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5/1/2014 to 5/10/2014
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May 10, 2014


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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

Kim Simplis Barrow promotes Belize in Harper’s Bazaar Interiors
The May-June Issue of Harper’s Bazaar Interiors, featuring an eleven page spread showcasing the beauty of Belize, was officially launched at the opening night of BETEX on Wednesday, May 7th, at the Ramada Hotel and Casino. A feature that highlights natural and man-made elements of Belize, it gives readers a closer look at the simplistic, yet cultured lifestyle of Belizeans, depicted through the eyes of Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow. Speaking of the collaboration, Editor in Chief of Harper’s Bazaar Interiors, Rue Kothari, says, “In Harper’s Bazaar Interiors we always strive to depict the most inspirational people, to reveal how their values and unique style translates to the way they live. It was our honour to present Kim Simplis-Barrow in the pages of our biggest ever issue; and to discover first-hand the natural beauty of the islands of Belize.”

San Pedro Lions host the 36th Annual National Convention
Lion and Leo members from across the country and Mexico converged on Ambergris Caye for three days as part of the 36th annual Belize Lions Zone 59 national convention. The event was held from May 2nd to the 4th under the theme “Lions – rejoicing and uniting to better serve our communities.” During the three days of events, Lion conventioneers took the opportunity to reflect on the goals and objectives of Lionism, as well as methods to improve their work in their communities. The official opening ceremony took place on Friday March 2nd, and the Lion Zone 59 Chair Melanie Paz gave a sober reflection of the issues affecting club members not only locally, but worldwide. “Lion clubs across the world are facing serious problems in terms of membership. Many of these problems are internal and at Zone 59, it is no exception. Over the past decade, if we audit our club numbers correctly, you will realize that more Lion members have abandoned the Club than what has actually joined our ranks…

SPHS Drama Club seeks donations for exchange program
The San Pedro High School (SPHS) Drama Club will be travelling to Los Angeles, California USA from May 23rd to the 31st to participate in a student exchange program. The exchange program will see students from four nations, Belize, United Kingdom, Mexico and Zanzibar, coming together to share and learn in drama and theatrical skills. Seven students from SPHS will be acting as Belize representatives. The exchange program is being organized by Larry and Debbie Heimgartner, who have been hosting plays and exchanging ideas with SPHS students and the community for many years. In November 2013, they hosted a series of plays at the San Pedro High School and initiated the Drama Club. The Heimgartners hope that through the plays they write and produce, they can positively impact the communities in which the plays are performed. To make a donation, contact Alexis Guerrero at the San Pedro High School at telephone number 226-2045.

SMART River Challenge
Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 was a nice cloudy day for the SMART River Challenge at National Agriculture and Trade Show. This year’s race had thirteen entries in seven categories. The uniqueness about this race is that all paddlers had to stand outside their canoe and at the sound of the start they jumped in their sitting position and paddle off. All 1st Place teams in each category received a trophy, medals and $150 cash, 2nd Place teams received medals and $75 cash, 3rd Place teams received medals only. Special thanks to SMART for their continued sponsorship of this race, thanks to the National Agriculture and Trade Show Committee and thanks to LoveFM. Next Race: May 18th, open race, More Tomorrow Village Day 221st Anniversary Celebration.

Attempted armed robbery at Bowen & Bowen Distributors
Police have responded to an attempted robbery incident at Bowen and Bowen Distributors located on Blake Street. Initial investigations have revealed that around 1:20PM on Friday, May 9th, a male person charged into the office with a firearm and demanded money. Security guards on duty quickly responded, removing him from the office away from the employees. The assailant fired nine gunshots; no-one was injured but a glass door was broken. The man fled the scene before San Pedro Police could arrive. According to Officer in Charge of San Pedro Police, Superintendent Luis Castellanos, no one was injured and nothing was stolen. “The man fled into the nearby area after shooting, but no one was hurt. Luckily a security officer was able to identify the attacker and police are now searching for the suspect,” said Castellanos. Police are not yet releasing the identity of the suspect, but they are continuing their investigation and are actively searching for the armed suspect. More information will be made available as the investigation progresses.

Black Orchid Restaurant hosts painting party!
What I was actually doing was sitting at Black Orchid Restaurant, enjoying its fabulous ambiance and listening to Melody Sanchez-Wolfe’s instructions on recreating one of her pieces: a full moon over the water, framed by palm trees in silhouette, and a dock with a palapa in the foreground. My artist pal Monique had joined me for drinks and delicious appetizers, and between the two of us, we hoped to come up with something worthy of display. I mean, I failed Art in junior college. I hear no-one fails art, but I think we all know I’m special…(ha!) so between the two of us, there should be something worthy of display, right? Black Orchid Restaurant decided to do something a little different to offer a little variety to the routine, and so Splash n Paint took on a new dimension. With appetizer service and a free drink ticket, those who signed up got to enjoy the delicious creations of Chef Judyann Horton, while sipping drinks made by her husband Tom. The saying ‘watching paint dry’, is often used to describe boring…but not this time!

Ambergris Today

Belize Tourism Arrivals are Up for First Part of 2014
Tourist arrivals for the first quarter of 2014 are up! Compared to last year, there were increases in all three months for overnight, cruise and airport arrivals. Airport arrivals for January-March, 2014, have seen an overall increase of 10.25%. January had the largest increase of 13.01%, which is a total of 22,562 tourist arrivals. 77,464 tourists arrived via the international airport for the first three months of 2014. Overnight arrivals have increased by 9.67%, compared to 2013. February saw the highest increase with 11.61%, which was a total of 32,105 overnight arrivals. Overnight arrivals in the first quarter of 2014 have all exceeded 30,000 visitors (January - 31,164; February – 32,105; March – 38,712). The total overnight arrivals for January to March, 2014, was 101,982.

Misc Belizean Sources

UB Earth Day Fair
The University of Belize had their annual Earth Day Fair last week. Lots of students made it out to learn about the environment and how they can make a difference. A big thanks to PACT for funding the event.

Nicole C. Mullen Concert and Musical Workshops
Nicole C. Mullen will be performing on Saturday, May 31st, at Governor General Field in Belmopan. She'll be teaming up with the Roots and Honor Records artists. The NCM Musical Team will be offering musical workshops on the 28th and the 30th, and they'll cover musicianship, sound engineering, and song writing.

SHC Art Exhibit
The SISE House of Culture has an exciting new exhibit which will feature art from Sacred Heart College students. It will open today, at 2:00pm.

The Invest Belize Magazine 2014
BELTRAIDE Partners with McNab Publishing Ltd. to produce The Invest Belize Magazine.

Wrobel & Co., Attorneys-at-law Opens Satellite Office in San Pedro Town
Wrobel & Co., Attorneys-at-Law of Belize City has recently opened a satellite office in San Pedro on the second floor of the Vilma Linda Plaza, Tarpon Street. The law practice, led by Managing Partner Ryan J. Wrobel, concentrates on real estate, business law, QRP, and other legal services relating to the ex-pat/retirement community. Mr. Wrobel is licensed to practice law in New York State and Jamaica, in addition to Belize. Wrobel & Co. looks forward to becoming a productive member of the San Pedro Community. More information about Wrobel & Co., Attorneys-at-Law can be found on

Canadian master corporal expands horizons
A Canadian master corporal deployed from the 16th Field Ambulance in Saskatchewan, Canada, is expanding his own horizons as a medical technician for New Horizons Belize 2014. New Horizons is an annual exercise held in Central America, South America or the Caribbean that offers international partners an opportunity to train to deploy while operating in a humanitarian capacity. The exercise incorporates medical readiness training exercises, or MEDRETEs, along with civil engineering construction projects throughout the select country. In Belize, Master Cpl. Sebastien Lepage is applying his extensive training and experience during the MEDRETEs held in the southern Toledo District. Even with considerable knowledge, however, Lepage is still finding much to discover. "I'm learning lots of different things every day, even medically speaking," Lepage said, relaying his recent hands-on education in steroidal injections or maneuvering scar tissue from a cesarean section to ease abdominal pain. "We don't deal with those kinds of patients typically at our bases. I'm learning a lot more outside of my scope than I'm used to."

