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3/1/2014 to 3/10/2014
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March 10, 2014


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Doctor Love: Abandoned and Parental Concern
Dear Doctor Love, I have been in the only long term relationship of my life for the last two years. He was going to school but a year ago he was going to drop out because he lost his job. I had him move in with me and I helped him financially until he got through this crisis. Now, he is going to a different school and he lives in another town. I thought everything was going well until we had a minor argument and he used it as an excuse to end the relationship.

In Loving memory of John Albert Belisle
In Loving memory of John Albert Belisle who departed one sad year ago and dearly missed by family members, friends and children Nigel, Sherlett, Sherlene, John Jr., Karen and Christopher Belisle. “And he will wipe away every tears from their eyes, and there will no longer be any death, there will no longer be any mourning or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

Wolfe’s Woofer: Ten Pounds
I got up from the table at Estel’s Restaurant and Charlie asked, “What’s the big rush today? You’ve only had one cup of coffee.” “I have to go to the doctor’s office for a quick checkup,” I told him. “I’ll be back shortly.” As I sat in the waiting room at the doctor’s office a man came in with a newborn baby. The baby was crying loudly and nonstop. When the nurse came out and said, “Next,” I told him to go ahead of me. I never could stand to hear a baby cry. The door to the examination room was not completely closed and the doctor had to speak loudly over the crying of the baby.

Misc Belizean Sources

Happy Baron Bliss Day! (Heroes & Benefactors's Day)
San Pedro Town Council offices will be closed today, Monday, March 10 in lieu to Baron Bliss Day. We will resume to regular working hours on Tuesday, March 11. 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Have a Great one!

La Ruta Maya: First 10 paddlers have crossed finish line at Henderson's Bank. They are as follows:
1: Belize Bank Bulldogs 2: BTL Cobb's Arm 3: Joseph & Taylor Steelers 4: NICH 5: Westrac 6: Wateva Boys 7: Happy Cow Natius 8: Black Orchid 9: Coast Guard Ace 10: Coast Guardian

Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss, commonly known as Baron Bliss
(16 February 1869 – 9 March 1926), was a British-born traveller who willed almost 2 MILLION US dollars, more so some one million, eight hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The British government decided to contest the matter in court. As a result, at least a quarter of the original amount given to the country by Baron Bliss was taken out for British taxes. Every year, on the 9th March, wreaths are placed on the tomb of Baron Bliss in memory of the great benefactor. The day is celebrated as a public and bank holiday, and a harbour regatta is held in remembrance of a man who loved the sea and who left Belize over a million dollars for its use. Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss was an Englishman born in England. Before leaving England he lived at Quarry Court, Marlow, in the County of Buckingham, England. He was an Engineer by profession, and was married to Ethel Alice Baroness Bliss to whom he left a settlement covenant before traveling abroad. Nothing is known about how Baron Bliss acquired his wealth, whether through his profession, business, or inheritance, or all three. At some time in his adult life he inherited the title of the 4th Baron Bliss of the Kingdom of Portugal, succeeding to ancestor relative who held the position before. Tragedy struck the Baron when, in 1911, at the age of 42 he was attacked by paralysis, which affected him from his waist downwards. He had always been a keen fisherman, and although confined to a wheelchair, he maintained his enthusiasm for his favourite sport.

YWCA Cultural Experience
The YWCA is having a cultural fair Tuesday, March 11th, starting at 10:00am, at the Cancha Marshalleck, which has yet another new spelling for this flier. It'll focus on the Mayan and Mestizo cultures, and there will be cultural presentations, arts and crafts, food and drinks. "The Belize YWCA is mandated to empower women and youth to lead change and has assumed that responsibility of reaching far and near to empower all in order to promote change, March 11 is a date designated to be a Maya Mestizo Day at the Marshall Eck Cancha, come visit the booths and let us all enjoy, learn and take advantage from this unique experience at our town."

La Ruta Maya Pictures
Will Moreno captured some great pictures from La Ruta Maya. Tonight is the last night, and the big party is in Burrell Boom. Have fun!

More pictures from Banana Bank:

Pictures from today's start:

SPSUN Senior Reporter Jorge Aldana reports from day three of the Ruta Maya River Challenge
Day three of the La Ruta Maya River Challenge kicked off from Double Head Cabbage and made its way to Burrell Boom and Henderson's Bank. As expected, hundreds of Belizeans crowded the river banks along the Belize River in Isabella Bank, Bermudian Landing Flower's Bank and even in Burrell Boom to cheer on their favorite teams. Despite a controversial start, spirits were high for the competitors. Paddlers were given periodic time warnings at the start of the race and what appears to be an accidental start blast caused confusion with several top paddlers who were unprepared for the takeoff. In fact, top teams such as Belize Bank Bulldogs were not ready when the blast went off and were the last team to leave Double Head Cabbage. But by the time the participants reached Bermudian Landing, the Belize Bank Team had caught up and maintained their lead up to the finish of the third leg of the challenge. The fourth day and final leg of the race starts at 9AM on Monday, March 10th from Burrell Boom and will conclude in Belize City to culminate the four-day challenge. (6 photos)

Belize Trade Delegation visit to Mexico City
Belize and Mexico have for some time now expressed interest in pursuing a Partial Scope Agreement. Progress with this agenda continues to be made through communication at diplomatic and other levels with both countries reiterating the need for this Agreement. At the VII Meeting of the Belize Mexico Bi-National Commission in Belize, both countries reiterated their commitment to proceed with negotiations for a Partial Scope Agreement (PSA). On Monday, 03 March 2014, The Belize Delegation met with a high level team of officials from the Secretaria de Economía in Mexico City. The primary objective of the meeting was to discuss and agree on the General Framework and a schedule for negotiating a Partial Scope Agreement between Belize and the United Mexican States.

SDBCBelize Beltraide (Taller de Desarrollo de Capacidades)
SDBCBelize Beltraide (Taller de Desarrollo de Capacidades)” A la luz de próximos desarrollos de inversión en el sur de Belice, un taller de capacitación de una semana, ejecutado por SBDCBelize Beltraide con fondos aprobados desde Compete Caribbean, tuvo lugar en Placencia Village en colaboración con el Consejo de la aldea de Placencia. Este taller estuvo dirigido a la orientación de nuevos y existentes empresarios con el fin de mejorar sus habilidades de negocios, servicios profesionales y normas.

RIP: Svea Dietrich Ward
Svea Dietrich Ward, German-born conservationist, citizen of Belize, who sailed oceans with Morgan Freeman, who built her own airplanes, who flew solo across Australia, who once crash-landed on a runway in Connecticut circa 1972 (too accustomed to water-landings), who was cover-model for the German Vogue magazine (c. 1950s) [which I'd love to somehow track down], who raced horses, who reared Arabians and was founding member of the Belize Arabian Stud Book, who had her own farm, who founded the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve off a huge parcel of her private land (and barred access to humans except on scientific expeditions), who had a reputation for cantankerousness, who despite being difficult was very fond of my father—her veterinarian, whom my family often visited, whose books and magazines we would pour over whenever visiting, who loved her dobermanns, who disliked children and who had a gun (as my parents told us kids before visiting), who was openly misanthropic, and yet whom I still found compelling and fascinating, whose house we'd caretake when she was away, whose horses we had cared for and fed with a particular mixture devised for each one, whose gates I'd ALWAYS carefully secure (the same for Rosanne), in whose presence I'd tiptoe, and who could be a real 'pain-in-the-ass'... I doubt anyone expected her to go gentle into that good night; but so she passed away and I'll miss her.

Indian community celebrates spring festival

National Heroes and Benefactors Day observed
March 9, is National Heroes and Benefactors Day, formerly Baron Bliss Day. Originally observing the contributions of the Portuguese Baron Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss to Belize on his passing in 1926, the holiday has been expanded to honor all national heroes of Belize, particularly former Prime Minister and Father of the Nation Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price and Philip Goldson. The annual Harbor Regatta along the sea coast took place under the aegis of the Belize Sailing Association and there is a kite festival ongoing at BTL Park. Tomorrow, the annual wreath-laying at the Baron’s grave will be observed, and then Belizeans will gather at the Belcan Bridge to watch the end of the La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge.

Indian community celebrates spring festival
The actual holiday will not be celebrated until next week Monday, but Belize’s Indian community was not about to pass up a good time. Today at the Downtown Plaza Parking Lot on Bishop Street it hosted a fair to mark the official observance of the religious holiday Holi, or the Festival of Colors. It is observed annually on the full moon closest to the vernal equinox on March 22. Also known as Phagwa or the Festival of Colors, it marks the end of winter and the start of spring time and also for devout Hindus, commemoration of the triumph of good over evil.

Video: Flying the plane in Belize
Flying from Belize City to San Pedro, Belize. about 40 seconds

Video: Belize Dive March 2014

Video: Tapir @ Belize Zoo
about 40 seconds

Video: Belize
Our honeymoon adventures recapped. Rated G. Xanadu, 10min

Video: GoPro Ambergris Caye, Belize November 2013 4:45

Video: Belize
Our good times on vacation... 9:30

Video: Diving in Belize 2013
This video is about Diving in Belize 2013, 23min

Video: Belize Part 3 of 4
Echo and family visit San Ignacio's Iguana Farm

Video: Belize part 4 of 4
Echo and family leave San Ignacio, Belize and head home after a grueling bus ride to the airport.

Video: Belize
Our 2014 trip to Belize. 7:30


Merida, Mexico: Where to Stay and Where to Shop
Merida, Mexico is known as the “White City”. Maybe because of the white limestone that some of the buildings are constructed from… Maybe because it is so clean and trash free for a city of about 1 million people? Not sure. For two days now, I’ve been telling you the reasons I love Merida. Here are some hopefully useful facts. The places that I loved during my four days and four nights in Merida, Mexico. The hotel that felt like a home for 2 of my four nights. My favorite restaurants and shops. A mini-guide or outline to some great places in Merida’s city center.

Signs of Belize
I’m intrigued and entertained by signs when I travel. Here are a few that I happened across in Belize.

Caye Caulker Beaches and Diving/Snorkeling Spots
Beaches on most of Caye Caulker are of the thin, hard variety—don’t expect to find a thick, soft, endless stretch of sand. Still, there’s sand to feel under your toes, and the ratio of crowds versus beach space is favorable, such that finding your own sandy plot of the island is an easy feat. And if you can get past the first few inches of harmless sea grass and don’t mind the lack of wave action due to the mile-distant Barrier Reef, you’ll find the water is just as soothing and in the same jade color of Belize—all in all, a happy compromise. The beachfront is a public area, and if you prefer to jump deeper into the sea to avoid the sea grass, docks are also a dime a dozen, unless marked “private.” Just be mindful of boat activity and stay alert while snorkeling or swimming underwater.

International Sources

Unstoppable 104-year-old embarks on charity walk for sick kids
SAM MARTINEZ has made some incredible journeys during his long life. During World War II, he was one of more than 800 men from Belize in Central America who braved Nazi torpedoes to cross the Atlantic to work as tree fellers in Scotland. Now aged 104, Sam, who settled in Edinburgh, is the only one left. And, incredibly, he is planning another epic trek, a fundraising walk for charity. His granddaughter Carrie said: “His philosophy is he started again when he turned 100. He says he’s four now, not 104. “He says that he’s surprised every morning when he wakes up and he’s still here.” Sam values his independence and lives in his own home in Edinburgh’s Wester Hailes. He still follows his beloved Hibs, visits the bookies four times a week and walks to church every Sunday. And he only retired 10 years ago when he eventually quit as a meat packer for his local butcher. But he has no plans to sit back with his pipe and slippers. He’s planning a sponsored walk for children’s cancer charity Cclasp, who helped his family when Carrie battled leukaemia as a child.

Born in Belize to Jamaican parents and growing up between Jamaica, Canada and London, Robin Clare‘s multicultural upbringing;s influence is prevalent in her artwork. Looking to color, rhythm and a repetition of dancehall music in her aesthetics, Clare’s art ranges from hand-drawn typography, to large-scale paintings, to screen prints, all of which combine pop art sensibilities with cinematic riffs. For the latest Stussy Guest Artist Series, Clare presents a number of dynamic clips strung together by illustrations of different dance styles. Enjoy the shorts and share your thoughts below.

The 7 Best Reasons to Move to Belize
From the first time I flew from the mainland to Ambergris Caye—in a small turbo-prop plane—I was hooked on Belize. Gazing down onto the crystal clear Caribbean waters, and at the waves breaking on the Mesoamerican Reef, I was overwhelmed by the scenic beauty around me. This stunning seascape was my intro to Belize. What later convinced me I could live full-time in Belize were the vibrant communities and comfortable lifestyle… So what makes Belize so appealing? I’ve outlined the top seven reasons to live here below:

March 9, 2014


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Sharon Ramclam Appointed as Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Natural Resources
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Sharon Ramclam as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with oversight for Department of Lands & Survey, Hydrology, Mining, Policy Coordination and Planning Unit, and Solid Waste Management Authority. Ms. Ramclam is a natural resource professional with more than 16 years experience in the field. She brings both private and public sector management experience to the Ministry, having served as the Executive Director of the Protected Areas Conservation Trust and the General Manager of the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust.

Tropic launches New Flight Route to Merida, Mexico
On Monday March 3rd, Tropic Air inaugurated their non-stop flight from Belize to Merida, Mexico. The launching of this service makes Tropic the only airline to offer non stop flights between the two destinations. This new flight destination is Tropic’s fifth international route and the second destination in Mexico. It will allow passengers travelling from Merida easier flight connections to the airline’s other destinations such as Roatan, San Pedro Sula, Flores, and the 11 destinations within Belize. Not only will this service continue to develop the historic relationship between Belize and Merida but it will also foster international trade. In a press release put out by Tropic on February 3rd, the President of Tropic Air stated John Grief lll stated, “”We have been working closely with our partners in the Yucatan on this service, and we are excited to be flying there! We expect the market for this service to grow and we plan to add additional service as that happens. Not only will Belizeans finally be able to fly directly to Merida, but this opens up many new opportunities for the archaeological and eco-tourism markets.”

Day two of the Ruta Maya River Challenge
6PM Saturday, March 8th - SPSUN Senior Reporter Jorge Aldana reports from day two of the Ruta Maya River Challenge: Today’s 68-mile stretch of the race took a little over six hours to complete, ending at Double Head Cabbage Village. Today’s pace was more competitive, with Team Belize Bank Bulldogs sprinting to the finish line to maintain their lead. Tomorrow morning the race continues on to Burrell Boom. (13 photos)

Misc Belizean Sources

Suicide reported in Corozal
A high school student in Corozal has reportedly taken her own life. Reports from Corozal say the body of 13 year old Diana Salam was found late Friday afternoon by her younger sister. Initial reports are that Diana was found hanging with a rope tied around her neck around 4 pm on Friday. She was a student of the Corozal Community College.

Dan Silva holds rally in Georgeville
Aspiring candidate for the People’s United Party (PUP) in Cayo Central, Mr. Daniel Silva had a very successful rally in Georgeville village on Friday night. Over 400 residents of the host village and other communities in Cayo Central came out to the Santiago Waight Basketball Court for the two hour event which started at 7 pm. Guest speaker at the event was former Lake Independence area representative Mr. Cordel Hyde who pledged his full support for the candidacy of Mr. Silva who will square off with businessman Luke Espat in a Standard Bearer Convention next month. Hyde, in addressing the crowd, noted that Silva’s return to seek political office is as if he never left because he still enjoys the love and appreciation of the people.

20,000 Strong Women's Rally Video
The 20,000 Strong rally was Thursday, and Belize in America was there to get a great video. Definitely worth a watch. "20,000 Women's Rally - Thursday, March 6th, 2014"

Ride to the Reef Race
The Ride to the Reef bicycle race is today. The riders go from Belmopan to BTL Park. "The Cycling Federation of Belize in collaboration with OCEANA and in conjunction with Reef Week Belize presents the 1st Ride to the Reef. The ride will leave from Independence Hill in Belmopan and travel the George Price Highway to finish at the BTL Park on Newtown Barracks in Belize City. Registration can be done at Ordonez Bike Shop in Belize City, or at Garbutt's Service Station in Roaring Creek. Free participation"

Video: La Ruta Maya Race Start
It's a beautiful day for a canoe race. Cruz Cambranes got a great video of the start of the race yesterday. "La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge"

Video: Ruta Maya, At Double Head Cabbage... End of Day 2 Ruta Maya River Challenge!

Video: Ruta Maya, Another view from Double Head Cabbage.

Video: Ruta Maya, At St Pauls Bank Belize District!

Video: Howler monkeys at Belize zoo

Video: Scuba dive near Southern Long Caye, Belize
Beautiful shallow coral formations and abundant fish.

Video: 2014 dive off of Ambergris Caye, Belize
Scuba diving Belize using Go Pro. Close-up with Eels, turtles, and sharks

Video: Belize 2014
A video slide show of our first mission trip to Belize, Central America. Were now planning to return next year and do more!

Video: Belize Zipline
A group of vacationeers in Belize went to the Bocawina Zipline course. I seamed together the GoPro videos I shot on the course. I forgot to turn the camera on for the third line, but got everything else in.

Video: Howler Monkeys in Belize
Taken while touring Lamanai Mayan Ruins site.

Video: Belize
Slideshow of sailing vessel Hope as its crew visits the Western Caribbean Sea along the barrier reef offshore of Belize.

Video: Eel in Belize
This is a short video of an eel I recorded with an iGills iPhone 4 enclosure at about 30 feet deep and about 16 miles off the coast of Belize at a dive site called Mid Point.

The Belize Times

A People’s Victory… A People’s Leader! – Court Vindicates Hon. Francis Fonseca & Orders Penner Criminal Investigation
The big mouth of arrogant Prime Minister Dean Barrow has been shut up since last Wednesday February 26th when the Chief Justice granted PUP Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca permission to pursue a writ of mandamus against the Government through the Commissioner of Police. A second blow was delivered this Monday 3rd March when the Chief Justice ruled that the Government, through the Commissioner, Allen Whylie, must investigate with acceleration and to conclusion the passport scandal matter with disgraced UDP Minister Elvin Penner. Although Cabinet met on Tuesday March 4th the loud mouth, quarrelsome Prime Minister was still in a state of shock and panic. Cabinet Ministers were seen hastily leaving Belmopan trying to avoid contact with anyone and in particular the media.

Penner’s Arrest nears March 9th deadline
There is finally some movement, though minimal, in the criminal investigation into the Penner immigration scandal. The BELIZE TIMES has been reliably informed that Immigration Officer Addy Pacheco was called in by Police for questioning. Pacheco was the ...

Only God can eliminate UDP Corruption
It has been described as a “hotbed of corruption” by Prime Minister Dean Barrow and recently two employees close to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega were ...

Belize tops US Corruption list – US declares Belize as “major money laundering”, “major drug-transit” country
“I hereby identify the following countries as major drug transit and/or major illicit drug producing countries: Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Belize…” declared a damning September 2013 memo issued by the United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, which is attached to the recently released 2014 International Narcotics ...

Politics and the Belizean Woman
The month of March is celebrated each year as Women’s month. It is a month that affords the nation an opportunity to pay tribute to and acknowledge the invaluable role that our women play in a struggling Belize. Overcoming womanizers, chauvinists, physical and verbal abuse (even at the hands of UDP Ministers) is a daily challenge for our women. But more than just facing abuse, women in Belize are now bearing a much heavier burden than times past. Today in many Belizean households, women are playing the roles of both the matriarchs and the patriarchs. Not only do our women have to nurture their young, but they must also now find bread to put on the table, uniforms for their children, and healthcare in a country where proper medical attention is only available to the wealthy. This week, the nation saw the launch of the Women’s Agenda 2014 by the active, vibrant and brilliant women of the People’s United Party. It is an Agenda that charts the course in addressing and fixing the problems facing our mothers and our sisters. It is an Agenda for Belizean women by Belizean women.

Lady Jaguars, SQ Dragons & Jaguars win volleyball
The Lady Jaguars dominated the Belmopan Mystics 25-4, 25-11 and 25-14 as the Belize District volleyball competition continued over the weekend. The young SQ Stars gave the Lady Jaguars a full workout ...

Nazarene stomps SJC in softball playoffs Nazarene stomps SJC in softball playoffs
The undefeated Nazarene High School boys shut out St John’s College boys in the softball playoffs held at the Rogers Stadium in Belize City on Monday, March 3. Nazarene High’s pitcher Jerome Carr struck out 10 hitters, ...

Ladyville Tech bounces Nazarene girls in softball playoffs
The Ladyville Technical High School girls upset the undefeated defending champions, the Nazarene High School girls, in Game 1 of the high school softball playoffs at the Rogers Stadium ...

Faber robs school children of HOPE
Minister of Education Patrick Faber has exposed himself to be a petty bureaucrat, ungratefully looking a gift horse in the mouth, when he shut down the Hope SDA Christian Academy School located in the village of Rhaburn Ridge in the Belize District on Friday February ...

AMAZING GRACE – Flying South
While at an assembly the other day I heard a principal tell a story about a bird who decided to try an experiment in flight. It was a season where all the birds of his flock would fly south but he decided that he was tired of that and would ...

Teaching Children about the Value of a Dollar
I believe parents should teach children that money cannot buy you happiness, but it can afford you many luxuries if you work hard to earn your own money. I began teaching my son about money management when he was very young. I wanted to teach him to ...

On Thursday the 19th September, 2013, when most Belizeans were getting ready and making preparations for the celebration of our 32nd anniversary of Independence, the Office of the Prime Minister sent out a shocking press release that caught all of us unaware. It decreed that henceforth, Hon. Elvin ...

Magistrate takes GOB to Court
The incompetence and arrogance of the government has caused a sitting Magistrate to take the Barrow Administration to court. Magistrate Nadia Morgan has applied to the Supreme Court asking the Court to order the Immigration Minister and the Director of Immigration to process her application for permanent ...

Edmond Castro – a UDP Pariah!
Edmond Castro’s reputation is sinking into deep disgrace and humiliation. Not even the UDP can stand him right now. The UDP representatives at last week’s House meeting tried their best not to cover their noses at the stink coming out of Castro as he got up ...

REFLECTIONS ON THE PUBLIC SQUARE – The PUP wins one for the people of Belize
On Monday, March 3, 2014 the Chief Justice of Belize handed down a historic decision in the case of PUP LEADER FRANCIS FONSECA v. THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE ALLEN WHYLIE. This case was our Party’s last and latest effort to seek justice for and on behalf of the ...

The Real Pappyshow!!
The UDP has been having conventions over the past months which have proven to be jokey drama contests between losers and wanna bes. The results have been disastrous for the UDP, ...

Successful Marshalls meeting in Southern Belize
President of the Marshalls Service Corps Unit continues his working tours, organizing and rebuilding across the country of Belize. On Saturday February 22nd, in Pomona Stann Creek, President Latchman met with members of the Marshalls representing all four divisions of the Southern Caucus. Area Representatives Hon. Mike Espat, ...

Health Professionals Enraged at Appointment of Minister’s Daughter
Health professionals are up in arms after the daughter of UDP Minister Erwin Contreras was appointed to a very important position in the Ministry of Health. Danini Contreras, a recent graduate of a University in Guatemala, has been appointed as the new “Drug Inspectorate” for Belize. The move triggered an emergency meeting of the Pharmacist’s Association in Belize City today. The Association is aware of the hijacking of the post and opposes it strongly. The position was created as part of a plan designed in consultation with the US Government to improve the regulation of the Government-managed pharmaceutical sector in Belize. There has been too much hanky panky going with the importing of pharmaceuticals under the UDP. The intention was that someone with adequate and relevant training and proper experience in the field would take up the key post to lead the Drug Inspectorate Unit. But the hiring turned very controversial when Contreras was awarded the post on Tuesday.


The Maya History of Merida, Mexico – What I Think Makes it REALLY Special
Perhaps a lazy Saturday blog…pictures rather than words…but not really. Merida, Mexico is a beautiful colonial city FOR SURE. But what sets it apart from Antigua, Guatemala or Puebla, Mexico or the other beautiful colonial cities of Latin America (and what links it to Belize) is the Maya – both past and present. Merida was built on a Mayan city. Some of the world’s most beautiful and famous sites, Uxmal and Chichen Itza, are just outside… (My brother took these pictures when we were at Uxmal in 2008.) Spanish conquerors in the area were renowned for the harsh treatment of the local Indians and the destruction of the local culture. Based on these carvings/sculptures on the old Montejo residence/current BanaMex bank, they were very proud of it.

International Sources

Belize trip leaves lasting impressions
The Belize we experienced is not the Belize you see advertised by Realtors to prospective buyers of homes in this country. I had the privilege of observing and working in various classrooms in Stella Maris School. It was not necessary for me to prepare lessons or be assigned to a particular class as did the Fredonia students. What inspired me most about this particular school was, it is an All Inclusive School. Children with all types of disabilities, mild to severe, worked, played, and learned according to their abilities, helping each other. What impressed me greatly about our future teachers, Fredonia students, was the selfless giving of their time and talents, bonding with students and teachers. Before the students left the States they collected suitcases filled with shoes for the children. I watched as the youngsters small and tall were fitted with gently used and some new sneakers and shoes. Three other suitcases filled with school supplies were presented to the school at a Closing Assembly.

March 8, 2014


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

61 Teams start strong in first leg of La Ruta Maya River Challenge
61 teams started the first leg of the 16th Annual Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge at the foot of the historic Hawksworth Bridge. With excellent cool weather, the race kicked off on time at 7AM following a short ceremony. A multitude gathered for the kick off of the competition along the banks of the Macal River in the twins towns of Santa Elena and San Ignacio. The first leg of the race will take paddlers from the Twin Towns, under the wooden bridge, along banks of rural communities such as Esperanza Village, Duck Run I and many more before coming to an end at Banana Bank Lodge.

Will Compol Allen Whylie charge Penner before statute of limitation kicks in?
The Belize Supreme Court Chief Justice (CJ) Kenneth Benjamin has ordered the Commissioner of Police (Compol) Allen Whylie to immediately commence a criminal investigation against Former Minister of State Elvin Penner. The ruling came after CJ Benjamin granted the Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca the Writ of Mandamus against Compol Whylie. The top police commandant criminally investigates Penner for his role in the Belizean nationality and passport granted to South Korean criminal fugitive Won Hong Kim. One important element of the case had to do with a memorandum sent from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal to the Head of the Police National Criminal Investigations Branch (CIB), Assistant Superintendent of Police Julio Valdez. The memo, which was leaked to the media days before Writ of Mandamus was heard, shows that an investigation was started by the CIB office but was halted. The DPP’s memo said that in his statement, ASP Julio Valdez said “After the documents were examined it was observed that several nationalities were approved by Immigration to individuals without meeting the criteria for approval, yet they were processed and approved… this line of the investigation did not continue, due to instructions, no other follow [up] was made.” The DPP did not get a response as to who gave the “instructions” to stop the investigation.

Indulging and relaxing at Belize Ocean Club, Maya Beach
Maya Beach is a small community on the Placencia Peninsula, located about 7 miles north of Placencia village. It is a small community, mainly made up of small and luxury resorts, private homes and a few wonderful restaurants and bars. It is where Belize Ocean Club is located and where our weary heads would rest for the night. While walking around and taking in the breathtaking views from the main building being built to take complete advantage of said imagery, we were surprised with a refreshing beverage to cool us down. A cocktail at 10AM? Don’t ever say we’re not up for anything! We awoke refreshed after a great night’s sleep in our comfortable beds, ready to enjoy Belize Ocean Club’s amenities. Once again, the sun shone down on the green of the sea, and the great pool beckoned like the temptress she was designed to be. But first: breakfast! We enjoyed some fabulous eggs benedict on the beach while people watching, a warm breeze feeling blissful and tempting us to pull up to the sun loungers and be utterly lazy bums. This is what people do on vacation isn’t it? We go, go, go, GO all the time so when it’s time to relax, and an avenue presents itself, we can hardly figure out what to do with ourselves.

20,000 Strong Empowerment Rally inspires change
The women of San Pedro and Caye Caulker joined the rousing ranks of energetic marchers attending the Women’s Empowerment Rally and March in Belize City on Thursday, March 6th. Dressed in the power color of the day, bright tangerine and orange, small groups of friends from the cayes were joined by female students and teachers from San Pedro High School and Ocean Academy. They were a proud contingent sporting bright signs which carried the slogan, “R E S P E C T is the CAYE!” Busloads of women from all the districts of Belize emptied along Princess Margaret Drive, filling the area with energy and enthusiasm. The island groups were supported by sponsorships from Caye Caulker Water Taxi, San Pedro Red Cross, Manuel Heredia Jr., and Gecko Graphics. The event was organized by Belize’s Special Envoy for Women and Children and the National Women’s Commission (NWC). Under a searing sun, thousands of women settled into what shade was provided, or stood on the wide field of the 20000 Strong Women's Rally-22Marion Jones Stadium as poignant and empowering speeches commenced. Addressing the crowd as “sisters, mothers, daughters, tias and abuelas”, women from all walks of life took to the stage to rally the thousands. International business icon Marie Sharp encouraged women to follow creative and original ideas, take risks, and not to give up in the face of competition. A tearful 19-year-old Jennifer Lopez detailed her challenging life and road to empowerment; while growing up she received little support from her nuclear family and was threatened by sexual molestation at home. She struggled with much adversity before finding support services from a case worker at Family Services, enabling her to continue her education and nurture her young daughter. Musical artist Melonie Gillett led the thousands ladies in a strong sing-along rendition of Alicia Keyes’ “This Girl is on Fire” and singer Christelle Wilson rallied a danceable version of Chaka Kahn’s “I’m Every Woman.”

Day 1 - 16th Annual Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge (13 photos)
The first leg of the 16th Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge has concluded after over 4 hours of paddling along the Mopan River. The challenge started at 7AM from the Hawksworth Bridge and saw Belize Bank Bulldogs (Armin Lopez, Armando Cruz and David Cruz) crossing the finishing line of day one at Banana Bank Lodge first at 4 hours, 46 minutes, 45 seconds. Coming in second was team NICH (National Institute for Culture and History): Oscar Cardona, Felix and Efrain Cruz. Third place was Wateva Boys (Jesus Linares, Sergio Lopez and Adrian Williams) and fourth went to BTL Cobbs Arms and fifth to Westrack Stingers. Saturday will see the second leg of the race continue from Banana Bank Lodge starting at 6:30AM. Paddlers will continue into Double Head Cabbage in the Belize District. The San Pedro Sun has teamed up with CAN Belize Network to bring you the latest on the 2014 Challenge.

Video: Along the Macal River for the Ruta Maya River Challenge Day 1

Video: More from the Ruta Maya River Challenge.

Ambergris Today

20,000 Strong Women Join Empowerment Rally in Belize City
The month of March in Belize is celebrated annually as National Women’s Month and as a result, the Special Envoy Office, in collaboration with the National Women’s Commission, staged the 20,000 Strong National Women’s Empowerment Rally on Thursday, March 6, 2014, from 10:00A.M. to 3:00P.M. at the Marion Jones Stadium in Belize City. In a press release sent out by the Roman Catholic Church in Belize, they acknowledged and stated that they celebrate the women of Belize during and beyond the month of March however, they did not endorse the 20,000 Women’s rally because to the Catholic Church the invitation did not speak to the complementarity role between men and women as taught by Christ through the Church. The release continued by stating that the National Women’s Commission promotes values that contradict Christian and moral teachings regarding respect for all human life, family, marriage and human sexuality as ordered by God . “The Roman Catholic Church strongly believes that the well being of women cannot be enhanced by advocacy that promotes abortion and so-called pseudo rights of men and women and same sex relationships,” stated the release.

Teen Talk: There is Nothing Wrong in Being Different
by Ryan Ancona - In today’s society we are all expected to have a similar personalities, clothing, likes, dislikes, opinions, etc. Some examples of these would be like seeing lots of guys wearing the same snapback caps with G-Shock watches and Jordan slippers; the girls would also all wear similar clothing. You will also observe that many people try to emulate the same personality that others portray. It’s like everybody is trying to copy each other or this one person they look up to. But then it seems like everyone has the same personality! So why do people do this? Well the obvious answer is to fit in. If we don’t follow everyone else then we are now outcasts and would be mocked by all of the “normal” people, right? Well what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way. You should find what fits you; be yourself. There is no reason that you have to follow one single style just to fit in.

ABC Pre-School Annual Spectacular Presentation
ABC Pre-School will once again be hosting its annual spectacular presentation. Join them on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium! Show starts at 7:00 p.m. bring out the family to this wonderful even and witness seing, Hananah Montana, Caullio, Batman, Superman and much more. Prices: Regular Seating Adults $10 and Children $5 Reserved Seating Adults $15 and Children $10

Condolences to the Family of the Late Jeffrey Eiley
It is with profound sadness that we take notice of the passing on of Jeffrey Eiley, who left this Earth at the tender age of 30. He is survived by his parents, Norman and Susana Eiley and by his siblings Olive Dominguez, Tracy Gomez, and Francis Eiley. Jeffrey will be missed immensely by a large family of Arceo’s and Eiley’s as well by his single daughter Valeria. Hundreds of friends shed tears for Jeffrey as well as hundreds applaud his life, achievements and his fun personality. Never a dull moment with Jeffrey! Always a pleasant memory to relive. He lived a short life, only 30 years, but a long life of excitement, camaraderie, and simple joy. Ambergris Today joins the community of friends in the Sanpedrano Farewell offered to Jeffrey Eiley. We are not ready to let you go but our farewell is not our choice, so we bid you good-bye letting you know that even though you are in a better place than us, we would still want you here. However, adios, and rest in peace in the Glory of God in Heaven.

Misc Belizean Sources

Teachers are holding a peaceful demonstration in Belmopan
Hundreds of teachers from all over the country have converged on Independence Hill in Belmopan for a peaceful demonstration. As the teachers demonstrate outside, inside the National Assembly Chambers, the Honorable the Prime Minister Mr Dean Barrow has introduced the Bill to appropriate certain sums of money for use by the Public Service for fiscal year ending March 31, 2015. The Honorable the Prime Minister is about to read the Budget Speech to the House. UPDATE: At the start of of the meeting of the House of Representatives members of the Opposition, People’s United Party (PUP) took time out to show their support for the teachers who are demonstrating in Belmopan.

La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge underway
The banks of the Macal River in San Ignacio/Santa Elena was abuzz with activity early this morning. It was time for the start of the 16th annual La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge. Hundreds of paddlers suited up for the biggest canoe race in Belize which started from underneath the historic Hawksworth Bridge. The race will culminate in Belize City on Monday afternoon. The first leg of the race takes the paddlers from San Ignacio to Banana Bank.

Passion of the Christ Cast Call
The Passion of the Christ re-enactment in Benque will be on April 18th, and they are doing a casting call. If you're interested, contact Jimmy Leslie or Lorena Calderon, or call 823-2024. "A call to all youths who would like to be part of this year's cast for "The Passion of the Christ" dramatization 2014. For more information contact Lorena Melgar Calderón or Jimmy Leslie, if you would like to be part of this annual event and reminiscence of our Lord Jesus Christ in Calvary...where He laid His life for the sake of our salvation. The rehearsal dates to be announced soon. If you wish to help in anyway or make a donation to make this event bigger than ever visit Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Parish Office on Church Street in Benque Viejo del Carmen or call 501-823-2024."

La Ruta Maya Kick-Off
And they're off! The 16 annual La Ruta Maya. "Top 10 teams to the finish at Banana Bank are: 1: Belize Bank Bulldogs 2: NICH 3: Wateva Boys 4: BTL Cobb Arms 5: Westrac 6: Happy Cow Natius Wester Home Supply 7: Joseph & Taylor Steelers 8: Black Orchid Resort 9: Crime Fighters 2 10: D&A Hydroplaners"

Video: Hunting Lionfish in Belize

Video: Belize Tarpon
Tarpon caught at Long Coco Cay Feb,2014 on an 8wt Temple fork fly rod. 45 minute fight to boat. Fly rod broke as Martin was touching the leader.

From San Ignacio to Iguana Creek Bridge

Notice for National Agriculture and Trade Show Planning Meetings
The National Agriculture and Trade Show Committee is convening two meetings to discuss the new layout of the grounds, prices for concession holders and conduct of this year’s National Agriculture and Trade Show. All interested parties are urged to attend the following meetings: For prospective Alcoholic Bar Concessions holders on Wednesday, 12th March 2014 at 1:30 p.m. at the Agriculture Showground Main Stage in Belmopan. For prospective Stall/Booth Concession holders on Tuesday, 18th March 2014 at 1:30 p.m. at the Agriculture Showground Main Stage in Belmopan. The general public is reminded to mark 2nd, 3rd and 4th May 2014 in their calendars. This is when all roads will lead to the biggest and best show in Belize, the 2014 National Agriculture and Trade Show.

Mr. Gabriel "Gaby" Nuñez elected Deputy Mayor
The San Pedro Town Council hereby informs the San Pedro residents that Mr. Gabriel "Gaby" Nuñez has been elected as the Deputy Mayor for 2014-2015.

San Pedro High School Science Fair
We invite everyone to come out to the San Pedro High School Science Fair 2014 taking place at the SPHS grounds from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Come check out the interesting projects the students have been working on for week!

First day of La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge completed
The first leg of the 16th annual La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge has ended at Banana Bank, in Roaring Creek village. According to the unofficial statistics, Belize Bank Bulldogs finished the first part of the race in a time of 4 hours 46 minutes 45 seconds. Coming in second was NICH with a time of 4 hours 50 minutes 30 seconds. Third place was Whatever Boys with a time of 4 hours 53 minutes 06 seconds. The race will resume on Saturday morning from Banana Bank.

Teachers march on Independence Hill
Approximately 800 members of the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) assembled on the plaza in front of the National Assembly building following a rally at the Belmopan Comprehensive School. The teachers marched along the ring road to Independence Hill. On their arrival at Independence Hill, the teachers told our reporters that they do not care if their pay is docked as threatened by the Honorable the Minister of Education Mr. Patrick Faber. The teachers say that Minister Faber is the problem. The teachers are also calling for the arrest of the Honorable the Member for Cayo Northeast Mr. Elvin Penner and the Honorable the Member for Belize Rural North Mr. Edmund Castro for corruption.

Government of Belize Press Office

BEL’s Electrical System Remains Stable Following Passage of Unstable Weather
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) advises customers that strong wind gusts and the passage of a lightning storm over sections of the country on Thursday, March 6 caused unplanned power interruptions throughout the country. These interruptions in power supply ranged between 23 minutes to approximately 2 hours in most areas. The first series of unplanned power interruptions experienced in Belize at 2:46 p.m. yesterday were as a result of bad weather passing over Quintana Roo, Mexico which tripped Comisión Federal de Electricidad’s (CFE) 230 kV transmission line that supplies Belize. This caused an interruption that affected Belize’s entire electrical system. Power supply was restored to all areas between 3:08 p.m. and 3:26 p.m.

Western Ballaz Beat No Limit
Congratulations, Western Ballaz, on winning another game. They defeated the Belize City No Limit in a great game that came down to 1 point. The final score was 74-73. "What a great game! The Western Ballaz defeated the Belize City No Limit by one point. 74-73."

20,000 Strong Rally
The 20,000 Strong Rally was a huge success. Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, the Special Envoy for Women & Children, uploaded some great pictures from the event. "Special thanks to all the WOMEN OF BELIZE who came out and made the 20,000 STRONG Women's Empowerment Rally a success! Thanks to all the businesses that supported by coming out as a group or giving your female employees the time to come out! Thanks to all the volunteers and persons who worked behind the scenes both on the day of and the days leading up to the rally! Thanks to those who couldn't make it out but wore your orange shirts in solidarity! I hope you will stay with us for the rest of this journey toward a truly equal Belize! The real work begins now. Thank you all once again!"

World Water Day in Cayo
The World Water Day Exhibition will be on Friday, March 21st, from 9:00am through 3:00pm, at the Bedran Hall in the SIRH. They'll have interactive exhibits, a water quiz, the awards presentations, info booths, and much more. Best of all, it's free.

Political supporters fight outside House
At the close of the House of Representatives meeting this afternoon, around 2:00 p.m., a fight broke out at the foot of the National Assembly between supporters of the major political parties. Police had to intervene almost immediately to separate the groups of PUP and UDP supporters who were nose to nose. It is not clear who threw the first punch, but a riled up Minister of Human Development Anthony “Boots” Martinez and PUP talk show host Vaughan Gill traded choice words while several others jeered at each other.

Video: Snorkeling Ambergris Caye
Ambergris Caye snorkeling offers exceptionally good visibility and a wide range of marine life encounters. While snorkeling Ambergris Caye, you may observe green sea turtles, nurse sharks, southern stingrays, spotted eagle rays, moray eels and typical reef fish.

Video: Beyond Belize
A first person chronicling of my journey through Belize.

Video: Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2014 (Race Start)
La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

Video: 2014 National Budget presented in the House of Representatives

Video: Scuffle Breaks out at the foot of the Assembly Building, Boots and Vaughn trade barbs

Video: 17th Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge kicks off in San Ignacio

Video: Rescued hawksbill sea turtle feeding on jellyfish (Belize)

Video: Belize handlining
Caught numerous fish handlining including a 20lb Barracuda and a 35lb King mackerel.

Channel 7

PM Barrow Presents Budget; Makes Bold Boasts
Budget Day in Belmopan is typically quite straightforward as the presentation of the revenue and appropriations bill takes center stage. But these days, there's always more stuff happening. So today, the teachers union staged its national rally and demonstration in Belmopan to coincide with the budget presentation - even if the centerpiece of that Budget was to give them a raise of pay - the teachers who went to Belmopan still aren't happy - and they made their presence felt all through the prime minister's speech as they sang and vocalized outside on the national assembly stairs. We'll have a full report on that shortly, but that wasn't the only distraction at today's House Meeting. At the end of the meeting, at least one blow was thrown right in front of the House - and right when the representatives were walking out. It was a dispute between the PUP's Vaughn Gill - who was all upset about Anthony Boots Martinez getting land for his constituents in Cayo south - where Gill is the PUP political officer. That got really heated - and we'll show you as much as we have of it later on.

Teachers Rally: Tells PM To Put Salary Adjustment In Writing
But the teachers started their debate today - and they say it's about issues bigger than the budget or any raise of pay. They called today's event a rally on social issues, but they've also thrown in that for all the promises of a 5% salary increase, it has not been formally put to them. But, more than just social issues were driving today's event, and that's because Education Minister Patrick Faber warned on Wednesday that the teachers who attend the rally will get their pay docked for the day of lost classes. That - and the fact that the 5% raise is basically "in-pocket" had to have an effect on the crowd - which was not impressive for a BNTU National Rally; such an event usually draws thousands, today they had hundreds. But those that did appear were spirited and defiant. Daniel Ortiz was in Belmopan, and here's his report:

PM Reacts To Teacher's Rally
And while those 750 teachers railed and rallied outside, inside, in his budget speech, the Prime Minister talked about ingratitude and political agendas by some union leaders. In an interview after the budget presentation, he was more guarded in his choice of words, but still firm:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "It can't be done." Jules Vasquez "Yet still the teachers are across the way hollering at you incessantly for hours." Prime Minister Dean Barrow "Well I am not going to quarrel. I have said all that I have to say during the speech. The fact is though is that the Belizean public will surely make an assessment of the legitimacy of their protest in view of this wonderful largess that they are getting by way of salary increases. That also speaks for itself."

Opposition Leader Says Budget Doesn't Meet Anyone's Needs
But the former Education Minister Francis Fonseca was not impressed with the raise of pay that the Prime Minister was beating his chest over. Instead Francis Fonseca was chanting reggae lyrics:.. Hon. Francis Fonseca "The Prime Minister's budget presentation almost moves me to sound. I'm reminded of the Morgan Heritage tune "ends nah meet, dem ah seh dat tings di get betta, but we can't feel it, dem ah seh money di run, buy we can't see it," and I think that is the overwhelming response of the Belizean people to the flowery empty rhetoric we heard this morning. It is a budget divorce and disconnected from reality like this UDP government. That is my initial reaction to the budget, obviously we will pour into the details of the numbers and look at it and give a very comprehensive response at the time of the budget debate."

What Caused That Ugly Scene...
As we told you at the top of the news, there was an ugly episode in front of the House Of Representatives this afternoon. It happened around 1:30when the meeting was finished - and the representatives were leaving. But before we get to the fight where actual blows were thrown, we first have to give you the background. It all started with the member for Cayo South Julius Espat speaking on the adjournment. His matter of public interest was a parcel of land in Cotton Tree Village that has been set aside to allow for 254 lots to be given to Port Loyola residents. Espat said it disenfranchises villagers who cannot get land for themselves: Ok, so that should have been the end of it, right. Issues raised, solution proposed, and things move on…except they didn't. The House meeting adjourned right after that and that's when chaos unfolded. The media was interviewing the Prime Minister at the top of the House stairs when he saw something going on at the bottom of the stairs:..

Man Killed In Bar Brawl
Police say that 20 year-old Earl Baizar, a resident of Dangriga, was involved in a fight inside the club, and they were ejected. The altercation then flared up once again, and where Baizar was stabbed by the man he was fighting with. Today, the Deputy Commander of San Ignacio Police told us what investigators know at this time about this incident: Inspector Reymundo Requena - Deputy OC "Sometime around 12:50 this morning San Ignacio police received information of a male person who has allegedly been stabbed and rushed to the hospital. As a result police went to the hospital and on arrival they saw a male person receiving treatment for a stab wound under the left side of his chest, his arm and whilst undergoing treatment he succumbs to his injuries."

DPP Waiting On Full Penner File
Today word went out that a full file has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions about police investigations in the Citizen Kim Passport Scandal. Viewers may remember that on Monday, the Supreme Court compelled the Commissioner of Police to investigate Elvin Penner for this passport scandal. Well, our check with the Director Public Prosecution, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, has revealed that she has gotten some materials from the National Criminal Investigation's Branch, but the file is not complete. This evening, the DPP Vidal told us quote, "On my request, they copied certain statements and forwarded to me, but I have not been given a complete investigation file. As it is right now, I am working with what I have and what has already been in the public domain."

Prison Did Full Body Cavity Search
Last night, 7News told you about Natalie Hamilton who allegedly tried to smuggle weed into the prison. Well, the other woman who was caught in the act is 19 year-old Christy Ramclam, she was taken to court today. Ramclam was busted yesterday when she went to prison to visit inmate Anthony Carballo Jr. She was given a thorough body cavity search which resulted in the discovery of the cannabis wrapped in a piece of toilet paper and tucked in her private parts. Carballo Jr, who is remanded to prison on a charge of murder, is the father of Ramclam's child. She was arraigned before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton where she pleaded guilty to drug possession and was fined $500. She had to pay half of it upfront today, after which, she was released.

We often hear about shoplifting on the news but it gets quite interesting when a police officer is the accused shoplifter. According to the owner of Dibary Store on Church Street in Belize City, a woman police officer was caught red handed stealing a purse from out the store. The incident happened just before midday on Wednesday and we were told it was all caught on camera. The value of the purse is fifteen dollars. Reliable reports is that quite incredibly another woman constable was caught stealing in the store a few months ago. There are over 20 security cameras in the store.

CCIC Inviting B'zeans To Apply For Grants
There are international experts in Belize being hosted by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center. These experts are from the Carribbean Climate Innovation Center, and they are here to promote their project to Belizean engineers. They're doing so by holding a contest where interested persons can win grants of up to $50,000 US to start projects that takes the effects of climate change into consideration. Today, the CEO of CCIC explained the contest to 7News. Here's how it will work: Interested entries will be assessed for their innovation under the categories of water management, resources use efficiency, energy efficiency, solar energy, and sustainable agriculture. We'll post a link on our website where interested Belizeans can apply to see if they qualify for one of these grants.

PROFILE: Emily Martinez-Palacio
So far teachers have been all over the news tonight. They got their raise in the headline story, and rallied for social issues in the second. But so much of the talk about teachers has been controversial and about money, that in the process, the art of pedagogy and the commitment to it seems to have been forgotten. And that's why the format of the I Am Belize Profile has been changed in timely fashion this year to look at teachers and the first episode features Emily Martinez-Palacio. She's been a teacher for 26 years, and she tells the Profile about some of the challenges she's face while trying to inspire young minds and lead students on the path to success: The profile will now be back on a regular basis.

SDA Sets Record Straight On Women Rally
And as we close tonight, the Women's Empowerment Rally is history - and while many are still trying to size it up - we've got some housekeeping to do. On Wednesday's news we reported that the Seventh Day Adventist Church had joined the Roman Catholic Church in its opposition to the march. We heard that informally, but we should have followed up - and we didn't. Turns out the SDA did no such thing. The SDA church sent out a statement saying our statement caused them distress and consternation because they said no such thing. Indeed, they didn't and we apologize for our error. And while the Seventh Day Adventist Church was not opposed to the march, the PUP seemed to have staged an unofficial boycott of the event. None of the party's prominent women leaders such as Area Rep Dolores Balderamos Garcia or Senator Lisa Shoman were there. But John Briceno was there in support of his wife who was a guest speaker. Also present was former PUP Representative Patty Arceo. Here's why she said it's bigger than politics:..

Channel 5

Is There a Warrant for Elvin Penner’s Arrest?
There is much to report in the news from inside and outside the national assembly, but first we turn tonight to former Minister of State Elvin Penner. News Five has [...]

COMPOL Whylie Fails to Update Francis Fonseca on Progress of Criminal Investigation into Passport Scandal
So while official verification of a warrant issued for Penner’s arrest is pending, his name was very much a part of matters in the House today. Following a writ of [...]

Scuffle Breaks Out At the Foot of Assembly Building, Boots and Vaughn Trade Barbs
Over the years, viewers have come to expect that behavior in the national assembly has generally been unbecoming and unruly. But earlier today that spill outside the national assembly where [...]

2014 National Budget Presented in the House of Representatives
The highlight of today’s news should have been the presentation of the 2014 – 2015 Budget but there was a lot else to get out of the way. So with [...]

Budget by the Numbers
The thrust of the Prime Minister’s budget presentation was on education, healthcare and infrastructure. And then Prime Minister Barrow turned to the real meat of the budget, the numbers contained [...]

Cheerless Response from Opposition Leader to 2014 Budget
It is customary to get a response from the Opposition Leader on any budget presented in the House. To our recollection, there has never been any occasion when that feedback [...]

P.M. Says Details of Salary Adjustment are being finalized
Prime Minister Dean Barrow prefaced his budget proposals section of the presentation today by stating that the priorities can be summed up in three words – Additional Social Protection. And [...]

D.P.P. finally presented with files on the investigation
Ten minutes ago News Five received an update from Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal via email. She confirmed that at five forty-three this evening investigators visited her office to [...]

Hundreds of Teachers Demonstrate on Independence Hill during Budget Presentation
The Prime Minister announced that a big slice of the 2014/2015 Budget will be spent on personal emoluments; that’s three hundred and thirty two million dollars. Teachers and public officers [...]

Dangriga Man Stabbed to Death in San Ignacio Following Argument inside Nightclub
San Ignacio police are tonight looking for Gabino Garnett Jr., whom they believe can assist with their investigation into the overnight murder of twenty year old Earl Baizar.  Reports are [...]

Woman who tries to take weed inside Belize Central Prison pleads guilty
Twenty-one year old Christy Ramclam, a resident of Tigris Street, was arraigned in the courtroom of Magistrate Leslie Hamilton today, where she was read a single charge of possession of [...]

Incoming Commander Discusses Future of GSU
Superintendent of Police, Linden Flowers is the new commander of the Gang Suppression Unit. The news broke this past Tuesday that the career officer was bumped up the chain of [...]

GSU Boss Says Officers Aren’t Above the Law
There are thirty officers in the Unit and Superintendent Flowers says that those who step out of bounds will be penalized; criminal elements will be dealt with and that the [...]

Sharon Ramclam is Appointed CEO in Ministry of Natural Resources
A new chief executive officer has been appointed to replace outgoing C.E.O. Jose Alpuche at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture.  Government has looked outside the public service and [...]

Grant for Climate Change Initiatives
C.E.O. of the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center, Everton Hanson, is in country since Thursday; his mission is to sensitize and bring awareness to entrepreneurs on the availability of grants for [...]

17th Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge Kicks Off in San Ignacio
Crowds gathered this morning at the banks of the Mopan River in San Ignacio for the start of the annual Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge. More than sixty teams [...]


Rotary Corozal Donates Laptops To Schools In Rural Communities
Rotary International is an organization that supports global projects such as eradication of polio and education. Here at home Rotary Clubs mainly support projects that benefit the local community. Further up North, in the Corozal District, the first Rotary Club was established in 1974. Since then the club has done their fair share of community service assisting the community. In a most recent initiative, the Corozal Rotary Club issued 49 Panasonic Though Book laptops to seven primary schools. Earl Johnston – President Corozal Rotary “Mr. Frank he was a part time resident in Corozal has talked to a Canadian company and they had agreed to donate these computers here and actually he has donated seven, for seven schools that I have to go back and look for the list, but these are donated to the primary schools and we give at least five to each primary school that they can get internet if they don’t already have internet connection so these a basic computers so they can learn computer skills and they are internet capable so they can connect to the internet and can do homework and stuff for their computer labs.”

Celebrating Child Stimulation Month
As part of Child Stimulation Month today Rainbow Brite Pre-school, a pre-school that has been in operation for over 23 years, toured Corozal Town it might have been only in town limits but for the pre-schoolers it was very educational as they visited the various public buildings. Lourdes Marin – Director\Teacher “The tour started at the Town Hall, then we went to the post office and the police station and we are ending at the fire station and this is to have these children exposed to these community places because we dealt with the topic last month on community helpers and our community and so this is to reinforce what we taught and like how right now we are in stimulation month so we taking advantage of this month and thanks to the support of the parents we are out.” Under the umbrella of this year’s theme “Early Childhood Education; Where Our Future Begins” teachers decided to take the students to the police station for them to learn more about the laws of Belize and the consequences of breaking those laws. So what did they learn? We asked them that question and here is their response.


Teenage Mother Gets Fined for Attempted to Smuggle Weed to Boyfriend in Prison
Nineteen year old Christy Ramclam, a mother of one who tried to smuggle 12 grams of cannabis into Belize Central Prison was fined 500 dollars today by Magistrate Leslie Hamilton after she pled guilty to a charge of possession of a controlled drug. She was ordered to pay 250 dollars forthwith and the balance by April 30, in default six months imprisonment. She paid half of the fine and she was released. Magistrate Hamilton told her that she was lucky because the charge could have been drug trafficking for which the sentence would have been three years, ten thousand dollars or both fine and imprisonment. Ramclam was busted yesterday when she went to prison to visit an inmate. She was given a thorough body search which resulted in the discovery of the cannabis wrapped in a piece of toilet paper and tucked in her private parts. As a result, she was charged. Anthony Carballo jr. who is remanded to prison on a charge of murder, is the father of Ramclam’s child.

Fight in Night Club Leads to Murder
Police investigators of the San Ignacio Police Station are seeking answers into a murder that occurred last night in that municipality. The officers on duty were called out to Burns Avenue just after midnight with reports of a stabbing incident near the Atlantic Bank building. When police arrived at the scene, however, 17-year-old, Earl Baizar was already taken to the San Ignacio Town Hospital suffering from four stab wounds; one inflicted to the left side of his chest, his left hand, left under arm and his right thigh. Preliminary investigations into the incident have revealed that Baizar was involved in an altercation earlier that night inside the Blue Angels night club and that while he was on Burns Avenue he got met up with the same man he had a confrontation with earlier and as a result the stab wounds were inflicted. Baizar succumbed to the injuries at around 12:50am today. Police is looking for Gabino Garnett Jr who would be able to help them in their investigation.

Opposition Leader Not Impressed by Proposed Budget
Opposition leader Francis Fonseca was asked for his initial view of the newly presented budget. HON. FRANCIS FONSECA “The Prime Minister’s budget presentation almost moves me to song. I am reminded of the Morgan Heritage tune, ends nah meet, them ah say that things the get better but we can’t feel it, we can’t feel it. Them ah say money the run but we can’t see it, we can’t see it. And I think that is the overwhelming response of the Belizean people to the flowery empty rhetoric we heard this morning. It is a budget divorce and disconnected from reality like this U.D.P. government. So that is my initial reaction to the budget, obviously we will pour into the details of the numbers and look at it and give a very comprehensive response at the time of the budget debate.” The budget will be debated on March 24 and 25.

Prime Minister Presents Budget for New Fiscal Year
Prime Minister Dean Barrow today presented his 2014/2015 budget under the theme “Bettering people, building Belize – a budget for all.” In his remarks the Prime Minister referred to the Caribbean Development’s Bank regional report for February 11, 2014. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW “For 2013 Tourism was down in the traditional powerhouses of the Bahamas, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines. In Belize it was up just under 6 percent in both the stay over and cruise sectors. Overall growth performance improved in Trinidad and Tobago and in Belize. This is in sharp contrast to most of the rest of the Community where economic activity was flat or actually contracted. Examples are Barbados, Jamaica, St Lucia, Antigua and the BVI. Average inflation in CARICOM was 2.5 percent while in Belize it is 0.5 percent. In the Bahamas the jobless rate, as measured in May of 2013, was 16.2 percent. In Jamaica it was 15.9 percent through July, and in St Lucia it reached a whopping 23.2 percent. Here it was down in September over 2 percent, from the previous year, to 14.2 percent. Foreign Reserves increased only in Belize, Trinidad and Tobago and the EC Currency Union. They fell in the Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica and Suriname. There are massive Public Sector layoffs in Barbados, and wage freezes in Jamaica, St Lucia and Grenada. Now compare that, Mr Speaker, to the paradisiac situation in our country where Teachers and Public Officers with this Budget, this Budget, Mr Speaker, are receiving the nectar of a not less than 5 percent salary increase on top of the annual 2.5 percent increment. Altogether this translates into around 34 million dollars more that this Government is finding, just this year alone, for its employees.”


Young Man Stabbed to Death in San Ignacio
A man was stabbed and killed early this morning in San Ignacio. Sometime after midnight 20-year-old Earl Baizar was on Burns Avenue in front of Atlantic Bank, when he got involved in an altercation with a person riding a 4 wheeler ATV. During that altercation, the driver of the...

Prime Minister Presents Fiscal Year Plan 2014-1015 Salary Increase Budget
The Budget for Fiscal year 2014-2015 was presented at the House of Representatives this morning by Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow. The budget speech was titled, “Bettering People, Building Belize – A Budget For All” . The Prime Minister started by comparing Belize to its Caribbean counterparts, saying that...

PM Dean Barrow Reflects Belize’s Debt Stewardship Into the Budget
The 1 billion dollar budget will begin to roll out on April 1st of this year with revenue and grants amounting to $956 Million. The deficit will be $57 Million or 1.7% of GDP but according to the Prime Minister, a further $70 Million has to be added to...

Belizean Killed in Honduras Massacre
A Belizean man was killed during a massacre in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. According to Honduran Media House El Heraldo, four people were murdered early Thursday and among them, is believed to be Mr. Mario Roberto Cocom, a Belizean. According to El Heraldo, police authorities believe that the four...

