told you about 51 year-old teacher Verden Blease who was charged with 2 counts of carnal knowledge and 5 counts of indecent assault. He remains behind bars, but tonight, we must make a correction to our story which we aired last night. We reported that he had sexual relations with a 14 year-old minor and allegedly impregnated her. That information was an error; he is actually charged in connection with a 12 year-old minor. This child reported that from the time she was 7 years-old until she became 11 years-old Blease sexually assaulted her. She accused him of abusing her at different times between 2008 and 2012. She has been examined by a doctor who certified that she was carnally known; her injuries were classified as grievous harm. Police have since investigated Blease and he was charged with 5 counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature, and 2 counts of carnal knowledge. He was arraigned and remanded yesterday.

Justice Delayed = Justice Denied, But What About Judgements Delayed?
We all know the old saying that justice delayed is justice denied. In fact, they were just talking about it yesterday at the Supreme Court opening yesterday. And that's in relation to all those accused persons who've been on remand for years. But what about judgments delayed? We know of quite a few very important ones that are pending for a over a year. Yesterday we asked the Attorney General - who has lamented such delays in the past - what can be done:.. Jules Vasquez "We haven't gotten the UNIBAM judgment yet. The court of appeal's ruling on the second acquisition that was promised to the CCJ in October of last year, they haven't been delivered yet. These are consequential judgments that the entire society is waiting on and the judiciary is just cloistered - it doesn't responds to anything. It doesn't account to anyone."

Channel 5

A look at the possible motive for Joseph Sanchez’s murder
Police have reviewed video surveillance of the murder of eighteen year old cross dresser, Joseph Sanchez, but there are no arrests so far even though police believe the motive is [...]

Mother and daughter attacked by four armed men in a scary home invasion
Elizabeth Artiga and her mother, Maria Elisa Artiga, locked up their small grocery shop on the Palmar Boundary Road in Orange Walk Town and headed home on Friday night. It [...]

Belize City Mayor goes public over land dispute in Caribbean Shores
A storm has been brewing since last year over a parcel of prime seafront property in the Caribbean Shores Area. Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley says that the Council has [...]

Ministry of Health to hold press conference on results of suspected H1N1 cases
The Ministry of Health will be hosting a press briefing on Wednesday in which it will be releasing the results and the management of the recent H-one N-one Influenza cases [...]

Do you support action of teachers to march and rally for salary and national affairs?
And our question for tonight is: Do you support the actions of teachers to march and rally for salary and national affairs? Yes or No. Send your comments and responses [...]

Caneros prepare for cane delivery on Monday
The sugar-cane standoff is officially at an end. Late Monday evening representatives of both the B.S.C.F.A. and B.S.I. met in Orange Walk and signed a seven point interim agreement. That [...]

…But sugar roads impassable
The critical necessity of government’s intervention where sugar roads are concerned cannot be understated at this point. Now that the signing is done, the cane-farmers need to get their product [...]

2 Indian nationals to be deported for illegal entry
Two brothers who claim they fled from their country, India, due to threats to their lives were caught illegally in Belize. They are thirty-one year old Kuldeep Singh, and his [...]

P.M. promises infrastructure developments in Cayo Northeast from PetroCaribe funds
In mid-October of last year, while encouraging voters of Cayo Northeast to abstain from signing the Penner recall petition, Prime Minister Dean Barrow promised residents that government would spend millions [...]

…But PetroCaribe agreement forbids use of funds for salary adjustments
On Monday, the prime minister called in to the media to explain the context in which he made the statement.  PM Barrow says that the terms of the PetroCaribe agreement [...]

Multiple oil spills in Trinidad trigger concerns of environmental organization
Over the past two weeks there have been as many as eleven reported oil spills off the coast of Trinidad.  While efforts are underway to clean up the discharge, residents [...]

Guatemalan Minister of the Interior confirms arrest of a Guatemalan drug lord in Belize
We reported on Monday, that Guatemalan authorities have arrested as many as thirty seven persons involved in a contraband ring which transported liquor, cigarettes, corn and lumber. An operation was [...]

Guatemalan Minister of the Interior confirms arrest of a drug lord in Belize
There is also further information on the reported arrest of alleged drug baron, Eribel Adolfo Rodriguez Barrientos. Rodriguez, according to the Guatemalan Minister of the Interior, was arrested in Belize [...]

City Council launches its online license services
Motorists whose drivers’ licenses are in need of renewal are now able to do so electronically, thanks to the efforts of the Belize City Council to automate the application and [...]

Belmopan Teacher wins 2012 Great Wall Wingle from Courts
A teacher from Belmopan is the winner of a 2012 Great Wall Wingle courtesy of Courts Belize. The raffle was launched back on November eighth and ended on December thirty-first. [...]


Monies Missing From The Corozal Town Council
An investigation into the misappropriation of Corozal Town Council funds is currently underway and as a consequence, the council’s Revenue Manager has been relief of his duties. While Mayor Campos agreed to give both CTV3 News and Channel Seven News and interview, he apparently changed his mind after Minister Pablo Marin arrived at the Town Council. While we were waiting for the interview we were informed that the Mayor will not grant CTV3 News an interview but will speak to our colleague from Seven News. Now, all we can say is that Mayor Campos decided not to speak to us after receiving orders from Pablo Marin. With that, we definitely know which of the two holds the bigger gun. As mentioned, he did give our colleague from Channel Seven news an interview. And we managed to get that interview after it was aired by the Belize City media house. Here is what Campos said about the alleged misappropriation of $80,000. Hilberto Campos- Mayor Corozal Town "We have been investigating the case. I think on Monday the local government will be here. In respect to the $80,000 that's a ridiculous amount, not even close to that figure. It's a couple thousand dollars and yes to a certain degree the revenue department is pretty much on hold, we have two employees that didn't return obviously, but we are doing the investigation. One was them was relief from his duties, the revenue manager. At this time it's not appropriate to accuse directly one individual. What I could assure you is upon finishing the investigation it will be brought up to light exactly what happened and exactly how much we are talking about."

Prime Minister Accompanies Wife To Fund Raising Event
The Prime Minister of Belize is tonight out of the country. Honorable Dean Barrow and his wife Kim Simplis Barrow left the country on Saturday June 22nd to London England where they will both be attending a Gala Dinner Fundraising to benefit the Children’s Trust. The Prime Minister is scheduled to return to Belize on Wednesday July 3rd, 2013. In his absence, the acting PM is Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega.

DPM's Nephew Awarded Another Big Contract
On Tuesday we told you about the upgrading of streets that is being carried out in Corozal Town. But while we reported on the infrastructural works being carried out, we were unable to verify whether the project was being financed under the 10 million dollars earmarked for Corozal under the National Road Infrastructure Programme. And while we saw heavy machinery belonging to Imer Hernandez Development Company Limited, we were unable to verify whether that particular company, which is owned by the nephew of Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, is the one who got the contract. That question and more was going to be posed today to Mayor Campos, but since he refused to give us an interview, again under the orders of Pablo Marin, we had no other alternative but to get the interview after it was aired by our colleagues of Channel Seven News. After all we must keep Corozalenos informed. Here is what Campos had to say about the works presently being carried out and about the awarding of the contract to Imer Hernandez.

"Teechas Got Yu Back", Demonstrate Against GOB
Part one of a series of public rallies spearheaded by the Belize National Teacher’s Union across municipalities in Belize, saw teachers take to the streets of Orange Walk and Corozal Districts today. They were out in full force under the banner theme “teechaz got yu back”. Reporter Maria Novelo in collaboration with our Corozal correspondent, Victor Castillo filed the following report. Maria Novelo – Reporting United as one, the chants and shouts of over 400 teachers were heard and felt thru the principal streets of Orange Walk and Corozal municipalities. These actions are, hopefully, a transformation of public consciousness that will lead to a compromise between the teachers union and the Government of Belize. OTILIO MUNOZ – President, BNTU, OW “You can see the big numbers of all the teachers here and I am very happy and so glad that the message is being sent this morning and am very happy an no words to express how I feel at this moment with Orange Walk, they never left me bad and we are sending that message to the government and saying we mean business and we need that word to compromise, compromise with us and that is what we want, we are demanding that from them today.”

Apart From Bagasse Issue, Other Factors Hinder The Commencement Of Crop
The sugar industry continues at a stalemate but there has been slow progress in the negotiations on revenue sharing of bagasse between BSI and BSCFA this week as discussions into an interim agreement were held on Wednesday. While both parties are aiming at reaching a favorable agreement in the matter, there are factors that continue to pose difficulties for this crop season. Dalila Ical has the story. Dalila Ical – Reporting The matter between BSI and BSCFA on payment of bagasse has placed an impasse on the start of the crop season that normally starts in November, latest mid-December. There have been small strides made in negotiations, but even if an agreement is signed soon, flooded cane fields and impassable sugar roads can continue to hinder the progress into the crop season. Alfredo Ortega says that while some work has begun on the Honey Camp Road, the weather has not made improvements easy to achieve.


Renewal of Driver’s License Available Online
This morning that Belize City Council officially launched its online renewal driver license services. License holders now have the opportunity to go online and renew their driver license. Belize City Deputy Mayor, Bernard Pitts says it’s an easy process to follow. Bernard Pitts, Deputy Mayor, Belize City “I must say that the online renewal system is something that we want to bring to the Belize City residents to assist in ease of time and process. The process is quite simple but it will serve to bring about the necessary change in the e-commerce market for the Belize City Council; it will form the base for us to do other services such as paying trade license and paying property taxes online but for now, this is our start with the renewal of driver’s license and I must say it is renewal and not applying. To bring the service online, you will be able to pay via your credit card and shortly within a few months, we will introduce paying via your bank account and your debit card. A feature on this site is that you have the option of having the card delivered to you but only the holder of the card will be able to sign for it. So, both holder and delivery personnel from the Belize City Council will be responsible to ensure that the service is executed properly. We also want to mention that apart from delivering within city limits we will later feature a service to deliver internationally for Belizean Americans abroad; they will be able to apply online. However, we will facilitate this locally through the embassies and consular sections within the three major areas in the US, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Once the service is requested, we will deliver via those local embassies to the various Belizean Americans abroad.”

Police News: Robbery, Contraband and Missing Girl Found
This past Sunday, Cayo Police were tipped off and responded to the Bullet Tree Road near Santa Familia Village in the Cayo District where they encountered a white International 4900 truck traveling on the road. The police intercepted the truck and conducted a search where two hundred and sixty sacks of black beans were found. The beans were suspected to be contraband items and therefore the truck along with the sacks was taken to the San Ignacio Police Station pending further investigations. As a result, a 23-year-old Guatemalan national, Francisco Corado along with 25-year-old Belizean, Antonio Ruiz of Billy White Village in the Cayo District were detained. A boledo vendor of the Trapeche area in Santa Elena Town in the Cayo District was a victim of robbery on Monday. According to 69-year-old, Godfrey Tillett at around 6:30pm, he was in Esperanza Village at the Trash Top Bar selling boledo tickets when he was approached by two men dressed in full black. Tillett says one of the men pointed a gun in his face while the other culprit searched him and robbed him of four hundred dollars. The robbers then proceeded to take away his bag of coins but not before attempting to steal his shoes as well. Tillett was then hit behind the head and lost consciousness. He was unable to identify the thieves who escaped in the nearby bushes. Cayo Police continue their investigations.

Orange Walk Police Faced with Intransit Criminals
While Orange Walk Police were searching for the four men in the armed hold up of Artiga, around 2am, they came across some suspicious individuals on the Phillip Goldson Highway in Orange Walk Town. The search led to the discovery of unlicensed firearm and ammunition. Once again Inspector Julius Cantún explained. JULIUS CANTUN, Officer in Charge of Orange Walk Police “Nevertheless, during that exercise, the special patrol unit came across a black Rodeo SUV vehicle from Belize City. This caught the attention of the Special Patrol Unit as they had seen a man with dark complexion in a kneeling position behind the said vehicle that was faced towards the direction of Belize City but was parked on the side of the road and also one of the officers recognized as a member of the George Street gang from Belize. As a result, they approached the vehicle and they had detained the person kneeling behind the SUV; there were also two other occupants inside the black Rodeo. They were all asked to alight the vehicle and were subsequently detained.” Military ammunition was obtained in the search.

Indian Nationals Plead Guilty to Illegal Entry into Belize
Two brothers of Indian nationality entered Belize via the banks of the Mopan River without passports and as a result, they were each fined $1,000 when they appeared today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. The duo, 30-year-old, Kuldeep Singh and 24-year-old, Manjindes Singh pled guilty to a charge of illegal entry and were ordered to pay the fine forthwith. In default of payment they will serve 6 months at the Belize Central Prison. Magistrate Cayetano informed them that a removal order will be made out for them to be deported to India either after they have paid the fine or served the time. In an effort to defend themselves, the two men told the magistrate that they came to Belize because their lives were in danger in India and that they were members of a political party and had left that party and joined another because of their religion and were subsequently attacked by members of their former party who threatened to kill them. The immigrants were busted on January 11 when police stopped a passenger bus on which they were travelling from Benque and heading to Orange Walk. They said they came from Nicaragua and traveled by bus to Guatemala.

Home Invasion in Orange Walk District
Two young men have been arrested for the home invasion that happened on Friday night in San Jos Palmar in the Orange Walk District. 21-year-old, Ronald Deon Bruhier of Boundary Road in San Jose Palmar area was charged for aggravated burglary and burglary when he appeared before magistrate Merlene Moody. Along with him a 17 year old minor of 96 River Side Street Orange Walk Town was charged for the same criminal offenses. Bail was offered to both of them. Until news time it is not known if the third minor presently in police custody will be charged. LOVE NEWS understands that another minor is being sought by police believed to be the fourth person who held up Maria Elisa Artiga and her 17 year old daughter Elizabeth Artiga when they arrived at their house in San Jose Palmar last week Friday. Artiga told police that around 10 on Friday night she and her daughter arrived home in her car when upon opening the gate to the yard they were both attacked by four masked men. One of the men had in his possession what appeared to be a hand gun. During a struggle with the men Maria Artiga received an injury to the right side of her mouth.

Mayor Bradley Opposes Land Transfer
The Belize City Council is opposing the transfer of Parcel Number 3820 situated in the Caribbean Shores area to one Giovanni Blease. According to Belize City’s Mayor, Darrell Bradley, the Belize City Council has always maintained the entire section of the public reserve along Seashore Drive. In April 2013, the City Council was verbally informed that parcel #3820 would be issued to a private individual, namely, Giovanni Blease. Following that revelation, the Council immediately lodged a caution on the property in that same month. However, it didn’t end there as in November of last year, the Belize City Council received a letter from the Commissioner of Lands, Wilbert Vallejos, notifying the Council that Blease is requesting a hearing to remove the caution on the land. This morning, Mayor Bradley further explained the situation to the media. HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING “Residents of Caribbean Shores are requesting the support of the Government of Belize and their Area Representative to preserve land parcel #3820 also known to them as the Seashore Drive Children’s Park. Approximately, fifty residents of the area have signed a petition requesting that the parcel of land be kept as a public space…but keeping it as a public space may take more dialogue than was initially anticipated. Currently, a caution has been placed over the land by the Belize City Council after Mayor Darrell Bradley got wind that Caribbean Shores resident, Giovanni Blease was making moves to obtain a title for the land, which he says is his property but Mayor Bradley says that parcel 3820 is owned by the Government of Belize since no title has been issued for it. The valuable coastal piece of land is said to have been neglected by the City Council but Mayor Bradley says that is not the case. “


Backlash over Belize’s meeting with Guatemalan Foreign Affairs Minister
Last week Thursday, the Belize Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Wilfred Elrington and the Guatemala Foreign Minister Fernando Carrera met in the old capital to dialogue on confident building measures and an amicable way forward for a simultaneous referendum on the ICJ to once and for all put an end...

“Belize is for Guatemala” in Facebook Page?
And we’re on the matter of the territorial dispute, we came across a Facebook page titled “Belice es de Guatemala” translated in English is “Belize is for Guatemala.” The amateur page, which currently has a following of about 89 persons, was created in July of last year is exhibiting...

Guatemalan Caught with Contraband in Belize, Amidst Crackdown in Melchor
Yesterday, we reported on the anti-contraband operation launched in neighbouring Melchor de Mencos that led to the arrest of 37 suspected smugglers. 12 are still believed to be at large and residents in Benque say that they fear that some of the fugitives may have crossed the border into...

City Council Refusing to Give Park Land to Private Owner
The Seashore Drive area of Belize City is home to many prominent Belizeans, including the Prime Minister. In the midst of many sprawling palatial homes, however, sits a humble parcel of land known as the Caribbean Shores Seashore Park, which is now engulfed in a back-and-forth between the Belize...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Who Said Flying Isn’t Possible?
Zapata Racing started to develop the FLYBOARD during the spring of 2011. It was introduced at the World Championship in China. Since then the FLYBOARD has become the new extreme sport phenomenon. In November 2013, the FLYBOARD was introduced to Caye Caulker by Reef Watersports. Reef Watersports is the only water sport company to provide this exciting experience in the whole country of Belize. The flight experience is USD$130 per person or USD$180 for 2 people. On Saturday, January 18th 2014 Reef Watersports is having their first Island Flyboard Day starting at 10AM. Super Low Price for the first 20 persons to sign up. For more information on their Island Flyboard Day call 601-7658 or stop by Reef Watersports at the Split. They also offer other water activities. Visit their webpage at or their facebook page Reef Watersports.

La Isla Carinosa Academy?
PUBLIC MEETING- CAYE CAULKER COMMUNITY PRIVATE SCHOOL INITIATIVE La Isla Cariñosa Academy Venue: Caye Caulker Community Center Date: Thursday, January 30, 2014 Time: 7:00pm Facilitator: Dr. Alberto Luis August The general public is invited to attend an informational session to listen to a presentation for a private school initiative on Caye Caulker. Your participation and contribution of ideas towards this initiative is important and will be appreciated. Contact: 668-7512 or [email protected]

Anda de Wata Tours Offers New Tours & Also Gives Back to Community
Anda de Wata Tours has launched several new tours exclusively offered by them and in launching them, is also giving back to the community. They have pledged to donate 10% of any profits they make in January to the local high school. Several new tours being offered by Anda de Wata Tours are the Island Tubing Tour, which is a 90 minute slow tow along the Reef side of the island on inner tubes. The tubes are towed behind a boat. According to Art Marin, owner of Anda De Wata Tours, RUM PUNCH IS INCLUDED! The cost of this tour is BZ $60 . Another new tour being offered is the Bajo Sensation. The Bajo Sensation is 3 snorkel stops in front of Caye Chapel and Private Island BBQ lunch on Bajo Island. Lunch includes BBQ fish, grilled veggies, and their famous coconut rice! The cost of this tour is $145BZ pp. Trip departs at 11:00 a.m. and returns at 4:30pm.

“Amazing Belize” Launches New Website
A new start-up called Amazing Belize has launched it’s new website. Amazing Belize is an online booking portal featuring over 190 Belize properties in one location. Travelers looking for accommodations in Belize no longer have to search all over the internet to check prices. They can do it in one location. One neat feature of the website is that they are offering the home page of their website as an advertising portal to local businesses free of charge. If you would like to submit a photo of your business or establishment just email it to [email protected] The website hopes to feature a new Belize destination or location every week. You do not have to be a hotel or accommodations business in order to be on the home page. You just have to be interesting, and most importantly, the photo must be of a very high quality and a size of no smaller thann 2000 pixels wide.


Sugar cane farmers are desperately trying to chart a way forward in the ongoing bagasse dispute between themselves and the factory owners, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI), although some uncertainty still looms over Belize’s sugar industry at this point in time. Last Wednesday, January 8, a “fruitful” meeting between BSI and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) created optimism for the industry’s stakeholders, and yesterday, Sunday, January 12, the association and its executives met with well over a thousand resolute cane farmers and they heatedly discussed the Interim Agreement which was laid out between the BSCFA and BSI. At the meeting with BSI on Wednesday, the BSCFA had submitted an Interim Agreement to BSI by means of a proposal which the cane farmers put forward in hopes of reaching a compromise between the two parties. The first point on that agreement called for a commitment by BSI to pay for bagasse. BSI took that agreement, made some modifications, and on Friday, January 10, it was sent back to the BSCFA. But still, there was no commitment by BSI to pay for bagasse, which is really the crux of the matter. The BSCFA was not satisfied with those modifications; therefore, they made their own adjustments and sent it back to BSI.

In accordance with their pledge to increase their advocacy on the different burning social issues affecting Belizeans presently – and in particular their salary adjustment – the Belize National Teacher’s Union (BNTU) held two rallies in the northern districts of Belize today. This morning, roughly 300 teachers from Orange Walk and surrounding areas came together to let their voices be heard as they sang and marched through the principal streets of that municipality agitating for an end to corruption in government and demanding certainty on the quantum of their projected salary adjustment from the Government of Belize (GOB). While they responded to the call from the BNTU and assembled at the Central Park in downtown Orange Walk, the teachers were soon joined by about 100 cane farmers and other supporters. The president of the BNTU, Luke Palacio, said that the teachers have been long-suffering and that GOB has underestimated them because they have been so patient. During his highly charged speech, he outlined the reason for the protest. Palacio said, “We want to make it absolutely clear that despite what Patrick Faber and his other minions on the radio are saying this morning that we are demonstrating or rallying against a salary adjustment – that is not the purpose of this rally. This rally was planned a long time ago because our council of management (decided) – based on what you as our members have said to us – we need to address a number of national issues.”

Police say that at about 1:50 Sunday morning, CIB personnel went to Elston Kerr Street and on the sidewalk saw the body of a dark-skinned man – dressed in a white sleeveless blouse and a short green and black skirt – with a stab wound in the center of his chest. The body was later identified as that of Joseph “Prince Joe” Jetnel Sanchez, 18, a customer care representative who lived on Laura Dunn Street in Belize City. Police say that their initial investigations revealed that Sanchez was walking alone on Elston Kerr Street towards the First Stop Taxi Stand near Carter’s Upholstery, going towards Cemetery Road, when opposite the Baptist Church he was approached by two men who tried to rob him. The robbers stabbed Sanchez with a butcher knife before fleeing, police said. Sanchez’s body was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead at 2:47 that morning.