Hol Chan Reef Resort and Villas Announces Winner for Its First Facebook Contest
The “Photo Contest” is the very first Facebook contest that Hol Chan Reef Resort and Villas has had. The contest started on April 8th, 2013 and ran for a month. Hol Chan Reef Resort and Villas wishes to express their gratitude to everyone who has participated in the photo contest for April. “We would like to extend a thank you to all of our 26 contestants! Your photos and experiences of past vacation destination sites were delightful and we know a truly memorable experience awaits our winner.” The photo with the most votes, a total of 197 was gathered by Ms. Rosie Wood of Belmopan, Belize. Her picture was a lovely collage of her and family on Easter Vacation in Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve in Belize. This collage embodies all that is great and wondrous with the joys of a family vacation. “Belize is breathtaking and there is no place like it and no place that I’d rather be.” – Rosie, Belmopan, Belize

Channel 7

Obispo Dressed Up In Stolen Clothes To Rob A Bank
Tonight, Teakettle resident Cannon Augustine Obispo is at the KHMH after he robbed a customer at a bank and was shot by police while escaping. It was a lawless morning for Obispo who is accused of trying to get away with theft from not one, but two business places across the street from each other. Daniel Ortiz explains how this almost unbelievable crime unfolded:... Daniel Ortiz reporting 25 year-old Cannon Augustine Obispo, a resident of Teakettle Village, went on what only be described as a robbery spree.??Just before 10 a.m., he reportedly walked into the clothing store, Classics, and asked to try on $210 worth of brand new clothes: an undershirt, a dress shirt, a pair of pants, a pair of socks shoes, and a pair of tennis shows. The vendor who out outfitted then asked him to pay for the items, but he walked out of Classics without handing over any money.??The vendor saw that he was walking over to the Scotia Bank across the street, and so he waited outside, thinking that Obispo went there to withdraw money to pay for the clothes.??We're told that Obispo then joined the line like any other customer, and while he was nearing the front, he walked up to the counter while another customer was making a cash deposit. He then grabbed a large amount of money, $6,500 dollars, and fled the bank.

Health CEO Allen Responds To That Damning SRH Audit
Last night we showed you the Auditor General's report on the embezzlement of almost four hundred thousand dollars from the Southern Regional Hospital. It is a damming catalogue of criminality at the individual level and carelessness at the official level. Basically, anyone who's seen the report has to wonder, how could it be that no one was keeping an eye an account with hundreds of thousands of dollars of public funds? For years no one saw a bank statement or asked for one. Incredible, and it went on for three years, and probably more. In the end, the Auditor General Dorothy Bradley found that the ultimate responsibility rests with the CEO in the Ministry of Health, Peter Allen. Today at a press conference on another subject, we asked him about it:... Jules Vasquez "It says that ultimately the fault rest with you the CEO. The accounts went unchecked for 2 years and 9 months. The government of Belize lost $366,468.88. And the auditor general in her opinion, her considered opinion, said the blame rest with you."

An Execution Plan At Funeral?
24 year old Julian Willoughby was killed a week ago and his funeral was held at today. But it had to be done with a full deployment of police officers. That's because his killing was gang related - and there were security concerns that the presence of Willoughby's relatives and associates in one place could trigger another retaliation. Well, there almost was one! 7News has confirmed that police found a sawed-off shotgun in the yard of the church when the funeral was about to start. Alert officers focused on a male who was standing to one side and the gun fell out of his pants leg when he stepped back. Street reports suggested that there may have been another gunman who escaped but police say they didn't observe anything else unusual. It's not clear why the man was carrying a prohibited firearm at a funeral - but he has been detained and will be charged.

Former BCHS Teacher Accused Of Abusing His Student
Michael Angel Guzman, a former teacher of the Belmopan Comprehensive High School, is spending his second night at the Belize Central Prison after being accused of a taking advantage of a student, and having a sexual relationship with one of his students. 7News has been following this case since the week before the Easter holidays. What we've been able to dig up is that the mother a 14 year-old student found out about the inappropriate relationship and started to press the case first with the school. She brought this matter to the principal first and following her persistence, Guzman was placed on a sort of administrative leave. A few days later, he unexpectedly resigned his post as teacher at the school. Police began investigating him for the crime and on Tuesday, he was arrested and criminally charged. The officer commanding Belmopan Police explained more today: Supt. Howell Gillett - OC, Belmopan Police "A 14 year old minor from the same school reported that on the 11th February she had sexual relations with one of her teachers. The teacher has been identified as Michael Guzman. He has been charged with one count of carnal knowledge and he has been remanded to prison."

Failed Robbery Attempt At B&B San Pedro
There was an attempted armed robbery this afternoon on San Pedro - and multiple shots were fired - luckily no one was hurt. It happened at the Bowen and Bowen Depot where around 1:30 an armed man stormed into the office and demanded money. The San Pedro Sun reports that security guards responded quickly and bravely to subdue and remove him from the office. In the process he fired nine shots, shattering the glass door, and then ran off before police arrived. But the security did identify him so police are looking for a known suspect. No money was stolen.

Health Ministry Answers The Sceptics To The Pharmaceutical Procedures
More than ever, low-cost, generic pharmaceutical drugs are flooding Belize. But how good are they, and who's checking? Well, in the private realm, no one is really or regularly checking; Belize just doesn't have the capabilities for that. But, in the public sector there is a Drug Inspector, and a newly appointed director of the drug inspectorate. Still, when you go to a public facility, what controls are in place to make sure the drugs you are getting are effective and properly screened for your safety? Some concerns have been raised about that recently - and that's become a public relations emergency for the Ministry of Health - because public confidence in the supply of pharmaceuticals is central to a functioning health system. So, they held a press conference today to assure the public that the public system is intact, transparent and legitimate. Still, though, the backbiting and personal differences in the Ministry that brought the issue into the forefront of public attention in the first place overshadowed today's event. Here's our report:.. Jules Vasquez reporting Today the Ministry of Health gathered all the major players from the public pharmaceutical supply chain to explain that nothing untoward has happened with the process.

Churches: Ever Watchful Of The NGP
On Wednesday we showed you the leaders of the Evangelical Association leaving a meeting with the Prime Minister – and we told you about their press release after. But just to make sure everyone got the message, today they held a press conference at the Central Assembly church in Belize City. They explained that while it’s been a year since the Gender Police was launched, and basically nothing has happened other than lots of talking, they have been busy:

Stolen Guns Spill-Over? Family Claims Police Victimization
Last week Friday night at this time police were searching the home of Constable Yannick Wade’s girlfriend – desperately searching for 8 stolen weapons. That search led them to all his family members including his brother in law, 29 year old Jermaine Patnett and eventually his home.

The Much Disputed Harmonville Buffer Area
Yesterday, the Lands Department sent out a public notice to the persons living the Harmonyville Development Area on mile 41 on the Western Highway.

Akeelah's Family Member Charged For Her Death
3 weeks ago, we told you about the Holy Saturday road traffic accident which claimed the life of 5 year-old Akeelah Wade. Well, tonight, 18 year-old Visiona Carcamo, is out on bail after was criminally charged for her death. Carcamo was charged with manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct; driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention; negligent wounding; using a motor vehicle not covered by third party risk insurance, driving a motor vehicle without a valid Belizean driver's license, and driving with passengers in excess on a vehicle. She was arraigned before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, who took no plea on the 6 charges because they are indictable offences. She able to meet bail of $5,000, and she must return to court on July 14.

Butane Prices Are Down
There's good news on the LPG front tonight as the price of BUTANE is tumbling. Effective yesterday, the new controlled price for a 100 pound cylinder of Mexican LPG in Belize City is 115 dollars, down from 128 dollars - a more than 10% reduction. That is LPG sold by Belize Gas and Western Gas. The Central American LPG sold by Belize Western Energy, Southern Choice Butane, Zeta Gas and Tomza Gas is also sharply down from 128 per hundred pound cylinder to 112 dollars.

KHMH Board Members Expectedly Resigned
7News today confirmed that two persons have resigned from the KHMH Board of Directors. Milagro Garel and Maude Sylvester have both tendered their resignations - albeit weeks apart. Today neither the CEO nor the Minister of Health could tell us why - but we know that Sylvester has had differences with Chairman Chandra Nisbet-Cansino.

Con Artist Still At It; Still Unkown
The police department is warning the public about a con artist who pretends to be a cable guy or repair-man. He has a pattern of preying on the elderly on the city's northside. The best advice form the police is that you should not let him into your house without full and proper identification, and you should call 911. Justyesterday, he tricked a retiree when he pretended to be a cable repair-man. The retiree told precinct 3 police that a dark skinned male person, in his mid-forties about 5ft 10inches tall and wearing a black baseball cap, t-shirt, long pants and brown boots came to his door claiming to be an employee of Baymen Cable and identified himself as Reginald Flowers of Burrell Boom. The retiree let him inside the house to check the cable wire while he was preparing breakfast. He observed the supposed cable guy inching up to his bedroom door and became suspicious - but didn't question it. After the man left he found that his black purse with $60.00 dolalrs inside was gone and his ATM card was missing from his bed head. Similarly, an 88-year-old woman of Kelly Street, Belize City reported that on Wednesday around 10a.m., a man went to her house pretending to be a City council employee there to fix her veranda. She was about to go to the store and the man kindly offered to get someone to run the errand for her. While waiting for the run man to return, the man told her that her wedding band and earrings needed cleaning and offered to clean it. She complied, which is when he told her he will go check on the run man. He stepped out, and never came back.