Highway Robbers Hit and Run Away With BZ$1,200
There was a highway robbery yesterday afternoon, Thursday March 6. The incident happened in the afternoon at about 3:30 pm on the Phillip Goldson Highway in Biscayne Village. A white Freight liner Truck was heading towards Orange Walk being driven by Mr. Mason Quiroz. Along with Quiroz was Salesman...

2014-2015 Budget Reading Includes More Infrastructure, Health and Education
At today’s budget reading, the Prime Minister addressed the infrastructural projects which he referred to as this administration’s “Herculean public works drive”. He said that it is one of the highest priorities of the Government. Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow- Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development “In...

Teachers Press for a Written 5% Increase Binding Response
While the House of Representatives met in session for the budget reading, members of the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) rallied outside, demanding respect from the Government and defying a reported threat of a pay cut for skipping school at the start of a three-day weekend. As PLUS News reporter Aaron...

The Guardian

$$$22 Million More for Teachers and Public Officers - PLUS Salary Adjustment!!!
Hon. Prime Minister Barrow will introduce the General Revenue Appropriation Bill 2014 on Friday, March 7, and will be asking members of the House of Representatives to approve a $22 million increase for salaries to public servants. The negotiating teams of the Government of Belize and Unions agreed on a formula for a salary increase for public officers in fiscal year 2014/2015. The salary increase is based on the amount of increased revenue collected in the fiscal year 2013/2014 as compared to 2012/2013. Fifty percent of every additional dollar in revenue would be allocated to the salary increase of public officers. The last meeting Prime Minister Barrow held with union leaders was on Thursday, January 30, in which they were updated on the performance of the economy and revenue collection. After that meeting, Prime Minister Barrow shared publicly that the figures were showing the public officers and teachers would get no less than a 4-percent salary increase from revenues collected.

Francis Begs, Kevin Squanders
The Leader of the Opposition is these days floating about from media house to media house trying to convince the Belizean people that the PUP-controlled municipalities are being unfairly treated. He claims that no development is taking place in these municipalities because the Government is not helping them out. He could not be more wrong. Every single municipality is getting more than its fair share of resources to improve conditions for residents, the only difference is that because the PUP-controlled municipalities cannot be trusted with finances, these are being channeled through the Ministry of Works. And there is great reason for the PUP municipalities to not be trusted. There is absolutely no financials available for Dangriga and Punta Gorda and the Orange Walk financials paint a picture of a town administration more interested in personal enrichment than in community development.

Millions More for Municipalities’ Jobs/Infrastructure Project
The Government of Belize is allocating almost $10 million to Belize City for Phase II of the Belize City Council’s Infrastructure Project and at least $2.5 million to all other municipalities. Belize City will be the first to benefit from Government’s newest municipal development initiative. Prime Minister Barrow says the innovative approach to governance by Mayor Darrell Bradley has made it an easy decision to allocate Government’s support behind the City Council’s initiatives. PM Barrow says, “The absolutely splendid job that has been done so far, the way this city has been transformed, these are things that obliged the Central Government to partner with the Mayor and his City Council in trying to move things forward.” Mayor Darrell Bradley thanked Prime Minister Barrow for the support he has shown and continues to show. Bradley says, “There will be a different city in the next 2 years. The city that my son grows up in will not be the city that I grew up in and by the time the next election rolls around we [would be able to declare] that every single primary street, streets which connects people from one area or neighborhood of Belize City, would have been concreted." Bradley says the funds will be used to concrete 35 primary streets. Those include 14 on the Southside of Belize City and 20 on the North side. Polling started at 10 in the morning and carried on until 5 in the evening with a constant stream of residents making their way to the polling rooms to cast their ballots. They came from as far as Gales Point Manatee and by the time the convention was ended, 2,015 residents had voted. Beverly Castillo easily secured a victory receiving 961 votes. Michael Hutchinson received 502 votes while Dean Samuels received 353 votes. Emroy Castillo received 153 votes and Francis Lizama received 19 votes; 28 ballots were spoilt.

20,000 Strong Women Empowerment Rally
The goal of the 20,000 Strong Women's Empowerment Rally is to empower and inspire women to claim our rightful space as equal partners in the development of our country. The event will serve to celebrate who we are, our contribution to development and our journey as Belizean women. The Rally will feature women speakers from the banking sector, private sector, education sector and past elected representatives: all women who have distinguished themselves as leaders in their fields of work. It is very disappointing that the Roman Catholic Church is attempting to ascribe extraneous motives to this event that is intended simply to honor and uplift women. This rally signals the start of a series of other activities to empower women and provide opportunities for them to realize their full potential. Partnership and unity have always been core values of our approach and we will remain open to genuine dialogue and working with the church to empower women in our society. Let us stand together to embrace our womanhood, champion our accomplishments and chart the course forward!

Anyone Else
After the ruling by the Chief Justice on Monday March 3 which directed the Commissioner of Police to effect an investigation into the Penner passport issue, the PUP promptly declared that this was a victory for both the Opposition and for Fonseca personally. Thereafter we were treated to a string of interviews where several PUP personalities and other microphone addicts expressed their “virtuous” opinions on the matter. Let us delve at little deeper into this recent development. I had previously indicated in this column that I think Penner has been sufficiently reproved and humiliated by his own Party and is presently a political exile. The UDP Party Leader has openly said that Penner will never again represent the United Democratic Party and his name will forever be linked with underhandedness.

San Pedro Tigersharks and Cayo Western Ballaz leads in Elite Basketball League Competition
The 2014 Elite Basketball League Competition continued over the weekend with three games across the country. san pedro tiger sharks.jpg - 73.54 KbOn Friday, February 28, 2014, at the Andres Campus Stadium in Corozal Town, the home team the Corozal Heat picked up its first win of the Elite Basketball Campaign when it defeated the visiting Belmopan Point Bandits by the score of 67-54. The top scorers for the Corozal Heat were Jason Daly with 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists; Geovanni Lennan with 12 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals; and Kenroy Roca also with 12 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal.

Ron Vasquez wins Spanish Lookout Course
The Cycling Federation of Belize held its Second Hills Circuit event on Sunday, March 2, 2014. The Cycling Federation utilised the Spanish Lookout Course for this event. At the end of the course in the Open Elite category, it was Ron Vasquez of Western Spirit that captured first place. The second rider to cross the finish line was Henry Moreira of Predators, third place went to Oscar Quiroz of Western Spirit, fourth place went to Liam Stewart of Benny’s Megabytes, and fifth place went to Joel Borland of BTL Cycling. In the junior category, the first rider to cross the finish line was Kieron Robateau of BECOL Uprising and he was followed by Zahir Figueroa also of BECOL Uprising, third place went to Zamir Guerra of Cayo High Roads Cycling Club.

Ladyville Technical High School upsets Nazarene High School
The Central Region Secondary Schools Softball Competition is fast winding down at Rogers Stadium with the commencement of the playoffs. On Tuesday, March 4, in the second game of the female playoffs, Gwen Lizarraga High School defeated Wesley College by the score of 15-4. The winning pitcher was Ashley Lucas and the losing pitcher was Breanna Meighan. | In the second game of the male playoffs, Wesley College defeated Gwen Lizarraga High School by the score of 16-15. The winning pitcher was Devon Tillett and the losing pitcher was Devontae Middleton.

Thousands of Women Expected to Gather at Marion Jones Stadium
The Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis-Barrow and the National Women’s Commission are organizing a rally the likes that have never been seen before in Belize on Thursday, March 6. Next year, will make it 20 years since the first world conference on women was held in Beijing, China in 1995 and the organizers of the rally are preparing to host 20,000 women at the Marion Jones Stadium to launch a march towards 2015. According to Anne-Marie Williams, Executive Director of the National Women’s Commission, the 20,000 Strong Women Empowerment Rally is “an opportunity for women to come out and become aware of their collective power.” Buses will roll into Belize City from across the country for a rally scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Belize City women will meet at the Memorial Park at 8 a.m. and parade over to the Marion Jones Stadium with marching bands. The parade will move through the streets of North Side Belize City from the Memorial Park, along the Marine Parade Boulevard unto Newton Barracks into Princess Margaret Drive and conclude at the stadium, where Belize City women will join ladies from all corners of the country.

Ministry of Education explains why Rhaburn Ridge school was closed
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports views with grave concern the continued operation of the Hope SDA Christian Academy, located in the village of Rhaburn Ridge in the Belize District despite the fact that approval of a licence to operate the school was not granted. In July, 2012 the school Management of the Belize Union of Seventh Day Adventists submitted an application for a licence to operate a school in the village of Rhaburn Ridge in the Belize District. The Education Rules, 2000 (Rule 11 (1)) requires that an application for a licence to operate a school be submitted 16 months prior to the proposed opening of the school.

Social Investment Fund appoints new Executive Director & Public Relations Officer
The Board of Directors of Social Investment Fund is pleased to announce the appointment of the new Executive Director, Mr. William Lamb, and Public Relations Officer, Mr. Selwyn King with effect March, 2014. Mr. Lamb is an Engineer by profession with more than 25 years. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, with Honors in Structural Engineering from Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom in 1995, and a Diploma in Structural Engineering from the College of Art, Science & Technology, Kingston, Jamaica, 1990. Mr. Lamb served as Project Manager and Site Engineer for the expansion of the Philip Goldson International Airport Terminal Building and for the construction of the new San Ignacio Hospital as well as provided technical advice on all Engineering aspect of JEBCO’s construction works. His last tenure was Project Manager for US$10.5M project at the Belize Water Services Ltd.

Third Spanish Lookout Commercial Expo held
Belize’s third Spanish Lookout Expo was held on Friday and Saturday of last week at the 100- acre Country Side Park in Spanish Lookout. Thousands of Belizeans from around the country came to learn about what businesses from Spanish Lookout have to offer to the rest of the Country. “It really is just to get a lot of businesses to have a venue to showcase their products and services and also for the Belizean people to come and visit Spanish Lookout to see what the business community has to offer,” says Norman Dueck, the Director of the Business Chamber in Spanish Lookout and who was responsible for organizing the two day event. With over one hundred companies showing up for last weekend’s Expo, the Spanish Lookout community has once again laid a welcoming mat for visitors to have an exciting time with Belize’s most productive sectors.

2013 Tourism Statistics
The final figures for the 2013 tourism year are in, and we are happy to report that Belize’s Overnight and Cruise arrivals are up! Last year, Belize recorded 223,510 in PGIA arrivals. March 2013 saw the highest tourist arrivals at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) with 28,623 visitors; this is a 10.2% increase in comparison to March 2012. The month with the largest increase in 2013 was August, with a 10.5% increase when compared to August 2012. While there were 3% decreases for April and September, overall PGIA arrivals are up 5.5%. Preceded by a decrease in cruise arrivals in 2011 and 2012, 2013 saw an increase in cruise visitors to Belize. Overall, Cruise passenger arrivals grew by 5.7%. August 2013 saw the largest increase in cruise arrivals, with a 30.2% increase over August 2012. Belize recorded the highest cruise arrivals in January 2013 with 102,871 visitors, which is a 19.4% increase over January 2012. In 2013, a total of 677, 350 cruise passengers visited Belize.

Eulogy for Lionel Lincoln Robert Welch
Lionel Lincoln Robert Welch was born on the 3rd December 1950 in Gales Point Village to Mr. Lincoln Welch and Mrs. Emma Cattouse. On Sunday, 16th February 2014 he left Damion, Shanna, Keisha, Diedra and Franlina to remember his passing. He was the beloved and only child of his Mother and is survived by his siblings Natalie, Jacqueline and Stephen Welch. Nel! A child well Loved Lionel attended St. Augustine Anglican Primary School where he excelled and transitioned to St. Michael’s College for his secondary Education. This all-boys school helped in shaping and moulding this boy into the man we all came to know as Nel. Many of his friends recall his earlier years as a good sprinter and they recall the many bicycle races from this Cathedral back to Michael’s after attending compulsory mass along with St. Hilda’s. His friendship with Cushin Neal, and Desho Rock ignited his interest in weight lifting and he became an avid body builder. His interest and love for football was already kindled but, back then, only the bigger boys caught the school team, so he collaborated with Albert Arnold and other friends and organized an informal football team called ‘Ramblers’, which later ventured into Second Division competitions in Belize City. Sorry FC Belize you were not his first football team!!!! For the record, his squad was always beaten by the “Braves”, a team from Fisher Waterside area that was considered inferior by all his players. His initial sojourn with football was arrested by his departure to UWI.

“Fused Response 2014”
The Government of Belize and the Government of the United States of America have approved a joint Belize Defence Force/U.S. Military training exercise to take place here from March 5 to 14. The exercise, titled “Fused Response 2014” will be conducted by the Belize Defence Force, along with members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The training events will be held in the Cayo District and in the San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. The joint training exercise, in which approximately 500 military personnel from both countries will participate, is aimed at improving the interoperability of the participating forces and increasing their capacity to confront common threats, such as organized crime and illicit trafficking. The Belize Defence Force, U.S. Southern Command and Special Operations Command South conduct military activities every year, which keep them updated on the advances in the areas of military operations, readiness, and the mutual interaction between both militaries. Observers to the exercises will include military personnel from Canada and Brazil.

CJ tells Compol to investigate Penner
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has ordered that Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie must commence an investigation against former Minister of State Elvin Penner for his connection to the fraudulent passport issued to South Korean, Won Hong Kim. The court has found that Whylie acted irrationally, unreasonably and unlawfully when he exercised his discretion to try to save resources on an inquiry he believe would not yield fruitful results. The hearing for the Writ of Mandamus was held on Friday, February 28, where Senior Counsel Edwin Flowers, Anthony Sylvester and Kareem Musa represented Opposition Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca in his claim against the Commissioner Whylie. It has been widely reported that Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow required Elvin Penner to resign as a Minister of State in the Immigration Department for his role in the passport scandal where international fugitive Won Hong Kim ended up with a Belizean passport while in jail. Penner sent an email a few days later explaining how he pushed the documents through to get the passport for Kim, whom he says he was duped by.

Inaugural Meeting - Belize/Guatemala Administrative Commission
The inaugural meeting of the Belize-Guatemala Administrative Commission was convened last Friday 28th February, 2014 at the George Price Centre in Belmopan, between a high level delegation of trade and other officials representing the Government of Belize and an official delegation from the Republic of Guatemala. Mr. Michael Singh, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Trade, Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection, welcomed the Guatemalan Delegation Headed by Vice Minister Maria Luisa Flores Villagran. CEO Singh reaffirmed the Government of Belize’s strong interest and commitment to maintaining formal trade relations between Belize and Guatemala with Belize serving as an important conduit for trade with CARICOM. Vice Minister Flores Villagran recognized the importance of establishing the Administrative Commission and reiterated commitments from the Government of Guatemala.

PUP do not support women
The Prime Minister's Wife, Kim Simplis-Barrow has taken on the task of bringing to the forefront many social issues that generally linger in the back of the minds of Belizeans. She has single-handedly been able to inspire cancer survivors, being a survivor herself. She has been able to bring forth to discussion tables, issues of persons with different abilities. She has even championed the cause to ensure that every child has an identity by doing birth registration drives across the country. Now, she is taking on the task of highlighting the importance of women in Belizean society, with a 20,000 woman march scheduled for Thursday March 5. The importance of such a cause can never be second guessed as women from all walks of life will be participating.

Adolphus Palacio and Callin Castillo Charged with Arm Robbery
Adolphus Palacio, 19, and 20-year-old Collin Castillo, both residents of La Democracia, are in jail after they were remanded on a charge of armed robbery upon 18-year-old Priscilla Wagner on Friday, February 28. Wagner reported to police that at about 2:30 p.m. on Friday, February 28, she was walking down the Coastal Road after exiting a bus at the junction with the highway when two dark complexion males rode past her very slowly and watched her in a suspicious manner. According to Wagner, one of the men, who was tall and had a gold tooth, turned back and snatched her chain as he rode from behind. The other man, who she described as muscular and short, pointed a firearm at her and demanded that she hand over her purse. The men took a white Samsung Galaxy S3 cell phone valued at $1,486; a gold chain valued $800; a brown purse valued $150 and containing $60 cash; a key value $50 and a flash drive value $80, a total of over $2,600.

Miss Bev takes Rural Central
The Phillip Goldson Highway in front of the Our Lady of the Way primary school in Ladyville took on an air of festivity and combustion that is brought on during a general election. But it was no general election on Sunday as Beverly Castillo, Emroy Castillo, Michael Hutchinson, Francis Lizama and Dean Samuels gave it their all to become the next UDP Standard Bearer for the Belize Rural Central Constituency. Polling started at 10 in the morning and carried on until 5 in the evening with a constant stream of residents making their way to the polling rooms to cast their ballots. They came from as far as Gales Point Manatee and by the time the convention was ended, 2,015 residents had voted. Beverly Castillo easily secured a victory receiving 961 votes. Michael Hutchinson received 502 votes while Dean Samuels received 353 votes. Emroy Castillo received 153 votes and Francis Lizama received 19 votes; 28 ballots were spoilt.

Fort George has new Standard Bearer
The Fort George Constituency held a convention to select a new Standard Bearer for the United Democratic Party on Saturday, March 1. While the numbers were not as impressive as other conventions held across the country, it was not less a sweet victory for Belize City Councilor Roger Espejo who has been holding on to the constituency as caretaker for the past two years. At the end of polling at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall, Roger Espejo had received 268 votes, his competitor, William Schnarr received 190 votes and 15 ballots were spoilt. There were a total of 475 persons who cast their ballots.

Loans Available for Businesses Interested in Exporting
Hundreds of thousands of dollars are available for Belizean business owners interested in hitting the export market. The Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) launched an export program in Belize on Wednesday, March 5. IIC is collaborating with the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) to introduce FINPYME Export Plus to Belizean entrepreneurs. The IIC is the investment arm of the Inter-American Development Bank, which deals with private sector lending. The launch on Wednesday is the start of a series of workshops aimed at assisting local business owners to access international markets by addressing certification requirements, improving operations and management processes.

Uplifting Conch Shell Bay
Through the efforts of councilor Philip Willougby residents of the Conch shell Bay area in Belize City, received a visit by a high powered delegation of key players who will be able to make a difference in the lives of the residents there. On Wednesday morning, Mayor Darrell Bradley; Bishop of the Anglican Diocese, Philip Wright; President of the Council of Churches, Roosevelt Papaloute; Commissioner of Lands, Wilbert Vallejos; Director of Hand in Hand Ministries, Bernard Panton and Councilor Willoughby himself, did a walk-through of the area. According to Mayor Bradley, the city council through the efforts of Willoughby did a site assessment to look at the conditions in the area and see how the residents can be assisted. Willoughby says that the players were brought together after he had a meeting with the residents three weeks ago and they brought up concerns that they would like addressed. Among those concerns is the issue of land where tenure of some of the residents need to be addressed. Another key issue was that of the poor living conditions.

Six Traffic fatalities in March
For the month of March 2014, which has just begun, six persons around the country died because of injuries suffered from traffic accidents. Because of the alarming spikes in accidents on the Northern Highway in the Jurisdiction of the Ladyville Police, the Rural Executive Officer, who commands the formation has, said that they will step up their efforts to try to prevent traffic mishaps. -

Freezone heist suspects caught
Corozal Police have charged four men for the brazen armed robbery, which happened in the Commercial Free Zone, that netted the thieves $208,000. Corozal residents 26 year-old Hector Kelly and 18-year-old Brandon Myers were charged with robbery, while Israel Rancharan was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery. All three were arraigned in Magistrate’s Court on Monday, March 3, where they were granted bail of $20,000. On Friday, February 28, 21 year-old Benigno Loria of San Andres Village was charged and arraigned for conspiracy to commit robbery.

Lenny Benguche Gets 10 years for Shooting Ex-Girlfriend
Lenny Bennett Benguche, 27, is now serving a ten-year sentence after he was convicted of maim on Friday, February 21. On January 29, 2008, 21-year-old Christina Zetina was shot in the left foot by Benguche while riding her bicycle in Ladyville Village. Benguche is Zetina’s ex-boyfriend and she was in the company of her new boyfriend, Kareem Young, at the time of the shooting. Five months after the injury, Zetina’s leg had to be amputated due to an infection. Benguche was arrested and charged with attempted murder and maim. In June 2010, a 9-member jury found him not guilty of attempted murder but they were deadlocked on the charge of maim. Therefore, a retrial was ordered for the charge of maim.

Ryan “Lippo” Alvarez accused of Pulling Gun on Uncle
Ryan Alvarez, also known as “Lippo”, is behind bars after he was accused of threatening his uncle with a handgun. 49-year-old Dwight Alvarez told police that he and his nephew, Ryan’s brother, were engaged in an argument when Ryan intervened and told his uncle that he won’t let anyone take advantage of his brother. According to Dwight, Ryan then went behind the yard of their family house, located on Supaul Street, and came back with a 9 mm pistol. Dwight said Ryan pointed the gun at him and, fearing for his life, he walked away and went to report the matter to police. Police arrested and charged Ryan Alvarez with one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Nurse caught with stolen items
A stolen item at the San Ignacio Hospital has been successfully recovered by Police. According to a press release issued today by the Police Department, on the 13th of February 2014, Doctor Guillermo Rivas, 53-year-old Medical Officer at the San Ignacio Community Hospital reported to Police that sometime around midday he was in the maternity ward section of the hospital where he returned a few minutes later because he had forgotten his white in color Samsung brand Tablet with a black casing valued at $800.00 and discovered it missing. As a result Police visited the Hospital and conducted searches on personnel working at the time but nothing was found. An investigation was launched into the matter as it was then learnt that this was not the first time that items have been stolen from the facility, yet no report was made. Hence the reason Police exhausted all efforts to recover the missing tablet.

Wanted American Fugitive arrested in Belize
Cody Safadago, 42, is wanted in the United States for leaving the country while out on bail for spousal abuse. According to Immigration officials, Safadago has been convicted of spousal abuse, drugs offenses and human trafficking. Safadago was captured by Immigration officers at a house on Benbow Street after he entered the country illegally on Friday, February 28. He was deemed a prohibited immigrant and remanded at the Belize Central Prison until he was arraigned on Monday, March 3. Safadago appeared before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton and pleaded not guilty after he was told he is being deemed a prohibited immigrant. Safadago told Magistrate Hamilton, “I came through Blue Creek and there was no one there [from Immigration Department].”

Corwin Bennett walks from murder charge
Corwin Bennett was acquitted of murder on Wednesday March 5th, after being on remand for more than 4 years. He had been accused of the January 12, 2011 murder of Kraal Road leader, Raymond "Killa" Gentle. He was thought to be one of two men who either shot or accompanied the shooter when Gentle was killed. The decision was handed down by Supreme Court judge, Adolph Lucas at around 10:00 a.m. The matter had concluded on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 and the judgment came one week later.

Boom Posse shoots Man in the Face
Ladyville police are looking into a shooting incident where Belize City resident 43 year-old Giovanni Berry ended up being shot in a case that resembles vigilantism. It happened on Saturday, March 1, in the pre-dawn hours, where a group of about six residents of the Burrell Boom Village stormed a house he was taking care of. At around 1 a.m., someone broke into Chad Gillett’s home in the village and stole his licensed 9 mm pistol. Fortunately, Gillett woke up in time to catch the thief as he fled. Gillett fired a shotgun blast at the unknown man, who seemed to have been hit by pellets, but he managed to get away on foot. Gillett then immediately called the village police officer, and got a group of his close friends, who are owners of licensed weapons, and they went out to do their own investigation.

Retrial ordered for Edward Buller
On Wednesday, March 5 a retrial was ordered for 55-year-old, Edward Buller, who was initially charged on June 24, 2009, for the murder of Ella Mae Bennett. The body of the 41-year-old Honduran national had been found inside an abandoned home on Central American Boulevard on June 20. On September 19, 2011, a jury of 12 had found Buller not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter. Buller was later sentenced to 16 years imprisonment for the crime.

All Green in Citrus Industry
On Friday, February 28, Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow announced to the nation that all stakeholders in the citrus industry had signed off on a Memorandum of Understanding that should solve the flagship company’s cash flow crisis and settle its executive level tug-of-war. A new Board of Directors will be configured for the Citrus Products of Belize Limited (CPBL) to include representation from the Citrus Growers Association, Banks Holdings Limited, the Government of Belize, the Social Security Board and Heritage Bank Limited. Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Barrow bridged negotiations between key stakeholders in the citrus industry in an effort to dissolve longstanding disputes that drove CPBL to the brink of collapse. The working capital for CPBL dried up after the commercial banks decided not to release any more money until the company could provide audited figures of its operations, which it was unable to do because the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) and its strategic investor, Banks Holdings Limited, could not agree on an auditor. Without working capital, CPBL could not pay farmers for their fruits and the company would’ve had to discontinue operations.

St. Luke Methodist Girls and Boys win in Primary schools Softball Competition
The Belize City primary Schools Softball Competition continues at Rogers Stadium with a number of games during the week. On Tuesday, March 3, in the girls’ competition played, St. Luke Methodist School defeated its sister school Trinity Methodist by the score of 15-2. The winning pitcher was Destiny Dobson and the losing pitcher was Davina Perrera. In the boys’ game, St. Luke Methodist also won over St. Mary’s Primary School by the score of 12-4. The winning pitcher was Avery Rudon and the losing pitcher was Michael Segura. On Monday, March 3, in girls’ competition, Calvary Temple School defeated Wesley Upper School by the score of 8-6. The winning pitcher was Pauline Jex and the losing pitcher was Erica Cadogan.

Central Region High Schools Softball Regular Competition ends
The 2013-2014 Central Region Secondary Schools Softball Competition regular season came to an end on Friday, February 28, 2014 at Rogers Stadium. In the female competition game played, Wesley College defeated Pallotti High School. The winning pitcher was Brianna Meighan and the losing pitcher was Shenelle Flowers. In the second female game, Gwen Lizarraga High School defeated St. Catherine Academy. The winning pitcher was Ashley Lucas and the losing pitcher was Jacqueline Alas. On Thursday, February 27, in the female game played, Ladyville Technical High School defeated Anglican Cathedral College by the score of 23-1. The winning pitcher was Amber Wade and the losing pitcher was Ashley Alarcon. In the male game played, St. John’s College defeated Ladyville Technical High School by the score of 10-8. The winning pitcher was Dylon Snaggs and the losing pitcher was Isaac Dominguez.

Announcement For Poster Contest For World Water Day
An International Day to celebrate Freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), and the United Nations General Assembly responded by designating March 22, 1993 as the first World Water Day. Every year thereafter, World Water Day is celebrated on March 22 around the world. This year, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture, in collaboration with other Ministries and Departments, has taken the lead for the celebration of the annual World Water Day (WWD) event as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater.


The single mother who last November took to downtown Belize City with a placard which said that she needed a job so badly she would even work for food, visited our newspaper today with her four children, dressed so smartly in their school uniforms that you would not even know by looking at them that they had nothing to eat for breakfast. “We less fortunate people are the ones suffering. We are not getting the crumbs falling off the table,” Juanita Paulino said. The latest labor force survey published in December indicated that women have an unemployment rate of 22% – double that of their male counterparts. The survey also had found that while the unemployment rate for men had fallen from 11.9% to 9.6%, it remained steady at 22 percent for women, which means that women like Paulino who were seeking gainful employment were having a harder time finding jobs than their male counterparts. The dire consequence of this is that for poverty-stricken, single mothers struggling to find a job, they are unable to meet the basic needs of their children: food, clothing, shelter, education, and healthcare.

Despite a notice from the Ministry of Education that the salary of teachers who will participate in Friday’s march on Belmopan will be docked for three days, the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) is still pressing ahead with plans to hold a rally and demonstration at the steps of the National Assembly tomorrow, when Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow is expected to read the national budget. Barrow had announced that the new budget includes an additional $22 million to finance a 5% salary adjustment for teachers and public officers. However, the BNTU said that it’s not all about the money – and there are pressing national issues—such as corruption—which the Government has failed to address. BNTU estimates that it has around 6,000 members, but we are told that the announcement from the Ministry, that the pay of teachers who participate in tomorrow’s demonstration will be docked, has dampened the drive to get teachers onboard. “We are very disappointed in this move to intimidate the teachers of this country,” said Luke Palacio, BNTU’s national president, in a statement issued Wednesday.

The Eiley and Arceo families of San Pedro are mourning the death of Jeffrey Eiley, 30, who was shot multiple times on Barrier Reef Drive in San Pedro at about 1:30 this morning, Thursday. Eiley was rushed to the San Pedro Poly Clinic, where he was declared dead on arrival. Residents of Barrier Reef Drive reported that they were awakened from their sleep by multiple explosive bursts of gunfire. Four gunshots were heard first, and a few seconds later, about six more shots were fired. Shortly after, they heard someone crying out for help. They went out to see what was happening and that was when they saw Jeffrey Eiley, a tour guide of Marina Drive who was well known to them, and who was the nephew of Patty Arceo, bleeding and wounded. Police responded quickly and took him to the San Pedro Poly Clinic, where he was declared dead on arrival. He was then taken to the morgue at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.

13 Bowen and Bowen employees sacked
Late yesterday evening, 13 employees who did not show up to work for two days in protest of an adjustment in their terms of employment that was recently implemented by their employer, Bowen & Bowen Ltd., were laid off by the company. The group of workers – primarily deliverymen— were reluctant to sign the new work contracts issued by the company, believing that their eligibility for holiday pay, commission and benefits would be severely cut. Apparently, the company concluded, after the employees were absent for two days that those workers had abandoned their posts without proper notification, and so they were replaced and presented with termination letters which informed them that their services were no longer required. Today, Amandala met some of the affected employees at the Labour Department in Belize City, where they had initially gone to contest the terms of the new work contract. Kevin Garbutt, who said that he has worked at the beverage company for 8 years, told us that they were given a new contract to sign, but they refused to do so. He said, “We didn’t sign because they were not going to pay us overtime and for holidays, which is due by law, so we got together and took it to management, but they refused to hear from us and decided to terminate us even though we have our doctor papers.”

KREM will be on the river for this year’s La Ruta Maya River Challenge
The yearly spectacle of canoes and paddlers which has become known as the Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge will come to pass this coming weekend, and for the first time, an all-female coverage team representing KREM Radio will be bringing live play-by-play coverage of the event to radio listeners across the country for the entire 4-day duration of the canoe race. Scores of paddlers and fans will converge on the banks of the Macal River in San Ignacio this Friday to either participate in, or witness the start of the event, and the KREM team promises to broadcast all the thrills and spills that occur along the way. The event will be a 4-day, 180-mile race, in which 300 male and female paddlers of different ages in 100 canoes will compete. One of the Belize Defence Force’s military nurses, Venice Lambert, will also be a part of the KREM team. She spoke about her role in providing the coverage. “We will be providing facts along with interviews so that radio listeners feel like they are there on the spot with us”, she said.

Plans for an unprecedented “20,000 Strong” march for women—in commemoration of Women’s Month observed every March—were met with resounding opposition from the most powerful church in Belize, the Roman Catholic Church, which issued a rare caution to its membership about the event, on suspicion that the move to have women rally behind the women’s empowerment banner is part of a wider agenda to get them onboard with changing gender norms, including the promotion of abortion and same-sex relations. The march is one of the highlights of Women’s Month, which Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, said, in a printed message in commemoration of the celebration, is “a time to pause to celebrate the achievements of women in their quest for gender equality.” Before the controversial 2013 Gender Policy came into effect, such a statement would not have elicited a strong response, but against the backdrop of a new gender policy which makes clear provisions to accommodate genders other than male and female, and which acknowledges the lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transsexual (LGBT) community and rights for which they have been lobbying, the temperature of the conversation has changed.

PUP launches 2014 Women’s Agenda
The Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) launched its 2014 Women’s Agenda, “Charting Greater Pathways for Belizean Women as Nation Builders,” to coincide with Women’s Month on Wednesday, at its Independence Hall headquarters. Senator Lisa Shoman said that this is the fifth Women’s Agenda that the PUP has launched. It is written by women and based on consultation with the women of the PUP, which also plans to incorporate it as part of the party’s manifesto. The six-point Women’s Agenda is focused on Education and Skills Training; Health and Wellness; Socio-cultural/Political; Economic Empowerment; Land, Housing and Property Rights; and a Legal section. In its Education and Skills Training section, the agenda sets out a seven-point objective which includes bringing about parity for girls and women from pre-school through tertiary education, including in technical and vocational programs. The PUP also wants girls and women to have equal access to education and employment and to expand and sustain relevant skills training for girls and women in the rural communities.

Beverly Castillo wins big in UDP’s Belize Rural Central Convention
The ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) held a convention to select its standard bearer for the Belize Rural Central constituency on Sunday, March 2. After the ballots were counted, newcomer Beverly Castillo, the former Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Natural Resources, emerged as the winner, edging out Michael Hutchinson and three other candidates in the five-way race to become the UDP Belize Rural Central standard bearer. Castillo, who ran a sophisticated campaign with media advertisements, posters, and hordes of workers projecting her message on T-shirts, garnered 961 votes, while Michael Hutchinson, a former UDP Minister of State who appears to have fallen from grace with the UDP’s top brass, was a distant second with 502 votes; City Councilor Dean Samuels managed to capture the third spot with 353 votes, while Emroy Castillo picked up 152 votes, and John Lizama finished the race with 19 votes.

CitCo presents mid-term progress reports
The current City Council administration – led by Mayor Darrell Bradley – has arguably been making tangible strides to improve the ambiance, and develop the infrastructure of the Old Capital, and this morning, the Belize City Council (CitCo) presented their report card encompassing recent accomplishments within the last year and future plans for further infrastructure works and policy implementations across the evolving city of Belize. In his presentation, the Mayor proceeded to update the public on what CitCo has been up to, while boasting that all city residents can see that the city is moving forward. “Significant efforts have been made to ensure that City Hall is run in a way that comports with the highest level of ethics and accountability”, Bradley stated. He told the audience of three core areas of development on which the council is focused, which are infrastructure, governance and economic development.

PUP give ComPol Friday 2 p.m. deadline
Attorney Edwin Flowers, S.C., the lead attorney for Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca, who steered a judicial review through the Supreme Court, resulting in the court’s granting of a writ of mandamus directed to Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie to “continue, accelerate and conclude criminal investigations against Elvin Penner and others for their role in the illegal issuance of a Belize passport and nationality certificate”, has written to the Commissioner requesting an update on the investigation by 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, March 7. Flowers’ letter, dated today, March 6, reminds Commissioner Whylie that: “Of course you are also aware that willful disobedience of the orders of the court makes you liable to contempt proceedings.” On Monday, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin issued the Supreme Court’s prerogative writ of mandamus to the Commissioner of Police, whom the court found had acted “unreasonable, irrational and unlawful”, in the handling of the Penner passport scandal.

Weed and white supremacy
When the anti-colonial movement began in British Honduras in 1950, the dominant presence in the local economy was that of the Belize Estate and Produce Company, Limited, known to us here as “BEC.” BEC owned incredible amounts of prime real estate and raw land all over the colony, and it was really as if they were the business extension of the colonial administration the British Empire ran from Government House. Because of the fact that they were working partners with Government House and because BEC had grown out of the rule of the Baymen in the settlement of Belize, Belizeans hardly thought of BEC as “foreign direct investors.” But, technically, BEC would have to be categorized as such by modern PUDP politicians and their economists. Those of us in the resistance movement, on the other hand, would describe BEC as a predator organization, because they brought little investment into Belize, and they exported all their profits to Britain. In fact, the British peer who came here in 1985 was quite similar to BEC: he brought little investment and exported all of his profits. For decades, however, he was dubbed as a “foreign direct investor.” And, he was favored by both the PUP and the UDP.

This has been an unprecedented post-general election period in Belize’s modern political history, in the sense that it has seemed as if campaigning continued and has not stopped since the March 2012 general election. One of the reasons for the highly energetic politics from then till now was the narrowness of the UDP victory back then. Another reason was the need for the new Opposition PUP Leader, Hon. Francis Fonseca, to consolidate the gains in prestige he had achieved with his party’s 14-seat performance in the 2012 generals. Remember, Mr. Fonseca had been defeated by Hon. John Briceño in the PUP leadership convention in March of 2008. Then, when Mr. Briceño resigned, under some financial duress, in October of 2011, Hon. Mark Espat had been the PUP Interim Leader for 11 days, and in fact endorsed for the substantive leadership by 30 of the 31 PUP constituencies. It was not as if Mr. Francis entered the leadership like a conquering hero after Espat declined the PUP leadership offer: it was more like emergency surgery. The surgery was successful. The PUP came within 60 or 70 votes of winning the general election. It was a stunning performance, and Mr. Fonseca welcomed and deserved his party’s accolades.

Like, where is the compelling governmental interest? Dear Editor, I looked at a recent eye-opener, the case of the one-legged man receiving six months for 1/10 of a gram of cannabis. Yeah, I know he had committed similar violations of the law in the past and still owed money. Last I recall, the courts had fined him $10,000 for a past similar violation. How does a one-legged man pay such a fine? This is only one example of casualties in this war on the people. With all that said and understood, what are we looking at here? What is the cost in time and money in just this one case? I can’t tell you that, but I can tell you the cost of the cannabis involved. Let’s see what 1/10 of a gram of cannabis is, in the material world – pretty much $35.00 an ounce in most places in rural Belize. OK, 28.3 grams in an ounce, $35.00 divided by 28.3 grams in an ounce = $1.24 per gram. 1/10 of a gram is twelve and one half cents.

LETTERS: City females’ backbreaking work for an honest living
Dear Editor, I write to say congratulations to the 12 young ladies, many of them single mothers, who have accepted work digging trenches through rocks in the hot sun in Belize City to earn an honest living. Digging trenches through rocks with spade and pickax in the sun is backbreaking work, best suitable for men. Given the choice no parents would want to see their daughter or other female relatives doing that type of manual work, that could result in birth problems or other serious effects on their bodies down the road. The fact that females have to accept that type of employment, speaks of the massive unemployment in the country or the huge difficulty in getting a job, especially among single mothers, who don’t have the benefit of a high school education. By accepting backbreaking construction work to earn an honest living, the ladies on the Southside of the city have also struck a severe blow to an often repeated lie against them. The lie is: that Southside women,who are marginalized, are satisfied with a little $20.00 or $30.00 from a Minister once per week and have no interest in decent steady employment to care for their families.

LETTERS: Belize’s major alcohol problem
Gentlemen, Thank you so much for inviting me to participate at the liquor licensing regulations meeting. I believe it was very worthwhile to get input from so many different levels and sources that will help craft a better piece of legislation. I have two issues, obviously requiring more evaluation, before consideration of legislation. They are as follows: a. Consider creating “jurisdictions” and putting a maximum number of licenses based on population, with ­­­­­­distance limitations from schools, churches, residential area and add appropriate zoning. This accomplishes two things (probably not popular with local Councils): (i) it prevents discretionary granting of licenses. This is a country that needs to do all it can to curb corruption and a fixed number of licenses for defined areas is simply that, fixed. (ii) it also adds value to the license, which, barring violations that would render the license invalid, has a financial value. People who have that license, and knowing that there are not others readily available, would be much more concerned to follow rules and regulations. They will follow the rules on closing, they will follow the rules on noise abatement, because they don’t want to lose that license!

It is difficult to discuss sports in Belize without provoking emotional responses from various quarters, but we hope that in this essay we can provide clarification and background instead of sparking controversy. The recent announcement of the new appointments to the National Sports Council suggests to us that power has returned to those who see sports as privilege, rather than opportunity. All children, even handicapped ones, love sporting competition, and we can view sports as an actual human right. So no reasonable person would want to deny Belizean children the right to play sports. The problem is that we are a poor country, with limited facilities. It has happened, most notably in the case of the Belize City Center, that there are disagreements between those who see sports as privilege, and we generally refer to such peoples as “amateurists,” and those who see sports as opportunity, and those are the people who support professionalism in sports.

Ideas and Opinions – Coconut Grove
Some ideas are more valuable than silver or gold. Most people spend their whole lives without conceiving one such idea. But a precious few are blessed to have more than one. I first heard of the idea that the establishment of a national bank by the government could transform our economy, from Dr. Leroy Taegar and Bill Lindo, at about the same time. They were associates, so they might have conferred. Bill went further; he has been studying the subject for the past fifteen years, read the books of, and corresponded with one of the foremost experts in, the field of national banking. It took a long time till a government saw merit in the idea and had the courage to take action. It is to the credit of our present government that our national bank is a reality. The government is advised by people it considers experts, but Bill is saying that they are making some mistakes which might be avoided. If they listen to what Mr. Lindo has to say, it might be less expensive.

Madness and mandamus
There is an eerie feeling in the air over this nation and only those with a sense of discernment can detect it… others are oblivious of the forces at work. It makes me think of the old Biblical days when literally offerings were burnt to God and so the smoke of the burnt offering permeated the atmosphere. But those offerings greatly depended on the heart of the “offeror.” So we are not “burning” offerings, but our individual conduct and acts and especially those of our leaders set the tone of what is out there, the “smoke-screen” in the public domain. It’s like madness going on and people being allowed to get away with madness! The tone on many things are set by our leaders, be it political leaders, church leaders, youth leaders, women leaders, social leaders, sports leaders, just leaders on a whole. Union’s right to rally An interesting power play took place the past week and I wrote about it in last week’s edition of this column and this week I sat back and saw the power play but did not anticipate that such a gigantic player as the Catholic Church would step in. From this writer’s corner I was looking at the duplicitous nature of the Ministry of Education under the leadership of Patrick Faber and several things came to mind.

SATIIM’s former Finance Officer charged for embezzlement
A 40-year old villager of Forest Home Village, who was formerly employed as the finance officer for the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM), located in southern Belize, was today charged for a portion of funds that were reportedly embezzled from the organization over a 15-month period. Between January 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013, David Duncan – who held the post of administrator and finance officer at SATIIM – allegedly forged, deposited and cashed several cheques belonging to the environmental organization, which amounted to approximately $110,000. Some 10 months ago, in May of 2013, the report was initially made by SATIIM’s Executive Director, Greg Ch’oc. At the time, Ch’oc was reluctant to comment on the matter because he said that it was in the hands of police, who were doing their pertinent investigations.

Blazin’ Reggae Showdown at Bird’s Isle this Sunday
Community members and reggae lovers in particular are being invited out to Bird’s Isle this Sunday, March 9, to support a worthy cause, while enjoying a variety of reggae music from 4:00 p.m. until midnight. The event, dubbed “Blazin’ Reggae Sunday”, will feature a host of local deejays who will be providing the audience with a mixture of both old and new reggae songs, and the subsequent proceeds will be used to assist in the administration of some much-needed feeding programs which are conducted to help disadvantaged schoolchildren in Belize City. Today, Amandala spoke with two of the organizers, Anthony “Tony G” Grant and Deon “Ras Pitta” Pitter, who told us about the show and about their intent to make it a monthly event. “We are putting together a show called Blazin’ Reggae Sunday and it’s a kickback from my show on KREM called ‘Blazin’ Reggae Vibes’ which is aired from Monday through Thursday from 5:00 a.m. until 6:30 a.m.”, Grant said.

Two men from the Toledo district are dead following a fatal traffic accident in Trio in the Toledo District, while a female police constable and two motorists were seriously hurt in separate traffic mishaps in the Belize district. Police reported that at 7:05 p.m. on Sunday, March 2, 2014, they visited an area in front of the primary school in Trio, where they saw a white pickup truck overturned in a drain. However, no one was seen in the vehicle at the time. Police said that they then visited the Independence Polyclinic, where they saw the bodies of 25-year-old Wilfredo Jaime, a farmer of Independence, and Antonio Mejia (age unknown). Police also observed 19-year-old Christopher Gutierrez, another farmer of Independence, who appeared to be in a state of shock. Gutierrez was transported to the Southern Regional Hospital, where he was later admitted.

Brother and sister die 28 hours apart
Double tragedy has struck the Garbutt family of Corozal – with the deaths of two siblings of the family occurring within 24 hours of each other. Special Constable Loneth Ferguson died first at about 1:30 Monday morning after a bout of illness at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, and then her brother, Lennox Garbutt, 43, according to reports, died at about 1:30 Tuesday morning at the scene of an accident he had – he was travelling from Corozal to Belize City to make preparations for her funeral and make other arrangements in connection with her death. The traffic collision in which Garbutt was involved took place between Miles 6 and 7 on the Philip Goldson Highway. He was officially declared dead at about 5:30 a.m., at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Garbutt was driving his Toyota Corolla car with L/P CZL-C- 027302, in which Gary Williams, 34, a laborer of 11- 6th Street, Corozal Town was a passenger, when a head-on collision occurred between the Corolla and a Sebring Touring car, being driven at the time by Steven Wade, 23, an employee of the Ministry of Health, who resides on Water Lane in Belize City. As a result, Garbutt suffered massive injuries to his left foot, chest, right arm and hip.

Last Friday night at the Corozal Civic Center, the Corozal Heats (1-3) whipped the Belmopan Point Bandits (2-2) with a score of 67-54 and secured their first win of the season in the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) tournament. The first quarter was well played by both teams, with very few turnovers committed by either side. As a result, the lead was volleyed from one team to the other. At the end of the first quarter, Belmopan was up 17-14. The teams’ evident scoring drives made the second quarter very interesting. Corozal had the upper hand in regards to their three-point shooting which was, by far, much better than Belmopan’s; however, Corozal had many more turnovers. Unfortunately for Belmopan, the Bandits failed to capitalize on those turnovers. By the end of the second quarter, the Corozal Heats had taken the lead, 35-27. The third quarter saw the Heats trample the Point Bandits, as their lead grew to 12 points, mainly through the hands of Jason Daly and Kenroy Roca. Roca was on fire, sinking 4 three-pointers from 6 attempts. The third quarter ended 53-41 in favor of Corozal.

Gwen Liz girls, Wesley boys win
In the NSSSA Central Division High School Softball playoff games today at Rogers Stadium in Belize City, the girls’ team of Gwen Lizarraga High School and the boys’ team from Wesley High School were both victorious in their matches. In the first game, the #3 seed Gwen Lizarraga female team trumped the #4 seed Wesley girls’ team by a score of 15 to 4. The winning pitcher was Ashley Lucas, and the losing pitcher was Brianna Meighan. The second game was much more competitive, as the #3 seed Wesley boys’ team edged out the #4 seed Gwen Liz males by 1 run, the game ending with a 16-15 score. The winning pitcher in that game was Devon Tillett of Wesley College, while the losing pitcher was Devonte Middleton of Gwen Lizarraga School.

Tennis news
This past Saturday, March 2, twenty-two children ranging from ages 4 to13 years participated in a tennis tournament hosted by the Belize Tennis Association at the Belize Pickwick Club Tennis Courts. There were three different categories: green/advanced, orange/intermediate, and red/beginners. The advanced and intermediate category played doubles. In the green/advanced category, Harnadar Tut and Gavin Riveroll took the 1st place, with Adrian Marshalleck and Jonathan Smith taking 2nd place. In the orange/intermediate category, which had the most participants, the competition was tight; but in the end, Jayda Smith and Devesh Hukmani took 1st place, and Sofia Solano and Marianna Diaz took the 2nd place medals. In the red/beginners category, Daniel Musa came out on top, with John Paul Jaramillo taking the runner up position. Both Daniel and John Paul are extremely promising players, and they held the longest rallies of the entire tournament, impressing all parents and fans present!

Dangriga sports stats
Classic Gold Mayor’s Cup The Classic Gold Mayor’s Cup football tournament, sponsored by Traveller’s and Belikin, will get under way this Sunday, March 9, at the Carl Ramos Stadium with a Grand Marathon, commencing at 10:30 a.m. Teams taking part are: Benguche, New Site, Silk Grass, Wagiya, Wagierale, Green Gold Hope Creek, Hopkins, Southside, Riverside, and Conquerors. All teams are asked to please be on time. First place for the Marathon will be $1,000.00, second $500.00, third $300.00. Registration per team for the Marathon is $75.00. The regular season begins the following weekend with 2 games on Friday and 2 games on Sunday. This will be a short season, so teams have to be fully prepared both mentally and physically. BDF hosts PLB season opener The Premier League of Belize (PLB) will kick off its Closing Season tournament throughout the country of Belize this weekend; and here inside Dangriga’s Carl Ramos Stadium this Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. will be the “southern derby” battle, as home team BDF will see action against their worst foundation rivals, Punta Gorda’s Paradise/Freedom Fighters.

Gwen Liz girls overpower Nazarene High
Gwen Lizarraga High girls softball team coach Keith Madril was worried about “making team,” but otherwise exuded confidence going into this evening’s clash with regular season #1 seed Nazarene High. In Monday’s playoff first round, Nazarene High had gotten their first taste of defeat, when they fell to #2 seed Ladyville Technical, 6-5; and it was older sister Amber Wade on the mound for Ladyville Tech who took the victory over baby sister Elma, pitching for Nazarene. #3 seed Gwen Liz girls had made light work of #4 seed Wesley on Tuesday, crushing them 15-4, so today they got their chance against Nazarene to earn a spot in the finals on Friday against Ladyville Technical. Gwen Liz coach Madril confessed that his team lost to both Ladyville Tech and Nazarene in regular season games because he made some tough decisions with problem players, whom he promptly benched for coming to games late or not showing up at all. His biggest worry was having power pitcher Ashley Lucas protected by her reliable battery-mate Tyra Moreira.

A former Belize City Council Special Constable was busted on Wednesday when she went to the Kolbe-managed Belize Central Prison to visit her boyfriend and was found in possession of 0.3 grams of cannabis. The former Special Constable, Natalie Hamilton, 31, a resident of Periwinkle Street, appeared before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton, who arraigned her on the drug possession charge. Hamilton pleaded not guilty and was released on $500 bail plus one surety in the same amount. Hamilton had gone to visit Gyon Bernard, a remanded prisoner who has a number of cases pending in court, including two counts of attempted murder.

Raymond “Killa” Gentle’s accused killer, Corwin Bennett, walks
Earlier this week, we reported on a shooting which had taken place in Burrell Boom whilewherewhen a mob of villagers were in pursuit of a thief or thieves who had burglarized the home of Chad Gillett. Based on information we had received at the time, we were told that it was a fellow resident of Burrell Boom who was shot; however, Amandala understands that the shooting victim was 43-year-old Belize City resident, Giovanni Berry. Berry was reportedly in the village working on a newly built house and had decided to bunk for the overnight, but he ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was caught in the middle of a horrifying ordeal and woke up to the nightmare of a hail of gunfire in his direction, allegedly by a vigilante group.

“Weedy” wanted to chop security guard
A security guard of Discount Superstore escaped being “chopped up” at the supermarket by a man who chased him with a machete in the store. The storeowner quickly called police and the machete-wielding man ran out of the store and drove away in a taxi. The incident occurred about 7:40 Monday morning at the store on Mahogany Street Extension. Christian Ramirez told police that at about 7:37 Monday morning, while at work, a man whom he knows as “Weedy,” who was armed with a machete, approached him and attempted to chop him. He ran into the store, and the man chased him inside the supermarket.

Corozal Free Zone robbers captured
On Tuesday, February 25, a Mexican businessman, Ricardo Villasenior, 43, of Las Flores Manzoni, Calle Alcatraz, Quintana Roo, Mexico, was robbed at gunpoint in the Corozal Free Zone. The thieves got away with $1,250,000.00 pesos in different denominations, which is the equivalent of BZ$208,000, and then, after further taking Villasenior’s cellphone and an additional 800 pesos out of his pocket, locked him up in his car trunk. Police have arrested Benigno Loria, 21, of San Andres, Corozal, who is a former employee of North American Store where Villasenior was robbed; Israel Rancharan, 22, a laborer of Venezuelan Site, Corozal Town; Hector Kelly, 26, a laborer of Halls Layout, Corozal Town; and Zandon Myers, 18, a laborer of 4th Avenue, Corozal Town.

Court of Appeal orders retrial for Edward Buller, convicted of manslaughter
The Court of Appeal has quashed the 16-year sentence of Edward Buller, 55, and ordered a new trial. Buller was convicted of manslaughter for the June 20, 2009 death of Ella Mae Bennett, 41, a Honduran national whose body was discovered in an abandoned house on Central American Boulevard. The trial judge had failed to direct the jury on a caution statement that Buller had given to police, the court found. Buller had contended that the statement was taken from him by force, and this was the legal lynchpin which resulted in the appeal justices ruling to overturn the conviction. At his trial, Buller denied being at the crime scene. He told the court that he was at home watching television. In June 2011, Buller was tried on a murder indictment, but after deliberating for over four hours, a jury of six men and six women returned into the courtroom of Supreme Court Justice Adolph Lucas with a not guilty of murder verdict, but a verdict of guilty for the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Man shot in the face in Burrell Boom was Belize City resident
Earlier this week, we reported on a shooting which had taken place in Burrell Boom whilewherewhen a mob of villagers were in pursuit of a thief or thieves who had burglarized the home of Chad Gillett. Based on information we had received at the time, we were told that it was a fellow resident of Burrell Boom who was shot; however, Amandala understands that the shooting victim was 43-year-old Belize City resident, Giovanni Berry. Berry was reportedly in the village working on a newly built house and had decided to bunk for the overnight, but he ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was caught in the middle of a horrifying ordeal and woke up to the nightmare of a hail of gunfire in his direction, allegedly by a vigilante group.

At about 9:00 last night on the Philip Goldson Highway in Biscayne, an alert and quick-thinking driver of a BBOC passenger bus averted a collision with a tandem truck, probably saving the lives of his passengers and preventing untold damage to his bus. The bus driver told police that about 9:00 last night he was traveling in his BBOC bus from Orange Walk to Belize City, when upon arrival at Biscayne he saw a lowboy swerving across the road and coming towards his bus. He immediately took evasive action and drove off the road to avoid a collision. He reported the matter, and police say that a vehicle checkpoint was set up at the Burrell Boom junction where, around 9:30 p.m., a blue International towhead truck with license plates L/P A-2825 that was towing a red trailer with license plate TO199 coming from the direction of Orange Walk toward Ladyville, was stopped.

The Reporter

Bandits Release McCaulay to Atlanta Silverbacks; Reportedly Signed Contract with US team from January
The Belmopan Bandits released their key striker, Deon McCaulay, to the Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday, March 1st, effectively ending McCaulay’s contract with the team. McCaulay, 26, who entered the contract with Bandits in February 2013, was in limbo since the news broke that he […] Nazarene & Ladyville Tech girls lead high schools softball

Nazarene & Ladyville Tech girls lead high schools softball
William Ysaguirre Freelance Reporter The girls of Nazarene High School and Ladyville Technical High School are leading the Belize City High Schools Softball Competition and will face off against each other when the playoffs under the Paige system begin at Rogers Stadium in Belize City on Monday, March 3. The […]

Nazarene & St John College boys lead high schools softball
WIlliam Ysaguirre Freelance Reporter The boys of Nazarene High School and St John’s College are leading the Belize City high school softball competition and will face off against each other when the playoffs under the Paige system begin at the Rogers Stadium in Belize City on Monday, March 3. The […] New clinic offers diabetic patients hope

New clinic offers diabetic patients hope
Orange Walk is now home to the first Diabetic Clinic in the country. Opened on Saturday, March 1, the clinic is the brainchild of Drs. Vladimir and Perlita Sarrión. The clinic named “Nueva Esperanza,” translates to “New Hope” in English. And true to its name, the clinic offers new hope […]

Domestic violence wake-up call issued by UK watchdog
Devoted dog owners Doctors and nurses should receive special training so they can recognise the signs of domestic violence and ask questions, the health watchdog says. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is publishing new guidance to raise awareness among those coming into contact with victims. NICE […]

Passport case exposes malfunctioning system
If there is any one thing that the “Citizen Kim” passport scandal has done, it has re-emphasized the extent to which Belize’s oversight mechanisms are indeed malfunctioning. Since last September, We, the Belizean people, have watched in real time the true manipulative powers of the One-Party Government. We’ve watched it […]

A New Lord for Belize?
His name appeared almost as a blip on Channel 5 News in July of 2013: Lord Neil B Gibson, of LNBG, LLC. But after the win of the now UDP standard bearer for Cayo South, Ralph Huang, the name is back in the public domain, and with […]

Finally free! Court of Appeal exonerates Coye family
By Aaron Humes Freelance Reporter BELIZE CITY, Tues. Mar. 4, 2014 Court of Appeal Justices Dennis Morrison, Douglas Mendes and Samuel Awich on Tuesday acquitted Melonie Coye; her late father, Michael; employees Atlee Matute and Dietrich Kingston; and the family owned Money Exchange International Limited, ending a five-year odyssey for […] Corwin Bennett, 20, not guilty of Raymond Gentle murder

Corwin Bennett, 20, not guilty of Raymond Gentle murder
By Aaron Humes Freelance Reporter A Belize City youth was acquitted of murder charges for the death of a reformed gang boss three years ago. The verdict came on Wednesday morning in the Supreme Court. Justice Adolph Lucas told Corwin Bennett, 20, that he was not guilty of the January […]

Belize’s fading oil industry
The Statistical Institute of Belize’s latest data reveals that Belize’s Petroleum industry is in steady decline, but the Ministry of Energy says that companies are working to address problem. The SIB’s data revealed that crude oil production fell as much as 23 percent when compared […]

National Budget includes 5% Salary Adjustment for Public Officers
Teachers and public officers will get a 5% salary adjustment and the 2014-2015 National Budget calls for no new taxes, but teachers will still march on Independence Hill on Friday during the presentation of the Budget. Their decision to demonstrate is grounded in their […]

Forms with Function – Can we do more to encourage startups?
An enabling environment consists of the set of conditions that allow something to grow and thrive -or keep it from doing so. In agriculture, these conditions include weather, irrigation, fertilizer, and the other factors required to have a particular crop grow in abundance. In the case of business, such conditions […]

Controversy over 20,000 woman rally
The Special Envoy for Women and Children Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow said that while she is disappointed at the religious groups who didn’t endorse her office’s 20,000 Women rally, she stands ready to work with churches for women upliftment. “It is very disappointing that the […]

Belize and Guatemala hold first meeting eight years after agreement is signed
Belize and Guatemala have recently formed an initiative to promote amicable relations between the two countries. Representatives from both countries signed on to the Belize-Guatemala Administrative Commission at an inaugural ceremony held at the George Price Center meeting last Friday. The commission will serve as […]

VIP calls for COMPOL resignation
The Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) has called for Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie to resign. The VIP said that they are “of the opinion that the current Commissioner of Police is unable to carry out and execute under his command, a true, […]

NCL’s EIA sparks controversy
Unconfirmed reports say that the National Environmental Appraisal Committee has reviewed Norwegian Cruise Line’s amended Environmental Impact Assessment and approved the project despite unanimous public disapproval, Michael Heusner, NEAC Belize Tourism Industry Association representative, said. Heusner confirmed to The Reporter that NEAC met Tuesday, […]

MOE threatens to dock teacher’s pay. BNTU not scared
The Ministry of Education has threatened to dock the pay of teachers who attend the Belize National Teachers Union rally scheduled for Friday, but the BNTU says that its rally will proceed as planned. Minister of Education Hon. Patrick Faber told the media this week […] Women’s Rally for empowerment garners fair numbers

Women’s Rally for empowerment garners fair numbers
Women from all walks of life in the Belizean society from across the country marched and rallied from the Memorial Park to the Marion Jones Stadium in Belize City today as part of a movement for greater empowerment and to celebrate their cause as […]


Merida, Mexico: I Love So Many Things About this City
I DO LOVE A CITY. Especially one with fabulous museums, music, art, FOOD, cafes, culture, parks, history, shopping, nightlife, very low crime and options, options & more options. And Merida has all of that. SO MUCH OF IT. The gorgeous view flying on Tropic Air from Belize City to Merida. Low enough so that you can see the beautiful and mostly empty landscape. From chalky ocean to the sprawling White City of Merida. Gorgeous homes, hotels, gardens, pools and restaurants “hiding” behind cement walls and facades in the Centro or city center. An impressive boulevard constructed during Merida’s hey day as one of the richest cities IN THE WORLD. Mansions as private homes, banks and office buildings, crumbling facades and some…used for more practical things.