Up until late this evening, the executives of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) were meeting at the BSI Staff Club in Orange Walk Town where we understand the two parties signed an Interim Agreement in connection with the bagasse issue. Following the session, BSI’s CEO, Joey Montalvo, told the media that the crop season is scheduled to start sometime soon. Montalvo said that he is “particularly pleased” about the meeting today and that they are now going to focus on getting the crop season underway. He stated, “We must also focus on the negotiations that are coming as well – to finalize that – and also I want to say that this hasn’t really slowed BSI/ASR’s plan of action. We need to move the fields and the mills and we just need to focus on increasing productivity on both the farmers’ side and the mill side, which brings hope and potential to increase cane production to about 2 million pounds and sugar production to around 200,000, because if we ought to stay in business, we must look forward and work together.”

The Supreme Court of Belize opened proceedings for the calendar and legal year this morning with the traditional pomp and ceremony as well as what has become the annual sober review of the challenges facing the Judiciary. Holy Redeemer Cathedral hosted the traditional ecumenical service chaired by Roman Catholic Bishop Dorrick Wright, who was joined by his colleagues from the Belize Council of Churches. Following the service, the legal luminaries paraded to the Supreme Court building on Regent Street, where a mounted guard of honor was displayed and speeches were given by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, Attorney General Wilfred Elrington and Senior Counsel and president of the Bar Association of Belize, Eamon Courtenay. In his address the Chief Justice explained that there is a backlog of Supreme Court cases because there is a shortage in the number of Supreme Court judges. At this time, the court, which should be functioning with 9 Justices, only has 7, and will lose another this year, as Justice Rita Olivette will be departing.

Emerson McDonald, 38, of Arlington Drive, and Derrick Parham, 27, of Curassow Street, who were shot yesterday, Sunday, in different locations, have died of their injuries. Also, Joselene Maximo, 23, of Pelican Street, and Patrick Bevans, of Jane Usher Boulevard, are recovering from gunshot wounds at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH). McDonald was shot in the center of the back, while Parham was shot in the upper right side of the back; Maximo was shot in her foot and ankle, and Bevans was also shot in his foot and ankle. Maximo and McDonald were shot first. Police reports are that at about 5:30 yesterday evening, Sunday, McDonald was walking on Central American Boulevard from Pen Road towards Fabers Road when a gunman with dark pants and a black mask over his face rode up behind him on a bicycle and shot him in the back. McDonald had just left his home on Arlington Drive.

After a hectic few days of back matches and the final Week 14 regular season games yesterday, 4 teams are now gearing up for the start of the Premier League of Belize Belikin Cup Opening Season 2013-2014 home-and-away semifinal playoffs, which kick off this weekend. Two critical back matches With the race to the playoffs as tight as ever, two critical back matches were scheduled for last week Wednesday night, before the scheduled Week 14 regular season games to end the regular season on Saturday night. But again the weather had a hand in the occurrences, as only one back match (from Week 13) was played on Wednesday night, January 8, at the FFB Stadium, and it was a 0-0 draw between Belmopan Bandits FC and Belize Defence Force FC. The (Week 10) back match between Verdes FC and Police United FC was postponed to Thursday due to bad field conditions at the Marshalleck Stadium; but again on Thursday night, the field was declared unplayable, and many fans anticipated that the game would be played sometime in the following week. But in a strange turn of events on Friday, word got out that the League had determined that this back match had to be played before the final Week 14 games.

The Central Secondary Schools Sports Association’s (CSSSA) high school football tournament is in full swing at the MCC Grounds since kick off last week Wednesday. Following are the results so far in both female (F) and male (M) games: In Wednesday’s opener, (F) SCA and Gwen Liz High (GLH) played to a 0-0 draw; and then (M) Wesley (WES) bombarded Belize High School (BHS), 13-0, with goals from Kenyon Lewis (4), Kieron Young (4), Marquez Stamp (2), and Kieffer McKenzie, Tyrell Rowley and Shemar Moore with 1 apiece. On Thursday, January 9, (F) Wesley clipped Excelsior High (EHS), 3-1, with goals from Erica Milligan, Shanice Neal and Denneshia Thurton; while Bethany Gonguez scored for Excelsior. And (M) SJC dropped ACC, 2-0, with both goals coming from Sydney Bradley.

On Saturday afternoon, January 11, at the Toledo Union Field, Toledo’s Mavericks dropped Roaring Creek United, 3-2, with 2 goals from Andre Logan (47’ & 67’) and the other from Leslie Williams (70’); while Roaring Creek goals were by Orin Reneau (46’) and Norman Neal (90+’). On Sunday, January 12, at the Carl Ramos Stadium, it was visiting MnM Steelers from Independence with the 3-0 win over Hope Creek Pumas, with goals form Rollin Burgess (24’), Dion Burgess (59’) and Devin Burgess (82’). Also on Sunday, the visitors were also victorious at the Norman Broaster Stadium, as home standing Penarol FC fell by a 4-0 score to Progresso FC, who had goals from Hugo Castillo (49’), Alexander Diaz (51’), Johnny Cardenas (79’) and Rafael Novelo (90+’). But in the other Sunday quarterfinal at the Louisiana Field, it was the home squad, San Estevan FC coming away with the big 5-2 win over Ebony Lake FC from Belize City. San Estevan got goals from Otoniel Sandoval (23’ & 65’), Irvin Osorio (47’) and Edwani Munoz (70’ & 75’); while Ebony Lake goals were by Carlos Lino (38’) and David Robateau (90’).

Colonialism in British Honduras for native schoolchildren meant that they sang “God save the Queen” twice a day. When citizens of this colony traveled abroad, their passports said, “British subjects.” The tariff structure was such that we imported almost all our manufactured goods from the colonial motherland – Great Britain. Where infrastructure was concerned, such as roads and bridges, these were built for immediate utility. Because there were no plans for Belize’s future, it being the case that all the colony existed for was to enrich the motherland, roads and bridges here were built as narrow as possible. Check Swing Bridge, Haulover, and Hawkesworth – all colonial productions. About the only areas where a kind of nationalist mentality developed were in sports and music. Even though two of the three main sports played in the colony, football and cricket, were British in their origins and their rules, Belizean heroes began to emerge. Basketball was introduced to Belize by the American Jesuits, and basketball began becoming nationalist in flavor when Hurricane Hattie destroyed the original Holy Redeemer Parish Hall in 1961, and the sport moved to the inner city St. Ignatius School basketball court around 1964. The most nationalist of sports here was cycling, where Belizeans “invented” the Holy Saturday Crosscountry race in 1928.

The Guatemalan Foreign Minister suddenly flew into Belize last Wednesday to visit with his Belizean Cabinet counterpart. The vibes were all friendly and cordial and cooperative. Conversation about the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was resumed. Everything was out of the blue, as we would say. This was just a few weeks after we saw Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina fly to Tel Aviv to confer with the Israeli President, Benjamin Netanyahu, at the exact same time that the rest of the world’s leaders were in South Africa to mourn and pay their respects to the departed international icon – Madiba, Nelson Mandela. Guatemala and Israel paid no such respect. In these pages, we have said to you repeatedly that Israel and Guatemala were two of apartheid South Africa’s most important allies. The point has not gained traction in Belize, the main reason being that hard-core Christians in Belize cannot separate the holy, struggling Israel of the Bible from the nuclear-powered Israel of the third millennium which threatens Arab nations of the Middle East, abuses the Palestinians, and endangers world peace. Many Christians in Belize support anything Israel does, because they believe that Jews are Almighty God’s “chosen people” and that Israel is their “Promised Land.” What the “chosen people” business makes the Palestinians and the Arabs, I’m not clear or sure, but fanatic Christian Belizeans do not care. In Belize, the more important question is what this makes Belizeans, and it is fairly clear to me that it makes us non grata in Guatemala City and Tel Aviv.

Financial Secretary Joe Waight told Amandala this morning that a preliminary financial review of Government’s accounts, as of the third quarter just ended, indicates that year-to-date numbers are “looking positive”—although, he noted that the increase in revenue is not as high as the 10% increase required to pay teachers and public servants the 5% minimum salary adjustment they have been calling for, effective this year. “We are currently spending about $500 million on wages, wage related grants and on pensions. A back of the envelope calculation is that for every 1% increase granted would cost a further $5.0 million dollars. Therefore a 5% increase would require about $25 million in additional funds,” Waight has informed our newspaper. Waight also told us that the assertion made by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow, in his New Year’s Message, that the salary adjustment would be paid in August — not in July as had been previously stated — was a “slip of the tongue.”

While celebrating the successes of several of their students today, the House of Shotokan Karate Club simultaneously inaugurated a ballet institute which is aimed at contributing to the personal development of young women in Belize. The karate club – which also celebrated four years of existence – held an award ceremony for some of its most promising students, who were recognized for their hard work and determination, and were each rewarded with a new karate belt. The students all got new belts signifying various levels of accomplishment based on the results of their qualifying exams. Sensei Master Ray Kelly – who is an 8th degree black belt karate instructor – has been coordinating karate classes at the House of Shotokan Karate School since its inception in 2010. The school started with 10 students and has since expanded to 150. Kelly emphasized that karate sharpens the mental and physical skills of individuals, and that the school teaches students to work together as a family.

Public Health authorities in Belize City informed us Friday that they intend to send out an inspector to the Michael Finnegan Market after we reported finding a flock of about 10 pigeons sitting on open bean sacks one morning while the stall’s vendor was inside his booth talking on the phone. Anyone who frequents the market can tell you that beans, wangla seed, rice and other commodities sold by the pound are displayed uncovered at the stalls – which is why the pigeons were having their Friday morning feast while the vendor was not looking. Pigeons are infamous for defecating wherever they please. Internationally, several health authorities have sounded the alarm that pigeon droppings can have germs that make people sick—and in some cases, fatally sick. Medical News Today says that, “There are over 60 other diseases that birds and their droppings can carry. The problem is especially worrisome in residential areas, as many of them are airborne and can be transferred to humans just by being around droppings.”

A post-mortem conducted on the body of Don Tillett, 45, of Supaul Street, a vehicle repairman who died after being brutally beaten by men to whom he had given a ride in his car, certified the cause of his death to be marked cerebral edema (1560g) due to broncho aspiration (right lung 900g) due to dilated cardiomyopathy (760g) as a result of (1) congestine hepato splenomegaly and (2) diffuse hemorrhagic gastritis. The autopsy was conducted at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) yesterday by Dr. Hugh Sanchez. The official police report is that Tillett, on New Year’s Day, sometime after dark, went to check on a house off Central American Boulevard in Belize City in a silver Dodge Neon car, which belongs to his nephew, Roque Riverol. Tillett reportedly stopped on an unnamed street to give a ride to three men, one of East Indian descent and the other two of Creole descent.

Guatemalan officials are reporting that Eribel Adolfo Rodriguez Barrientos, wanted for extradition by the US on allegations that he is the heir to a drug lord serving a 31-year sentence in the USA, was detained by US Drug Enforcement Agency officials here in Belize – although no such official information has been released by Belizean authorities on the case. Insight Crime (online) said that Rodriguez’s recent arrest demonstrates 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. Guatemalan authorities reported last week that they were proceeding with raids of at least 12 properties linked to Rodriguez Barrientos, to look for evidence of narco-trafficking. Rodriguez is described as “the heir to what was once one of Guatemala’s premier drug trafficking organizations.”

During the early hours of the morning of Boxing Day, December 26, 2013, a teenager was allegedly raped in San Ignacio, minutes after she exited the Princess Casino in that western town; however no charges have yet been levied against the supposed perpetrators, although the victim claimed that she was able to positively identify at least two of the three men. The young girl said that she was pulled into a car by three men; thereafter, she was held down by two of the individuals, while the third raped her. She reportedly told police that she went to a club in San Ignacio with the two men who held her down, both of whom she knew. However, the victim reported that it was another person, known only by the nickname “Doggy,” who actually raped her. She mentioned to authorities that she was struggling and screaming during the ordeal, and that is when “Doggy” slapped her and she passed out.


A Weekend Walk Around Caye Caulker, Belize: Looking Good
I spent just 4 hour on Caye Caulker on Saturday afternoon. I left on a gorgeous day and as the hours went by, the grey moved in. But I covered lots of ground, ate plenty and the caye looked gorgeous. Clean, freshly painted, lots of new businesses…the islanders really got ready for the “busy season” this year. Caye Caulker is packed with happy bikinied barefooted tourists and there are quite a few new businesses including my new favorite donut shop. An old favorite, Celi’s Gift Shop. The street signs. Needed I guess. At least 3 rasta guys told me to “Go Slow” during my visit. I’M NOT GOOD AT THAT!

“It Wasn’t Me” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Up earlier than lately yesterday shortly after 04.00 hours. I’d woken up around thirty minutes earlier and when I saw the time (I have an alarm clock now -not that I use the alarm feature!) I did try to go back to sleep again but to no avail. I was using more effort to try to resume sleep than the benefit I would have got had I achieved it! Only one thing to do. Get up. So by 04.15 hours I was comfortably seated on the first floor western veranda with a mug of black coffee and my iPad. I read The Times online for a while -mainly concentrating on the football section (The Game) to read the match reports for the Premiership games that took place over the weekend and the pre-match reviews for Arsenal’s game against Aston Villa later in the day. I then switched to the Ambergris Forum where I found a thread entitled “Police Report“. Why am I mentioning this a few of you are probably thinking. “We know he rambles but he has gone way off the track this time”. I’m mentioning it because one of the reports was about a guy with my name -well not my name but my pseudonym – who was apprehended and charged for being in possession of controlled drugs. So? You’re thinking. Well I know that a good few of you also visit Ambergris Caye. Com and I just wanted you to know that it wasn’t me.

New Year Newsletter!!!
The tinsel is away, the christmas lights are down and 2 weeks into the new year most people have already broken their new years resolutions!!!! BUT NOT US AT REEFCI!!! We are reducing our use of plastics! We have stopped buying plastic water bottles and soda bottles!! All sodas are bought in recycled glass bottles! We are asking all guests to bring a re-usable water bottle that can be re-filled from our gallons of purified water. We have significantly reduced our usage of plastic carrier bags in favour of re-usable shopping bags and crates! We are also asking our guests to bring and leave re-usable bags.

International Sources

DIRECTV Drops The Weather Channel
As of today, The Weather Channel is no longer available on DIRECTV, which refused to come to an agreement on a market-based carriage deal. In a statement released by David Kenny, chairman and CEO of The Weather Company, he said: “This is unprecedented for The Weather Channel. In our 32 years, we have never had a significant disruption due to a failure to reach a carriage agreement. We offered DIRECTV the best rate for our programming, and I am shocked they have put corporate profits ahead of keeping a trusted channel that subscribers rely on every day. We are not looking for a large fee increase. We are simply looking for a fair deal that allows our company to continue to invest in the science and technology that enables us to keep people safe, deliver the world’s best weather, and tell weather stories to help people be prepared and informed. “At a time when DIRECTV has increased customer rates by 4 percent, they are trading safety for increased profits and replacing the experience and expertise of The Weather Channel with a cheap startup that does weather forecasting on a three-hour taped loop, has no field coverage, no weather experts--certainly not any on par with The Weather Channel network’s industry-recognized experts like tornado expert Dr. Greg Forbes and winter weather expert Tom Niziol--and no experience in severe weather emergencies. This is a dangerous gamble over one penny a month that puts DIRECTV customers at risk.

US and Cuba hold “successful” migration talks
The United States says it has held “successful” migration talks with Cuban officials, reflecting “longstanding US priorities on Cuba-US migration issues.” US Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Friday that officials from Washington and Havana met in the Cuban capital the day before to discuss the implementation of the 1994 and 1995 US-Cuba Migration Accords. Psaki said the meeting marked the second time since January 2011 that the talks have been held. “Under the Accords, both governments pledge to promote safe, legal and orderly migration between Cuba and the United States,” she said. The agenda for the talks also reflected cooperation on aviation security, search and rescue, and consular document fraud.

Girl from Belize receives heart surgery
On Sunday, KVUE shared the story of a little girl who traveled all the way to Austin from Belize to receive heart surgery. Doctors at Dell Children's Medical Center fixed a valve in two-year-old Courtney Adalina Castillo's heart on Tuesday. As of Tuesday evening, Courtney was recovering in the ICU. The Reese family in Round Rock is hosting Courtney and her mom, Trisha Lopez. "We kind of put ourselves in Trisha's shoes," said Reese Ryan. "If we lived in Belize, and we didn't have access to this surgery, and we knew this was a terminal illness for one of our children, that would be devastating." If all goes well, Courtney and her mother will return to Belize in about one month.

Gay man stabbed to death in Belize, family says it’s a ‘hate crime’
A gay man was stabbed to death and dumped on the side of a street in Belize City early Sunday morning, and family members are calling it a “hate crime.” When police initially found the body with a chest wound around 1:50 a.m., they thought the victim was a woman, as he was dressed in a white sleeveless blouse and a short green and black skirt. Only later was the victim identified as 18-year-old Joseph Jatnel Sanchez, a gay man who was well known locally to dress in female attire. Police say their initial investigations revealed that Sanchez was walking alone when two men approached and tried to rob him.

EOMAP—5,000 Square Kilometers Of Marine Environment Captured (Imagery)
EOMAP was contracted by the Mexican National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) to deliver high resolution environmental information for the entire Maya coast. This coastline extends 600km south from the Yucatan Peninsula to the border of Belize. In total more than 5000 sq km of the marine environment, including ecosystems such as corals, seagrass and mangroves, were mapped in water depths down to 25m. “The fine-scale spatial information, derived for the entire coastline, will serve as the first baseline dataset of the Maya coast, and will help to understand and preserve the vulnerable ecosystems.” Said Dr. Thomas Heege, CEO of EOMAP GmbH & Co.

The year in the world: Caricom in global affairs
In the course of 2013 there was periodic grumbling within the region as to whether our integration movement had been making progress towards increasing unification of effort in both the economic and political spheres. In this very space we have commented on the extent to which, while there is a harmony of words and sentiments, the practical movement towards economic integration in particular, has been slow. And indeed, at their meeting in July last year, the heads of government seemed to take cognizance of some degree of public antagonism to their decision to “pause” in respect of taking further steps towards implementation of the Single Market and Economy, while the laggards in the process came up to speed. So in effect, in the course of last year, there seemed to be some sentiment that a strengthening of the region’s public face towards the world itself should reflect a collective approach in international affairs, even though in that sphere too, not all the passengers in the Caricom ship recognize the varieties of port in the world today.

What are the World's Longest and Shortest Flights? 2014 Edition
The shortest flight belongs to Scottish airline, Loganair. Its service from Westray to Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands spans a total of 1.7 miles and spends about 2 minutes in the air. If you're looking for second best on this, look no further than Maya Island Air in Belize. Their 2.4-mile island-hopper flight from Caye Chapel to Caye Caulker ferries paradise seekers from blue water to even bluer water in the Caribbean.

A look at U.S. Southern Command's 2014 Humanitarian Efforts in Belize, Guatemala and Dominican Republic
Construction of ten new classrooms and an addition to the Western Regional Hospital in the capital city of Belmopan are planned for 2014. Easing overcrowding and the opportunity to expand the school’s curriculum are two of the driving forces behind these projects. At the Hattieville Government School, pre-school and kindergarten enrollment has increased and it has significantly impacted the capacity of the school to the point that the teacher’s quarters have to be used as schoolrooms. This school is scheduled to receive two classrooms. In Belize City, the Edward P. Yorke School also suffers from overcrowding. When the school first opened in 1969, it started out as a pre-vocational technical school that would help the financially disadvantaged through vocational education. As Belize City continued to grow, so did the school’s enrollment; this school plans to receive two new classrooms to accommodate the students. The Sadie Vernon High School and the Stella Maris Primary School in Belize City are also scheduled to receive three new classrooms each to support a curriculum designed to prepare students with marketable skills for work in academic, vocational, and technical areas. Finally for Belize, the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan is scheduled to receive a new acute mental health unit. This new facility will allow the Ministry of Health to effectively treat acute mental health patients with the end goal of rehabilitation and reintegration as productive members of the community.

Key-Whitman doctors head to Belize on medical mission trip
In February, a team of six individuals led by Key-Whitman doctors Faisal Haq and Kimberly Warren will travel on a medical mission trip to Belize City, Belize. The team will spend one week in the country performing eye surgery for patients in need. This trip will be a first for both Dr. Haq and Dr. Warren, who have performed more than 12,000 surgeries combined in the United States. They are looking forward to taking their expertise to Belize, where few people have access to eye care and surgery. Access to quality eye care is limited in that country due to a severe shortage of ophthalmologists. The Key-Whitman surgical team hopes to ease the strain by providing cataract surgery to as many patients as possible.

Crowning Victoria
Mercifully, the trail is full of dazzling distractions. Nargusta, ceiba, and barba jolote trees tower above a thick carpet of green, red, and gold leaves. The clear waters of gurgling creeks and streams offer relief at regular intervals. Fresh jaguar tracks in the soft sand signal we’re not the only ones cooling off. Bird calls, like the “dog-bark hoots” of the Blue-Crowned Mot-Mot and the jarring cackling of the Montezuma Oropendola, fill the air. Our guide Israel Manzanero mimics a long whistle followed by two short blasts. “That’s the Thrush-like Schiffornis saying, IIIIIIIIIIIIIIII love you.” At a pit stop on a fallen log, a Crested Eagle swoops into the clearing, staying long enough to pose for pictures. Manzanero, all of twenty-three, has done this hike so often, he can find the trail in the dark. The birds keep bringing him back. “I could spend a week birding here — taking my time to the top.” His reference to the top brings the task at hand into sharp focus, as does the view from the helipad near mile twelve. The imposing image of the range’s jagged outline — five arduous miles away — is enough to make me swallow hard and engage in another round of self-questioning. It’s crucial to spend as little time as possible on the trail to get back to camp before nightfall.

Adventures in Belize and Costa Rica
Here's our first GoPro video of traveling adventures: scuba diving, riding a water taxi, zip lining and whitewater rafting!