Student Remanded For Gun Is Getting Desperate
18 year old Godwin Neal Jr is tonight still remanded at the Hattieville prison after he and 5 others were charged with kept ammunition without a gun license and possession of 1.2 grams of cannabis. Since then, five of the accused have managed to secure bail except for Neal who is a student of Nazarene High School. Today his devastated mother told us the young man has been having suicidal thoughts and is asking for assistance from anyone who can help get her son out of prison. On April 13th, police searched a house at 10 Far West Street and found the 2 bullets and a small quantity of cannabis. Present at the time were 23 year old Nicoli Rhys, 27 year old Shane Mckoy, 18 year old Rheonna Rivero, 18 year old Godwin Neal Jr. a 17 year old male student of Wesley High School and Bernadette Samuels, a nurse at KHMH.

There's A Third SPICE Cadidate
Last night, we told you about SJC 4th form Graduates, Siian Rancharan and Mishek Musa who will attend a prestigious science camp at the Cavehill Campus at the University of the West Indies. That program is called SPICE and we missed the other name disngled out for this prestigious honour: she Digna Ramirez of Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico. As we've told you the camp is called the Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering, and only 17 students from the entire Caribbean were chosen along with these 3 Belizean high schoolers. It was made possible through the extensive efforts of the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities. The Ministry has been working for the past 3 years to ensure that Belize is represented at the camp.

Tonight, the I am Belize Teacher Profile series is back after a short break. This edition is about a young teacher, Lenessa Reynolds - who has a unique story - here it is:..

Prison CEO To Jamaica For Rehab Training

Ras Indio's: Love You, Mama
Sunday is Mother's Day, and reggae artist, Ras Indio says he has prepared a special treat for those inspiring ladies that made all the babies. It's a new music video called, "Love You Mama". Now no one has ever missed the mark by making a song about Momma - you can ask Tupac or Sizzla about that - and today Indio told us what makes his message special: You'll be able to find "Love You Mama" on YouTube.

Channel 5

A brazen and daring robbery at Scotiabank in Belmopan
A brazen, mid-morning robbery took place at the Scotiabank Branch in Belmopan when numerous customers were conducting business. It happened like this. The robber, who is well known to the [...]

The embattled Health C.E.O. goes on the offensive
After weeks of sustained fire by the Pharmacists’ Association of Belize, the Ministry of Health called a press conference this morning to allow C.E.O. Peter Allen to answer serious allegations [...]

Procurement manager caught by the mouth; his email circulated about Chief Pharmacist
The decision to allow three other persons, including Danini Contreras, to approve Customs entries of pharmaceuticals was made on the strength of one email. That email was circulated on April [...]

Audit Report says C.E.O. responsible for embezzlement at Southern Regional
In October 2013, Administrator of the Southern Regional Hospital Nasley Sommerville was placed on suspension for suspected embezzlement of funds. A subsequent audit revealed that almost three hundred and seventy [...]

Directors resign from K.H.M.H.
That seems like woes aplenty, but there’s even more. News Five has been able to confirm that member of the K.H.M.H. Board of Directors, Maude Sylvester, resigned on Thursday. She [...]

Minister of Health, Pablo Marin, defends his C.E.O.
So where does Minister Pablo Marin stand in all this? C.E.O. Peter Allen is his hands on guy, his right hand, so to speak. Well, despite the myriad administrative and [...]

Belize City man detained but released for the murder of a King’s Park resident
Vince Martinez Junior was murdered within minutes of leaving the funeral for his uncle in Ladyville on Wednesday. No one has been charged for Martinez’s murder nor has the motive [...]

Hansel Garcia dies 5 days after he’s shot
  There is also another murder to report which occurred down south. Seventeen year old Hansel Garcia was shot multiple times last Wednesday as he was walking through Castillo Alley [...]

Belmopan Comprehensive Teacher remanded for carnal knowledge
As we reported on Wednesday, thirty-three year old Michael Guzman, a secondary school teacher at Belmopan Comprehensive High School, has been arrested and charged for carnal knowledge, after carrying on [...]

IMF’s report on the state of Belize’s economy
In economic news, a team from the International Monetary Fund, led by Jacques Bouhga-Hagbe, has concluded a consultation mission to Belize on the state of the economy.  The report issued [...]

Church leaders discuss meeting with PM Barrow
On Wednesday Church leaders met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow to discuss the gender policy and other related issues. Some fringes of the organized church gave the impression that it [...]

Belize Can Patriots should not be confused with Evangelical Churches
With seeming accord between government and the churches, you might be a little confused by those militaristic releases condoning shutdown of schools and strikes or giving the government thirty days [...]

A one-on-one with gay activist, Maurice Tomlinson on the CCJ ruling
On Thursday, the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled favorably on behalf of LGBT activist Maurice Tomlinson, granting him special leave to challenge the immigration acts of Belize and Trinidad & [...]

BGYEA executive calls G.O.B. a bully
Firebrand grassroots activist and president of BGYEA, Nigel Petillo, is again up in arms with the Lands Department over the Harmonyville community near mile forty-one on the George Price Highway. [...]

Ras Indio’s music video for mothers
Ras Indio is back in the jewel after touring various cities in the U.S. The talented Belizean artist is back in time to release his new track and video specifically [...]

A Labour Education Seminar
A training workshop on employers’ and workers’ rights and responsibilities under the Belize Labor Legislations and ILO conventions was held today in Belmopan.  Representatives from the National Trade Union Congress [...]

Ministry holds training workshop on employers and workers rights
Senator Hulse also spoke on the establishment of a Labor Advisory Commission which is chartered to look closely at issues pertaining to employment practices.   Godwin Hulse, Minister of Local [...]


Customer Robbed at Belmopan Scotia Bank
A slow and laid back Friday morning was interrupted, when a shooting was reported immediately following reports of a robbery which took place in Scotia Bank, Belmopan branch. ASP Joel Gillet- Officer Commanding the Belmopan Police “Shortly before 10, this morning, we received a call that someone has been...

BGYEA Speaks Out on Bann from Harmonyville Buffer
BGYEA is facing a new hurdle. The latest update on this story was that the Government had finally taken heed to BGYEA’s constant plea for help in removing illegal squatting from the Buffer Zone, which BGYEA hoped to use as farming to generate some revenue for the community. However,...

Ministry of Health Defends Pharmaceutical Tender Process
It has been a trying few weeks for the Ministry of Health and particularly its chief Executive Officer Dr. Peter Allen, with a wide public rift being exposed between senior staff over the regime for importation of drugs into the private sector and who should be in charge of...

Robbers Enter BWSL Compound and Rob Payroll
Yesterday evening, a supervisor at BWSL in San Ignacio Town reported that at 5:50 p.m. while he was inside the main office, two male persons of dark complexion entered the BWEL compound and held up the security guard with a pistol. They then proceeded inside the main office and...

Con Artist Strikes Again Against the Elderly
There have been several reports made of a con artist preying on the elderly in north side Belize city, posing as a linesman, a cable man, and a repairman among others, resulting in monies and properties been stolen from the victims. The police department advises the public especially the...

Armed Robbery Hit Bowen and Bowen in San Pedro, Ambergris
There was an attempted armed robbery this afternoon at Bowen and Bowen Limited on the Island of San Pedro. The incident occurred this afternoon after 1 pm when an armed man entered the office and demanded money. Reports are that the security guard somehow managed to get the culprit...

Evangelical Pastors Remain Vigilant Against LGBT Agenda
Today the Evangelical Association of Churches of Belize hosted the press as promised earlier this week following their meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Its president, Pastor Eugene Crawford, wished to emphasize that the Church remains vigilant on the issue and awaits the satisfactory response of the Government to...


Evening execution in Ladyville
The cashier at the Puma Gas Station on the Philip Goldson Highway in Ladyville told Amandala that shortly after 6:00 yesterday evening, Wednesday, she heard a loud bang, which sounded like the blowout of a car tire. “But I was busy attending to customers and never paid any attention to the source of the noise,” she said. But a few minutes later, Ladyville police officers were demarcating a crime scene with tape, as they diverted traffic from off the highway, where a dark-skinned man lay stretched out at the bus stop, almost in front of the gas station. The man lying on the ground, dressed only in a pair of blue jeans pants, was dead. He was identified as Vincent Martinez, Jr., 27, an unemployed resident of 8th Street, Kings Park. A pool of blood had formed on the ground where he lay. The blood had poured out from a gunshot wound visible at the right side of his head.

Hansel Garcia, 17, dies from gunshot wounds
A teenager and resident of Dangriga Town has unfortunately succumbed to injuries he suffered last Wednesday, April 30, when a lone gunman approached him while he was walking through Castillo Alley in Dangriga around 8:00 that night, fired a barrage of gunshots and ran off. The shooting victim, 17-year-old Hansel Garcia, also known as “Mission,” was found lying on the street suffering from gunshot injuries to the left forearm, right leg and the lower left side of his back. He was later rushed to the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga. However, Garcia’s condition deteriorated after he clung to life for nearly a week, and this past Monday, May 5, the young fisherman died after undergoing multiple surgeries.