Belize Tourism Statistics 2013
The Belize tourism statistics for 2013 are in and I must say I am impressed with the numbers. Compared to other countries, 294,000 tourist arrivals (roughly) in a year may sound meagre but for a country with a population of 330,000 it makes a huge impact to the local economy. I believe that three out of every five people are directly impacted by tourism and indirectly, everyone profits. From the taxi driver to the local farmer, everyone benefits!

Exploring the ATM Caves in Belize: A Most Excellent Adventure
The ancient Mayan sacrificial caves of Actun Tunichil Muknal, Belize invoke a rare sense of discovery on the often worn out tourist trail. The genuine feeling of exploration makes the ATM caves one of the most exciting and worthwhile adventures we’ve experienced during our travels, and we couldn’t recommend it enough. We arrive at the park entrance early, grab our gear and take off on the hike to the cave. Along the way our guide Luis tells us stories of jungle jaguars, saving lost hikers and Mayan history. After crossing through three rivers and walking for an hour we get to the cave entrance. From here it’s goodbye to the bags, and our cameras. They have enforced a strong ‘no gear’ policy in an attempt to preserve the caves. If you’re claustrophobic you don’t need to worry too much. The cave itself is spacious, and only rarely are you stuck in tight spots. The cave twists, turns and has a number of different levels. For the more adventurous type there are a few challenges if you’re up to it, but ask your guide before wandering off. After 45mins we hit the end of the wet chamber and arrive at the dry chamber, where we climb up a rock and into an upper shelf of the cave.

Reliable information is that infamous former Minister of Immigration, Elvin Penner has absconded! NBZLive has been reliably informed that following word that police were going to pick him up before the weekend was out – Penner boarded a Guatemalan tour bus and headed to Mexico. On Monday, March 3, 2014, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin issued an order of mandamus ordering reticent Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie to conduct an investigation into circumstances which resulted in jailed in Taiwan, South Korean citizen, Won Hong Kim, procuring a Belizean passport and citizenship. The document was signed by the disgraced former Minister, Elvin Penner. The ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) has refused to conduct investigations into the matter that has outraged Belizeans at home and abroad.

International Sources

The State of Sexual and Reproductive Health in Belize
When picturing Belize, many people imagine beaches, snorkeling, and Mayan ruins. The Caribbean country is about the same size as the state of Massachusetts, and has a population of just over 324,000. The people who live in Belize are as diverse as its environmental attractions. Because of its natural beauty, Belize has become a popular tourist destination. Despite its riches of natural and cultural diversity, Belize is not a paradise for all. Women face many unique challenges. According to the World Economic Forum’s measure of gender equality—which is based on women’s economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment—Belize was ranked 102nd out of the 135 countries in 2012. It falls second to last among the Latin American and Caribbean countries. The National Gender Policy in Belize states that women are recruited for jobs and promoted at lower rates than men, and they receive lower salaries and fewer employee benefits then men who hold the same positions. The lack of opportunities for women means they often find themselves financially dependent on their male partners.

Latin America and the Caribbean Host 30 Percent of World's Murders
Latin America and the Caribbean, it seems, are two of the most blood-wrought regions on the planet. Statistics indicate that 30 percent of the world's homicides occur in the Latin American and Caribbean region. World Bank Citizen Security Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean Rodrigo Serrano-Berthet revealed in a World Bank report that despite Latin American and Caribbean region having only 9 percent of the world's population, almost one of every three murders globally are committed there. Berthet also states that out of 50 cities around the world with the highest homicide rates, 42 are in Latin America, including the top 16. "Other areas of concern to Latin Americans, such as inflation, poverty and unemployment, have improved. By contrast, the incidence of crime and violence has not changed in recent decades, and remains at very high levels, much higher than in other regions," Serrano-Berthet said.

Mexico: Dismantling the Sinaloa cartel’s financial structure
To dismantle the Sinaloa cartel once and for all, officials must attack its finances and networks of business and political accomplices that aided Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera during his 13 years as a fugitive. “The arrest of ‘El Chapo’ means nothing more than a change in leadership for the criminal organization,” said José Reveles, a security analyst and author of El Cártel Incómodo (The Uncomfortable Cartel). “To ensure the group is actually destroyed, we cannot leave intact the organization’s financial capacity or the political protection at the state and local levels that gave it impunity.” The arrest of Guzmán on Feb. 22 in Mazatlán must lead to an intensive effort by money-laundering investigation units to locate funds and companies the Sinaloa cartel allegedly uses to acquire weapons and bribe officials, Reveles added.

Fortis Inc. Recommends Shareholders Reject TRC Capital Corporation's "Mini-Tender" Offer
Fortis does not endorse this unsolicited mini-tender offer and recommends that shareholders reject the offer and do not tender their shares in response to the offer. The Corporation's recommendation is based upon the fact that this offer is at a price below the market price for Fortis common shares (4.51% less than yesterday's TSX closing price of $30.63) and is subject to numerous conditions. TRC Capital's offer states that it may terminate the offer if, among other things, the market price of Fortis common shares declines from the close of business on March 4, 2014, or if it is unable to enter into a credit facility satisfactory to it to obtain the financing necessary to consummate the offer.

Record year for Central America with nearly 13 million visitors in 2013
Nearly 13 million visitors in 2013 The final visitor figures for 2013 released by the Ministries of Tourism of the seven Central American countries - Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama - show that tourism to the region continued to grow last year, with a total of 12,959,843 visitors, 3.83% more than in 2012. The region also continued to grow in popularity amongst European visitors, with a total of 890,821 European travellers in 2013, an increase of 3.44% compared to the previous year. Spain (172,529 visitors) and Germany (128,770 visitors) remain the main source markets in Europe, followed by the UK (104,810 visitors). Costa Rica and Panama were the two countries that experienced the greatest increase in the number of European visitors, 5.6% and 18.5% up respectively.

March 7, 2014


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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Stranded Loggerhead Turtle being treated on Ambergris Caye
On Saturday, February 22nd a female Loggerhead turtle was found stranded in a stretch of beach in the Maya Beach Area of the Placencia Peninsula by a tourist from Minnesota, USA. The turtle was observed to be severely dehydrated and in poor physical condition. Authorities were called on scene and the turtle was transported to a nearby resort until arrangements could be made to transport it to the Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Program rehab center at Hol Chan Marine Reserve. In order to properly diagnose her, an X-ray was performed at Los Pinos Medical Center. According to biologist Kirah Foreman, the X-ray revealed that there is a foreign object in the turtle’s intestine that is causing severe infractions. “We still do not know if the turtle will survive. It is still weak and there hasn’t been any significant change in her health since she was brought here. She has no apparent cuts or visible damages and the X-ray shows that a foreign object is jammed in the turtle’s intestine causing it to be ill. We at Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Program are trying to find a way to save her and release her back to the sea when she heals,” said Foreman. Veterinarian Orlando Baptist of Saga Humane Society has been treating Ellen with a series of vitamins, saline drips for hydration and dextrose (a form of glucose).

Consultations on ‘Withholding Tax’ & ‘Contract Tax” being held countrywide
The Belize Income Tax Department is currently holding country wide consultations on the contract tax and the withholding tax on payment to non residents for technical and management services (the “withholding tax”) as provided for in the Income and Business Tax Act. On February 24, 2014, the Income Tax Department made a presentation on the contract tax and withholding tax in San Pedro at the Lion’s Den. The Income Tax Department is also enforcing Section 113 (3) and (4) of the Income and Business Tax Act. Section 113 (3) and (4) places a 25% withholding tax on payments to a non resident for management fees, professional or technical fees and insurance premiums. There is also a 15% withholding on interest on loans paid to non residents. The above mentioned withholdings are assessed only on the service element of the payment. Furthermore, there are additional provisions for special treatment of payments made to recipient resident in “Treaty Countries.”

San Pedro mourns the tragic loss of Jeffrey Eiley
The residents of San Pedro Town are in shock following the death of one of their own. 30-year-old Jeffrey Eiley, member of well-known San Pedro Town family, passed away after being shot in the early hours of Thursday March 6th. According to preliminary reports, sometime around 2AM, residents on Tarpon Street heard about four gunshots and a few second after, about six more. About 15 minutes later, residents on the southern end of Barrier Reef Drive heard someone calling and pleading for help along the road. When residents in the area went out to see what was happening, they saw Eiley still alive, bleeding profusely on the concrete pavement. The residents immediately notified the police and other family members, after which they rushed Jeffrey to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Poly-Clinic II, where he later succumbed to his injuries. When police arrived at the clinic, they observed Eiley still alive and suffering from (3) gunshots wounds below the left elbow, below the right elbow and at the right tricep . All bullets had exited the body. He was pronounced dead at about 3:30AM. Police believe that the previous altercation led to the shooting and they are seeking one suspect, Rafael Juarez. As they believe that he is no longer on the island, San Pedro Police have issued photographs of Juarez at all major points of entry/exit throughout the country and district terminals.

Tigersharks win third game in the NEBL against Western Ballaz
The once undefeated Cayo Western Ballaz (3 wins – 1 loss) went to San Pedro to take on the Tigersharks (3 wins – 1 loss) in front of a packed house, as the game kicked off with a lot of intensity. Tigersharks jumped out to an early lead that they were able to maintain at the end of the first quarter, finishing at 18 – 16. At half time the lead was 33 – 30 in favor of the home team. The defense from both teams were extremely physical, which accounted for the low first half score. Winston Pratt had the game’s high averages, with 26 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals, while Ashton Edwards finished with 13 points. Tyron Edwards netted 10 points while dishing out 7 assists and grabbing 2 steals and Michael Adams finished with 8 points and 8 rebounds. In a losing effort, Farron Louriano sank 26 points while pulling a game high 15 rebounds and Kurt “Chengo” Burgess finished with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Richard Troyer had 6 points and 7 rebounds while Travis Lennan finished with 8 points for Western Ballaz.

16th Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge…the coverage starts!
The final preparations are being put in place for the 16th edition of the annual Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge which is scheduled to kick off in mere hours. The four-day event will see paddlers make their way through from the foot of the Hawkesworth Bridge on the Macal River in the twin Towns of Santa Elena/Cayo to Belize City along the Belize River. The 180-mile race is set to kick off at 7:00AM on Friday March 7th and end on Monday March 10th, consists of four legs. During the first leg of the challenge the participants will make a 46-miles journey to Banana Bank Lodge outside of Belmopan. On the second day of the race, the paddlers will continue from Banana Bank Lodge to Double Head Cabbage Village on the Belize River for a total of 60 miles. Day three sees the contingency make their way 36 miles along the Belize River resting in Burrell Boom, and on the final day, the paddlers will go downstream the Belize River for 25 miles ending in Belize City.

Ambergris Today

Downtown Shooting Claims Life of Sanpedrano
Initial investigation revealed that Jeffery Eiley and male person he knows were involved in an altercation on the beach front where they were dispersed by the police. Jeffery Eiley left the area and upon reaching the corner of Angel Coral Street and Tarpon Street he was met by unknown person (s) who fired several shots that fatally injured him. Jeffery Eiley was transported to San Pedro Town Polly Clinic where he was pronounced dead at 3:30a.m., the body was later transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital morgue where it awaits a post mortem examination. Police investigations continue and are on the lookout for a suspect. Jeffery was a loving son, father and great friend. He not only leaves behind a grieving family but an entire community who loved him dearly and will always remember him for his great smile and loving ways.

Don Juan Carnaval Burnt Post Celebrations
The burning of the image of Don Juan Carnaval takes place at the end of the Carnaval celebrations every year in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, as the folkloric significance of his burning stems back to the 1930’s. It is believed that if the ceremony does not take place bad luck will descend upon the island and even bring death to some island residents. So on Wednesday, March 5, 2014, the San Pedro Town Council held the folkloric symbolical burning of Don Juan Carnaval at Central Park. It was the culmination of a great festival filled with music, dance, color and joy.

Presentation of Maya Wedding Ceremony at Santa Rita Maya Site - March
The Corozal Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) in conjunction with Corozal Town Council (CTC), Corozal Junior College (CJC) and the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) will be presenting a Maya Wedding Ceremony, depicting Prehispanic and Mestizo eras, at Santa Rita Archaeological Site on Friday, March 22, 2014 from 7:00PM – 9:00PM. Historically Santa Rita Archaeological Site is the only site where a marriage took place between a Spanish Conquistador and a Maya Princess. This presentation will showcase the unique historical and cultural potential of this site as the “Official Maya Wedding Garden” of Belize. The revival of this center as an official Maya Wedding Garden will honor our culture and heritage and will greatly benefit our present and future generations.

Misc Belizean Sources

Rain Patterns in Belize
In Belize, we don't actually have clear cut Dry or Wet season. . .. And event then, the patterns change considerably. Some years we have not had a proper Dry season, other years not a proper Wet season. Last year 2013, we had real proper, long, badly long Dry season. . . . AND a real proper, long bad Wet season. These patterns also change over long times, generally been similar for the last 50 years, but can change. Generally thought to be one reason why the Maya civilisations in Belize/Mexico died out a few hundred years ago. But our Typical patterns in Belize also vary considerably across even our small country. Belize Annual Rainfall - mm/Month The chart below is the official Met Office chart. And the Belmopan Chart for 2013 :

Tour guide shot and killed in San Pedro town
A shooting incident early this morning in San Pedro town has claimed the life of one man. The victim has been identified as thirty year old Jeffrey Eiley, a local tour guide. Police say Eiliey was shot multiple times just after 2 o’clock this morning at the corner of Angel Coral and Tarpon Streets in the municipality. A motive for the shooting has not yet been ascertained. Today’s police report says that Eiley and another man known to the victim got into an altercation on the beach front. That altercation was reportedly broken up by the police and Eiley left the area. Police say that shortly after, Eiley was met by an unknown person or persons who fired several shots, fatally wounding him. Jeffrey Eiley was taken to the San Pedro Poly Clinic where he was pronounced dead at 3:30 am. Eiley’s body now lies at the morgue at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City awaiting a post mortem examination. Police investigations continue.

Belmopan Bandits vs. Tiger Sharks
Saturday night, at the University of Belize gym, the Belmopan Bandits will take on the San Pedro Tiger Sharks. "Entrance fee: $5.00 adults - $3.00 Kids"

Cayo Classifieds 4-Mar
This week's Buy and Sell weekly classifieds are online. This issue highlights Bella Dee's soaps, and Midas Resort.

Battle of the DJ's
The Battle of the DJ's is Saturday night at the Cancha Marshalleck in Benque. It's a dance where the DJ's will have 3 rounds of battle: introduction, mixing ability, and thinking outside of the box. They'll also have a presentation of the Miss Mopan contenders. Sounds like it'll be a great night for music. "Hi, Friends! Have you decided your schedule on next weekend? If not yet, why don't you come and Join "Battle of the DJ Competition + Dance? Miss Mopan Candidates will also join & give their presentation. We offer Free Jello Shots before 10:00 p.m. $5 for a pre-sale ticket (@ Front desk at town hall) , and $7 for a door ticket. Don't miss it!"

Howler Monkeys roaring in the Belize jungle
A quick video showing the excellent habitat near El Pilar, Belize, with the wonderful and slightly terrifying background sound of roaring Yucatan Black Howler Monkeys.

Murder of a promient tour guide shocks la Isla Bonita

Empowerment rally short in numbers but big on energy

An early reaction on Friday's budget

Spanish Lookout Hosts Commercial Industrial Expo'

Sr. Carolee Chanona giving an empowering speech for women countrywide

Traffic enforcement theories and practices training
More than 100 traffic enforcement officers from the Northern and Belize Districts including the Cayes were being trained today in traffic enforcement theories and practices at the Belize Institute of Management (BIM), Belize City. The training was aimed to equip traffic enforcement officers with relevant skills and training that will significantly contribute to a reduction of traffic accidents and fatalities on our roadways across Belize. A notable feature of the training centered on the use of portable alcohol testing equipment/Breathalyzer, which is enshrined in the traffic laws of Belize as a monitor for testing driver alcohol consumption levels. It is in this context, the training forms part of a traffic campaign to address and mitigate with respect to driving under the influence of alcohol. Partnering in this training initiative is the Belize Road Safety Demonstration Corridor Project, which complements the on-going traffic enforcement training. This project, which falls under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, is designed to improve and enhance the George Price Highway between Belize City and Belmopan.

Rick Galvez Album Coming Soon
Its official now. Belizean artist Rick Galvez has announced that he'll be releasing his first studio album soon. This video gives some updates and thanks to all his supporters. You can usually catch him at Open Mic night at the Soul Project. Can't wait for the album. "As you probably know I've been really busy working on an extensive set of projects that will be happening throughout the course of the year. My last performance was done to debut new material that I have been writing for some of my recent musical endeavors and for the first time in a long time I feel very excited and confident in what I have been working on. The first project for this year to reach completion is going to be a compilation album of selected pieces from all the new songs I've been writing."

SIPL Visits Hope Preschool
The SIPL is celebrating Children's Month by visiting local schools and doing some fun storytelling. So far this week, they've visited Hope Preschool and Santa Elena Preschool. Thanks, SIPL! They have a little video from their visit to Santa Elena Preschool. "The San Ignacio Public Library had another Santa Elena town pre-school visit. Hope Pre-school had a blast!!"

I Have a Dream for Belize Winning Essay
Congratulations one last time to Elvis Usher for winning the 'I Have a Dream for Belize' essay competition. Well done! What an amazing essay. Here's the essay as it was published. "This week the Amandala featured Elvis Usher's, 'I Have A Dream for Belize' winning essay in the local paper. Check it out here!"

Man drowns in the Caribbean Sea in Placencia village
There was a drowning this morning in Placencia village in the Stann Creek district. The victim has been identified as Guatemalan national Minor Dupales Rodriguez. Reports are that Rodriguez, who worked as a yard hand at Los Porticus, went paddling in the sea on his surf board. Reports are that as he paddled in front of Los Porticus, Rodriguez fell off the surf board and drowned. When police and a doctor arrived at the scene, they found residents in the area administering CPR; but the doctor pronounced Rodriguez dead. His body was transported to the morgue at the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga, where it now awaits a post mortem examination.

Corozal schools get laptop computers from Rotary Club
Seven primary schools in the Corozal district have received laptop computers for use by students doing research on the internet. A total of 49 Tough Book laptops were distributed to the institutions through an initiative being promoted by the Corozal Rotary Club. According to the president of the Corozal Rotary Club, the objective of the project i to help the students to be able to complete their assigned work. The schools that are beneficiaries of the laptop computers are Escuela Mexico, Concepcion, San Antonio, Xiabe and Copper Bank. The Corozal Rotary Club, which consists of 11 members, plans to bring in an additional 150 f these Tough Book laptops for distribution to schools as part of the initiative.

Women’s Empowerment Rally considered successful
A mass of femininity paraded along Marine Parade, Newtown Barracks and Princess Margaret Drive from the Memorial Park to Marion Jones Stadium for the Women’s Empowerment Rally. Organizer and Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis Barrow was naturally disappointed by the resistance to the rally but maintained that all it was about was celebrating the successes and achievements of women. Chair of the National Women’s Commission, Ann Marie Williams, added that this is the start of a permanent movement to address women’s issues.

Survey says Belize can do better with public health emergencies
The Central American arm of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has scored Belize poorly among Central American countries concerning our capacity to respond to public health emergencies. The survey was conducted in 2012 and Dr. Jorge Polanco, Deputy Director of Health Services, said Belize scored very well in surveillance capability for monitoring communicable and infectious diseases. However, there are still gaps in administrative planning and communication which dragged down the score. Local health officials led by Director of Health Services Dr. Michael Pitts met with the consultant team in Belize City this morning. Dr. Bernard Benecke, the deputy director of the CDC in Central America, preferred not to focus on the actual scores. He preferred to say that Belize had room for improvement and noted that we did fairly well for a country with limited resources and a small population.

Ex-Bowen and Bowen employees demand justice
One of Belize’s largest employers, Bowen and Bowen Limited, is embroiled in labour trouble tonight. Earlier this week, 13 delivery truck drivers raised concerns with new contracts offered to them by the bottling giant, who distributes Coca Cola, Crystal Water and Fruit Beverages, Belikin and Lighthouse Beer and Guinness among other brands. They were told that they would receive 27% more pay but commissions on sales were sharply cut and workers’ overtime was eliminated. They are expected to deliver on contracted sales for the company and officially promoted to supervisors. But this group chose to take one day sick day off on Wednesday, communicating this to the employers. As a result, they were terminated and today they went to the Bowen worksite on Slaughterhouse Road and were turned away.

Local researchers discuss HIV epidemic in Belize
Less people are contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, in Belize. But HIV is still considered a stain on the reputation of a person who contracts it. The National Aids Commission and its international partners hosted the second annual HIV National Research Conference, seeking to identify and share local HIV-related research and how these studies impact the national response, especially in the areas of epidemiology, stigma and discrimination and policy efforts. Director of the National AIDS Commission Allison Green shared that Belize still has some way to go to eliminate stigma and discrimination and provide proper health and other services to persons living with HIV. Green went on to tell us that this research will inform future policy and the national response to HIV in all sectors. Presenters ranged from prominent health officials including Dr. Marvin Manzanero and Dr. Martin Cuellar to Caleb Orozco of UNIBAM and Eric Castellanos of the Coalition of Persons Living with HIV.

Channel 7

Special Envoy Kim Barrow Pulled A Crowd For Women's Empowerment Rally
We apologize for the break in transmission due to power failure caused by heavy thunderstorms in our area. Here now is the news. Today was a very different kind of day in households, offices and schools: thousands of women took a break from their daily duties at home and work to go and rally for women’s empowerment in the twenty thousand strong rally. So, did the event live up to the advance billing? Did they have twenty thousand? Well maybe not all that, but the crowd was mighty big, and so was the message.

Murder On San Pedro Appears To Be Revenge Killing
There was a murder in San Pedro Town early this morning. 30-year-old tour guide Jeffery EILEY was killed at around 2:00 am –shot to death, apparently as an act of revenge for a fight on the beach earlier on. Police broke up that fight, and sent both sides their separate ways. But, at the corner of Angel Coral Street, a short distance from his home, Eiley was attacked, beaten and then shot at close range. The injuries were only to his arms, and he ran from his attackers, who kept firing at him. He collapsed a fair distance away and was found still alive and taken to the town polyclinic. He died at 3:30 am, and his body was brought to Belize City for transfer to the morgue at 5:30 am.

Belizean Killed In Honduras Drug Deal Gone Bad
Newspaper reports out of Honduras say that a Honduran, Mexican, Guatemalan and Belizean were killed this morning in San Pedro Sula. Reports say that the quadruple murder resulted from a drug deal gone bad. The four men were killed in the streets of the Rivera Hernández. At the crime scene police found two passports in the name of Mexican Miguel Torres Jimenez, and Belizean Mario Roberto Cocom. The other two are presumed to be Guatemalans. The bodies were taken to the San Pedro Sula morgue. This is the third multiple killing in Cortes Honduras this week, which left twenty dead and several wounded.

Fired Bowen & Bowen Employees Show Up For Work
Last night, 7News told you that 13 employees who were complaining about new contracts were terminated from Bowen and Bowen yesterday at the end of the business day. The company says that they self-dismissed because they abandoned their posts for 2 days straight with no communication, so new people had to be hired in their place so that the company could continue to serve it's customers. From the perspective of the employees, they were simply exercising their rights as labourers under the law to get advice from unionists on how to protect themselves against a contract that they say will cause them to lose earnings.

Hon. Herman Says He's Being Undermined By DPM Vega Who's Backing Willoughby
Last night on the news we showed you Phillip Willoughby waltzing through Conch Shell Bay. That’s one of the poorest, most under-served areas in the Albert Division – and Willoughby is clearly trying to psoiton himself as the next UDP standard bearer in Albert. But they already have a standard bearer, and even more important, he’s an elected area representative. And now - so to speak - Willoughby is pitching a tent in his back yard! We asked Longsworth about it today:…

Of Failed Attempts To Get Weed Into The Prison
31 year-old former Special Constable, Natalie Hamilton is out on bail after she was busted trying to smuggle marijuana into the Belize Central Prison. According to Prison Officers, yesterday, Hamilton entered the facility saying that she was going to visit her boyfriend, Gion Bernard, who is currently on remand. The officers searched her and found that she was trying to smuggle 9 grams of marijuana into the facility, most likely for her boyfriend. She was handed over to the police, who charged her with possession of controlled drugs. She was arraigned today before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton. She pleaded not guilty and granted bail of $500.

SIF Turns A New Leaf After Scandals Of 2013
In September of last year, when the Dangriga Market Scandal unravelled at the Social Investment Fund, 4 senior staffers were terminated including Former Executive Director, Daniel Cano, and Former Public Relation's Officer, Mike Hernandez Jr. Well, after a little more than 5 months, they have been replaced. The new Executive Director is William Lamb, and a release from the Government says that he's an engineer by profession for more than 25 years. And the new public relations officer is Selwyn King. As viewers may remember, recently resigned from his post as the Director of Office of Public Information at the University a month ago.

Learning Lessons From AIDS In Belize
The 2nd HIV National Research Conference in Belize was hosted today by the National Aids Commission. Results and findings of various studies conducted over the last year were reported and discussed. And while the commission is moving towards a more evidence based approached to the work they are doing in the national response to HIV and Aids in the country - they plan on changing strategies and approaches to best use their resources. Allison Green - Director, National Aids Commission "What we we're doing is we're socializing the results and the findings of various studies that have been conducted over the last year or so. As we're moving towards a more evidence-based approach to all the work that we're doing in the National Response to HIV and AIDS in the countries, we're looking a trying to make sure that we're making use of the resources in as effective and with the most impact as was we possibly can. And so, all the research and the findings that will be reported today is going to shed some light on how we can best use those resources but also change the strategies and the approaches that we've been using from before.

Public Health In Emergencies: Can It Be Better?
And while the AIDS experts were at the Radisson, the Ministry of Health was at the Radisson to discuss the “Belize Public Health Capacities to Respond to Emergencies” survey, which was conducted in 2012. Stakeholders from all over the country attended the session to examine the strength and weaknesses of the report and to find ways to better respond to emergencies:

Wil Maheia Says Watch The Border
Earlier this week we told you about the first meeting of the Administrative Commission for Belize and Guatemala, a high level group discussing the partial scope trade agreement and many other issues of shared interest between both countries. But Wil Maheia's PNP says that while they're talking brazen incursions into Belize sovereign territory continue on a daily basis. A statement says Guatemalans feel free to come into Belize and take whatever they can find. Maheia - who recently took another trek to the border with the Territorial Volunteers again calls on government to clearly mark the border.

Joseph Nunez, Playmaker
Joseph Nunez has been working with high school talents to put on a show where young people get a chance to express themselves through the arts. It's called "Fun Instead of the Gun", and it would have been the third episode of the variety show which takes place at the Bliss. It's a continuing series, and on Tuesday, he told 7News why the public should support it: The show takes place every Thursday night at the Bliss Center at 7:00.

Channel 5

Empowerment rally short on numbers, but big on energy
Led by Kim Simplis Barrow, the Special Envoy for Women and Children, the planned women’s empowerment rally took place this morning in Belize City travelling from Memorial Park to the [...]

The vibe on the ground at the rally
The rally got plenty attention; a lot of it even before today. Politicians weighed in, and so did social activists, humanitarian organizations, the B.N.T.U., anti-gay protesters, gender-policy dissenters and even [...]

Murder of a prominent tour guide shocks la Isla Bonita
In San Pedro tonight, there is a sense of numbness at the brutal murder of Jeffery Eiley. The homicide of the well-loved tour guide who comes from a very prominent [...]

Belizean gunned down in San Pedro Sula
And in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, El Heraldo newspaper, is reporting that a Belizean is among a group of four persons murdered in a massacre this morning in the Rivera [...]

An allegation of theft against a female cop
An allegation of theft against a female cop is being reported tonight. News Five has confirmed that the police department is currently investigating a report that a female police officer [...]

Immigration officers questioned, but not Elvin Penner
On Wednesday, Nationality Department Counter Supervisor Ady Pacheco was questioned by officers from the National Crimes Investigation Branch. Pacheco was prominently featured in the internal investigation into the Won Hong [...]

Herman Longsworth blasts the Deputy Prime Minister
It seemed like a good move…providing a little upliftment to the lives of those living in poverty in the ill-names Conch Shell Bay. On Wednesday, aspiring politician Phillip Willoughby covered [...]

The churches divided on the women’s rally
As we said earlier, the Roman Catholic Church was first out of the protest gate when the twenty thousand strong rally was announced. A letter signed by Bishop Dorick Wright [...]

An early reaction on Friday’s budget
On Friday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow will present the 2014 – 2015 Budget in the House of Representatives. Barrow has stated that it will be, in his words, a good [...]

When will the Marion Jones Sporting Complex finally open?
The Marion Jones Sporting Complex is one project that is likely to be revisited in Friday’s budget. The complex is far from completion and according to the Minister of State [...]

Natalie Hamilton charged once again for weed possession
Thirty-one year old Natalie Hamilton, a resident of Periwinkle Street, was once again before the court today, on a criminal charge for weed possession.  The former special constable appeared before [...]

Man acquitted of murder; so who killed “Killa” Gentle?
After more than four years on remand for the January twelfth, 2011 execution style murder of Kraal Road leader, Raymond “Killa” Gentle, one of two accused men was found not [...]

Healthy Living looks at boosting your infant’s alertness and development
Last week, to kick off Child Stimulation Month, Civic Education Coordinator at the Department of Human Services, Diana Pook, explained why stimulation is important at an early stage of a [...]


Faber Warns Teachers Not To Take Part In Rally Or Else
Tomorrow Prime Minster Dean Barrow will present the budget for the next fiscal year at the House of Representatives in Belmopan City and while that in itself leaves much to wonder, there are other matters that will be holding the attention of the nation such as the rally teachers are expected to hold during the sitting of the house. However, even before that happens, there is tension forming as the Ministry of Education has indicated via memo that teachers who fail to report to their classrooms will have their pay for that day deducted. The Belize National Teachers Union is saying that this is a double standard since teachers were allowed to skip classes today to attend the women’s rally without any threat to dock their salaries. Yesterday BNTU National President Luke Palacio gave their view point on the Ministry’s move. Luke Palacio, National President, B.N.T.U. “When we look at what we have dubbed as a double standard is simply because the issues at hand…if we are talking about people having their constitutional rights, the last time the unions indicated that they were going to be having these rallies throughout the country, there were all sorts of negative statements made implicating the teachers as being irresponsible, unprofessional, etc. On the other hand, the Ministry now says to teachers you can go to this rally and you will not suffer any types of consequences. The Catholic Church, which manages the largest number of schools in this country have sent out their take on the matter of this women rally. The B.N.T.U.’s position on that matter is that Catholic Church has its policies, its principles; what it believes in. And so therefore if they are saying to the teachers in their management that it don’t believe that they should go there, our position on it as the B.N.T.U. is that we are asking our teachers to use their discretion.

Belizean Killed In Guatemala
Belizean has been assassinated in Honduras on account of drugs according to the international press. The international media is reporting that the Belizean, one Mario Roberto Cocon was killed along with three others, a Honduran, a Mexican and Guatemalan national in what authorities believe is a drug delivery gone bad. The four men were killed early this morning in the Colonia Rivera Hernandez in San Pedro Sula, located north of Honduras. Police recovered two passports, one belonging to Cocon of Belize and the other to Miguel Torres Jimenez of Mexico. Authorities have still not identified the other two men but they are believed to be of Guatemalan and Honduran nationality. Police are investigating the case and reports indicate that this marks the fourth massacre to be registered in Honduras for this month alone.

Commissioner Of Lands Confirms Corruption In His Department
A couple weeks ago we reported on the dismissal of three high ranked officers at the Ministry of Natural Resources on the grounds of corruption. The Registrar of Lands and Deputy Commissioner of Lands along with National Estate Officer Darlene Padron were reportedly fired under directives from the Prime Minister, Dean Barrow himself. In an interview with Commissioner of Lands Wilbert Vallejos, many days after the report surfaced, he clarified the situation but pointed out, or should we say reiterated that there is rampant corruption in the department of lands. Wilbert Vallejos, Commissioner of Lands “The National Estate Officer, Miss Darlene Padron, has been transferred to a different ministry—a ministry where she can be of much more assistance—taking into consideration that she has a degree in sustainable development so she has been transferred to the Ministry of Fisheries and Sustainable Development. The other officer who has gone through a change is the deputy commissioner who has tendered his resignation as deputy commissioner of lands and service.”

SSEDAT II Promotes Tourism As An Alternative Economic Activity
The La Inmaculada Credit Union Limited under the Small Scale Enterprise Development in Agriculture and Tourism (SSEDAT) II held a presentation last night at the LICU SSEDAT Center. The presentation titled, “Archaeological Sites in Northern Belize as Historic Tourist Attractions”, was facilitated by archaeologist Dr. Allan Moore. Project Coordinator Albino Vargas told us more about the event. Albino Vargas – Project Coordinator “Under the project we are going to have a specific activity which is the promotion of tourism as an alternative economic activity, as you may recall last year we started training some tour guides; last year we completed 22 of them and this year we have completed another 22. What we are trying to do is to keep them inform and trying to build their capacities because they will soon going to go and work into the world of tourism and we are trying to bring people with experience, people who can deliver relevant information, of what they can offer there and how they can market Orange Walk and Corozal as viable tourist destinations.”

The Budget What It Entails?
As mentioned at the top of the newscast the House of Representatives will converge at the national Assembly Building in Belmopan tomorrow and the Prime Minister is scheduled to make his presentation on the National Budget for Belize. The national budget which includes roughly $800 million in recurrent spending and $200 million in capital spending, for a total of approximately $1 billion was submitted to Cabinet on Thursday, February 27. Almost 40% of that is earmarked for wages and pensions, including funds programmed for a salary adjustment for teachers and public officers, which is due to take effect in July 2014. But while that is yet to be officially announced, we asked former Party leader for the People’s United Party, John Briceno to weigh in on the PM’s presentation. John Briceno- Orange Walk Central Area Representative “I expect a lot of gimmicks from the Prime Minister you know he is a wonderful spin doctor, he is a good defense lawyer and I always give him credit for that I think that in many instances he forgets that he is the Prime Minister and thinks that he is in the court room defending a client. Obviously From what we have seen from the SIB it is telling us that we have an economy that is flat lining, that we have an economy where the business sector is not investing because the business sector does not have the confidence in the Government.

Women Power Takes Over Belize City
Despite criticism of the Belize Catholic Church, a first ever national Women’s rally, focusing on women empowerment, was staged today at the Marion Jones’ Stadium in Belize City. It drew thousands of women from all corners of the country and in a showing of mass participation and celebration; it was history in the making for women of Belize. Reporter Maria Novelo followed the story and filed the following report. “Imagine Belize without Women”, that was the theme in which the rally was held. Women from all corners of Belize marched, joined hands, chanted, danced, laughed, celebrated and partook in the first ever National Women’s Empowerment rally which was spearheaded by the Special Envoy for Women and Children in collaboration with the National Women’s Commission. The mass event was one-of-its-kind that garnered support from Belizeans who stood in solidarity. It was evident that a seed of change was planted for a new Belize.

Tour Guide Murdered In San Pedro Town
A well-known tour guide of San Pedro Town was mercilessly gunned down around two this morning in that municipality. The victim has been identified as 32 year old Jeffrey Eiley, son of Philanthropists Norman and Susana Eiley. According to the police report, Jeffery was shot multiple times at the corner of Angel Coral and Tarpon Streets. Eiley who worked as a tour guide on the island was found conscious and bleeding profusely on the pavement and residents report that minutes before he was found, they heard up to ten gunshots in the area. He was rushed to the Dr. Otto Rodrigues San Pedro Poly-clinic II where he later succumbed to his injuries around three this morning. Ctv3 News spoke to a livid and teary eyed Aunt of the deceased, Patty Arceo. Patty Arceo – Aunt of Deceased “We are in very pain right now as a family, we are sharing a pain right now that we see every week on the television over and over again, of families being hurt through gun and violence and these are issues that we need to address, not shuffling people back and forth every so many months let us get on our feet I am asking the minister of security, the minister of defence, the minister of police get down on your knees and start doing your job because families are suffering. Today my little niece just four years old is being left without a father but I know every week there are many children who are also left without fathers when we will put a stop to this let us work together and today in the platform let us use this platform and send a strong message to government to get back on the horse and start to do the job that you were elected. I honestly I can’t express how I am feeling right now because I know it is a pain that every week is being shown in the television and I have to say I never expected to come on TV and be expressing this but honestly we need to do something and something very fast. “

Mexican Ambassador Discusses Importation and Exportation Halt At The Belize/Mexico Border
At the beginning of this year, the importation and exportation of goods at the Belize/Mexico Border was hindered when the license for the Agencia Aduanal “Servicios Aduaneros Integrados”, which was the only broker agency for the importation and exportation of goods on the Mexican Side of the Border was suspended. The issue caused a huge negative impact here in the north especially in the construction area since steel and cement became scarce. To solve the problem a new agency opened at the border but the processing of cargo trucks and goods has been rather slow. Today in an interview with Love F.M, Mexican Ambassador Mario Velazquez gave reason as to why there is only one Agencia Aduanal at the border. He indicated that because the trade is minimal, the Association of Custom Brokers believes that there might not be enough business for more than one agency.

Special Envoy Response To Catholic Chancery Press Release
Yesterday we told you about the fiery press release sent out to the masses by the Roman Catholic Chancery office on their stance to not support the “20,000 Strong Women Empowerment Rally’ and promised to have a response from the Special Envoy for Women and Children today. Well, the office of the Special Envoy responded indeed but it was a subtle response to say the least. While many of us were anticipating a harsh counter reaction, the Special Envoy for Women and Children release says while the rally seeks to ‘empower and inspire women to claim our rightful space as equal partners in the development of the country…. It is very disappointing that the Roman Catholic Church is attempting to ascribe extraneous motives to this event that is intended simply to honor and uplift women.’


Unidentified Minor Drowns in Southern Belize
A minor drowned this afternoon in Placencia. His identity has not been confirmed and police there have labeled him as a John Doe. We understand that the male minor who is said to have been Guatemala and was in a yard at Los Porticus, went paddling on that white surf board and fell into the water where he drowned. Police and doctor were called to the area, and found neighboring citizens performing CPR. He was later pronounced dead by the doctor.

Foreign News Reports on Belizean Murder in Honduras
Reports coming via a Honduran news website have stated that a Belizean has died in northern Honduras in San Pedro Sula. It was reported that the quadruple murder resulted from an alleged drug delivery gone awry (ah-rye). The news website states that four men were killed in the streets of the Riviera Hernandez area where authorities recovered two passports; one belonging to a Mexican national, Miguel Torres Jimenez and the other belonging to Belizean, Mario Roberto Cocon. The article goes on to say that it is believed that the other two murder victims are of Guatemalan and Honduran descent. The bodies were retrieved from the streets and taken to the San Pedro Sula morgue. Investigations are on-going by the Honduran authorities, who continue to seek confirmation, if it was indeed a drug transaction gone wrong. Meanwhile, Love News Centre contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we were told that while they too are doing their due diligence on the matter, they are not in a position to confirm or deny the story.

Females Caught Smuggling Weed in Central Prison
The Belize Kolbe Foundation has been keeping its eyes on visitors recently and they had reasons to do so. Tonight Kolbe Management is reporting that two female visitors who have been identified as Natalie Hamilton and Kristy Ramclam attempted to smuggle marijuana into the prison on March 5th and 6th respectively. A release from the prisons says that Hamilton attempted to smuggle 9 grams of marijuana while Ramclam attempted to take in 12 grams for their boyfriends. The women were caught and handed over to Hattieville Police where they were charged for the offense. The Kolbe Foundations sees that these two incidents highlight the increased of drug interception by Prison Officers within the past month and draws attention to the cleverness and ingenuity of smuggling tactics, especially by females, and the importance for constant vigilance on the part of Prison Officers.

Tour Guide Murdered on Ambergris Caye
Investigators on Ambergris Caye are trying to put the pieces together following a murder that occurred early this morning, just after two o’clock. Early morning gunshots broke the silence on the island and caused fatal injuries to the nephew of the island’s former Mayor and former Area Representative for Belize Rural South, Patricia Arceo. Reports are that at around two thirty this morning, 30-year-old, Jeffery Eiley of a Marina Drive address was heading home after socializing with friends when he was accosted by his assailant. Eiley had reportedly gotten involved in an altercation earlier during a social that was broken up by the police. On his way home, upon reaching the corner of Angel Coral Drive and Tarpon Street, he was accosted and shot four times. Reports say the victim collapsed in-front of the Royal Caribbean Sports Bar on Barrier Reef Drive where civilians tried to render aid to him. Police got on the scene and with the help of a taxi, he was then transported to the Otto Rodriguez Poly Clinic where he later succumbed to his injuries. Arceo, who attended this morning’s rally, spoke to the media regarding her nephew’s murder. PATRICIA ARCEO “I understand that two thirty this morning, he was ambushed going home by two persons; one of them, I understand has been detained. They riddled his body with thirteen bullets; these are things that I don’t even think in Belize City you hear about; it goes to show that violence is not just in Belize City, it is throughout the country and unfortunately, it is in our back yard in San Pedro. My other brother, Panny brought the brother along with Norman, my nephew’s father; we have been dealing at the morgue and with funeral services and the Police are doing their investigations. It was totally unexpected; Jeffery was a young man that goes out with his peers and friends in San Pedro. Many times they are invited by the same tourists to go out and have fun with them. I was not there in San Pedro but I am totally shocked because we know Jeffery not to be that type of person for gangs and things like that.”

GSU’s Boss Says He Will Look Into Justifiable Force and Harm
The infamous Gang Suppression Unit that has been headed by Marco Vidal for almost four years is now in the hands of Superintendent Linden Flowers. I had the opportunity to sit down with Superintendent Flowers on Wednesday to get an understanding of where the unit is headed. RENEE TRUJILLO REPORTING “The formation of the Gang Suppression Unit was announced in April 2010 by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Since then Marco Vidal has been at the helm of the GSU – that is, until March 4, 2014 when Superintendent Linden Flowers officially took over the reins of the unit, which is made up of just under thirty officers. Love News sat down with Superintendent Flowers yesterday evening and we asked him what the public can expect under his administration.” SUPERINTENDENT LINDEN FLOWERS “I am aware that the unit has had its plan; it is a three and a four year plan and I will certainly make use of the plan that has been there and continue to build on those plans. I have not yet met with the Commissioner of Police or with the wider department and look at our structure, our weaknesses and strengths but over the next couple of days, I will take an inventory of where we are and move it forward. I will use every resource at hand including the community support and the media and the members of the Police Department and the current GSU members to impact on the surge in the gang or criminal activities across the country.”


Current council’s financial operations
In Tuesday night’s newscast Mayor Kevin Bernard of Orange Walk Town reported that the Sugar City is making strides to clear a debt inherited from the previous Town Council. But what does that mean for the current council’s financial operations? We caught up with him in Belize City yesterday....

Tour Guide Shot and Killed in San Pedro
Police are investigating and said to have one person detained for the death of tour guide J Jeffrey Eiley of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, early this morning. Police information states that the 32 year old Eiley and a man known to him were involved in an altercation on...

Ex-Bowen and Bowen Employees Demand Justice
One of Belize’s largest employers is embroiled in labour trouble tonight. Earlier this week, 13 delivery truck drivers raised concerns with new contracts offered to them by Bowen and Bowen, the bottling giants who distribute Coca Cola, Crystal Water and Fruit Beverages, Belikin and Lighthouse Beer and Guinness among...

Women’s Rally Held in Belize City
Some 3,500 women turned out for the 20,000 women rally in Belize. Before the rally, 1,700 persons paraded along Marine Parade, Newtown Barracks and Princess Margaret Drive from the Memorial Park to Marion Jones Stadium for the Women’s Empowerment Rally. Organizer and Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim...

Traffic Accident on Boom Road
A traffic accident occurred yesterday just before noon on the Burrel Boom Road, at the junction where the bridge meets the cutoff to the village. The accident involved a blue van carrying tourists and a blue Chevy S-10 pickup truck which contained a family from Guinea Grass Village in ...

Belize told to Improve Response to Public Health Emergencies
A report card given to Belize’s Ministry of Health concerning its capacity to respond to public health emergencies in 2012 by the Central American arm of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control was released today. Belize scored rather poorly in certain key areas, however, Dr. Jorge Polanco of the...


Spring Break in Belize is Seriously Cool – This is Why!
Sure there’s the usual sun, fun, heating up and hooking up as everyone converges to enjoy a well-earned getaway, but Belize also offers activities you won’t find in other places of the world, and certainly not as easily accessible. Where else can you wake up in the middle of a pristine rainforest, hike to the top of a Maya temple, hop a short affordable flight, snorkel a while sandy beach that afternoon, and then dance the night away barefoot on a Caribbean island? A year or so that local air service opened up all these new possibilities to combine so much in such little time. To me, it makes Belize the ultimate new Spring Break vacation spot. You have all the usual stuff from zip lining to kayaking, windsurfing, paddle boarding, scuba diving, snorkelling and he usual moderate to extreme sports, but you also have the ability to pack so much adventure into a very little cool English speaking country some 180 by 70miles wide, with the world’s second largest barrier reef, the famous Blue Hole, which even blew away that most experience of divers, Jacques Cousteau, whale sharks (the world’s largest fish) visiting for their annual migration, and so much more.

Tasting Thursday NOLA Style – March 6th
It’s Tasting Thursday at the Casa. This week it is NOLA style in honor of Mardi Gras. Along with our regular menu, we have our weekly 5-course tasting menu for your dining pleasure. You can also enjoy our optional wine flight with wines selected for each course. This week’s tasting menu: First Course - Crab & Sausage Gumbo – A thick rich stew of local crab & sausage meat with peppers, onions & okra, flavored with Louisiana spices & the “holy trinity” Second Course - Shrimp Remoulade – Poached & chilled local shrimp with a Cajun aioli remoulade dipping sauce Third Course - Smoked Chicken & Pork Jambalaya – Smokey chicken & pork belly in a traditional jambalaya sauce with peppers, onions, celery, tomato & rice. Slow cooked and lightly spicy. Fourth Course - Blackened Snapper – Lightly blackened snapper with a spicy brown butter, red & yellow grape tomatoes, garlic & sweet peppers over jalapeño & asiago cheese grits Fifth Course - Housemade Beignets with powdered sugar & a drizzle of white & dark chocolate sauces For reservations, call 226-4443 or 671-2326, email [email protected] or message us on Facebook at

International Sources

Fly Fishing with DreamCast Idaho, Belize Video 2014
Join Patti and Michael on their recent trip to Belize. We spent a week on a little island fishing, relaxing, and enjoying the warm salt air.

Bounty of books bound for Belize
A man has truly lived up to his name. Robin Sherwood has spent the last year taking from the rich and will now give to the poor. Of course, Sherwood’s tale doesn’t involve the sheriff of Nottingham, but instead it involves 900 boxes of books. Last week, a sea can filled with 34,000 pounds of books and school supplies made it’s way from Vermilion to Edmonton where it was loaded onto a rail car. From there, it travelled to Vancouver to be loaded onto a ship headed for Belize via the Panama Canal. “It took me a little while to get my head around what 34,000 pounds of books looked like,” said Sherwood. “When you get a block of books that eight feet high by eight feet wide by 20 feet long it’s kind of daunting.” “I don’t think they have any conception of the quantity and quality of what they’re getting,” said Sherwood. “The children’s books we got were just pristine. I think they’ll be tickled pink.” The sea can was filled with a variety of books from Stephen King and Tom Clancy to dictionaries to The Berenstain Bears along with school supplies. “On my first trip to Belize, I was in a local library in a little town and I had more books in my house than they had, and this was the town’s library and the school’s library,” said Sherwood. “It was sad how little was there, I just got thinking about it more.”

NOAA Issues El Niño Watch
NOAA has issued an El Niño Watch for the summer and fall of 2014, giving a 50% chance that an El Niño event will occur. The March 6 El Niño discussion from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center noted that "While all models predict warming in the tropical Pacific, there is considerable uncertainty as to whether El Niño will develop during the summer or fall. If westerly winds continue to emerge in the western equatorial Pacific, the development of El Niño would become more likely. However, the lower forecast skill during the spring and overall propensity for cooler conditions over the last decade still justify significant probabilities for ENSO-neutral. The consensus forecast is for ENSO-neutral to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2014, with about a 50% chance of El Niño developing during the summer or fall." None of the El Niño models predict La Niña conditions for peak hurricane season, August-September-October 2014, and 8 of 18 predict El Niño conditions. Temperatures in the equatorial Eastern Pacific need to be 0.5°C above average or warmer for three consecutive months for an El Niño episode to be declared; sea surface temperatures were -0.6°C from average as of March 3, and have been +0.1 to -0.7°C from average since April 1, 2013. El Niño conditions tend to make quieter than average Atlantic hurricane seasons, due to an increase in upper-level winds that create strong wind shear over the Tropical Atlantic.

1 in 10 Americans think HTML is an STD, study finds
If you're talking tech with Americans, you may want to avoid using any jargon. A recent study found that many Americans are lost when it comes to tech-related terms, with 11% saying that they thought HTML — a language that is used to create websites — was a sexually transmitted disease. The study was conducted by, a coupons website, as a way to determine how knowledgeable users are when it comes to tech terms. Besides HTML, there were some other amusing findings: 77% of respondents could not identify what SEO means. SEO stands for "Search-Engine Optimization" 27% identified "gigabyte" as an insect commonly found in South America. A gigabyte is a measurement unit for the storage capacity of an electronic device. 42% said they believed a "motherboard" was "the deck of a cruise ship." A motherboard is usually a circuit board that holds many of the key components of a computer. 23% thought an "MP3" was a "Star Wars" robot. It is actually an audio file. 18% identified "Blu-ray" as a marine animal. It is a disc format typically used to store high-definition videos.

Great Barrier Reef Faces 'Irreversible' Damage: Report
The Great Barrier Reef may be in serious trouble. Unless immediate action is taken, the famous coral reef system will be unable to recover from the "irreversible" damage that climate change will wreak on it by 2030, a new report out of Australia warns. Published by the World Wildlife Fund-Australia, the University of Queensland report paints a bleak picture for the future of the ecosystem. "If we don't increase our commitment to solve the burgeoning stress from local and global sources, the reef will disappear," the report, prepared for Earth Hour's upcoming annual event, states. "This is not a hunch or alarmist rhetoric by green activists. It is the conclusion of the world's most qualified coral reef experts." The reef has already experienced extensive damage in the past few decades from tropical storms and other harmful events, which can lead to coral bleaching, a condition that occurs when stress from changes causes coral to weaken and turn white. A 2012 report indicated that 50 percent of the Great Barrier Reef has disappeared since 1985.

New Horizons equipment to begin arriving in Belize March 8
Belizeans will begin noticing an influx of U.S. military equipment traveling from the Port of Belize to various locations throughout the country in support of New Horizons beginning March 8. The shipment, which left Cape Canaveral, Fla., on March 1, includes various construction and maintenance vehicles (tractor trailers, dump trucks, excavators, pickups, forklifts, backhoes and gas trucks) and a variety of shipping containers that will be used to support exercise requirements. The New Horizons Logistics Port Team in charge of coordinating air and sea shipments have been coordinating with the Belizean government, Port of Belize officials, U.S. Transportation Command and various military and civilian entities to ensure logistical success since last August.

Audubon Aquarium redefines 'grand opening' with 'Great Maya Reef' exhibit
The first thing a visitor notices after getting his ticket inside the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is a formidable batch of schooling fish grooving in near-perfect formation along the right side wall seemingly headed toward the aquarium’s 30-foot-long tunnel. What was there before this latest water-filled display? Just the wall. And that is just the beginning of the recent renovations to the aquarium. The $1 million, 4,200-square-foot “Great Maya Reef” exhibit is a more interactive way to greet visitors and send them through to the rest of the sea life on display. The exhibit opens to the public on Saturday (March 8). Elected officials and community leaders will gather Friday (March 7) to celebrate the opening; visitors have been able to get glimpses of the work through cut-out peepholes surrounding the work-in-progress. The 30-foot tunnel and ensuing round gallery room now feature Mayan stone work as facade and trim, with replicas of artifacts nestled in the sea beds. It’s all to help visitors imagine that they are entering a submerged city off the Yucatan peninsula -- home to the second-largest reef in the world behind the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.

Spider monkey society is sexually segregated
Ew, boys! A species of spider monkey has been found to live in strictly sexually segregated societies, apparently because the males attack the females if they spend too much time together. They are the first non-human primate species known to systematically separate along gender lines. Geoffroy's spider monkeys, Ateles geoffroyi, live in loose groups of a few dozen individuals, and anecdotal evidence suggested they are sexually segregated. To find out if that was true, Kayla Hartwell of the University of Calgary, Canada, and colleagues spent almost two years studying a group of 34 monkeys in the rainforests of Belize. They tracked the monkeys' movements and found that males and females lived separately for 15 out of 23 months. While males foraged in groups, females often foraged with just their infants. Only when food was scarce did males and females come together.

Belize Fairtrade producers visit Northern Ireland
Facilitated by the consulate of St Vincent and the Grenadines to Northern Ireland in partnership with Fairtrade Ireland, Alfredo Ortega, vice-chair of Belize Fairtrade Sugar Farmer’s Association, and Alex Flores, Fairtrade cashew nut producer from the Co-operative APRAINORES in El Salvador, visited Belfast City Hall as part of Fairtrade Fortnight. They shared their experiences and highlighted the differences Fairtrade exports to Northern Ireland, the rest of the United Kingdom and Ireland have made to their communities in Belize and El Salvador, through ethical consumerism and purchasing Fairtrade certified products for all developing world farmers, especially in the Caribbean and Latin America. Dr Christopher Stange, Hon. Consul for St Vincent and the Grenadines to Northern Ireland, commented: “It is wonderful to have our CARICOM and Association of Caribbean States (ACS) members visit Northern Ireland to meet with various stakeholders to tackle poverty and improved market access through the mechanism of Fairtrade.”

Travel Thursday: Xunantunich
One of the places we went to on our honeymoon was Xunantunich, or as Alan likes to call it, Tuna Sandwich. Xunantunich is the site of Mayan ruins in Belize on the border with Guatemala and it was my favorite shore excursion we took on our cruise. Ever since I saw The Second Voyage of the Mimi in elementary school where they go to Mayan ruins, I have wanted to see them myself. You better believe I was so excited to finally get to see some! The ruins are located on a hill top and to get there we had to take a boat across a river then climb up the hill. It was also my first real experience in a jungle and it was awesome. Reminded me of something out of Indiana Jones. I loved exploring the ruins, probably my favorite part was getting to climb to the top of the pyramid. The views were fantastic!

7 Reasons Why Belize Should Be Your next Fishing Destination
To be clear, the post you’re about to read could’ve just as easily listed 77 reasons to fish in Belize, considering this relatively miniature Central American country offers a wealth of incredible traits to those looking for the highest quality of sport fishing of virtually any kind. But that would make for a quite a lengthy article, and I don’t want to cut into any of your precious gear-packing, plane-ticket-to-Belize-booking time! Before you run and tell your spouse about the happy news and try to convince her/him how you’re really committed to spending some quality time together this time around (unlike the Mexico deep sea fishing trip last year), let us journey through the top 7 reasons why Belize just might be the fishing land of your dreams. A couple of quick rules and regulations heads-ups: You’re going to need a license before any kind of fishing can happen: whether it’s casting from the docks or trolling far offshore, you’ll have to take it with the Coastal Zone Management Authority first. The sport fishing license sells for about 20$ for a week, 50$ per month, or if the factors we’re about to cover inspire you to leave it all behind and just straight up and move to Belize, for just a hundred bucks you are free to infinitely fish in the translucent Belizean waters all year round.

US gives contrasting reports on Belize-Bahamas fight against illegal drugs
The United States says Belize faces a challenging struggle against the threats of illegal drugs and warned that drug trafficking and drug use appear to be rising, and will continue if left unaddressed. Washington said that while it would continue to assist the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country in the battle against criminal organizations, it would encourage the country to strengthen its public security and law enforcement institutions through more effective anti-corruption legislation, comprehensive background checks and vetting of new and existing personnel, better training, and continuing education programmes. Washington said through the “2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report” released earlier this week, that Belize remains a transshipment point for cocaine and precursor chemicals used in the production of illicit drugs.

March 6, 2014


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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

FC United and Joker FC take the lead in the SPSC Football Tournament
Top football teams are starting to take the lead as the San Pedro Sports Committee (SPSC) Football Tournament advances. After just four rounds of the tournament, rankings are being set among the 14 participating teams. It is crucial for each team to deliver at every game to ensure a winning spot in their grouping. Taking this to heart are teams FC United and Joker FC. Friday, February 28th saw two games. In the first game, Joker FC faced the Warriors, in a blowout game that ended in a 6-0 point game in favor of Joker FC. The second game was between FC United and the Veterans, which ended in a 4-0 crushing defeat for the Veterans. In Group A, Joker FC is leading with 10 points. Followed by Legends (2nd) with seven points, Island Pure (3rd) with seven points, Caye Caulker (4th) with seven points, UH Bombers (5th) with four points, Communicacion (6th) with no points and Warriors (7th) with no points. Jordy Craft of Joker FC is the leading scorer in Group A with seven goals.

Don Juan Carnaval
takes his last tour of town before being 'laid to rest'/cremated to mark the end of the Carnaval celebrations on La Isla Bonita. (4 photos)

Inaugural Meeting-Belize/Guatemala Administrative Commission
The inaugural meeting of the Belize-Guatemala Administrative Commission was convened last Friday 28th February, 2014 at the George Price Centre in Belmopan, between a high level delegation of trade and other officials representing the Government of Belize and an official delegation from the Republic of Guatemala. Mr. Michael Singh, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Trade, Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection, welcomed the Guatemalan Delegation Headed by Vice Minister Maria Luisa Flores Villagran. CEO Singh reaffirmed the Government of Belize’s strong interest and commitment to maintaining formal trade relations between Belize and Guatemala with Belize serving as an important conduit for trade with CARICOM. Vice Minister Flores Villagran recognized the importance of establishing the Administrative Commission and reiterated commitments from the Government of Guatemala.