January 14, 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

Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association Agree to Memorandum with BSI/ASR
The Office of the Prime Minister welcomes the decision of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association yesterday to sign a memorandum with Belize Sugar Industry (BSI) providing for negotiations to fix the quantum of payment for bagasse; and providing for a start date for 2014 deliveries. The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) is pleased that the efforts of the Government in getting ASR/BSI to accept the obligation to pay farmers for bagasse, have helped with this breakthrough. The OPM also takes the opportunity to announce that the two million dollars ($2M BZD) worth of works on sugar roads that GOB promised, will commence immediately.

Jhoan Hernandez is the first Belizean to win the CA Junior Angler of the Year Award
An 11 year old student of Holy Cross Anglican School captured a regional award for his dedication in fishing. Jhoan Hernandez, a resident of San Mateo Area on Ambergris Caye was awarded the Central American Junior Angler 2013 Award by Accurate Reel, located in Costa Mesa, California. It is the first time that a Belizean was nominated and has won such an award, which seeks to recognize junior anglers in the Central American region. An emotional Hernandez received the surprising news on Thursday January 9th when he was visited at school during a small assembly. Presenting a picture plaque with the signatures of the board members of Accurate Reel was Rudy Lewis of Strike Force Belize and Roberto “Robbie” Guerrero, President of the San Pedro Game Fishing Association. In presenting the award, Lewis said that the recognition acknowledges the dedication of the person and encourages him to pursue his dreams. “Some of the people that fished with us at Strike Force Belize and use Accurate Reel products made the nomination and he was selected from among other nominees from Central America. This is the first time a Belizean has received such award and it is an honor to be presenting him with this distinction.”

Sinesio Rash-Diamond in the Rough
My Beautiful Belize loves attending local art shows. Not only are there plenty of cool original pieces to be purchased, but the talented artists that create the wonderful, work are there by the multitudes from painting to sketches, carvings and other art forms that portray iconic aspects of Belize, talent abounds. It was there that we ventured upon 23 year old Sinesio Rash. Sinesio’s vividly sketched canvasses quickly caught our eye and as you see for yourself the work he does, I’m sure you’ll understand just why he is our newest Diamond in the Rough. Sinesio was born in Punta Gorda Town on October 4, 1990, and he is currently residing in Corozal Town in northern Belize. It was at age 2 that Sinesio started picking up early forms of art, as his older brothers introduced him to sketches which he would often try to mimic by doodling versions of his own. Sinesio would even resort to drawing on the back of labels from canned goods when he needed a surface to create his craft. Today the very talented Rash enjoys sketching, painting and tattooing.

Ambergris Today

New York Times Lists Belize in ‘52 Places to Go in 2014’
As Belize’s popularity keeps rising, more and more magazines, websites and blogs keep highlighting the country with positive vibes and accolades. Best dive sites, best island in the world, best beaches and best places to retire are just a few of the lists Belize has been featured on. The Belize Tourism Board indicates increasing trends in the tourism industry and is working hard in keeping up the good image of the country as a top destination to visit. With this said, one of the first highlights of this year comes from the New York Times that has listed Belize in the ‘52 Places to Go in 2014’. How about that? “More flights and lodges in Central America’s eco-frontier” says the post about Belize.

Pic of the Week: What Does the Pelican Say?
What does the Pelican say? We are not quite so sure, but this one was very quiet as it stood still perched next to the Amigos del Mar Dive Shop, in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. It was catching some rays as the early moring sun rose to a busy Saturday morning. The staff at Amigos del Mar was already preparing for a busy day of snorkeling and diving while the rest of San Pedro was just waking up.

Misc Belizean Sources

Bridge repairs well underway! One side has been completed! (4 photos)
BAD to let those BIG trucks, cars over - this bridge was NOT built for that torcher!

Nice job but when will it reach the airstrip area that is the entrance to san pedrito the 3 streets have not gotten any help!

Seventy-four-year-old Paul Nabor hails from Punta Gorda, a sleepy, coastal town of 6,000 in southern Belize. This parandero, or old master of the Paranda musical style, is also a buyei, a spirit medium and healer who attends to his congregation at a Garifuna temple he built in Punta Gorda.

Brown Street and Staine Street in Belmopan will receive it's first coat of tar and chippings (pave).
Residents are asked to park in their yards or on another street Tuesday. Residents on the neighboring three streets are asked to be on the lookout the rest of the week. Please park where your vehicle will not be an obstruction.

The legendary Belizean dance instructor, musical composer and painter Bob Reneau is not your typical kind of artist today. He was a special breed of Belizean artist that could not be duplicated ever in the history of the arts in Belize. His range varies from Belize's most brilliant Choreographer, to one of Belize's best folk music composers, to one of Belize's most colorful painters. Bob Reneau was also a skillful fashion designer and tailor who designed many of the costumes for his dynamic dance troupes that made the now National Institute of Culture & History (NICH) or The Bliss Center for Performing Arts exploded with dance and galore in the 60's and early 70's.

Back in the sixties, something strange was taking place on the verandah of the St. Catherine Elementary building near the sea. The creative process of invention was being implemented as the long iron railing became the stretching barre as budding ballerinas did their plies. These young pre-teen and teenage girls were learning the basic technique and exercises of classical Ballet under the critical eye of their dance mistress. That time was the beginning of what became the lifelong contribution to Belizean dance, culture and growth. Mrs. Mary Valdes, with her vivid imagination, commitment to excellence and positive attitude, taught dancing to girls whose physical growth was paralleled by the spiritual and ethical values of honesty, integrity, sharing, and love for fellow human beings.

DYS Logo Design Competition
The Department of Youth Services is having a logo competition for youths between the ages of 15 and 24. The deadline is January 31st, and you can download the forms at their website here. ; If you have a great idea, you might win an Ipad 4. "Belizean youths - 'Have your say!' This is a Ministry of Youth & Sports initiative. The winner of the logo competition gets an IPAD 4 and the bragging rights! Visit any of our offices nationwide and register today...."

King's Children's Home Moves to New Building
Feelgood news of the day. The King's Children's Home, which is a Belmopan based non-profit dedicated to helping and providing residential care for kids in difficult circumstances regardless of culture, race, or religion, moved into their new building.

UNIBAM says the killing of Joseph Sanchez was “inhumane”
The United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) has sent out a strong statement denouncing “the vicious, senseless and inhumane killing of young Joseph Sanchez.” Sanchez, 18, was stabbed and killed early on Sunday morning on Elston Kerr Street in Belize City. The UNIBAM statement says that the organization “calls for the most comprehensive investigation to send a clear message to the rest of society that in Belize we won’t tolerate this kind of hate crime.” The official police report says that Sanchez’ body was found around 1:50 am “dressed in a white sleeveless blouse and a short green and black skirt with an apparent stab wound to the center of the chest.” While the police report states that investigations “revealed that Joseph Sanchez was walking alone on Elston Kerr Street when he was approached by two male persons who tried to rob him and before fleeing, inflicted the injuries,” the UNIBAM statement explains that “the entire advocacy movement shares the family’s confusion, anger, and grief.” “This type of violent crime is more likely to occur in a society with established stigma against gays lesbians and transgendered people,” the UNIBAM statement says, going on to explain that “laws that criminalize any part of the lives of these people help sustain this type of stigma.

PM says work on fixing sugar roads starts immediately
Prime Minister Dean Barrow today announced that BZ$2 million worth of works on the sugar roads in the north will commence immediately. The announcement of the commencement of the repairs to the sugar roads come in the aftermath of the signing of a memorandum between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and the Belize Sugar Industry (BSI) paving the way for negotiations on the amount to be paid for bagasse. A short statement from the office of Prime Minister Barrow notes that government “is pleased that the efforts of the Government in getting ASR/BSI to accept the obligation to pay farmers for bagasse, have helped with this breakthrough.”

Toledo Community College gets 3D printer
The Toledo Community College has acquired a state-of-the-art piece of equipment to be used by teachers. The new 3D printer was recently installed and is now operational. A teacher at TCC Marcel Palma, spoke with our Toledo Correspondent Juan Caal about the new piece of equipment. The Toledo Community College promotes itself as “a school that prepares employable graduates with good work ethics. Further education is our student’s second nature as they aspire to become nationalistic citizens in leadership positions with high moral values. A highly trained, motivated and dedicated staff will see this vision a reality.”

Peter Eden Martinez was chosen to be the UDP standard bearer in the Toledo East constituency
Martinez garnered 1,311 votes in a constituency convention held on Sunday in Punta Gorda town. His challenger in the convention, Heston Wagner received 390 votes. Congratulations Peter Eden Martinez.

Remembering Julian Cho (April 6, 1962 – Dec. 1, 1998) by Jerry A. Enriquez
It was not the type of news that I was prepared to receive on December 1, 1998. But then, who can ever predict what will happen each day or any moment in life? The only permanence in life is its impermanence. We know not the day or the hour. “Hilá numada” (My friend is dead) was all I could say when the Garifuna helper at my home wondered why tears were quietly streaming down my face as I reclined silently in my living room sofa with eyes closed trying to fathom the news of passing of my friend Julian Cho. She quietly handed me a glass of water and a handkerchief. After that hour of mournful reflection I emerged with a resolve to continue supporting friend’s work. It’s why I became a Board member of the Julian Cho Society and supported the struggle through the courts. Julian’s life was cut short at 36 years old, during the prime of his leadership in the Toledo Maya Cultural Council (TMCC). His unanimous election as Chairman of that organization in December 1995 had turned the tide of the history of his people’s struggles.

Channel 7

18 Year Old Transgender Youth Killed, Was It a Hate Crime?
Tonight Belize LBGT community is reeling from the murder of one of its own. Joseph Sanchez, a Belize City teenager who identified with a transgender orientation was found dead on Sunday morning at 2:47 am in the Collett area of Belize City; he had been stabbed and dumped on the side of a street. When police found the body on the sidewalk of Elston Kerr Street at 1:50 am, they thought it was a female, because the victim wore a white sleeveless vest, a short green and black skirt, with women's underwear and matching physique, and wearing a woman's hair style, makeup and jewelry. But Sanchez, who called himself Prince Joe was known to dress in drag, and wore a weave. Police took the body to the morgue as a female, but didn't know the true sex of the victim until they found his phone and traced the number, it led them back to Joseph Sanchez, an 18 year old who was openly transgender. His murder - which is being called a hate crime has fused two burning issues: violent crime and violence against gays. We look at both in our report on the story:..

Let There Be Cane! New Sugar Deal Signed!
But first, to a story that's making national headlines tonight: the standoff in the sugar industry is officially over. The cane farmers agreed to a compromise agreement on Sunday, and both sides signed the agreement an hour and a half ago. It's only an interim agreement, but it's a very major breakthrough because it allows for the beginning of the crop season in one week. 7News was at the signing which just finished a few minutes ago, and our team is heading back - we'll have that story for you a little later on.

How The Sugar Deal Almost Went Sour
And while today's signing was delayed by more than two hours - that has nothing on the marathon session yesterday - where the farmers had to all agree to move forward, though with a very uneasy truce. Daniel Ortiz found out that the farmers almost didn't agree - even though everything was on the line. Here's the report from San Roman in the Corozal District:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting Hundreds of cane farmers attended the general membership meeting in San Narciso Village to hear from their association's executive about how far they've progressed in the bagasse dispute. The men showed major interest, as they should, after all, they have held the country's sugar industry at a crossroads, a fact that they were very well aware of. Their leaders faced them with all the cards laid on the table; they were seeking a mandate on whether to end the embargo and start to deliver the cane so that the season could start. For the latest developments, the executive of the association looked to their attorney to explain what has been happening behind the scenes since the breakthrough last week.

Father of 3 Murdered In City
Sunday morning started out with the news of a murder in the City, and by nighttime, there would be two more. One of the victims is Emerson McDonald, a 38 year old father of three known as Ras Emo. Just after 5:00 on Sunday evening, he was walking with a friend on Central American Boulevard near the corner with Neal's Pen Road when a masked gunman pulled up on a bicycle and opened fire. McDonald was shot in his back as he tried to run into a nearby yard for cover, while an innocent passerby, Joseline Maximo was shot in the leg. McDonald was rushed to the KHMH by a friend but he died a little later around 7:00 pm; the 9 millimeter bullet damaged his heart. As it turns out, he was fatally shot just around the corner from his own home on Arlington Drive where his wife was sleeping and half a block from his family home on Neal Pen Road where his mother was resting. Today, she told us they have lost a provider and a dutiful son:..

Man Killed While Walking With Aunt
That shooting happened at 5:00 pm on Sunday, and by 9:30 there would be another gun murder. The victim in this case was 25 year old Derrick Parham. On Sunday night at 9:30, he was walking with his aunt at the corner of Iguana and Curassow Street in an area known as 123rd block. They weren't far from home when a Red car pulled up and a "dark skinned" man with dread locks jumped out of the car and fired a single shot at Derrick Parham, hitting him in the back. He was rushed to the KHMH but died shortly after at 10:00 pm. Today, 7News spoke with his mother who told us that the gunmen ambushed him when he was returning home from a party, just a stone's throw away from his house. Andrea Rosales, mother of deceased "We were home in the yard and we heard 2 gunshots. My husband and one of my older sons they ran out, my daughters they ran out also. We were thinking anything of it, and then someone came and say that it was Derrick who got shot. He was coming from his aunt house. They had a birthday for her grandson, so there was eating and drinking at her house, so he was there and in the night they were coming home." "What we understand that a red car drove up from behind and pointed the gun at him and fired 2 shots."

Education Minister Still Says Teacher Rallies Should Not Cause School Closings
On Friday we showed you teachers in Orange Walk and Corozal rallying for their pay increase, and also rallying against the government. The rallies continue this Friday in Belize City, where the teachers are hoping for a large turnout - which could mean that your child's school will be closed. Today, education Minister Patrick Faber told us that he is still not convinced that the rallies need to shut down school in each district that it moves to: Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education "I still maintain the fact that schools need to be close down and that kind of flexing needs to happen. I believe that the relationship between certainly the Ministry of Education and the BNTU is a good one, but I believe that the relationship between the wider bodies that were involved in the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations and the Government of Belize, even at the highest level with the Prime Minister, very health and continues to work well, so that if that is the issue the 30% salary adjustment or anything else that was on the table as it relates to that Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiation then I don't see the need for it."

Major Bust Of Smuggling Ring In Benque; Products Come From Bz
On Friday, Guatemalan military and police descended on Melchor in an unprecedented operation that has led to the arrest of 37 smugglers, some of them Guatemalan Customs Officials. A diagram of the group's criminal structure on the Guatemalan police website shows that they are called the Cigarettes Crew, and that's because one of the major things they smuggled was cigarettes from Belize. And we don't mean a few cartons; we mean container-fuls. This helps to explain why there was such a flare-up ten days ago about the container of Chinese Made Modern Cigarettes. According to our investigations, hundreds of containers of this are brought into Belize annually destined for the northern and western free zones - and much of it is smuggled into Mexico, Guatemala, Salvador, and into Mexico from Guatemala.

The Taking of the Palencia
Tonight the international Cargo vessel Palencia remains docked off Belize, under Port Guard. As we told you on Friday, Government seized the vessel when it landed at the Port of Belize to off load cargo on Friday. The reason is that the ship's owner owes a 9 plus million dollar fine for another ship that crashed into the reef two years ago. Today Government's attorney Denys Barrow explained how a ship can be arrested:.. Denys Barrow "It is basic that you can acclaim against a ship that you can arrest the ship which has done damage which is to say, you make an application to the court and the court issues a warrant for the arrest of the ship. The object is that since the ship is the object that has caused the damage this ship stands liable to satisfy the claim for compensation for the damage. The ship therefore should not be permitted to leave the waters until proper arrangements in the form of security almost like bail is given for the ship to leave." Jules Vasquez "However the ship that incurs the liability, the Paranga has long since flown or sailed." Denys Barrow

BAA: Castro’s Cookie Jar?
More cheques have been revealed by the Belize Times showing payments paid to Minister of state in the Ministry of Transport Edmund Castro. When the first four thousand cheque was published in December, General Manager Kenworth Tillett told us that it was assistance for Castro's mother's funeral. But, now the Belize Times has published another check issued to Coye's Funeral Home for $3,337.50. The paper also published another cheque for $5156.55 - both issued in April and May of last year. Sp what are the cheques for, and what is the justification for a statutory body under the Minister of Transport to be paying the relevant Minister of State? Well, today when we reached Kenworth Tillett, he indicated that he hadn't seen the story. We emailed it to him, and he told us that he'd call us back. Up to newstime, he hadn't.

Supreme Court Opening: It Wasn’t A Very Good Year
On the second Monday in January every year, the Supreme Court of Belize has its ceremonial opening. We’ve covered it for 19 years now, but we’ve noticed that while the staid proceedings still carry an air of importance, this year Jules Vasquez wondered how much of that is self-importance? Here’s his report:…

Schoolteacher Sent To Jail For Impregnating Child
Tonight, 51 year-old teacher Verden Samuel Blease is at prison after he was taken court for having sexual relations with 14 year-old girl. The child, in the presence of her mother, told police that in October of last year, she went to a house with Blease, who she referred to as her boyfriend, where they had intercourse, which they had been doing for the past 8 months. She started feeling sick, and a medical examination determined that she was 11 weeks pregnant. As a result of police, investigations, police charged Blease with 2 counts of carnal knowledge, and 5 counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature. He was arraigned today before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith, who remanded him to prison until February 13, his next court date. The date on the charges suggests that Blease, who told police that he is employed as teacher, had been making inappropriate sexual advances toward the child for years.

Former Police Minister Robbed
Former Police Minister and current cabinet secretary Carlos Perdomo was robbed on Saturday morning. Perdomo who lives in Caribbean Shores and has been doing his morning exercise in the area for decades had started riding. But on Saturday morning before 6:00 am he was held up by two men at the corner of Newtown barracks and Barrack Road. Reports are that they took his bicycle, his cell phone and his personal pouch. Another man who tried to render assistance, was also robbed of cash.

Sugar Roads Still A Sore Point
As we told you in the top of our newscast, for the first time since the bagasse dispute broke, there is a truce between the cane farmers and the factory owners. And Monday at 10 a.m. is the date set for the first load of cane to be delivered and milled.

BTL Park: Can You Say When?
The new BTL Park in Belize City will make history for the most money ever invested in a public space. But that’s not the only extreme qualifier the park can claim. It may also be the most delayed high profile project in memory. But now, after a December of punishing rains, the Mayor told the media that they’re ready to name a new date.

Man Charged For Greengold Farm Murder
Last week Monday, we told you about the first 2 murders of 2014. One of them was the brutal chopping of 41 year-old Maria Domitilia Perez, a business woman from Benque Viejo Town. Well, police say they've solved that one, and they've arrested and charged 51 year-old Manuel Ernesto Urguia Mencia, a Honduran manager of one of the Green Gold Banana Farmers. He was arraigned today for murder in the Southern Sessions of the Magistrate's Court and he has since been remanded to prison. Police have been informed that Perez and Urgia Mencia had an affair, and their disagreement that night was allegedly a dispute about money, which Mencia believed that Perez had pocketed. They'll have to investigate that information, but what police do know is that they found Perez murdered with multiple chop wounds all over the face.

A-Rod Supplier Bosch Was In Belize
Turn on any American news channel right now and the headline story is probably about Anthony Bosch - the founder of the Biogenisis Labs that allegedly supplied basbell star Alex Rodriguez with a steady stream of banned performance enhancing substances. But, what we've also learned in all the coverage is that Bosch went to medical school in Belize. The central American Health Sciences University today confirmed that Bosch graduated from their school. Due to confidentiality they couldn't say when he attended, but they did say that he graduated. The school is located at the Boom cutoff.

Channel 5

Farmers pen agreement with B.S.I.
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association has finally signed an agreement with the Belize Sugar Industries and its parent company, the American Sugar refinery. The parties penned the deal at [...]

Cane farmers meet: sugar crop season set to begin on Monday
While there is a formal signing which ends the months-long impasse between B.S.I. and the B.S.C.F.A., it is an uneasy truce. There are farmers who support the start of the [...]

3 murders in the City: Cross-dresser killed on Elston Kerr Street
Three persons were murdered over the weekend in the city, all within proximity of their homes. The most perplexing is the murder of eighteen year old Jatnet Sanchez, a cross [...]

UNIBAM president says murder was a hate crime
As we said earlier, the police claim the murder of Joseph Sanchez was motivated by robbery. The family believes it is a crime of passion. But the leading advocacy movement [...]

Derrick “Beng” Parham killed short distance from house
The two other murders over the weekend also remain under investigation. Just before ten on Saturday night, twenty five year old Derrick Parham was shot in the presence of his [...]

Emerson McDonald, the 3rd murder victim for the weekend
The third murder occurred some fourteen hours later around five-thirty p.m. on Sunday. Thirty-eight year old Emerson McDonald of an Arlington Drive address in Belize City was shot once to [...]

…Suspect of murder, Patrick Bevans, shot by police
Police have since detained two men in connection with the murder; one of whom is currently at the K.H.M.H. following another shooting that happened just before ten that night. Members [...]

Drug baron arrested in Belize
Guatemalan national Adolfo Eribel Rodriguez Barrientos, the alleged successor of the Paredes organization, a principal drug trafficking ring in Guatemala, has reportedly been nabbed by D.E.A. agents in Belize.  Rodriguez [...]

B.S.I. C.E.O. explains agreement
Late this evening, Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and the Belize Sugar Industry signed an agreement in principle on the payment of bagasse and agreed to start the crop on [...]

Supreme Court opens with all the bells and whistles
The traditional pomp and circumstance accompanied the opening of the Supreme Court this morning. The spotlight of the event is shared between the Chief Justice, the Attorney General and the [...]

Minister of Education says there is no breakdown with B.N.T.U.
The teachers have held two successful marches and rallies in Orange Walk and Corozal and are planning similar events in the City and the rest of the country. The Belize [...]

Minister to be deliberate in its response to B.N.T.U.’s action
Minister Faber also says that the Ministry will be deliberate in how it responds to what he called the sustained interruption of classes by teachers.   Patrick Faber, Minister of [...]