LGBT’s Tomlinson has “arguable” case – CCJ!
Belize will have to face another round of litigation from the LGBT community over its domestic law in a challenge filed by Jamaican national, Maurice Tomlinson, who this morning won special leave from the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to file a suit against Belize and Trinidad over immigration laws which Tomlinson claims violate his right to hassle-free movement across CARICOM, under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. “Upon discovery of the prohibitions contained in the Immigration Acts, he has refused to travel to either state, lest he fall afoul of the law. He claims that the existence of these provisions violates his right to free movement under the treaty,” CCJ president Dennis Byron noted. Byron said that there is no disputing that Tomlinson is a CARICOM national and that the right to free movement inures to his benefit directly. He also noted that the state of Jamaica has refused to espouse a claim on Tomlinson’s behalf, given his prior unimpeded travel to and from both states.

KHMH CEO “talking loud and saying nothing”
Two days after the headline story, “KHMH sued for 5 dead babies,” was published in the Amandala of Sunday, May 4, 2014, Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Francis Gary Longsworth, wrote Amandala’s Editor-in-Chief complaining about the story, saying: “The KHMH administration wishes to document its objection to the above-captioned article which is replete with inaccuracies and misinformation, both by the reporter, Mr. Roland Parks (sic) and attorney, Mr. Kareem Musa.” But Longsworth’s letter was extremely short on facts, and long on “talking loud and saying nothing,” to paraphrase the late, great Godfather of Soul, James Brown, even though he claimed that the article was “replete” with “inaccuracies and misinformation.” The lawyer for the five mothers, Kareem Musa, told Amandala that apparently, Longsworth had not thought it worthwhile to send the letter to him, as one of the “accused.”

Convicted child predator from US living in Belize?
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, a convicted child predator is supposedly residing in Belize. Thomas Allen Bloom, 63, was convicted of sexual battery and child coercion in Brevard, Florida, in 1997, and is therefore registered as a sexual predator in that state. Since being released from prison, however, Bloom is believed to have relocated to Belize since March of 2013, and although his specific location in Belize is unknown, it must be noted that sex offenders from the United States of America are not required to register in Belize.

Cuban accused of gold heist whisked away to the US
Yesterday, local Immigration and police officials repatriated a Cuban national who, according to authorities in the United States, was wanted in connection with the largest gold heist in Florida history. After over two months of negotiations between the US and Belize authorities, Raonel Valdez Valhuerdi, 34, was boarded on an 11:30 a.m. American Airlines flight and flown to Miami, where he was booked into the Miami Dade County Jail for his alleged perpetration of the October 2012 robbery of 110 pounds in gold flakes valued at 2.8 million US dollars. Valdez Valhuerdi was detained after he had been caught by Immigration authorities in the bushes west of Benque Viejo Town trying to slip illegally into Belize from Guatemala on February 18 of this year. He was subsequently detained, since he had a Cuban passport but could not produce a stamp showing he had entered Belize legally.

From The Publisher
There is a point in all men’s lives when they become irrelevant. This, on an average, happens earlier in men’s lives than ever before, because post-modern life has become dominated by so much technology and so much velocity. We are left behind earlier than ever before. In British Honduras in the 1960s, we had a Mayor of Belize City who was way up in his eighties, perhaps even nineties. That was the famous “Boss Fred” Westby, who also represented the Albert constituency in the House of Representatives from 1961 to 1965. Back then, life was slow and “oh so mellow,” as the song says. Things have changed: you can’t have geriatric people running things, or even making decisions. Old people are out of touch with the real deal, the daily deal. As Rt. Hon. George Price fought to achieve independence in the 1970’s, there was growing stress on him. British Honduras had attained self-government in 1964, and was expected to move on apace to political independence. There was a spoke in the wheel, however, and that was the Guatemalan claim to the colony. The solution to this claim which was offered by the United States Government, through the attorney Bethuel Webster, sparked unprecedented street uprisings in our capital city in 1966 and 1968. (“Unprecedented” is used in the context of our post-World War II generations.)

8th Rose Classic
Every Easter break for the last 8 years, hundreds of young men – and even young women – mainly from the impoverished areas of Belize City have flocked to the Rose Classic (Belize) International Basketball tournament, which is hosted annually by Mr. Cleon Hyde at Bird’s Isle in the Yarborough area. Hyde, who organizes the tournament, can be described as a philanthropist who has been coming to Belize to mentor aspiring basketball players and young people in general, while training them on the skills and techniques of the sport, as well as discipline and respect for others. The young ‘ballers’ were divided into 3 categories: (1) the Biddy category, which consisted of 8 teams made up of players from 8-12 years old; (2) the Junior category, which consisted of players aged 13-15; and (3) the Senior category, which was made up of players who are the top high school basketball players from the city as well as some rural areas.

Third World Sports
Camp director Dion Flowers informed us last week that the Third World Sporting Club is once again organizing its annual Summer Camp for youths of Belize City, where from 150 to 200 youths between the ages of 5 to 13 years are engaged in various positive sporting activities – football, basketball, volleyball, dominoes, checkers and chess, while also being provided with fruits, water and a healthy meal. The camp commences on June 30 and will run until July 25. This is the 15th year that the Third World Sports in Education Summer Camp is being held at the St. Martin De Porres football field, and any assistance, in cash or kind, will be greatly appreciated to help make the camp a success for the kids. Dion can be contacted at 607-8785 or 668-2886 or email [email protected] for any inquiries or concern. Monetary contributions can be made through Belize Bank account #76918.

Belize City No Limit
The first ever National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) playoffs are almost upon us, as the league’s top 4 teams will advance to the semifinal round, to later crown an NEBL champion. The number 1 seed will play the number 4 seed in a best-of-3 games series, while the number 2 and 3 seeds will do the same. The San Pedro Tigersharks have all but locked up the number 1 seed, and going into last Friday night’s game between the Cayo Western Ballaz and Belize City No Limit at Bird’s Isle in Belize City, the number 2 seed was still up for grabs. Last Friday night, before the Elite League players took the court, fans who were early to Bird’s Isle were treated to a rematch of last year’s National High School Basketball championship between Sacred Heart College of San Ignacio and Anglican Cathedral College of Belize City. ACC, who lost to SHC in the championship, would get their revenge, as they blew out the side from San Ignacio by a final score of 90 to 58. No doubt, there were a few future NEBL players participating in that game.

Brown Bombers U-15 males
After almost two months of competition, the Belize District Football Association (BDFA) Youth Tournaments climaxed on Saturday, May 3, with the Finals in 3 different categories at the MCC Grounds. In the U-15 male category, Smart Brown Bombers prevailed, 2-1, over Collet Strikers, with goals from Sherwin Requena and Eldon Byrd, while Shaquil Matute scored for Collet. The 14-17 female championship saw Academy FC (A Team) coming away with the 3-2 win over Pallotti, with Jody Pott netting 2 and Jennifer Estrada scoring 1 for Academy, while Shandy Vernon and Monisha Hyde got 1 apiece for Pallotti. In the U-17 male Finals, Hattieville won, 3-1, over City Boys, with Trevaun Rhaburn, Charles James and Kenyon Lewis netting 1 apiece for Hattieville, while Sydney Bradley got the only goal for City Boys. The “man in the middle”, Anthony “Willie Bo” Bernard was under intense pressure in this one, as the City Boys fans were visibly annoyed with his calling back 2 other goals scored by Sydney Bradley of City Boys, while they claimed offside for 2 of Hattieville’s goals. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed. Both managers of Hattieville and City Boys agreed that championship games need to be administered by only the best certified and experienced referees.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Give me a green paper or a white paper
A green paper or even a white paper is needed on education reform. I have been asking several Ministry officials about the education finance reform. I have gotten vague answers to some of my questions, so I have come to the conclusion that a policy document which is available to all stakeholders to comment and improve on the policy is needed. I am not sure if they believe Parliament and Ministry officials are omnipotent and omniscient. “White Papers are used as a means of presenting government policy preferences prior to the introduction of legislation”; as such, the “publication of a White Paper serves to test the climate of public opinion regarding a controversial policy issue and enables the government to gauge its probable impact”.

Mental patient, 21, goes missing
Belize City police are asking the general public to be on the lookout for Clifton Clifford Willoughby, 21, also known as “Grizzle”, who has been reported missing. Willoughby is described as an unemployed Belizean who normally resides at #179 Iguana Street Extension in Belize City, but has been mentally unstable for the past three years. He is of brown complexion, of slim build, and about 6 feet in height. He has a low haircut and can be recognized by a scar over his right eye. According to police reports, Willoughby was last seen wearing a short silk silver pants, an orange and white buttoned shirt with a black sweater over it, black socks with green stripes, a pair of green slippers and a grey hat on his head.