Reina Del Carnaval brings fun and laughter to San Pedro Town
The Rafael A Nuñez Auditorium was the place to be on Friday February 28th as it was the venue for the first ever Reina Del Carnaval Pageant. The pageant was the second fundraising event to be held by Flor Ancona’s Carnaval Comparsas group. The show opened with a dynamic performance by the San Pedro Dance Academy who performed to a medley of upbeat song selections that set the atmosphere for the amazing show that would follow. As the night got underway Master of Ceremonies David Marin announced the lovely contestants that would be vying for the title: Sherlette Beslisle, Zeida Alamilla, Mel Spain, Shelly Huber, Edilma Aguilar Leal and Leonor Rosado. Tasked to judge the pageant were Lisa McCorkle Guerrerro, Melly Badillo and Einer Gomez who certainly had a tough decision at the end of the night. The packed auditorium was buzzing with the group of ladies guaranteed to deliver a spectacular show.

Ambergris Today

Carnaval 2014 Day Three Highlighted by Passport Scandal Parody
El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro has come to end, for this year that is! Carnaval painters and dancers hit the streets of San Pedro early to enjoy the last day of Carnaval on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The painting and dancing was at its max! Music and dancing by the comparsa groups livened up the streets of San Pedro and let us not forget the herd of Carnaval revelers running up and down the streets painting each other. Oh the fun of one of San Pedro’s most loved tradition! It was the men’s comparsa (Barbies of San Pedro) that parodied one of the country’s biggest scandals – the sale of passports and visas by ministers Elvin Penner and Edmund Castro had everybody bursting in laughter as the Penner and Castro impersonators, complete with hundred dollar bills and passports and of course ‘women’ companions, hit the streets to entertain for the last day of San Pedro Carnaval 2014 celebrations.

Misc Belizean Sources

Sunny, hot weather continues across Belize
Warm and mostly dry conditions are dominating factors in our weather heading into the second half of the week. The general forecast for Belize and her coastal waters is for sunny skies this afternoon and tomorrow morning. Tonight will be cloudy at times. Winds over the open sea and along the coast will be easterly to southeasterly at five to fifteen knots. The sea state will be light chop to choppy. High temperatures this afternoon will be around 86 degrees Fahrenheit along the coast; 90 degrees Fahrenheit inland and a comfortable 74 degrees Fahrenheit up in the hills.

The winners of the Comparsas are as follows
Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the San Pedro Town Council would like to congratulate all the Comparsas Groups who participated in the 3 days of Comparsas during the Carnaval Festivities. We appreciate your enthusiasm & spirit in keeping the tradition of Carnaval alive through the Comparsas. GREAT JOB! We can't wait to see what you all come up for next year! The winners of the Comparsas are as follows: ADULT CATEGORY 1st Place - The San Pedro AIDS Commission 2nd Place - The Barbies 3rd Place - Mrs. Flora Ancona's Group JUNIOR CATEGORY Only Winner - Ambergris Caye Elementary School (ACES) PICTURES AND VIDEOS TO COME SOON!

War On Drugs Has Fundamental Problems
Like *Where is the compelling governmental interest? I look at a recent eye opener. The case of the one legged man receiving six months for 1/10 of a gram of cannabis. Yea I know he had committed similar violations of the law in the past and still owed money. Last I recall the courts had fined him $10,000 for a past similar violation. How does a one legged man pay such a fine? This is only one example of casualties in this war on the people. With all that said and understood, what are we looking at here. What is the cost in time and money in just this one case. I can’t tell you that but I can tell you the cost of the cannabis involved. Let’s see what 1/10 of a gram of cannabis is, in the material world. Pretty much $35.00 an ounce in most places in rural Belize.

PUPPIES, puppies, and more puppies...
They all need homes by March 20, They are well behaved, love bug mama. Call Lilly Morison at the Belmopan Humane Society 602-7947!

Commissioner of Police Must Resign
The judgement by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin forcibly ordering the Commissioner of Police to conduct a criminal investigation into the Won Hong Kim passport scandal and his statement that the Compol’s refusal to conduct such an investigation was “irrational, unreasonable and unlawful” is a damning and most humiliating indictment of the performance of the Commissioner of Police in this said matter. Ever since the Elvin Penner Immigration Scandal broke, the VIP along with Civil Society Organizations and the Opposition have made repeated requests for the police department to conduct a criminal investigation into the scandal. These requests fell on deaf ears notwithstanding that the chief perpetrator of the scandal (junior minister of Immigration, Elvin Penner) had incriminated himself via an email letter that he had sent out to the media. As a further testament of his culpability, the said junior minister was fired from his Cabinet post and other house select committees which he attended, and later ordered to give in the government vehicle that had been provided to him.

Board of Directors of Social Investment Fund new Executive Director
The Board of Directors of Social Investment Fund is pleased to announce the appointment of the new Executive Director, Mr William Lamb, and Public Relations Officer, Mr Selwyn King with effect March, 2014. Mr. Lamb is an Engineer by profession with more than 25 years. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, with Honors in Structural Engineering from Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom in 1995, and a Diploma in Structural Engineering from the College of Art Science & Technology, Kingston, Jamaica, 1990. Mr Lamb served as Project Manager and Site Engineer for the expansion of the Philip Goldson International Airport Terminal Building and for the construction of the new San Ignacio Hospital as well as provided technical advice on all Engineering aspect of JEBCO’s construction works. His last tenure was Project Manager for US$10.5M project at the Belize Water Services Ltd.

The Corozal Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) in conjunction with Corozal Town Council (CTC), Corozal Junior College (CJC) and the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) will be presenting a Maya Wedding Ceremony, depicting Prehispanic and Mestizo eras, at Santa Rita Archaeological Site on March 22nd, 2014 from 7:00PM – 9:00PM. Historically Santa Rita Archaeological Site is the only site where a marriage took place between a Spanish Conquistador and a Maya Princess. This presentation will showcase the unique historical and cultural potential of this site as the “Official Maya Wedding Garden” of Belize. The revival of this center as an official Maya Wedding Garden will honor our culture and heritage and will greatly benefit our present and future generations.

Leading business and government figures from Britain and Central America are in London today for a high level conference on trade and investment in the region.

Western Ballaz Host No Limit
The Western Ballaz, who are tied for first place, play the Belize City No Limit on Friday, at 9:00pm. The opening game will be between SHC and Benque. There will be plenty of food and entertainment, along with gate prizes and a $250 half court shot attempt. The after party will be at Meluchi's. Come out to the SHC auditorium for another great night of basketball. "If you thought the game against Dangria was great, then just wait until this Friday when Western Ballaz goes up against Belize City No Limit. It's going to be CRAAAAAZZZZYYYYYYY Fun!!!!!!"

Belize Film School
You could be in Belize making a Wildlife Documentary! See where life takes you!

Villagers of Boom Creek want garbage situation fixed
Residents of Boom Creek village in the Toledo district are complaining about uncontrollable dumping of garbage at the entrance to the community. Residents describe the situation as the conversion of the entrance to a dump site that is very unhealthy and unwelcoming to visitors. One of the residents of Boom Creek, Mr. Valentin Sanchez told Belize Media Group that the dumping of garbage in his village worrisome. “We have two tourist resorts that are near to the village and the tourists have to pass everyday and smell the bad odor of the garbage,” said Sanchez. He noted that everything from dead animals to regular household debris are dumped at the entrance to the village. “It affects us a lot because we walk the road everyday and it is not good for our health and of course for our children,” says Sanchez.

20,000 Strong Rally
The 20,000 Strong rally for Women's rights is today, and while it's not being held in Cayo, it certainly affects it. They are having transport from all major towns for the event. Happy Women's and Children's month! "BUS INFORMATION FOR BELMOPAN, SAN IGNACIO/SANTA ELENA AND BENQUE VIEJO!"

Benque HoC Celebrates Women's Month
The Benque House of Culture is celebrating Women's month with some fun activities. They've been posting tons of great pictures from their events lately. "Traditional papel picado workshop facilitated by Mrs. Elvira Duarte, empowering and celebrating womens month by sharing the traditional art for festive decore..."

Revival Fire Crusade
The Generation of Fire Youth Group is having their Revival Fire young adult crusade starting tomorrow, Thursday, March 6th, and ending on Saturday. It'll start at 6:30pm, and take place at the Octavia Waight Centre. "Calling all youth and young adults! We invite you to join us as we ignite the Fire of Revival in the hearts of the young people of Belize. We believe these services will be life-changing and you will never be the same! There will be dynamic praise and worship by the Impact Worship team from Impact International Ministries . Pastor Ryan LeStrange and other ministers from the USA will be bringing a Prophetic word that will challenge and change your life!"

La Ruta Maya Kick Off Party
The La Ruta Maya Kick Off Party is tonight at Meluchi's. The LRM Cultural Night is at the Cayo Welcome Center. Friday is the race. "We Gwen Da Blue!!! The Official Kick-off for La Ruta Maya River Challenge AT MELUCHI'S THURSDAY MARCH 6th ***FREE BAR TABS courtesy BELIKIN*** ***2 CELL PHONES + PHONE CARDS courtesy SMART*** Live Performances by:#1 BANDSWEET PAIN BANDMethod - Jobo - Junimar - Johnny P - Elroy...SKINNY DIP [we gwen da]...BAYAHU...JUST LIKE THAT [tuku tuku]...HOUSE HUSBAND...JOE GRINE...COME FI DI HUDUT...REMEDYand more"

BHS Blues Revue Fundraiser
The Belmopan Humane Society had their big Blues Revue fundraiser, and it was a huge success. 'Feed the Dog Band.' Great name. "Well over 180 people were rockin and dancing to tunes of the past and recordings never heard before. Thanks goes to Steve Hack our MC who kept us informed as to what was happening. Kerby Sutherland kept the sound and mixing perfect. I sincerely hope we can bring these great people together for a future event. A huge thank you to you all for your contribution."

Truck driver arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated
A man who police say was driving while intoxicated has been arrested and charged. Felicito Sho, 40, was booked on a charge of driving a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit, following an incident late on Tuesday night. Police say that just before 9 o’clock on Tuesday night they received reports of a tow head truck heading towards Belize City that was swerving across the Phillip Goldson Highway. The swerving truck, according to the reports, nearly ran a passenger bus off the road. Police say that they then set up a vehicle checkpoint at the Burrel Boom junction, and sure enough around 9:30 pm, the tow head, hauling a trailer pulled up.

Julie with Howler Monkeys at Sanctuary in Belize

Archaeological Excavation in Belize Pawnce the Archaeologist

Belize Bonefish
One of numerous bones caught on my Sage 4wt fly rod during a recent trip to Belize.

Hawksbill sea turtle rehabilitation in Turneffe Atoll, Belize
This baby hawksbill sea turtle was rescued by a local resident and brought to our Blackbird Caye Field Station in Turneffe Atoll, Belize for rehabilitation. The turtle was extremely weak, could barely move, and was wounded on its rear flipper. It also had problems diving. Our staff began to care for the turtle, feeding it pieces of jellyfish and fresh fish and allowing it to rest. As its condition has improved, we have been bringing the turtle out into the ocean for supervised swimming every morning, as seen in the video. The turtle seems to be doing great, and we look forward to releasing it back into the wild very soon. Hawksbill turtles are Critically Endangered with extinction; every individual counts!

Channel 7

Bowen & Bowen Fires 13 Workers Who Were Complaining About Contracts
13 employees have been fired from Bowen and Bowen because they failed to show up to work. Public Relations Officer Christelle Wilson told 7News that at the end of the business today the company took the decision to terminate the employees for services no longer required. Apparently, the company concluded that they had abandoned their posts, and so they were replaced. Most were delivery-men. That's a real stunner because just yesterday the workers had been going around to labour unions and the media trying to get their story out. This morning, they went to the labour office. They were contesting the terms of a new work contract. Well, not anymore. One hour ago, when we called one of those terminated employees, he told us he knew nothing of it, and that all of them had their doctor's papers. He said the labour office told them to go into work tomorrow. But, now all that is very up in the air. Their complaints was that if they sign the new contracts, their commission and their overtime would be severely cut.

PM's Wife says Catholic Church Is Sexist For Not Endorsing Women's Rally
Tomorrow, the Prime Minister's wife, Kim Barrow is calling out all women to march twenty thousand strong in an empowerment rally. But, the Roman Catholic Church, now joined by the 7th Day Adventists have come out against the event. The Catholics say the National Women's Commission is behind it, and that office, quote, "promotes values that contradict Christian and moral teachings regarding respect for all human life, family marriage, and human sexuality… the well-being of women (cannot) be enhanced by advocacy which promotes abortions and so called pseudo rights of men and women and same sex relationships." That's the equivalent of a drop kick in karate, delivered just less than 48 hours before the rally. Today Special Envoy Kim Barrow reacted: Kim Simplis-Barrow - Special Envoy For Women And Children "Well, it's of course disappointing. It's something that I wasn't expecting. It's regrettable that I was not asked for an audience, that no clarification was requested from me as to what this is about. So, it's really bothersome, but we move on. We respect the church."

Faber Says Teachers Will Get Their Pay Docked If The Rally In 'Pan On Friday
Ministry of Education is allowing female teachers to attend tomorrow’s women’s rally – but warning all teachers that if they attend the Union’s rally and demonstration on Friday in Belmopan – they’ll have their pay docked. The call that a double standard. This evening at the ITVET Compound in Belize City, we caught Education Minister Patrick Faber who told us that indeed, the teachers who go to rally on Friday should expect a pay cut. He told us why: Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education "Also the fact that the teachers and public servants are now getting that 5% that they had clamoured for, and really, if their concern is about the other issues they're rallying for, then why is it that the children of our nation should suffer as a result of that. There are ways of giving that support for the causes that they claim without putting our children through all of this. You know, I take issue with the fact that they behave as if things are no moving to several of these issues that they've pointed out. There is activity happening, you might not agree with the level of it, but to say, the Government is sitting on it's hand. We're at that point where we have invoke industrial action which is clearly what that is, then we're not there. We're simply not there. The negotiations have not broken down. They will get a raise of up to 7 1/2% if you include the increment, the annual increment that is given. What is it that you have to protest, rally and to invoke industrial action about. And I am sorry. I don't see it, and so, as I've said, we've been lenient and patient, and I don't want anybody to get the impression that this ministry sits on its hands as it relates to enforcing the laws, the Education and Training Act and the accompanying rules. We're not sitting on our hands, and if the teachers have a right to demonstrate, rally and to invoke industrial action, there is power given to ministry as well, and we intend to use that power well."

Judge Says Corwin Didn't Kill Killa
Justice Adolph Lucas has ruled that 20 year-old Corwin Bennett did not kill 34 year-old Raymond "Killa" Gentle. And so, tonight, Bennett is a free man at home after 3 years on remand awaiting his trial. Bennett stood trial for murder without a jury before Justice Lucas and his case finished last week Tuesday. After deliberating for a week, Justice Lucas delivered his judgment today, explaining that Bennett gave written statements implicating himself. He rejected the dock statement in which Bennett claimed that he had been threatened into confessing. And so Justice Lucas accepted the confession statements as proper evidence, he said the prosecution did not test their contents in open court to ensure that they were factual. Because this was the main evidence that the prosecution relied on, Justice Lucas found Bennett not guilty, and he was able to walk out of court and go home.

SATIIM Accountant Charged, Finally
10 months ago, 7News told you how 250 thousand dollars plus was reportedly embezzled from the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management – that’s Greg Choq’s organization, known as SATIIM. Well, tonight we can confirm that SATIIM’s former Finance Officer, David Duncan, has been charged for some of that money. PG Police have confirmed to us that with the directive of the Office of the DPP, Duncan was charged with 9 counts of theft because he was reportedly connected to 9 cheques for a total of just over 100 thousand dollars. He was arraigned in the Punta Gorda Magistrate’s Court yesterday, where he pleaded not guilty and was granted bail of $10,000.

Silver Rodeo Was Behind City Shootings
Tonight, 2 men are hospitalized after they became victims of the latest city shootings which happened on Raccoon Street Extension. Police from Precinct 2 are noting a spike in random shootings in their area, so they have stepped up operations. Nevertheless there was another shooting in the area last night. 27 year-old Darrell Alvarez nearly became the victim of a well-planned hit. Police say that after 9:00 a silver rodeo pulled up and 2 men got out and fired shots at him. Here's what police know about that shooting incident: Corporal Jorge Lemus - Admin Section, Police Precinct 2 "At about 6:25 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, police responded to Holy Emmanuel Street in the Saint Martin De Porres area, where they met one Darrell Alvarez. He's a Belizean labourer of Holy Emmanuel Street, who reported that a silver in color 4-door SUV type Rodeo pulled up to his residents, and 2 gunmen fired 3 shots in his direction. He managed to escape without being harmed, and the male persons sped off in the said vehicle. No expended shells were recovered from the scene. No one was injured."

Immigration Officer Ady Pacheco Is Questioned by Police About Penner
Belmopan police are investigating Elvin Penner for criminal wrongdoing just as the court ordered them to, and today Immigration Officer from the nationality section Ady Pacheco was called in to give a statement. Pacheco who is the second in command in the section had possession of the Citizen Kim file and is seen as crucial in the entire process. She went to the police accompanied by her attorney Godfrey Smith who, we are told, sat with her throughout the questioning. We understand she put the responsibility for any wrongdoing squarely on Penner's shoulders saying that he directed the entire process, and was advised that the Citizen Kim file was incomplete. Still, she said, he requested that a certificate be prepared and said he would handle the deficiencies in the file with the Director. We understand that tomorrow her co-worker Gordon Wade will go in to give his statement.

Deon McCauley Is Now A Silverback
Last week Friday we told you about the difficulties Deon McCauley was having in getting a release to play professionally for the Atlanta Silverbacks in the USA. Well, tonight, can we say, all's well that ends well? It seems the Belmopan Bandits relented on their position that he was under contract until the end of May. And so, today, the international transfer certificate was finalized at 1:42 pm, making Deon McCauley officially an Atlanta Silverback. It was a free transfer, meaning the Bandits were not paid. He now joins the team for pre-season, in advance of the regular season which starts in April.

Two Years In, City Mayor Has a Lot To Boast About
The Belize City Council is celebrating the second anniversary of its being elected to office. This morning at City Hall, Mayor Darrell Bradley hosted a press conference where he discussed the Council's accomplishments in those two years – and he had a lot to boast about: Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council "When I became mayor, nobody really looked at the municipality with any kind of seriousness or credibility. They thought that city governance was a joke. 2 years later, nobody can do any project in Belize City without coming to us. Our audit also shows that the City Council rose from an organization with an expected income revenue of 17 million dollars to 23 million dollars. So, we're growing as an organization. Our audit also shows that in March of 2012, when the last audit period began, this City Council had in its accounts 37 thousand dollars. One year later, when that audit period closed, on March 2013, the council had 5.3 million dollars. We have a City Council which is in a much better financial health that we inherited. It is not where we want to be, but we are moving in the right direction. We are so comfortable that the City Council could have aborted the planned implementation of the 10-dollar residential garbage fee.

Mayor Commits To Transform City Slum
But serving himself a heaping dose of self-praise wasn't the only thing that the mayor did on his council's second anniversary. He went into an area that most professional politicians with any instinct for self-preservation stay far from – that's Conch Shell Bay, one of the poorest, most enduring slums of Belzie City. But the mayor went there, and he did so with a posse, including the heads of the Methodist and Anglican Churches, backed up by Hand in Hand Ministries, and the Lands Commissioner. That's a combo which should have the cure for any combination of spiritual, material and social ills. The mayor says he's determined to transform Conch Shell Bay: Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council "As a result of Councillor Willoughby's involvement, he managed to procure donations of material, so that today, you will be seeing that every single area is going to be filled. Ever lot in the area will be filled. Councillor Willoughby will be distributing plywood to residents and also zinc material. So, it's a think that we are trying to do what we can. These are often times band aid solutions because when we originally did our assessment, the need of people in this community is far greater than what we can handle with these kinds of interventions. So that, what we are trying to do also is Councilor Willoughby will be leading a partnership with the churches and with hands in hands to see if we can work with a more permanent solution. This morning, we had a meeting with the Commissioner of Lands to see if they could arrange and rectify all the title issues that are in this area."

Ag. Natural Resources CEO Speaks About Corruption In His Ministry
Probably the most curious face in the whole socio-political shindig this morning was Lands Commissioner Wilbert Vallejos. He's also the acting CEO in that ministry and while he had every valid reason to be there because it is a land labyrinth, he is not known for his public appearances. But, if we can connect the political dots, we see Willoughby airing a political advertisement and it features an endorsement from German Vega, the brother of the Natural Resources Minister Gaspar Vega. So, in that context them it's not too unusual to see Vallejos at this morning's event. The media also used the opportunity to ask him about reports of recent firings in the Ministry – and almost "by the way", he gave a candid commentary on corruption in the Lands Department: Wilbert Vallejos, Commissioner of Lands "There are changes happening in the Ministry of Lands, strategic changes, I say, where some people are being moved indeed, and others are being put into place. The National Estate Officer, Miss Darlene Padron, has been transferred to a different ministry - a ministry where she can be of much more assistance - taking into consideration that she has a degree in sustainable development so she has been transferred to the Ministry of Fisheries and Sustainable Development. The other officer who has gone through a change is the deputy commissioner who has tendered his resignation as deputy commissioner of lands and service."

Man For Manslaughter Wins Appeal
Today, the Court of Appeal granted the appeal of Edward Buller who was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years in jail. His attorney, Anthony Sylvestre was able to succeed on the single ground that the trial judge failed to give the jury a proper direction to a technical aspect of the case. His 16-year sentence was set aside, and a retrial was ordered, with the reasons for the decision to be delivered at a later date. Buller was charged with the murder of Ella Mae Bennett who was found partially nude with wounds to head and face on June 20, 2009. Her body was discovered in an abandoned bungalow concrete building on Central American Boulevard. The Investigators found a bloody cement block next to her body.

Education Minister Explains Decision To Shut Down School
Last night we told you about the brewing controversy at the Hope Seventh Day Adventist Academy located in the village of Rhaburn Ridge. The newly opened school has been operating for the past 2 months without a valid license after they were refused by the Ministry of Education for a number of reasons. On Thursday the school received a letter from the Ministry of Education stating that it had to close down within 24 hours or else face police intervention. Today a handful of teachers, parents and the school principal WAITED FOR the Minister at the ITVET for answers. Before the Minister addressed the group, he gave us an interview on the situation.

Zabaneh Says He's Not A Kingpin!
Tonight we have the third part of our extended interview with business man and industrial farmer John Zabaneh. The United States Office of Foreign Asset Control has designated him as a Kingpin, and alleged that he is the head of a local drug organization that works for the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexican. Now, since the boss of the Sinaloa Cartel Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman has been arrested in Mexico, Zabaneh is begging US authorities to clear his name, by asking Guzman if he knows Zabaneh and if he plays any role in the Cartel. It’s simplistic and far-fetched, but that’s how far Zabaneh is willing to go. He’s a desperate man, desperate to get out from under the Kingpin Designation, which has destroyed his business, and doesn’t even permit him to have a bank or credit union account. On Monday, Zabaneh told us about the man he believes tried to entrap him. That is Kahari Nash – who Zabaneh first discussed inMonday night’s interview. Since then we have also been trying to find out about Nash – but neither the US Embassy in Belize nor the Office of Foreign Assets Control in the Washington would comment. But, he’s a compelling part of Zabaneh’s story – here’s how he explained it:

PUP: An Agenda For All Women
At the top of the news, 7News told you about the controversy surrounding the 20,000 Strong Women Empowerment Rally. Well, that is not the only event for Women's Month that is making the news tonight. The PUP today launched its 2014 Women's Agenda today under the theme, "Charting Greater Pathways for Belizean Women As Nation Builders" Independence Hall was filled with PUP women for the launch of the agenda, and 7News as there. Here's what the Opposition Leader had to say about it:

March Is For Child Stimulation too
At the top of the news, 7News told you about the controversy surrounding the 20,000 Strong Women Empowerment Rally. Well, that is not the only event for Women's Month that is making the news tonight. The PUP today launched its 2014 Women's Agenda today under the theme, "Charting Greater Pathways for Belizean Women As Nation Builders" Independence Hall was filled with PUP women for the launch of the agenda, and 7News as there. Here's what the Opposition Leader had to say about it:

Channel 5

Kim Simplis Barrow says she’s disappointed by church’s position
Final preparations are being put to the Twenty Thousand Strong Women Empowerment Rally, organized by the Special Envoy for Women and Children, with logistical support from the National Women’s Commission. [...]

Women’s Commission says there’s intense intimidation from the Catholic Church
The organizers are hoping that twenty thousand women and young girls will be marching in Belize City on Thursday as part of a women empowerment rally. Unfortunately, the planned empowerment [...]

Over $250,000 to be spent on rally
It is hoped that there will be a massive turnout of women at the rally, but aside from the Roman Catholic Church, the organizers have received another very surprising declaration [...]

B.N.T.U. says its teachers can go to the rally
The Belize National Teachers Union, despite permission being granted to its membership by the Ministry of Education to attend the rally, also finds itself in the middle of the standoff [...]

Lands Commissioner only god can clean up the corruption
Two weeks ago, reports surfaced that three highly-ranked officers in the Ministry of Natural Resources had received their walking papers, allegedly for reasons of corruption. The three were very close [...]

13 Bowen & Bowen employees terminated
Thirteen employees of Bowen and Bowen Limited have been terminated. That decision was taken by the management of the company after the group of employees comprising of drivers and their [...]

Employees discontent with new terms of employment and salaries with Bowen
Wilson says that the restructuring of the company was necessary to provide quality service to customers.   Christelle Wilson, Internal Legal Counsel & PR Officer, Bowen & Bowen “We have [...]

B.N.T.U. says the Ministry of Education has double standards
The Belize National Teachers Union is also hosting a massive demonstration on Independence Hill this Friday, where the House of Representatives will be convening to present the 2014 National Budget.  [...]

P.U.P. says it will support B.N.T.U. at its rally on Friday
The B.N.T.U. will also be getting some support from another source at its rally on Friday in Belmopan. Today, P.U.P. Leader Francis Fonseca confirmed that the party will be on [...]

P.U.P. women launch their Women’s Agenda
As we told you earlier in our newscast, the P.U.P. women will not be at the twenty-thousand strong rally set for Thursday. The party has stated that it does not [...]

SATIIM’s former finance officer charged for theft
In Punta Gorda, nine months after the theft of one hundred and ten thousand dollars was reported, an arrest has been made. Forty year old David Duncan has been charged [...]

City Hall to rehabilitate Conch Shell Bay
You could be forgiven for hearing the name Conch Shell Bay and picturing pristine beaches overlooking the picturesque waters of the Caribbean. But if you’re a resident of Belize City, [...]

Busy artery converted into a one-way street has residents up in arms
Mayor Darrell Bradley and the Belize City Council are days away from celebrating two years in office. And for City Hall it will be a celebration, boasting one hundred and [...]

Mayor Bradley says that zoning was necessary for 6th Street
Bradley also alluded to one major problem which has caused the current hostilities on Sixth Street – zoning. That’s why the previously residential street has a commercial feel…with large supermarkets, [...]

2 Belize City men fighting for their lives following late evening shooting
Two Belize City men are tonight fighting for their lives at the K.H.M.H. following late evening shootings in the Old Capital. The shootings occurred within ten minutes of each other [...]

Mayor Darrell Bradley celebrates two years in office with report card
Earlier we told you that the Mayor is celebrating his two years in office. To mark the occasion, surrounded by councilors, Mayor Darrell Bradley today presented the report card of [...]


U.S and Belize Armed Forces Join Hands For Training
An exercise, titled “Fused Response 2014” will be conducted by the Belize Defense Force, along with members of the U.S. Armed Forces from March 5th to the 14th. The training events are being conducted by the Government of Belize and the Government of the United States of America, in the Cayo District and in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. The joint training exercise, in which approximately 500 military personnel from both countries will participate, is aimed at improving the interoperability of the participating forces and increasing their capacity to confront common threats, such as organized crime and illicit trafficking.

Orange Walkeno Nearly Stabbed To Death
Authorities in Orange Walk Town are investigating an aggravated assault upon a male person in this municipality. On Saturday at about 11:30p.m, police visited the Northern Regional Hospital where they met Juan Ramirez on a bed suffering from multiple cut wounds to his body. Initial investigation reveals that Ramirez and his brother, 26 year old Jose Rafael Ramirez Nationalized Belizean of East San Martin Street, were socializing at MI CASA cool spot when they were attacked by three male Hispanic persons with broken bottles. As a result Juan Ramirez sustained injuries, and his brother Jose Rafael Ramirez received a small cut wound to the back of the head. Police have since detained one man and are seeking two others as investigations continue.

Traffic Accident Claims Life Of Corozaleno
A traffic collision on the Philip Goldson Highway in the earlier part of the morning today, claimed the life of resident from Altamira Corozal. Lennox Garbutt decided to head out to Belize City in the wee hours of this morning after learning that his sister had passed away. Little did he know that death was also calling him. He took the wheel and upon reaching between mile 6 and 7 of the highway Garbuit became involved in a traffic accident. Tonight his family is having a double wake as Garbutt passed away this morning at the KHMH. Reporter Maria Novelo followed the story and filed the following report. Maria Novelo- Reporting This narrow stretch of meandering roads between the Haulover Bridge and the junction to Burrel Boom has seen a lot of traffic mishaps recently and that was compounded early this morning around 3:00am when another traffic mishap occurred, taking the life of an Alta Mira resident of Corozal Town. Reliable reports to our newsroom is that after hearing of his sisters passing last night, Lennox Garbutt took to the road to meet up with his grieving family in Belize City, little did he know, his life would be cut short. According to Assistant Superintendent of the Ladyville Police Station, Chris Noble, the collision occurred between mile 6 and 7 of the Philip Goldson highway involving a red Chrysler and a blue/grey Toyota Corolla.

The Special Envoy Response To The Catholic Chancery Press Release
Yesterday we told you about the fiery press release sent out to the masses by the Roman Catholic Chancery office on their stance to not support the “20,000 Strong Women Empowerment Rally’ and promised to have a response from the Special Envoy for Women and Children today. Well, the office of the Special Envoy responded indeed but it was a subtle response to say the least. While many of us were anticipating a harsh counter reaction, the Special Envoy for Women and Children release says while the rally seeks to ‘empower and inspire women to claim our rightful space as equal partners in the development of the country…. It is very disappointing that the Roman Catholic Church is attempting to ascribe extraneous motives to this event that is intended simply to honor and uplift women.’

Mexican Embassador Gave Reason As To The Belize/Mexican Border Problem
At the beginning of this year, the importation and exportation of goods at the Belize/Mexico Border was hindered when the license for the Agencia Aduanal “Servicios Aduaneros Integrados”, which was the only broker agency for the importation and exportation of goods on the Mexican Side of the Border was suspended. The issue caused a huge negative impact here in the north especially in the construction area since steel and cement became scarce. To solve the problem a new agency opened at the border but the processing of cargo trucks and goods has been rather slow. Today in an interview with Love F.M, Mexican Ambassador Mario Velazquez gave reason as to why there is only one Agencia Aduanal at the border. He indicated that because the trade is minimal, the Association of Custom Brokers believes that there might not be enough business for more than one agency.

BJAT Results Finally Released To Principals
The Belize Junior Achievement Test (BJAT) is an examination intended for all students in sixth grade, or as we know it standard three. It is not offered simultaneously and is designed to inform bearing minimal negative consequences for the student. The 2013 results are in and the Ministry of Education has distributed these results to the schools. Principals are asked to conduct an analysis of the results. District Education Manager Jahmor Lopez says the exam can be very useful for schools. Jahmor Lopez - District Education Manager “We finally gotten the 2013 BJAT results and we’ve distributed those to our principals here in the Corozal District and what we are asking our principals to do along with their respective school communities is to do a detail analysis of the performance of their schools. The BJAT exam is normal sat by students who are in standard three and it sorts of like a barometer reading a litmus test if you wish to call it that way to see where the schools are at and to see where those students are performing because in the next three years they would be sitting the PSE which is the final exam, the BJAT in education terms is sort of like a formative evaluation where it is on-going and we can put interventions in places to see how we can how we can have students improve and the Primary School Examination which is done in standard six is punto final, that is the final and there isn’t anything that we can do at that point because it is the school leaving exam.

Child Stimulation Month "Early Childhood Education, Where Our Future Begins"
March 3rd marked the opening of Child Stimulation Month across the country and this year it brought along a menu of activities. In the Corozal District the month also kicked off with a colorful display of banners which were on exhibited during Monday’s parade which saw the participation of 37 pre-schools who marched down the principal streets of Corozal Town. This year’s theme “Early Childhood Education, Where Our Future Begins”, promotes the importance of toddlers attending pre-schools. It is also the aim of educators to bring to light the benefits of Child Stimulation Month.

SIF Appoints New Public Relations Officer
The Social Investment Fund (SIF) has announced the addition of new faces to its executive panel, on Tuesday. According to the release, the board of directors appointed William Lamb as Executive Director and Selwin King as Public Relations Officer. Lamb, who has an extensive history as an Engineer, has an excellent grasp in implementations of social infrastructure projects mainly in health, education, water and sanitation sectors in urban and rural areas. Selwin King, who has been known as the Public Relations for the University of Belize, has with him a wealth of knowledge in corporate communications. Their tenures became effective in March.

Ash Wednesday Is Conmemmorated
Today is considered to be the first day of lent leading to the Sunday of Resurrection commonly known as Easter Sunday. For many Christians today marks the beginning of the 40 day liturgical period of prayer and fasting and abstinence. Of the 46 days until Easter, six are Sundays. As the Christian designation of Sabbath, Sundays are not included in the fasting period and are instead "feast" days during Lent. It is traditional that each year at Masses and services of worship on this day, ashes are imposed on the foreheads of the faithful. The priest, minister, or in some cases officiating layperson, marks the forehead of each participant with black ashes in the sign of the cross, which the worshipper traditionally retains until it wears off.

Two Person Charged Of Robbing CFZ Business Man
And in an update to the Free Zone heist of Mexican businessman Ricardo Villasenor, who was robbed of 1.25 million pesos; the perpetrators have been caught, arrested and charged. They are 22 year-old Israel Rancharan and 21 year-old Benigno Loria who were charged with conspiracy to commit robbery; and 26 year-old Hector Kelly, and 18 year-old Zandon Myers, pictured on screen. These are the men who have been accused of robbing 48 year-old Ricardo Villasenor of $208,000 Belize dollars inside the Corozal Free Zone, a few weeks ago.

Lennox Garbutt Dies By Traumatic Shock Due To Multiple Trauma
Last night, CTV3 news told you about a traffic collision on the Philip Goldson Highway that claimed the life of 42 year old Lennox Garbutt, a resident of Corozal Town. Tonight, after a post mortem was conducted on his body, it was certified that his death was caused by ‘Traumatic Shock due to multiple trauma’ as a result of road traffic accident. As we’ve reported, 5 persons have died in traffic accidents over the past 3 weeks around the country. 3 of them were on the Northern Highway in the jurisdiction of Ladyville Police, where there were 5 accidents; Lennox’s passing was 6 in a span of weeks.


Task Force Conducts Interrogation Into Immigration Fiasco
A Task Force under the umbrella of the National Crimes Investigative Branch of the Belize Police Department has undertaken the investigation into the immigration scandal that brought much criticism after a South Korean national who was imprisoned overseas, acquired a Belizean passport during the time of his incarceration. Since the scandal began unfolding, Area Representative for Cayo Northeast, Elvin Penner has been stripped of his portfolio as a Minister of State, several immigration officers have faced the Public Services Commission while a number of transfers have taken place within the Immigration Department…And while some months have passed and many thought it would have blown over after some time, it seems that a natural death is nowhere in sight for this issue as just this week, the Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin has ruled in favour of the Opposition Party, the PUP, and a writ of Mandamus was granted, thus compelling the Commissioner of Police to pursue an investigation into the immigration debacle. It is an interesting turn of events, as in the past months, Love News Centre has reported on several entities and individuals who have submitted letters to the Commissioner appealing for an intense investigation into the matter. In the courtroom of the Chief Justice, it was learned that the Commissioner of Police took the decision to not pursue an investigation into the matter. Today, we spoke with Attorney Lisa Shoman on the matter.

Woman in House of Representatives Says Budget for Women’s Rally Is Exorbitant
It is an event that has been much publicized and that has thousands of women in Belize preparing to converge at the Marion Jones Stadium in Belize City for what has been dubbed, 20,000 Strong. Today we asked Dolores Balderamos Garcia, the only woman in Belize’s House of Representatives, if she would be participating in tomorrow’s event. HON. DOLORES BALDERAMOS GARCIA “I was personally invited; I don’t believe any invitation came to the People’s United Party as such but I did receive a personal invitation and I did speak with Ms Kim Simplis Barrow and respectfully, I declined to participate but I do want it to be known that I didn’t lightly turn it down – it is a woman’s event but when we consider carefully, not only the climate of the country but also the issues of women and how it would look if myself, as the only elected woman in the House would go and participate in what we call a rah rah rally when the woman who attend that rally will go home to the same reality and having gotten information about the kind of budget that is being expended out of public funds to fund that couple hours of event, we could not in good conscience and like I said, when I say ‘we’, I was personally invited but I don’t take decisions on my own; I have to consult with the Party Leader, I have to consult with the leaders of the party and we had to take a decision to respectfully, not participate but mainly because we believe that it is not something that is real; it is not something that is going to change the lives of women in our country.”

Shooting Incidents in Belize City Leave Two Hospitalized
Investigators at Precinct Two of the Belize Police Department are investigating two separate shooting incidents that occurred on the south side of Belize City on Tuesday night. Reports to Love News centre are that at around 6:25 last night a silver Rodeo SUV passed in front of the home of Darrel Alvarez on Holy Emmanuel Street in Belize City and one of the two men who were on board, fired three shots at Alvarez. Fearing for his life, Alvarez attempted to flee the area and the two men pursued him, firing several more shots at him but Alvarez managed to evade the assailants and was unharmed. But just about ten minutes later, a similar silver Rodeo SUV was on Racoon Street Extension where two men were shot. In that incident, 27-year-old, Leroy Richards, a construction worker of Antelope Street Extension and Jermaine Cattousse were socializing with a female near a public pipe on Racoon Street Extension when a silver SUV came from the direction of Neal’s Pen Road and one of the passengers fired several shots in their direction, injuring Alvarez with two wounds to the left side of his neck while Cattousse received a gunshot wound to his abdomen. Police recovered 2 nine millimetre shells and a slug in the area and are currently seeking two suspects for these incidents.

Justice Lucas Acquits Bennett of Murder
Twenty year old Corwin Bennett, charged with the murder of 34 year old Raymond “Killa” Gentle, was acquitted of the charge today by Justice Adolph Lucas. It was a trial without jury. Justice Lucas will give his verdict in writing at a later date. Gentle, a notorious street personality was shot and killed on January 12, 2011. He was doing construction work on a house on Kraal Road when his assailant appeared and fired several shots at him. Bennett had given two oral and written statements that were admitted as evidence. In one statement he said he was the shooter and in the other statement he said he was with the shooter. Bennett also said in the statement that he was paid $5,000 to take the rap and that a gang leader had told him to take the rap because he cannot afford for the real killer to go to prison. Bennett gave a statement from the dock in which he said that at the time of the incident he was doing construction work at a house on Jane Usher Boulevard. The main witness for the prosecution was the deceased brother, Elvis Bevans. But Bevans in his testimony did not identify Bennett. Bennett was represented by attorneys Baja Shoman and Michelle Trapp-Zuniga. Crown Counsels Shanice Lovell and Portia Staine represented the prosecution.

Appeals Court Accepts Buller’s Case on Manslaughter
An appeal by 54 year old Edward Buller, who was convicted of manslaughter and was sentenced to 16 years, was allowed today by Belize Court of Appeal. Buller’s conviction was quashed, his sentence was set aside and a retrial was ordered. The appeal succeeded on the ground that the learned trial judge failed to give the jury the mushtaq direction in relation to a caution statement Buller had given in which he said he was beaten. The respondent, represented by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lyn Vidal, conceded that Buller should get a retrial. Buller was charged with the murder of 41 year old Ella Mae Bennett, who was killed on June 20, 2009. Bennett’s body was found two days later on the verandah of an abandoned bungalow concrete building on Central American Boulevard. She died from trauma caused by an injury to her head. A concrete block was found near to her body. In Buller’s statement he said they had an argument and he pushed her and she fell. He said when he checked her she was not moving. But in his testimony Buller said that at the time of the incident he was at home watching television. Buller was represented at the appeal hearing by attorney Anthony Sylvestre.


BNTU Says Demonstration Set for Friday Despite Intimidation Tactics
The teachers are planning a demonstration in Belmopan on Friday March 7, during the reading of the national budget. A memo was written to the BNTU on March 4th from the Ministry of Education, expressing its concern that classes will be disrupted again and reminding the Union of Rule...

Lands Commissioner Reports on Land Situation in Lemonal
The village of Lemonal in the Belize River Valley is one of the oldest and most recognizable in the country. But it does not exist – at least, not according to the Ministry of Natural Resources, who says their maps do not plot it. That has caused some issue...

Belize City Council on the Ground in Conch Shell Bay
This morning, Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley and City Councilor Philip Willoughby were on a walk-through tour of the Conch Shell Bay area north and east of Vernon Street. It is one of the poorest areas of the City and there are several key concerns which Mayor Bradley says...

Investigation on the Way Into Passport Scandal
As instructed by the courts, it appears that investigations have once again begun into the Won Hong Kim passport scandal. Plusnews has been informed that since yesterday, Police Officers in Belmopan have been questioning relevant immigration officers, including those who were transferred from the Immigration Department in November. The...

VIP Calls for Compol’s Resignation
In related news, Vision Inspired by the People is calling for the resignation of the Commissioner of Police, Allen Whyllie. In a press release issued today, the party says that “The judgement by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin forcibly ordering the Commissioner of Police to conduct a criminal investigation into...

Corwin Bennett Freed of the Charge of Murder
Supreme Court Justice Adolph Lucas today freed 20 year old Corwin Bennett from a charge of murder, after ruling that his guilt had not been proven by the Crown beyond a reasonable doubt. Bennett was tried for the murder of Raymond “Killa” Gentle, a former gang boss, in January of...

Mr. Edward Buller Retried for the Death of Ms. Ella Mae Bennett
52 year old Edward Buller will be retried for the death of Ella Mae Bennett in the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal struck down his conviction for manslaughter and 16-year prison sentence this morning. Buller was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter in September of 2011...

Fatal Traffic Accident on Phillip Goldson Highway
There was a fatal traffic accident between miles 6 and 7 on the Phillip Goldson Highway yesterday. Corozal Resident, 42 year old Lennox Garbutt, perished in that accident. According to police reports, Garbutt was driving his black Toyota Corolla from the direction of Corozal to Belize City. With him...

Special Envoy for Women and Children Addresses Catholic Church’s Boycott of Rally
Yesterday, the Roman Catholic chancery office issued a press release saying that it does not support the 20,000 women rally scheduled for Thursday March 6th. The release says that organizers, the National Women’s Commission, promotes values that contradict Christian and moral teachings regarding the respect for all human life,...

Cancer Society Receives Donation from Women’s Group
This evening at the Bull Frog Inn, the Belmopan International Women’s Group (BIWG) hosted a special Handing Over Ceremony in which they donated BZ$500 to the Belize Cancer Society, Belmopan Branch. We spoke to the President of BIWG Michelle Rodriguez, who explained to us that this donation was very...


Belize, Part II (Placencia and Monkey River)
More from beautiful Belize! This post features lots of photos of foliage and animals taken on a tour of the Monkey River and during a romantic sunset cruise on the Placencia Lagoon. My upcoming Belize posts detail the second part of our honeymoon, when we traveled from the sandy sea beaches of Placencia to the rugged Maya Mountains rainforest. We certainly got the best of both worlds! Stay tuned. The highlight of the cruise came when a Mom and baby dolphin decided to hang out with us for a bit. They raced the boat and did twirls and basically made my wife and I clap and squeal with glee like a bunch of toddlers. It was truly special.

Would They, Should They…Kill Carnaval On Ambergris Caye?
Carnaval 2014 in San Pedro, Belize is coming to an end. I was there for the first day (Sunday) of painting and comparsas but missed Monday and Tuesday to fly with Tropic Air on the inaugural flight from Belize to Merida, Mexico. Carnaval is great fun. So unique to the island and messily beautiful… Kids being kids… And adults getting their party on. People drink. Alot. And paint gets everywhere…whether purposely or accidentally. Eggs are hurled. Belize Tourism Board posted this picture yesterday to celebrate San Pedro’s Carnaval. Has the vandalism outweighed the fun? I’ll say it again. It’s Carnaval. It’s not supposed to be neat and tidy. Here are some more photos of the celebrations – of Carnaval being Carnaval. Some are mine, some from my friend Finn from Rojo Lounge and some from Maya at Conch Creative.

Launch of FINPYME ExportPlus
With the opening conference in Belize City, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) launched its flagship export program, FINPYME ExportPlus, in Belize, in conjunction with the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), IIC’s key partner in Belize. Apart from the launch, the one-week event will consist of a series of trainings on resources and tools to improve the export competitiveness and capacities of over 35 local exporters. The trainings will be in the export development areas of certification, operations, and management processes:

International Sources

World's Richest 85 People Now Worth Same Amount as Poorest 3.5 Billion
Global capitalism, we have a problem. We’ve long known that life isn’t fair and that the world’s wealth is unevenly distributed. But the latest factoid from Oxfam on global poverty and inequality is breathtaking. In a new report, the nonprofit reports that just 85 people—the richest of the world’s rich—hold as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion. That’s half the world’s population. In other words, the top 0.00000001 percent are worth as much as the bottom 50 percent combined. The top 1 percent, meanwhile, control nearly half the world’s wealth, or 65 times as much as the world’s less-fortunate half.

Has Belize Been Spoiled?
Twenty-seven years ago, David Ewing Duncan wrote a magazine article about a secret tropical gem called Belize, inspiring a wave of adventure travelers that changed the tiny country forever. Braced for a few stabs of guilt, he went back with his son and found that paradise was different, but not completely lost. Mostly I remember the ocean’s sharp blue phosphorescence. Looking like a patch of water that Jesus might walk on, it stretched with hardly a ripple from the beach out to a wall of frothing surf just off the coast. That’s where one of the finest coral reefs in the world lay submerged below the surface, a diver’s magic kingdom beckoning. This memory comes from my first trip to Ambergris Caye, in 1987, back when few outsiders knew about this idyll off the Belizean coast. Those who did stayed mainly in palm-thatched huts with few frills. The sole town, San Pedro, had a small airport, a few open-front bars, and two sandy, unpaved streets. There was at least one luxury hotel on the far north end of the skinny, 26-mile-long island, near the Mexican border, and a handful of American and British expats had erected bungalows near San Pedro. Mostly, though, Ambergris attracted hardcore divers ogling the reefs and fly-fishermen pulling in a profusion of tarpon and bonefish.

Belize Reports 6.1 Percent Increase in Tourist Arrivals
Tourist arrivals to Belize rose by 6.1 percent in 2013, according to preliminary data released by the Caribbean Tourism Organization. The country received a total of 294,176 tourist arrivals, up from 277,136 tourist arrivals in 2012, according to the CTO. The country’s 2013 growth was among the largest improvements of any tourism destination in the Caribbean last year. It was buoyed by a very strong winter season that saw improvement of 10 percent, although the summer months actually saw a 3.6 percent decline in arrivals over the summer of 2012.

Lecturer talks processed foods, global consumption
Richard Wilk, director of the Food Studies Program at Indiana University, spoke about the complexities of the food movement and its roots in American history in Park Shops Wednesday evening. He pointed specifically to Belize, where he noted the “nutritional transition” of the Belizean diet. According to Wilk, diets that consisted of crops grown natively in Belize have transitioned into a diet made up of imported, processed foods. The transition toward processed food has resulted in a rise in obesity, Wilk said. Wilk said villagers native to Belize are moving away from subsistence farming and transitioning toward working with larger companies to provide money that goes toward cheaper food alternates.

Not yet up the creek without a paddle
Rain and thundery grey skies greeted us in Belize, a small Central American country half the size of Canterbury tucked in below Mexico and beside Guatemala. We had flown down to Belize in December (the middle of the northern hemisphere winter) as the first part of a month in Central America, particularly to explore the Belize barrier reef. This reef is second in size to the Australian Great Barrier Reef, and the largest of its kind in the northern and western hemispheres. Extending for more than 290km along the Caribbean coast of Belize, in 1942 Charles Darwin called this reef "the most remarkable reef in the West Indies". Marine reserves have been established over large areas to protect them from fishing and damage, so I was keen to see how these worked in protecting the marine life, and how engaged the locals were in this ecological wonder they live beside.

Latin America accounts for more than 30% of the world’s homicides
Interview with a Latin American security expert, who recommends strengthening municipal governments and developing local partnerships to stem violence. Addresing Youth Violence Through Music in El Salvador From the formation of self-defense committees in Michoacán, Mexico and to the murder of a former Miss Venezuela, to gangs in Central America and the murder of police officers in Argentina at the hands of criminals, the lack of citizen security continues to be a leading concern of Latin Americans. The United Nations has qualified crime and violence as an “epidemic” and considers the region to be the most insecure in the world. In 2012, one in three inhabitants in the region was a victim of a crime, mainly theft.

Feds to set aside land in Southwest for endangered jaguar
Some 764, 207 acres of critical habitat will be set aside to protect endangered jaguars in the borderlands of New Mexico and Arizona. The move was announced yesterday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Over the last several years, only one jaguar has been spotted in the area, which consists of Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties in Arizona, and Hidalgo County in New Mexico. But the newly protected mountain ranges used to feature more of the majestic predators, biologists say, and a healthy jaguar population has been documented across the border in Mexico.

March 5, 2014


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The San Pedro Sun

Carnaval 2014 kicks off with music, dance and color
Carnaval 2014 kicked off on Saturday, March 1st with the annual Street Block Party at the Central Park. The event was organized by the San Pedro Cultural Committee in collaboration with the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) and the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH). This year’s celebrations are being held under the theme “Alegría y Color, La Máscara de la Tradición”. The main on-stage event included dance performances by the some of the best young artists of San Pedro Town. Master of Ceremonies, Eiden Salazar emulated the carnival spirit as he introduced the performances which included routines from Little Angel Pre-school, Miss Chiquitita 2013 Zillah Flota, San Pedro High School, San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School, San Pedro Revolution Dancers and the San Pedro Dance Academy.

Belize Defence Force and U.S. Military training exercise
The Government of Belize and the Government of the United States of America have approved a joint Belize Defence Force and U.S. Military training exercise to take place here from March 5 to 14. The exercise, titled “Fused Response 2014” will be conducted by the Belize Defence Force, along with members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The training events will be held in the Cayo District and in the San Pedro,Ambergris Caye.

Steven Bowen Jr. injured in Shooting Incident
On Saturday, March 1st, the San Pedro Police responded to a shooting incident that occurred around 7:40PM in the San Mateo Area of San Pedro Town. The victim of the incident was identified as 26-years old-tour guide, Steven Bowen Jr. He was transported the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro PolyClinic II where officers observed him suffering from apparent multiple gunshot wounds across his body. An official medical report revealed that Bowen had gunshot wounds to his left leg, right leg, right elbow, left shoulder and back. Further investigations by police revealed that the shooting occurred while Bowen was walking to his home in the San Mateo Area, along with some friends. Two male persons approached them from some nearby bushes armed with handguns and fired several shots in Bowen’s direction. As a result, Bowen fell to the ground for cover, at which point one of the assailants approached Bowen and fired several shots at him, causing the injuries.

20,000 Strong National Women’s Empowerment Rally
Women from the districts and surrounding villages will journey by buses and boats while Belize City women will march from Central American Boulevard to the Marion Jones Stadium where all women will descend for a rally featuring dynamic speakers with women’s rights messages. On March 6th, we are asking all women to wear something orange. This vibrant colour brings together every woman under the banner of the UNITE Campaign to end violence against women and girls. Our empowerment efforts will continue from that event into various nationwide activities, all designed to motivate and empower our women. It is against this backdrop that we are asking you to support our effort to show women their limitless potential and signal your own commitment to women’s empowerment by allowing your female employees to come out to the rally on March 6th.

¡Que viva el Carnaval!
Carnaval dates back to 150 years and is centered on a Mestizo character called Juan Carnaval. The celebration of Juan Carnaval was brought to Northern Belize and San Pedro by the Mestizos who migrated from Southern Mexico. In San Pedro, Carnaval is three days of celebration including comparsas (groups) that choreograph original dances and songs that they perform through the town streets. The groups wear vibrant costumes that depict all forms of livelihood. By standers are painted and all enjoy the three day festivities. So if you are ever in San Pedro on the three days prior to Ash Wednesday join in the festivities as we celebrate Carnaval!

Carnaval 2014 (64 photos)
Comparsas dancing and much painting - a colorful tradition of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye!

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

Ambergris Today

Belize Defence Force/U.S. Military To Conduct Training Exercise in San Pedro
The Government of Belize and the Government of the United States of America have approved a joint Belize Defence Force/U.S. Military training exercise to take place here from March 5 to 14. The exercise, titled “Fused Response 2014” will be conducted by the Belize Defence Force, along with members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The training events will be held in the Cayo District and in the San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. The joint training exercise, in which approximately 500 military personnel from both countries will participate, is aimed at improving the interoperability of the participating forces and increasing their capacity to confront common threats, such as organized crime and illicit trafficking. The Belize Defence Force, U.S. Southern Command and Special Operations Command South conduct military activities every year, which keep them updated on the advances in the areas of military operations, readiness, and the mutual interaction between both militaries. Observers to the exercises will include military personnel from Canada and Brazil. During the conduct of the exercise, the public is asked not to be alarmed at the sounds of simulated explosives, gunfire, and low-flying aircraft. Training activities will be conducted with strict adherence to security procedures that will prevent harm or injury to any member of the public.

Leonor Rosado is San Pedro’s First Mrs. Reina del Carnaval
It’s that time of the year when our beautiful island comes alive and colorful with all the street dancing and painting during Carnaval. To add more fun to this year’s celebration Mrs. Flora Ancona’s Comparsa Group decided to hold the first ever Mrs. Reina del Carnaval Pageant where older women challenged the stage as the pageant was not for the ‘Miss’. The contestants proved that beauty comes in all ages. The Angel Nuñez Auditorium was a full house on Friday, February 28, 2014, as spectators gathered to enjoy an evening with the six beautiful contestants who had promised an evening of much entertainment. The crowd went wild as the lovely contestants Shelly Huber, Sherlette Belisle, Leonor Rosado, Edilma Leal, Mel Spain and Zeida Alamilla came out in their opening presentation in colorful costumes and proudly introduced themselves to everyone in attendance.

VIDEO: San Pedro, Belize Carnaval Comparsas Day 1
The painting and street dancing (comparsas) were in full swing on the first day of Carnaval in San Pedro, Belize as the traditional celebrations commenced on Sunday, March 2, 2014. Carnaval revelers took to the streets of downtown to enjoy in the painting while other residents came out to see the fun and entertaining comparsas (street dancers).

Carnaval 2014 Day 2: El Chapo Guzman Comes to San Pedro!
Day two of El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro was full of laughter, color and fun! Children and adults hit the street in bright colors painting and having much fun. The comparsas did not fail to impress this year once more as four comparsa groups hit the streets of San Pedro and danced the night away. Coming out with Comparsa groups on Monday, March 3, 2014, were: * The San Pedro AIDS Commission: with a rendition of The World Cup dressed in soccer uniforms * Doña Flora's Group: that dressed up as the Belizean Creole and celebrated their culture with authentic dresses, headbands and accessories * The Barbies: always entertaining with a tribute to El Chapo Guzman *Ambergris Caye Elementary School: (ACES) stepped out with a comparsa dancing the May Pole a typical and traditional Mestizo Dance

Carnaval 2014 Day 2: El Chapo Guzman Comes to San Pedro!
Day two of El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro was full of laughter, color and fun! Children and adults hit the street in bright colors painting and having much fun. The comparsas did not fail to impress this year once more as four comparsa groups hit the streets of San Pedro and danced the night away.

Misc Belizean Sources

Final preparations for the Belikin Ruta Maya Challenge

Rescue operation saves drifting vessel off the coast of southern Belize

Trip to Belize to shoot a Teak Tree Plantation

Video: Esmerelda, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Nurse sharks, morays and a little bit of chum.

The Egg, Blue Hole, Belize, Feb. 2013
The effects of pressure on an egg at 130 feet.

Visiting Snakeman in Belize
This Fellow earns his living by putting on show like this for tourists.

Weekly Mill Report - week 5
Belize Sugar, A review of the milling performance in Week 5.

Accident claims the life of Lennox Garbutt
Traffic accident between mile 9 1/2 on Northern Highway around 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning claims the life of Lennox Garbutt of Corozal. More on this accident as we get the official report.

Corozal Preschoolers Parade for Child Stimulation Month
For the past twenty-seven years, preschoolers have marked the beginning of March with a parade through the streets, promoting early childhood education. Yesterday, that tradition continued countrywide, as the activities for Child Stimulation Month got underway. The events planned for the next thirty days are tailored to encourage parents, not only to enroll their children in pre-school, but to actively support them in that important period of development. The Ministry of Education wants to create awareness in the general public so people can know the importance of sending their pre-school aged children to pre-school. It is very important that at a very young age our children be stimulated since that is the time in the child’s life when the brain is rapidly developing. The Corozal Daily congratulates all the efforts made by our teachers to educate our children of Corozal. Power to the teachers in the struggle.

World Wildlife Day
World Wildlife Day was yesterday, and in celebration of the event, they had a fair and MOU signing in Belmopan. The BWRC was there to sign and capture the historic event in pictures. "Congratulations to Victoria Chi for setting up an awesome first ever World Wildlife Day today, with our fabulous Honorable Minister Lisel Alamilla, a historic signing of MOUs for 4 organizations and several school classes visiting lovely information booths of Belize Forest Department, Fisheries partners. Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic was honored to be within the signing organizations together with Wildtracks, Belize Bird Rescue and ACES."

Bandits Visit Corozal Heats
The Belmopan Bandits travelled to Corozal to play the Corozal Heats. They didn't win, but the Bandits are 2 and 2 and are ranked in 3rd place.

Spanish Lookout Expo
The Spanish Lookout Expo was this weekend, and the students from Cayo Christian Academy went to the event to have some fun and food. In related news, CCA is having their Science Expo on the 21st of March. "The Spanish Lookout Business Chamber hosted its annual Spanish Lookout Commercial/Industrial Expo on Friday and Saturday, February 28 and March 1, 2014 from 9:00a.m. - 5:00 p.m. ... at the Country Side Park in the Spanish Lookout Community. CCA Students visit. Come see CCA's Science Expo on 21 March!"

San Pedro Town Council
Out staff went to the schools to educate the kids on the rules and regulations of Carnaval in order to have a safe Carnaval

San Pedro Town Council
We would like to inform everyone that ANYONE caught covering their faces with bandanas, rags, t-shirts, etc., throwing eggs or caught in a mischievous behavior, they will be arrested and taken to the police station. We would like to wish everyone a HAPPY and SAFE Carnaval 2014! We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

Video: Belize in America in Belize
Belize in America is currently traveling all over the Jewel (Belize), producing videos ranging from the stories of prominent Belizean figures to major sights, eateries, recreational spots and resorts. This mission, we believe, will inspire, encourage and empower Belizeans at home and in the diaspora. If you would like to be featured (business or individual), feel free to email us at [email protected]

BDARRT Leadership Training
The Belize Disaster and Rescue Response Team conducted some leadership training over the weekend. Just in time for La Ruta Maya this weekend. "A training was conducted over the weekend which introduced six participants from NEMO into our unit leadership program. This will enhance their leadership skills and ensure that they have the necessary skills to conduct and mean a small search and rescue operations."