B.T.L. Park soon to be opened
The launch of the B.T.L. Park was initially scheduled for December twentieth, but the rains interrupted the opening. Residents will now wait a few more days because the park will [...]

A teacher is arraigned for sexually abusing a minor
A teacher, who was accused of having sex with a minor since she was seven years of age, was today charged with seven criminal offenses including carnal knowledge and six [...]

Belizeans named to contraband ring across the western border
A sting operation recently conducted in Melchor de Mencos has resulted in the arrests of at least thirty-seven individuals believed to be operating a cross-border contraband smuggling ring.  It is [...]

Sports Monday: the weekend sporting activities by James Adderley
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   The Belikin Cup concluded regular season play with 3 matches on Saturday that produced the 4 teams to make [...]


Woman’s Lover Charged with Her Murder
A Honduran man has been arrested and charged by Independence police for the murder of a 41 year old business woman. Correspondent Harry Arzu has the details in the following report. HARRY ARZU “Independence Police have one person in their custody for the murder of 41-year-old, businesswoman, Maria Domitilia Perez. On Sunday, January 5 around midnight, Police reported that they visited Green Gold Banana Farm located in the Stann Creek District where they discovered a body lying on a feeder road that leads to Sagitun Farm. Her body was observed with multiple chop wounds to her head, face and back. Her right small finger was completely cut off and her wrist was almost severed. As a result of police’s intensive investigation they have arrested and charged 54-year-old Honduran national, Manuel Ernesto Orgilla for murder. Police say the deceased had an affair with Orgilla and reportedly stole an undisclosed amount of money from him. The accused was arraigned today in the Independence Magistrates’ Court.”

Murder in Belize City
“Gunshots broke the still of Sunday night at around 9:40 and the bullets found their target in the person of 25 year-old Derrick Parham, a resident of Curassow Street. The homicide occurred less than two blocks from Parham’s house and his mother, Andrea Rosales, says that Parham and the relative were heading home from celebrating a family member’s birthday when the killer pounced. The relative, she said, witnessed the entire incident.” ANDREA ROSALES, Mother of deceased “A red car pulled up by she and my son and this person pushed out half of his body and fired two shots.” MARION ALI “The fatal bullet struck Parham in the back and he died less than an hour later. Both Parham’s mother and Superintendent Alden Dawson who heads the Precinct I Police Formation, said that Parham had a few nemeses but the police have no motives leads as yet.”

Supreme Court Session Opens: Chief Justice Says 193 Persons Are Awaiting Trial in the Supreme Court
The ceremonial opening of the Supreme Court took place downtown Belize City this morning. After a mass held at the St. John’s Cathedral, the Chief Justice of Belize, Kenneth Benjamin, along with Justices, Magistrates, attorneys and other guests assembled inside the Chief Justice’s Court Room. In his speech, CJ Benjamin addressed several challenges that the Judiciary keeps on facing including low financing, institutional strengthening and inadequate case management. Love News was present for the official opening of the legal year of the Supreme Court. HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING Streets in Downtown Belize City were blocked for the official ceremonial opening of the 2014 legal year of the Supreme Court. Ceremonies commenced at the St. John’s Cathedral were the tone for the day’s proceeding was set. Following the service, a procession of the Bench and Bar exited St. John’ Cathedral and made its way to the Supreme Court of Belize. Once there, the customary Inspection of the Guards was done by Chief Justice of Belize, Kenneth Benjamin. Thereafter, CJ Benjamin along with Justices, Magistrates, attorneys and others gathered in the court room of the Chief Justice were the 2013 Legal review was read. Several challenges were faced in 2013 said CJ Benjamin including the unsatisfactory management of criminal matters leading to the inevitable development of a back-log which has left more than a hundred inmates awaiting trial.

Belize City Countsdown for Park Launch
The BTL Park is scheduled to be opened next week according to City Mayor, Darrell Bradley. Mayor Bradley told reporters today that the project has many aspects to it, including zoning the area as an entertainment and tourism district for Belize City. Next week Tuesday, Mayor Bradley said, the first of two opening will take place. DARRELL BRADLEY, Mayor, Belize City “We are having, what we call a soft launch and that will be on Tuesday, January 21 and that will be a ribbon cutting ceremony and we are going to have a very small ceremony to inaugurate the park. The park is about 95% completed to date; if you can look at it, most of the infrastructure are already in place. The contractor, IE all they are doing right now is cleaning and landscaping work; some of the trees are being planted and the stage is already done, many of the businesses, the kiosks are already done and then we expect that the substantial part of the cleaning work should be finished this week and they are going to put down the last layering which is the beach sand right next to the sea and then the park will be accessible to members of the public. People are already using it; I came out here with my family over the weekend and quite a bit of people was out here using the park. I want to make mention that we are inaugurating the park in three phases; of course, you know that the first part of this project was the land reclamation where we added forty percent more park space and as part of that also we did the seawall and the second part of it is what you’re seeing going on now, the construction of the pier, the construction of the stage, the construction of the park facilities, swing sets, benches, the aesthetic quality of the park and the third part of it which is very significant which people may not be aware of, is the economic component of the park.

Football Academy Begins Countrywide Launch
The Play Big Foundation is a grass roots NGO in Orange Walk Town with a branch in the US that seeks to empower at risk youths through sports, primarily football. The foundation recently donated several pieces of equipment to the Orange Walk District Football Association for the football academy. Fernando Sanchez is the Director of Play Big Foundation. FERNANDO SANCHEZ “Over the past months our colleagues in Dallas on the Play Big Foundation did some fundraising in Dallas; book drives and dollar drives and with that they came up with some money to buy footballs, they bought thirty cones and some smaller round cones to donate to the Football Academy which will be opened here in Orange Walk under the FFB project to develop the football in Belize. We want the participation of different businesses in Orange Walk but right now it is solely a Belizeans living in Dallas/Orange Walk connection.”

Police News: Robbery, Carnal Knowledge; Shooting Incidents
Belize City police are investigating two separate shooting incidents that occurred over the weekend. The first incident happened just before nine o’clock on Sunday night. Police were called out to the home of 37-year-old, Leevan Lewis, a Belizean surveyor on Arlington Drive. Lewis reported to police that he was standing in front of his gate at around 8:20pm when he observed three men riding separate bicycles in his direction; moments later Lewis says he heard several gunshots and ran for cover inside his house. Upon making checks, he observed the three men riding away towards Faber’s Road Extension. No one was injured in this incident and police have recovered ten 9mm WIN Luger brand expended shells, one 9×9 S&B brand expended shell and three .22 WIN brand expended shell from the area. The second incident occurred less than two hours later just a few streets away. Police visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital on Sunday night at around 10 o’clock when they encountered 22-year-old, Patrick Bevans of a Jane Usher Boulevard address with a gunshot wound to his left leg and another to his right ankle. Reports indicate that on that Sunday night just before ten o’clock, members of the Belize Defense Force (BSAG) were on Jane Usher Boulevard conducting a house search when they noticed Bevans jumping a zinc fence and running away. Bevans was pursued and upon his capture, he managed to grab one of the soldiers weapons which he had refused to surrender. As a result, one of the soldiers fired a single shot at Bevans causing his injuries. Bevans is currently detained by the police.

UDP Holds Convention for Standard Bearer in Southern Belize
Eden Martinez remains the UDP Standard Bearer for the Toledo East constituency following a weekend convention in that municipality. According to the Chairman of the United Democratic Party, a total of one thousand seven hundred and fourteen electors turned out to cast their ballot. Of that amount, one thousand three hundred and eleven votes when to Martinez whilst his opponent, Mr. Wagner received three hundred and ninety votes and thirteen ballots were rejected. The convention was held at the Toledo Sporting Complex in Punta Gorda Town. A political convention to elect UDP Toledo East Standard Bearer was held yesterday in Punta Gorda. Indications are that the Standard Bearer convention for the Toledo West constituency will take place next month in San Antonio Village.

Sugar Cane Farmers Get Interim Agreement
Earlier in our newscast we reported that an interim agreement was signed by Belize Sugar Industries and Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. Following the meeting the media spoke with BSI Chief Executive Office Joey Montalvo. JOEY MONTALVO “I am particularly pleased that we signed today and we now must focus on getting the crop off the ground. We have a late start and we have a big crop to mill. We must also focus on negotiations coming ahead to finalize that and also, I want to say that this hasn’t really slowed ASR/BSI plans for expansion; we need to boost the field and the mill. We need to focus on getting the economic pie bigger; there is great scope for expansion, there is great scope for productivity both on the farming side and the milling side and there is great scope and potential to increase cane production to about two million tons and sugar production to about two hundred and twenty thousand tons of sugar. If we are to stay in business we must look forward to both sides working together. This has been a learning experience; I think these things serve a meaningful purpose and as I said, I think we need to look ahead and move forward. We have been stuck for at least two decades at the current level of sugar cane production and so we need to move forward and that is where the focus ought to be for the future. I am particularly pleased that we have reached this stage and we can then move forward with the plans for both the field and the mill.” The Government has said that two million dollars will be put into rehabilitating sugar roads. Vice President of the BSCFA Alfredo Ortega said there is a lot of work to be done.

Weekend Murder – Hate Crime or Not?
The first murder of the weekend was reported on Saturday night when the body of 18-year-old Joseph Sanchez was found on Elston Kerr Street. Sanchez’ murder has raised the concern of the LGBT community in Belize. Earlier today Caleb Orosco spoke on the murder on our sister station Estereo Amor. CALEB OROSCO “This young man was unfortunate in the way he was found and sadly, lost his life and nobody, absolutely nobody under any condition deserves for their life to be taken just because of who they are and how they look. This to me, is an extreme case of hate that is undeserving, no matter what. Firstly, what I want to say is that there is a tendency for the public to blame the victim and say that they caused this upon themselves and of course, they will hurt you if you look this way or that way but most people don’t realize that each individual has a right to their identity and you cannot rob, oppress or abuse somebody because you do not like them exercising their right to an identity and I feel it is unfair for the general public to go out there and blame the victim for getting killed. For me, it is a hateful moment because that area is difficult to stay for far too long; a few months ago I had some administrative issues to deal with and I was told, in no uncertain terms, to not go back in that area and so I got in my car and drove back home. So, within the context of my personal experience and the difficulty in the area, I know that the area can be hateful and it takes very little to be harmed in that area and that is why I feel very strongly that is an act of hate; others may have a different view but from my end you don’t rob someone’s dignity or life just because of them walking your street; that’s just not right.”

Prison Guards Foil Inmates Attempt to Escape
Two prisoners were shot on the grounds of Central Prison early this morning. According to prison officials Elias Lopez of Valley of Peace and Miguel Mendez of La Gracia Village both in the Cayo District, attempted to escape from prison at around 2:30 this morning. Prison guards were alerted of the attempted escape and executed a search for the inmates who were housed in the Tango 5 building. As a result, Lopez was shot in the right leg and was captured 300 yards away from the building while Mendez was shot in the right hand and was apprehended behind the building. The men were treated at the prison clinic and then moved to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for further treatment. Both Lopez and Mendez are serving five-year sentences for burglary.


Violent Belize City Sunday Claims the Life of Mr. Joseph Sanchez
It was an explosively violent Sunday that saw three men killed and a fourth injured as well as a woman in the span of 24 hours. The murder of 18 year old Joseph Sanchez took place early in the morning around 1:50 a.m. According to police, the customer care...

One Murdered and Another Injured in Senseless Shooting Incident
Another violent incident took place at around 5:30 p.m. on Central American Boulevard near Belizean Drug Store. According to police, 38 year old Emerson McDonald had just left his residence and was walking on the Boulevard where a male person with dark colored pants and a black mask over...

Shooters Apparently Return to Murder Scene
In the lone incident where no one was injured, three hours after McDonald’s murder right around the corner, police visited the Arlington Drive home of surveyor Leevan Lewis who told them that around 8:20 pm while he was standing in front of his gate, he saw three men on separate...

Mayhem Spreads out to the Old Capital’s Curassow Street
The mayhem spread to Curassow Street an hour and a half later as 25 year old Derrick Parham was gunned down blocks from his home at the corner with Iguana Street in the third murder of the day. Law enforcement agents say that Parham was walking with his aunt...

A Shot Ankle Tolls a Painful Lesson on Alleged Culprit
The final incident of the night took place around the same time and involved an armed struggle between members of the Belize Defence Force’s Special Assignment Group (BSAG) and Jane Usher Boulevard resident Patrick Bevans. Around 9:40 p.m. the group of soldiers were searching a house in the area...

Sugar Obstacle
On Friday, we told you that at least one obstacle still stood in the way of ending the stand-off between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and producers Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI): whether farmers would approve an interim agreement collated between the two sides over the course...

As GOB is to Address Sugar Roads, Progresso asks for Attention
Going back to the Government’s press release, the Office of the Prime Minister announced that BZE$2M worth of works on sugar roads that GOB promised, will commence immediately. That is very welcome news for the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA), which had intended to address the Prime Minister...


Hot Donuts and Sushi Rolls in Caye Caulker: Where Have You Been All My Life?
Saturday afternoon, I took the water taxi over to Caye Caulker and it’s something that I need to do much more often. 20 minutes away on a beautiful boat ride (here we are pulling away from San Pedro)… If you have read some of my posts (like Best Dessert in San Pedro for instance), you might know that I enjoy my cakes, cookies, brownies…really anything that involves sugar. I am a devoted student of all things dessert. SO…when I heard that there was a HOT DONUT shop in Caye Caulker? Well…I had to go. HOT DONUTS. Fresh out of the oil. Like when I was a kid…at the place where we picked out our Halloween pumpkins. There are few things more delicious (are there any?) than a hot donut coated in cinnamon sugar. I set out to find the spot…my nose, I’m sure, would lead the way. But it was lunch time…and I saw something almost as intriguing first. Perched right over the VERY popular Barrier Reef Sports Bar. I walked inside and fell in love. Fresh baked bagels? Cookies and brownies? Local art? With some of my favorite artists. Like Lola from Seine Bight.

Belize – Red Hot for Preppers
People come to Belize for many reasons – the vast misty rainforests that bring you back to nature in time immemorial, the temples, cities and other remnants of the ancient Maya civilisation dotting the country, the Belize Great Barrier Reef, the world’s second largest after Australia’s, dotted with hundreds of tiny islands and offering the best scuba diving to be had anywhere, the incredible fly fishing on almost untouched permit and tarpon flats, and the warm friendly people are just a few. And now there’s a new class of devotees – that segment of society now known as “Preppers” or survivalists. It’s a growing segment, getting large enough that there’s now a popular television show on the National Geographic Channel called “Doomsday Preppers” which features such people and their plans for dealing with large scale catastrophe.

Baked Spicy Meatballs
No stove top spicy meatballs are so simple to make. I added a little bit of carrots in order to make it a little bit sweet, but the spice from the pepper makes these meatballs so savory.

Expanding Economic Opportunities through Entrepreneurship & Market Development (EEOEM)
The Young Women’s Christian Association held its Stann Creek District Closing Ceremony under the umbrella project of Expanding Economic Opportunities through Entrepreneurship & Market Development (EEOEM). Southern Belize residents sixty seven (67) participants benefited from courses/ training in areas such as Sewing, Basic Computers, Cosmetology, Cake Decorating, Business & Management and Hospitality Management. Zeal of the students was kept by the knowledgeable and friendly facilitators. SBDCBelize, BELTRAIDE facilitated training for Business & Management focusing on areas of Establish a Business, Marketing and Sales, Book Keeping and Customers Service etc. Belize Rural Development Project 2 was integral in funding this exercise.

“The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Up reasonably early on Thursday at 04.55 hours ((am able to be precise (presupposing that it is accurate) now because I have an alarm clock)) but didn’t venture out on to the veranda. Any of the verandas. Why, you are probably thinking. Too chilly? Well it was chilly but not as chilly/cold as it had been the previous day. No the reason was that Rose and I were going to Belize City so that she could have her left cheekbone X-Rayed. The cheekbone she fractured last August when she tripped on a wire that was on the veranda of the Ground Floor apartment and fell straight on to the steps. Doctor Daniel Gonzalez of the Ambergris Hope clinic took first class care of Rose but she has still been getting discomfort from the left side of her face and although an X-Ray taken on the island suggested (( sections of the X-Ray were undeveloped (bit like some of my photos)) that the fracture had healed we wanted a second opinion and decided that we would go the Belize Diagnostic Centre (I went there when I was undergoing my dental treatment) in Belize City so there was no time for ‘me time’. I still had a mug of black coffee though and did manage to scan read The Times online.

Belizeans and true friends of Belize, From the latest account, it appears as though the principles involved in the ill-fated scheme to get Belizeans to place our sovereignty at the mercy of the jurisprudence of the so-called, “learned Justices” at the ICJ, are back at it again. This comes as no surprise because they still believe their mystical hold over the psyche of Belizean citizens, especially when it involves political matters, will carry over into this critical issue. Well, I have some words of wisdom for them…”you are dead wrong”. The powers that be will never concede that the reason Guatemala reneged on the once, much vaunted date of the intended referendum, was due in large part to the level of resistance demonstrated to their hair-brained scheme, by regular Belizeans and true friends of Belize. That’s fine because those who met the challenge head-on did not do it for accolades. It was our duty to ensure that our nation and people didn’t get taken for a ride by the OAS and its cohorts.

International Sources

Island Routes Planning Expansion to St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Belize
Regional tour company Island Routes is continuing its Caribbean expansion, with plans to open in Belize, St Kitts and Dominica this year, according to General Manager David Shields. The company, which was founded by Sandals Resorts CEO Adam Stewart in 2009, has been on a steady Caribbean expansion, having most recently entered new markets such as Grenada, Aruba, St Maarten and the Dominican Republic. The company, which is in 11 destinations and 17 resort areas in the Caribbean, said it sold more than 600,000 excursions in 2013, a 57 percent increase over 2012, Stewart said.

New Market Research Report: Belize Electricity Limited - Power Plants and SWOT Analysis, 2013 Update
The report contains a detailed description of the power generation company's 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.

Climate of positive Carib economic activity
“The blacklisting of Guyana and the citation of Belize by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) could have serious ramifications for the banking industry if corrective measures are not taken,” warns Melissa Marchand, publisher of Global News Matters, which produces the fortnightly Market Dynamics Caribbean. A recent edition of the newsletter reports the CFATF assailed Guyana’s continuing inability to pass laws on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. The Task Force also cited Belize for a number of deficiencies in agreed-upon standards for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism. “This is why we are following these developments closely as they pose a significant risk to the commercial banking sectors of the two countries - and in this interconnected economy -- there could be repercussions in other parts of the region.” Market Dynamics Caribbean also reports the Caribbean spends heavily paying for the importation of its energy needs but the latest edition saw some movement towards decreasing the region’s reliance on expensive, imported, fossil fuel.

Crocodile scientist grabs students attention at Sparks Middle School career day
Crocodile research is an unusual career choice, but it was one of the choices offered during career day at Sparks Middle School in La Puente on Jan. 10. Scientist Marissa Tellez took a big bite out of the myths that have grown about this predator. She was one of 20 speakers taking time to discuss their chosen professions with seventh- and eighth-graders. Five speakers had actually gone to the Hacienda La Puente Unified School. The grad student is working on her doctorate at UCLA. Afterward, Tellez will become the director of a wildlife sanctuary in Belize. Meanwhile, the good doctor shared some interesting facts about these scary creatures — crocodiles. “The crocodile bite has been measured at 3,000 pounds, while a shark’s bite is only about 700 pounds,” Tellez said. “These 7-foot-long creatures can run 11 miles per hour.” The highly intelligent animals even have their own language, using different vocal tones and body language. “They’re the most loving creatures, with fathers and mothers splitting the protection of their eggs,” Tellez continued. Crocodiles also have the strongest immune systems, which is why scientists are studying them to cure human diseases.

Cobia at a crossroads
Mike Urch reports on the future potential for farmed cobia. With new ownership of the former Marine Farms’ cobia operations in Vietnam and Belize, plus an aggressively expanding company farming cobia in Panama, 2014 could be a milestone year for this fast growing fish. By all accounts, cobia (Rachycentron canadum), a tropical white-fleshed marine species which can grow to 5kg in weight in just under 12 months, has vast potential as an alternative to wild caught whitefish. As yet, however, this potential has not been realised. However, production then plummeted as Asian farmers switched to other species such as pompano (Trachinotus blochii), and in 2012 was thought to have been less than 5000 tonnes. According to fish farming specialist Bjørn Myrseth who set up cobia farming operations in Belize and Vietnam when CEO of Marine Farms – this company was taken over by Morpol in 2010 which in turn was bought by Marine Harvest in 2013 – there were production problems. “Cobia is a beautiful fish with a firm, white flesh, so we had great hopes for it,” he says, “but we did have some production problems. It seemed to eat a lot, but at a certain size it stopped growing, or it grew too slowly.” Cobia produced by Marine Farms Vietnam were aimed at the European market, while the fish produced in Belize were flown to southern USA. “[Marine Farms] Belize used to be the largest supplier of fresh cobia into the US for several years (2007-2010) until Hurricane Richard hit us,” says CEO Jorge Alarcon. Production then ceased, but the hatchery continues to produce cobia fingerlings for sale to other companies.

Freshwater fish will become more important in aquaculture
World Fishing & Aquaculture interviews Norwegian modern fish farming pioneer, Bjørn Myrseth to discover what he believes the future holds for the fast growing industry. Fish that do not require fish protein in their feed will become important in tomorrow’s aquaculture, says Norwegian fish farming pioneer, Bjørn Myrseth. “I will continue to work with marine fish that can be grown in cages, but at the moment I am also interested in taking a look at the herbivore or omnivore fish that are sold at low prices such as tilapia and pangasius.” This is far removed from the farming of rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon in Norway, which is where Mr Myrseth began his long career in aquaculture. This career has taken him all over the world and has involved the farming of many species. “We bought a cobia hatchery in Florida and managed to increase fingerling production there. But because of US restrictions we could not farm the fish in the USA, so we had to fly the fingerlings to Belize for grow-out. Belize was probably not an optimal country for this operation, but that is where we ended up. “We had some problems though. Fingerling production was very costly because of the initial setup of flying them in from Florida, so we built a new hatchery and a grow-out facility in Belize.”