Alrick and Brandon Smith charged with attempted murder
Two men, Alrick Smith and Brandon Smith (no relation), who have been accused of attempting to murder four on-duty police officers in a case that has been through fourteen months of adjournment cycles in the Magistrate’s Court were freed of the charge on Monday, when Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith struck out the case against them. But by today, Wednesday, police brought the two men back to court and re-arraigned them on the charges before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart, who remanded them to prison until their next court date on June 6. On Monday morning, in striking out the case for want of prosecution, Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith told one of the accused men, Brandon “Battery” Smith, 29, who appeared for the preliminary inquiry that morning, “You need not come back on the matter,” after the court prosecutor informed the court that he was not yet in possession of the case file.

Helicopter crash claims life of Belizean-American soldier
A Belizean-American soldier who was working as a helicopter mechanic with the United States Military lost his life in a helicopter accident this past Saturday, May 3, near the state of New Mexico. Amandala understands that Sergeant Dwight Burn, 27, a soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade, died as a result of injuries he sustained when a CH-47 Chinook helicopter – on which he was a crew member – crashed around 8:15 p.m. while the crew was conducting a desert training exercise in an area north of the Fort Bliss Garrison near Orogrande, New Mexico. Sgt. Burn was reportedly the crew chief and one of four persons who were aboard the helicopter when it went down, and unfortunately, he was the only person who died as a result of his injuries.

Day of Healing in Majestic Alley
The 12th Day of Healing will be held in the Majestic Alley area on Saturday, May 17, from 9 in the morning to 7:00 p.m., and at 6:00 p.m., a candlelight vigil will be held in remembrance of those who have lost their lives due to the ongoing senseless gun violence. The event is a collaboration between Perry ‘Stickz’ Smith and Leroy Mutty Smith, the founder of an organization known as the Upliftment Camp, in the Majestic Alley area. Mutty is a social activist who conducts an afterschool feeding program for children from his home in the Majestic Alley area Perry “Stickz” Smith, the Director of the Day of Healing, a registered non-governmental and non-profit organization in Belize, said that the aim of this Day of Healing is to bring the community and the adjoining communities together in a safe and friendly environment to enable residents to reopen the lines of communication and to restore solidarity within the communities. The event also is aimed at displaying the talents and skills of residents – both younger ones and adults – in the community through their participation in various games and competitions during the day. Trophies and medals will be presented to the first place winners.

Back-and-forth persists between SATIIM and GOB over oil exploration activities in Sarstoon-Temash National Park
Of late, indigenous Mayan advocacy groups such as the Maya Leaders Alliance (MLA), the Toledo Alcaldes Association (TAA) and the Sarstoon-Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) have been vehemently protesting about the Government of Belize (GOB)’s decision to waive the expiration date for US Capital Energy’s permit to conduct pre-drilling activities within the Sarstoon-Temash National Park without the consent of the buffer communities surrounding the park. In a letter written yesterday to Belize’s Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, SATIIM categorically describes Government’s actions in regards to the waiving of the expiration date for US Capital Energy’s concession as “the historical trademark of a corrupt, inept, despotic and discriminatory government.” SATIIM, which represents the buffer communities of Midway, Conejo, Crique Sarco and Graham Creek, is lashing out at the Government because they are stating that the permit has been declared by the Supreme Court as “unlawfully granted” and suggests that GOB’s action verifies its “colonial and racially-entrenched mindset towards the indigenous peoples” by regressing and circumventing consecutive rulings by the Supreme Court which affirm customary Maya land rights.

Amongst themselves, the European peoples, and a thousand years ago they were “tribes” (just as how they referred to Africa and indigenous American peoples after their invasion and conquest of Africa and America in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries), waged bloody wars among themselves for centuries after centuries. As a result of these unending wars, the various European peoples developed gunpowder, artillery, cavalry, and sophisticated techniques of warfare which gave them a noticeable advantage over the Africans and indigenous Americans when they entered Africa and America. The Europeans were also able to exploit the relative innocence of native peoples, in the sense that many native cultures prized honesty and honor amongst men of noble rank. In Mexico in 1521 and Peru in 1532, Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro, respectively, brought levels of dishonesty and treachery to the New World which the natives had never experienced. In addition, these Europeans conquistadors took advantage of longstanding divisions amongst major ethnic groupings. It was not a case of a few Spaniards just massacring many natives. There were natives from groupings which had been oppressed by Moctezuma in Mexico and Atahualpa in Peru who made strategic alliances with the conquistadors in their quest for revenge.

American fugitive recaptured after escaping from Belmopan police
An American fugitive who escaped from police custody on Sunday was recaptured early yesterday morning in Roaring Creek, Belmopan. According to Belmopan police, Martin Chapman, 52, who is allegedly wanted in the United States for several criminal offences, was cleaning his cell when he reportedly slipped past authorities during a change of shift around 3:32 p.m. this past Sunday, May 4. On Thursday, April 24, Chapman was arrested and detained after police received information about a suspicious man who was lurking in the area known as “Another World” in the village of Roaring Creek. Upon running a profile search, police discovered that he was wanted in Minnesota, USA, for felonies which include attempting to escape from a police officer while in a mobile vehicle.

Belizean arrested in Mexico for alleged kidnapping attempt of 2 young girls, but released
A Belizean man, 19, known as “Ariel,” believed to be a human trafficker, has been arrested by Mexican police after he attempted to kidnap two girls, each 8 years old, from a school compound in Sabido, Mexico, a village located across the Rio Hondo River, which borders Belize and southern Mexico. The girls were released when their mothers raised the alarm that they had been taken, at about 3:30 Monday evening, when they went to the school to pick them up. According to Por Esto (Quintana Roo), a Mexican newspaper, Ariel’s accomplice, a 13-year-old girl, approached the two little girls, who had just come out of classes, trying to convince them to follow her to the edge of the river, and the children went. When their mothers went to pick up the girls and they were not at the school, however, an alarm was raised, and an immediate search began, and the girls were seen returning to the village from the river area. They reported what had happened, and authorities began to look for the man and the young girl.

Criminal pair strikes again in Corozal Town
Less than two days after the Huan Huan Store was held up and robbed in Corozal Town, and thieves got away with about $1,000 cash, a husband and wife, owners of Ma’s Fast Food on 7th Avenue, Corozal Town, were held up at gunpoint, beaten with a gun butt and a knife handle, and robbed. The thieves got away with over $3,900 in cash and goods. The owner of the store told police that at about 11:15 last night, he and his wife were in their store when two armed, masked men entered, and one of the thieves, who was carrying a sawed-off shotgun, pointed it at them and demanded money. Fearing for their lives, the owner handed over $2,000 from the cash drawer, two Samsung Galaxy cell phones and $300 worth of phone cards.

Sandhill man re-charged for his brother’s murder
Edward Cabanas, 21, was arrested and charged for the December 31, 2012 murder of his brother, Brandon Cabanas, 20, which occurred in Sandhill. But on March 25, Edward Cabanas was freed of the murder charge when the case was struck out, an occurrence that went under the media radar. Cabanas, however, was rearrested, charged for the murder and again arraigned on the charge today, Wednesday, when he appeared before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart. But before Stewart read the charge to him, Cabanas told her that he had been freed of the charge since March 25. Stewart explained to him that the charge against him was brought back, and that because it is an indictable matter, she would not take a plea from him, and neither could she offer him bail.

Lincoln Sabido, 29, accused of jacking Chinese grocer, remanded to prison
A Belize City man, accused of robbing a Chinese grocer at gunpoint and making off with around $3,500 in cash and assorted items, was remanded to prison after he was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith on Tuesday. Lincoln Sabido, 29, a resident of 6755 Berry Street in the Lake Independence area, pleaded not guilty to four criminal charges police laid on him. Police charged Sabido with one count of robbery and three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly instrument, a firearm. Smith remanded him to prison until his next scheduled court appearance date, on August 8. Sabido will have to celebrate his 30th birthday behind bars, on July 6.

Belizean girl, 15, human trafficking victim, rescued by Mexican police
A 16-year-old Belizean girl believed to be a victim of human trafficking who was found in Carrillo Puerto, Mexico, is in the custody of Mexican authorities, who will return her to Belize. The girl told Mexican police that she had been held against her will for the past seven months by an older man who had been beating and abusing her. According to the Mexican newspaper Por Esto Quintana Roo, at about 9:30 Saturday night, police were on patrol on 68th Street in the Colonia Jesus Martinez Ross area in Felipe Carillo Puerto, Quintana Roo, Mexico, when they came across a vehicle that was parked in a dark area of the street and inside the vehicle were two people who were in an altercation. The police stopped to investigate what was happening, and the driver, who identified himself as Miguel Angel Manzanero Cocom, 53, claimed that nothing was wrong, but the girl, who was sitting in the front seat, quickly told police that she was being beaten and abused by Cocom.