Belize Raptor Research Institute Bird-a-thon
The Belize Raptor Research Institute is having their 2nd annual Bird-a-thon. Interesting and unique idea. It lasts just over a week, from March 14th to the 23rd, and is open to all lodges. It's basically a bird count. La Milpa Ecolodge won last year. Who'll win this time. "The Belize Raptor Research Institute announces the 2nd Annual Lodge Bird-a-thon from March 14-23, 2014. Any and all Lodges, Inns, Hotels, Resorts in Belize can participate. Last year there were 3 competing lodges, which included Hidden Valley Inn, Belcampo Lodge and La Milpa Ecolodge. With 171 species, La Milpa Ecolodge took home the H. Lee Jones Cup. Our goal is to have 10 participating lodges this year. Register your team, form your team, choose your date, find sponsors and compete to win prizes! Does your lodge have what it takes to take home the cup this year, which will be showcased at your lodge? register your team by sending us an email [email protected]"

Video: Sylvia Martinez Death
The death is announced of Sylvia Louise Martinez, affectionately known as Ma Lou.

Court of Appeal strikes out money laundering convictions
The Court of Appeal this afternoon allowed the appeals of Belize City businesswoman Melonie Coye, her late father Michael, employees Atlee Matute and Dietrich Kingston and the family company, Money Exchange International Limited, and quashed their convictions and set aside their sentences from the August 2012 retrial before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. […]

Legally Speaking: The Cover-Up
“The Cover-Up!” By Anthony Sylvestre, Jr. On Thursday the 19th September, 2013, when most Belizeans were getting ready and making preparations for the celebration of our 32nd anniversary of Independence, the Office of the Prime Minister sent out a shocking press release that caught all of us unawares. It decreed that henceforth, Hon. Elvin Penner, […]

Heroes and Benefactors exhibit opens in Orange Walk
The annual Heroes and Benefactors Exhibit is underway at the Banquitas House of Culture in Orange Walk town. Organizers say the event is designed to provide educational insight into the rich history of Belize, particularly as it relates to our founding fathers and ancestors. Primary and Secondary Schools from the Orange […]

Belize Court of Appeals quashes money laundering convictions
The Belize Court of Appeal has ordered the government of Belize to return BZ$1.5 million that was forfeited from Money Exchange International after its principals Melonie and Michael Coye and employees Atlee Matute and Dietrich Kingston were convicted of the crime of money laundering. The quashing of the convictions, bring to an […]

Vanzie Lamb awaits jury decision following delay
The fate of 44 year old Vanzie Lamb of a Tambran Street address in Belize City is delayed until Friday, after Justice Troadio Gonzalez postponed the summing up of his trial for rape. A male member of the nine-member jury was not present in court today and sent a medical form indicating […]

Self esteem training for Orange Walk women
Women from the rural areas of Orange Walk today participated in a self esteem booster training as part of activities for Women’s Month. The month of activities, organized by the Women’s Department, got underway on Saturday. Chief facilitator at today’s training session which focused on communication was community activist Myrna Manzanares. […]

Ministry of Education closes Biscayne school
Residents of the village of Biscayne on the Philip Goldson Highway want to know why the Ministry of Education has closed the newly constructed Biscayne Seventh Day Adventist School which opened its doors this year. A number of students have transferred there from the local Government School. One parent, Dasia Robinson, says […]

Early morning traffic accident claims one life
Another fatal road traffic accident has been reported on the Phillip Goldson Highway. It happened around 2 o’clock this morning and claimed the life of Lennox Garbutt. Reports are that upon hearing of his sister’s passing last night, Garbutt set out from Altamira, Corozal enroute to Belize City to meet up […]

BFLA has special offer for women
Throughout the month of March the Ministry of Human Development is encouraging women of Belize to get their breast exam and to do a regular pap smear. Belize Family Life Association ( BFLA), has a special offer for the month of March only where it is offering PAP Smear, Breast Exam, Pelvic […]

Here is the Team Police - La Ruta Maya 2014 TVC

Channel 7

Coye Conviction Overturned
The Court of Appeal has ruled that Melonie Coye, and her late father, Michael Coye, are not money launderers, and that they should have never been convicted. That's the bombshell that the Judges of the Court handed down today after they heard the appeal of Belize's first ever money laundering conviction. After fighting this case for 5 years, being incarcerated, their fortunes reduced to the point that they couldn't properly bury Michael Coye, whose illness worsened during the course of this case, the Coye family are finally getting things to turn around. And it's a giant shift - 1.557 million dollars' worth - that's because the Appeal Court has also ruled that all that money police confiscated back in January 2009, must be returned to them within 60 days. It's a seismic judgment, and 7News was there when it was delivered. Daniel Ortiz reports: Daniel Ortiz reporting Melonie Coye and her family walked out of court free of a 5 year-old ordeal. They were cleared today of all charges, when the court reversed the decision of the Supreme Court. It's a complete reversal and quash of all crimes and inferences of criminal behavior.

Catholic Church Pulls The Religious Rug From Under Women's Empowerment Rally
By now, you've surely heard about the "20,000 Strong Women Empowerment Rally." It's set for Thursday March sixth - and organizers from the Women's Commission and the office of the Special Envoy For Women and Children are planning for it to be huge. But today they took a serious hit when no less than the Roman Catholic Church came out saying it does not endorse the rally. A quite remarkable release issued this afternoon says quote, "the invitation does not speak to the complementary role between men and women as taught to use by Christ through Her Church." And if that wasn't direct enough, the next sentence makes it clear. It says, quote, "the National Women's Commission promotes values that contradict Christian and moral teachings regarding respect for all human life, family marriage, and human sexuality…we do not believe that the well being of women can be enhanced by advocacy which promotes abortions and so called pseudo rights of men and women and same sex relationships." That's a heavy dose of criticism and the church says it won't be persuaded to support any group which quote, "advocates violence against the unborn or any disordered sexual activity." End quote.

Supt. Vidal And GSU Part Ways
Today, surprising news filtered out of the police department saying that Superintendent Marco Vidal has been removed as head of the GSU, which is the unit he created. Vidal confirmed that the command has already changed. Reports say Superintendent Linden Flowers who is presently at the training school will now assume command. Since its inception in early 2011, the GSU and its hard charging, uncompromising tactics have been synonymous with Vidal's no nonsense command. Even through the thickest of controversies when leading politicians from the ruling party were questioning the unit's tactics, Vidal held on. But, now, quite suddenly, a new commander has been installed and Vidal is left as the head of Special Branch - which is a very senior post in its own right. Still, it's not the feared and respected GSU - and so why was he transferred? Well, Minister of National Security John Saldivar told us via text message, quote, "the head of Special Branch and the GSU have always been two separate persons. But when Vidal's expertise was required at Special Branch, we did not feel it prudent at the time to remove Vidal from the GSU given the difficulties we were experiencing with gang warfare." Saldivar adds, quote, "gang warfare has reduced significantly over the past year and we believe we can now transition to new leadership at the GSU and retain Vidal with the singular focus of inteliigence gathering."

Sixth March Death From Fatal Accidents
Last night, 7News told you about the 5 persons who died in traffic accidents over the past 3 weeks around the country. 3 of them were on the Northern Highway in the jurisdiction of Ladyville Police, where there were 5 accidents. Tonight, we tell you of a sixth accident which happened last night. It happened on the stretch of road just after the Haulover Bridge, and it claimed the life of Lennox Garbutt, a Corozal resident. Today, the Officer Commanding Ladyville Police told us about the frightening spike in accidents in his area: ASP Chris Noble - Rural Executive Officer "Police responded to the call of a traffic accident in the area between mile 6 and 7 on the Phillip Goldson Highway where we met teo vehicles out there and persons out there that had been injured. They were transported to the Karl Heusner Hospital early part of the morning. One of the occupants of on of the vehicle passed. We are presently dealing with an autopsy for that person. Pretty young is our information so far, but we have established that vehicles were traveling in opposite direction; that is, one was traveling to the City and the other to the Ladyville area."

Bowen and Bowen Employees “Bex ‘Bout” New Contracts
For the past few days, we've been hearing whisperings of a group of employees who work for Bowen & Bowen, and who have been unsatisfied with a change in their terms of employment. The problem they're having is that the administrations wants them to sign on to new contracts that they say are unfair to them. It involves their eligibility for holiday pay, commission earned when they sell Coca Cola Products, and the benefits that they currently enjoy. A group of these workers are saying that if they don't sign, their jobs are on the line. Well, it seems that a small group didn't go into work today, and they went to a labor union to see what protection they can get because they refuse to sign the new contract.

The Feinstein Group Takes Over Fresh Catch
The Fresh Catch Tilapia Farm in La Democracia will be going back into operation and the man at the helm will be developer Mike Feinstein. Feinstein told 7News that the deal was finalized last Friday and his group will bring everything back into operation and expects to be harvesting in about a year. That's a dramatic change for the company that's been in receivership after the First Caribbean Bank foreclosed on it in 2010. That was under the Mena group. The Mena's had financing difficulty but still they were doing 4.3 million pounds of fish at their peak in 2008 - and Feinstein told us he is confident he can bring it back. Feinstein says he will be rehabilitating the farm and within three to four weeks he will be importing fish and putting them back into the ponds. And so what's the price? Well, Feinstein is sure to be getting it on the cheap at a distress price. At its inception, before expansion the farm was valued at 36 million Belize dollars and in 2011, the Mena's tried to bring it back with a 15 million dollar buyout form the bank, which was said to be a price of 38 cents on the dollar. That attempt failed.

Johnny Zabs Takes On Tough Questions Says He Wants His Life Back
Like him or loathe him, one thing we can say about Johnny Zabaneh, is that he's got "ganas." Not only did he do an interview in front of the US Embassy in Belmopan, he also spoke out against the feared Sinaloa drug cartel, in which the Americans said he was a Kingpin. So, in a sense he was daring both the Embassy and the Cartel to dispute or disprove his claim that he has never been a part of the cartel. Zabaneh told us his truth, and Jules Vasquez put the tough questions to him. Here's how that went. Johnny Zabaneh, Refutes Kingpin Status "I'm here, for the naked truth. And I hope, at the end of the day, my truthfulness is evaluated by the members of this press and abroad, the US Embassy, Washington and all concerned." Jules Vasquez "However, sir, let's speak plainly and I don't do it to insult you but it is a perceptual fact in Belize, that doesn't mean it's a fact, but it's how people perceive - I grew up hearing that "you da di drug man down south, da you run di drugs down south" and that has morph into a perceptual fact that it's widely accepted Johnny Zab as you are called "you da di king pin down south, you da di boss down south.""

Alleged Free Zone Robbers Offered Big Bail
Last night, 7News told you about the 4 men who police charged for the robbery at the Corozal Free Zone. We'll tonight we can provide you with photographs of 2 of them 26 year-old Hector Kelly, and 18 year-old Zandon Myers. Kelly and Myers were charged robbery, while 22 year-old Israel Rancharan was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, and all 3 were arraigned yesterday in the Magistrate's Court. They pleaded not guilty and were granted bail of $20,000. Last week, 21 year-old Benigno Loria was arraigned for conspiracy to commit robbery in relation to this robbery. These men are accused of robbing 48 year-old Ricardo Villasenor of 208,000 dollars inside the Corozal Free Zone, a facility with tough security protocols.

Ministry Moves To Close SDA School In Biscayne, Rhaburn Ridge Community Cries Out
There's a controversy brewing in the village of Rhaburn Ridge which is in the extreme north of the Belize District. And that's because the HOPE Seventh Day Adventist Academy was closed down. It had no valid license to operate and the Ministry stepped in for a number of reasons. Today Monica Bodden went to the school to find out more:.. Monica Bodden reporting The school first opened its doors on January 6th - but on Thursday they received a letter from the Ministry of Education stating that it had to close down within 24 hours or else face police intervention. Parents of the 25 students who attend Hope SDA Christian Academy - located in the village of Rhaburn Ridge in the Belize District - were informed by the school principal in a meeting yesterday. The school had half day classes on Monday and today when we visited, all doors were closed on the compound. Lorena Vasquez - Villager "On Friday the Ministry of Education came here to the school and say the school have to be shut down by Friday evening and then the principal came and alert all the parents and villagers that they have to be present for a meeting on Monday morning because they will come and shut down the school, so the parents agreed and went to the school. Meanwhile they were waiting for the Ministry of Education they were having a meeting and at the same time they (Ministry of Education) reach and they came in and they didn't even say morning to the parents and the principal told them that the parents have questions for them. They just came and they say that they won't answer any questions."

US & Belize Military Learning about "Interoperability" in "Fused Response"
Starting tomorrow, if you live in the Cayo District or San Pedro, don't be too startled if you hear explosives, gunfire or low flying aircraft. Don't worry, it's not a cartel takeover, it's only a test. Actually, an exercise between the Belize and US Military called Fused Response in which some 500 military personnel from both countries will participate. A release says it's aimed at "improving the interoperability of the participating forces and increasing their capacity to confront common threats, such as organized crime and illicit trafficking." There will be observers from Canada and Brazil. And if you're still worried about those simulated explosives, gunfire, and low-flying aircraft, the release says quote, "Training activities will be conducted with strict adherence to security procedures that will prevent harm or injury to any member of the public."

Channel 5

Move over Marco Vidal…there is a new head of the GSU
Tonight, News Five has confirmed that Officer Commanding Special Branch, Marco Vidal, who has been at the helm of the Gang Suppression Unit since its formation in 2010, has been [...]

Melonie Coye exonerated; Court of Appeal orders the return of money
A five-year ordeal is finally over for the Coye family of Belize City. This afternoon, the Court of Appeal overturned Melonie Coye’s conviction for money laundering and ordered the Financial [...]

Attorney speaks on writ of mandamus
On Monday, People’s United Party leader Francis Fonseca won a significant victory in the court of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. With commendable dispatch, the CJ issued a directive to Commissioner [...]

Police begins rounding up immigration officers
Today, News Five tried to contact Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Minister of Immigration and Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie. Those attempts were unsuccessful. We actually wanted to ask just one [...]

2 immigration officers reprimanded by Services Commission
On February nineteenth, three public officers appeared before the Services Commission after Director of Immigration, Maria Marin, recommended their termination. The officers – Sharon Neal, Omar Phillips and Erwin Robinson, [...]

Should the ComPol step down following Supreme Court ruling
Do you think the Commissioner of Police should step down given Monday’s Supreme Court ruling? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote [...]

The Church versus the National Women’s Commission
This afternoon, the Roman Catholic Church sent out an unprecedented release signed by no less than the Bishop of Belize City and Belmopan Dorick Wright. The Catholic Church is taking [...]

Attorney says Belize’s nationality cheapened by immigration scandal
On Tuesday’s newscast, News Five showed you three nationality certificates signed by former Minister of State Elvin Penner. We have been able to confirm that these documents were under scrutiny [...]

A further look at the Burrell Boom shooting
The shooting of a Belize City resident in Burrell Boom is drawing criticism in the village. Giovanni Berry was shot by a group of villagers who were reportedly accompanied by [...]

2014 International Report lists Belize as a money laundering country
The following is not good news for the jewel despite a raft of legislation passed in February that includes the Financial Intelligence Unit Amendment Act and the Money Laundering and [...]

Fatal traffic accident on the Philip Goldson Highway
The sixth traffic fatality since the beginning of March, but the fourth fatality for Rural Belize in less than two days was recorded this morning following yet another traffic mishap [...]

20,000 strong women’s empowerment rally
Earlier we told you that the church is not endorsing the twenty thousand strong women’s rally organized by the National Women’s Commission. All indications are that the rally will proceed [...]

Cop stabbed eighteen times remains hospitalized
Twenty-five year old police constable Abimael Romero remains hospitalized after being stabbed multiple times in Orange Walk on Sunday morning.  The officer was reportedly in town visiting with his in-laws [...]

Rescue operation saves drifting vessel off the coast of southern Belize
A daring rescue operation on Sunday night, conducted by rangers attached to the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE), resulted in the successful retrieval of a fishing vessel and [...]

Belize Territorial Volunteers plant trees along Belize/Guatemala border
Also in the south….Over the weekend, the Belize Territorial Volunteers organized yet another trip along the Belize/Guatemala border in the south. Residents in the southern communities led by activist and [...]

Final preparations for the Belikin Ruta Maya Challenge
The yearly coming together of paddlers in San Ignacio for the Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge is often a spectacle of colors and athletic abilities and with the [...]

Rural Executive Officer of Police say safety in full effect for canoe race
Aside from the marketing aspect of the Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge, there is the issue of citizens’ safety over the extended weekend. The finishing touches of the canoe [...]


Roman Catholic Chancery Is Not In Support Of The Women's Rally
On Thursday it is expected that Belize City will be invaded by women as the 20,000 Strong National Women’s Empowerment Rally takes place. It is an activity organized by the Special Envoy Office, in collaboration with the National Women’s Commission in celebration of Women’s Month. But all indications are that the news of the rally did not sit too well with the Roman Catholic Church of Belize. And the church makes its sentiments known in a lengthy release issued today by the Bishop of Belize, Dorrick Wright. The release cites that the Roman Catholic Chancery is not in support of the rally since and we quote “The invitation speaks to the complementarily role of men and women as taught to us by Christ through HER church. Furthermore, the national commission, promotes values that contradict Christian and moral teachings regarding respect for all human life, family, marriage and human sexuality as ordered by God.” End quote.

Self Booster Training To Kick Off Women's' Month
Women’s Month officially kicked off on Saturday, March 1st and the organization spearheading the month’s slew of activities is the Women’s Department in Belize City. It is set aside as a time for society to celebrate and showcase the achievements of women across the country. There is no doubt that in the many years since the first Women’s Week was celebrated, women’s development in Belize has come a long way and progressively women are working their way towards gender equity and equality within society. As part of the menu of activities set aside for the women in our societies, today women of rural areas of Orange Walk got a much needed self-booster thanks to the uplifting training sessions by Educator and Counselor, Myrna Manzanares. When we caught up with the ladies, training today was based on ‘communication’, Manzanares told us more on the empowerment camps.

Mayor Kevin Bernard Clarifies That He Will conitnue To Serve The People Of Orange Walk
March 7th will mark two years since the Orange Walk Town Council was elected into office by residents of Orange Walk Town. This means that the council has one year remaining in office before the next Municipal Elections. Of course, the council’s record speaks for itself. Without GOB’s assistance Mayor Kevin Bernard and his team of councilors have been able to carry out their mandate for these last two years including the paving and cementing of streets across town. But the council has much more work ahead as their vision for Orange Walk surpasses financial constraints. Projects for 2014 include the rehabilitation of Central Park; continue the upgrading of the remaining of Santa Familia Street under the Belize Municipal Development Project. While the council will have to dig deep into their pockets they are committed to see the upgrading of Mahogany Street, Sapodilla Street, Westby Alley and the remainder of Tangerine Street. The council also plans to see through the double coating of Belize Street, Muffles Street, Staines Alley and portions of San Pedro Street and Barbados Street. The continuous upliftment of low lying areas also forms part of the councils to do list.

MOE Says Hope SDA Christian Academy Needs To Close Down
We have been following the story of Hope SDA Christian Academy in Rhaburn Ridge Village in the Belize District closely. In fact, we can safely say that we were the first to bring the issue to light The school was opened on January sixth this year without a valid license and classes have been held with twenty-five students from infant one to standard four for the past two months. The Ministry of Education has warned the school’s administration to cease all classes but the school continues open. Today the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports issued a press release on the matter. In the release, the Ministry says that the school management of the Belize Union of Seventh Day Adventists submitted an application for a license to operate the school in July 2012. This was referred to the Belize District Education Council for review and recommendations. In august of 2013 however, the license was denied. The reasons include that Rhaburn Ridge is only about 10 miles from Biscayne Government School, which services all communities within a ten mile radius. Second: is that the Ministry of Education provided school transportation for the small number of students from Rhaburn Ridge to the Biscayne Government School.

Heroes And Benefactors Exhibit Opens At BHOC
The annual Heroes & Benefactors Exhibit was launched today at the Banquitas House of Culture. Primary and Secondary Schools from the Orange Walk District joined in on the educational tour which saw guest speaker Fred Hunter share the rich history and culture of our forefathers and ancestors. But while the students got a lesson on Belize’s much cherished roots, inside the Banquitas House of Culture, was an exhibition with a wealth of knowledge. Director of the National Institute of Culture and History in Belize, Nigel Encalada, says two national heroes were added in this year’s exhibit; Trade Unionist Clifford Betson and Pioneer, Lee Richardson. He explained to us their significance and impact to the jewel. Nigel Encalada– Director, NICH Belize “Lee Richardson was one of the original leaders who founded if you want to use that word the movement toward greater constitutional reform and advancement rather and eventually Independence. His early role is perhaps under, he is an unsound hero, his role is understated but he is one of the coeditors of the Belize Billboard and during that period I think the newspaper would have been at least twice a week and the featured regular articles condemning the colonial structure at the time as a matter of fact along with Phillip Goldson, Lee Richardson they were sentenced eighteen months imprisonment with hard labor and I think they ended up serving about twelve and along with Goldson they were the only two nationalist leaders to observe the prison time eventually they split Richardson, Goldson and Jex from the People United Party and in some sense it set in motion events that would lead the merchants of Belize’s democracy eventually left for the US and not much since that time not much had been said about his early contributions in that critical period where the Nationalist Movement took root. Clifford Betson on the other hand he was knows as a Unionist and by his occupation as a shipwright Clifford Betson is what you would consider the guy who was able to galvanize and strengthen the general workers Union in particular during the 1940’s managing to lobby and negotiate wage increases for forestry and water front workers I think one estimate suggest that the strength of the Union had reached at its peak and about 10,000 members during 1940’s of course by that time he was already would have been in his early 50’s more or less and what he did given the strength of the Union he then handed over the Union to the nationalist leaders; Pollard, Price, Goldson who then form partnerships with the BWU and then eventually use Union support to move the constitutional agenda forward.”

Winners For The Grand Fuel Promotion Held At Shell One Stop Service Station
Six winners have been selected in the grand end of the year fuel promotion held at Shell One Stop Service Station. The promotion was kicked off on December 23rd last year and closed on February 7th this year. For every thirty dollar worth of Shell V Power or Shell Diesel purchased at any shell gas station countrywide, customers received a coupon to fill out. The promotion was held last year and due to the response from consumers, the company decided to repeat it. Sangeev - Retail sales and marketing “The highlight of it was of course our flag ship fuel, the V-power so for every $30 of fuel that was purchase for the Shell diesel or the Shell V-power you were able to get a coupon to enter into our raffle where you be able to win fuel for one year, fuel for six months and fuel for three months. It was a single winner for the first prize, two winners for three months and three winners for the three months.”

BTB Holds Training With Artisans On How To Market Their Products Surrounding Archaeological Sites
The Belize Tourism Board launched the Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites project in March 2013. Yesterday, under that BTB concluded a three day training with artisans in the Orange Walk District on how to place added value to the products that are marketed at surrounding archaeological sites. Geraldo Flowers, Policy Coordinator, told us more about the project’s objectives. Geraldo Flowers – Policy Coordinator “The project in totality aims to improve economic conditions through tourism for people who live around archaeological sites in Belize. We have around 333,000 tourist that visits Belize every year and millions of dollars are spent by these tourist in the industry and we want to make sure that communities surrounding Lamanai, communities surrounding the Xunantunich in Cayo, communities surrounding Nim Li Punit and Lubantun in Toledo also benefit from the largest of these tourism dollars that are coming to Belize.”

Nahil Mayab Contributes To Assist Feeding Program At Saint Peters School
There are several socially conscious business establishments in the Orange Walk District that have made their contributions within the community. Today one of these business establishments made a significant contribution towards one of the noblest work being done with children at the Saint Peter’s Anglican School. The school is currently running a feeding program that has been benefiting fifty-five children. Proprietor of Nahil Mayab, Osmany Salas, and his team of employees, joined forces with the school’s administration and held a salpicon sale that was one hundred percent success. Salas says the gesture in helping the community, is something they as an establishment, try to do once a year.


Trio Rescued from Sea in Southern Belize
Three men who were stranded at sea off coast Toledo were rescued and returned safely to Punta Gorda yesterday. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports. PAUL MAHUNG “The rescue operation was undertaken by a team of Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE’s) Port Honduras Marine Reserve Rangers as explained by Captain of the operation Edwin Cabrera” EDWIN CABRERA “Last night at around seven thirty, we received a phone call from Ms Celia stating that there was a sailboat drifting outside of Punta Negra. The last time the vessel was seen was in front of Punta Negra at about five o’clock yesterday evening. When we received the call, we told Ms Celia about the sea state as it was very choppy and so, her advice was to wait until the weather condition was better so that we can make a search around the Punta Icacos area just below Punta Negra area but while in the abalone we went to the left tower and we saw the light outside on the direction of the Snake Cayes and that was when we decided to see if that was the vessel that was drifting. We went; I was the captain and we went with two rangers, Henry and Narciso Martinez and one of our captains that was out with the research crew, Mikael and not far from our base, we encountered the vessel.”

Ministry Closes School Leaving Students Displaced in Rhaburn Ridge
An estimated twenty five students have been displaced following the closing down of a private primary school in Rhaburn Ridge Village of the Belize District. The Ministry of Education issued a release today to notify the media that the Hope Seventh Day Adventist Christian Academy had been operating illegally as the Ministry did not grant them a license to open the facility. According to the release, in July 2012, the School Management Unit of the Belize Union of Seventh Day Adventist had submitted an application for a license to operate the school but by August 2013, that application was denied but by this time, the land had already been obtained through the assistance of the Area Representative, Edmond Castro and the construction of the school was near completion. Now, we tell you that the license was not granted and while the ministry is saying that this was made known to the local board, the school still went ahead and opened its doors in September 2013. And that is how the twenty five students ended up outside the classroom as the school was required to close down by the ministry, which is what they did, according to Pastor Leslie Gillett of the Seventh Day Adventist Union.

Five Years Later – Appeals Court Frees Coye Family of Money Laundering Charge
Melonie Coye and her father Michael Coye were sentenced to three years in jail after they were found guilty of money laundering. After years of fighting to prove their innocence, last year Michael Coye passed away a few days after being granted bail. Today Melonie Coye was freed of all charges in the appeal court. On August 8th the father and daughter were found guilty in the court of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. Their accounts were also frozen. As a result of today’s ruling Melonie Coye is a free woman. MELONIE COYE “I feel good and I know my dad is smiling from heaven and I just want to say, ‘Thank you, Lord.’” ARTHUR SALDIVAR, Attorney “On the ground that forgery was proved, it really and truly wasn’t. Forgery, by virtue of the law, requires that an intent to defraud to be established and as that intent was absent there couldn’t have judged the appellants as being guilty of that offense.

Roman Catholic Church Does Not Support Women’s Rally
The National Women’s Commission along with the office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children has organized a rally for this Thursday. Dubbed 20,000 strong the rally will take place at the Marion Jones Stadium in Belize City and is expected to see the participation of women from across the country. Organizers have said one of the objectives is to imagine our world without women. Today the Roman Catholic Church issued a release in which it states it does not support the initiative. The release says the Church has withheld its support because the invitation does not speak to the complementary role between men and women as taught by Christ. It goes on to say quote “The Women’s Commission promotes values that contradict Christian and moral teachings regarding respect for all human life, family, marriage and human sexuality as ordered by God. We do not believe that the well-being of women can be enhanced by advocacy which promotes abortion and so called pseudo rights of men and women and same sex relationships.” End quote.


Roman Catholic Church Does Not Support National Women’s Commission’s Rally
This month is observed as women’s month. There are many activities scheduled to take place all over the country in observance and one major event is the Women’s Empowerment rally, 20,000 strong scheduled for this Thursday. The initiative is being spearheaded by the Special Envoy for women and children...

Belize Lands on International Narcotics and Money Laundering Lists
Belize has landed on two lists published in the newly released “2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report” released by the US State Department. The report declares 65 countries as having been listed as jurisdictions of Major concern regarding money laundering. 22 countries have been named as major drug-transit countries....

New Favored Position in Ministry of Health Causes Problems
There was no announcement from the Ministry of Health but PlusNews has been reliably informed that Belize now has a Director of Drug Inspectorate in the Ministry of Health. It is a new, but controversial post. The new post and the official to fill the post appeared only over...

Mr. Vanzie Lamb’s Rape Verdict Delayed Until Friday
The fate of 44 year old Mr. Vanzie Lamb of a Tambran Street address in Belize City is delayed until Friday, after Justice Troadio Gonzalez postponed the summing up of his trial for rape. A male member of the nine-member jury was not present in court today and sent...

Footballer Deon McCauley Released to the Atlanta Silverbacks
On Saturday, March 1st, the Belmopan Bandits released a statement in their official Facebook page in which it announced that Deon McCauley has been officially released to the Atlanta Silverbacks at no return cost. The release stated that they had “…originally requested a small transfer fee of US$ 4,000...

Men’s Rally Held in Belmopan
There was a men’s rally held on Friday of last week at the steps of the national assembly. The rally was organized to raise awareness of issues affecting men including father absenteeism, serving the family by leading under Christ’s guidance, and stepping out to minister outside the church. The...

Spanish Lookout Hosts Commercial-Industrial Expo’
On Saturday March 1st, the Spanish Lookout community hosted a commercial and industrial expo where many businesses showcased their goods , services, animals, or equipment. The event was held at Countryside park in Spanish Lookout and was well attended. Many of the businesses at the Spanish Lookout expo have...

Fruitful Promises for the Humble on the Way
Our Verse for this week is taken from Psalm chapter 29:9- He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.


Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin today ordered the Commissioner of Police to “accelerate and conclude” the police’s criminal investigation of the former Minister of State Elvin Penner and all others who had a role in the illegal issuance of a Belize passport and nationality certificate to the South Korean Won Hong Kim. Opposition Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca had filed for a judicial review seeking the court’s intervention to issue a writ of mandamus to Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie for him to investigate, and if possible, charge Elvin Penner criminally for violations of the Belize Passport Act and Belize Nationality Act. Belize’s Deputy Solicitor General, Nigel Hawke, is expected to today tell his client, Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie, that Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has ordered that he accelerate and conclude investigations into the role of Penner in the issuance of the Belize passport to Won Hong Kim, a man who had never set foot in Belize, and who was, furthermore, imprisoned in a Taiwan jail at the time he was supposedly in Belize, being taken to the Nationality and Immigration offices by the Hon. Penner to process his nationality papers.

A family from the Buttercup area in rural Belize is struggling to cope with the death of 13-year old Earl Ismael Flores, Jr., who was struck down in a suspected hit-and-run accident that occurred around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, February, 23, 2014. Just after having dinner with his family, Flores was reportedly riding past the Samuels Saw Mill on the Burrell Boom Road when, his family believes, he was knocked down by an unknown individual who fled the scene after the accident. After being found a short while later by residents who alerted his parents, Flores was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he remained in a critical condition after being placed in an induced coma. Last Wednesday, after fruitlessly searching for answers, the family turned to the media to make a desperate plea to the person who fled the scene to just come forward and speak with them.

Last Wednesday morning, at about 7:30, a J and J commuter bus – which was reportedly overloaded – pulled the curve at Mile 12 on the Philip Goldson Highway and Jose Elmer Villanueva, 63, slid off the engine cover on which he was sitting near the front door, flew through the open bus door, and subsequently sustained life-threatening injuries which left him in a coma at the Intensive Care ward at the KHMH. Police reported that the bus driver, Modesto Lizarraga, 48, told them that he was on his regular run to Chetumal with about 54 passengers when Villanueva fell out of the bus and suffered injuries to his right ankle and head. The Officer in Charge of the Belize Rural area, ASP Chris Noble, today updated us on the incident. “With regards to the bus incident, we did manage to get our relevant information from that scene. The driver was very cooperative. We did get all our statements; we are asking that persons who were in the bus, that may have seen what transpired, to come forward. They can go to any police station and say that they were on that bus and we can arrange for the recording of a statement to assist us in the investigation”, stated Noble.

Relatives and friends solemnly gathered at the residence of John Wade, 53, today – all stunned at the shocking loss of the well-known villager after the news of his sudden death had spread throughout the rural community of Bermudian Landing. Wade was travelling on an ATV between the villages of Double Head Cabbage and Bermudian Landing at around 11:00 p.m. on Sunday night when, upon reaching a curve, he reportedly lost control of the ATV and overturned, suffering fatal head and body injuries. His body was not discovered until after 5:00 the next morning when a bus loaded with commuters, headed for Burrell Boom, came across the scene at the right hand side of the road. Today, Officer in Charge of the Belize Rural area, ASP Chris Noble, briefed the media on the incident. He said, “This morning, the police were called out to an area in Bermudian Landing near a curve. We then met somebody who had some injuries. An ATV was also in the immediate area. The gentleman was identified and taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead and we’re looking into the circumstances that may have caused it. Our preliminaries are that he may have been by himself and may have lost control. We are looking into whether or not that is so.”

Nightmare again for Parham family of Curassow Street
The Parham family of Curassow Street, who have not yet recovered from the death of their son, Derrick, who was killed at about 11:30 Saturday night on January 11, 2014, by a gunman who shot him in the back through the window of a vehicle that drove up behind him, have been further traumatized by the attempted murder of their other son, a daughter and a friend. At about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 1, a gunman rode up to the alley of their yard and opened fire on them while they were socializing at their home on Curassow Street. Their daughter, Arleen Cole, 42, was hit in her knee and toe; their son, Devin Parham, 17, was hit in his right heel and foot, and their friend, Marlon Samuels, also 17, was hit in the leg.

Four men from Corozal who police accuse of being the thieves who robbed Mexican national, Ricardo Villasenior, 48, a businessman of Las Flores Manzana, Calle Alcatraz, Quintana Roo, Mexico, in the Corozal Free Zone on Tuesday, February 25, and got away with the sum of $1,250,000.00 pesos in different denominations, equivalent to BZ$208,000, have all been arrested and charged. They are Benigno Loria, 21, of San Andres, Corozal, who was a former employee of the North American Store where Villasenior was robbed; Israel Rancharan, 22, a laborer of Venezuelan Site, Corozal Town; Hector Kelly, 26, a laborer of Halls Layout, Corozal Town, and Zandon Myers, 18, a laborer of 4th Avenue, Corozal Town.

EDITORIAL: Of souls and lives
When this newspaper began as the organ of a black-conscious organization with revolutionary impulses, we were informed by those who were more knowledgeable about revolutionary change that where there existed democratic mechanisms for change, such as elections, there could not be revolution. Our early teachers also said that attempts to alleviate the conditions in a corrupt system constituted reform. Our teachers considered reform as amounting to a propping up of a corrupt system, they believed that reform delayed the necessary revolution, and so reform, in the ultimate scheme of things, was an evil rather than a good. In the search for the betterment of our people, we experimented for ourselves. The rhetoric in Belize 45 years ago was confusing. On the one hand, there was a ruling party in government which said that it was carrying out a “peaceful, constructive revolution.” The phrase was clearly oxymoronic, but the majority of voting Belizeans supported the ruling party. On the other hand, there were the experts in revolution who were saying that a revolution in Belize was not possible, because democratic elections were being regularly held. But, they were also saying that reformist measures were not good, because they encouraged corruption and delayed revolution.

My column last weekend, after spending a few weeks discussing the Hon. Philip Goldson and the Thirteen/Seventeen Proposals, drifted into the Southside City politics of the People’s United Party (PUP), with a focus on their Mesopotamia area representative, C. L. B. Rogers. Mr. Rogers, who won the Mesop constituency in the 1961, 1965, 1969 and 1974 general elections, became PUP Deputy Leader and Deputy Premier in the latter part of the 1960s. Perhaps the first real inkling that the PUP was having Southside credibility problems, came in the 1979 general elections, when the PUP won 13 out of 18 seats nationwide, but lost two of the three Southside Belize City seats – Albert and Mesopotamia. After winning all three Southside City seats in the 1961 general election, the PUP won two out of three Southside seats in each of the three general elections between 1965 and 1974. But the PUP margins in the Collet constituency were always very close, whereas the NIP’s Philip Goldson was winning Albert by healthy margins, so that insofar as the total Southside vote was concerned, the NIP (NIPDM in 1969 and UDP in 1974) was polling more votes than the PUP, beginning in 1965.

A San Pablo mother is mourning the death of her son, Ernesto Alonzo Salabia, 4, who drowned in the village river at about 2:30 Sunday afternoon while swimming with her. Doctor Mario Estrada Bran, who conducted the post-mortem on the boy, certified the cause of death to be asphyxia due to drowning. Serlin Diaz, 25, a Honduran domestic, told police that she and Ernesto went to the river to swim. While swimming, her son suddenly disappeared from her side. She immediately searched for him, and later found him in a deep area under the water. He was already dead.

UBAD Education Foundation (UEF) steps up to impact the public through reading and reasoning
The United Black Association for Development (UBAD) Educational Foundation (UEF), in an effort to positively impact the community, conducts through its educational arm the Read and Reason Talk Show, hosted by Perry “Stickz” Smith and YaYa Marin-Coleman, on KREM Radio on Monday nights from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. True to the name of the program, the hosts, guests, and callers read and reason about a variety of topics with the hope of stimulating independent thinkers, and fostering healthy debates. Beginning Saturday, March 1, Read and Reason will be taken to the streets through the hosting of reading and reasoning discussion circles at Battlefield Park from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning. The first chapter of the book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins, will be read by a facilitator and then participants will reason about that chapter. The interaction between community members will determine the pace of the reading content, and length of time spent on discussions.

BNTU marches on!
The Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) held a Council of Management meeting this weekend, and while our newspaper had been unable to get official word from national president Luke Palacio on the outcome of that meeting, due to a family emergency, Amandala has been reliably informed that the BNTU members and executive officers intend to gather at Independence Hill when the budget is read this Friday. The BNTU has said that “when [the] budget is read, we will be going to Belmopan…” However, at the time of this report, we were unable to get an estimate of how many members from the various branches they expect to be present at the budget reading. As we reported to you in our last mid-week edition, Friday, March 7 is slated for the reading of the 2014-2015 budget, and teachers and public officers are looking forward to an announcement that included in that budget is the 5% salary adjustment which they have been asking for, to help offset cost of living pressures.

This weekend, a young female, in her teens, from rural Belize, reported to police that she was raped while being given a ride home from work. Today, ASP Chris Noble, O.C. Rural Police, told us about the incident and said that they have suspects that they are seeking. Noble said, “A female teenager who was working at an [unspecified] area apparently accepted to be escorted to her residence. The information to us at this stage is that persons did ‘take advantage’ of her. Right now, we have persons that we are looking for, and we are looking into locating those persons to assist us with our investigation.”

Boy, 13, and girl, 15, missing
Two minors, a boy, 13, and a girl, 15, have been reported missing by their respective families in Belmopan and Hattieville. Micah Balthazar, 13, of Hattieville, was reported missing on Friday, February 21, and Jennifer Canti, 15, of Maya Mopan, Belmopan, was reported missing on Monday, February 24. Florentina Balthazar, Micah’s mother, told police that although her son had gone home after school on Friday evening, when she returned from a visit to her neighbor, where she had gone between 3:00 and 5:00 that Friday evening, she found that Micah was not at home. She began a search for him, but he was nowhere to be found. However, she saw that some of his clothes and a backpack were missing.

Fire destroys house in Cayo
A couple from San Ignacio is devastated and homeless after their house and possessions were completely destroyed by fire. The calamity occurred about 7:30 last night. The house was a 2-flat building. The upper flat was made of lumber and the lower flat was of concrete, and it was owned by Angelina Gordon and her common-law husband Police who responded to the fire reported that on their arrival they saw the house engulfed in flames and burning furiously. The San Ignacio Fire Service responded and put out the fire. Gordon reported that she was not at home at the time. She left the house at about 6:00 that evening, leaving her common-law husband in the house.

Abuses by security forces highlighted in new US Human Rights Report
Time and again, there are citizen complaints of abuses by security officers whose duty it is to uphold the rule of law and to protect citizens from threats to their personal safety. However, a report released this week by the US Government highlights concerns over abuses committed by Belize security forces—and points out that, “Authorities failed at times to maintain effective control over the security forces.” “Investigations continued into three deaths in police custody, in which police allegedly used deadly force under questionable circumstances,” said the report, released by US Secretary of State, John Kerry. The Office of the Ombudsman regularly receives such reports, and as Amandala has previously reported, they are at the top of the list of complaints lodged by the public.

Brian Rusk, 42, an auto mechanic from Indiana, U.S.A. arrived in the Belize harbour on board the cruise ship Carnival Glory, but when the ship sailed last Thursday, February 20, Rusk remained behind, because he wanted to see more of Belize, he said. But in doing so, he violated Belize’s immigration laws. Rusk pleaded guilty to one count of illegally disembarking a vessel without the consent of an immigration officer yesterday, when he was arraigned on the charge before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton, who fined him $1,000, which he was ordered to pay forthwith, or face imprisonment for six months. Rusk paid the fine and was taken into immigration custody until he can be put on board a ship to make his way back to the U.S., since he has no legal status to remain in Belize after spending five days without the requisite visitor’s visa.

Cody Safadago, 42, an American auto mechanic from Seattle, Washington, who is wanted in the U.S. for violating his parole, was arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court, where he was declared a prohibited immigrant and a removal order was granted to Immigration officers for his expulsion. After his appearance in court, Safadago was handed over to police to await the arrival of a U.S. Marshall who will take him back to the United States. He appeared before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton on the allegation that on Friday, February 27, 2014, he entered Belize and failed to present himself to an Immigration officer at the point of entry. But he pleaded not guilty after he was told he is being deemed a prohibited immigrant.

LETTERS: Calls for systemic balance …
Dear Sir, I read and watch the world news in amazement and grief at the rivalry between rightists and leftists, capitalism and socialism. There is a saying in Spanish, “Las cosas en exceso hacen danio” (No tilde on my keyboard, so use an i). “Things in excess harm you”. It is the same with these political systems. Taking care of money matters only is bad and focusing only on social justice will not work either. There has to be a balance, and Rt. Honorable George Price had the answer with his middle-of-the-road policy, until his party members split along the same lines we are talking about. “Not that the rich shall have less but that the poor shall have more.” If these philosophies were followed by strong leaders a lot of the world’s problems would be solved.

The Belize National Cricket Association had its third week of games this past weekend in the 2014 Harrison Parks National Cricket Competition, and we just received a few results from Mr. Peter Young for the games played the previous week on February 22 and 23, which we share below: On Saturday, February 22, Easy Does It won 235- 120 over Brave 11. Aaron Muslar scored 127 runs and Kenroy Reynolds took 7 wickets for Easy Does It; while Derick McFadzean scored 32 runs and Dorian Gabb took 3 wickets for Brave 11. Western Eagles were 162 for 9, while Excelsior only made 44 runs. Tristan Pook top scored (? runs) and took 4 wickets for Western Eagles, while Brian Casasola top scored (? runs) and took 3 wickets for Excelsior.

Premier League Closing Season
The Premier League of Belize, under the guidance of a “Caretaker Committee” appointed by the FFB, is set to kick off the first round of its 2013-2014 Closing Season with 3 games scheduled for this coming weekend. The complete schedule, consisting of a double round-robin, has been released, and it includes 6 groups of mid-week games, as well as games on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, all in an effort to complete the regular season by April 30, with semifinals and finals being finished by May 18. The same 7 clubs from the Opening Season are participating in the Closing Season, with a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League as the main prize to be claimed by the aggregate points leader between the champions of the two tournaments.

Softball sisters
We have to apologize for not keeping you fully abreast of the developments in Belize District high school softball, which began their playoffs this evening at Rogers Stadium. At the end of the regular season on Friday last, Nazarene High was undefeated for both the female and male teams. For the males, SJC won 5 and suffered only 1 defeat, that to Nazarene; while in the female category, Ladyville Tech also won 5 games and lost 1, to Nazarene High. We are admittedly biased toward female softball, as we look forward to the day when our young men play baseball. SJC and Nazarene seem to have a rivalry going in the male division; but it is in the female category that the situation is absolutely intriguing.

A woman has been released from custody on a bail of $4,000 and ordered to return to court on Monday, May 12, after she was taken to the Corozal Magistrate’s Court on charges of drug trafficking on Friday. Police reports are that about 11:30 Wednesday at the northern border, while Customs officers were conducting routine checks, they noticed a Hispanic woman identified as Kenisha Yvonne Esquivel Cau, 25, of Alta Mira Area, Corozal Town, with a box of Choco Zucaritas Cornflakes in her hands. They also noticed that there was a transparent plastic tape under the box, and the box was too heavy to be cornflakes. They immediately opened the box, and found two parcels of cannabis inside.

San Pedro boat captain ambushed and shot
Steven Bowen, Jr., 26, of San Mateo, San Pedro, is presently at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) receiving treatment for multiple gunshot injuries suffered after he was ambushed by gunmen at close range at about 8:00 Saturday night in the San Mateo area in San Pedro. Bowen, a boat captain and tour guide operator, told police that he and two friends were walking home when two gunmen ran out of the bush and opened fire at them when they reached a dark area on the road. In his attempt to escape the murderous gunfire, he fell down, and one of the gunmen closed in on him and shot him at close range in the left leg, right leg, right elbow, left ear, left shoulder and back. The gunman then escaped. Bowen’s two friends escaped unhurt.

Andre Hutchinson, former minister’s son, remanded for psychiatric evaluation
Andre Hutchinson, the son of the former UDP Minister of State Michael Hutchinson, appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith on a charge of aggravated assault of an indecent nature. Hutchinson’s fidgety behavior during his arraignment, however, led the Chief Magistrate to remand him to prison for a psychiatric evaluation. He is scheduled to return to court on March 24, by which time a psychiatric report on his state of mind would have been prepared and presented to the court. The allegation against Hutchinson is that on Tuesday, February 25, in Ladyville, he committed indecent assault upon a 35-year-old woman.

Plainclothes cop stabbed 18 times in robbery attempt
A plainclothes policeman of the police anti-drug unit was stabbed about 18 times in various parts of his body by four men who attacked him while he was walking on Ascension Street in Orange Walk Town at about 1:30 yesterday morning. Constable Abimael Perez was stabbed in his chest, back, head, arms and hands. The vicious attackers then ran away, leaving him bleeding on the ground. Police who were alerted about the attack on their fellow officer rushed to Ascension Street. Perez was rushed to the Orange Walk Town Northern Regional Hospital, where he was admitted in a critical but stable condition.

Burrell Boom resident shot in the face during burglary
Over the past weekend, there was a shooting incident in Burrell Boom which resulted in one person being shot in the face. According to police reports, a resident of Burrell Boom was shot in the face, allegedly by armed residents of the area, during a burglary which occurred sometime between Saturday and Sunday in the close-knit rural community. Today, ASP Chris Noble, who is the Rural Executive Officer, told the media what the police know about the incident so far. Noble stated, “We had an incident in Burrell Boom whereby the police were called out early in [Sunday] morning. There were residents of the area who were affected by a burglary, and other residents who had assisted.


Tropic Air’s First Flight from Belize City to Merida, Mexico, The White City
Merida, Mexico is one amazing city. And now, the trip from Belize City to Merida, Mexico is fast, direct and easy. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be on board the very first commercial flight to Merida with Tropic Air. And I have the certificate (and the gorgeous photos) to prove it. Super exciting. The view is amazing. This is just north of Belize City. Up to 8000 feet. A few towns scattered about but most of the Yucatan is unpopulated. A very smooth hour and a half later we started our descent into Merida. The airport is JUST on the outskirts of the city. It’s a pretty quick ride right to the Centro.

Invest Belize Magazine 2014

Here is Your Chance to Grow Your Business
Second Call, Regional Entrepreneurship Training Program

Our Failed Attempt to Interview the Mennonites in Belize
We were leaving the Caribbean coast of Belize and heading inland, making our way slowly up to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. Ever since first entering Belize a few weeks before we kept bumping into this oddly placed sub-culture that was arousing our curiosity; the Mennonites. The Mennonites are an agricultural Christian community originating from Northern Europe in the 16th Century. They moved around throughout the centuries to avoid persecution and eventually a bunch of them settled in Belize in the 1950s. To this day they still live with a lot of their 16th Century traditions, choosing to reject modern technologies. The Mennonite communities of Belize live under varying degrees of radicalism, but across the board many possess similar features. They speak an old Germanic language that dates back to their roots; they’re mostly fair skinned, they shun modern technology and they kind of dress like pilgrims. I wasn’t sure how we were going to approach them, so I decided to just throw myself in there. I climbed onto one of their buses, as a row of heads turned in my direction, and asked a Mennonite couple in English where the bus was going. Nothing but blank looks. Ok, so I tried in Spanish, and the looks were even blanker. Umm what to do now. I jumped off the bus and looked at Christine puzzled. We tracked down another Mennonite kid in the street selling peanuts, who just stared at us behind his glasses, blinking. We then tried a woman selling apples, but she just grunted and frowned.

International Sources

U.S. State Dept.’s 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
The 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) is an annual report by the Department of State to Congress prepared in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act. It describes the efforts of key countries to attack all aspects of the international drug trade in Calendar Year 2013. Volume I covers drug and chemical control activities. Volume II covers money laundering and financial crimes.

U.S. Names Caribbean Countries in 2014 Money Laundering Report
The United States has named several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries as major money laundering states whose financial institutions engage in currency transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from international narcotics trafficking. In its just released "2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report,' the US State Department listed Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize and Haiti as among major money laundering countries and jurisdictions around the world. In addition to these CARICOM countries, the other Caribbean islands named are the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. The report also notes that countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Brazil, Russia, France, Canada as well as the Dominican Republic, Germany, Greece and the Netherlands had been designated major money laundering countries.

19 Images You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped
It's time again for another installment of our popular feature wherein we show you photographs that are 100 percent real, despite the fact that they all look 100 percent fake.

2014 Travel Awards: Best Beach
There are hundreds of beautiful cayes along Belize’s Caribbean coast. Our pick is South ­Water Caye, east of Dangriga—a 15-acre island inside the country’s largest marine reserve. You can paddle the shoreline, snorkel at night, and, if you’re lucky, dive with whale sharks off a nearby atoll. The Pelican Beach Resort is one of just three on the island and has eight sandy cottages, four ­kayaks, and a sister property on the mainland—which makes transfers easy (from $369;

Worlds Scariest Tourist Attractions: Great Blue Hole – Belize
One of the scariest dive sites in the world lies around 2 hours from San Pedro, near Belize. Formed during the last ice age this 300 meters wide, 124 meters deep sinkhole is for the advanced diver only. Made up of karst limestone formations, which over the years, have evolved into ledges that slip away into the darkness. Submerged caves, multi-coloured stalactites and dark shadows accompany giant groupers, nurse sharks and Caribbean reef sharks, in this glorious, yet frightful natural wonder.

New World Oil And Gas Has Not Yet Received Niel Petroleum Payment
New World Oil and Gas PLC Tuesday said it has yet to receive USD20.2 million in subscription payments from Niel Petroleum SA. The oil and gas exploration and development company, with operations on Belize and Denmark, said that the balance of agreed subscription funds, related to a deal from September 2013, was expected to have been paid by Niel at the end of February and at that stage a total of 2.18 billion subscription shares would have been issued in accordance with the subscription. The company said Niel has paid USD250,000 out of the funds in consideration of an extension for the completion of the subscription until no later than March 31.

Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. to Present at 26th Annual Roth Conference on Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: CWCO), which develops and operates seawater desalination plants and water distribution systems in areas of the world where naturally occurring supplies of potable water are scarce or nonexistent, today announced that it will be presenting at the 26th Annual ROTH Conference on Tuesday, March 11, 2014. The conference will be held at the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point, California. The Company's presentation, by Chief Executive Officer Rick McTaggart, is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time in Salon 3 (Track 3). Mr. McTaggart and Chief Financial Officer David Sasnett will be available for meetings during the conference. Investors interested in arranging a meeting with management should contact their ROTH representative. Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. develops and operates seawater desalination plants and water distribution systems in areas of the world where naturally occurring supplies of potable water are scarce or nonexistent. The Company operates water production and/or distribution facilities in the Cayman Islands, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and Bali, Indonesia.

Video: Belize Mission Trip Feb 2014
Our amazing family mission trip with DCI Missions in Belize from Feb 14 - 19, 2014. We were touched by all we met -- Spanish and Mayan groups, Belizean people, Mennonite youth from Spanish Lookout and area in Cayo District, Belize. Our experiences have changed our lives. Thanks tremendously to Pastor Bill Craver for his dedication, passion to reach people and tireless energy! The fact that all of our 7 children were there with us made it all the more special -- we are so proud of every one of them!

Travel Guide - Belize
A helpful travel guide for anyone planning on visiting the beautiful and historical country of Belize.

March 4, 2014


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

World Water Day Poster Contest Announced
An International day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), and the United Nations General Assembly responded by designating March 22, 1993 as the first World Water Day. Every year thereafter, World Water Day is celebrated on March 22 around the world. This year the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture, in collaboration with other Ministries and Departments, has taken the lead for the celebration of the annual World Water Day (WWD) event as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater.

The San Pedro Traffic Department acquires Speed Gun
The Transport Department on Ambergris Caye has stepped up to address one of the many traffic issues affecting the island – speeding. For some time now, islanders have been complaining about vehicles and golf cart that speed at limit far beyond what has been assigned for the island. About three weeks ago, the Transport Department acquired a speed gun that will help with this issue. The speed gun comes in time for the Easter Holiday and traffic wardens will be using the gun to measure the speed of all forms of vehicles, including motorcycles and golf carts. Because of the size of the island and width of the streets, speed limits should not exceed more than 15 miles per hour (mph). In fact the assigned speed limit for town core area is 10 mph and 15mph on the rest of the island. School areas in particular have a speed limit of 5 mph. These speed limits are made visible by signs across the island.

“Alegría y Color, La Máscara de la Tradición” the carnaval in full swing
The carnaval is an old tradition, dating back over 150 years and is centered on a Mestizo character called Juan Carnaval. When the Mestizo from southern Mexico migrated to northern Belize, they brought many of their beliefs and traditions, including the Juan Carnaval celebration that is still observed in northern Belize (including on Ambergris Caye). It is held three consecutive days prior to Ash Wednesday, which kicks start the 40 days of the Lenten Season in the Christian community. The carnaval celebration includes lively and originally choreographed street dances – mostly in Spanish – depicting current events and other forms of livelihood on the island. In addition, the century old painting tradition of blue dye and soot (black powdery substance left behind by burnt material) has slowly evolved into colorful modern-day water paint.

Coast Guard vessel runs aground near the San Pedro Marina
The particular location in which the accident occurred was near a “hard turn” and according to Bennett the general area is shallow and challenging to navigate. The impact sent the vessel, an all around rotated equipped aluminum base boat, into the shores coming to a stop on a mangrove patch. “None of the officers were injured and the vessel has since been recovered and pulled out of the mangrove this morning (Monday March 3rd)… the vessel made its way to the Coast Guard base in Belize City on its own power so the damage, mainly some scratches on the hull, appears to be superficial,” said Bennett who indicated that a full inspection to assess the damage on the vessel is pending.

Wild about World Wildlife Day
Today, many nations across the globe are celebrating the first ever World Wildlife Day. In recognition of the importance of the world’s wild flora and fauna and in an effort to raise awareness for its conservation and protection, this day has been set apart. Most naturally, Belize has joined in on the campaign. From our pristine rainforests, home to our jaguars and countless wild flora to our dazzling waters home to the world’s second largest barrier reef- we have much to not only celebrate but to protect.

Ambergris Today

Carnaval de San Pedro Alegria y Color La Mascara del la Tradicion
The painting and street dancing (comparsas) were in full swing on the first day of Carnaval in San Pedro, Belize as the traditional celebrations commenced on Sunday, March 2, 2014. Carnaval revelers took to the streets of downtown to enjoy in the painting while other residents came out to see the fun and entertaining comparsas (street dancers). The San Pedro AIDS Commission was entertaining with their interpretation of “Los Inditos” and Doña Flora’s group dressed up as “Los Chinitos” and took to the streets with their lively song and traditional Carnaval dancing. Carnaval wouldn’t be complete without The Barbies as they interpreted Marc Anthony and Los Barbies. More painting and dancing continue until Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Enjoy the pictures and videos that Ambergris Today has prepared.

Actor Donald Faison Mingles with Locals in San Pedro, Belize
Looks like word about the ‘Number 1 Island in the World’ is getting around in Hollywood because Ambergris Today has yet another celebrity sighting to report this week. American actor, comedian Donald Faison was in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize last week and into the weekend where he made appearances at favorite hotspot in town like Ramon’s Village and Senor Marlins. He was very sociable and willing to take pictures with anybody who asked. He had loads of fun during his stay on the island and enjoyed the luxury accommodations of Las Terrazas Resort in North Ambergris Caye, according to Pat Armitage, Executive Chef at Las Terrazas Resort. Donald is best known for his role as Dr. Chris Turk in the ABC comedy-drama Scrubs as a leading role and as Murray in the film Clueless.

Misc Belizean Sources

CARNAVAL FIESTA 2014 (33 photos)
Carnaval 2014 kicked off with the Carnaval Fiesta! Block Party at the Central Park on Saturday, March 1. The Fiesta included speeches from the Deputy Mayor Guillermo "Mito" Paz, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation and Mayor Daniel Guerrero. In between speeches the spectators were entertained with dances from the Little Angels Pre-School, the San Pedro High School, San Pedro R. C. School, the San Pedro Dance Academy and the San Pedro Revolution Dancers. The fiesta also included food and drink booths that were competing for the title of Best Carnaval Inspired Booth, Food and Drink! Master of Ceremonies was Mr. Eiden Salazar. The San Pedro Town Council would like to thank everyone for coming out to this event and making it another successful one! Que Viva el Carnaval de San Pedro!

Belize signs a Partial Scope Agreement with Guatemala
Belize signed a Partial Scope Agreement with Guatemala on 26th June, 2006 in Belize City. Eight years later, on 28th February, 2014, Belize hosted the first meeting of the Administrative Commission established through the provisions of the Agreement. The Commission has direct oversight of four technical committees also created by the Agreement to resolve trade and trade related issues in the areas of Customs Procedures of Rules of Origin (ROO), Plant and Animal Health (SPS), Standards and Quality (TBT) and Land Transportation. The objective of this meeting was to gather the relevant stakeholders to make effective the administrative mechanism that would facilitate the resolution of cross border trading issues between the two countries. Ms. Margaret Ventura, mistress of ceremony, opened with Belize’s national prayer; followed by the Head of the Belize Delegation, Chief Executive Officer Michael Singh, who reaffirmed the Government of Belize’s strong interest and commitment in commerce between Belize and Guatemala. He also noted the importance of conducting trade in an official manner and in accordance with the Partial Scope Agreement (PSA). The Head of the Guatemala delegation, Vice Minister Maria Luisa Flores Villagran echoed similar concerns and commitments from the Government of Guatemala.