You Better Belize It
I did some good eating in San Pedro. There are a lot of great restaurants to choose from but by far the best meal I had was lobster tacos from a little local place. As with most places I have visited the non-fancy, dubious looking places filled with locals being served by locals always have the best food. These lobster tacos were so delicious. I would contemplate going back to the island just for one more taco. One word that is guaranteed to make me happy is All Day Breakfast! Best first meal of the day was at Estel’s Restaurant on the beach with great views and a breakfast burrito the size of my leg. I am a hummus-maniac and I found some good stuff at Ali Baba’s. The hummus may have been good but the owner was an absolute treat. He said the phrase, “Welcome to Belize. Ali Baba’s One Stop Shop.” at least 50 times during my margarita. I think perhaps he was on something a little stronger than just chick peas. One thing I have to say in my continuing gushing love poem to San Pedro, the service I received everywhere I went was excellent. The people in general were so friendly and welcoming towards me. I met many lovely people over many Belikin beers.

January 13, 2014


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Specials and Events

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The San Pedro Sun

Doctor Love: Mixed Up
Readers, please send your letters. They can be emails, formal letters or handwritten notes. They are edited solely for grammar and spelling. Also, they are sometimes edited for length. Dear Doctor Love, I knew my fiancé for a year and we were good friends. One day I impulsively kissed him when he took me home. […]

Police Report

Wolfe’s Woofers: Learning About Sin
Melody was certainly happy to see me when I stopped at her art gallery yesterday. “I am so glad you came when I left the message for you,” she said. “I need somebody to watch Davin while I go to a resort up on the north end of the island. I’ll only be gone for […]

Misc Belizean Sources

Archaeologists Discover Rare Ancient Maya Mural in Belize
Known as Tulix Mul, it appears at first blush as a mound-like island of jumbled trees and bushes jutting out of a landscape that has been otherwise cleared by local mechanized ranchers for their cattle ranch operations. It is a curious protrusion, but only because this site holds special value to archaeologists and other researchers. The local landowner ranchers have agreed to leave it untouched -- at least for now. Going forward, however, there are no guarantees. Development must ultimately meet the needs of developers. In the meantime, investigators are racing against the clock and other elements to excavate, study, and preserve the site. It is an ancient Early Classic (200-600 CE) Maya site in northwestern Belize that contains evidence of at least two standing vaulted rooms. As a relatively recent discovery, archaeologists, under the auspices of the Maya Research Program (MRP), and the University of Texas at Tyler, have been excavating at the site since 2012. It has been identified as a shrine group approximately 1 km. from Nojol Nah, another severely endangered Maya center where they have been excavating. In 2013, they focused on a structure (designated "Structure 2" on their site plan) that showed intrusion by a looter's trench. Excavation revealed evidence of a vaulted room.

VIDEO: Cassava Bread’s Kat Lonsdorf learns to cook Cassava bread in Dangriga, Belize.

News Exchange Highlights Add!ction in Cayo
The new issue of News Exchange Magazine is out, and it can be found at Venus. Add!ction is featured in this issue, and you can see their models all around Cayo. They are also having a $300 raffle, which will be held on January 29th. Pictures on fb: "News Exchange Magazine has their latest issue out. You can find it here in Cayo at Venus Photos and Records. News.Exchange Magazine and Courts Belize are having a raffle to win $300. You can find the entry form in the magazine. Gabriela Berrera has a great photoshoot in this issue, and you can see her creations in shots from all over Cayo. Enjoy, and good luck!"

Teenage man found stabbed to death in Belize City
The body of a man was found this morning on Elston Kerr Street in Belize City. It has been identified as that of Joseph Sanchez, 18, a resident of Antelope Street Extension. Sources say Sanchez’ body, which was found face down, had a stab wound to the chest. The murder is under investigation by the police.

I will continue to advocate …
by Glenn Tillett I am reproducing the following column which was published in the Belize Times several years ago because I was told that a judgement in this matter may be nigh. I have been told by some that my suit is simply me carrying a brief for Lord Ashcroft in his fight with the Barrow administration over the seizure of Belize Telemedia Limited. I am aware that I am that proverbial blade of grass underfoot those giants, but I am neither tool nor fool. I am confident that mine is an act borne from principle and I am encouraged that increasingly I hear ordinary citizens like myself expressing their dissatisfaction with Social Security funds being used for the furthering of political agendas. It is long past time that the fund be managed by a board on which the political executive representatives is not the majority and can over-ride the employers and employees representatives at will. This week I am spending time in the courtroom of Acting Chief Justice Samuel Awich listening to attorneys spar over the interpretation of certain “Acts” or laws while Senior Counsel Lois Young tries to avoid looking at me. My mind wanders at times, especially when Dr. Lloyd Barnett gets up and starts speaking in a voice almost devoid of inflection or emotion.


Sunny and very busy San Pedro Saturday
Yesterday was a fun filled active day. On Friday when I stopped by Catamaran Beach bar, Ruth had told me I needed to come back and try the iced coffee with alcohol in it so I decided that would make a nice Saturday morning treat before going to the Island Art and Craft the art show. When I got there Leisa was enjoying a glass of wine and had already ordered. As soon as I saw her plate, I told Luis I wanted the same. My alcohol version of my fav iced coffee since Island Perk included Bailey’s and Kahlua – it was yummmmmmy. While we were eating we got to watch a kite surfer practicing, he was really good and we were both amazed at his stamina ad he zipped back and forth past us.

Surprise Party to Mourn the Closing of BC’s Beach Bar
BC’s Beach Bar is one of the best in town and one of the last classic palapa beach bars in San Pedro center. Here’s a picture of this palapa gem at sunset last night. The inside has been signed and decorated for years… A great place to hang while your kids play in the sea. I even spotted this crazy octopus in the water right in front one evening. LAST NIGHT, there was a surprise party for Charlene to celebrate the closing of BC’s Beach Bar. January 16th is the very last day. The lease is up and a huge condo development is moving in. (More about that in this December 2012 post.) Charlene was told that they were having a fundraiser for the humane society (she is a big supporter) and arrived to a bar full of supporters… And one AMAZING cake.

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

International Sources

Memorial held in Belize for Brian Townsend
A memorial was held today in Belize for an Edmonton man who police say was murdered in on Christmas Eve. Brian Townsend, 64, had been living and working as a missionary in Central America for the past nine years. He was reported missing from his home in the small community of Valley of Peace on Christmas, and his body was later found in Guatemala. Pastor Gelder Gamboa, who worked with Townsend, said he expects a big turnout at the service. “The community is sad and we're still grieving. You know, this is where we are at this present moment because we will not see him anymore. It is over.” Belize police have two suspects in mind and are working with Guatemalan authorities, but have not yet made any arrests in the case. Arrangements have been made to transport Townsend's ashes back to his family in Canada. A memorial service will be held Jan. 19 in Lacombe at the College Heights Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

HeartGift gives children life-saving surgeries
Imagine your child with a life threatening heart ailment, and no one where you live can treat it. That's the very real story that plays out in underdeveloped countries around the world. Austin area doctors and the HeartGift Foundation make sure several children get that life-saving surgery. Courtney Adalina Castillo can charm anyone in the room, including her mother. "She's the love of my life," said Trisha Lopez, Courtney's mom. Courtney and her family are from Belize. Her mother said there are no pediatric cardiologists there. She said she was desperate after learning of her daughter's condition just a few months ago. "Immediately when someone says there's something wrong with her heart, we all got alarmed," said Lopez. "We were crying. Where to go? What to do? There's nowhere to go and no one to see in Belize."

Spanish Adventurer Continues on Quest to Retrace Balboa’s Voyage
Spanish adventurer Alvaro de Marichalar is close to completing a journey of 2,400 nautical miles on his jet ski between Florida and Panama with the goal of commemorating the voyage of Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, the first European to behold the Pacific Ocean, which he dubbed the “Southern Sea.” De Marichalar, who sails alone on his 3-meter-long (about 10 feet) jet ski named Numancia, arrived Friday at Puerto Limon on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast and will continue his journey on Sunday toward Panama, which he hopes to reach next Wednesday. The Spaniard, who left Florida on Dec. 12, had not planned to stop in Costa Rica, but the need for maintenance on his jet ski forced him to do so, giving him the chance to rest a bit and eat properly for a couple of days. De Marichalar told Efe that after his stop in Puerto Limon he will head toward Panama, specifically to Bocas del Toro and Colon, and after that traverse the Panama Canal and finally arrive at the capital city, next Wednesday – if all goes well. On his journey so far, the Spanish adventurer left Florida en route to Cuba and then headed to Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and finally Panama, from where he will transit the Panama Canal and continue to Cartagena, Colombia.

VIDEO: 10 Days in Belize x GoPro Studio
Decided to take just a single GoPro, GoPole and head strap for this 10 day adventure. See what is possible with only these three things as we climb Mayan ruins, play with monkeys, swim with sharks and dive with all forms of sea creatures. Cars, taxis, boats, planes, kayaks, bikes, canoes - this is Belize

January 12, 2014


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Editorial – Up in smoke: fireworks or potholes?
We all marveled at the evening performance of pyrotechnics and passionately praised the perfect end to 2013 while ushering in 2014. It sure was a fun night, but as I waded through the ankle-deep mud pool in front of my gate for the umpteenth time in the last six months I weighed the question…what is more important, extravagant fireworks or filling potholes…the scale drastically tipped towards potholes. Call me a kill-joy, aside from a handful of small children and dogs who find them terrifying, who DOESN’T love fireworks? On the other hand, who loves crappy roads? Troubled with this question I unofficially surveyed my friends and colleagues who were all under the impression that the fireworks were donated each year to San Pedro Town by our Mexican neighbors, but after a quick call to Town Council the Mayor confirmed that indeed it was the tax payers who footed the bill for the fireworks extravaganza. I then unofficially surveyed the Internet and concluded that the average 30-minute firework show costs from $20,000 to $50,000US. Although I don’t know the actual cost of our New Year’s Extravaganza, I still have to wonder, was it fiscally responsible, when our roads go neglected to literally burn our money elsewhere? What will our guests to the island remember longer, the fireworks or the challenges of traveling from one side of town to the next? Will their interest in returning to La Isla go up in smoke?

Beatriz Marroquin injured by underage female
On Thursday, January 2nd, San Pedro Police responded to a stabbing incident in the Boca del Rio area. According to police, 19-year-old Beatriz Marroquin reported that while walking home along with her husband, 20-year-old Jose Luis Marroquin, at around 6:40PM she was verbally attacked by an under-aged female she knew. The underage female was accompanied by her boyfriend ‘Melvin’, last name unknown, and a crowd of people that Beatriz did not recognize. Beatriz ignored the verbal attacks and continued walking. The crowd drew closer to the Marroquins, and the female threw a stone at Beatriz, which she dodged. As a result the stone hit Jose Luis to the left side of his face, causing injures and bleeding. The couple retreated to Beatriz’s mother’s home for first aid treatment. Beatriz’s mother advised them to report the incident to a police officer working at a store near the Boca del Rio Bridge. On her way back from reporting the incident to the officer, she was once again approached by the same crowd. Melvin restrained Beatriz while the underage female stabbed her several times in the head and back, after which the crowd fled the scene. Beatriz consulted a doctor and was issued a medical report indicating that she had received seven stab wounds.

Leptospirosis claims one life in Belize City
Over the past few weeks one case of leptospirosis has been confirmed in Belize City and has claimed the life of a man on New Year’s Day. According to the family of the deceased Michael Lewis, he was not the first person being treated for the disease over recent weeks, and they believe there are four more suspected deaths. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals which is transmitted by rodents such as raccoons and rats. In an interview with Channel 5 News, Noellee Swift-McField indicated that her brother-in-law had to be admitted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) after he became ill. Initially he was erroneously diagnosed and given the wrong medication. After several medical tests were conducted, it was confirmed that he had a severe case of leptospirosis which eventually claimed his life. Swift-McField went on to explain that doctors at KHMH told them that Lewis’ case was not the first, as others have been admitted with similar symptoms.

Art Show to Benefit "Women in Need" this weekend. (7 photos)
Held this weekend (January 11 & 12) at Xanadu Resort from noon till 5PM, this annual art show is hosted by a group of women artisans who donate the proceeds from the arts sales to women in need on the island. From beautiful water colors, to glass jewelry, hand painted cushion covers, greeting cards and more, the selection is gorgeous. You can even buy raffle tickets to win darling oversized dolls hand knitted by Judy Sheinbaum. So don’t miss out this weekend on the opportunity to purchase lovely artwork while supporting a community program.

Misc Belizean Sources

Poles for San Mateo Electrification Project arrive
Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the San Pedro Town Council along with Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism & Culture and the Belize Electricity Limited are pleased to announce that the poles that will be used for the San Mateo Electrification Project have arrived! Hurrah! for San Mateo!

UB Signs Agreement with Mexican Tech University
The University of Belize signed an agreement with a Mexican Technical University so they could expedite the creation of innovating projects. "The Agreement will facilitate joint participation in developing innovation projects and international institutional cooperation projects. The partnerts will oganize academic encounters, courses, conferences, symposiums, student exchanges, and scholarships for students from both institutions. Signing the Academic Cooperation Agreement was the President of the University of Belize Dr Cary Fraser and Rector of Universidad Tecnologica de Camargo Prof. Fidel Alonso González González. President Fraser said, 'The Agreement between the two universities will contribute to the development of both institutions and improvement of the quality of life of Belizeans and Mexicans.'”

International Sources

Hong Kong triads supply meth ingredients to Mexican drug cartels
Two Hong Kong triads have linked up with one of Latin America's largest and most notorious drug cartels to supply the burgeoning global market for methamphetamine, the Sunday Morning Post has learned. Members of the 14K and Sun Yee On triads are supplying Mexico's Sinaloa cartel with the raw materials needed to produce methamphetamine, or "crystal meth", as demand skyrockets. The Sinaloa cartel is one of Mexico's most powerful organised crime groups and has played a deadly role in the country's drug wars, which have claimed 60,000 lives since 2006. The connection emerged a week after one of the biggest drug busts in recent years saw a massive methamphetamine production racket closed down in the eastern Guangdong city of Lufeng. China is one of the world's biggest producers of methamphetamine, also known as Ice, and of its precursor chemicals. Hong Kong triads have long been significant players in the regional narcotics trade, but recent developments suggest they are seeking to build networks further afield.

The Top 10 Family Travel Destinations for 2014
Because parents, grandparents and kids rarely agree on destinations, let alone hotels and activities, family vacations can be among the most difficult types of trip to book. To please everyone, consider the places on Lonely Planet's list of the "Best Family Travel Destinations for 2014": 8. Belize Lonely Planet calls Belize "an affordable Caribbean trip that is a boon for families" since it's "compact, cheap and nearly everyone speaks English."

Surprising History in Yucatán ” The Rich Island of Yucatán — or Carolina? “
None of the invaders from the Old World knew what lay west of Cuba between Honduras and Florida, even though Europeans had actually sighted Yucatán. In 1508, Vicente Yáñez Pinzón and Juan Díaz de Solís, sailing north from Honduras, where Columbus had landed six years earlier, were searching for the expected passage through to the Southern Sea and the Spice Islands of Asia. They coasted the peninsula, failed to identify a strait, and their discoveries received little notice. The governor of Cuba obtained a royal license for an expedition of discovery, motivated chiefly by the need to find new sources of Indian slaves to work the farms and mines of the Greater Antilles. Three ships commanded by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba set out in 1517, and after six days’ sailing, they sighted a flat island — Isla Mujeres — and went on to what they perceived to be a larger island nearby. Here they made the first contact with Maya people. The Castilians were well received, gifts were exchanged, and Hernández claimed the land for seventeen-year-old King Carlos I and his co-regent mother, Juana the Mad.

Belize Please!
I woke up in Chetumal with almost a full day to kill before my water taxi to Belize. Unfortunately the weather was still rubbish. I went for a walk downtown and found people. Everywhere. Lots of people! Potential friends. Hooray! It was a Monday morning and Chetumal had come to life. It is strange for me that on a Sunday afternoon the town was deserted but it was busy on a Monday. Doesn’t anyone go to to work? I spent a while walking about the high street. I joined a Pharmacy Fiesta. Mexico is the only place I have ever visited where there is a party in the pharmacy every day. In Chetumal one of the pharmacies had a party sponsored by Coca Cola with free cans, another had a big cartoon pharmacist handing out balloons. I can’t imagine a least appropriate place to have loud music and frivolity Congratulations, you have gonorrhea!!!

52 Places to Go in 2014 - Belize listed at #50
"From No. 1 Cape Town all the way to No. 52 Niagara Falls, N.Y., explore the vibrant cities and spectacular coastlines, unexpected spots and new attractions that made our list this year. Belize - Twenty years ago, when Francis Ford Coppola opened Blancaneaux Lodge in western Belize, relatively few travelers had ventured into this small Central American country. Slowly they arrived, many of them curious to witness the scenery that had captivated the film director, which he described in an email as “completely remote, with a beautiful pristine river you could drink the water out of and the most star-studded night sky I had ever seen.” Since then, upscale rustic hotels have cropped up all over Belize..."

January 11, 2014


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The San Pedro Sun

Tropical aquarium fish from Belize contribute to the US market since 1973
As to the method of collection Azueta explained that absolutely no chemicals are used. Collection is done with a specialized net imported from Japan that does not hurt the fish. “The fish (including invertebrates) are collected using special nets and they are collected in designated areas along the barrier reef and atolls. Collection species include all except endangered species, sports fishing species, black spiny sea orchid, parrot fish, sea cucumbers and tangs. There is a limit for each license holder of 90,000 specimens (Total Allowable Catch) per year. However, due to their small scale operations none reach the Total Allowable Catch.” It is estimated that as much as 30 million fish from more than 1,400 species of reef fish are traded worldwide to supply home aquariums annually. Approximately 16 million are imported each year into the United States alone. It is estimated that the marine aquarium industry on a whole is worth about US$200 to US$330 million annually. When examined by weight, aquarium fish are valued at $500 a kilogram, considerably much higher than fish used as food. As it relates to revenue generated in Belize from such trade, Azueta said that it was a little over $100,000 for last year. “The Governments collects only for the export license ($200/year). However, the license holders create employment by hiring collectors and persons doing the paper work etc… By extension of the law fish means scale fish and invertebrates. Around 98,000 specimens were exported last year of which only 20,000 were scale fish. No parrot fish or any other grazers were exported. The total value [generated] is around $55,000 US.” From a list of 188 countries, Belize ranks 49th in the world that is involved such trade with Singapore, Spain and Japan being some of the top suppliers.

Sagebrush and BWO holds Celebration Week in San Pedro
Sagebrush teamed up with Believer’s World Outreach (BWO) for the second consecutive year to provide their community outreach, “Celebration Week”. The week long event took place from Saturday, December 28th to Wednesday January 2nd and provided free wholesome, Christ-filled fun for the various families that attended.Over 39 volunteers travelled from the United States to team up with Sagebrush Community Church to serve the community. The outreach consisted of a morning and afternoon ministry. Morning ministries included a Hip Hop Camp at Lions Den, Sports Camp at Boca Del Rio Park, Arts & Crafts at Boca Del Rio Park, Cosmetology at the Paradise Theater and a work project renovating apartments for a local family.

Re-call petition of Elvin Penner short of 79 signatures; 337 rejected
Elvin Penner, the highly embattled Belizean parliamentarian and former Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security will not face a recall since the petition lacked 79 signatures as per the Recall of Elected Representative Act. The confirmation was made by the office of the Governor General after a letter was sent to the People’s United Party (PUP) last week. The letter indicated that after the Elections and Boundaries Department reviewed the submitted signatures, the threshold was not met because over 300 signatures were rejected. Penner, the duly elected Standard Bearer for Cayo North East has been at the center of a major nationality and passport scandal that broke out in September of 2013. After much public outcry, Prime Minister of Belize Honorable Dean Barrow fired him from Cabinet and “invited” Penner to resign as a sitting United Democratic Party member of Parliament. After Penner refused PM Barrow’s invitation to resign, the PUP stepped up the heat and launched a campaign to collect signatures to kick start a recall process. On November 28, 2013, the PUP submitted a total of 2002 signatures, 258 more than the required 1744 from the 5815 registered voters in the Cayo North East electoral division. In a letter dated December 30, 2013 sent to the PUP, it stated that the recall petition failed because it had“not been duly signed by the requisite number of electors.” According to the letter, after the signatures were scrutinized by the Government of Belize through the Elections and Boundaries, 337 signatures were rejected and only 1,665 signatures were deemed valid. The recall petition submitted was declared short of 79 valid signatures.

Caye Coffee – fueling Ambergris Caye one cup at a time
Whether you prefer some coffee with your milk and sugar, just cream, just sugar, or plain black, there is one company percolating ways to ensure your morning starts right. Yes, Caye Coffee is back and offering premium coffee blends fresh for your pot! After almost two years in hibernation, new owners have taken over at the coffee factory, ready to serve the java junkies of the island. Having worked in the manufacturing industry in Toronto, Canada, Paul DuVille and his wife, Marci Price wanted a simpler way of life, so they ventured into seeking a small business that they could manage themselves. Of course, Marci is a coffee lover and as soon as they saw Caye Coffee up for sale, they took the opportunity and moved to paradise. For them it was a deal, complete with a functioning business and the added perk of living in a place completely opposite to Toronto. “We had never been to Belize before, but just five minutes here and we already loved it,” said Marci.

Putting “Morning Matters” host Rhonda Crichton on the other side of the microphone
Rhonda CrichtonIt’s not every day that your gift for gab lands you a job opportunity of a lifetime, but for Belizean “Morning Matters” TV and radio show host Rhonda Crichton, her inquisitive manner and talent for engaging conversation has done just that. After years in the media, her popular “Morning Matters”talk and advice shownot only airs daily on Channel 7, but it is now syndicated in Barbados, Grenada and Trinidad, making her the first Belizean program to ever be syndicated. So just how did this bright-eyed, charismatic conversationalist get where she is today? For once, we change seats with Ms. Rhonda and put her on the other side of the microphone to find out. Who would you say you inherited your ‘gift of gab’ from? I’m not sure, my mother was a teacher and my father was a mechanic. I would say my father spoke to me most as a child and although he was not verbose he was more outgoing than my mother, but really I think it was something I developed myself. I always thought if I think something I should share it with that person and I was always a talker I guess…of course not everyone wants to hear what I think so I make sure I am engaged in a conversation so that I know you are interested in what I have to say.