Carnal knowledge of 14-year-old reported in Punta Gorda
A teenage girl of Punta Gorda has told police that she was molested by an older man. Yesterday, May 7, the girl, 14, and her grandmother went to police and told them that at about 4:30 on Holy Saturday, April 19, she was in Punta Gorda when a man, 27, who is known to her, took her to his house and had sex with her. Police took her to the Punta Gorda Hospital where a doctor certified that she has been carnally known.

Shooter, 17, remanded to prison
A 17-year-old young man who police say fired seven shots at Victor Luna, a resident of Asuncion Street, Orange Walk Town, was taken to the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court today on charges of attempted murder, discharging a firearm in public, and aggravated assault. He has been remanded to the Belize Central Prison. Police said that Luna was driving his vehicle on Macal River Street in the Louisiana area of Orange Walk Town when a person shot at him at about 9:00 last night. One of the bullets grazed his leg, Luna told police, who processed the scene and recovered seven 9mm expended shells.

Belmopan schoolteacher remanded on carnal knowledge charges
Disturbing cases of carnal knowledge and sexual abuse of minors have arguably become more widespread in the Belizean society nowadays, and the situation is made even worse when the perpetrator turns out to be a trusted custodian of the victim. Amandala understands that a teacher who had been employed at the Belmopan Comprehensive School is reportedly on remand at the Belize Central prison after he allegedly engaged in a relationship with a 14-year-old second form student from the same school. Additional details have not been forthcoming, but according to our information, the teacher (age unknown) was arraigned at the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court yesterday for one count of carnal knowledge after the mother of the 14-year-old reportedly read her diary and came upon indications of a sexual relationship between her daughter and the former teacher.

The Reporter

Ministry of Health CEO: "I did not victimize Chief Pharmacist"
Today Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Peter Allen, categorically denied accusations that he victimized Chief Pharmacist Sharon Anderson. At a press conference at the Belize Biltmore Plaza, and flanked by Minister of Health Pablo Marin and other ranking members in the MOH, Allen explained that while he and Anderson do not agree, her removal from the tendering committee for pharmaceuticals was a process in accordance with the regulations of the committee. “All members of the committee were asked to declare any possible conflicts of interest. Mrs. Anderson declared that she had such conflicts and so she was replaced on the committee.” Dr. George Goff, chairman of the Tender Committee for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Supplies for the public sector, supported Allen. He explained that all members were subject to the process. Goff also emphasized that the procedure is transparent, and that prior to the current government administration there was no tendering process whatsoever.

Canton out at CPBL
Dr. Henry Canton, the CEO of the Citrus Products of Belize Ltd (CPBL) resigned from that post at the end of April. Canton is now the representative on the CPBL Board of Directors for Banks Holdings Ltd, co-owner and the second major shareholder of CPBL. He served as CEO of CPBL for 12 years. His retirement package, paid by the company that has gone through financial strains in recent years, remains a private issue. CPBL’s interim CEO is the company’s Chief Operations Officer, Jaime Alpuche.

Police warns against prowling con artist
Belize City police have issued a warning to residents of Belize City following an increasing number of reports that a con artist is prowling around and posing as someone with different types of professions. The police advise especially senior citizens to be wary of anyone who visits your home claiming to be a cable collector, a linesman or a repairman. If this happens, the police advise the public to call the company that the person claims he’s employed with to crosscheck his story before letting him into your homes. If it does not make sense the police advise to call the police hotline at 911 and report the matter immediately. The most recent incidents occurred on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Police say that an elderly man reported at the Precinct 3 police sub-station that at around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday a man in his mid-40’s visited his home claiming to be an employee of a cable company. The senior citizen said he let the man inside his house to check the cable wire while he fixed breakfast. He said that when he saw the man near his bedroom door he became skeptical but continued about what he was doing. He said that when the man left he discovered that a black purse which contained about $60 and his bank cards and social security identification card was missing his bed head.

Bank robber shot after grabbing cash bag from customer
Belmopan police are preparing charges against an alleged bank robber who brazenly grabbed a cash bag from a customer inside a bank and then attempted to escape this morning. The incident occurred around nine this morning when a customer was about to make a deposit inside the bank in Belmopan. Reports are that the robber waited until the customer placed the bag on the counter before he decided to strike. A policeman who was on patrol when the robber ran through the bank’s parking lot set chase and apprehended him in the Belmopan Market Square area. The two struggled and the policeman was hurt in the process, and the robber was shot.

Earthquake rocks Mexico
An earthquake on Wednesday, measuring 6.4 on the Richter Scale and centred near Tecpan de Galeana in southern Guerrero state, or 190 miles south-west of Mexico City rocked several communities but caused no damage or injuries in its wake. A map provided by the BBC World News shows the earthquake’s location and the areas of impact. Mexico, which lies on top of three continental plates, is frequently affected by tremors seismic experts are concerned that more tremors could follow that may cause damage to weakened buildings. The quake had a depth of 15 miles. It followed a 7.2-magnitude quake that shook central and southern Mexico last month.

Nine Steps to Legal Business
Few people would disagree that Belize must increase its rate of economic growth more dramatically, and in a sustainable way. One of the obvious ways in which Belize can do that is by encouraging entrepreneurship. Beltraide, through its Small Business Development Center, provides assistance for new entrepreneurs in the form of advice, training and technical assistance. This is an excellent effort by a government-owned body toward encouraging small businesses to start and increase their odds of business success. Beltraide, working with the government’s Director of Public/Private Sector Development and the three major utilities, also developed the Micro-Enterprise Utility Start-Up Package wherein new small business account deposits and fees are either reduced or waived.

Dr. Arturo Gamero dies in Belize
A funeral service for the late beloved Dr. Arturo Humberto Gamero was held on Thursday, May 1, at the Buddhist Sanctuary at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ken Kensuki on Gabourel Lane, Belize City. He died from a massive stroke suffered two days earlier. His body was cremated the next day. Arturo left behind his beloved wife of 35 years, Luz Maria Gamero, daughter Noriko Gamero and adult sons Alexander and Daisako. Arturo was the son of career diplomat Ambassador Marcial Gamero of Honduras, who served as Ambassador to Belize for 18 years. He studied to become a doctor at the University of Yucatán School of Medicine and during his internship years, in July 1979, married his dream girl, Luz Maria, moving to Belize shortly after that.

Norris Leslie dies in Florida
His many friends in Belize will be grieved to learn of the death of Norris Hillary Leslie Sr. on the morning of May 1, 2014, in the City of Stuart, Martin County, USA. Norris grew up on West Collet canalside, with his boyhood buddy, businessman Tony Leslie of Leslie’s Imports. He also lived for some time on Nargusta Street, Belize City. Norris died from the effects of surgery for colon cancer, leaving his present wife, Laura, to mourn his passing. He is survived by daughters Darlene, Francine, Dyann and Keisha and his sons Norris lll, Lance, Clifford and Jovan, aged 10.

Belize becomes fashionable in Harper’s Bazaar magazine
When did Belize’s tourism offerings become fashionable? Judging from the recently launched 11-page editorial spread in the world-renowned Harper’s Bazaar magazine, Destination Belize has certainly grown in its celebrity status, being ranked among the Who’s Who in fashion, beauty and pop culture. Belize Tourism Board’s Director Karen Bevans told The Reporter Wednesday, hours before the spread’s official unveiling in Belize City, that the BTB and the industry thankfully capitalized on a low-cost opportunity—which was originally designed to feature the personal life of the Prime Minister’s wife, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow—to showcase Belize in the 147-year-old brand name magazine. “One full-page ad in a magazine of this nature averages about USD$40,000; that’s roughly BZ$80,000,” Bevans explained. “There is no way that the BTB could have financed something of this magnitude: almost a dozen pages in a brand name magazine that publishes in approximately 30 countries, including United States, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.”

Venezuelan Ambassador says higher oil prices won’t affect contract with Belize
Venezuelan ambassador to Belize, Yoel del Valle Perez Marcano, says the price of fuel that his country sells to Belize will not increase despite inflation, a marked increase in pump prices in Venezuela, and escalating concerns about a collapsing economy. In a telephone conversation with The Reporter, Ambassador Marcano said, “The price of fuel in Venezuela has nothing to do with international prices. The contract with the 18 member countries of PetroCaribe remains in tact.” The announcement comes in the wake of a 30 percent increase for minimum wage in Venezuela last week, which Venezuelan President, Nicholas Maduro deemed necessary to help address the country’s inflation rate, which literally skyrocketed over the past year to 56 percent, the highest in the world. It also comes after reports that fuel prices in Venezuela could go up to ease the economic strains in that country.