Ms. Ivory Kelly publishes in the December 2013 issue of Caribbean Quarterly
Faculty of Education and Arts lecturer Ms. Ivory Kelly has published one of her newest short stories in the December 2013 issue of Caribbean Quarterly, one of the region’s leading scholarly journals. “The Kite” is a coming of age narrative as well as a thought-provoking postcolonial discourse and is part of a collection of short stories that Kelly plans to publish in the near future. Another of Kelly’s stories, “This Thing We Call Love,” will be published next month in a Caribbean anthology titled Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean (Peekash Press). Ivory Kelly is the author of Point of Order: Poetry and Prose (Ramos Publishing, 2009). Her works have also appeared in several Belizean anthologies including The Alchemy of Words, Vol. 2 (Cubola, 2008); Treasures of a Century (Belize National Library Service, 2005); Memories Dreams and Nightmares, Vol. 1(Cubola, 2002); and She (Factory Books, 2001). Kelly currently teaches in the English Department at the University of Belize and worked previously as assistant editor at the North Carolina Literary Review.

Chief Justice orders continuation of passport scandal investigation
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin today ordered the Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie to continue and conclude the halted investigation of Honorable Elvin Penner’s involvement in the recent passport scandal. Of note is that the statute of limitation on the issuance of a Belize passport to South Korean national Won Hong Kim expires today. Kim’s passport was issued in September, 2013. The statute of limitations on the issuance of a nationality certificate to Won Hong Kim expires on March 9.

Policeman stabbed up in Orange Walk
A policeman was viciously attacked and stabbed multiple times over the weekend. The officer, identified as Police Constable #1322 Abimael Eleaser Romero was stabbed at least 18 times to the back, abdomen and right hand. Police say PC Romero was found with the multiple stab wounds on Asuncion Street in Orange Walk town around 1:40 am on Sunday. He was taken to the Northern Regional hospital for medical attention. According to police reports, PC Romero says he does not recall anything about his assailants. He did tell his colleagues, however, that a blue and grey knapsack containing his passport, clothing and a cell phone is missing.

Child Stimulation month underway in Toledo
Activities for Child Stimulation Month were launched this morning during ceremonies at the Punta Gorda Central Park. The annual Child Stimulation Month is being celebrated under the theme: “Early Childhood: Where Our Future Begins.” Here in Toledo, PreSchool children from all over the district converged on the Central Park for today’s launch.

Tropic Air makes inaugural flight to Merida
It is a big day for the San Pedro-based Tropic Air. The airline is today making its inaugural flight from Belize to Merida, Mexico. Among the passengers on this inaugural flight will be the airline’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Schultz.

The Boost Program
Building Opportunities for Our Social Transformation!

Cayo Family Receives New House
Oasis Ministries built Wendy Cruz and her family, from Unitedville, a new house. Oasis Ministries has built 74 houses around Belize in the last decade, and they'll build many more in Cayo during the Summer. Thanks, Oasis!

Western Ballaz Play Tiger Sharks
The Western Ballaz had a working vacation on Ambergris Caye, where they played the Tiger Sharks. They didn't win, but had a great time visiting. They are now tied for first place. They host the Belize City No Limit this Friday at Sacred Heart College. The first game, between SHC and Benque will start around 6:00pm. "The Western Ballaz took a fun trip out to San Pedro to plat the Tiger Sharks. They didn't win, but learned a lot about poor sportsmanship from the other team. It was a great first half, with pretty much an even score, and it was tied in the 3rd quarter. Too bad the other team used underhanded tactics(literally pulling down our players shorts during the game). It was great that the young kids got to play between the quarters. Future pros in the making. The Ballaz are tied for first place now. They host the Belize City No Limit this Friday in Cayo."

Death of Louisa Martinez Waight of Georgeville
News has been received of the death of Louisa Martinez Waight of Georgeville. Rest in Peace Ma Lou.

Belize Economic Data
The Statistical Institute of Belize has released economic data for last year and last month. Also this link.

Profiting from a strong private sector – INVESTMENT Part V
In a robust economy, the private sector seeks and makes investments. Lending to a business, or buying a share of it enables it to grow, often resulting in more or better employment. Individuals and businesses invest in other businesses for the purpose of growth, development and profit. Of course, credible investment alternatives must provide a higher return than bank savings, and that return should be proportionate to the risk the investment takes. Let’s all Build Corozal and keep it Safe and Clean!!!

Man dies after falling out of moving passenger bus
Almost one week after he tumbled out of a moving passenger bus on the Phillip Goldson Highway, 62 year old Jose Elmer Villanueva has died. According to family members, Villanueva died on Sunday night while undergoing treatment at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. As we had reported earlier, Villanueva was traveling on a north-bound J&J bus on Tuesday morning of last week when the unfortunate incident occurred. Villanueva, according to a fellow passenger, was sitting on the cover of the engine because the bus was overcrowded. When the bus neared the Burrell Boom junction, Villanueva allegedly tumbled out of the bus as it maneuvered a curve.

National Women’s Month
The month of March in Belize is celebrated annually as National Women’s Month; as a result, the Special Envoy Office in collaboration with the NWC is staging the 20,000 Strong National Women’s Empowerment Rally on Thursday, March 6, 2014 from 10AM to 3PM at the Marion Jones Stadium in Belize City. Contact 662-4447 to participate. FREE transportation for Caye Caulker & San Pedro Women! Boats via Caye Caulker Water Taxi by Cholos in San Pedro at 8AM and Caye Caulker Front Pier at 8:30AM... Sign up today via 662-4447...Please share this information with your Sisters/Mothers/Daughters and attend the Empowering Rally for a Better Belize!

Apprenticeship Program
By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez Belize has always had an apprenticeship program That is one of the hallmarks of the this nation This is an area in which many have made a contribution Friendship youth club, Stafford youth group program This was a part of the 50s, 60s, 70s Belize youth revolution Liberty Hall had one for generations Back in the days every established tradesman was part of the program However after the heads of agreement in 1980 bredda man The youth movements in Belize suffered deterioration Killing the youths’ dreams and aspirations Ensuring that there was not another youth insurrection The ruling party stifled all these programs Encouraging political patronage Systematically destroying the youths’ vigor and courage Any initiative for the youth upliftment was discouraged

Carnaval Painting Day 2!
Don't miss out on the fun!

Journey to Xunantunich
A guest to Xunantunich made a pretty cool video of the journey from Belize to El Castillo.

BTB 2013 Tourism Statistics
The Belize Tourism Board has released the tourism statistics from last year, and overnight tourism is up an average of 5.5%. "The final figures for the 2013 tourism year are in, and we are happy to report that Belize’s Overnight and Cruise arrivals are up! Last year Belize recorded 223,510 in PGIA arrivals. March 2013 saw the highest tourist arrivals at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) with 28,623 visitors; this is a 10.2% increase in comparison to March 2012. The month with the largest increase in 2013 was August, with a 10.5% increase when compared to August 2012. While there were 3% decreases for April and September, overall PGIA arrivals are up 5.5%."

Video: Belize Nurse Shark

Profiting from a strong private sector – Export earnings – Part VI
Obviously the productive and services sectors are especially important for this. Tourism, sugar and citrus are our biggest earners of foreign currency. Other earners include shrimp, business process outsourcing (BPO) firms; the hair braiders who indulge visitors’ desire to have a “Caribbean look;” the Belize musicians and other local artists who work abroad but bring their earnings home; the realtors who sell condos and other real estate to foreign buyers. The importing sector also generates foreign currency earnings in cases where it imports goods to sell to foreign buyers from across the border, or to tourists

British psychiatrist to assist defense of Lavern Longsworth
A British forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Gillian Mezey, has been assisting Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith in preparing a defense for convicted murderer Lavern “Anti-Christ” Longsworth, 40, whose appeal was set for the current session of the Court of Appeal. This morning, Smith told presiding justices Dennis Morrison, Douglas Mendes and Minnet Hafiz-Bertram that he needed further time to prepare the appeal, specfically to review Dr. Mezey’s report, which included interviews with Longsworth and others, which is due within the month. Dr. Mezey is noted as an expert in battered women and domestic violence and mental abuse. Longsworth was convicted in November of 2012 for the murder of her common-law partner, David White, 32, who was allegedly doused in kerosene and set on fire at their Castle Street home on July 15, 2010 and later died from his injuries.

Best description for Sunday’s UDP convention in Belize Rural Central is that it was an orgy. It was a festive atmosphere as the the Ladyville area was decked out in red, weather was great and convention goers were in a euphoric state all day, observers say. Only one candidate was responsible for the fanfare and she emerged the winner when the counting was done – but was it worth? Voting started at 10:00 a.m. and finished at 5:00 p.m. When counting finished Beverly Castillo, former CEO in the Ministry of Natural Resources emerged as the winner. The convention was hotly contested by five candidates: Beverly Castillo, Dean Samuels, Michael Hutchinson, John Lizama and Emroy Castillo. Beverly Castillo garnered 961 votes; Michael Hutchinson garnered 502 votes, Dean Samuels got 353 votes; Emroy Castillo got 152 votes and John Lizama got 19 votes.

Diving Belize with Belize Pro Dive Center Feb 4th - March 3rd
We've had a great week of diving, eagle rays, wrecks, sharks and more!

Diving Tackle Box, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Channel 7

Court Compels COMPOL to Investigate Hon. Penner
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has granted the Writ of Mandamus ordering the Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie to immediately commence a criminal investigation against Former Minister of State Elvin Penner for his role in the Citizen Kim passport scandal. That's the decision he handed down today in the Supreme Court after carefully looking at the materials presented before him. It's a dramatic end to the case where the Leader of Opposition brought judicial review proceedings against the Commissioner outlining clearly that there was indeed enough material to act on. Chief Justice Benjamin also declared in the favour of Opposition Leader Fonseca that Commissioner Whylie's decision not to investigate was quote, "irrational, unreasonable, and unlawful". Those are very strong and stern words for the Chief Justice to use against the highest officer in the Police Department, and today, Fonseca also noted it when he spoke with the media..

Man Shot In Jaw, Was It Village Vigilantes In Boom?
Tonight 43 year old Geovanni Berry is lucky to be alive after gunshots rained down in the house he was taking care of on Saturday morning. It happened in Burrell Boom village, where at about 1:00 am on Saturday morning someone broke into Chad Gillett's home and stole a licensed 9mm pistol. Gillett awoke to find the gun thief fleeing his home on bicycle. He pulled a shotgun and fired at the intruder, who seemed to have gotten sprayed by the shotgun pellets and fled on foot with the gun. Gillett called the village police officer - and they rounded up a crew of armed friends from the village and they went out looking for the thief. Paint traces on the bicycle he abandoned led them to a house in the village - a house that was under construction.. The official story is that the police officer leading the crew identified herself and said they wanted to search the house. Now, this is at about 3:00 in the morning. No one responded and so one member of the crew - a civilian - reportedly went up to the house to look around - which is when a shot came from inside the house at him. Well, the rough and ready crew didn't need much after that, they let off on the residence with shotguns and 9 millimeter pistol spraying it with gunfire. Geovanni Berry was inside and he got shot in the jaw. He said even though it was pre-dawn hours, the posse shot first and asked questions later. Today in the hospital, he told the media his story:..

Drunken Policeman Stabbed 18 Times in OW
A policeman was robbed and viciously stabbed this weekend. On Sunday morning at 1:40 am, Police Constable 1322, Abimael Romero was found on Asuncion Street with 18 stab wounds to the back, abdomen and right hand. He was rushed to the Northern Regional Hospital but told police he doesn't remember anything about how he was attacked or how his assailants looked. He told police he had been robbed of his personal possessions, including passport, clothing and cell phone. Residents in the area say that he appeared to have been drinking when they found him bleeding from those stab wounds. He told them that he was looking for his mother-in-law's house.

8 Shots Fired, Minor Injuries In City
And to round out what was a violent weekend, there was a shooting in Belize City where two minors and a female were injured. It happened on Saturday night around 7:30 on Curassow Street in Belize City. Two 17-year-old students, Marlon Samuels and Devin Parham, were socializing with 42-year-old housewife Arlene Cole, when a gunman on a bicycle pulled up and opened fire. Fortunate all 3 were only shot in their feet and legs, and they were treated and released. Still, it could have been far worse. Police recovered eight 9mm expended shells from the scene.

Johnny Zabs Tells US embassy To Ask El Chapo About Him
If you follow international news, you'll know that Mexico's biggest cartel boss, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, was caught 9 days ago in Culiacan, Mexico. He's now in a maximum security Mexican jail facing a multitude of charges in that country. Barring the possibility of escape, which has happened before, he could end up spending the rest of his life in jail. One man who's taken a keen interest in his arrest is banana grower Johnny Zabaneh. In August of 2012 Zabaneh's business world came tumbling down around him when the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control designated him and two other Belizeans under the Kingpin Act. They said, quote, "John Zabaneh and two members of his drug trafficking organization, who are based in Belize and are key associates of Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, and other members of the Sinaloa Cartel." The OFAC Office referred to, quote, "John Zabaneh's drug trafficking activities and his organization's ties to Colombian sources of supply and Mexican buyers." End quote. They described him as quote, "a critical figure in the narcotics trade."

Bermudian Landing Villager Dies On ATV
Tonight villagers of Bermudan Landing are mourning the death of one of the village's well known businessmen - 52 year old John Wade. Wade was involved in a fatal traffic accident last night. Reports are that he was last seen getting on his ATV four wheel motor-bike around 11 last night and left off in the direction of his home. But he never made it home. His body was discovered around 4 this morning - on the side of the road outside of Bermudan Landing. Villagers say he was found with the bike on top of him - which indicates he may have lost control of the ATV. Today his family spoke to Monica Bodden. Stanley Herrera - Brother-in-law of Decease "I am trying to get all the details about really what happen because yesterday morning I came up from Cotton Tree and him and I spend pretty much the whole day working on the farm, we were taking care of the animals and then I eventually left to go back home. My sister calls and told me that he went out on the bike and I got the news this morning. It wasn't news that I really expected to get. When I saw her number on my phone calling me this morning I expected she would have told me something happen, but not that he was dead, so I was pretty shaken up this morning when I heard it. It's a really sad thing to know that that could happen in such a short notice."

Two Killed When Truck Slams Into Drain
There was also another accident which happened last night at around 7, and this one was fatal for 2 Independence residents. Wilfredo Jaime, Antonio Mejia, and Christopher Gutierrez were traveling in a pickup, and when they were in front of the Trio Village Primary School, the driver lost control of the vehicle and overturned in the drain. Wilfredo Jaime and Antonio Mejia were flung from the vehicle to their deaths.

Teenager Passes Two Weeks After Hit And Run
And while those three traffic fatalities happened less than 24 hours ago, two accidents that happened last week are now also fatalities. The first is 13 year old Earl Ishmael Flores. He is the little boy who was knocked down in a hit and run incident just outside of Burrell Boom Village. Just before midnight last night, Flores died. The teenager had endured a serious surgery just hours before his death, after which doctors detected a massive swelling of his brain - which led to his death. He was run over 2 Sunday's ago and still no one has been arrested and charged. His family told Monica Bodden today that police are dragging their feet.

The Passing of "Pantas"
Last week we told you about 63 year old Jose Elmer Villanueva, known as "Pantaz" who tumbled out of a moving and overcrowded J&J bus travelling from Benque. We reported that he was hospitalized at the KHMH since February 26th when the incident occurred and was placed in an induced coma by doctors. After fighting for his life for 5 days at the KHMH, Villanueva passed away just before 9 last night. Today police are asking passengers who were on the bus that day to assist with any additional information. Supt. Chris Noble, O/C Ladyville "With regards to the bus we did manage to get relevant information from that scene. The driver was very cooperative; we did get all our statements. We are asking that persons who were in the bus that may have seen what transpired - come forward for us, you can go to any station and say you were on that bus and I am certain that we can arrange for the recording of a statement for file purposes to assist in the investigation. The gentleman passed away sometime early today and we are preparing for an autopsy at this stage."

Cycle Crashed Head On Into Vehicle
And the Traffic Investigators of the Ladyville Police Station got called back out to another accident which happened on Friday night near Los Lagos Village. Steve Myles and Wellington Hall were on a motorcycle when they slammed head-on into a vehicle. The driver of the motorcycle told us that it was caused when the vehicle over took another: Steve Myles - Accident Victim "I had my friend whose belt burst for his car and he just asks me to assist him in putting back electricity for people who got cut out. The last place that we put in electricity was in Maxboro and in coming down slowly on the cycle on mile 12, a pick-up was coming and all of a sudden a car just burst out overtaking the pick-up. We were in the front and I swerve off the road and the driver came off the road and still hit us." Steve Myles says that the doctors have given him a 50% chance of losing his leg due to the damage. He is asking the public for help to pay his medical bills, and he can be reached at telephone number, 607-6980.

Police Say They Have Men Who Robbed 208K In Free Zone
A week ago, brazen armed thieves held up a Mexican businessman and robbed him of 1.25 million pesos, or 208 thousand Belize dollars. Well, police have been investigating, and today they report that they've charged 3 Corozal men for that robbery. 22 year-old Israel Rancharan of Corozal Town was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, while 26 year-old Hector Kelly and 18 year-old Zandon Myers, also of Corozal Town, were charged with robbery. 21-year-old Benigno Loria, a resident of San Andres Village was charged and arraigned last week for conspiracy to commit robbery. As we reported, 48 year-old Villasenor was walking to his vehicle, which was parked in the compound of his business place, North America Store. That's when 2 men ambushed him and at knife point, they robbed him of the money and shoved him into the trunk of his car.

Got their Money, But Teachers Will Still Take A Stand
The budget will be presented on Friday on Belmopan, and one of the main attractions will be the proposed 5% raise of teachers and public officers. It's costing the public purse upwards of 22 million dollars, but the teachers union isn't resting on its laurels; it's keeping up the public pressure. They promised to march on in March, and on Friday in Belmopan, they will. President Luke Palacio sent out a letter to all school managements today notifying them that teachers will be going up to Belmopan on Friday for a peaceful demonstration and rally. Palacio's letter says, teachers will be out of class on that day to travel and participate in the event. His letter says the Union will not quiet the call for reform until QUOTE, "numerous and mounting social issues" are addressed. And as for the 5% announcement? Well Palacio isn't happy with that either. His letter says the financial year hasn't ended yet the Prime Minister has announced final figures. He says it, quote, "negates the use of the salary adjustment formula" which government presented to the unions.

Family Of Mental Patient Killed By Cops Still Angry
2 weeks ago, 7News told you about how mentally unstable Big Falls resident Moses Williams lost his life in a violent encounter with police. Williams is known to have mental problems, and on Monday February 17, he had already chopped a special constable, and to subdue him, a special constable shot him in the right leg. The bullet hit a major artery, and he died while receiving treatment. Well, his family has been doing their own investigation, and they say that the police officer did not do his job properly. Moreover, they say that police officers were trying to get him kicked out of Big Falls: Myrtle Williams, Mother of Moses Williams "The young man that they killed in Big Falls Village last week Monday the 17th February: what happen was that from the beginning I thought something was fishy because I got to understand that he was killed by friend and other from Toledo but not the police. They had not called me and tell me anything. I had to go to Mr. Russell Brackett from Belmopan and ask then to call the superintendent in PG to get a confirmation that it was true that he has been shot and he is dead."

Cayo Fire Claims Upper Flat
There was a serious fire last night in Cayo. Around 7:00. a two storey building caught on fire. The upper flat which is wooden was completely destroyed by fire. 46-year-old Angelina Gordon, Belizean domestic of same address left her common-law husband Eugene Flowers at home at 6:00p.m. and an hour later, , she received information that her house was on fire. The estimated cost of the house and items is $40,000.00Bcy. No one was injured and the cause of the fire has not been determined.

Siarsha Showing Signs Of Improvement
3 year old Siarsha Alvarez is improving at a hospital in Merida. We spoke to her father Simeon Alvarez today and he told us that her skin is healing, she can open her eyes and sit up, and she's finally able to eat but only corn flakes. On the downside, she still can't talk, she still has fevers and her medical bills are mounting. Still, the overall trend is good and she could be out of intensive care by Saturday. Her father says right now her bill in the hospital is over ten thousand US Dollars, plus he owed the doctors another three thousand US dollars. He's trying to get a discount on the hospital bill. Alvarez says he thanks all those who've donated, but there is still need. His account number is Scotiabank 8734347. You can link him on facebook where his handle is Bunzy Simeon.

Talking Trade With Guatemala
The new round of confidence building measures are in full swing, and on Friday in Belmopan, there was high level meeting with trade officials from both countries. It's called the Belize-Guatemala Administrative Commission where Mike Singh, CEO in the Ministry of Trade, welcomed Guatemalan Vice Minister Maria Luisa Flores Villagran. One of the Commission's first jobs is to figure out how to implement the Partial Scope trade Agreement.

AG: SC Welch A "Rare Bird"
2 weeks ago, well-known attorney and football aficionado, Lionel Welch passed away in Los Angeles after a tough battle with prostate cancer. Welch had a long career as an attorney, and his peers in the legal community gave him a send-off today. At a special sitting of the Supreme Court, majority of the members of the bench and bar noted his achievements and held a small remembrance ceremony in his honour. Attorney General Wilfred Elrington, was good friend of Welch's and he told us today about the ceremony: Welch was a member of the Member of the FFB Disciplinary Committee, the integrity committee for football and Legal adviser to the Football Federation of Belize.

Beverly Beat Them Bad
Former CEO in the Ministry of Natural Resources is the UDP's new standard bearer for Belize Rural Central. In a five way convention, 2015 voted and Beverly Castillo got 961 votes to Michael Hutchinson's 502, and Dean Samuels 353.

Chetumal Can Carnival Too
And that's 7news tonight, we leave you with footages of Belize's carnival Group, Mother Nature making a special appearance in the Chetumal Carnival which was held yesterday in that Mexican City. It is courtesy of NICH and we hope you enjoy.

Channel 5

CJ orders ComPol to investigate Elvin Penner and passport issued to Won Hong Kim

Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin today issued a writ of Mandamus against Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie. In simple terms, the Court has now instructed Whylie to criminally investigate the Won [...]

3 more Asians got nationalities almost on arrival to the jewel

Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal dropped an inadvertent bombshell last week, in the form of a memo to the National Crimes Investigation Branch. In that memo Vidal quotes from [...]

Armed Mexican soldiers enter Belize; they are detained, but soon released

What is being called a miscommunication between the Belize Defense Force and the police department resulted in the brief detention of several armed officers who crossed into Belizean territory at [...]

Cop is stabbed 18 times in Orange Walk

A San Ignacio police officer was stabbed as many as eighteen times over the weekend. The stabbing took place in Orange Walk Town where the cop had reportedly gone to [...]

Wild Wild West in Burrell Boom; Belize City man shot

While PC Romero remains hospitalized at the Northern Regional Hospital with multiple stab wounds, in Burrell Boom, a Belize City man was more fortunate despite a volley of bullets unleashed [...]

Brazen shooting on Curassow; 2 minors and woman shot

Ongoing enmity between two rival Belize City groups has resulted in yet another brazen shooting, this time at a residence on Curassow Street.  On Saturday night, a group of young [...]

Mother says shooting death of mentally challenged son in the south is murder

Moses Williams was shot and killed on February seventeenth, on his farm in Big Falls in the Toledo District. Police say they went for the mentally challenged young man to [...]

5 fatalities: hit & run victim, 13 year old Earl Jones Jr., succumbs

A family is grieving tonight the death of thirteen year old Earl Ishmael Flores Junior. The minor was hospitalized since last week in a coma after he was injured in [...]

Elderly man who fell from bus dies

Another victim of a traffic accident, Jose Elmer Villanueva, succumbed just prior to the passing of Earl Flores Junior. The sixty-three year old was seriously injured last Tuesday when he [...]

Double Head Cabbage villager killed in early morning traffic accident

A third person who lost his life in a traffic fatality is John Wade. The Double Head Cabbage Villager was traveling towards Burrell Boom when he lost control of his [...]

2 Independence villagers killed in vehicle mishap

There were two other fatalities to report…this time in the south. Two men from the village of Independence died on Sunday night when the vehicle they were travelling in overturned [...]

3 others including a female police officer injured in separate accidents

Aside from the five persons who died in traffic fatalities, we can confirm that three other persons including a female police officer were more fortunate and survived traffic mishaps. Just [...]

Unions to take Independence Hill for 2014 budget presentation

The national budget for the 2014 fiscal year will be presented in the House of Representatives this Friday, where Prime Minister Barrow is expected to formally announce that the unions, [...]

Police investigate serious reported case of gang rape

The Ladyville Police had their hands busy over the weekend with traffic fatalities and shootings, but they are also investigating a very serious reported case of gang rape. A teenager [...]

Weekend Sports Stats with James Adderley

Good evening I’m James Adderly and this is Sports Monday. Week 4 in the National Elite Basketball League found 0 & 3 Orange Walk Running Rebels hosting Dangriga Culture Warriors [...]


Police Officer Stabbed 18 Times
A police officer attached to the Belize City Police Department, Precint 2 is lucky to be alive today as he was stabbed multiple times after midnight on Sunday. And while details are sketchy, which is mainly due to the officer not being able to recollect what transpired, more questions than answers remain. Authorities in Orange Walk say that around 1:30am on Sunday, police officer Abimael Romero was on Asuncion Street when he was attacked. According to police, Romero says he was looking for his Mother in law’s house when he was attacked. He lost consciousness shortly after. Police say neighbors within the vicinity alerted the cops after they heard Romero moaning and saw him leaning on a fence. Romero, who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, received 18 stab wounds all over his body. He is listed in stable condition at the Northern Regional Hospital. Police investigations continue.

OWTC Overdraft At Belize Bank Converted To A Loan
Four days from today the Orange Walk Town Council, under the helms of Mayor Kevin Bernard, will complete two years of serving the people of Orange Walk Town. While the road has not been an easy one to travel, the council has done its best to keep up with its manifesto and financial obligations, meaning the paying off of certain debts they encountered when sworn into office. One of those debts was an overdraft of $111,279.00 at the Belize Bank inherited from the previous UDP Town Council. With the overdraft in arrears, the town council has been unable to access that account and has been operating solely on its own revenues collected through taxes. But the council is known for being persistent and has come to an agreement with the Belize Bank to convert the overdraft into a loan. Mayor Kevin Bernard- Orange Walk Town Council “Prior to our meeting on Saturday, the council had a special discussion on the bank overdraft issue, we had to pass a resolution, in order to accept and what we had done as you know the overdraft stood at $111,000.00 when we got in and the balance of that overdraft currently stands at $69,100.00 and now we have agreed to convert that into a loan at 12% which will see us paying $5,683.26 for the next twelve months...

Nature Park To Receive Much Needed Lighting
One year after the Louisiana Nature Park was inaugurated; today it still stands as a permanent fixture for residents of the Louisiana Area and the greater Orange Walk Town. As you may recall the playground sets that now decorate the park were a contribution from the Rotary clubs in Canada. And over the weekend representatives of the Canadian clubs visited with caretakers of the park mainly the Orange Walk Town Council and the Rotary Club of Orange Walk Town. The main objective of the visit was for the club members to assess the park’s condition. Orlando Burns – President, Rotary Club OW “We need to maintain it no, they are physically here to check each and every park after one year to see how it is being maintained, how we Belizean appreciated it and our community leaders and our Rotary Clubs and the people that use it how much do we care for it.” Victor Castillo – Reporter “What are some of the things that are being done during the course of this year and in order to maintain it in a good condition as they want?” Orlando Burns – President, Rotary Club OW “Well, I must say that the municipality has been most cooperative with the Club and I think they had left some paint with them and they came in and touch it up with the paint but it’s been twelve months since its erection so now it really needs some maintenance because we have a big problem with rust, wherever we have rust we need to come and take it off and put some really good paint on it and just keep doing it so that it doesn’t continue to rust.”

Child Stimulation Month Kicks Off In Orange Walk
An early education is an early investment in the future, and here in Orange Walk educators take that very seriously. Today marked the kickoff of Child Stimulation month celebrated every year in March. This year the month is being celebrated under the theme “Early Childhood Where Our Future Begins”. As usual the month was declared officially open here in Orange Walk with all pre-schools taking part in the first activity in the calendar, a parade through the principle streets of town. Carmelita Perez Reports. Carmelita Perez – Reporting With this year’s theme leading the parade, 25 pre-schools from the Orange Walk District took part in the first activity in observation of Child Stimulation Month. With bright colors and smiling faces decorating the parade, pre-schoolers marched to the beat of drums and songs. Lisa Carrillo- Education Officer Orange Walk “As District Education Centre we want to continue promoting that early childhood education which is very, very important it is the foundation for children’s education. In the Pre-school Centre what is done is that they social, they learn to play and they learn to get along with their peers so that they are ready for the primary school which is a totally different setting so we really want to encourage parents to send them to pre-school because it is a different setting and it is very important that they receive these skills so that they are prepared for the primary school.”

Nature Park To Be Upgraded With Instalment Of Basketball Court
Apart from the Council installing new slides and fine tuning the ambience at the Louisiana Nature Park, Orange walk East Area representative for the People’s United Party, Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez has also announced his latest project. This involves the completion of a basketball court which was started by Orlando Burns. While Burns had previously installed the foundation, the project never saw its completion. Mendez told us that he is better equipping the area so that youths can have a place to be active. Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez– Area Rep, Orange Walk East, PUP “Muy bonito como es el Nature Park y es un área que acido visitada todo los fines de semana por todas las familias incluso dentro del centro porque es un área bastante natural. Aquí detrás mía hay un básquetbol que el Sénior Burns había empezado y esta la fundación y desde hace varias meses estado buscando ayuda de la comunidad para poderlo terminar y ya hay bastante ayuda que se ha dado por ejemplo vamos a necesitar todo los que es el hierro y estamos algo de casi 175 hierros que se van a necesitar con un valor de casi $4,000.00 que se nos han donado para hacer esto realidad el court y del cemento hay varias personas del este que nos han donado 20, 30, 40 y hasta 50 sacos de cemento para poderlo completar y hacerlo una realidad, entonces ya dentro de unas dos semanas diría que ya vamos a empezar nuestra obra para traerlo al área del este y a todos los vecinos acá de Nature Park un basquetbol que definitivamente va hacer algo pues para los jóvenes, para los deportistas algo muy útil para utilizar en cuanto al área.”

More Persons Charged For Free Zone Heist
22 year old Israel Rancharan of Venezuela Site in the Corozal District was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery. 26 year old Hector Kelly of Halls Layout and 18 year old Zandon Myers of 4th Avenue, both of Corozal Town were charged with robbery; those two are believed to have executed the armed robbery. As we’ve reported, last week Tuesday, 48 year-old Ricardo Villasenor, was held at knifepoint by two men who robbed him of 1.25 million pesos, which is equivalent to $208 thousand Belizean dollars.

Trouble Brewing In Rhaburn Ridge With Opening Of New School
In our last newscast we told you about the efforts of the Rhaburn Ridge residents and even people of surrounding communities in opening the first primary school at that village. The community, with assistance from investors outside Belize has managed to construct a building and even a cafeteria that are both in full use as the school opened its doors to twenty-five students in January of this year. The name of the school is Hope SDA Christian Academy. However, the school’s management faces serious repercussion for that decision since they began operations without a valid license from the Ministry of Education. Last week Head Teacher Jacqueline Moralez said they have followed and met all requirements but their efforts proved futile as the department has denied them a license on the grounds that Biscane School caters for children within a ten mile radius and that the ministry is not encouraging multi-grade classes in schools. Morales mentioned they are outside that ten mile radius and are not conducting multi-grade classes. While they have appealed the Ministry’s decision, they are yet to receive an answer, according to Morales. Since the school opened, the administration has been warned to close its doors or face a fine from five hundred to a thousand dollars or six months imprisonment for violations of the Education and Training Act.

OWTC Elects New Deputy Mayor
As mentioned at the top of the newscast, on March 7th the Orange Walk Town Council will complete two years of being in office. And with the completion of two years came the election of a new Deputy Mayor and changes in councilor’s portfolios. Those changes were made over the weekend among councilors during a special meeting held at the council. Kevin Bernard- Orange Walk Mayor “Yes, we did had our meeting this last Saturday and we are completing our second year in office and a such we had met (1) to elect the new deputy Mayor and they had two candidates that had put in their names to run as deputy Mayor both Laddrick Sheppard and Ian Cal and after the election was held Ian Cal was elected by majority votes as the deputy Mayor for the third year at that meeting also we had some changes in terms of portfolio that has shifted around some bit and assigned to other councillors.” Ian Cal- Newly Elected Deputy Mayor “First of all I would like by thanking the Council for giving me that opportunity to serve for this third year as the deputy Mayor and of course as the new deputy Mayor more responsibilities is added on to my portfolio and much more is expected and with this third year there is a lot to be done and as the Mayor mention we want to look at more of infrastructure work and we still have some street in plan to pave and something that passed under portfolio which is now parks and play grounds and we are looking to this April starts and the rehabilitation of our Central Park something that we promise to the people of Orange Walk and something that we intend to carry through and as the deputy Mayor I intend to work closer to the Mayor and to give advice as a Council and to ensure that these things are done and we are here to work for the people of Orange Walk and to work hand in hand with the Town Board, with the Mayor and to ensure that everything carry on properly.”

62 Year Old Who Fell Off Moving Bus Succumbs To Injuries
Five days after 62 year-old Jose Elmer Villanueva tumbled out of a moving, overcrowded J&J Bus which was coming from Benque around 7am on Wednesday morning, he succumbed to his injuries. The family report that Villanueva had severe head injuries which caused swelling to his brain. Since the incident Villanueva was induced in a coma at the KHMH but around 8:00 on Sunday night, sadly he passed away. Since the incident, 41 year-old Roman Chan was taken to the Belize City Traffic Court for the offence of carrying passengers in excess of what his bus could safely carry. He pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to pay a fine of $100.00 but it turns out that he owed the court for a previous conviction of the very same offence. He paid that fine and this new one, and he was able to leave court a free man.

Noel Zetina Turns Himself Over To Police
In January of last year, a near fatal shooting incident involving two Orange Walk residents who were in a Tucson SUV parked in the Little England Area of Orange Walk took place. Since then the case remained partially unsolved because, while police knew who they were looking for, their suspect remained on the run. That changed today; though, when Noel Zetina better known as (Peccas) handed himself over to police in the company of his attorney Ellis Arnold. As we’ve reported, the shooting incident, which occurred on Wednesday January 9th, involved well-known businessman Amir Mendez Senior and Evander Bennett, who were engaged in an altercation with Noel Zetina.


Young Man Shot Eight Times on San Pedro
A Belizean tour guide is admitted at the Karl Heusner Memorial hospital after receiving eight gunshot wounds on Saturday night in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye. Reports are that 26-year-old, Steven Bowen Jr. was heading home in the company of two friends just before eight o’clock on March 1 and upon reaching a dark area, two male persons of dark complexion ran out of the nearby bushes armed with handguns and fired several shots in their directions. The complainant fell to the ground at which time, one of the assailants stood over him and fired several shots causing his injuries. As a result, Bowen received gunshot wounds to his left ear, lower back, right elbow and his feet. San Pedro Police responded to the scene and transported the victim to the polyclinic from where he was later transferred to the KHMH in Belize City. Several expended shells were recovered from the scene and Police continue their investigations.

Woman Fears For Her Life After Threats From Spouse
A woman of Libertad Village in the Corozal District has told police that her common law husband threatened her life on Saturday, March 1 when he came to her house under the influence of alcohol at around eleven o’clock in the morning. The woman, 37-year-old, Bilma Chi told authorities that when Edgar Chan arrived at the house, he was in possession of a beer pint, telling her that he would kill her and that he would return to the house and burn it down. Chi said following Chan’s threats, he placed his hands on his waist giving her the impression that he was about to take out a firearm; in response, the woman pulled a machete to defend herself and that was when Chan left the area. According to the complainant, she had taken out a restraining order against Edgar but the order expired in 2013. Corozal police are now in search of Chan for the crime of threatening words.

Corozal Police Makes Arrests for Recent Robbery
Last week we reported that Corozal police arrested and charged 21-year-old Benigno Loria of San Andres Village and Israel Rancharan of Corozal Town with conspiracy to commit robbery. Police also arrested and charged 26-year-old Hector Kelly of Halls Layout,and 18-year-old Zandon Myers of 4th Avenue with robbery. Last Monday Mexican businessman Ricardo Villasenor was held up and robbed of one million two hundred and fifty thousand pesos which is equivalent to two hundred and eight thousand Belize dollars. The businessman said after he handed over the money, the men put him in the trunk of his car and searched him, taking his cell phone valued at one thousand two hundred dollars and pesos equivalent to three hundred and thirty three dollars. Loria and Rancharan appeared in Corozal Magistrate’s Court last Friday where they were granted bail in the sum of fifteen thousand dollars and a surety in the same amount. They are to return to court on May 16.

Police Seeks Persons Who Took Advantage of Young Girl
A female teenager was found on the side of the Phillip Goldson Highway in the Ladyville area. The Ladyville Police Department is investigating and ASP Christopher Noble told us more. ASP CHRISTOPHER NOBLE “We do have a female and she is a teenager and she was working at an area and apparently accepted to be escorted to her residence and the information to us, at this stage, is that persons did take advantage of her. We’re looking into locating, because we do have persons we are looking for, and locating those persons to assist us with our investigation.”

Traffic Accident in Southern Belize Kills Two
A fatal traffic accident occurred over the weekend in southern Belize. Harry Arzu tells us more. HARRY ARZU “Independence Police are currently investigating a fatal road traffic accident that claimed the lives of two persons. Police told Love News that the incident occurred at about 7:45pm in the village of Trio in the Toledo District. They added that 19-year-old, Christopher Guttierrez, a Belizean farmer of Independence Village was driving a Toyota pickup truck when he lost control of the vehicle near the primary school which overturned with its four wheels up in the air. As a result, two passengers of the vehicle who suffered head and body injuries died on the spot, namely 25-year-old, Wilfredo Jaime, a laborer of Independence Village and Antonio Mejia. Furthermore, Guttierrez, who also suffered head and body injuries was rushed to the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga while another passenger of the vehicle fled the scene. Independence Police are still trying to put the pieces together. Reporting for Love News, I am Harry Arzu.”

Elderly Man Falls From Bus and Dies Days Later
63 year old Jose Elmer Villanueva passed away at the KHMH. Villanueva was fighting for his life after he fell off a J and J bus. Doctors had to place him in an induced coma in order to stabilize him. The incident happened near the Boom Cut off on the Phillip Goldson Highway and ASP Chris Noble is appealing for persons to come forward and share what they know in order to police to follow up with charges. ASP CHRISTOPHER NOBLE “With regards to the bus, we did manage to get all relevant information. From that scene, the driver was very cooperative; we are asking that persons, who were in the bus that may have seen what transpired, come forward to us. You can go to any station and say that you were on that bus and I am certain we can arrange for the recording of a statement for file purposes to assist in the investigation. The gentleman passed away sometime early today and we are preparing for an autopsy at this stage. There was no charge at the initial stage; he was served with a notice and we are looking into what may have caused it, which is why I am making the appeal that if there is somebody coming forward, it would assist us.”

Police Commissioner Compelled to Investigate Immigration Scandal
Today Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin, ordered that Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie continue the investigation on Elvin Penner and his role in the Passport Scandal. The investigation was ceased by the order of someone as pointed out by ASP Julio Valdez in a confidential memo from The Director of Public Prosecution, Cheryl Lyn Vidal. The PUP took the matter to court in the hope that the CJ would grand a Writ of Mandamus ordering Commissioner Whylie to do his duty. During the hearing last week, Whylie told the CJ that it was his decision not to investigate. CJ Benjamin said today in court that Whylie’s decision was irrational and unreasonable. We were out at court this morning and we spoke to the Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca and Acting Solicitor General, Nigel Hawke.

Minor Succumbs to Injuries; Family Wants Answers from Police
Last week we told you about 13-year-old, Earl Flores Jr who his family says was a victim of a hit and run. The 13 year old boy was fighting for his life at the KHMH but succumb to his injuring in the wee hours of this morning. His family is saying that they are unhappy with how the investigations are currently going. The family strongly believes that the boy was hit but Police say they are looking into all avenues as well as considering that the boy fell off his bicycle. We’ve got both sides of the story. KAYLA MYVETTE, Cousin of deceased “They are looking at the scene, looking at the incident and trying to figure out if he was knocked down or if he fell off his bicycle. From what I am hearing, I understand police are doing all that they can, we understand all of that but at the end of the day, majority of what we are hearing, I understand that the police are doing all that they can but majority of what we are hearing from them since we came to the station is that he fell off his bicycle, that is what they thought may have transpired.

Separate Accidents Leave One Man Dead and A Police Woman Injured
A man lost his life this morning on the Phillip Godson Highway in a road traffic accident. The deceased has been identified as John Wade. ASP commanding the Lady Ville Police Department, Chris Noble shared the details. ASP CHRISTOPHER NOBLE “This morning the police were called to an area in Bermudian Landing near a curve and they did visit and meet someone who had some injuries. An ATV was in the immediate area and the gentleman has been identified and was taken to the hospital and has been pronounced dead and we are looking into the circumstances that may have caused it. Whilst we are looking into the circumstances that may have caused it, our preliminaries are that he may have been by himself and may have lost control; ‘may’ – I say, because we are not totally sure. We are looking into whether or not that is so.”


Chief Justice Rules that Investigation on Mr. Penner was Unlawfully Stopped
“Irrational, unreasonable and unlawful.” That trio of words was used this morning by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to describe the decision of Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie not to further investigate the procedure used to grant South Korean businessman Won-Hong Kim a Belizean passport and nationality certificate between April...

Traffic Accident Kills Two Young Men in the South
Two persons died in a traffic accident in the Toledo district on Sunday March 2nd. The incident happened in front of the primary school in Trio Village, Toledo District where the driver of a pick-up truck lost control and overturned in a drain. 25-year-old a Wilfredo Jaime, a Belizean Farmer...

Series of Traffic Accidents Tragically Transpire in the Northern Corridor
Ladyville police were kept quite busy this weekend with a series of reports of traffic accidents in the northern corridor of the division as well. Two men were knocked off a motorcycle in the area of Los Lagos on the Philip Goldson Highway late on Friday night. Mr. Christopher...

Sudden Shootout Leaves Three Persons Injured in Belize City
Two teenage students and a woman were shot in Belize City on Saturday night. The incident happened on Curassow Street when 17-year-old Marlon Samuels, 17-year-old Devin Parham, and 42-year-old Arlene Cole were socializing in an alley. Reports are that a lone gunman on a bicycle came from the direction...

Hail of Bullets Almost Kill a Tour Guide in San Pedro
There was also a shooting incident in San Pedro. On Saturday March 1st, 26-year-old Steven Bowen, a Belizean Tour Guide of San Mateo Area, San Pedro Town, was shot multiple times to his legs, hands, shoulder, ear and back. He is still alive but is listed in a critical...

Stabbing Incident in San Ignacio Sends Two to the Hospital
There was a stabbing in front of Blue Angel’s Night Club in San Igancio on Sunday morning. 24-year-old Alfredo David Novelo of Santa Elena Town was stabbed to the right side of the back, while 25-year-old Richard Sanchez of Benque Viejo Town was stabbed to the left side of...

Police Constable in Orange Walk Gets Stabbed Eighteen Times
There was also a stabbing in the Orange Walk district. On Sunday March 2nd, Abimael Eleazer Romero, a Police Constable, was stabbed eighteen times to his back, abdomen and right hand. Mr. Romero was found on Asuncion street and then transported to the Northern Regional Hospital. However, he stated...

Woman Accepts Ride from Strangers and Gets Raped
There was a rape of a teenager in Ladyville. Her mistake, ASP Noble says, was to accept a ride home from a stranger. ASP Christopher Noble- Officer in Charge of the Northern Sub-formation “We do have a woman,but she is a teenager, but she was working at an area...

Ms. Lavern “Anti-Christ” Longsworth’s Crime Upgraded to Murder
This morning in the Court of Appeal, defense counsel for the convicted Lavern “Anti-Christ” Longsworth, 40, Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith, was allowed more time to prepare his appeal on her behalf over her conviction for the murder of David White. According to Smith, the services of a U.K. forensic...

Police Arrest More Suspects of the Corozal Free Zone Robbery
Police have made some more arrests in the case of the Corozal Free Zone robbery of hundreds of thousands of dollars, which took place on Monday of last week. On Friday of last week, 21-year-old Benigno Loria was charged for the crime of “Conspiracy to commit Robbery”. He is now...

Mr. Jose Elmer Villanueva, Who Fell from the Bus, Passes Away
Mr. Jose Elmer Villanueva, the 63 year old from Orange Walk who fell out of an open bus traveling north last Wednesday, has died. Police confirmed his passing which occurred on Friday in Belize City and ASP Christopher Noble, officer in charge of Ladyville Sub-formation, comments on the status...

Rise and Shine Hosts Leader of the Opposition on his Economic Outlook
Prime Minister Dean Barrow stated in an Interview two weeks ago that the Integrity Commission was on pause again. This time it could not be fully constituted because two of his appointees had resigned due to the widened definition of Publicly Exposed persons. He also shared that he needed...

US Wanted Citizen and Illegal Immigrant to be Deported Back
42 year old farmer Cody Safadago of Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., is expected to be deported from Belize after pleading guilty to illegal entry into the country on February 20. Mr. Safadago is wanted by US Marshals for alleged domestic violence against his wife and has previous convictions for drug...

Ten Years Behind Bars Sentence for Mr. Lenny Benguche
Justice Troadio Gonzalez on Friday handed down a ten year prison sentence for Lenny Bennett Benguche on his conviction for maim. Mr. Benguche was found guilty by a jury of causing the leg of his ex-lover Christina Zetina to be forcibly removed by amputation as a result of her being...

Ten Years Behind Bars Sentence for Mr. Lenny Benguche
Justice Troadio Gonzalez on Friday handed down a ten year prison sentence for Lenny Bennett Benguche on his conviction for maim. Mr. Benguche was found guilty by a jury of causing the leg of his ex-lover Christina Zetina to be forcibly removed by amputation as a result of her being...

Belizean Businessman Mr. Zabaneh Denies Being Part of the Sinaloa Cartel
El Chapo Mexico’s richest and most dangerous drug baron was captured last week Saturday. As you may remember, in 2012, John Zabaneh, Belizean business man, was blacklisted by the U.S. Department-Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). He was designated by OFAC as part of the Sinaloa Cartel and...

Much Promise for the Humble
Our Verse for this week is taken from Psalm chapter 29:9- He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.


Why just wear the Green when you can immerse yourself in it?
We thought you guys would be interested in why you’ll be getting a visit from six people from Boston (that’s in the State of Massachusetts, USA for those of you who may not know…) Well, it happened like this… We were just enjoying a pint of Guinness, as you do on a cold Sunday in Beantown (as Boston is affectionately known) when it dawned upon us that March had already arrived, and that can only mean one thing. Saint Patrick’s Day is coming! Yes indeed, Ireland and Boston’s patron’s Saint Day is upon us, and three things occurred to us: One: It’s freezing outside the pub right now. Two: That’s not likely to get a whole lot better in the next two weeks, and Three: We’ve been doing the same thing for years, which is to wear the green, have a few drinks in honour of our favourite saint, and march in the cold St Patrick’s Day parade. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, nothing at all. But my mate Paddy and his missus had been to Belize last year, and mooted what we thought was a brilliant idea.

Partial Scope Agreement with Guatemala
Belize signed a Partial Scope Agreement with Guatemala on 26th June, 2006 in Belize City. Eight years later, on 28th February, 2014, Belize hosted the first meeting of the Administrative Commission established through the provisions of the Agreement. The Commission has direct oversight of four technical committees also created by the Agreement to resolve trade and trade related issues in the areas of Customs Procedures of Rules of Origin (ROO), Plant and Animal Health (SPS), Standards and Quality (TBT) and Land Transportation. . The objective of this meeting was to gather the relevant stakeholders to make effective the administrative mechanism that would facilitate the resolution of cross border trading issues between the two countries.

Easy Homemade Baguettes: No Yeast Proofing
This is a simple recipe for Baguettes what can yield either 1 or 2 loaves depending on how big you like them. No need to activate the yeast, just throw all the dry ingredients and mix with water. In just under 3 hours of inactive prep time you will have a bread that is so delicious, you can use for any meal.

International Sources

Caribbean countries named among money laundering nations
The United States has named several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries as major money laundering states whose financial institutions engage in currency transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from international narcotics trafficking. In its just released ‘2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report’, the US State Department listed Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, and Haiti as among major money laundering countries and jurisdictions around the world. In addition to these CARICOM countries, the other Caribbean islands named are the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. The report also notes that countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Brazil, Russia, France, Canada, as well as the Dominican Republic, Germany, Greece, and the Netherlands had been designated major money laundering countries.

How the global banana industry is killing the world’s favorite fruit
During harvest last year, banana farmers in Jordan and Mozambique made a chilling discovery. Their plants were no longer bearing the soft, creamy fruits they’d been growing for decades. When they cut open the roots of their banana plants, they saw something that looked like this: Scientists first discovered the fungus that is turning banana plants into this rotting, fibrous mass in Southeast Asia in the 1990s. Since then the pathogen, known as the Tropical Race 4 strain of Panama disease, has slowly but steadily ravaged export crops throughout Asia. The fact that this vicious soil-borne fungus has now made the leap to Mozambique and Jordan is frightening. One reason is that it’s getting closer to Latin America, where at least 70% of the world’s $8.9-billion-a-year worth of exported bananas is grown. Randy Ploetz, professor of plant pathology at University of Florida who discovered Tropical Race 4, says it may already be in Latin America. “The story on the Mozambique situation was that workers brought over to establish the plantations—some of them were from Latin America,” he says. “And this is an insidious disease in that it can move… by soil-contaminated machinery, tools—that kind of thing.”

Take A Time Out At St. George’s Caye Resort
Belize is one of the many gems of Central America. The beautiful waters surrounding the country are a great playground for those seeking underwater adventures. St. George’s Caye Resort is one of the world’s premier scuba diving resorts. This intimate resort location is perfect for those who are all about that scuba life. The St. George’s Caye Resort is located on Saint George’s Caye, right off the coast of Belize. This beautiful aquatic playground is perfect for those looking to delve into the deep blue sea. Only seven miles away from Belize City by boat this resort destination feels like it is miles away from everything. The main resort is constructed of local hardwoods and thatched cottages are built all over the water. Because of the closeness to the longest barrier reed int he Western Hemisphere, this makes it a diver’s haven. The underwater experience here at St. George’s Caye is extraordinary as the staff can customize diving programs for guests. This safe and tranquil location is perfect for relaxing and exploring the awesome seas.

A hard working drum teacher from Dangriga, Belize, writes songs in his spare time and dreams of fame and fortune. But will he be willing to barter his marriage and soul to the only one who can make his dream a reality? Ross Jordan’s Stranded N Dangriga is a true example of a comedy of errors at its finest. The film’s simple and universal plot concerns a man named James (Sheldon Petillo) and his wife, Janice (Joanie Martinez). The two reside in a modestly furnished home with a beautiful view of the Caribbean Sea. Each day James gives music lessons to untalented students to make ends meet and keep his attractive wife happy. When the lessons end for the day, James rehearses his own compositions and, with continuous nudging from his pal Eddie (Marley Nunez), an ambitious gas station attendant, James prays for his big break. James seems to have everything going for him domestically. His wife adores him and life is good. But James has one nagging problem that threatens to bring everything crashing down upon his head. He is insanely jealous of anyone and anything when it comes to Janice. Usually Janice can laugh off her husband’s insecurity and make James see his foolishness, but she has to work harder and harder to make this happen. It is on their anniversary that a famous music producer (Clarence Bailey) from Belize City comes to town, and everything swiftly and monumentally spirals out of control.

Top beach activities and where to do them
Catch-and-release fishing - Glover's Reef Atoll, Belize Glover's Reef Atoll is considered to be the prototypic atoll in the Caribbean and is also the best developed biologically. It contains the greatest range of reef type and is home to a variety of sea life including three species of sea turtles, eight species of sharks and rays, more than twenty species of aggregating reef fish, and numerous species of coral. Fishing can be enjoyed year round, but because the area is now a Marine Preserve, it's catch and release only. Some fish you might encounter are Bonefish, Jacks, Mutton Snappers, Yellowtails, Bonitos, Cubera Snappers, Barracudas, King Mackerel, Wahoo and Groupers and Permit.

US slams Caribbean human rights practices
While noting that governments that protect human rights and are accountable to their citizens are more secure, bolster international peace and security, and enjoy shared prosperity with stable democratic countries around the world, the United States continues to assail human rights practices in the Caribbean. In its “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013,” released here earlier this week, Washington was particularly scathing in its criticism of Haiti, Jamaica, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Bahamas.

March 3, 2014


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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Wolfe’s Woofers: Technology
“Now that is a sneaky looking man,” I told Charlie. “He looks around and looks over his shoulder like he’s running from the law. In the twenty-six years we’ve been living here, how many bail jumpers and fugitives have we seen taken out of here in handcuffs?” “Plenty. I guarantee he’s one of them.” When […]

Letter to the Editor: San Pedro Sailing Club
Contrary to an assertion in a letter to The Editor in last week’s The San Pedro Sun, the San Pedro Sailing Club (SPSC) is definitely a different organization from the San Pedro Junior Sailing Club (SPJSC.) The SPSC was founded by Andrew Milner over three years ago and is still headed by him as the Commodore, and the SPJSC was organized and registered by Tammy Peterson and Alan Usher, an original founder and former secretary of the Belize Sailing Association (BzSA). The San Pedro Sailing Club operates from Caribbean Villas Hotel and continues to fulfill its mission of offering sailing lessons free of charge to island children (and adults) from all walks of life under the direction of commodore Andy Milner, an experienced sailor and BzSA certified sailing instructor. The original 7 boats purchased by a group of sponsors for the use of SPSC under Andy Milner have been in the possession of the SPJSC. Since the SPJSC has now received its shipment of 12 new boats, the sponsors of the original 7 boats have requested that these boats be returned to the SPSC.

In memory of our friend John Collin Clark III
Collin’s love for sailing started at the young age of 8 when his Dad bought a 12 Styrofoam sailboat for him and his siblings to sail on Bayou St. John. That love of the wind and water continued with youth sailing lessons, the family sailboat, Sirius followed by five decades of competitive and leisure sailing from the Chesapeake Bay Stiletto Nationals, the historical Gulfport to Pensacola race, and many more regattas to his leisure trips including one from Pascagoula to Belize. Collin’s entrepreneurial spirit began with selling corn and monkey grass to Bancroft Drive neighbors followed by Clarks Catamarans, the first New Orleans Hobie Cat dealer and the only one in Louisiana. His sailing business expanded to Sailboats South, a sailing business including monohulls, windsurfers, boat rentals, sailing lessons, and much more. His boat businesses transformed into international and domestic residential developments from Ponchatoula to San Pedro, Belize Central America.

Doctor Love: Jealousy and Felling Blue
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 grew up in a house where my mom was very jealous of my father. If she heard a rumor about him she […]

Frederick Cassian Waight “Captain Freddy”
Captain Freddy is predeceased by his parents, Anselm Waight Sr. and Luz Cambranes Waight; and sister, Rita Shirley. He is survived by his wife, Marsha Waight; daughter, Karen Waight Canul; step-son, Lalo Tolosa, Lawrence Gongaware, step-daughter Vicki Vanscoy, son-in-law Roberto Canul and grandchildren, Axel and Catherine Canul. He is also survived by his brothers, Anthony, Anselm, and Eric Waight; sisters, Rosalee, Sylvia, and Abigail Waight, Nena Sherma, Dorothy Waight Peyreftte, Alba Luz Nichols, and Aura Woods. Other survivors include many relatives and friends, including the TMM Yacht Charters family.

Misc Belizean Sources

I sat on my veranda today (am still recovering from an ailment) directly opposite the magnificent St. John's Cathedral, south side Belize City and saw the huge gathering attending the double funeral of my dear friend Attorney Lionel Welch and his beloved mother, both of whom passed away recently, days from each other, casting a pall of sadness over the lives and hearts of many many Belizeans from all walks of life. Two beautiful, two wonderful, two such magnificent Belizeans now belong to the ages. RIP, to two great people. Lord, unto Thy hands we commend the souls of our sister and our brother, for whom we know You have set aside places in the great beyond. As the bells of St. John's tolled, they spoke of anguish but also of glory. Belize has lost two great ones, but has gained two more places in the heavens. GOD IS GREAT. BLESSED BE HIS NAME.

Note to all drivers: ABSOLUTELY NO PARKING on Barrier Reef Drive and Pescador Drive. There are many vehicles on both streets. For today, Sunday, they shall be excused, but tomorrow and Tuesday any vehicles on Barrier Reef Drive and Pescador Drive will be issued a ticket. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

SPHS successfully defends its Northern Regional title
Four peat complete!!!! SPHS successfully defends its Northern Regional title and will now seek to defend it's back to back National Championship on March 14 &15. Congratulations guys from Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the San Pedro Town Council.

What are the possible outcomes of taking the Belize police commissioner to court?
By Wellington C. Ramos What are the possible outcomes for the PUP taking the police commissioner to court and what do they really want to accomplish? The judge can only make one of two rulings, which are: 1. For the commissioner of police to investigate Elvin Penner; or 2. That if the commissioner of police believes that there is no merit for him to investigate Elvin Penner, then he can exercise his discretion and not investigate Elvin Penner. Reaction: If the commissioner of police does not feel that Elvin Penner should be investigated because it will be a complete waste of his time, then he will not make all the efforts to find the evidence to bring charges against him. However, if it is the opposite then he will aggressively use all his efforts to investigate and send the file to the director of public prosecutions for review and court hearings. Based on my experience, the crimes that Elvin Penner is alleged to have committed are felonies that will be tried in the Belize Supreme Court and could end up in the, Caribbean Court of Justice for appeal and final resolution.

World Wildlife Day today
The Belize Forest Department under the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development is preparing to celebrate the first ever World Wildlife Day which will be held on March 3rd, 2014. The day is being set aside to celebrate and to raise awareness on the importance of the world’s wild flora and fauna. On this day, efforts to show appreciation for and highlight the importance of our flora and fauna are encouraged. Therefore, the Forest Department is inviting the general public to come join us here at the Forest Department Compound on Monday March 3rd 2014, to celebrate World Wildlife Day by witnessing a ceremonial Memorandum of Understanding signing at 11:00 am. Each rehabilitation partner will be showing casing their work and the Forest Department sees this as a practical way of engaging young Belizeans in being good stewards of the environment through active involvement in conservation activities. (2 photos)

Belize Rural Central Standard Bearer Convention Results
Beverly Castillo - 961 Michael Hutchinson - 502 Dean Samuels - 353 Emroy Castillo - 152 John Lizama - 19 2

Happy Birthday to Prime Minister Dean Barrow! (yesterday)
Feliz Cumpleaños Sr Primer Ministro, Dios le siga bendiciendo

Special Envoy for Women and Children and Woman of the Year 2013!