Ambergris Today

Intel to Drop McAfee Name from Anti-Virus Program
Now back home in the US, John McAfee has tried giving Belize a bad name, but to no avail. Thankfully he could not tarnish the good name of Belize and San Pedro, Ambergris Caye as people still consider the country a very popular tourist destination. Still exhibiting erratic behavior back home, McAfee has garnered himself a bad reputation. For this reason, chip manufacturer Intel will no longer use the name any more for its McAfee antivirus division. The company hopes to break all association with the controversial founder of its subsidiary and to stop using the name McAfee.

Misc Belizean Sources

Training Opportunity for Women Interested in Political Leadership
WIN Belize will be offering a Women Leaders Training course for any women interested. The course will last 12 weeks, and is geared toward women that are interested in making a change in the political landscape of Belize. For more information, call 227-1069. "The project activities will include higher level training in practical implementation of campaign management, messaging, public presentations, policy development, and gender-budgeting. These potential female political candidates will receive trainings in topics such as: How the political system works, Advancing within the Parties, Strategic Positioning, Dealing with political rallies, Dealing with the Media, Literacy Classes, Assertive training."

Family busted, allegedly with crack cocaine in Unitedville
Three people, including a 14 year old minor have been arrested on a charge of possession of controlled drugs. The crime the trio is accused of committing by San Ignacio police is the possession of 0,3 grams of crack cocaine. Police say the crack cocaine was found during a search of the home of Unitedville resident, 47 year old Sherlene Myvette. Police say that during a search conducted around 8 am on Thursday a dog from the K-9 unit indicated that there was something hidden inside of a black fan. The police press officer says that a check of the fan turned up a black plastic bag stuffed inside of the fan stand. Police say that in the presence of Myvette, her 18 year old son Phillip Ogaldez and the 14 year old minor, the bag was opened, revealing six small parcels of foil paper. Inside the foil paper, police say they found a white substance suspected to be crack cocaine. Myvette, her son and the minor were all arrested and taken to the San Ignacio police station.

2013 was a very successful year for ART IN THE PARK. Let us continue supporting our talented artists. Saturday Jan 11 will be this year's first ART IN THE PARK. Here is the new calendar of events.

Sun Breaks Up The Cold Spell
The sun came out in full force on Friday morning, a welcome change in the weather after a week-long blanket of chilly temperatures and rain. The Belize Weather Bureau says that warmer and drier conditions have started to set in. The general forecast for Belize and her coastal waters is for cloudy skies with sunny periods today. Tonight will be partly cloudy. Winds are easterly to southeasterly at 5 to 15 knots, producing choppy sea conditions.

10 Photos of Bridge Repair
The San Pedro Town Council hereby advises that effective immediately the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge is open to golf carts and polaris ONLY. All other vehicles, such as taxis, pickup trucks, heavy equipment etc. will not be authorized to cross until further notice. This is necessary due to urgent repairs required on the Bridge structure.We apologize for any inconveniences caused.

BRCC and SHJC at Peace and Justice Park
Peace and Justice Park got an upgrade courtesy of the students from Sacred Heart Junior College's Hands for Life club and the visiting students from BRCC. They cleaned the park, and added a swingset and slide. They will also fix the old swingset and add a tire playground soon. Thanks, SHJC and BRCC! "Baton Rouge Community College and Sacred Heart Junior College's Hands for Life Club installed a slide and swing set at Sacred Heart Primary school. They also cleaned up Peace and Justice Park."

Traffic accident on the Arenal road
There are reports that several people were hurt in a road traffic accident in western Belize. Unconfirmed reports are that it involved workers for Belize Electric Company Limited (BECOL). Some of the first images from the crash site show a mini-van that has been extensively damaged. More on this story as information becomes available.

Toledo East to choose UDP standard bearer on Sunday
Former Minister of Human Development Peter Eden Martinez is contesting the UDP standard bearer convention for the Toledo East Constituency. The convention is beind held on Sunday, January 12, 2014 in Punta Gorda town. Our Toledo Correspondent Juan Caal met Mr. Martinez on the campaign trail and asked him about this weekend’s convention.

Channel 7

Amber Alert For GOB: Teachers Rally In Orange Walk
From December 2013, the unions put everyone on notice that in 2014 they intend to be visible, engaged and pro-active. The teachers union started out today with a pair of rallies in the north. And if they needed any motivation to get out there, they found it in yesterday's cautionary release from the Ministry of Education to stay in school, rather than joining their union. That provided ample fuel for the fire - and we travelled north for a heat check. Here's what we found:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting 250 to 300 teachers and their supporters took the streets of Orange Walk Town this morning, a show of support for their union, which has decided to step up its advocacy on different social issues. It's the first Friday of classes after the Christmas Holiday, but the teachers believed that this rally had to take place. It was important to them to be able to voice their concerns to the nation, since last year was filled with different political scandals, some of which have still not been resolved. Lourdes Saldivar - Retired Teacher "I am supporting them 100% because I have been a teacher for 20 plus years and I know what it is to be a teacher, but only that, I am a citizen of Orange Walk and a Belizean."

Corozal Was Calmer, But Still Committed
And while it was Orange Walk in the morning, in the afternoon, the action moved to Corozal. The crowd was smaller, and maybe less amped up, but the themes were the same: meaning a definite amber alter for the UDP Government. Here's that story:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting The BNTU rally in Corozal wasn't as large as the Orange Walk one; we estimated about 200 teachers showed up, but they're reporting from their attendance register, it was closer to 250. Whatever the final number, majority of the schools in the Corozal district got a holiday. Again the message was the same, advocacy. Zeni Perdomo - Member, BNTU Corozal Town Branch "We are all leaders and we have to teach our children the same way we teach them manners, we have to teach them civics. We have to teach them to stand up for what is right. We have to teach them to fight against injustice and against corruption and that is exactly what we are doing today. How could I go into my class and tell my students - you have to stand up for what is right and then they don't see me doing it. Students learn by example and we are teachers; we are their role models."

Government Takes International Cargo Vessel “Hostage”?
Tonight, in an unusual - possibly unprecedented move, Government has taken possession of an international cargo vessel, the CFS Palencia. The reason? Well, because the ship's owners owe - we are told unofficially - almost ten million dollars in fines for another ship that rammed into Belize's reef. That ship was the Paranga and in July of 2012, it ran aground 2 miles southeast of English Caye. Information at the time was that the Port Authority allowed the ship to leave based on certain assurances that it would return and settle any fines arising. But, apparently it didn't - and so Government worked out a strategy to get its pound of flesh. The Palencia - which is owned by the same company visits Belize very regularly. And so government today got a court order signed by the Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin and went to the pier head at the Port of Belize this afternoon where the Palencia was unloading its cargo.

No Results Yet From Influenza Test
Earlier this week we told you about the strain of influenza that has caused one death in Belize, while three other persons are under observation for acute respiratory distress at the KHMH. On Tuesday a sample from the one victim was sent to CARPHA, the regional testing authority in Trinidad and it was expected back today. But when Monica Bodden caught up with the Director Of Health Services in Belize City this afternoon, he said no results were in just yet, but they do know - in a very broad sense - what they are looking at:.. Dr. Michael Pitts, Director Of Health Services "We haven't gotten back the confirmatory test from CARPHA as yet, we are still waiting. Perhaps I might get that tonight or tomorrow but we do have preliminary testing that we were able to do here and out of the group of people that we were concerned with - we have a mixed pattern and we are seeing some group A influenza, some group B flu viruses. We see a group that we called Rhinoviruses, we see a group that we called Adenoviruses. After all of that said, those are the type of things that are tend to caused upper respiratory tract illnesses and flu like illnesses in the general population. We haven't able to confirm any of the worrisome viruses as yet."

Corozal Council Was Fleeced
The Corozal Town Council continues to investigate misappropriation of public funds. The rumours circulating around the town are that $80,000 went missing from the tax revenue department, and that 3 former employees are being investigated for it. Today, three term Mayor Hilberto Campos spoke to 7News about it, and while he confirmed that indeed funds are missing, he said that the figure being circulated is ridiculously exaggerated. Mayor Hilberto Campos "We have been investigating the case. I think on Monday the local government will be here. In respect to the $80,000 that's a ridiculous amount, not even close to that figure. It's a couple thousand dollars and yes to a certain degree the revenue department is pretty much on hold, we have two employees that didn't return obviously, but we are doing the investigation. One was them was relief from his duties, the revenue manager. At this time it's not appropriate to accuse directly one individual. What I could assure you is upon finishing the investigation it will be brought up to light exactly what happened and exactly how much we are talking about."

Corozal Council Repairing Roads
While we had the opportunity, we asked Mayor Campos about street upgrading works his council has embarked on in the town. 7 streets which provide access to school in Corozal Town are being upgraded, which will give much needed relief to school children who are forced to travel in mud, muck and water whenever it rains. After consultations with the Parent Teacher Associations of these schools, it was decided that these streets needed urgent attention. The Town Council began working on them this week, and today, Campos told us about the project. Mayor Hilberto Campos "It is a project undertaken by the Corozal Town Council. In the month on November, we had compromise with the parents/teachers association of certain schools that streets that had access to their schools were going to be paved. We made a pledge to them, we did a consultation with them and this is one of the streets that were directly involved in that consultation and this is a project undertaken by the Corozal Town Council. This is not from central government; of course we have on board the area representative or the Minister of Health Pablo Marin who will be assisting in finding the finances to take care of these streets. There are a total of 7 streets that will be paved as long as the weather permits."

Activists Vex About Verde
One week ago, we first told you about Reynaldo Verde - the senior sales tax collector who escaped a firearm possession charge - when police determined that an unlicensed Glock 380 pistol which was found in his house had been planted there. But, the case isn't closed. This evening the DPP told us that she has requested additional information from precinct two which made the arrest and the decision to release him without charges. And while the DPP is waiting, the grassroots activist community is not. Today, Russell Roberts - who brought the issue to the fore on Monday - held a press conference at the Radisson to say the laws have to be evenly applied. This time, he was joined by other social actors:... Russell Robert "We would like to make mentioned of some of the incidents that take place that we need to address whereby innocents have been taken to jail for one bullet - a whole entire family ripped apart and we need to address these issues. One case in particular took my attention was the case with Mr. Verde. That's the one that brought me out because watching the news for all these years, I see him in and out of the news; two attempted murder charge and now an illegal firearm charge. He is able to use the system to his benefit. All Belizeans don't have this privilege. We don't have connections in higher places and we are left and dashed aside."

Forensic Examiner: Don Tillett Didn’t Die Of Injuries
The autopsy for 45 year-old Don Tillett has been completed, and Dr. Hugh Sanchez found that he died due to his bad heart. His report is loaded with complicated medical jargon, but tonight when he contacted him to verify, he told us that the bottom line is that he died because of an enlarged heart. So, even though he was abducted, robbed and left for dead on New Year's Day, police are not treating the case as a homicide because he died not of injuries he sustained in the attack, but from his heart condition. They do note, however, that they continue to investigate. As we told you, he picked up 3 strangers who begged him for a ride, and when he picked them up took them a short distance in his car, one of the men clubbed him in the back of the head. He woke up in the mud and water on the banks of the Belize River between mile 6 and 7 on the Northern Highway.

An Accident On Arenal Road
There was an accident on the Arenal road this evening and it has left eight men injured. Preliminary reports from the west are that am eighteen wheeler belonging to a construction company crashed into the side of a van belonging to BECOL. The driver of the van was most seriously injured but he survived. He and his coworkers are at the Loma Luz Hospital while the driver of the eighteen wheeler who was not seriously injured is at the Western Regional.

Sugar Compromise Still Being Worked Out
On Wednesday, 7News told you about the most positive development in the ongoing bagasse dispute between the cane farmers and the factory owners. They discussed a proposal from the cane farmers which, from what we've heard, gives compromises to both sides, and allows for realistic expectations from each other. BSI, after reporting to ASR, was supposed to get back to the cane farmers association with whatever language they wanted change, and at the BNTU rally, we asked the vice chair of the association's committee of management for an update. Here's what he told us: Alfredo Ortega - Vice Chair, BSCFA "I went this morning to the association and we haven't received anything as yet. We are waiting on that response. It would be an interim agreement that we will be presenting to the farmers on Sunday, we are awaiting on that, but if we don't received that we will still be holding our meeting on Sunday with the cane farmers." "As you know time is going by and the situation with our farmers, many of them owe the banks. Almost 99.5% of our farmers owe the banks and the financial situation with them that have their kids in schools and for trying to maintain food for their families. So those are things that we have to be looking forward and that is why we will be calling this meeting on Sunday regardless if we receive or not. But I do hope that BSI act in good faith as they said that they will be sending us that information, so that we can present to the farmers."

The Petition: Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong?
On Wednesday night you heard the Elections and Boundaries Office blaming the PUP for sending in a recall petition that was poorly vetted. And then last night, you heard the PUP saying that the Elections and Boundaries review and ultimate rejection of the recall had holes in it. Who's right and who's wrong? Well, to an extent, they both are. Jules Vasquez looked for answers today:.. Jules Vasquez reporting This is George Miguel Manzanero. He's a resident of Santa Familia and he has a voters' ID. But the Elections and Boundaries scrutinizers said he's not a registered voter at all - even though on its own master reject list, it assigns him a voter's ID number and here's his name on the most recent list of voters, voter #144761. Jules Vasquez "How did you feel when they said that you are not registered?" George Miguel Manzanero, Petition Rejected "I feel very bad about that because I am not an alien, I am a Belizean. I think these people are crazy when they did that. I have all the right that's why I came today to show these people that I am a Belizean."

Channel 5

“Teachers ga yu bak”…B.N.T.U. leads teachers to the streets of Orange Walk
Today, teachers from Orange Walk and Corozal stood strong and united, as the Belize National Teachers Union held rallies in those northern districts. The burning issue is of course the [...]

Some 95% of teacher turnout at rally in Corozal
From there our team moved on to Corozal, where teachers marched in unity. The issues are the same, and so was the message. Mike Rudon has the story.   Mike [...]

Farmers to meet to discuss counterproposal to bagasse agreement
Cane-farmers will meet on Sunday to discuss the way forward, and tonight that road is uncertain. On Wednesday the BSCFA submitted an interim agreement to the B.S.I.  The first point [...]

Tens of thousands of dollars missing from the Corozal Town Council
Eighty thousand dollars has been jacked from the Corozal Town Council, and it was an inside job. That’s the allegation from the northern municipality, where word surfaced that three employees [...]

One-on-one with resort owner kidnapped in the West
A pair of siblings on vacation in the Cayo District was kidnapped but rescued on Thursday morning by the police with the cooperation of residents from Bullet Tree Falls. The [...]

Plans in place to increase patrols to prevent reoccurrence
According to San Ignacio Police, the Kotay siblings are still in the country recovering from their ordeal. Statements from Manisha and Kathen reveal that they were not robbed of any [...]

Minor and 2 adults charged for cocaine bust
Early on Thursday, San Ignacio police along with Mobile Intercept Team (K-nine) descended on the home of forty-seven year old Sherlene Myvette of Unitedville. The K-nine soon enough sniffed out [...]

Offensive maps at immigration sport check in Flores, Peten, Guatemala
The inclusion of Belize as part of Guatemala’s territory, depicted on a number of geographical maps, is considered provocative given the political history of both countries in trying to resolve [...]

The gun laws come under fire
Earlier this week, Russell Roberts, came to our studios to voice his concerns over existing gun laws saying there is an urgent need to revisit them. Russell is upset because [...]

Activists garner support and speak on series of injustices caused by the gun law
Also at the head table of today’s press conference was the former Acting Supplies Manager at K.H.M.H., Delroy Herrera. Herrera blew the whistle on the irregular purchasing of supplies and [...]

Activists ask for public to exercise rights and have law revised or struck out
The press conference concluded with a public plea to citizens to exercise their rights and show civic pride. The group is asking everyone affected to make complaints to their area [...]

The story of a Belizean hoping to represent Belize in the Commonwealth Games
In tonight’s newscast, we feature Belizean Joel Hodgson, who left Belize at the tender age of four when he was adopted by a Scottish couple living in Belize at the [...]


BNTU Ready For Rallies, Ministry Of Education Says They Were Not Consulted
Tomorrow the Belize National Teachers Union will kick off a series of public rallies scheduled to take place country wide, here in Orange Walk. This forms part of the BNTU’s first phase in their plan of action to hold Government accountable for their salary increase and that of other public officers. The union has been making its rounds asking Belizeans, both young and old to join in the rallies. And one day before the rallies are scheduled to take place in Orange Walk and Corozal, the union finds itself in some contention with the Ministry of Education. By way of press release, the Ministry announced that the correspondences being circulated by the BNTU informing schools, principals and teachers of planned rallies was not directed to the Chief Education Officer, as per Rule 133 of the Education Rules (2000). The release says “the failure to seek permission, if deliberate, contradicts the spirit of partnership and contrary to the rules stated above.’ In the release the Ministry expresses strong concern on its own behalf and on the behalf of students, parents, managing authorities and other stakeholders on the convenience to families, unnecessary disruption of classes, and other negative effects on learning to children and young people that additional non-school days will cause.

Are Belize's Endangered Species Being Exported?
On Tuesday we told you about an upheaval in Ambergris Caye after allegations of the transportation and exportation of tropical fishes, mostly endangered species including Sea Cucumbers, surfaced. Well, tonight we bring you both sides of the coin on the matter to perhaps put a rest to rumors and speculations. Reporter Maria Novelo has that story. The sight of these boxed ‘Live Tropical Fish’ was enough to send alarm bells to many concerned residents, environmental advocates and conservationists on La Isla Bonita. And while the rumor mill churned around the island that possible endangered species are being sold and shipped off overseas to the US, many feel that bowing down to demands from the booming aquarium industry will affect the future of the country's aquatic diversity.

Uncertainty Surrounds The Sugar Industry, BSI Yet To Agree To Interim Agreement
Will the 2013/2014 crop season commence on January 16th? That’s a question that is currently in limbo because the Belize Sugar Industries Limited is yet to state whether or not they will accept the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association’s proposals stipulated in an interim agreement presented yesterday. While the lawyers of both parties met today to further delve on the agreement and it was expected that by this afternoon BSI would announce if they will sign on to the document up to news time there is no indication if the miller accepted the terms and conditions of the BSCFA in order to commence crop. Late this evening when we spoke to Chairman of the BSCFA, Committee of Management Alfredo Ortega, he told us that BSI compromised to have an answer either today or tomorrow. Today marks one month and 16 days that the 2013/2014 crop season has been stalled due to a lack of compromise between the miller and the producer when it comes to the revenue sharing of the bagasse, a byproduct of the sugar cane which is used by BELGOGEN to produce energy which is sold to the national grid. While both the BSCFA and BSI play hard ball, millions of dollars are being lost and it will certainly have a trickle effect sooner rather than later hence it is very important that a compromise is reached.

Guinea Grass Women Become Financially Sustainable
Students from Heritage University, an institution located in Toppenish, Washington, are presently in Guinea Grass Village in Orange Walk, to continue a project that they began one year ago. The students are a part of ENACTUS at the University. As stated in their website the students are and we quote, “a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world”, end quote. The students design and implement community projects with different groups in countries across the world. The students from Heritage University were in Guinea Grass Village exactly one year ago jumpstarting the entrepreneurial project with women. Their work with these women began with teaching them to crotchet hand bags and other trinkets recycling plastic bags. Today, these women have grown into a cooperative, namely the Creando Un Futuro Mejor Women’s Pre-Cooperative Society Limited and have a membership of twenty active individuals of different ages. The objective is to have the women learn different skills to become self-sustainable. Reporter Dalila Ical takes a look at what the students are doing in Guinea Grass Village.

14 Year Old Allegedly Touched By Her Stepfather, Police Looking For The Accused
Last night we told about the 14 year old child from the Corozal District who resulted pregnant after she had sexual intercourse with her boyfriend, a man much older than she is. While Corozal Police are currently looking for the individual, who is expected to be charged with carnal knowledge, there is also another disturbing case coming out of the Corozal District. This time the report involves a 16 year old minor and her stepfather. Yesterday, the minor, accompanied by her father visited the police station and reported that on the 6th of January 2014, between 1:00am and 2:00am, she was awaken by someone who was touching her private part. When she opened her eyes she noticed that her stepfather, a Belizean laborer of Corozal Town, was the one touching her, something which he often does when she is sleeping. The minor called her mother to see what her common-law-husband was doing and right after the report was made. Police have detained the stepfather pending charges of aggravated assault.

Criminals Walk Away With Truck Batteries Valued At $250 Each
Apart from aggravated assaults and carnal knowledge cases Corozal is also not being speared of reported cases of theft. At around 7:30am yesterday Eiden Romero, 37 year old Belizean Cane Farmer of Libertad Village, Corozal District, went to drop off his wife at Concepcion RC Primary School in the Village of Concepcion. He returned home at around 9:30am only to find out that floor jack valued at $450.00 was missing out of his garage. Police are currently looking for Renan Crawford of Concepcion Village, Corozal District, for the crime of theft. The second case of theft was recorded a few hours after. Between 1:00am and 9:00pm someone entered the yard of 27 year old Luis Marroqin, Belizean truck driver of 3rd Street South, Corozal Town, and stole three HTL batteries each valued at $250.00.

Onion Producers Receive Much Needed Assistance From Ministry of Agriculture
2013 will go down in the history book as the year of bad business for farmers especially onion producers who have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars worth in produce due to the inclement weather. Here in the north, 75 onion producers felt the wrath of Mother Nature as nearly all their crop has been wiped out due to the heavy rains. In order to assist these farmers and others countrywide whose crop was also affected by the incessant rains, the Ministry of Agriculture is making its rounds and providing farmers with animal feed, seeds and other agricultural products and yesterday onion producers from the north received much needed assistance to get back on their feet. Reporter Victor Castillo has the story.