Castro attorneys seek to dispose of misconduct case
Its merits have yet to be fully considered, but the lawsuit brought by Belize Rural North constituent Trevor Vernon earlier this year against his area representative, Hon. Edmond Castro, may not make it to trial, following an application for strike out brought to the Supreme Court on Monday. Senior Counsel Denys Barrow, representing the Minister of State for Transport (and formerly Civil Aviation), asked Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to dismiss the matter on the ground that it was an “abuse of process” and had no hope of success as presented. Castro is accused of a breach of the code of conduct of his office as outlined in the Constitution, and violating the Prevention of Corruption in Public Life Act. He is accused of contravening the law when he allegedly accepted money on his own behalf, or through his representatives, from the Belize Airports Authority (BAA), an entity for which Castro held ministerial responsibility as Minister of State.

Geographic info helps make informed financial decisions
Having geographic information of flood and fire risk to properties in flood-prone areas can help financial institutions make better risk management decisions and to better evaluate the value of properties offered as collateral, said Chief Operating officer Jose Cardona of British Caribbean Bank Holdings Ltd. Cardona was addressing the opening of the fourth annual Geographic Information Systems (GIS) users’ conference at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel on Wednesday morning, May 7. GIS information of population demographics and economic activity can also help the bank make more informed decision in its deployment of Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) and its network of branches, Cardona noted. Land parcel GIS database can help banks map the location of land parcels held as collateral, and additional maps showing areas under sugar cane cultivation can also help the bank better assess the risk of floods to areas under agricultural production, and to loans made to assist farmers.

Cop remanded on slew of gun-related charges
Yannick Wade, 27, police constable # 1332, is on remand at the Hattieville Prison after he was denied bail for a slew of gun-related offences. This follows the discovery, according to police, of two stolen guns in the general area where his 16-year old girlfriend and her family reside, at the corner of Johnson Street and Cemetery Road in Belize City. The Reporter has learned that Wade was one of four policemen who were on duty at the San Pedro Police Station last Wednesday between of one and 7 a.m., but he remained at the station while the other three went on patrol duties in the town. The guns, which are the property of KBH security, are kept locked along with a log book in a metal chest inside the police station. One of Wade’s colleagues, Police Constable Juan Cho, received the weapons on Wednesday night when the KBH guard took them for storage and Cho, reports indicate, supervised the deposit of the weapons inside the chest and signed the log book along with the KBH guard who delivered them.

Panamanian company opposes Coyes’ access to finances
Following a successful application in the Supreme Court, more than a million dollars in assets belonging to the surviving relatives of the late Michael Coye remain under lock and key. Earlier on Monday, Supreme Court Justice Shona Griffith had lifted the freezing order against nearly $6 million in financial assets belonging to members of the family, left to them by Mr. Coye. The family – parents Michael (deceased) and Marlene; daughter Melonie and son Jude; and associates James Gerou, Atlee Matute and Dietrich Kingston, as well as the company Money Exchange International Limited were exonerated after two trials and two appeals, the latest coming in March of this year.The Coye’s ran the money exchange until the start of investigations by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) into allegations of money laundering The FIU has chosen not to appeal the decision, but there are still some legal hurdles for the family to clear.

BTIA threatens injunction against Harvest Caye development
The Belize Tourism Industry Association has threatened to file for an injunction against the Harvest Caye project, if Norwegian Cruise Line does not halt the development. BTIA officialized their ultimatum on Monday, when they also announced that they’ve applied for judicial review of the National Environmental Appraisal Committee’s approval of the project. BTIA’s attorney, Godfrey Smith, explained that BTIA will send a letter to NCL to ask them to delay the start of the initiative until the court makes a decision on the tourism association’s application for leave to bring judicial review against NEAC and the Department of the Environment (DOE). Smith explained that after filing the application for leave to bring judicial review against NEAC and DOE, it may take anywhere from two-weeks to a month to get a hearing on the application.

NTUCB defends position on OSH
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize continues to support the Occupational Safety and Health Bill, despite concerns from the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry about the economic impact of the proposed law. NTUCB President Dylan Reneau told The Reporter that he believes the Belizean public would push for the enactment of this legislation when they understand the benefits. Reneau explained that the drafting of the Bill was linked to international commitments that Belize has made, in particular the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) OSH Convention, which mandates that governments enact such legislation. Reneau addressed one of the major points of contention during the consultations, namely the issue of regulations.

Electricity rates to be lowered slightly
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved a nominal drop in electricity rates and Belizean consumers may very well see electricity rates trending downward explained PUC Chairman, John Avery. Avery explained that even though Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) recommended a mean electricity rate of $0.43 cents per kilowatt-hour, the Commission uses a specific method to arrive at the rate, which they determined to be $0.4347. Avery explained that while the government may have wanted to further lower the rates, the Commission is mandated to calculate the rates based on particular factors including Operational Expenditure (OPEX). According to Avery, BEL’s OPEX was higher than the target set by the PUC.

VIP continues Anti-Corruption Tour
The Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) has been carrying on with its Anti-Corruption Educational Campaign by visiting tertiary institutions throughout the country. VIP Chairman Hubert Enriquez explained that during their tour they have made visits and heard concerns of young adults from Galen, Sacred Heart Junior College, University of Belize’s Toledo campus and Wesley Junior College. Enriquez said that during their visits the students they have spoken with have been extremely engaged in discussions about the state of the country, the prevalence of corruption, the lack of public moral and the inactivity of young people in the political landscape.

Westrac Stingers win SMART Agric canoe race
The Westrac Stingers comprising Hener and Erwin Cruz, and Jerry Cante won the second annual SMART River Challenge canoe race from the Iguana Creek Bridge on the Belize River to the National Agricultural and Trade Show Grounds on Saturday, May 3. They clocked 2:06:00 to win the $150 first prize in the male category. The Ziprider canoe paddled by Jerry Rhaburn, Wilberto Daniels and Chris Guydis were seven seconds behind to claim the $75 second prize in the male category. The Belize Bank Bulldogs of Armin Lopez and Amado Cruz, finished fourth overall in 2:10:00, third in the male category. The Gerber/Guana team of Eric Cano, Francisca Cruz Phaender and Erwin Cruz, sponsored by Judd and Kelly Gerber, finished fifth overall in 2:10:50 to win the $150 first prize in the mixed category.

Western Ballaz bomb Smart No Limits 77-63 in NEBL basketball
The Cayo Western Ballaz recovered from a heart-breaker loss to the San Pedro Tiger Sharks to outlast Smart No Limits 84-70 and post their 10th victory of the National Elite Basketball (NEBL) Competition at Birds’ Isle last Friday night, May 2. SMART’s Andrew Ortiz rammed home three monster dunks as he led No Limits with 21 pts, as they seized an early 13-4 lead in the first quarter, but Kurt “Chengo” Burgess responded with two 3-pointers to score 20 pts, 11 boards and the Cayo Western Ballaz took over the lead 21-17 at the end of the quarter. Travis Lennan added 18 pts, five boards and Farron Louriano laid up 14pts, snagging 14 boards as the visitors cruised to a 42-36 lead at intermission. Johan Bermudez added 10pts, 10 boards, Ivan Flowers had seven points and three boards, while Mark O’Brien and Elroy Willis chipped in four points each to lead 57-54 at the end of the third quarter.

BETEX 2014 kicks off on solid ground
Belize’s tourism industry has expanded over the years and with encouraging tourist arrival figures, and those taking part in the Belize Tourism Expo (BETEX), which opened Wednesday night in Belize City, feel that the industry is poised for much greater things to come. BETEX, a trade show that is held every two years since 1996, offers those in the tourism industry the opportunity to market their products and services. It provides an opportunity for wholesalers, agents, travel media to visit Belize en masse to discuss with local tourism service providers what they have to offer. The trade aspect of the show ends on Friday afternoon and for the remainder of the weekend the visitors will go on site inspections of the tourism destinations. While the event has over the years expanded to include more of the products and services on the Belizean market, Herbert Haylock, the president of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, says that there are still a few loopholes that need to be plugged.

Agric show 2014 attracts 34,000
Approximately 34,000 Belizeans participated in this year’s National Agricultural and Trade Show, held last weekend in Belmopan. According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, this year’s attendance was about 19 percent lower than last year’s 42,000 participants, but considering the inclement weather that proceeded the two-day event, some observers still say that this year’s turnout was relatively good. The show has also become more trade than agriculture oriented in recent years, a trend the agriculture ministry has sought to change by refurbishing the show grounds last year, with permanent roofed pavilions with concrete flooring, where the Agriculture Departments from all six districts showcased the best produce from the farmers of each district. Trade also stepped down, as some major corporate exhibitors of previous years were conspicuous by their absence. Others stepped in to fill the breach as the Belize importers of the St. Lucian lager, Kubuli Beer, introduced a new product onto the Belizean market: Kubuli Gold in the 355 ml aluminium can, which, when marketed for $3.00 each, offered a better bargain than the local Belikin in the 275ml bottle.