Building Bridges in Belize
Partnerships are invaluable to development. In fact, in Belize they are at the center of a new initiative that will help at-risk youth from marginal areas have a chance to learn new job skills and train to become small business entrepreneurs. A few days ago, we launched the Youth Engagement Services (YES!) program, a brand new project that will give 53 local youths, ages 18-24, the essential technical training and business advice they will need to succeed in today’s increasingly competitive local labor market. To do this, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is bringing together key local partners—the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), the Conscious Youth Development Program (CYDP) under RESTORE Belize, Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence, and the Women’s Issues Network (WIN) Belize—to ensure that we provide these young people the best possible environment to succeed.

Un-Belize-able Dolphins!
Our first day of diving with Aqua Scuba in Belize - tons of nurse sharks, a few green morays, three turtles, and two eagle rays. Then to top off our last dive, a pod of 5 dolphins decided to join us. They got so close, we could have touched them - and they kept coming back. My dad, Michael Ring, got this video of them playing with a turtle! Wow - great first day!

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize 3-2-14
Swim through in base of coral reef.

Belize Trip
I was there to do still shots of the plantation, so didn't get as much video as I could have or should have, and what I did get kinda sucks (no tripod). I needa get one of them little bean bag camera rests.

Belize Zoo celebrates Young Jaguar's Birthday


36 Year Old Knocked Down On The Philip Goldson Highway
An Orange Walk resident sustained injuries after he was clipped off his bicycle whilst riding along on the Philip Goldson highway in the vicinity of Carmelita Village. According to police, around 9:50am, Samuel Mendoza, driver of an international 16 wheeler truck bearing plate number CY 83630 was travelling from the direction of Belize City towards Orange Walk Town. Mendoza says while he was approaching mile marker 48 and 49, the right front side of a wooden house he was transporting on a truck knocked 36 year old, Anthony Bartley, a resident of San Narciso Street from behind as he was travelling on the right side of the road towards OW Town. Authorities say Bartley was flung off his bike and sustained a large cut wound behind his head and scrape to the back.

Deon Maccaulay Did Not Follow FFB Rules,Says Manager Of Belmopan Bandits
On Wednesday we told you about Belizean star player Deon Maccaulay who was drafted by the Atlanta Silverbacks to play international football for the US club. As we reported Deon departed Belize on Friday February 21st where he met with his new ball club in Atlanta. Well tonight, social media was again buzzing with a rather controversial issue about his departure. As we understand it, Maccaulay’s contract with the Belmopan Bandits was still in effect, and was to be until May so his independent move to sign with an international club is being deemed as a breach of contract. For a greater understanding of the Deon’s situation here in Belize, we contacted Belmopan Bandits Manager, Kenneth Budna who told us that Deon did not follow proper protocol as he willfully bypassed the FFB rules. Kenneth Budna- Manager Belmopan Bandits That is one of the things that we actually appreciate from Deon because I as the manager spoke to Deon at an outreach while before the training at our championship game and I spoke to Deon and told him that the owner spoke to me about the situation that you are and to go to another club and I asked him if he could give me the details of that and his responds to me was that I don’t need to know that because he don’t want the media to be all in his business and I say fine if I cannot get any information from you then I cannot transmit any information as to where we are going but he should have contacted the management of the Belmopan Bandits in regard to Deon at the first stage and said that to the big problem that we have because it is going to build up back, finally find a contract and he find a contract here in Belize.”

Seventh Day Adventist College Hosts Annual Health Fair
Keeping a healthy life style is important and today Seventh Day Adventist Junior College hosted a Health fair at the Central Park in Corozal Town. Lecturer Carlos Magaña tells us more on the objective of this event which marks there third year. Victor Castillo Reports. Victor Castillo – Reporting From body massages to hypertension tests, the public was in for a morning session filled of knowledge as to keep a healthy life style. Today professors, students and members of the Health system took time off their busy schedule to educate the public on several health issues. Carlos Magaña spoke on the objective of this year’s event. Carlos Magaña – Lecturer “One of the objectives of the institution, Belize Adventist Junior College, is to give back to the community in some of its programs; the health fair is an annual health fair that we hold I which we try to bring in certain topics, this year the topic has to do specifically with how the body needs to be treated. If we look around there is a section where we do massages and what benefit that has in the upholding of the physical aspect of the body and I another section we have a section where they selling food without nay meat and why because that is one of the principles that we believe and it is important for us to be able to eat healthy food which doesn’t contain any source of meat; pure cereals and grains and that is one of the things that we believe and we try to give back to the community in this section.”

Corozal Officers Line Up For Inspection
Over forty police officers from the Corozal Police Department were lined up as they prepared for an inspection by the Regional Commander Joseph Myvett, Officer in Command Andrew Ramirez and Deputy Commanding officer Daniel Arzu. Regional Commander Myvett told us more on the purpose of the inspection today. Joseph Myvett - Regional Commander “We want to maintain certain standard and we are starting this month we are going to have monthly inspection to ensure that our officers are up to standard in their appearance as well as; we have started a physical fitness program in order to keep our officers physically fit as well.” Victor Castillo – Reporter “During the inspections what are some of the things that probably you could pin point that probably an officer can step up in order to maintain that standard that the department is looking for?”

Belize Police Department Receives Trail Bikes, Helmets and Two Pick-up Trucks
The police department received much needed mobile units for its officers on Wednesday of this week. Minister of National Security John Saldivar handed over 46 Trail bikes, helmets and Two Nissan Navarro pickup Trucks valued at over a quarter million dollars to the Commissioner of Police Mr. Allen Whylie. While it is still uncertain what departments these bikes will be deployed, the donation is geared at enhancing the operational capabilities of the Police Department.

Teachers To Receive 5% Salary Raise
The teacher’s rallies across Belize have resulted in positive results. The PM announced yesterday that teachers and public servants will be getting not a 4% percent increase but 5% raise. Next week, the PM announced that the government will be presenting its national budget and this will be the focal point of their discussions. Our colleagues at 7News provided us with this clip of the Prime Ministers interview, here is that excerpt. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "We've just gone over the numbers this afternoon and I can tell you that it is clear that the teachers will get 5%; teachers and public officers. We keep saying teachers because they made the most noise - this is teachers and public officers will get by our reckoning 5%, in addition to the 2.5% annual increment. We are looking at 22 million dollars more in salaries to public officers and teachers and by our calculations that represents not less than a 5% salary increase." The allocation of this additional revenue is earnings from IMMARBE and BTL which both revealed great profits for 2013. But will this profit carry on to other years, the PM assured the media and larger part of Belize that GOB will be locked in to maintaining the salary increase.

Two Arrested for Brazen, Daylight Robbery at Free Zone
Tonight, Corozal Police have made an arrest in connection to the brazen, daylight, armed robbery of a Mexican businessman inside the Corozal Free Zone. Authorities in that municipality say that they arrested and charged a resident of San Andres Village. Officer commanding Corozal Police is Superintendent Andrew Ramirez who told us more. Andrew Rarmirez – OIC Corozal Branch “We have made arrest in relation to the robberies however no properties have been recovered; we have arrested one Benigno Loria and an Israel Rancharan for conspiracy to commit the crime of robbery. We are still seeking the two main persons who executed the crime itself; remember conspiracy is just basically two or more persons agreeing to commit crime acting together for the common purpose and in this case it would be robbery.”

Former UDP Town Councillor Charged For Drug Trafficking
As we reported yesterday, police in Corozal town made a significant cannabis bust when they nabbed incoming Belizean resident at the Northern Border around 1:45am on Wednesday. Officer commanding the Corozal formation, Superintendent Andrew Ramirez gave us an official report on the incident. Andrew Rarmirez – OIC Corozal Branch “Based on the information that we have received from the customs officers at the northern border here in Santa Elena, Corozl District, the Corozal police has visited that said location where a female by the name of Yvonne Esquivel was handed over to them along with two laptop packages containing suspected cannabis and the drugs was weight and the total as you rightly mention 1169 grams and she has been charge for the offence of drug trafficking and she appeared before the court where bail was offered in the sum of $,000.00 and the case has been adjourned as well in the month of May.”

Former Employees Of Golden Princess Receive Salaries
After anxiously awaiting a reply from the managers at the Golden Princess Casino, tonight, reports coming to our news room are that former workers from the Golden Princess Casino have received their salaries; the transactions were made this morning. As we have been reporting the Casino closed it operation in Belize due to insufficient funds to sustain the business. No word yet from the Manager who have taken their business to Chetumal City.

The Belize Times

Penner must face justice!
This morning Hon. Francis Fonseca, the Leader of the People’s United Party, will be representing the people of Belize as he fights for justice against the Barrow Administration and corrupt UDP Area Representative Elvin Penner. The PUP will present compelling evidence in an effort to convince Supreme Court Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to order a criminal investigation into Penner’s involvement in last year’s immigration scandal. On Wednesday February 26th, CJ Benjamin granted permission to the Opposition Leader’s request for judicial review against the Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie who has refused to investigate Penner. Standing before the Chief Justice today in an ex-parte hearing, attorneys for the Hon. Fonseca, former Solicitor General Senior Counsel Edwin Flowers, Legal advisor Anthony Sylvestre Jr. and Kareem Musa presented reasons why the Court should consider their request for a Writ of Mandamus on the ComPol. After hearing 20 minutes of argument by Senior Counsel Flowers, the Chief Justice saw convincing merit and quickly granted permission for the application. Senior Counsel Flowers had a second request; urging the Chief Justice to set an early date for the hearing.

SIB confirms Haad Times – GDP growth “worse off than last year”
It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that things have gotten rougher and tougher in Belize, economically speaking. But this week, the science practiced by the Statistical Institute of Belize confirmed the news for even the most doubtful cynics. According to the SIB’s most recent data which analyzed Belize’s economy over the four financial quarters, the overall economic performance was much worse than last year’s. “Putting all 4 quarters together, we get a growth rate of 0.7% for the entire year. We are a little worse off than we were last year,” said Glen Avilez, SIB Director. Furthermore the data shows that 2014 was actually worse than the past five years. At the start of the 2013-2014 fiscal year, Prime Minister Dean Barrow boasted that there would be tremendous GDP growth. He projected between 2.5% and 3%, but continued to practice the type of economic policies that kept the economic on a downward slope.

Barrow Offers Teachers a Pittance!!
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has offered teachers and public officers a woeful salary increase of 1.6% per year over the next three years. This is a far, far cry from the 30% salary adjustment, for which teachers and public officers staged a massive demonstration last year followed by protests this year. Teachers and public officers had initially demanded a 10% adjustment over the next three years, to match the negative effects which the skyrocketing increase in the cost of living over the same period has had on Belizeans’ purchasing power. Teachers and public officers have not received a salary increase since 2005, which was during a PUP Government. Prime Minister Barrow has blamed the inability to meet the salary demands to the weak economic performance of his Government, but has refused to admit that it is his inability to spur an economic boom which is the root of the problem.

Hundreds Jobless in Corozal – Casino & Papaya Companies fire workers!!
A storm much more devastating than Hurricane Dean has struck the Corozal District. Within days apart, hundreds became jobless after the Golden Princess Casino located near the Santa Elena Border and the Fruta Bomba Papaya Company located just outside San Joaquin village laid off hundreds of workers. The Golden Princess Casino issued a sudden memo to its staff on Friday, February 21st, informing them that the Casino would closing down and layoffs would commence immediately. Over 60 workers were then informed that they were being terminated. The remaining 140 employees were warned that as the company winds out, they would also lose their jobs. Reports as to why the Casino is closing are rampant. However, reliable sources say that the Casino has experienced diminishing business for some time now. The economy in the north has become very depressed. Additional reports are that various casino operations which have opened up in neighboring Mexico have also impacted the local business.

PCSD is a not-for-profit corporation, run by a group of volunteers, who seek to protect and respect the natural environment along the entire length of the Placencia Peninsula. Established in 2006, PCSD now has a strong following of active members from all three villages of the Peninsula (Placencia, Seine Bight and Maya Beach) alongside an avid group of interested people who follow the organisation’s invaluable work from further afield. A grass-roots environmental group of this nature is a critical force in the sustainable and appropriate development of any tourist area in Belize, and as such it is guaranteeing the livelihoods of future generations of the Peninsula. This week’s Nation Builder is therefore the PCSD as an organisation, and its Board of Directors in particular. PCSD has multiple objectives, all of which it actively ensures it fulfils. The organisation circulates information to local residents (and other interested parties) about environmental and developmental issues of contemporary importance on the Peninsula, ensuring that dubious developmental plans cannot be ‘slipped’ through the approval process without the majority of residents being made aware of the implications. Numerous such occasions could have caused mass-destruction of the native habitats without the prompt and proactive involvement of PCSD. Controversial issues, such as Placencia North International Airport, the Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course and Placencia Marine have been vociferously contested, a campaign which has been continuously led by PCSD.

Think About It
In any proper democracy Elvin Penner would have done the right thing and resigned. No Minister and elected member of the House of Representatives can do what Penner did and still hang around in the National Assembly. Penner signed official documents which contained fraudulent information in order to give the citizenship of our country to a foreigner who at the time was in a foreign jail. Penner misled, deceived and lied to public officials in the Immigration Department where he went and publicly pretended he was with Won Hong Kim and signed every paper he could to give away or sell our Belizean citizenship. Penner signed the Belizean citizenship certificate granting citizenship to Kim and giving Kim a Belizean passport, which would have prevented Kim from being handed over from a Taiwan jail to a Korean jail to face criminal charges. Belizeans aren’t fools. Big money passed.

Dollar Politics
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. ~ 1 Timothy 6:10 A recent political convention in Cayo South has shown exactly what politics in Belize is all about. A couple of months ago, a relatively unknown Taiwanese businessman began spreading money around the thirteen villages that comprise Cayo South. Few people took notice and no one would have thought, that given the extreme bad taste that the still ebullient immigration scandal left in the mouths of Belizeans, that this just-come economic citizen would have even half of a chance. Who would have thought that any political party would have even dared to present another extraneous contender for standard bearer and possible parliamentarian? Boy did we ever misjudge the audacity of this crowd! Belizeans are still grappling with the fact that the first Mennonite and the first Asian born persons elected to our government took extreme liberties with our hospitality and trust.

The beginning of the end for the UDP?
By the time this newspaper hits the streets, the fate of Elvin Penner will be known. Will the court decide to lift the shield that Barrow has mounted to protect his criminal colleague? History will no doubt record that Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s fingerprints were everywhere in relation to the Penner saga. For Barrow, it all started from the day he made the ill-advised decision to bestow Penner with the authority to sign nationality certificates and passports. He did so despite knowing that Penner was fully responsible for irregularly issuing hundreds of passports in order to secure a victory in his Cayo Northeast constituency in the 2012 general elections. Since then, like a wounded boxer cringed on the ropes, Barrow has tried to bob and weave his way out, but instead has been taking a packing at the hands of the media and public opinion. His cover up of the Penner debacle is now seen for what it is: a bare naked attempt at holding onto power. If Penner goes to jail, he will certainly not go down alone. And from all accounts, the list of the Ministers involved in the immigration scandal(s) is shocking.

UB girls win ATLIB national basketball champs
The University of Belize girls upset the Stann Creek Ecumenical Junior College girls 24-21 when the Association of Tertiary Level Institutions of Belize (ATLIB) national basketball tournament was held at the Sacred Heart College auditorium in San Ignacio on Friday. The champs won a team trophy and individual trophies while 2nd and 3rd place winners took home team trophies and individual medals. 3rd place went to Belize Adventist Junior College who defeated Corozal Junior College.

Joel & Shalini win Cayo Hills race
Team Telemedia’s Joel Borland won the Cayo Hills 70-mile circuit race on the Hummingbird Highway on Sunday, afternoon, while Team Sagitun’s Shalini Zabaneh won the 45-mile female race. Delon Gentle won the Junior race a 45 mile, 2-lap course. 2nd place in the Female category was Alicia Thompson of Team Belize Bank Swoosh. The Belize Cycling Federation organized the race to select the riders who will form a national team to represent Belize at 3 international events coming up later this year: the Pan American championships in Mexico, the Youth Olympics and the Central American and Caribbean championships. The Federation will hold a time trial at 6:30 AM Saturday on the Burrell Boom bypass road and the next hills event is set for Sunday in Spanish Lookout.

Rigo & Cricel compete in 2014 Arnold Classic
For the very first time two of Belize’s bodybuilding and fitness champions will participate in the prestigious Arnold Classsic, to be held in Columbus, Ohio, from February 27th to March 1st 2014. Belize will be represented on the stage of this world-class event by Ms. Belize-Fitness Cricel Castillo and Mr. Belize Rigo Vellos. Cricel will compete in the Women’s Figure B Class among 40 competitors while Rigo will compete in the Light Heavyweight Men’s Bodybuilding Category among 22 competitors from all over the world. Both athletes must compete in a preliminary stage in order to advance to the finals which will be held on Saturday, March 1st.

Taxi Operators at War in Corozal Town
Dear Editor, Please allow us space in your newspaper to share with the general public a grave injustice and disrespect being done to us, the Corozal United Taxi Operators, here in Corozal Town. Two years ago, the C.U.T.O. was registered with a membership of 21 taxi operators and 7 other operators on the Executive Committee. A constitution was drafted for the C.U.T.O. with twenty eight rules and regulations for its member operators. After enduring harsh competition for passengers by operators of Gilharry and other taxi drivers who were not formally registered, mainly to the Free Zone, the Corozal Town Council decided to bring these operators to form the C.U.T.O. This decision was also made to avoid racing for passengers on the streets in town, thereby easing the flow of traffic to and from the Free Zone and not putting the lives of commuters at risk. The Mayor of Corozal Town subsequently designated the site next to the Bus Terminal as our temporary parking station, at no cost, until a new terminal project is completed anytime in the near future.

COLA Di Come Fi Penner Too!
Prime Minister Dean Barrow may find himself hoisted with his own petard as the Citizens Organized for Liberty and Action (COLA) have taken him up on his suggestion to seek a private prosecution of errant Cayo area representative Elvin Penner for his role in the Citizen Kim Wong Hong passport scandal. Time is short for them to lodge their suit in the Belmopan magistrate’s court, as the statute of limitations expires next Monday, March 3, but COLA’s out-spoken president, Giovanni Brackett, says they and the Belizean people cannot let Penner’s transgressions go unpunished, even if the Prime Minister and the Immigration Minister are satisfied with only giving him a slap on the wrist. Brackett likened the UDP’s ostracizing Penner to a corner of the back Bench in the House, to putting a rude child to sit in the corner facing the wall.

By Francis W. Fonseca The PUP is the Party of True Social Justice. As our great Leader George Price said many years ago, Social Justice beats in our heart and flows in our blood! Some have charged the PUP Administration of 1998-2008 with abandoning social justice but such a claim is not evidence based. Indeed, PM Said Musa recognized that if his Government was to have any success in meaningfully uplifting the lives of the Belizean people, it would have to create jobs, attract investment, seek out new economic opportunities, and ultimately grow the economy. So, one can responsibly argue that the Musa administration viewed economic growth as a priority and a pre-requisite for Social Justice. At the same time we are reminded that it is that very same Musa administration which gave us :

Michael Hutchinson’s son accused of sexual assault
Andre Hutchinson, 27, the son of former UDP Minister of State and current UDP Belize Rural Central hopeful, Michael Hutchinson, was charged with aggravated assault of an indecent nature when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Hutchinson pleaded not guilty to the charge. Chief Magistrate Smith remanded him into custody until March 24 for psychiatric evaluation. The alleged incident occurred around 8:30 am on Tuesday, February 25. The complainant, a 35 year old woman, reported to the Police that she was walking on Scissorstail Street in Ladyville, when Hutchinson rode up to her on a bicycle and slapped her on the right side of her buttocks with his right hand.

New BAA Chairman named, fired GM shifted to Ministry of Education
It was the scandal in the Belize Airport Authority (BAA), exposed by the BELIZE TIMES, that brought to light the reprehensible abuse of public funds by Minister of State Edmond Castro in concert with the General Manager Kenworth (less) Tillett and members of the BAA Board. Facing further shame and disgrace as a result of the exposure, Prime Minister Dean Barrow was forced to fire the entire Board members which was rift with UDP cronies including chairperson Barbara Miller, Armead Gabourel and Lindsay Garbutt. The BELIZE TIMES has received reliable information that the new Chair of the Board is John Waight, a Belizean who recently returned from the United States. Waight, we understand, was formerly employed at the Belize Bank before leaving for the U.S. for some years.

Another fatal victim of gang violence – Gunman opens fire on residents in broad daylight
There is serious tension on the streets of Belize City as the rivalry between two well known “gangs” has claimed yet another life. 25 year old Ryan Arnold died thirteen hours after he was rushed to the hospital for gunshot injuries to his back and hand. Arnold was with six other male persons on Armadillo Street, when an unidentified gunman rode up to them on a bicycle and opened fire. This occurred in broad daylight around 5:30 in the evening when residents, including children, were socializing in the area. Arnold was shot multiple times while a 15 year old was shot on his leg. According to the minor the gunman had his face covered so they could not identify him, but he was heard saying that he would return “once we noh dead”. The minor said the gunman also identified himself as being “from Supal”, in this case, meaning from the Supal Street turf which is engaged in a street war with the George Street group.

Dalina Reyes Wins Miss Diosa Maya International
Orange Walk’s Dalina Reyes, who represented Belize in the 2014 Miss Diosa Maya Internacional Pageant held in Uman, Yucatan, Mexico, kept the crown home for a second consecutive year when she was announced the winner of the prestigious title. Dalina competed against three other beauty queens representing El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico. The pageant consists of a dance presentation and a costume display. Dalina’s costume featured a virgin who was offered for sacrifice to save her culture

Little Siarsha needs your help!
A Belize City family is pleading to the Belizean public for financial support to be able to afford medical treatment for their 3 year old daughter Siarsha Amri Alvarez. Siarsha was diagnosed with a rare skin disease known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome. This condition causes painful rashes that spreads and blisters on the skin, eventually causing the top layer of the skin to shed. The condition causes severe pain and Siarsha has been rushed to Merida for treatment at a private hospital.

Senior Citizens Deserve Compassion, GOB!
By Gilroy Usher, Sr. Heart of steel, unconscionable, and ungrateful sums up the total neglect of senior citizens by the government. When she had health and strength like thousands of other Belizeans, Miss Lillian “Sutherland” Lord, of a Pen Road address in Belize City, labored day after day to help build the Belize we all enjoy today. Now in her golden years, at 80, with no income to care for herself, and literally no one at her side, the nation has turned its back on Miss Lillian. That’s just as it has done to hundreds of other senior citizens, who are experiencing the same fate. Today Miss Lillian is in need of proper clothing, nutrition, medication, and somewhere suitable to rest her body especially at night. The majority of the ruling politicians and their cronies are busy filling their pockets with government funds and resources in endless major corruption scandals. Such persons have no time to worry about the terrible plight of senior citizens like Lillian Lord. Only God saves Miss Lillian from being knocked down fatally by fast moving vehicles as she limps in the lane of traffic for almost two miles daily to get a little food from a caring citizen.

Fuel Costs, Competitiveness & Productivity
By Richard Harrison Fuel, like water, is one of the principal “drivers” of cost in an economy. Pretty much every production chain starts with fuel as its source of energy, without which nothing moves…and movement is what causes transformation, adding value along a product-market chain. A product-market chain is only sustainably viable when all the segments along the production chain are providing a positive return-on-investment for the participants…unless, of course, if participants in a segment do what it does because it makes them feel good, for some charity purpose or for some other non-profit motive. Consider the production chain for tomato ketchup. The land must first be cleared, prepared and planted….bulldozers, tractors, power saws, movement of workers to and from the job site, soil tillers, planters, irrigation pumps…then the tomato must be processed….transporting tomato to the processing site, movement of workers to and from the processing site, driving around to get foreign exchange and other permits, do banking transactions, payment of utilities and other services, sourcing and transporting the other ingredients from where they are available to the process site, preparing the tomato for processing, cooking the sauce, packaging the sauce, then the final product must be marketed, sold and distributed. Sourcing and implementing advertising and promotion products and services, salesmen traveling to pick up orders, transporting the final product to wholesalers, then to retailers, then to final users. All of these activities utilize energy, usually dependent on fuel.

Teaching Children to Become Lifetime Readers
By Angela Banner-Joseph As the school year continues, it is important for parents to encourage their children to read. Introducing children to the love of reading is essential to school success as well as to reading for fun later in life. Studies have shown that early reading is a major factor in academic success. The percentage of students who read for fun today is very low. Many children have said they do not read because the material is blah, the words are hard, they do not have time, or they are too busy. So, it is important that children learn great reading habits. Each student has a different level of reading achievement. They must learn early the various skills required to develop and maintain the appropriate grade reading level and above. Parents must work with their child’s teacher to choose the best-suited books so the child can advance independently. Every teacher is aware that many students are reading at or below the required grade level. Work with your child’s teacher. If your child is not reading at the appropriate grade level or is not reading well, then both parent and child must work to make the necessary improvements. If the child is already a good reader, both parent and teacher must encourage the child to choose books above his or her achievement level.

Ralph Huang’s “Bag Man”
The BELIZE TIMES couldn’t help but take note of the special bag man for Taiwanese national Ralph Huang in the UDP Cayo South convention. In suspicious fashion, Mike Juan was seen carting convention voters off to a private area on the rear side of the school building that used as the polling station. The UDP Unitedville chairman carried a special pink pre-school bag in his hands which we must presume contained “goodies” for voters who claimed they support Huang. Maybe the bag contained late Christmas gifts, or maybe food pantry, or maybe some of the “goodies” Huang has been giving out ahead of his convention. Even with bags of “goodies” and a ruffian like Mike Juan as his “bag man”, the likes of fishy politicians like Ralph Huang will never get a chance to represent the good and honest people of Cayo South.

Conduct Unbecoming of a Pope
Before he was sworn in for the first time as Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Barrow, in one of his multi-personality episodes, when he imagined that he was the Pope, wrote a very powerful “encyclical”. It was intended to woo the less astute among the “masses” and to convert them on their way to the ballot box. This very powerful document was later to become the hallmark of Mr. Barrow’s policies of deception, manipulation and duplicity, in his self-serving agenda to attain power and to entrench himself by any means necessary, including force and violence and manipulative control of law enforcement. This political document, that is now the Prime Minister’s private joke reads as follows: THE ENCYCLICAL “Any UDP government that I lead will never be engaged in corruption. As soon as it rears its ugly head, I personally will cut it off. And I will tell you I will sharpen a special machete, with blades on two sides, so that every time it springs up ‘right so’, I will chop it off. And if it means the government has to fall, then so be it. Let the consequences be damned, the people of this country deserves better and I am determined to give them better.”


Caye Caulker is THE SPOT on Friday Afternoons: Your Afternoon Guide
If you are going to pop over to Caye Caulker for just an afternoon…for a change of pace… for a bit of a different scene… or just for some good eats. Like a bag of warm sugary donuts from Ice N Beans… and you only have one afternoon, I think Friday is the day to do it. In just a few hours, you can fit in lots of fun stuff that Caye Caulker has to offer. So, let me give you my 4 hour Friday afternoon San Pedro to Caye Caulker Afternoon Trip Itinerary. I’m going to need to find some way to shorten that tour title…and don’t worry. I will get you back safely. You can either hop on the 1130am or 1pm San Pedro Belize Express Water taxi boat from San Pedro to Caye Caulker. The ride is about 20 minutes. Sit on top if you can…and if you don’t mind a swift very salty hair-do destroying breeze.

Dreaded By Some, Loved By Many, Unique to San Pedro, Belize – Carnaval 2014
I spent about an hour hanging out on the beach with friends before heading into town… for the…dreaded by some, loved by many…CARNAVAL! Three days of being painted and painted by others. There is a schedule… there are rules… But today, the kids were out with squeeze bottles of paint and more than a few eggs and…let’s say that you had to be careful. But it’s all so super fun…here are my pictures. The front street was strangely quiet except for the kids.

Cave Tubing and Monkeys Oh My! Belize Family Vacation Travel Series 3
Next on our Belize adventure schedule? River cave tubing! Our adventure base for the day? Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Adventure Company and Jungle Lodge, located in the heart of the Belize jungle about an hour from our home away from home, Jaguar Reef. Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Adventure Company offers expeditions sure to please the most ardent adventurers and the family adventurers too. Caves Branch welcomes kids and families with plenty of kid-friendly activities and adventures, and that’s why we picked them for our family’s cave tubing expedition. Floating through underground caves on tubes sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it. So what’s to see along the way? Massive stalagmites and stalactites, and perhaps a few bats who call the caves home. Oh, and Mayan ruins too! Yep, the river we were about to embark on meanders past not just bats and cool cave formations, but also a Mayan spiritual center. Keep a keen eye open for Mayan artifacts, dating as far back as 400 A.D.

A Day At The Belize Zoo – A Belize Family Vacation Travel Series 2
One of our family’s most memorable vacations was the week we spent in beautiful Belize. And what better way to learn more about this gem of a country than to take a walk on the wilder side, right? The wilder size of the Belize Zoo, that is! It’s where you can experience the country’s diverse animal population. Be amazed by birds of magnificent beauty and birds of prey. Walk alongside reptiles, and marvel at arachnids behind glass. The Belize Zoo is home to a wide selection of animals, birds, reptiles and arachnids, all native to Belize. Including this little guy, a Baird’s Tapir. He’s also known locally as the mountain cow. Which of course, resulted in peels of laughter from my kids! They thought it looked more like an overgrown pig than a cow. Howler monkeys, coatis, kinkajus, they’re here too. So are the ocelots. You’ll need a keen eye to spot an ocelot, though. Look low along the ground and in the bushes, as these guys prefer the ground over the trees. And they blend right in, as this guy does. Ocelots are nocturnal, and are often found snoozing the day away.

A Week to 10 days in Belize – What to Do?
I put this together for a friend escaping the brutal winter weather and thought it might be useful to others: A Crash Course to Belize! Belize is a perfect destination for North American travelers during the winter months for a ton of reasons: Its warm for starters, just off shore lies the 2nd largest reef system in the world along with a bunch of beautiful islands, on the other side of the country is full of rain forest, and they even speak English! This small country, nestled under Mexico’s famous Yucatan, packs a lot of punch for its size. There is something for everyone beaches, jungle, relaxation, and plenty of adventure. It many only be a few hours away on a plane, but once you are there you will feel worlds away. My first trip to Belize basically changed my life. It was here that Hannah and I came up with the idea to leave our normal lives and travel.

International Sources

How the global banana industry is killing the world’s favorite fruit
During harvest last year, banana farmers in Jordan and Mozambique made a chilling discovery. Their plants were no longer bearing the soft, creamy fruits they’d been growing for decades. When they cut open the roots of their banana plants, they saw something that looked like this: Scientists first discovered the fungus that is turning banana plants into this rotting, fibrous mass in Southeast Asia in the 1990s. Since then the pathogen, known as the Tropical Race 4 strain of Panama disease, has slowly but steadily ravaged export crops throughout Asia. The fact that this vicious soil-borne fungus has now made the leap to Mozambique and Jordan is frightening. One reason is that it’s getting closer to Latin America, where at least 70% of the world’s $8.9-billion-a-year worth of exported bananas is grown. Randy Ploetz, professor of plant pathology at University of Florida who discovered Tropical Race 4, says it may already be in Latin America. “The story on the Mozambique situation was that workers brought over to establish the plantations—some of them were from Latin America,” he says. “And this is an insidious disease in that it can move… by soil-contaminated machinery, tools—that kind of thing.” Chiquita, the $548-million fruit giant with the world’s largest banana market share, is downplaying the risk. ”It’s certainly not an immediate threat to banana production in Latin America [where Chiquita's crops are],” Ed Lloyd, spokesman for Chiquita, told the Charlotte Business Journal in late December, explaining that the company is using a “risk-mitigation program” to approach the potential spread.

Genesis Fuentes, 3, undergoes life-saving heart surgery at Children's Hospital at Montefiore
A child from Belize has undergone a life-saving surgery at Montefiore Medical Center. With the help of one Connecticut family, Genesis Fuentes is having one of her last checkups at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore. The 3-year-old went through a five-hour operation to close a hole in her heart on Jan. 30, an intricate procedure very difficult to come by in her home country. The surgery brought a new kind of family together, as Genesis was matched with Michael and Monica Toll to act as host family. They were by her side throughout the surgery, along with Genesis' cousin, Melanie. Genesis' journey was facilitated by the Gift of Life organization, which sets up surgeries for children who lack complex medical care in their home countries. The Tolls say that since the surgery, Genesis has been able to enjoy many things a healthy child normally would, such as playing in the snow. Genesis will soon return to Belize with her cousin.

Immigration lessons from the first world war
What to do with these foreign troublemakers? Rid them from our small island, came the still popular reply, especially those with the gumption to organise others. And so a repatriation scheme was established by the Home Office. Some left with a £5 bounty. Some were promised compensation but got nothing, not even adequate food on the voyage. And this seemed a good outcome; irritants removed, the populist rage rewarded. But what goes around comes around. In a memorandum, Lord Milner, the colonial secretary, warned that many under attack had served in the war, done their bit and "bitterly resented the ingratitude". He "feared the effect their return to the colonies would have on attitudes to white minorities there", says Fryer. "His fears were soon justified." Before long, the brightest and best of those repatriated were leading anti-colonial agitation in Trinidad, Jamaica, Belize and St Kitts, and the British government was warning the US of "Unrest among the negroes". Those campaigns would, in time, end Britain's colonial hegemony. Then as now; sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

OAS, SICA Secretaries General Hold Talks
Organization of American States Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza met Friday with his counterpart from the Central American Integration System (SICA), Hugo Martinez, in Washington, DC. The two sides discussed “options for cooperation between the institutions,” particularly in the areas of security and human resources, according to a statement from the OAS. The meeting, which was held at OAS headquarters in Washington, also focused on the ongoing debate on “how best to define” the priorities of the OAS, along with the regional body’s “strategic vision,” according to the OAS. SICA, which launched in 1991, has been growing in influence in recent years within the region, especially following the accession of its first Caribbean Member State, the Dominican Republic, last year. (Belize, which is geographically in Central America but a member of the CARICOM bloc, joined in 2000).

Why everyone should have a dog
The dog video is hillarious

March 2, 2014


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Specials and Events

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The San Pedro Sun

Maestro Carlos Perrote to host 2nd Annual Summer Music Camp
Maestro Carlos Perrote has announced the dates of the 2nd Annual Summer Music Camp. Last year, the children of San Pedro participated in the first camp, which was a huge success, and allowed children the opportunity to have a productive summer while learning the fine art of music. There was no doubt that the camp would become an annual summer activity. 2014’s camp will take place from July 26thto August 15that the San Pedro High School campus. Even more exciting news is that this year adults can join in on the fun too! Also a new addition to the Summer Music Camp will be Saturday classes for specialized instruments. Classes schedule is as follows: guitar classes from 8:30AM to 10:30AM and keyboards from11AM to 1PM. These classes will be offered for children of all ages, each child must bring their own instruments. The program will include three classes for $120. Following the weeks of instruction, on August 15th a concert will be held at the Angel Nunez Auditorium starting at 10AM, and will showcase the participants of both the music camp and the students of Perrote’s weekly music classes. Everyone is invited to come out and support the young artists at the free concert. Anyone interested in more information on the summer program can contact organizer Elisabeth Hobarth at telephone 226-3755 between the hours of 7AM to 4PM or email at [email protected] Space is limited so early registration is encouraged.

Police Report
Zaira Rivas, Salvadorian National, visited the San Pedro Police Station and reported that on Monday, February 24th while she was sleeping in her home; her common-law husband came home, under the influence of alcohol and started arguing with her. To avoid problems, Rivas left the room and went outside and sat on the entrance of the house. While sitting, she felt someone grab her from her foot. She noticed it was her common-law husband, Edward Ozaeta. Rivas then took her slippers and threw it at him so that he would let her go. But Ozaeta then took a pint bottle and swung it towards her. The bottle hit Rivas in the head which immediately begun to bleed. Ozaeata left the house after the incident, at which time Rivas went to a private clinic to receive medical assistance. Rivas has requested court action.

Pablo Garcia to appear in season two of The Belize Apprentice
San Pedro Town’s very own Pablo Garcia made the cut and will be part of the cast for the second season of The Belize Apprentice. The Belize Apprentice is a reality television show in which aspiring young men and women compete for the chance to work in one of the most prominent banks in Belize, The Belize Bank. With the success of the first season, the show is back and is scheduled to air in March 2014 on Channel 5. The show is modeled after the US and UK Apprentice Shows. In the US, The Apprentice Show is managed by Donald Trump, where a group of business people partake in an elimination style competition to win a dream job at one of Trump’s companies. Similarly, The Belize Apprentice will allow the winner to obtain a dynamic position as the “apprentice” within The Belize Bank family,complete with attractive salary.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize at Miss Universe 1979, Video
On July 20, 1979 at the Perth Entertainment Centre in Perth, Australia 75 delegates from all over the world took the stage as they began their quest for the Miss Universe crown. Among them, was Miss Belize, 19 year-old Sarita Diana Acosta. Amazingly, and against the odds, Belize was called as part of the Top 12 semifinalists. What was even more amazing was that Miss Bermuda was also called, and for the first time in history two black delegates made it to the semifinals. Miss Bermuda Gina Swainson actually finished as first runner-up to Venezuela’s Maritza Sayalero who captured the crown (Venezuela's first of many). Gina went on to compete at Miss World later that year in London and captured the Miss World crown for Bermuda. Sarita, unfortunately, failed to advance to the Top 5. However, she only just missed out by an average of a mere 0.107 points. She was very close to making Top 5 and her performance was very strong, so much so that almost 35 years later we’re still so very proud of her. Please enjoy this video montage of Sarita during the Miss Universe 1979 pageant.

Wet Season / Dry Season
The official Wet season - One criterion for the onset of the rainy season is two consecutive days of rainfall accumulation of 30 mm or more, and four of the following seven days are rain days of 1 mm rainfall accumulation or more. Or put simpler, over 31mm ( 1") Rain in a Week. So Perhaps Dry season, is less than 2.5mm ( 0.1" ) Rain in a Week. If that is so, then we are now in the Dry Season, as I have now Recorded a total of 0.0mm Rain over the last 7 Days. Typically we get about 50 - 55mm, <2mm /day Av. ( 0.07" ) in March and April.and the first half of May. [ >1mm ( 0.04" ) is classified worldwide as a Rain day ]

Colourful wigs for Carnaval
Mayor Daniel Guerrero and Deputy Mayor Guillero "Mito" Paz, on behalf of the San Pedro Town Council, donated a bunch of colorful wigs to the "Los Barbos" Comparsa Group for their Comparsa presentation for Carnaval 2014. Receiving the donation was group member Mike Hancock.

Carnaval 2014 preparations have begun!
Covering up!

Deon McCauley has been officially released
The Management of the Belmopan Bandits Football Club hereby announces that Deon McCauley has been officially released to the Atlanta Silverbacks at no cost to any of the parties involved. We had requested a small transfer fee of US$4,000 which we considered more than reasonable but it appears that because the Atlanta Silverbacks were not informed of the existence of a contract at the time of their signing of Deon McCauley, and because Deon McCauley continues to deny to them the existence of such a contract, they were not prepared to meet the request of the Belmopan Bandits FC. The Belmopan Bandits FC would have therefore been within its legal rights as recognized by the Football Federation of Belize, who are aware of the contract and its legitimacy, to refuse to grant the release since this unfortunate situation was entirely the making of Deon McCauley.

La Ruta Maya Cultural Night
The La Ruta Maya Cultural night is next week, Thursday, March 6th, at the Cayo Welcome Center. The World Culture Band will be playing. The LRM Cultural Night is one of the best parts of the race.

World Water Day Poster Competition
The DoE's World Water Day committee is having a poster competition for primary school students. The poster should have the theme of water and energy. The posters should be submitted by March 19th. First place winner will get a laptop. Good luck to all."Please pass this flyer along or tell as many primary school students or their parents as you can. Don't let a child miss out on a great opportunity to showcase their talent and possibly win a fabulous prize!!!!!"

Flavors of Belize Online
Flavors of Belize is online. Check out their latest issue.

Western Regional Secondary Schools Association Championship Girls
Congratulations to the female softball team of the Alvin L. Young Nazarene High School of San Jose Succotz village for winning the Western Regional Secondary Schools Association Championship.

Western Regional Secondary Schools Association Championship Boys
Congratulations to the Belmopan Comprehensive School Male Softball team for winning the Western Regional Secondary Schools Association championship. And here is the championship trophy.

Marijuana in corn flakes box; woman charged
A woman from Corozal has been arraigned on drug trafficking charges. She is Kenisha Yvonne Esquivel Cau, 25, a resident of Alta Mira area of Corozal town. According to police reports, Esquivel Cau was busted at the northern border, allegedly with 1,189 grams or just over two pounds of suspected cannabis stuffed into a corn flakes box. Police reports say that during routine checks, Customs Officers noticed Esquivel Cau carrying the box of Choco Zucaritas corn flakes in her hands. The Customs Officers also observed that the corn flakes box had a transparent plastic tape under it and appeared too heavy to be corn flakes.

CGA and Banks move forward with MOU
The long-standing impasse in the citrus industry is closer to resolution following the signing of a memorandum of understanding among all the stakeholders: the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) and its Investment Company, Banks Holdings of Barbados, financial partners Heritage and First Caribbean Banks and the Social Security Board, which will step in in place of the latter. The new 7-member board gives two directors to each major shareholders and one each to Heritage, SSB in place of FCIB and GOB, subject to approval of a $19 million SSB investment in CPBL by the Board of Directors.

Will Supreme Court force Compol to investigate Penner?
On Monday at 11:30, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin will say whether Police Commissioner Allen Whylie will be forced to investigate former Minister of State Elvin Penner for alleged violations of the Passport and Nationality Acts. The Commissioner has ignored a request by letter from the PUP to proceed ahead of the statute of limitations expiring in March and today he flatly said, “I have no comment. I have no comment,” over the media’s shouted questions as he left court.

Street repairs and upgrade continue in Punta Gorda
Infrastructure work is continuing around Punta Gorda town. The work on cementing certain streets is an initiative being undertaken by the Town Council, under the leadership of Mayor Anthony Fuentes. Mayor Fuentes tells Belize Media Group that the ongoing street fixing exercise will help to “better the environment for residents of Punta Gorda” and at the same time “contribute to the development of the town.” Mayor Fuentes says he hopes that the infrastructure work will be completed before the start of the rainy season.

Women going to plant coconuts at the Belize border
A group of women is heading to the Belize-Guatemala border on Saturday morning. The trip to Belize’s southern border on Saturday morning is to plant coconut trees. The trip is an initiative by the People’s National Party under the leadership of Wil Maheia and the Belize Territorial Volunteers. According to Maheia the coconut planting trip is part of activities to kick off Women’s Month and “to build more awareness in protecting our borderline.” Organizers of Saturday’s trip are hoping that the coconut trees will, in the future, serve to point out exactly where Belize’s border with Guatemala lies.

Kite Festival of Belize
Windy day activities are only part of the charm; join in the “Kite Festival” fun this March 9th, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. to 4: 00 p.m. on Marine Parade Boulevard, Belize City. Learn the skills of kite-making from the pros and witness an assortment of kites dancing to the glide of the Caribbean breeze. There will even be a special appearance by Ben the Builder! Kite Festival of Belize Windy day activities are only part of the charm; join in the “Kite Festival” fun this March 9th, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. to 4: 00 p.m. on Marine Parade Boulevard, Belize City. Learn the skills of kite-making from the pros and witness an assortment of kites dancing to the glide of the Caribbean breeze. There will even be a special appearance by Ben the Builder!

Carnival 2014 in Chetumal
Carnival 2014 opens with a spectacular parade last night “Al Estilo Chetumal” (meaning, celebrated “Chetumal’s Style” . Thousands of city residents and visitors from different states, including neighbouring Belize, lined up the principal streets of Chetumal last night, to witness a colourful display of humanity in grand style, swaying and dancing to the most ever popular Caribbean and local rhythms. Popular Belizean artist, Loverboy will be making a special appearance on Saturday’s (today) parade beginning around 6:00 p.m. Best views are through Avenida Alvaro Obregon, Avenida Heroes but recommend an early view from the Boulevard. The Corozal Daily wishes to congratulate Mariana Zorrilla de Borge, who is the state’s president in human development and family life, that is responsible for organizing such a massive, energetic and colourful parade. Lots of work went into organizing this grand event. A special applause was given to the farmers and the community workers who also participated (Red Cross, farmers, hospital, city workers, etc.) The carnival or “el Carnaval” was inaugurated at a special ceremony held on February 26th at the “Esplanada de Las Banderas” and attended by the Mayor of Othon P. Blanco (Chetumal), Mr. Eduardo Espinosa Abuxapqui. You don’t want to miss it tonight ¡! Come early, enjoy and be safe ¡!

Queen of Chetumal's Carnival 2014
More photos


Cyclist Gets Clipped on Highway
An Orange Walk Town resident is at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital recovering after he was involved in a road incident earlier today. According to reports, 36-year-old, Anthony Bartley of a San Narciso Street address was riding his bicycle on the Philip Goldson Highway in the area of Carmelita Village in the Orange Walk District when he was clipped by a house structure being transported on a six wheeler truck belonging to RG Home Builders of Spanish Lookout in the Cayo District. The truck driver, Samuel Mendoza was traveling north towards Orange Walk when due to an oncoming bus had to make a shift to the right side where Bartley was riding his bicycle. As a result, Bartley received a cut wound to his head and was taken to the Northern Regional Hospital and subsequently moved to the KHMH in Belize City where he remains under observation in a stable condition. Meanwhile, Mendoza has been served with a notice of intended prosecution by the Orange Walk Police.

McCauley Free to Play with Atlanta Silverbacks
Yesterday, Love News Centre did an interview with the father of the football superstar, Deon McCauley who had informed us that while they are ecstatic about his son’s recent contract with the Atlanta Silverbacks, they were having some difficulties with the management of the Belmopan Bandits, who did not want to release McCauley from his football contract. Well, earlier today we were informed via a release that the Belmopan Bandits Football Club has officially released McCauley to the Atlanta Silverbacks at no cost to any of the parties involved. The release added that while they had requested a transfer fee of four thousand US dollars, their request was not met as the US football team was not made aware of an existing contract that the Belize club had with McCauley. The document further stated that while they would have been within their legal right to deny the release, they have decided to grant it as they do see it as an opportunity for McCauley and a move that the nation would support. In ending, the management of the football club stated, “…we trust that the public is now sufficiently informed about the processes and protocols of football and will not endorse a repeat of this type of behavior by a player or a foreign club.

Protection for the Jaguars
A conservation agreement was signed earlier this week between the Government of Belize, UB’s Environmental Research Institute and the Wild Cat Conservation Organization, PANTHERA. The three partners are working together in an effort to bring about initiatives that are science based which will secure and connect jaguars and their habitats in Belize and beyond. The initiatives will also facilitate land development that is both ecologically sustainable and economically profitable and will also lessen the human-jaguar conflict in the country. The jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Its decreasing population is primarily due to deforestation rates, human persecution and human-jaguar conflict. Belize’s location is crucial in such a venture as it serves as an integral link that connects jaguars within all jaguar populations south of Belize. This MOU now represents Panthera’s sixth jaguar conservation agreement with a Latin American government.


IIC Launches FINPYME ExportPlus in Belize
With an opening conference in Belize City, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) will launch its flagship export program, FINPYME ExportPlus, in Belize, in conjunction with the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), IIC’s key partner in Belize. Apart from the launch, the one-week event will consist of a series of trainings on resources and tools to improve the export competitiveness and capacities of over 35 local exporters. The trainings will be in the export development areas of certification, operations, and management processes: Certification Processes- includes sanitation, health & packaging, quality etc. Operational Processes- includes production chains, quality control, and logistics Managerial Processes- marketing, strategic planning, foreign sales etc. A representative from the Trade and Economic Counselor of the Wallonia Region of Belgium, sponsor of the FINPYME ExportPlus program in Belize, has noted:

“Ladies Night” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Got up around 05.00 hours yesterday. Same routine as most days. Make ((Make? Who am I kidding! Spoon of coffee from the jar in to a mug and pour boiling water on to it – the only skill (?) required is to make sure you don’t pour too much water from the kettle. And even I can do that. If I pay attention!)) a mug of coffee, pick up the iPad and carry both to the veranda (opening the sliding door first, of course). The start of the day then was much the same as it is most days. Or was it? No, definitely not. Why? Well I just couldn’t enjoy my ‘me time’. I tried to savour the smells, sounds and sights (even when dark there are still things to see) of the early morning. Failing, I brought The Times up online but couldn’t really concentrate on and enjoy what, for me, is normally a good read. I kept thinking of the test later in the morning that Rose and I had to pass if we were to gain Masters (boat captain) Licenses. The test was scheduled for 11.00 hours at the Port of Belize office which is located south of the DFC area but first we had a further practice session at Caribbean Villas Hotel at 09.00 hours. So, after showering, shaving (me that is, not Rose), dressing and having breakfast we set off at around 08.45 hours.

Belize is obligated under international law to protect the Maya people’s rights to their lands and natural resources
1. Belize is obligated, by its own legal commitments in international human rights treaties, to recognize and protect indigenous peoples’ rights to land and resources. In addition, customary international law requires Belize to uphold these rights apart from its treaty commitments. 2. The Constitution of Belize guarantees the fundamental rights of all Belizeans to property, non-discrimination, life, and security of the person. The Interpretation Act instructs this Court to interpret the Constitution in a manner consistent with its obligations under relevant international law. A summary of the relevant international legal obligations follows. I. Belize is obligated under international law to protect the Maya people’s rights to their lands and natural resources 3. The Constitution affirms, in Section 3, that “every person in Belize is entitled …, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, to … protection from arbitrary deprivation of property,” and in Section 17 further states that every person is entitled to protection from the arbitrary deprivation of “property of any description.”

How to Travel from Utila, Honduras to Placencia, Belize
After a month in Utila, Honduras, my husband and I indulged in many lazy daze on the bay (literally, that was the name of our guesthouse) interspersed with a daily snorkel session and walk through town. Our stay on the island was coming to an end though, which meant a kick in the pants for our day-to-day pace of life. On Sunday morning we started our two day trip from Utila, Honduras, to Placencia, Belize with our backpacks, bottles of water, and snacks for the day. At 5.45am we walked to the Utila Princess ferry dock to buy tickets for the 6.20am trip to mainland Honduras (by the way, the ferry has been relocated to the eastern part of Utila Town until Sept. 2014 while they are repairing the main dock). Each ticket comes with a complimentary tablet of anti-nausea medicine, which leaves little mystery as to why this ferry is affectionately nicknamed the Vomit Comet.

International Sources

The Best Time To Book A Plane Ticket, According To New Study
Finally, there’s a scientific answer to that magic number of days before a flight when tickets are at their cheapest. The answer? Are you ready? Are you reeeally ready? Fifty-four days before takeoff is, on average, when domestic airline tickets are at their absolute lowest price. And if you don’t hit 54 days on the head, you should usually book between 104 to 29 days before your trip -- within the “prime booking window” -- for the lowest possible prices. In this window, ticket prices typically hover within $10 of the lowest price they’ll ever reach. At least that’s what the data from 2013 tells us. The folks at CheapAir spent the last year analyzing over four million airline trips. They tracked ticket prices from 320 days before takeoff all the way up until the day before, calculating precisely which day each one hit its lowest point.

March 1, 2014


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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

BTB releases 2013 Tourism Statistics
BTB’s Director of Marketing and Industry Relations, Alyssa Carnegie, says that these numbers are a reason for everyone to celebrate, “We are very happy that 2013 was an outstanding year for Belize’s tourism industry. We congratulate each and every one working in the tourism sector, because this is a direct result of the hard work that we have all put in. As we enjoy the highs of 2013, we anticipate that this year we will see even more growth, not just in the tourist arrivals, but also in the development and investments in Belize. As we move forward, the BTB stands

Creating a friendlier environment at the San Pedro Police Department
A decision has been taken to remove the unsightly broken down police vehicle from in front of the San Pedro Police Station. Luis Castellanos, Officer in Charge informed the media that the image of the vehicle parked in front of the station was certainly an eye sore to the public and visiting tourists. “On numerous occasions, tourists would take pictures and even visit the station asking if the vehicle was for sale. San Pedro is a major tourism destination, and as such, it was kind of embarrassing to have the vehicle be a negative showcase to our department and country. Our aim is to make the San Pedro Police Department’s image friendlier and more professional to the public,” said OC Castellanos.

A reunion 23 years in the making: Susana and Danny
For over 23 years Mrs. Susana Eiley has been involved with family matters through the help of Social Workers that work along with legal practitioners. She has rescued many children from unfit living conditions housing them until their families could maintain them or they are placed them in fit homes. She’s done this quietly, never once seeking attention, preferring to do her works in relative privacy. However, today we share with you one of her beautiful stories. Upon coming home one morning 23 years ago, Susana’s attention turned to the house of her neighbor, a young woman who had become a family friend. Susana felt that something was not right and, following her intuition she headed into the home. A sad sight greeted her: the young lady had delivered a baby, way before the date expected! Weak from delivery, the mother had tears in her eyes, as she sat limber in a corner, no baby in sight. She merely pointed to the corner, where a tiny bundle lay wrapped, explaining to Susana that the baby did not make it. Rushing over to inspect, Susana unwrapped the bundle. Before her was a pair of eyes begging for survival; the premature baby boy was fighting for his life.

Deon McCaulay faces dilemma as Belmopan Bandits refuse to release him from contract
Deon McCaulay, Belize’s top football player who recently got the opportunity to play with the Silverbacks of Atlanta is facing major dilemma that can derail the advancement of his career. That is because the Belmopan Bandits has not given the green light for his release from the football club as required by the US. McCaulay confirmed to The San Pedro Sun that not only has the Bandits refused to release him, but it has to do with money that the Belmopan Bandits wants for his release. On the Krem Radio morning show, President of FFB Ruperto Vicente said that the reason Bandits has refused to give the release is because the Belmopan based club wanted to negotiate directly with Silverbacks. When asked if the negotiation entails money, US$25,000.00 as has been alleged, Vicente said that he was unaware what it entails but said that such type of negotiations between two clubs are common in football. Vicente explained that McCaulay did not allow for proper negotiations between the two clubs prior to him leaving to Atlanta to join the Silverbacks.

Sunshine Scholarship Foundation hosts first Fundraiser at Corona del Mar
On Saturday, February 22nd a generous crowd gathered at Corona Del Mar Hotel to support the Sunshine Scholarship Foundation. The event, designed as a party, saw locals and tourist alike sparing quite a bit of change for a worthy cause. Their generosity was obvious at the final tally when organizers announced that a grand total of $6,351had been raised at the foundation’s first event. The monies will allow deserving students of Isla Bonita Elementary School to complete their primary education with paid tuition scholarships. From 3PM until late in the evening, the event featured live music and finger-licking BBQ. Patrons enjoyed delicious food along with refreshing cocktails at Happy-Hour prices. Throughout the event, people were urged to participate in the silent auction of great items, including paintings, hotel packages and even snorkeling trips.

And the winner of Reina Del Carnaval is...
Leonor Rosado!!!!

Ambergris Today

Ministry of Health Delegation Attend Drug Abuse Program in the United States
A delegation of six Belizeans, through the National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC), Ministry of Health, returned to Belize over the weekend from the Training and Certification Program (PROCCER) Regional Training of Trainers Workshop with the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, Organization of American States (CICAD/OAS). The objective of the program was to share new methods that can be adapted to improve the quality of care in prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of drug abuse and dependence and drug-related violence. In this approach, the program works with both governmental and non-governmental front line organizations that provide drug abuse and violence prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services for persons suffering from drug abuse and/or dependence and their families, as well as other high-risk populations.

Belize Happily Reports Impressive Tourism Arrivals for 2013
The final figures for the 2013 tourism year are in, and we are happy to report that Belize’s Overnight and Cruise arrivals are up! Last year Belize recorded 223,510 in PGIA arrivals. March 2013 saw the highest tourist arrivals at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) with 28,623 visitors; this is a 10.2% increase in comparison to March 2012. The month with the largest increase in 2013 was August, with a 10.5% increase when compared to August 2012. While there were 3% decreases for April and September, overall PGIA arrivals are up 5.5%.

Misc Belizean Sources

Dollar politics
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. ~ 1 Timothy 6:10 A recent political convention in Cayo South has shown exactly what politics in Belize is all about. A couple of months ago, a relatively unknown Taiwanese businessman began spreading money around the thirteen villages that comprise Cayo South. Few people took notice and no one would have thought, that given the extreme bad taste that the still ebullient immigration scandal has left in the mouths of Belizeans, that this just-come economic citizen would have even half of a chance. Who would have thought that any political party would have even dared to present another extraneous contender for standard bearer and possible parliamentarian? Boy did we ever misjudge the audacity of this crowd! Belizeans are still grappling with the fact that the first Mennonite and the first Asian born persons elected to our government took extreme liberties with our hospitality and trust. Working in tandem, the two secured a Belizean passport in a record one day and delivered it to a South Korean fugitive who was at the time, sitting in a Taiwanese prison. There was an initial hullabaloo and many felt that somehow from somewhere, heads would roll.

New Belize Board of Teacher Education (BBTE) inaugurated
New Belize Board of Teacher Education (BBTE) inaugurated for the term 2014-2016... Photos show the minister and the new Board, JBTE rep Dr. Marcia Stewart, TEDS head Mrs Cecilia Smith, and newly appointed chair Mrs Alma Eiley.

FISHING REPORT: Week of February 22 – March 1st , 2014
Week’s Summary: It was really nice to see Jay and Debra enjoying their good friends Steve and Chris here at El Pescador. They fished and enjoyed a fabulous shore lunch with Captain Jr. It was also wonderful to see the Krause brothers here with their amazing dad, Hal. Thanks for visiting Hal! Patty and Jim were here for their annual visit. They don’t fish, but they sure do love the wild life here! Steve started calling them, “the lagoon people!” They left with their annual deep dark tan to the snow of the north. There was a great feeling in the lodge this week. Beautiful weather, good friends and outstanding fishing. And once again we are reminded that fishing is a beautiful universal language. We are always grateful. Thank you!

Placencia Tour Guide Cooperative supports cruise tourism in Southern Belize
The formation of the Placencia Tour Guide Cooperative (PTGC) was actuated by the first cruise proposal that was to be developed at the point of Placencia Village. We realize we will not stop development in Belize, and we shouldn’t, however we acknowledge that we need to guide development and most of all, we need to organize ourselves as local native Placencians and Southern Belizeans, to benefit from these developments. Thus the formation of the PTGC. The PTGC has gone thru the entire training process to become an official chartered Cooperative. We currently have a fully functioning Board of Directors - 7 people - and a present membership of 16 active members. The main function and roll of the cooperative is the allocation, organization and utilization of the resources and expertise of local tour guides and operators. We want to protect each other from being out competed by foreign entities. We want to increase the value and quality of the services we offer, and to properly market our tours and destination to the world as a unified destination and tour operating cooperative. This will put us in a position to be the go-to tour operating organization in Southern Belize, and will allow us better control over who operate in our area, thus allowing better protection of the PTGC membership, whom, on their own, would be easily outcompeted and disenfranchised.