Corozal Female Gets Ready For International Match
Today the Corozal Bay United Female F.C cranked up their preparations for what is classified as the first ever female international football match against Campeche’s football team from Mexico. According to Carlos Acosta, Coordinator for the Corozal Sports Council, this is an initiative between the Corozal Sport Council and its Mexican counterparts. “We have a Campeche sports committee group that will be coming to Corozal to participate in the first ever sports exchange female football, this has been through the Campeche Deportiva Comitiva inviting us to go to Campeche on the 1st and 2nd of February of this year but first they will be visiting Corozal this coming Saturday. This is one of many exchanges that the Corozal Sports Council will be having with our Mexican counter parts of Campeche being firstly football female and then we will be having other sports like football, softball and volleyball.” The main objective of these games is to open a window of opportunity for young and talented females.


Opposition Party Will Challenge Rejection of Signatures in Court
The People’s United Party held a very fiery press conference this afternoon in which they described the results of the Election and Boundaries Department in the verifications of the petition submitted, as sabotage. The press conference was held at the PUP headquarters where the party objected to several of the reasons given by Chief Elections Officer, Josephine Tamai, as to why three hundred and thirty seven of the two thousand and two signatures were rejected. HON. FRANCIS FONSECA “We have convened this briefing today for one purpose; to respond to the UDP government’s sabotage of the election referendum petition filed by the voters of Cayo Northeast, seeking the recall of their UDP representative, Elvin Penner.” MYRTLE PALACIO, PUP’s Secretary General “Firstly, of the 52 persons reported by the Elections and Boundaries Department as not registered at all; we have verified persons who are not only registered electors but are registered in Cayo Northeast. We won’t give you all our data because we may be mounting a legal challenge to this but Mr. George Manzanero; he is here, he is an elector; he is here; he signed that petition and he is registered in Cayo Northeast. There is even a police officer who signed it; a senior police officer registered in Cayo Northeast; he is also one of the 52. He is probably going to lose his job now for exercising his right and he is Alvan Gentle Junior of Esperanza; at least he is registered in Esperanza.

Dangriga Woman Knocked off Her Bicycle
A Dangriga resident is in a critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital following a traffic accident in Dangriga on Thursday night. Correspondent, Harry Arzu reports. HARRY ARZU “A resident of this municipality is at the KHMH suffering from injuries she sustained as the result of a traffic accident. Police investigations revealed that at about 12:15am on Friday, she was riding her bicycle on Aranda Crescent when she was hit from behind by a gold Saturn car. The vehicle was being driven at the time by BDF soldier, 24-year-old, Randale Petillo of a Rivas Estate address. Petillo is now in police custody.”

Teachers Rally in Northern Belize for Salary Increase
More than half of the members of the Belize National Teachers’ Union were out marching today in Orange Walk Town. They were joined by some cane farmers and sympathetic citizens as well. Arturo Cantún reports from Orange Walk Town. ARTURO CANTUN REPORTING “The first BNTU march and rally was held in Orange Walk this morning with some 350 teachers taking part. They were marching under the theme “teachaz gat yu bak”. National BNTU president was out supporting the teachers of the north.” LUKE PALACIO – National BNTU President “The purpose of the march is just a part of the rally; we march and then we are going to have the rally at the Central Park where we will be getting addresses from different individuals.” ARTURO CANTUN “The ministry is not okay with the teachers being out here today.” LUKE PALACIO “The union makes us strong; the ministry needs to understand that.” Teachers marched through some of the principal streets of down town Orange Walk. Local BNTU President Otilio Munoz was happy with the turn out.

Senior Officer vs Police Constable in Placencia
Two Police Officers attached to the Placencia Police Department are at odds over a bicycle that has been damaged. Police Constable, Tylor Mejia, attached to the Tourism Police Unit at Placencia told Love News that his commanding officer, Inspector Mark Flowers, assaulted, arrested and detained him unlawfully. TYLOR MEJIA “About a week ago, I was on bicycle patrol and the dust protectors for the wheel were dusty and I noticed that the fenders were shaky but I took the chance still to go out on my patrol duties. Whilst on patrol, the bike fenders broke off and it damaged the front wheel. So, I brought in the bike to the station; Mr. Flowers was right there when I brought the bike; I was about to make an entry about the bike but I didn’t get a chance to make the entry because they were handing over duties to the next team because it was time for me to go off duty and so I didn’t make the entry.

More Drugs Stashed in Abandoned Lot
The Conch Shell Bay area in Belize City was the latest target for Police officers of Precinct One as on Thursday, January 9 at around 3:45pm; they conducted a search of an abandoned lot where they came up with a black plastic bag containing two separate transparent plastic bags containing a green leafy substance suspected to be cannabis. Since no one was in the area at the time of the search, the 81.07 grams of suspected drug was taken into Precinct One and labelled as found property.


Over 300 Turnout for BTNU Rally in the North
The BNTU held their first rally in Orange Walk town of what is to be a series of rallies taking place scheduled to take place throughout the month of January. Teachers from all corners of Orange Walk, and their many supporters paraded the streets of Orange Walk singing an...

Damning Accusation Against the Officer in Charge of Placencia Police
In November of last year, the Second in Command at the Placencia Sub-Formation, Julio Shal, became subject of public scrutiny, when he was charged with the murder of Tyson Rodriguez, an assault suspect who was being held for questioning at the time of his death. Tonight, the Senior Officer...

Gun Activist Creates Partnership with Stakeholders
Russell Roberts has stirred up the pot nationally with his effort to rally Belizeans to change the law that threatens thousands of Belizeans caught illegally possessing firearms and ammunition without a license. He has received support from numerous social activists in his call for the authorities to properly investigate...

Guatemala and Belize Foreign Ministers Hold Special Meeting In Belize
The Belize and Guatemala Foreign Ministers met in Belize City yesterday to dialogue on confidence building measures as well as various matters of mutual interest. When they exited the meeting, both Ministers Wilfred Elrington and Fernando Carrerra briefed us on what was discussed and late yesterday evening, the two...

PUP Alleges Disenfranchised Voters and Charges Intimidation
At Thursday’s press conference in Belize City, the People’s United Party tried to make its case for why it should receive a second chance with the Elvin Penner recall petition. A key part of that case is that the Elections and Boundaries Department irrationally and unreasonably disenfranchised voters in...


“The KKK is far from ‘dead’ and unfortunately is on the rise again in membership because of racial problems all over the USA,” ex-KKK member turned Christian tells Amandala. Many Belizeans were surprised to find out this week that a millionaire who has been operating a prominent beachfront hotel in San Pedro is actually a former Ku Klux Klan (KKK) leader from Denham Springs, Louisiana, USA. We don’t yet know if the businessman in question, millionaire William “Bill” Wilkinson (born Elbert Claude Wilkinson), has obtained Belizean citizenship, but indications to our newspaper are that he has been in Belize living peacefully since the 80s. Some Belizeans have expressed concern, though, that the San Pedro-based businessman has not publicly renounced the KKK, which we understand is very much alive today – and still recruiting. Wilkinson served as Imperial Wizard of the Invisible Empire of the Knights of the KKK from 1975 to 1984. He established a rival breakaway group of David Duke’s Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in the 70s and 80s, right before he migrated to Belize and established a multi-million-dollar seaside resort hotel on the island. In 2002, Wilkinson was featured in an article in the San Pedro Sun, which said “Like a true San Pedrano, Bill has lived those years unselfishly and continues to do so day after day, doing his part to provide security and shelter…” (The article did not mention his KKK connection.) An ex-KKK member whom Amandala contacted today told us that he knew Wilkinson personally back in the 70s, when Wilkinson was the Imperial Wizard of the Invisible Empire of the Knights of the KKK in Denham Springs.

Quick, admirable police work today led to the rescue of two American Indian students from Saint Paul, Virginia. Two men had abducted them and their host at gunpoint this morning from a driveway in Bullet Tree Village, Cayo District. Theo Cocchi, 43, a Belizean businesswoman and owner of Parrot Nest Hotel, situated in Bullet Tree, told police that at about 8:00 a.m. today, Thursday, she was leaving her business, Parrot Nest Resort, in her white KIA Sportage SUV, along with two guests, Kathen Kotay, 18, and Manish Kotay, 22, American Indian students from St. Paul, Virginia, (USA) who are sister and brother. Cocchi told police that while exiting her driveway, she was approached by two Hispanic men armed with what appeared to be handguns. The men boarded and took control of the vehicle, drove off and then stopped near the cemetery area, where they met with two other Hispanic men. The four men then drove off with their captives in the direction of the Paslow Falls Road in Bullet Tree. The abductors then stopped the vehicle and told Cocchi that she needed to get US$75,000 in two hours’ time, and that they would hold Manish and Kathen Kotay until she got the money. The men took away Cocchi’s Smart cell phone and ordered her to drive away and get the money, and when she returned to give them a call. They told her that she must not inform the police, or else they would kill her family.

Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai said at a press conference held at the Belize Biltmore Plaza this morning that the Elections and Boundaries Department is compiling a file to be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), who would advise on whether charges should be brought under Section 9 of the Recall of Elected Representatives Act, which makes it an offense to forge a signature on a petition or to willfully sign the petition more than once. Tamai was reporting on the findings by her Department, and was joined by a team of senior public officers from other Government departments, who had in December 2013 reviewed the 2,002 signatures on a petition submitted by the People’s United Party (PUP) to recall Cayo North East area representative Elvin Penner. Of note is that Penner, who was sacked last September from Cabinet after Prime Minister Dean Barrow said he had been involved in improprieties in the issuance of a Belizean passport to an Asian, has not faced any legal sanctions. Penner has resisted public calls from Barrow and the UDP to resign from the ruling party. Since that call was issued in October, Penner has said he will not resign, and there has been no visible pressure from his party to get him to do so.

The San Bernardino police, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States (FBI), are on a hunt for an American accused of killing his wife in their home in San Bernardino, California, who may possibly be hiding in Belize. Their investigation led them to believe that Edly Atherley, 29, has friends and relatives in Belize. The announcement was made on Thursday, January 2, in California, when the San Bernardino County District Attorney, Michael Ramos, said that Atherley has been charged with murder, and if convicted, faces 26 years to life in state prison. According to the San Bernardino Police Department newspaper, the Sun Homicide, Atherley is suspected of killing his wife, Ashley Atherley, 28, who was found dead in their home on Sunday, December 1. Officers said the attack appears to be the result of domestic violence. When police went to the house, on December 1, they found Ashley with her throat slit, stabbed multiple times and badly beaten.

For those who might not be aware, the flu season is definitely upon us; however, this time around, the virus – which is not typically known to be deadly – has claimed at least two lives and reportedly has led to the hospitalization of at least five others. Amandala understands that four more persons are presently being treated for acute respiratory distress at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH). Technical personnel from the Ministry of Health have concluded that the cases are being caused by an advanced strain of the influenza virus, which is unprecedented in Belize. The exact strain will not be known until this Friday when test results come back from CARPHA in Trinidad. The test samples were taken from the first victim who died at the KHMH on Christmas Day. That particular victim tested positive for influenza and died from acute respiratory distress.

Today, the Government of Belize announced that former Commissioner of Income Tax, Eric Eusey, has been appointed as the new Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). His appointment became effective on January 1, 2014. Apart from being a former Commissioner of Income Tax, Eusey is listed as a member of the Board of Directors of Belize Telemedia Ltd., as well as the Chairman of the St. John’s Credit Union Board. Eusey assumes the post from former FIU Director, 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 December 31, 2013, since she intended to go into private practice. At the time that Williams vacated her office, the FIU was in the process of investigating the “Penner Passport Scandal,” but no further information was ever provided from the FIU on the status of those investigations.

Auditor General Dorothy Bradley did not hold a press conference today, as we had reported in Monday’s issue of the Amandala, but she invited members of the media who had made previous requests for an update on the investigation of the “Penner Passport Scandal” to “sit in” with her to discuss – in general terms – how the Audit Department goes about carrying out such investigations, because, as we understand it, she cannot discuss the specifics of her current investigation at the Immigration Department at this point in time. Bradley also made it clear that she is not presently in a position to discuss the findings of her investigations or to hold a press conference until she has completed her report and handed it in to Minister of Immigration, Hon. Godwin Hulse, and the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow. Until the enquiry into the Immigration scandals, which began on October 28, 2013, is completed and the final report is submitted, no detailed information can be released, she noted.

There is now a sliver of hope for the once undecided 2014 sugar cane crop season after a promising meeting was held this afternoon between the feuding parties, sugar producer, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI), and sugarcane farmers, who are represented by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA). Today, the executives of the BSCFA met with BSI representatives in Orange Walk Town to proceed with discussions in an effort to break the ongoing impasse between the two parties (over payments for bagasse), and to hopefully set a new start date for the new sugar crop season, which has now been delayed for some 6 weeks. During the meeting, BSCFA presented a proposal to BSI which will later be taken to BSI’s parent company, American Sugar Refineries (ASR). A subsequent response from ASR is expected at least by this Friday morning, January 10. After the meeting, BSI’s Financial Controller, Belizario Carballo, told the media that it was a rather fruitful session. He said, “I think that we had a very fruitful and positive meeting; I think that we have established positive bases on which we can move ahead. We have some tentative agreements in terms of how we can move forward with the start of [the] crop [season], and we are in the process of concluding negotiations for a new agreement, including negotiations for a payment for bagasse.

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has indicated that it intends to hear the appeal of Georgia Matute and Janae Matute against Dr. Raju Meenavalli at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, February 10, 2014, at the seat of the court in Trinidad and Tobago. The Matutes had won the $2.13 million lawsuit in 2012, after an appeal of a 2008 decision by the Supreme Court of Belize. Meenavalli is accused of having miscalculated the stage of the mother’s pregnancy, and so Janae was delivered at 36 weeks via C-section. Janae, currently a student at Belmopan Comprehensive High School, was born in 2000 with lung problems and developed a lifelong disability known as cerebral palsy. She is now 13. Her mom, Georgia Matute, had told us in 2012 that although Janae goes to school, she has to personally do a lot for her: The teenager has to be fed, clothed and bathed.

Latest word is that the Sports Council will delay “renovations” at the MCC so the scheduled high school football competition can proceed. Belize has yet to enjoy the pleasure of a Premier or Prime Minister who is a bona fide football fanatic, and can thus properly appreciate and acknowledge the full depth and impact of football, and sports in general, on the life of our people and nation. We have indulged in these sports pages on a number of occasions to focus on the personality and contributions to our sporting life by some of the giants of our times. On the home scene, we not too long ago marked the passing of Belizean football legend Louis “Bembe” “The Mugger” Garbutt. We have also noted the great love of sports, and appreciation of its tremendous value for peace and harmony among peoples, by no less than the late, great Madiba, Nelson Mandela of South Africa; may he rest in peace. Football was very dear to his noble heart.

The FFB (Open) Inter-District Football Tournament continued with Week 6 games over the past weekend in the four zones of the competition. Zone 1 On Sunday, January 5, at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium, Police FC clipped MnM Steelers, 2-1, with 2 goals from Cyril Martinez (52’ & 89’); while Edwardo Martinez (68’) got the only goal for the Steelers. Meanwhile, at the Toledo Union Field, it was GB United, 4-3, over Mavericks, with Pedro Tejada (22’ & 31’) and Dagaberto Garcia (88’ & 89’) sharing the scoring for GB United, while Andre Logan (46’, 50’ & 87) scored all 3 goals for Mavericks. Zone 2 Both Zone 2 games were also on Sunday. At the Isidoro Beaton Stadium, Roaring Creek United dropped Hope Creek Pumas, 2-1, with a goal apiece from Orin Reneau (50’) and Scott Casey (79’); Hope Creek’s goal was by Octavio Ramirez (70’). And at the Carl Ramos Stadium, San Martin FC won by default (3-0) over Green Gold FC.

As best we can tell, there has never been a Belize football season, either in the amateur days or in the semi-pro era, as competitive as this one. Seven teams are in this Premier League of Belize Belikin Cup Opening Season 2013-2014 which kicked off in the last week of September, 2013; and with the final regular season games scheduled for this Saturday night, January 11, six (6) teams still have a shot at making the 4-team playoffs. There were two back matches scheduled for last night, but only 1 was played, at the FFB Stadium, and it was a 0-0 draw between Belmopan Bandits FC and Belize Defence Force FC, who are both now tied at 16 points along with FC Belize, who have already completed their regular season. Both the Bandits and BDF have 1 game remaining this Saturday. The other back match, Verdes FC vs Police FC, takes place tonight at the Marshalleck Stadium in Benque Viejo, and Police cannot afford a draw; they must win if they are to keep their playoff hopes alive. Verdes is already secure with a spot in the post-season.

The National Sports Council responded to criticisms from this and other corners with a press release yesterday, January 8, explaining that the closure of the MCC is according to a plan previously discussed with the FFB General Secretary and the Premier League President. According to the release, “On September 18, 2013, the Ag. Director, Mr. Patrick Henry, sent an official correspondence to Mr. Maito Perdomo, President of the Premier League of Belize, outlining the discussion and agreement made at the July 26, 2013, meeting,” “to discuss upgrade and major works to the MCC Grounds.” In response to reports of their directive last week that the MCC would be closed this past Monday, the release conceded that “the MCC Grounds will remain open until both on-going competitions are completed;” and ended with, “The facility will be closed at the conclusion of all on-going competitions.” There are two important points to consider in light of the Sports Council release. First, football never really ends for any length of time in Belize City. When one competition ends, another soon begins. And second, no mention was made of any other suitable venue which would be made available during the time the MCC is closed; neither was any idea given of what the “upgrade and major works” at the MCC entailed.

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 30 knots in front of Bird’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. Bird’s Isle Regatta trophies were also presented by Henry Young, Jr. of Bird’s Isle Restaurant, which provided the seafront venue for the regatta. The top sailors of the regatta were Jerdon Anderson of San Pedro Junior Sailing Club (SPJSC), who received the prize for the 1st Male; and Blanca Velasquez received the trophy for being 1st Female.

In a modern and functional urban home today, a Belizean family needs a car, a refrigerator, a stove, a washer, a dryer, a home computer. You would also like to have a microwave oven, a couple television sets, a couple radios, cell phones, laptop computers, and the sophisticated third millennium gadgetry which combines telephones with computers. We do not manufacture any of these equipments and appliances in Belize. We have to buy them from rich countries; in Belize’s case, we purchase most of our equipments and appliances from the United States. But many of these products are actually manufactured or assembled in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, or Mexico. This is because American companies, which own the manufacturing patents, have been “outsourcing” the actual factory production to these other countries and then shipping the finished products back to the United States for worldwide distribution. The labor costs are so low in other countries compared to America’s unionized labor costs that American companies can outsource production, pay for the shipping, and still make more money than they would manufacturing same in the continental U.S.A. There are Belizean products the Americans and the Europeans buy from us. These include sugar, citrus, bananas, fish, lobster, shrimp, cacao, and papaya. On the world market, the unit price of our primary products is much less than the unit price of the manufactured products we import into Belize in order to “keep up with the Joneses.” It’s a tricky concept to explain. Let’s just say, as an example, Belize has to produce hundreds of pounds of sugar when we want to buy a single washing machine.

Last week, the petition that was launched by the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) for the recall of the current UDP Cayo North East area representative, Hon. Elvin Penner, was flatly struck down before the process could have gone any further, which led to heavy criticism from the PUP, who accused those involved of “playing politics.” Well, the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) came out swinging today, and even claimed sabotage with regard to the 337 petition signatures that have been recently disqualified by the Elections and Boundaries Department – the government body which was responsible for the vetting of the over 2,000 signatures. Yesterday, in Belize City, the Elections and Boundaries Department held a press conference, in which a group of senior public officers – including Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai – did their best to explain why they had to disqualify the over 300 signatures and justify the ineligibility of those signatures.

A well-known vehicle body repairer, Don Tillett, 45, of Supaul Street, was declared dead at about 8:30 Monday evening at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) after he was rushed there by his family after he fell off his bed at his home, and was not responding to their efforts to revive him. Tillett was at home recovering from a serious beating he had endured at the hands of three individuals to whom he had given a ride on New Year’s Day, Wednesday, January 1. According to the police’s official report, Tillett told them that on New Year’s Day, sometime after dark (he does not remember the exact time), he went to check on a house off Central American Boulevard in Belize City in a silver Dodge Neon car, which belongs to Tillett’s nephew, Roque Riverol. On the way, Tillett reportedly stopped on an unnamed street to give a ride to three men, one of East Indian descent and the other two of Creole descent. Upon reaching the junction of the street and Central American Boulevard, however, Tillett was hit on the back of the head by the man seated behind him, rendering him unconscious.

Two men lost their lives as a result of two separate road traffic collisions on Monday on the Southern Highway. The men are Juan Oh, 68, of Santa Rosa, and Charles Paul Noralez, 49, of the Wagaierale area, Dangriga. At about 6:00 Monday morning, Juan Oh was knocked down and run over by a motorcycle while riding his bicycle on the Southern Highway at about Mile 23 between Santa Rosa and Mayan King Banana Farm. The driver of the motorcycle was Freddy Acosta, 18, a bus conductor. Oh was rushed to the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga, after which he was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, but he died shortly after while doctors were trying to help him. Police reports are that Acosta, of San Roman, Stann Creek District, was driving his blue Meilun motorcycle on the Southern Highway, from the direction of Santa Rosa Village towards Mayan King, and upon reaching Mile 23 in the vicinity of Santa Rosa Village, he hit Oh, who was riding a bicycle in the same direction when Oh attempted to cross the road from right to left.

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 that have been pummeling the country since last August, but the largest part of it is the still-simmering dispute between the cane farmers and BSI/ASR over payments for bagasse. The latest timetable projected that the season must start on January 15, 2014; however, the stalemate between the cane farmers and the factory owners continues, so the season will more than likely not begin on that date. The latest point of contention 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 prompted a meeting last Friday, January 3, among the branch chairmen of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), who convened to discuss the latest letter to the association from BSI on New Year’s Eve. They also discussed an MOU that is in the works to be presented to the Prime Minister; which the BSFCA said will be beneficial to all parties.

Avila and her son, 15, tried to enter the country using Panamanian passports with correct pictures, but different names Deysi Reyes Avila, 53, a Cuban mathematics teacher, was charged with using a passport that wasn’t hers and allowing her son to use a passport that wasn’t his, when she appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano this evening. Immigration prosecutor Albert Munnings told the court that at 5:00 yesterday evening, Avila and her son arrived on the Avianca flight 414 at the Philip Goldson International Airport from San Salvador, El Salvador. While Avila was in the line at the immigration desk, an immigration officer noticed that she was acting suspiciously, and when she arrived at the desk, another officer observed inaccuracies in the port of entry forms that she filled out. Avila and her son were thus asked to join the officers inside their office at the airport, where she was interviewed. As she was being interviewed, she introduced herself as Nairoby Aleyda Gonzalez, and her son as Ricardo Gonzalez and showed the officers their Panamanian passports, which had the appearance of authentically and lawfully issued documents.

Haitian national Sanon Vertus, 37, was charged with attempting to use a visa which had not been issued by a lawful authority. According to the Immigration Office’s prosecutor, Vertus arrived at the Philip Goldson International Airport yesterday and Immigration officer Eldon August, who was stationed at the airport, escorted him to the Belize City office after he realized that Vertus’ visa, numbered V00076309, inside his Haitian passport, was a fake. While Immigration officer Gilroy Guzman interviewed Vertus, checks were being made with the office in Belmopan that confirmed that the visa had not been printed or issued by Belize authorities.

— by Sharon Mejia Dear Editor, Greetings in Jesus’ holy name, the one whose birth we celebrate at Christmas time. Please allow me to use your widely spread newspaper as a medium to thank friends of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Compton Alumnae Chapter. They have blessed over eighty students of Hattieville Government School with school supplies, and a few parents and elderly people were happy to receive gifts as well. As the vice principal of the school, I wish to convey our heartfelt gratitude for the act of kindness shown to our students who have received the much needed supplies, and we look forward to a visit from some members of the Sorority Chapter in May of 2014. May the Lord abundantly bless you all. Respectfully, Sharon Mejia

In our mid-week editorial, I wrote of the “collapse of the Creoles.” This must seem a strange and contradictory statement to the Maya and Garinagu in the north and south of Belize, because they would look at Belize’s political landscape and see that there are seven “Creole-looking” area representatives from Belize City and they are all powerful Cabinet Ministers in the Government of Belize. In fact, the Prime Minister of Belize is a Creole. Now, perhaps the most important aspect of Belize’s political system, the two-party parliamentary system, is that it forces Belizeans to unite across ethnic and religious lines if they want to achieve political power. The ethnic and religious composition of British Honduras was quite diverse before the nationalist movement began in the colony in 1950. Ethnic and religious differences amongst the population of the colonized natives always make the job of the colonial master that much easier, because he exploits the fundamental differences amongst the natives in order to facilitate his rule over a territory he has essentially occupied. It is in the nature of most human beings that they resent having to live under the rule of occupied forces, and so they are always resisting occupation in various forms. Minority elements of the said occupied peoples, for various reasons which feature self-gain, are, for their part, always collaborating with the occupiers or colonizers. When a nationalist uprising against colonialism begins in a territory, as it began in Belize in 1950, then the population is divided by political lines. There are those who are resisting, and those were the People’s United Party (PUP), and then there are those who are collaborating, and these were the National Party (NP) in 1951. In 1950, the dramatic division in the native population of Belize was not primarily ethnic or religious: it was political. But in 1956, there was a power struggle in the nationalist PUP, and the visual leadership of the PUP changed from Creole faces to become a Mestizo one. In 1958, one of the two Creole leaders who had been overthrown in the PUP, Philip Goldson, made an alliance with the colonialist NP, resulting in the formation of the National Independence Party (NIP). An ethnic consciousness began to affect Belize’s party politics with the coming to power in the PUP of the Mestizo George Price in 1956.

The Reporter

Byron Pope wins KREM New Year’s Classic
Byron Pope of the Benny’s Megabytes team won the Elite race of the 24th annual KREM New Year’s Day cycling classic from the Corozal Free Zone along the Philip Goldson Highway to the finish line at Mahogany Street in Belize City on Wednesday, January 1. Pope broke […]

Shalini Zabaneh wins KREM New Year’s Female Classic
Defending champion Shalini Zabaneh of the Sagitun team shaved 37 minutes off her previous time, clocking 2:35:17 as she won the female race of the 24th annual KREM New Year’s Day cycling classic from the Orange Walk Town Hall to the finish line at Mahogany Street in […]

Big freeze shatters North America temperature records
Weather records have tumbled across North America, with freezing temperatures even in the southern US. The most extreme arctic blasts, blamed on a weather pattern known as the polar vortex, were said to have affected nearly 190 million people. In Kentucky, an escaped prisoner turned himself in to get out […]

Salvadoran ex-leader questioned in Taiwan payment inquiry
Former Salvadoran President Francisco Flores has told a congressional panel that he received cheques worth $10m (£6m) from Taiwan during the last two years of his presidency. Mr Flores, who governed from 1999 to 2004, denied the funds were for his personal use. He said Taiwan donated the money to […]

Failure to expel UDP Cayo South Area Representative, Alvin Penner from the House of Representatives has been a devastating blow to PUP strategy planners who counted on starting the election season 2016/17 with a bang. Penner was wounded and vulnerable after his party abandoned him for his role in the […]

B.N.T.U. rallies for 5% pay increase
The Belize National Teachers Union is calling on Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow to set a five percent pay increase, over the next three years, as the baseline for any pay hike in ongoing wage negotiations as part of a collective bargaining agreement between the […]

Belize district farmers get flood relief
Farmers in the Belize District, who were severely affected by the flooding from the last two month’s unprecedented torrential rains, have received assistance from the Ministry of Natural Resource and Agriculture. Livestock producers in the Crooked Tree and Blackburn areas received animal feed from the […]

Caribbean Tech Ambassador Bevil Wooding Receives LACNIC Lifetime Achievement Award
The Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC) has announced that Caribbean-based technology expert Bevil Wooding is the 2013 recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award. Established in 2009, the prestigious LACNIC Award honours people who have contributed significantly to the development of the Internet and the Information Society in […]

FIU gets new director
Former Commissioner of Income Tax Eric Eusey is the new director of the Financial Intelligence Unit. According to a government release, Eusey assumed office on January 1, taking over from former Director Marilyn Williams whose five-year tenure ended in December 2013. Eusey assumes office in […]

NTUCB calls on Godwin Hulse to review minimum wage
“We are asking Minister of Labor, Godwin Hulse, to look at the living wage proposal and use this to replace minimum wages,” said National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) President Dylan Reneau. According to Reneau, the formula for living wage calculates for the […]

Ministry of health launches investigation
A series of influenza cases, leaving one dead and several hospitalized, has prompted the Ministry of Health to launch an investigation. Director of Health Services Dr. Michael Pitts explained Thursday that the patient who died over the Christmas holidays tested positive for Type-A Influenza. Samples […]

New genetic clues for rheumatoid arthritis cure
An international team of researchers has found more than 40 new areas in DNA that increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. The work is the largest genetic study ever carried out, involving nearly 30,000 patients. The investigators believe new drugs could be developed to target these areas that could one […]

Cornerstone of Belize’s Development
Last year definitely witnessed a palpable increase in the number of government-sponsored infrastructure projects, ranging from Belize City Council’s cementing of streets to the Poverty Alleviation Project. In the short-run, we must admit that these projects have had a positive effect, which was clearly evident in the phenomenon of works […]

BTB, FECTAB see eye to eye on ‘price war’
The Belize Tourism Board agrees with the Federation of Cruise Tourism Association of Belize (FECTAB)’s position that Carnival Cruise Lines recent price changes are dangerous for the industry, BTB Director of Tourism Laura Esquivel-Frampton said Tuesday. “We agree with FECTAB on this, because it is not good for the local […]

BEL ok’s PUC’s 4cts/kwh rate cut
Belize Electricity Limited has approved the Public Utilities Commission’s decision to cut electricity rates by 4 cents per kilowatt hour, effective January 1. The company informed the P.U.C. last Friday, January 3, that it had no objections to the final decisions, which was compatible with the […]

Less than 100 murders in 2013
The Police Department released its annual crime statistics and the most notable statistic is the dramatic reduction in murders from the year 2012 to the year 2013. In 2012, there were 145-recorded murders while in 2013 there were only 99-recorded murders; that’s a 31 […]

Hit and Run Driver suffers heart attack and dies
The suspected driver behind the wheel of a New Year’s Day hit and run accident on Central American Boulevard died on his way to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) Monday night following heart complications. Don Tillett, who had been in an induced coma […]

Haitian with fake visa pleads with Magistrate to not to send him home
A Haitian man who entered Belize on a fake visa pleaded with Magistrate Clive Lino not to send him back to his country, telling the Magistrate that Belize is a smaller, but better place. Sanon Vectus, 37, an auto mechanic, pleaded guilty to a […]

Electrician charged with manslaughter by negligence
An electrician and resident of Los Lagos, Ladyville, was released on a $5,000 bail, after he was arraigned on manslaughter by negligence and other related charges before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, on Monday. Cayetano told Jason Grant, 31, that he would not take a plea […]

Immigration investigation: End is in sight!
An investigation into the Immigration Department, whether it was remiss in carryng out its duties in the issuing of passports, visas and permanent residenc may be completed by the end of February, Auditor General Dorothy Bradley told reporters on Wednesday. However,there is still much work […]

Sugar battle sweetens up!
The 2014 sugar cane harvest may begin by January 16, if American Sugar Refinery, majority shareholders of Belize Sugar Industries Limited, agrees to the terms of a compromise agreement for payment for bagasse. The BSI management had worked out the agreement with representatives of the […]

Recall dead! – GOB blames “poor vetting”
Better vetting of the 2,002 signatures presented to Governor-General Sir Colville Young on November 28, 2013 by officials of the People’s United Party (PUP) could have saved the petition to recall Cayo Northeast area representative Elvin Penner. This is the view ofChief Elections Officer Josephine […]

The Belize Times

Kidnapping in Cayo
Two businesspersons were victims of a kidnapping in the Cayo District. The Police are reporting that on Thursday January 09th, they received a report of a kidnapping at a resort in Bullet Tree Village. They went to the Chaa Creek Office located on Burns Avenue, San Ignacio ...

In the year-ending issue of the BELIZE TIMES, we promised to deliver yet another bombshell of a hustle involving none other than the already-embattled Edmund “Clear the Checks” Castro. Well, it is ...

PUP Rejects Recall Petition Sabotage
Opposition Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca has rejected the Elections and Boundaries Department’s decision to invalidate the Recall Petition against Elvin Penner and has warned that the People’s United Party will challenge the move in Court. In addressing ...

Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai had a very hard time defending and explaining the Elections and Boundaries Department’s unpopular decision to disqualify the Recall process triggered by the people of Cayo North East against disgraced UDP politician Elvin Penner. Considering the political consequence of a successful recall petition against Elvin Penner and how it would have threatened Dean Barrow’s power and control of the House of Representatives, many are not surprised by the Elections and Boundaries Department decision. Yet, it is unacceptable. Tamai claimed that despite the 2,002 petition signatures garnered in support of Penner’s recall, which met and surpassed the amount required to trigger a Recall under the Recall of Elected Representatives Act (2010), the Elections and Boundaries Department disqualified the process because after they eliminated 337 petitions for various reasons, the remaining amount found to be valid did not meet the required amount.

ELECTIONS OFFICE IS WRONG The decision of the Elections office, and by extension the Government, to reject the recall petition is wrong. Very wrong. Legally as well. The Government sent CIB (Criminal Investigation Branch) to check on whether or not some persons who could not sign their names and placed ...

New Year, Same Rules
By G. Michael Reid The year 2013 will have to be considered one of the worse years of corruption ever in Belize. Belizeans hardly had the time to digest one scandal before another one was sitting on the plate. It is comforting to hear the unions declare 2014 as a year ...

2013 was a depressing year for most Belizeans. It was a year of hardship, disappointment, tribulation, and downright sufferation. To add insult to injury, Belizeans also had to bear witness to the unending saga of corruption and incompetence from a government led by a ruthless dictator hell-bent on holding onto power ...

Police United blasts FC Belize 2-0
Defending champions, Police United FC, are still in the hunt for a spot in the 2013-2014 Belikin Cup football playoffs as they dumped FC Belize 2-0 for their 2nd win ...

Byron Pope wins KREM New Year’s Elite Cycling Race
Team Benny’s Megabytes dominated the KREM New Year’s Day cycling classic elite race, with Byron Pope winning the race and Mexican import Carlos Lopez taking 2nd. Pope clocked 3:48:11 to ...

Brown Bombers are SMART Mundialito Champs
The Brown Bombers won the 2013 SMART Mundialito football championship held at the MCC Garden in Belize City on Sunday, December 22. The Bombers bombed the defending champs, Hattieville United Youth Sporting ...

AMAZING GRACE – Book Covers… which is yours?
“Man is not what he thinks he is; he is what he hides.” French novelist, André Malraux captures the essence of man’s ability to deceive in this one profound quote. How often have we all heard the age-old proverb, “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Sometimes, what you ...

The rains & why industrialization is so important
By Richard Harrison Belize generates income from petroleum, tourism, primary agriculture (banana, papaya, shrimps, corn, beans, beef) and secondary agriculture (sugar and by-products, citrus concentrate, juices and drinks), and off-shore financial services. Notice I did not say profits or wealth...these only result when income exceeds expenses. Petroleum became the new kid on the ...

Ending Childhood Hunger
By Dr. Angela Banner Joseph "When people were hungry, Jesus didn't say, ‘Now, is that political or social?’ He said, ‘I feed you.’ Because the good news to a hungry person is bread." - Desmond Tutu As we enter a new year, we must remember to address the impact of childhood hunger ...

LeRoy Banner called to the Bar – Belize River Valley’s First Attorney
By Roy Davis On December 13th, in a brief and quiet ceremony at the Court of the Chief Justice, Hon. Kenneth Benjamin, Crown Counsel Leroy Banner, 31, became a member of the bar association. To support his application, banner received affidavits from ...

The PM’s Disconnected New Year’s Message
In his short and empty New Year’s message filled with platitudes, the Prime Minister, put on a display of his hypocrisy and disconnectedness. After being adamantly opposed, when in Opposition, to the ...

WOMAN IN THE HOUSE – On the Community Vote & Christmas Program
By Dolores Balderamos Garcia I would like first of all to wish all Belizeans a Peaceful and Constructive New Year 2014. May we all find the patience, resilience and fighting spirit that are so needed in facing the challenges of life today! I also wish all residents of Belize Rural Central ...

Elvin Penner’s Sins, UDP Crimes
A Recall in Cayo North East would make Dean Barrow look bad as he is the chief architect of the making of disgraced UDP area representative Elvin Penner. Penner was caught on national ...

It’s time for a National UPRISING
By Norris Hall The time is ripe to mobilize all Belizeans across the political spectrum, religious persuasions, the Trade Unions, businesses, farmers, students and all Belizeans at home and abroad who have a stake in this nation, in a national protest against the abuse of power, incompetence and in-your-face corruption by ...

BNTU National Presidential Address
By Mr. Luke Palacio, President, Belize National Teachers’ Union The Belize National Teachers’ Union greets the nation of Belize in this festive season and at a time when our nation is at ...


The Cold Front Moves out and Leaves a GORGEOUS Day in San Pedro
Yesterday was a chilly rainy dark mess of a day for just about everyone. But it was the tail end of the cold front…at last…and this morning, the sun rose over a pretty cloudless sky. Here are a few picture along the beach in the Boca Del Rio area just north of San Pedro Town. Yesterday’s puddles will clear up soon…at least the ones on the basketball court in Boca Del Rio Park. Still one of my favorite buildings, Caye Casa Boutique Hotel. Adrian just lounging in the sun…not something you see Belizeans doing all that often. Vitamin D levels are critically low!

Maiden of the Rock: Xunantunich Maya Ruins
Just fifteen minutes from Ka’ana, on a journey over the river and through the woods, lies another world. A world of ceremonial temples, ancient artisans and stunning rainforest views. Perfectly situated on top of a natural limestone ridge, the views from the ruins at Xunantunich are unparalleled. From the top of the largest pyramid, El Castillo, you can take in a stunning 360-degree panorama of jungle-covered countryside and small villages, stretching all the way in to Guatemala. Last inhabited over 1,000 years ago, Xunantunich (pronounced “Shoe-nan-too-nitch”) is one of the most impressive Mayan sites in Belize. The name means “Maiden of the Rock” or “Stone Woman”, after the ghostly Mayan woman who is rumored to have appeared to some local villagers over a hundred years ago. Keep an eye out for her!

A History of Muslims in Belize
How Islam came to this small Caribbean nation, as seen through the quest of Hakeemah Cummings’s father to find guidance during a time of flux. My parents’ home country is one of the world’s best-kept secrets. Nestled in the strip of land between North and South America, Belize is a tiny nation rich with a vibrant cultural mix of both Latin America and the Caribbean. Its sandy beaches on the coast of the Caribbean Sea make it a coveted destination for honeymooners and its diverse wildlife makes it a sanctuary for conservationists. Central America and the Caribbean have historically served as a crossroads for the exchange of culture, goods and ideas. This is precisely how Islam was introduced to Belize. My father was first introduced to Islam in 1983. Before his conversion, he described himself as one of the rebellious youth of the time. “I rebelled against every form of organised authority, be it religion or government,” he told me. My grandmother was a church-going Christian, but from a young age my father had already chosen a different course. He and his friends banded together in a concerted effort to interrupt church services, heckling ministers in the midst of sermons and boldly suggesting that community leaders address the everyday issues faced by the people: community cleanliness, civic empowerment and education instead of preaching religion. In the late 1970s, he joined a political movement founded during the power struggle between neighbouring Guatemala and Britain over the territorial ownership of Belize, which became fully independent in 1981. The Belize Action Movement aimed to strategically and systematically boycott key governmental agencies and corporations within the country to force the government into resolving the power struggle and restore the quality of life to the Belizean people.

Cost of Belikin Beer and how to shop at the distributor
There are two separate distributor buildings and there has been some back and forth between the two over the years leaving some people wondering exactly how pick up and returns work. While you can still drop empties off at the old Belikin Beer distributor across from Island academy from 9:00am – 11:30am or 1:00pm – 3:00pm, most transactions are happening out of the Crystal Water & Ice Distributor located south of town. To get there travel south on the main road out of town until you have to make a right, to continue on. Keep going straight past the gas station intersection and on your right hand side you will find Crystal water and Ice. Their hours of operation and contact number are 226 – 4441 Monday – Friday 8:00pm – 5:00pm and Saturday 8:00pm – 12:00pm Beer pricing in BZD: Regular Belikin $49.95 a case of 24 beers plus $11 deposit for a total cost of $60.95 lighthouse and stout the same price. Guinness $72.10 with a case deposit of $8.60. Premium is out of stock right now. Water 5 gal jug: $25 deposit for 5 gal plastic $3.60. They also used to sell plastic water dispensers but the guy I spoke to on the phone said they did not have any right now. Soda: Fanta Coke and Sprite are also available by the case and cost $17.88 with $11:00 deposit.

Hooray For Our Fine Feathered Friends in Belize
Former US President Jimmy Carter is universally respected for his work with Habitat for Humanity, and justly so, as the organisation goes around the world building houses for people. Not so well known is Michael Keys who, with his son, Larkin, hikes deep into the savannas of Belize to build houses for birds. Trudging in with ladders and chain saws, they climb up trees to carve holes into which they insert a wooden box. Voila – a new home for yellow-headed parrots, who will hopefully nest and produce offspring to boost the population of this endangered species. Mr Keys is a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, stationed at Florida’s St. Marks Wildlife Refuge. He and his son are coming to Belize later this month, where they’ll spend some 18 days clambering some 30 feet up trees and installing the birdhouses. “This is a species that could go extinct and I have this one specialised skill that can help,” Keys said. “I’m not a heart surgeon or anything. So this is my contribution to helping the habitat.”

International Sources

Guatemala and Belize Working to Resolve Dispute
The Governments of Guatemala and Belize have agreed to increase bilateral measures to strengthen relations between both countries, despite the pending resolution of a territorial dispute dating back to 1859, they said today in this capital city. Wilfred Erlington, Foreign Minister of Belize, and his Guatemalan counterpart, Fernando Carrera, agreed yesterday to create a Joint Commission to increase measures to boost confidence and propose others to strengthen bilateral relationships and avoid any kind of conflict, said the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry. The old dispute deals with Guatemala´s demand for 12,700 square kilometers from among the hundreds of islands and cays belonging to Belize; almost half of the total territory of that former British colony. Foreign ministers of both countries held "a successful and productive meeting on January 9, 2014, in Belize City, where they talked about various issues of common interest", said the official communique.

Jack Chivers Realty changes hands; Lakes County cheerleader says he'll keep selling
Over the years, Chivers said he has sold at least 176 resorts and hotels, as well as small-town newspapers, printing companies and radio stations. He also acquired land for the Menard’s stores in Moorhead, Bemidji and Detroit Lakes. Chivers said the commercial sales worked hand-in-hand with selling lakeshore properties. He owns a home on Big Detroit Lake, and he convinced many businesspeople that he met that they, too, could own a little piece of lakeside heaven. “Essentially, all my adult life I’ve looked out a window and looked at a lake,” Chivers said.

Christmas storm underlines Caribbean’s vulnerability
Guyanese President Donald Ramotar says the death and destruction caused by intense rainfall in three Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries over the Christmas holidays is a sign that the region has no time to lose in fortifying its resiliance to climate change. A slow-moving, low-level trough on Dec. 24 dumped hundreds of millimetres of rain on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Dominica, killing at least 13 people. Following the deadly floods and landslides, the Guyanese government approved financial support of 100,000 dollars each for St. Lucia and St. Vincent and 75,000 to Dominica. “The scientific evidence is showing that for our region, which is one of the most vulnerable, these weather events will become more frequent as the impacts of global climate change intensify,” Ramotar told IPS. Guyana’s coastal plains are approximately six feet below sea level.

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