The Belmopan Bandits FC takes this opportunity to state its official position with respect to the international transfer of Deon McCauley
who is under contract with the Belmopan Bandits FC until the end of July 2014. First to clarify that under FIFA rules, any club (the interested club) that is interested in acquiring the services of a player who is under contract with another club (the original club), must contact and negotiate with the original club holding such contract for the player of interest. The interested club must also disclose the terms and conditions of any contract it wishes to sign with the player of interest and must lodge a copy of that contract with the Federation of the original club. The first effort by the interested club Atlanta Silverbacks to contact Bandits FC was on Thursday February 28, 2014 with the first contact eventually being made this morning with Bandits FC Manager Kenneth Budna. This being several days after the interested club had gone ahead and signed a contract with Deon McCauley. This is a clear violation of FIFA rules for which the Atlanta Silverbacks could be sanctioned by FIFA at the request of the Football Federation of Belize on behalf of Bandits FC.

SHJC Fundraiser for Cancer Society
The students of Sacred Heart Junior College had a series of events - bake sales, ribbon sales, poster painting, and hair coloring - to raise money for the Cayo Cancer Society. The raised $1,000 over 3 days. Thanks, SHJC! "SHJC had 3 days of fundraising for the Belize Cancer Society - San Ignacio Branch. They had bake sales and ribbon sales. It culminated in the students making a banner, and the cancer society giving a presenation."

Heineken Nights at Wing Stop
The Wing Stop, Cayo's newest hot spot on Burns avenue, is hosting Heineken Nights for the next 3 Saturdays. They'll have Mistah Geeh mixing, Javier Gutierrez MC'ing, and people singing, karaoke, that is. They'll be having a karaoke competition, and the winner will get $500. They'll have specials on Heineken, and merchandise give-aways. "Cayo get ready !!! The Wing Stop - San Ignacio and flavas restaurant present heinekin night !!! big karaoke competition hosted by Javier Gutierrez .... with lots of giveaways and cash prizes !! music afterwards by Mistah Geeh it starts on saturday march 1 and finishes march 15th !!!!"

BAY Health Fair
The Belmopan Active Youths will be having a health fair tomorrow in Belmpan at the Governor General's Field. It goes from 9:00am until 3:00pm. Stay healthy!

Wading in the Lagoon
As of late we have been noticing visitors using the lagoon for leisure activities including wading in chest deep for fishing. Please advise anyone you see in and around the pond/lagoon, or your own visitors, that this lagoon is the home to crocodiles and it is not advisable to enter the water. This lagoon is locally known as the Croc Pond.

SISE Development Plan
The SISE Town Council has released the first 3 chapters of the Municipal Development Project. It's extensive. Great to see well thought out planning. "This document contains the draft first three chapters of the Municipal Development Project. It is the result of several months of work by the San Ignacio/Santa Elena (SISE) Local Planning Working Group (LPWG), a committee made of residents, business owners, professionals and council representatives that are appointed by the council as the technical body for this project."

BHS Blues Revue
The Belmopan Humane Society is having a fun fundraiser tonight at Scotchies Restaurant. The Feed the Dog Band will be there. "'BLUES REVUE' Jimmy Thackery in Belize Belmopan Humane Society biggest fund raiser of the year!! Limited number of Advance tickets $50 come out for a great meal, Lasagna (meat or Veggie) salad, rolls and dessert PLUS listen to some incredible Live BLUES TICKETS AVAILABLE at CORKERS Restaurant and Wine Bar in Bmp, CHEERS Restaurant Mile 31 Western Hwy., MARENCO'S Fast Food in front of UB Belmopan. Or call 602 7947 to reserve."

Morotcyclist hit by moving house.
A man from Orange Walk was knocked off his motorcycle this morning on the Phillip Goldson Highway. Anthony Bartley sustained injuries to the head and scrapes to his back when he was flung to the pavement as he was clipped by a house that was being carried on the back of a truck. It happened just before 10 o’clock this morning between miles 48 and 49 on the Phillip Goldson Highway in Carmelita village. The driver of the truck is telling police an oncoming bus caused him to hit Bartley, who sustained a large cut wound to the back of his head.

CitCo to begin concreting 35 streets
The second phase of a city-wide infrastructure project in the old Capital begins next week and by September of this year, one in every three streets in Belize City will have been concreted. The list of selected streets include significant arteries and according to Mayor Darrell Bradley, were selected for their importance as bridges of connectivity to move traffic and goods around the Old Capital. The total cost of the project is $9.7 million including drainage. The first phase of works was funded with a $20 million municipal bond floated by the Council and saw 102 streets concreted, some of which are in their final stages of completion.

Channel 7

COMPOL Called to Court For Mandamus Hearing, Dodges Media Questions
Tonight, the PUP is one step close to knowing whether the Supreme Court will make the Commissioner of Police investigate Elvin Penner for immigration fraud. Today Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, heard the PUP's arguments on why he should issue Writ of Mandamus to compel the Commissioner of Police to commence a criminal investigation against Elvin Penner for his role in the Citizen Kim affair. The Opposition Party is trying to force a criminal investigation before the 6-month statute bar is up. Kim's passport was fraudulently obtained, by Penner in early September. Penner told the media in an email that he is the one who, quote, "personally went with (Kim) to the passport office to see to it that he would get proper attention and would get his passport the same day."

Private Prosecution On Penner Filed In Belmopan
And while the Leader of Opposition was making his full-court press against Elvin Penner in the Belize City Supreme Court, COLA went to the Belmopan Magistrate's Court to file their claim for private prosecution of the former minister of state. The media was there, when the grassroots organization lodged the documents for the court book, and we spoke to President Geovanni Brackett. Here's what he told us: Geovanni Brackett - President, COLA "Three of us: myself, Jihad McLaren and Rufus, we came up here to file a private persecution against Elvin Penner for 2 alleged accounts of criminal offence; one for making a statement which he knew to be false in a material particular in a nationality certificate for the purpose of procuring the issue of a passport to a South Korean national Won Hong Kim contrary to section 22 of the Belize nationality act chapter 161 of the laws of Belize and the second offence is for vouching the fitness of an applicant Won Hong Kim to receiving a Belizean passport contrary to section 31H of the passport act chapter 164 of the laws of Belize revised edition. This morning we paid and got a receipt for $5 and the court date is set for the 27th March at 9am here in Belmopan."

All Sides Agree On A Way Forward For Citrus
For three weeks, the government has been trying to stabilize the citrus industry which ahs been crippled by a cash flow crisis at Citrus Products of Belize Limited. The company's bank First Caribbean froze their account because their board couldn't reach a decision on a new auditor. 11 Days ago, government announced its decision to step in decisively and bail out the industry by buying out its 15 million dollar First Caribbean Loan and fronting another 4 million dollars to ease the cash flow crisis. But even with that, it took days and days of meetings for all sides to agree on a way forward. That was done yesterday when all sides, the CGA, BHL, FCIB, GOB, SSB and the whole alphabet soup of the citrus equation finally signed an MOU. The details of that were shared at a prime ministerial press conference this morning at the Biltmore in Belize city and 7News was there:.. Jules Vasquez reporting The MOU was signed on Thursday - it provides principally for a restructured governance structure for the Citrus Products of Belize Limited.

Striker Deon's Dreams Derailed?
Earlier this week, we told you the good news about Deon Mcauley. Belize's premier striker had signed a contract with the Atlanta Silverbacks, a second division professional football team in the US. But, he might not get to play there after all. And that's because his team in Belize, the Belmopan Bandits don't want to release him - not without getting paid, that is. We contacted McAuley at his hotel in Atlanta today and he told us the Bandits want $10,000 US for his release:.. Jules Vasquez "How much is the Bandits asking for, for your release?" Deon McAuley, striker "Well, right now they are asking for US$10,000 - that is where we stand with that. But now the situation is that they want to put me on loan to this team and the thing is about it I sign my contract with Bandits in March of last year, so now the season had already started about 3 weeks and now they are showing me a contract that says June 29th - that has to be a bogus contract. I should be release at the end of February. This is nothing new to the managers and owners of the Bandits. Nobody is not making money off of this deal; even I am not making any money off this deal. But they feel like they invested so much in me that I suppose to give them the opportunity to negotiate for me and say we want this amount of your money. At the end of the day I might end up right back in Belize - this is where these people wants to see me - in Belize with them because it looks like it is hurting them that I am out here and they feel like I am making the world of money or something that they can't give me what I am asking them for."

Maimed Girlfriend, Benguche got Off In First Trial, Jailed In Second
In 2008 we first told you the story of Christina Zetina. The Ladyville resident was shot in the leg by Lenny Bennett in a wild and jealous rage. Christina lost her leg but in 2010, Bennett was acquitted. He was re-tried and convicted last week Friday. And tonight, he's spending the first night of a 10 year jail sentence. That's the decision that Justice Troadio Gonzalez handed him today after hearing his mitigation plea, and that 10 years starts counting from today's date. On January 29, 2008, he shot Christina Zetina while she was on Clother Avenue with her new boyfriend. One of the bullets struck her in the left leg, and due to a life-threatening infection, doctors had to amputate her from the knee down.

Princess Gold Pays Up Terminated Workers
Today makes one week since those employees were from Golden Princess Casino in the Corozal Free Zone were abruptly terminated en masse. Well, the news tonight is that they have finally been finally paid their severance packages. It happened this morning, when they were called by the Human Resources Department, and after it was cleared by the Labour office, those cheques were finally handed over. Our colleagues at CTV3 News waited the entire morning to try to try to talk with the employees but they declined interviews. They also tried to speak with the Managers of the Casino, but they were told that executives would be in an all-day meeting. It would have been a good opportunity to set the record straight since the actual number of employees who were terminated is still unconfirmed. Our best information says that approximately 130 employees got the axe. We've also made numerous attempts, but the managers are always unavailable.

Siarsha Improving, Father Moving Shuttling Back With $$ For Medical Bills
We've been receiving lots of calls and emails form folks who want to help the family of Siarsha Amri Alvarez, the 3 year old with that rare skin disorder called Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Well, first off, her father Simeon Alvarez came back to Belize last night and is already back in Merida. He got a flight out courtesy of Belize Natural Energy and he told us he had to rush back because he had pay ten thousand dollars in medical bills by tonight or her treatments at the Clinica De Merida will be discontinued. AS for Siarsha, he got word from her mother that she smiled today - which is encouraging. He also told us she has opened up her eyes, which is another good sign. Those wanting to help can contribute to the account of Simeon Selwin Alvarez at Scotia Bank Belize account number 87 34 347. He's unavailable by phone in Merida, but If you want to link him you can do so at his facebook page under the name Bunzy Simeon, that's B-U-N-Z-Y Simeon.

Citizen Kim In Korean Court
In the first segment, we told you how the Citizen Kim scandal is playing out here in Belize. But meanwhile the man himself, Won Hong Kim is in Korea before that country's Supreme Court. He's been indicted to stand trial for a massive, multi-million dollar embezzlement case involving the SK Group, country's third largest conglomerate. Chairman for the SK Group Chey Tae-Won, and Vice-Chairman Chey Jae-Won, who are brothers, say that Won Hong Kim, as their "mentor" advised them on how to proceed with investments which amounted to embezzlement of 42.2 million U.S. dollars from the SK Group, including SK Telecom, the country's largest mobile telephone carrier.

Final Figures In: 2013 Was a Very Good Year For Tourism
The final tourism figures for 2013 are in, and Belize's Overnight and Cruise Arrivals were up. Last year, Belize recorded 2 hundred and twenty three thousand, five hundred and ten persons passing through the Phillip Goldson International Airport. That represents a 5.5% increase over 2012. Total overnight arrivals for 2013 saw a 6.1% increase with two hundred and ninety four thousand, one hundred and seventy-seven visitors. In the Cruise Tourism sector, six hundred seventy-seven thousand, three hundred and fifty cruise passengers visited the country last year. That's an increase over the past 2 years where there had been a decline. Overall, there was a 5.7% increase when compared to 2011 and 2012.

Traffic Fatalities Were Down In 2013
And there are other statistics to report tonight, thankfully these ones are going down. It's the number of traffic fatalities for 2013. Figures compiled by the road safety unit show that these were down by 20% from 64 to 51. December was the worst month in both years with 9 fatalities. January 2014, had one few fatalities than 2012 and 2013.

High Court Will Hear Abigail McKay's Suit Against UB
At the top of the news, we told you about a PUP's Mandamus hearing, but that was not the only case up for judicial review today. This morning, Justice Courtney Ashton Abel delivered his decision that he will hear the case of Dr. Abigail McKay whose contract the University of Belize refused to renew or extend. She claims that the going by the UB's Faculty and Staff Handbook, she qualified for that extension, but the Board of Trustees, according to her, unlawfully rejected it. And after hearing from attorneys for both sides, Justice Abel ruled that he will hear the full case and decide on its merits. Today, McKay's attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, updated the media: Audrey Matura-Shepherd, attorney "The good news for my client today is that the court ruled in her favor that permission is given for judicial review. Those 5 points were not accepted and as such now we are set for trial for the 20th May.

Another Snake In Our 'Hood
Anyone who watches 7News knows all about that nasty nest of snakes we found in a corner of our office in July. Well, one of our neighbors two blocks away on Berkley street called us today because she found a massive boa constrictor in her house - and she's worried because two more are lurking around. "Miss Jud" - as she is called told us that she found the big snake in her bathroom on Monday, and this morning, she found two more in her kitchen! The news today was that the big snake had been cvaught and beheaded by a neighbor:.. When we checked back this evening to see if she had smoked out her other two unwanted guests, Judith wasn't at home.

Mayor Celebrates Two Years In Style with Senior Citizens
As part of celebrating their 2nd anniversary in office, the Belize City Council hosted a 'Day Out" for the residents of the Sister Cecelia Home for the elderly. It was held at the BTL Park this morning and Monica Bodden was there: Monica Bodden reporting Recognizing and appreciating the importance of giving back to the elderly - That was what Mayor Darrell Bradley told us this morning's event was all about. Despite the heat, the senior citizens from the Sister Cecilia's Home sat under a huge tent out at the BTL Park this morning to enjoy a well-planned out event. It included dancing, board games, slow walk race, kite flying and much more. Mayor Darrell Bradley "We are partnering with Sister Cecilia's Home, they had written us a letter last year when we had marked our one year anniversary in office, we went to Sister Cecelia's Home and we had a luncheon, we spent some time fellowshipping with aged and it was a good experience and so this year coming on to our 2 years in office we decided to do something similar and so we were very happy that they had written us again and we are partnering with them and we decided what better way to do it and it was really the organizers from Sister Cecilia who had the idea to say well BTL Park was renovated and why not bring the residence of Sister Cecilia Home out to BTL Park for a morning of music, food and enjoyment and fellowship.

Taurus Riley Ready to Thrill Belize
Regularly on the news we tell you about reggae artists visiting Belize to perform, but Taurus Riley is a cut above. He's not your average reggae artist, because he's had some of the most well-known crossover hits of the last 7 years, from "She's Royal" to "Sorry" to "Gimme Likkle one Drop." Well tonight, one of the smoothest and hit-making performers in reggae is in Belize. It's actually his second time her, and he was shown nothing but love when he arrived at the PGIA. Apart from the media, a handful of his fans were there to welcome him to the jewel. He spoke to Monica:.. The concert is on Saturday night at the Hour Bar and the promoters just called us to say that one dollar from every ticket sale is going to Siarsha Alvarez, the 3 year old with the rare skin disorder…

The Buffest and Most Beautiful In Belize, But Just "OK" In Ohio
Belize's best male and female bodybuilders Rigo Vellos and Cricel Castillo have participated in the 2014 Arnold Classic, which is being held in Columbus, Ohio. Though they performed admirably and were well-trained, their first - and by extension, the country's first - appearance in the bodybuilding competition was short-lived. As we've told you they're up against the elite in their sport from around the world. Cricel competed last night, but she was unable to qualify. Rigo, did a bit better, but he wasn't able to get past the second round. They will remain at the tournament to try to learn from the world-class athletes as a learning experience, so that they can perform better when they make a second appearance.

Channel 5

ComPol Whylie appears before CJ for writ of mandamus hearing
The pressure to have the man who apparently masterminded the Won Hong Kim passport fraud criminally investigated and charged refuses to go away, despite government’s best efforts. And it is [...]

Immigration forms prove Elvin Penner falsified information on Won Hong Kim
We reported on Thursday night that we have a dossier of the immigration scandal, as it relates to the issuance of a passport to Won Hong Kim in September 2013. [...]

ComPol decided that there be no criminal investigation into Penner
We’ve presented to you the judicial review hearing in a nutshell, but there was much more of interest coming out of today’s proceedings. Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie was missing [...]

…But was that decision based on instructions from his political bosses?
The Commissioner of Police decided that there would be no criminal investigation of Elvin Penner. That’s what the Court was told today by his attorney. But, did Whylie make that [...]

M.O.U. signed by G.O.B. and Citrus Industry stakeholders
After two weeks of carefully ironing out the details on the proposed way forward in the embattled citrus industry, Prime Minister Dean Barrow held a press conference this morning, where [...]

2 men charged for daylight robbery in Corozal Free Zone
Four persons have been charged in connection with the daring robbery at the Corozal Free Zone. The crime happened in the parking lot of the Fabrica de Mayoreo this past [...]

Ryan “Lippo” Alvarez charged for pulling gun on his uncle
Tonight, Ryan Alvarez, a resident of Supal Street, is on remand after he was accused of pulling a gun on his own uncle.  This morning, Ryan, who was unrepresented, appeared [...]

Lenny Benguche sentenced to 10 years for maim
Twenty-seven year old Lenny Bennett Benguche, who was freed of attempted murder in 2010, was today sentenced to ten years in prison.  Benguche was found guilty of maim last Friday [...]

US Fugitive caught in Belize
A wanted American fugitive, who is believed to have skipped out of the United States while being on parole in Hawaii, was caught in Belize on Thursday.  The wanted man [...]

U.D.P. Convention; “Hutchy” says party has left him out in the cold
On Sunday, the United Democratic Party will hold one of its final constituency conventions in Belize Rural Central, and it promises to be hotly contested. Michael Hutchinson has been in [...]

Inaugural sickle cell clinic held at the K.H.M.H.
Today, an inaugural sickle cell clinic was held at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Sickle cell is a disease of the blood which can result in a lot of pain [...]

Sister Cecelia’s Fun Day-Outing at B.T.L. Park
The Sister Cecilia Home is a place for seenagers and has among its numbers retired public servants, world war veterans and elderly naturalized Belizeans. But it is rare that these [...]

Miss Fitness Belize makes Belize proud at Arnold Classic Bodybuilding Tournament
Belize has so far done exceedingly well in the Arnold Classic Bodybuilding Tournament. On Tuesday, Mister Belize, Rigo Vellos, and Miss Belize Fitness, Cricel Castillo, traveled to Columbus, Ohio to [...]

Leaked memo from the D.P.P.; Penner was protected in immigration investigation
It is almost six months since former Minister of State with responsibility for Immigration Elvin Penner was removed from Cabinet for his role in the illegal issuance of a passport [...]


2013 Records an Increase In Tourism In Belize
The final figures for the 2013 tourism year are in and indicate that Belize’s Overnight and Cruise arrivals are up. Last year, Belize recorded 223,510 in PGIA arrivals. March 2013 saw the highest tourist arrivals at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) with 28,623 visitors; this is a 10.2% increase in comparison to March 2012. The month with the largest increase in 2013 was August, with a 10.5% increase when compared to August 2012. While there were 3% decreases for April and September, overall PGIA arrivals are up 5.5%. Preceded by a decrease in cruise arrivals in 2011 and 2012, 2013 saw an increase in cruise visitors to Belize. Overall, Cruise passenger arrivals grew by 5.7%. August 2013 saw the largest increase in cruise arrivals, with a 30.2% increase over August 2012. Belize recorded the highest cruise arrivals in January 2013 with 102,871 visitors, which is a 19.4% increase over January 2012. In 2013, a total of 677, 350 cruise passengers visited Belize.

Former Employees Of Golden Princess To Receive Pay On Friday
Former employees of the Golden Princess Casino who were laid off on Friday can anticipate their last pay check from their managers as they were informed that payment will be forwarded to them tomorrow. As we’ve been reporting, On Friday February 21st, a number of employees were laid off from their duties after the owners of the Casino decided to close down their operations due to insufficient funds to carry on with the business. Our news crew will be on the lookout for tomorrow’s outcome and report on our subsequent newscast.


COLA Files a Private Prosecution Against
Mr. Geovanni Bracket, President of COLA (Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action), was today in Belmopan along with two other executive members of the organization. Their sole purpose was to to file a private prosecution against Elvin Penner as was Prime Minister Barrow’s suggested option for Belizeans frustrated with...

PUP Leader Comments About Alleged Stagnant Investigation Against Mr. Penner
Today was hearing day for the People’s United Party (PUP) as it sought to force Police Commissioner Allen Whylie to investigate former Minister of State Elvin Penner for alleged violations of the Passport and Nationality Acts. The Commissioner has ignored a request by letter from the PUP to proceed...

Footballer McCauley Overrides Contract With Bandits FC to Play Overseas
Many congratulations have gone out to Deon McCauly over his opportunity to play with the Atlanta Silverbacks but there is trouble afoot. It appears that McCauley jumped ship without going through the proper procedures with the team he is currently signed with. Today, President of FFB Ruperto Vicente called...

First Suspect of Free Zone Robbery Falls Prey to the Police
Police have made an arrest in the case of the Corozal Free Zone robbery of hundreds of thousands of dollars, which took place on Monday. No one has been charged for the actual robbery but 21-year-old Benigno Loria, a Belizean Laborer of San Andres Village, Corozal District, has been charged...

Prime Minister Barrow Explains his Position Over the Venezuelan Conflict
Events in Caracas, Venezuela, where opponents of the government of President Nicolas Maduro have taken to the streets resulting in as many as eleven deaths, are reaching back to Belize, a partner in the Petrocaribe initiative to sell low-cost oil for national development. Prime Minister Dean Barrow told reporters on...

Mayor Bradley and PM Explain on More Coming Infrastructure Projects
At Thursday’s press conference, Mayor of Belize City Darrell Bradley announced the rationale and schedule of works to take place under Phase II of the Belize City infrastructure project. Here he outlines the six streets to immediately receive improvements. Mr. Darrell Bradley- Mayor of Belize City “We will, under...

JICA Takes Belizean to Tour and Train Abroad for Development
Today, PLUS News toured two key installations in Belmopan and on the George Price Highway with representatives of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The organization is an arm of the Japanese Government tasked with promoting bilateral cooperation with developing countries like Belize. Since 1986 some 173 Belizeans have gone...

‘Spelling Bee’ Zone Winners of Belmopan Share Their Success
The Coca Cola national spelling bee 2014 is well on its way with zone eliminations being held across the country. One Belmopan school dropped by to show off their top two winners for their zone. Those two students of The Shepherd’s Academy in Belmopan are Standard 5 student Michael...

Fatal traffic accident on the Hummingbird highway
There was a fatal traffic accident on Thursday afternoon between miles 43 and 44 on the Hummingbird highway. The victim was 29 year old Arnolfo Jose Flamenco of mile 28 Humming bird Highway. Arnolfo Flamenco was heading home in the direction of Dangriga on his...

Father Appeals for Hit and Run Driver to Come Forward
A 13 year old boy was the victim of a hit and run accident in the Belize District. The incident happened on Sunday February 23rd in the Burrel Boom area. The father of the child, Earl Flores Sr, told police that he gave his son permission to go to...

Illegal Logging of Rosewood Continues
Illegal logging of Rosewood continues in the southern district and not only by Guatemalan loggers. On Wednesday, February 26, Independence Police visited an area in the Maya Mountain Forest Nature Reserve where five male persons were detained for Unlawful Possession of Forest Product. They were in a Ford Tractor...

Teachers and Public Officers Get 5% Increase
$22 million over three years. That is how much more teachers and public officers will be paid, guaranteed, by the Government of Belize, an increase of 5 per cent, the minimum floor they asked for, and that is without taking into account the standard 2.5% annual increment. Speaking after...

Cola Plans to Press Charges Against Ex-Minister of State Elvin Penner
They announced it via press release late Wednesday and confirmed it on Thursday: Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) is taking Elvin Penner to court. Following the suggestion of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, the organization intends to file two charges against the ex-Minister of State in Belmopan for...


In the Supreme Court yesterday, Wednesday, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin granted the Leader of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) leave to file for a judicial review seeking a writ of mandamus against the Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie for his failure to investigate, and, if necessary, arrest and charge the former Minister of State for Immigration, Elvin Penner. After submissions were made by the PUP’s lead attorney, Edwin Flowers, S.C., Chief Justice Benjamin declared: “Permission is granted for the applicant to seek judicial review.” Benjamin gave the PUP until 4:00 p.m. yesterday to file its judicial review papers, and the party had until 4:00 p.m. today, Thursday, to serve the court papers on ComPol Whylie. Anthony Sylvestre, the PUP’s legal adviser, told Amandala today that the papers were served on ComPol Whylie this morning at 10 o’clock in his Belmopan office. Sylvestre also told us that Whylie must appear in court tomorrow, Friday, at 10: 00 a.m.

The unforgiving streets of the Old Capital claimed the tender life of yet another promising youth when Ryan Arnold, 25, unfortunately succumbed to gunshot injuries he sustained while standing with about five persons in a yard near the Wesley Upper Primary School in Southside Belize City yesterday evening. The incident – which has been labeled by witnesses as a retaliatory murder – occurred at around 5:30 p.m. yesterday, Tuesday, while the group of young men were socializing on Armadillo Street, which happens to be one block away from the Racoon Street Police Station. According to police, a lone perpetrator of dark complexion who was wielding a gun and wearing a black T-shirt rode up to the unsuspecting victims and released a barrage of bullets, injuring two of the men. Arnold, a resident of Euphrates Avenue in Belize City, was hit in the lower back and abdomen, while a 15-year old minor was shot in the right thigh and left arm.

Concerned Belizeans have long advocated for young people to be granted greater access to education, and now, young people who are unable to afford a conventional education or who have fallen by the wayside because of their inability to complete their secondary school education do not just have a second chance at their dream – they can also be a part of history in the making by enrolling in Belize’s first online high school. Ethnelda Paulino and Alberita Enriquez, the co-founders of Kaina Online High School, told Amandala Wednesday that the online high school will offer everything mainstream high schools do – except that students won’t have to worry about uniforms, books, lunch money, bus money, and all the other expenses that are usually required. “Their rags will always be glad you know! You can be in pajamas and work,” Paulino said. For a $25 application fee and $300 a semester, students can learn online – with as little as three to four hours a day on the web – and work towards attaining a certified diploma. Practical training is also integrated into the curriculum. For example, those who choose agriculture will do a backyard garden.

Just as the country is reporting some gains in the unemployment rate, nearly 200 workers in northern Belize have been terminated due to economic hardships. Last week, our newspaper reported on the termination of workers at the Golden Princess Casino in Corozal; this week, we regret to report that roughly 100 workers have lost their jobs in the papaya industry. Gilberto Vivas, Fruta Bomba’s general manager, told Amandala this afternoon that their parent company, Brooks Tropical of Florida, has decided to release 95 workers: 44 of them from Fruta Bomba and 51 from Belize Fruit Packers. Fruta Bomba has retained 300 workers and Belize Fruit Packers 90-plus workers.

BTB says 2013 tourist arrivals spiked 10%
According to the Belize Tourism Board (BTB)’s final figures for the last calendar year 2013, Belize’s overnight arrivals were up 6.1% and cruise tourist arrivals by 5.7%. In a press release issued today, the BTB reported that there were a total of 223,510 recorded tourist arrivals at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) in 2013 – an increase of 5.5% over the previous year. Airport arrivals peaked in March, when 28,623 visitors flew to Belize. According to the BTB, this represents a 10.2% increase over March 2012. The month with the largest increase of airport arrivals in 2013, though, was August, which recorded a 10.5 percent increase when compared to August 2012. BTB’s Director of Marketing and Industry Relations, Alyssa Carnegie, says: “As we enjoy the highs of 2013, we anticipate that this year we will see even more growth, not just in the tourist arrivals, but also in the development and investments in Belize.”

Stolen iPhone 5’s “Find My iPhone” app uses Google Maps to pinpoint thief
A Belize City man who robbed a woman at knifepoint and made off with her expensive bag which contained her iPhone 5 was convicted of robbery and sentenced to 10 years in prison after Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith found him guilty. As Ashton Grant, 23, was being led out of the courtroom to the court’s holding cell, he was visibly upset and yelled out: “10 years?” Grant’s trouble began almost immediately after he held up Tanya McNab in the vicinity of George Street on December 30, 2012. Although she struggled with him at first, eventually he got the upper hand and ended up riding away with her $2000 bag, which contained her $2,500 iPhone 5, credit card, passport and other identification documents. But what Grant did not know was that the iPhone has a software called “Find My iPhone,” that could be activated through Apple Inc’s iCloud, where it is stored and can be activated by the owner of the phone. Immediately after she was robbed, McNab logged into iCloud and activated the software, which used Google Maps to track the location of the phone.

Will the Bandits release Deon?
A very concerned father, David “Manu” McCaulay visited our sports desk this afternoon. Amid all the hoopla and celebration with reports of his son, Deon McCaulay’s signing a contract with the Atlanta Silverbacks in the North American Soccer League (NASL), there is still a major hurdle that has not yet been crossed; and it is causing a lot of stress and anxiety for Manu and other members of Deon’s family, said his dad. Following FIFA international player transfer requirements, the Belmopan Bandits would have to first sign official release forms before Deon’s transfer to the Atlanta Silverbacks can be legitimized and he can be allowed to perform in their League. In these modern days, Belizeans know that we often do not get what we deserve for our products on the international market – e.g. oil and rosewood. And we know it will take some time before Deon can be in a position to demand top dollar in the international football arena. We understand that we sometimes “have to creep before we walk.”

Cycling – Upcoming Test Race Events
In a press release on Monday of this week, the Cycling Federation of Belize (CFB) announced two upcoming events on Saturday and Sunday of this weekend. The events are part of the Test Race Events towards selecting a National Team. ITT on Boom Road on March 1 On Saturday, March 1, an Individual Time Trial (ITT) will be held on the Boom Road, starting at CDS Service Station at 6:30 a.m. Open Elite/U3/Masters will do 15 miles; while the Female/Junior/Youth will do 9 miles.

FFB appoints
It has been an eventful few days in the football world, but it looks like, where there were dark clouds looming with the postponement of the PLB Closing Season, there now appears a silver lining, with the announcement today that the season kicks off next weekend, and it still has the sponsorship of Belikin. League President “hands over PLB to FFB” As we reported in our mid-week issue page 21 article, “PLB Closing Season delayed; owners ‘rocking the boat’ on Executive,” a meeting of PLB owners had made some stern requests on the PLB Executive, along with a decision to postpone the start of the new Closing Season. In response to the letter on February 20 from the owners, PLB President Jaime “Myito” Perdomo penned his response on Tuesday, February 25, where he expressed his “disappointment with the meeting and the contents of the letter,” and declared that the “decision has been reach to turn over the administration of the PLB to the Football Federation of Belize effective today February 25, 2014 base on article 41- 2 of the PLB Statutes. (FFB shall have jurisdiction on internal national dispute i.e. dispute between parties belonging to FFB and PLB).”

NEBL basketball highlights
The inaugural National Elite Basketball League tournament continued over the weekend with all 8 teams seeing action; and only one, Cayo Western Ballers remains undefeated after 3 exciting weeks of Elite League basketball. Here in Belize City on Friday night at Bird’s Isle, Belize City’s Smart No Limit pulled out all stops against the Orange Walk Running Rebels, beating them by a comfortable 83-59 margin. Top scorers for No Limit were J. Enriquez 16 pts 3 rebs, Brian White 15 pts 14 rebs, Greg “Chippy” Rudon 14 pts 9 rebs 7 assts, Andrew “Bynum” Ortiz 11 pts 10 rebs 3 blks, and Matthew Young 5 pts 11 rebs; while the Running Rebels had Randy Usher 16 pts 5 rebs, but he suffered 7 turnovers, O. Tesecum 12 pts 6 rebs, and R. Sutherland 9 pts 4 rebs.

Dangriga sports stats
Here are the results from the 5th Annual Mr. T. Birthday Classic that took place on Sunday, February 23, and started (and finished) in front of Wadani Shed and headed on to the Southern Highway to Sittee River junction and back. First place went to Sherman Thomas from Roaring Creek; 2nd was Rizden Flowers from Mullins River; 3rd Ashton Mobutu from Dangriga; and 4th Charles Bruce from Mullins River. The Dangriga Amateur Cycling Association would like to thank all those who assisted in any way to make the Mr. T. Cyling Classic a success.

Dear Editor, Political parties are not regulated in Belize. That fact shakes the foundation of our Belizean democracy. Parties are organizations composed of members who want to democratically govern their country. Is it not disturbing, then, that these organizations may themselves be undemocratic? How can Belizeans expect these members to represent their interests when they are elected if they are entirely unregulated prior to elections? The two major parties, People’s United Party and the United Democratic Party, are not even registered institutions, because they do not have to be. These parties are viewed as private institutions instead of public utilities. As such, they have no accountability to the people they desire to represent.

Dear Editor, Your article last week illustrated the ongoing misappropriation of public assets into private hands. During the twenties the Barracks was large enough to land an airplane, demonstrated by Charles Lindbergh, founder of Pan Am Airways, once celebrated by a small palapa bar decorated with photos of the event, which was witnessed by crowds of excited citizens. Since then we have seen, first the Ramada Princess, then Marina Towers, both in contravention of the 66 ft. reserve for public access to the foreshore, and now more recently the newly built form of the refurbished BTL Park, which continues to impede public access to the natural heritage of the sea.

A man who was involved in a brawl in Rancho Dolores, Belize District, and whose entry into Belize remains unverifiable by the Immigration Department, was ordered to pay $1,000 forthwith or spend six months in jail, after which he will be removed from Belize as a prohibited immigrant. Rolando Ramirez, 43, a Guatemalan national, appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, who imposed the fine and signed the Immigration Department’s removal order after Ramirez pleaded guilty to entering Belize illegally. In his brief mitigation plea, he told the court that he is asking for forgiveness, because he has a family here, which includes a son who was born in Belize. At last report, Ramirez had not paid.

Corozal Free Zone heist; over $208,000 stolen
Police are looking for two thieves who, armed with a knife and a hammer, held up and robbed a Mexican businessman in the Corozal Free Zone, stealing over $1,250,000 pesos, or BZ$208,000. Ricardo Villasenior, 48, of Las Flores Manzana 23, Quintana Roo, Mexico, told police that at about 10:00 Tuesday morning he was at the loading area at the rear of the North American Store in the Corozal Free Zone, taking out two bags of money out of his car trunk to take into the store to pay for purchases when two men came up behind him. One of them was armed with a knife, and the other with a hammer, Villasenior told police. The man with the knife put the weapon to his side, while the man with the hammer stood ready to bash in his skull, he said. According to Villasenior, the knifeman ordered him to give them the money, or else he would be killed. Villasenior reported that he became fearful and he allowed the thieves to take the two bags of money, which had a combined total of $1,250.000 pesos.

Rosewood still hot: 5 busted!
Police today reported on yet another rosewood bust – this time it was four locals and a Guatemalan who were nabbed in an operation in which they were hauling a tractor-trailer loaded with rosewood, despite a moratorium which has been in effect since 2012. The problem is one which under-resourced Belizean authorities have been ineffective at checking. “It’s bigger than us,” Chief Forest Officer Wilber Sabido told Amandala today, adding that these appear to be very organized operations. Sabido said that the latest bust solidifies their suspicion that there is a clandestine operation to illegally harvest rosewood and smuggle it to Guatemala, destined for the China market, where the prized wood fetches a premium price. Today, police in Independence Village, Stann Creek District, reported that they had visited an area in the Maya Mountain Forest Nature Reserve, where five men were detained for unlawful possession of a forest product.

Hit-and-run driver leaves boy, 13, to die on Buttercup Road
A boy is seriously hurt and is presently admitted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in a critical condition after he was hit by a vehicle at about 1:00 Sunday afternoon and left to die on the road in Buttercup, which is an area in Burrell Boom. Earl Flores, Jr., 13, a standard 4 student of Burrell Boom Methodist School, was found by his family near the roadside about 200 feet from his home in an unconscious state. He had suffered injuries to his forehead, upper lip, nose, and also to his left eye. An ambulance rushed him to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where his condition was declared critical and he was taken to the Intensive Care Unit, where he is receiving treatment. Earl Flores, Sr., the boy’s father, told police that at about 12:30 Sunday afternoon, his son asked him for permission to go to his cousin’s house, which is about 150 feet from their home, and he told him he could go.

Taxi union trouble in Corozal
The Corozal United Taxi Operators (CUTO) told Amandala yesterday that they are losing money and customers to a rival taxi group, the Corozal Rural, Town and Village Taxi Union (CRTVTU). The rival taxi group, they say, is conducting unfair competition practices by undercharging customers and not following the rules and regulations of the taxi trade. The situation is seriously impacting their livelihoods, and a violent confrontation is foreseen, CUTO told the newspaper. CUTO, led by Victor Arcurio, has been in existence for over 30 years and is the biggest taxi association in Corozal, while the rival CRTVTU, which began operations in January, is led by Luis Alcoser. Arcurio told Amandala that the taxi fare has been set at $2.50 from Corozal Town to the northern border, a distance of about 9 miles, but the rival union is now only charging $2.00. Arcurio said that his operators cannot afford to undertake the 18-mile journey to and from the northern border for $4 due to the high cost of living, and the high cost of fuel.

Police Dept: Road traffic collisions down 20%
Fatal road traffic accidents – such as the one which occurred this past Saturday and tragically took the life of a well-known biker – brings into perspective the realistic dangers of speeding, as well as an urgent need for enforcement as it relates to road safety regulations on the highways and bi-ways of Belize. Today though, the Project Management Unit of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development released statistics – compiled by the Belize Police Department – which illustrate that the total amount of fatal road traffic collisions have actually declined over the past two years. In their release today, the department stated that 2013 recorded a twenty-percent decrease in road traffic fatalities as compared to 2012 – with a total of 64 in 2012 as opposed to 51 in 2013. In 2012, there were seven months that recorded five or more fatal road accidents, while in 2013 there were only three months which saw five or more fatalities due to road collisions.

FECTAB and COLA defend Yhony Rosado
Popular cruise tourism personality and proprietor of, Yhony Rosado, has been thrust into another battle against those at the helm of the tourism industry in Belize – only this time, the stakes are higher because Rosado suspects that there is collusion within elements in the tourism sector who are hell-bent on tarnishing his reputation and putting his multi-million dollar cruise tourism operation out of business. Last Friday, February 14, Rosado was arraigned in the Magistrate’s Court on a charge of disorderly conduct after he and a rival tour operator, Vitalino Reyes, Sr., allegedly got into an altercation last Boxing Day 2013 at the Fort Street Tourism Village. Reyes alleged that while in the Belize City Tourism Zone on that day, Rosado attacked him and supposedly punched him in the face in a brawl that ensued afterwards. In court, Rosado pleaded not guilty to the charges, was granted bail of $500 and must return to court on March 25, his next court date.

Citrus MOU to be signed this Friday
While the unveiling of a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be held this Friday, February 28, by the stakeholders in Belize’s hemorrhaging citrus industry might be a hint of good news, the indispensable agroindustry is still faced with lingering predicaments which continue to threaten its welfare – problems they hope a newly restructured board of directors of the exporting company, the Citrus Products of Belize Limited (CPBL), can fix. Amandala headed out to the Pomona Valley today to get a sense of the difficulties being suffered by those who have been agitating for the betterment of the industry over the past few years, since sour relations between the two main shareholders of CPBL – the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) and Banks Holdings Ltd. of Barbados – deteriorated even further, causing gridlock at the board level.

Jose Flamenco, 29, dies – his motorcycle hit a van
Jose Flamenco, 29, of the Mile 28 Hummingbird Highway community, was killed in a tragic road traffic collision that occurred about 11:00 this morning between Miles 43 and 44 on the Hummingbird Highway. Flamenco was travelling on his motorcycle from Belmopan to his home when he lost control of the bike and slammed into the side of a van that was travelling to Belmopan in the opposite direction. Flamenco, a laborer, was hurled violently onto the pavement and died immediately due to the impact of the crash. He was taken to the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan, where he was declared dead on arrival.

Citrus greening threatens to disintegrate citrus industry
The present crisis involving the fallout of the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) and Banks Holdings Ltd. has certainly taken a toll on the besieged citrus industry; however, there is also a very real, ever-increasing threat to the industry which makes a resolution to the Citrus Products of Belize (CPBL) current cash flow crunch even more urgent. Citrus greening disease, also known by its Chinese name HuangLongBing (HLB) or Yellow Dragon Disease, has been labeled as the worst disease to afflict citrus, especially since there is no cure and groves of trees have been known to decline within 1 to 10 years of being infected.

BCB Holdings reports US$4.8m net loss
BCB Holdings Limited (BCBHL), the parent company of the Belize Bank – the largest, full-service commercial and retail banking operation, today reported a net loss from operations of US$4.8 million for the nine months ended December 31, 2013, contrasting with net income of US$4.7 million for the same period of 2012. Consequently, the company reported a net loss per ordinary share of US$0.05, contrasting with net income of US$0.05 per share in 2012. BCBHL also reported a net loss from operations of US$2.7 million for the three months ended December 31, 2013, while it reported US$2.1 million net income for the same time in 2012. This has meant a loss of US$0.03 per ordinary share for the last three months. For the last three months of 2012, BCB Holdings reported net income per share of US$0.02.

Siarsha, 3, struggling to survive Stevens-Johnson syndrome
The adorable Siarsha Amri Alvarez, 3, is struggling for her life at Clinica de Merida, after she developed a rare syndrome in reaction to an antibiotic she took when she fell ill last week, her grandmother, Bernadine Menzies, told Amandala today. Siarsha, a student of Stepping Stones Preschool in Belize City, had developed Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a life-threatening disorder in which the skin and mucous membranes react severely to a medication or infection. After having been administered antibiotics last week, Siarsha’s fever worsened, and then blisters started breaking out on her tongue. “That was the first time I realized that something was wrong,” her grandmother said, noting that this occurred towards the end of last week. “It spread really rapidly,” she said, adding that Siarsha was in a lot of pain due to the serious inflammation that resulted from the syndrome. Amandala was unable to ascertain which antibiotic caused the syndrome.

GOB pumps $10 million into phase two of City infrastructure project
Central government is partnering with the Belize City Council for phase two of the city’s infrastructure project, which will see the continued rehabilitation and concreting of at least 40 more streets from 10 million dollars of assistance being provided by Government. The announcement was made today at a press conference hosted by Prime Minister Dean O. Barrow and Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley. Prime Minister Barrow said that the torrential rains have “done a number” on the streets of Belize City, and it is on that basis that the central government has allocated 10 million dollars for repair of the city. Barrow had high praise for Mayor Bradley and the City Council for coming up “on their own with the municipal bond,” which saw the beginning of the concreting of Belize City streets.

In God we trust
I was looking the other day at a TV documentary about the US justice system and amazingly in many of the shots I saw on the buildings inscriptions about God and justice and the like. I was taken aback because when I think about the democracy of America I think of a nation that pushed God out of the door and man tried to take his place. Imagine, a basic thing we take for granted, like praying in school, became a legal challenge in the USA and the courts ruled it was unconstitutional to keep prayers in public schools. So out it went and now only denominational schools can justify prayers as part of their curriculum. Ironically, the US currency has behind the bills inscribed “In God We Trust,” which has not been removed like prayers in schools.

National Security gets ready to put firearms law to consultations
Whereas the public call for a revision of Belize’s sweeping firearm laws—which have at times resulted in the mandatory remand of upstanding innocent citizens—continues unabated, it is evident that those revisions won’t be implemented as quickly as some might have hoped. Amandala spoke today with the chairman of the Constitution and Foreign Affairs Committee, Collet area representative Patrick Faber, who told us that there are several stages that the law revision must go through before it even gets to Parliament. At the time of our conversation, Faber was in the company of National Security Minister John Saldivar, who indicated that his ministry would start the first round of consultations at the time the bill is being prepared. Afterwards, the draft bill must be taken to Cabinet before it is tabled in Parliament, where it would be presented for the first reading.

Respect, Baron Bliss
Very little is known about the early life of Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss. He was an Englishman born on 16th February, 1869. Before leaving England, he lived at Quarry Court, Marlow, in the County of Buckingham, England. He was an engineer by profession and was married to Ethel Alice Baroness Bliss, to whom he had left a settlement before travelling abroad. Nothing is known about how Baron Bliss acquired his wealth of almost a million pounds, whether through his profession, business, or inheritance, or all three. At the time of his death, he had, besides his properties, a large amount of securities and shares. He must have been community-minded, as he was appointed a Justice of the Peace.

Ideas and Opinions – To build a nation
“In building a nation, too much discipline is better than too little, and in preparing a child for citizenship, strictness is better than indulgence.” The opening lines of this essay are uncredited but, that does not matter. There is a dictum which says, “The importance of a thing when said is not what is said but by whom it is said.” I beg to differ. The importance of a thing when said, is what is said. It is the song and not the singer. Our poet, philosopher, politician, George Price said, “Building is a task for giants; little men tried and turned away.” Is it that we have produced only little men or that our giants have been engaged in other pursuits, why we are at the place where service to the nation is not the first priority of our political leaders; or is it that we have failed to recognize and to use the building blocks which are essential to construct a strong nation.

From The Publisher
There are some UDP people who said and still say that it was necessary for those who were opposed to Hon. George Price and the People’s United Party (PUP) to replace Hon. Philip Goldson as the Leader of the Opposition because the PUP would have remained in power forever if Mr. Goldson had not been removed as Opposition Leader. Then, there were people inside the PUP itself who were saying that it was important that Mr. Goldson win his Albert constituency seat so that the appearance of democracy remained in the Belize House of Representatives. For those of you who don’t know, the PUP won all 18 seats in the House in 1961; they won 16 out of 18 in 1965; and they won 17 out of 18 in 1969. Mr. Goldson was one of two Opposition National Independence Party (NIP) members in the 1965 House, and he was the only Opposition member in the 1969 House. (The party which contested the 1969 election was a coalition between the NIP and a party called the People’s Development Movement {PDM}. The coalition was known as the NIPDM.)

EDITORIAL: Law and power in 2014 Belize
The purpose of this editorial is not to discuss the legal intricacies of what the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) is attempting to do in the Supreme Court with this Commissioner of Police mandamus business. You and I know that what the PUP really wants to do is to replace the United Democratic Party (UDP) in power. They are using this writ of mandamus against the ComPol as a form of legal pressure on the executive power apparatus of government. Ultimately, then, this mandamus is law as politics. In March of 2012, the UDP and the PUP competed in a general election to see which of the two parties would win the majority of the 31 constituency seats in the Belize House of Representatives. In that general election the UDP won 17 seats, and the PUP 14. The Governor-General of Belize then invited the Leader of the UDP to form a government, of which that UDP Leader would be in charge.

On February 17, Prime Minister Dean Barrow suggested that the Opposition PUP, if they feel so strongly about the Penner passport scandal, could launch a private prosecution. That suggestion has gained traction, not from the Opposition, but from the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), which announced that they will file a private prosecution in the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court on Friday. COLA made the announcement at a press briefing today, Thursday, at the Radisson Fort George Hotel. COLA’S move to initiate private prosecution against Elvin Penner for his role in securing a Belize passport and nationality document for the imprisoned South Korean Won Hong Kim, would be a first for Belize’s judiciary, if the information and complaint form that they have filled out succeeds in making it to a court hearing.

Shane Budram, 37, beats ammunition rap
Shane Budram, 37, a resident of Wagner’s Lane who was charged with one count of keeping ammunition without a gun license, walked out of Magistrate Dale Cayetano’s courtroom free of the charge, after his attorney, Dickie Bradley, made a no-case-to-answer submission. When Bradley had finished with his no-case submission, Magistrate Cayetano remarked, “The evidence does not make any sense…” Cayetano added, “If you have bullets, for example in the case of Budram, and you saw the police from a 20 to 25-yards distance, the normal man would have either thrown them away or disposed of them in some way.” The Magistrate also noted that only one police officer came to testify that he had found the bullets. Why was his evidence not corroborated by another police officer, the magistrate questioned, before he accepted the no-case submission.

Girl, 15, told police that father began raping her from age 11
The father of a girl, 15, of Corozal, has been detained by police, pending charges of incest at the direction of the Office of the Public Prosecutions. The girl reported that her father had been taking sexual advantage of her since she was 11 years old, and that he had been raping her on a frequent basis. The girl was taken to the Corozal Hospital, where doctors who examined her certified that she had been carnally known. The father was immediately arrested. The girl and her mother went to the police, where the girl reported that she had been facing constant threats from her father that if she told her mother what was happening, he would kill her and her mother.

Stephan Anderson, 23, charged for shooting Andrew Augustine, 21
A Belize City man who allegedly shot another man in his neck was remanded to prison after he was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith on Tuesday. Police charged Stephan Anderson, 23, a laborer and resident of 7 Ebony Street, with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm and dangerous harm for the February 23 shooting, which left Andrew Augustine, 21, suffering from a gunshot wound to his neck. Anderson could not be granted bail because of the nature of the offenses for which he is charged. Also, no plea was required from him, since the charge of attempted murder is an indictable offence. He was therefore remanded into custody until his next court appearance date, April 15.

Couple charged for 8.59 pounds of weed
A Belize City man was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $5,000 forthwith after he pleaded guilty to one count of drug trafficking in the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith. Barry Lee Wade, 34, an unemployed, and his common-law wife, Elizabeth Ann Linarez, 37, a domestic, residing at 9159 Mahogany Street Extension, appeared before Chief Magistrate Smith. After Wade pleaded guilty to the charge, the court withdrew the charge against Linarez.

Raymond “Killa” Gentle’s accused murderer, awaits judge’s decision
The murder trial of Cowin Bennett, 20, accused of executing the reputed boss of the Kraal Road Gang, Raymond “Killa” Gentle, ended in the Supreme Court of Justice Adolph Lucas today. Justice Lucas has set March 5 as the date he will deliver his ruling, after the almost two-week trial by judge without a jury. Bennett was represented by Legal Aid attorneys Baja Shoman and Michelle Trapp-Zuniga, while the Crown’s case was presented by Crown Counsels Shanice Lovell and Prosha Staine. In the late afternoon of January 12, 2011, Raymond “Killa” Gentle was on Kraal Road supervising the construction of a house, a job he was doing for the then Minister of Works, Anthony “Boots” Martinez.

Man shot in the neck in St. Martin area
A man is recovering at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after he was shot in the neck while walking on Jasmine Street in the St. Martin De Porres area of Lake I at about 10:15 Saturday night. Andrew Augustine, 23, of Jasmine Street, told police that he was walking on the street when a man on a bicycle rode up, pointed a gun in his direction and fired a shot at him, hitting him in the neck.

Police seek thief who beat and robbed woman on Mahogany Street
The level of crime being carried out by thieves knows no limits. Even women are now attacked, beaten and robbed by thieves, and police are looking for one such man. A woman of Cet Site Street in the Gungulung Area of Lake I told police that at about 4:40 Friday morning, she was walking on Mahogany Street Extension, towards the Central American Boulevard, when she was attacked from behind by a man who was armed with a knife.

Burglary in Corozal — $1,290 in goods stolen
Corozal Police are seeking a thief or thieves who burglarized the home of Brigida Paulina Patt, 33, of Rainbow Town area, Corozal Town, sometimes between 8:30 Saturday night and 5:00 Sunday morning, February 23. Patt reported that she found her house burglarized Sunday morning. Thieves had stolen a pink Hurricane Nankon bicycle valued at $230, a pink “Go”-brand tablet valued at $300, a “Women of Earth” perfume valued at $55, a “Forever” brand perfume valued at $55, an “Adorise” brand perfume valued at $145, a “Sex in the City” perfume set valued at $200, and a pink and purple checkered Jansport school bag, valued at $55.


Gorgeous Mile Walk on South Ambergris Caye That Ends in a Coconut Sculpture Garden
Finding a place on the island to stay can be tricky for sure. If you’ve never visited it might seen overwhelming (and I get LOTS of emails from the overwhelmed)…North Ambergris known for the larger resorts and beautiful sandy beaches or San Pedro Town with so many bars, restaurants and events or the area that I hear least about…South of town. Or as I like to call it, my neighborhood. For those not familiar with this area, I think it’s just gorgeous. And no matter where you stay, one worth exploring. Let me propose a two mile walk (one mile there and back) along this beautiful stretch of beach. If the idea of exercise on vacation makes you feel queasy, call it a pub crawl. Golf carts are excellent and a great way to get around quick (well “island time” quick) but beach walking is the way to go. Breezier, prettier and you never know when you are going to run into something awesome. Like these guys amusing their wives that I ran into a few days ago.

Need More Good Reasons for Enjoying Springtime in Belize? Look no further!
There are many reasons to be in Belize during springtime and a rare opportunity to get close to the world’s largest fish is certainly one of them, the Belizean eco lodge’s Natural History Centre manager said. According to naturalist Brion Young, travellers wishing to experience the spectacular annual whale shark migration to Belize had better begin preparing now if they want to make the most of this once-a-year chance. And, as an added bonus, spring is also highlighted by the annual neo tropical bird migrations and the nationwide Easter celebrations, he said. Long known in Belize as “Sapodilla Tom” due to locals seeing whale sharks each year at the Sapodilla Cayes and Gladden Spit during their annual feeding and breeding season, the whale shark is the world’s largest fish and the third largest animal on the plane with a recorded length of 12.65 metres (41.50 ft) and weight of over 36 tonnes (79,000 lb). In Belize, the annual whale shark season begins in March and continues some years even further into the summer. Best seen during and around the full moon, usual prime viewing times are mid-to -late March, April, May and June.

Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) urges the regions private sector to take advantage of the funds made available under the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme facilitated by the Agency as part of of the Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP) funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). Firms can apply for grants of up to €30,000 providing firms meet the eligibility criteria, their applications are accepted and they are exporting or demonstrate the potential to export goods and services.

“Rescue Me” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Up around 05.10 hours yesterday and out on the veranda with the mug of black coffee and iPad not much more than five minutes later. That’s the thing about instant coffee, it virtually is. Instant, that is. Even though it was early and the sun hadn’t risen for the day it felt to me that it was going to be a hot and sunny one. I’m now starting to get a sense of what a day’s weather will be like from my ‘me time’ on the veranda in the early morning. A perfect day for washing to dry, so in to the laundry room I went and loaded up the washing machine. When I was working for a living I didn’t ‘do’ that type of stuff. But now? Well, parity prevails!

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.

International Sources

Belize: Gone fishing
Lloyd Nunez doesn’t speak much. The 46-year-old man has work-hardened hands with spoon-shaped nails. The son of an offshore lobsterman who describes his upbringing as “very lucky,” he’s a quiet fly-fishing guide, gently directing his clients to the fish through hand gestures and near whispers. His approach is stealthy, which is logical considering we were searching for permit, tarpon and bonefish, three of the most skittish gamefish that live on the reefs off the coast of Belize. Nunez literally grew up on the reef on South Water Cay, a 15-acre island 14 miles offshore from the coastal town of Hopkins. His home was a shack that’s since been renovated to become part of a diving resort. Back then it, and the entire island, was without electricity or a sewage system. A cistern provided the only water. It was there that he learned how to fish. South Water is part of the Great Barrier Reef and the surrounding protected marine preserve. The island pokes out of the second largest living reef in the world, rich with giant heads of coral and schools of vibrant reef fish. Our target species lay not there, but in the shallows and coves that tightly ring these islands as well those of Glover’s Reef. Glover’s sits 30 miles offshore. Beyond it, the water rolls out into the open ocean, not to be interrupted again for hundreds of miles.

Robert J. “Bob” Whipple
Bob Whipple age 72, of Drain, Oregon, passed away on Wednesday, February 12, 2014. Bob was born January 29, 1942, in Cottage Grove, OR, to Jim S. Whipple and Mildred Wilcox Whipple. He graduated from Drain High School in 1960, and went on to study accounting, earning his B.S. in Business from the University of Oregon. He married Louise Goe in 1964, and together they had four children: Terry, Anne, Scott, and J.B. In 2003 he married Kyle Morgan, spending the last years of his life together with her. They enjoyed traveling together, especially their annual trek to Belize. Music was a great love in Bob’s life. He frequently attended live performances and had an extensive home music collection. Bob greatly enjoyed spending time at his ranch hunting, fishing, and playing on the Umpqua River with family and friends.

Caribbean countries with fixed currencies should not entertain devaluation
Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. Delisle Worrell is urging Caribbean countries with fixed currencies, not to entertain the thought of any devaluation as a means of restoring stability to their economies. Worrell told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that his recommendation does not only apply to Barbados, where the local dollar is fixed at US$0.50 cents, but also to those of the Eastern Caribbean, the Bahamas, Belize, and other stable currencies in the region. "There is no point in changing the exchange rate, for the only value of the Barbados dollar for instance, is the fact that it is a US dollar by another name," Worrell said. "So in a sense I feel that all independent currencies of countries that are as small as our, need to be run by Central Banks, which will provide bank supervision, and other responsibilities that fall under the Central Bank." Worrell said that these countries should not be entertaining monetary policy which funds government operations resulting in a decline in reserves and threaten the value of the dollar.

“Walking the Amazon”, Book Review
If there were a contest for “DO NOT ATTEMPT” extreme-adventure books, Ed Stafford’s account of “Walking the Amazon” would take top prize. His achievement of being “the first man to ever walk the entire length of the Amazon Basin” is monumental. Yet, by his own admission, he suffered from depression over much of the 860 days it took to complete the journey. Consequently, he devoted little time or energy to seeing the Amazon watershed as more than something to be conquered. He only delivers tidbits of information about the vastly different environments he covered, and even less about the cultures he encountered. But if it’s adventure you want, “Walking the Amazon” has plenty! Stafford has a peculiar mind, one that can focus on the finish line, no matter what obstacles block his path. In 2007, he worked for Trekforce, a British organization specializing in “conservation expeditions.” After a night of drinking in Belize City, Stafford and Luke Collyer, another expedition leader, decided they wanted to accomplish a feat most of their colleagues would call “impossible.” Others had kayaked down the Amazon River, but they would hike the length of the Amazon Basin, 4,800 miles from the Pacific coast of Peru to the Atlantic Ocean in Brazil. To be enthroned in the “Guinness Book of World Records,” every inch must be walked: no riding donkeys, hitching rides or floating down parts of the river.

Caribbean Development Bank optimistic about 2014
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) recently delivered an economic overview of its nineteen regional Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs), estimating overall growth of 1.5% in 2013, up from 1.2% in 2012. The commodity exporters grew at a relatively faster pace than those dependent on services, despite softer commodity prices. Output in Guyana, Suriname and Haiti expanded by 4-6%, while Belize and Trinidad and Tobago grew less rapidly, based on lower energy sector output. None of the service-based economies saw growth over 3%, and Anguilla and Barbados experienced their sixth consecutive year of “economic stagnation”.

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