A two-legged stool cannot stand!
According to the Belize Constitution, the word “Government” speaks to three separate branches; the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislative Branch. Government can be seen, then, as a three legged stool; each leg is separate, but all are working together to hold up the entire structure. In Government, some power is distributed to each branch by distributing various functions so that no one branch has all the power; none making all decisions. One branch may stall or even stop another branch from carrying out an activity; that branch must either find another way, or must give up that pursuit. This is how the separation of powers helps to produce a check and balance on behalf of the people. It ensures that one branch of government does not abuse the people with the very power given to it. When the three branches function together, the people are speaking and acting, and will benefit. The nation moves forward in an agreed direction. This is democracy.

“Major global threat” posed by antibiotic resistance – WHO
Resistance to antibiotics is now a “major global threat” to public health, with “devastating” implications likely unless significant action is taken urgently. That’s according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO), which analysed data from 114 countries and reported that resistance is occurring “in every region of the world.” The report warned of a grim “post-antibiotic era” in which simple infections and minor injuries that have been successfully treated for decades will once again become potentially deadly. The report looked at seven different bacteria responsible for common but serious diseases like pneumonia, blood infections and diarrhoea, and suggested that two key antibiotics no longer work in more than half of people being treated in some countries.

The Alcalde System is an old, time-honoured tradition for running the domestic affairs of a village. The system exists only in the Maya villages of Cayo and Toledo, where tradition requires a village elder to be in charge of village affairs. His duties require him to maintain law and order, […]

Caribbean Court of Justice says Gay man free to challenge Belize immigration law
The section of Belize’s Immigration Law which bans homosexuals from entering Belize is, by its very existence, prejudicial to these persons, the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled Thursday. The CCJ said this as it granted special leave to Jamaican homosexual activist Maurice Tomlinson to file an application challenging Section 5 (1) (e) of Belize’s Immigration Act under the CCJ’s original jurisdiction (that is to say the court’s power to hear and decide a case for the first time. Presenting the judgment of the court, CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron said that Tomlinson had met the standard of presenting an arguable case. According to the court, even though like Belize states argue that they do not treat homosexuals that way in practice, the very existence of the laws amounts to prejudice. Last November, Tomlinson, a legal advisor to the organization AIDS Free World, a gay activist and attorney for 14 years, argued through attorneys, Lord Anthony Gifford, QC, and Anika Gray that the very existence of the law is an infringement on the rights of homosexuals like himself.

Pharmacy Association responds to release from drug suppliers’ release
Belize Pharmacy Association’s President Hortence Humes said that she expects that pharmaceutical suppliers will indeed provide their quality certification as they promised via press release late Thursday evening. Suppliers to the Ministry of Health said that they support the Ministry’s tendering process and pledged that they are prepared to provide copies of all their certificates of Good Manufacturing Practices. Humes responded by saying that sub-standard pharmaceutical supplies have been entering the country and the Association wishes to see suppliers provide those certificates of good manufacuring practice.Humes also commended the suppliers for supporting the development of a Standard Operational Procedure and again stated that she hoped the suppliers were being sincere.

Will PM be summoned to court?
The private prosecution of former government minister, Elvin Penner, has reportedly hit an impasse, and the plaintiff, Citizens Organised for Liberty through Action, say they might subpoena Prime Minister Dean Barrow and others to give evidence in court if necessary. The announcement came three weeks before the case is called on Thursday, May 29, at which point COLA is expected to furnish the defense with whatever evidence it has against Penner. At a COLA press conference on Wednesday, attorney Kareem Musa told reporters that there has been no cooperation from a number of public offices crucial to the case. These, he said, had informed that they also are investigating the passport/visa scandal. Of vital importance to the prosecution is the case file, which Musa said he has formally requested in writing from Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, Director of Public Prosecutions.

Patrick Jones

Evangelical Association confident about changes to gender policy
Today the Evangelical Association of Churches of Belize hosted the press as promised earlier this week following their meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Its president, Pastor Eugene Crawford, wished to emphasize that the Church remains vigilant on the issue and awaits the satisfactory response of the Government to the implementation of the Revised National Gender Policy with its input. He said that while certain remarks alleged to have been made by the chair of the National Women’s Commission Ann-Marie Williams may have coincidentally impacted the meeting’s timing, they were ready to hear from the Prime Minister. And he told those skeptical of the Church’s chosen means of addressing the issue that confrontation is not always the best way, that talking to God can move mountains.

The Belize Adventure displayed at BETEX 2014
The biennial Belize Tourism Expo (BETEX) showcases the best of Belize’s overnight tourism industry. With many looking to cash in on the Belize adventure, the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) and other industry partners have arranged a sort of one-stop shop for all things Belizean tourism. BTIA President, Herbert Haylock, told us that this is the primary outlet for purveyors of overnight tourism – hotels and resorts from North to South – and associated businesses to sell their individual experiences to visitors and agents for international outlets and the odd Belizean or two. Representatives for two developers, one on the mainland and the other in the cayes that we spoke to said business can only get better with their exposure here. Grand Caribe Resort, two miles north of San Pedro Town proper in the North Ambergris Caye area, offers a tranquil experience, with its ideal location – close to the reef and all nearby attractions – making it prime property.

Ministry of Health opens up regime for drugs
The Ministry of Health and particularly its chief Executive Officer Dr. Peter Allen, have been doing their best to repair a wide public rift being exposed between senior staff and partners like the Pharmacy Association over the regime for importation of drugs into the private sector and who should be in charge of it. Today Dr. Allen admitted some painful truths about his management style, with specific reference to Chief Pharmacist Sharon Sanchez-Anderson. While they often do not agree, he says, he believes that it should not affect the work the Ministry does in this area. As the man in charge of over 2,000 employees, he admits he is bound to get into a few disagreements with those who dislike how he manages. But he insists that he will not back away from setting clear targets and performance goals that he expects those around him to match and exceed. Dr. Allen also denied having any personal interest in managing who signs for drugs to be brought into the country privately, only in ensuring that there is quality testing and standards.

Employer hired undocumented workers
46 year old Ricardo Marin, a resident of Ladyville who owns Oasis Restaurant and Bar at Mile 4 1/2 on the Philip Goldson Highway, pleaded guilty today to two counts of employing persons not in possession of a valid temporary work permit. Immigration officials visited his establishment and found two women, Cynthia Hernandez and Deinys Cervante, who could not produce their permits when asked. Marin, their employer, was arrested and charged.

Butane price falls by $13
The government of Belize today announced a $13 across the board reduction in the price of a 100-pound cylinder of butane gas. Imported butane from Mexico is now selling for $115 in Belize City and Corozal; $117 in Belmopan and San Ignacio; $118 in Benque Viejo del Carmen; $116 in Orange Walk; $119 in Dangriga and $120 in Punta Gorda. Imported butane from Central America is now selling for $112 in Belize City and Corozal; $114 in Belmopan and San Ignacio; $115 in Benque Viejo del Carmen; $113 in Orange Walk; $116 in Dangriga and $117 in Punta Gorda.

Attempted armed robbery in San Pedro town
There was an attempted armed robbery this afternoon at the San Pedro branch of Bowen and Bowen Limited. According to reports, around 1:30 pm today a man brandishing a firearm stormed the Bowen and Bowen office on Blake Street and demanded money. The on-duty security guard was able to eject the armed robber who did not get close enough to any of the employees to take anything. But before he left the area, the armed robber fired a number of shots.

The Belize Times

UDP Campaigning With YOUR Money!!
The BELIZE TIMES has confirmed from reliable government sources that the Ministry of Finance has paid out $850,000 to United Democratic Party politicians and operatives in another desperate political gimmick to buy out votes. This time, the deceptive political ploy is hidden under the guise of an unofficial Mother’s Day cheer program – much like the 2011 and 2013 Christmas cheer programs in which the Government diverted $1.25 million and $2.23 million dollars respectively from Government’s coffers to dish out $40,000 and $90,000 to each UDP representative for the distribution of ham and toys to political supporters. The BELIZE TIMES has been confirmed that the Ministry of Finance has already disbursed the money to UDP politicians by the tens of thousands. The money, in various denominations, will then be inserted into Mother’s Day cards and distributed to a small number of selected supporters. The cards carrying taxpayers’ monies inside will be signed by UDP politicians in a perverse and dishonest attempt to prop up the UDP’s campaign. Undoubtedly, in Edmond Castro-style, some of the money will end up in the pockets of these same politicians. ABUSIVE & ILLEGAL This is the third or fourth known time the UDP Government is dipping into the public’s purse to dole out funds to their political candidates. They did the same thing in February 2012 too, when four weeks before the early election the Prime Minister boasted that his Government was “slush with funds” and so he had devised a “pro poor assistance initiative” in which HIS political candidates got $50,000 each to spend. This most-recent blatant abuse of tax payers’ money is not sanctioned by the House of Representatives. It is an arbitrary decision by the Minister of Finance who is Prime Minister Dean Barrow. It is totally illegal and arguably, even corrupt.

Stonewalled! – COLA says ComPol, Auditor General & Ombudsman are obstructing Justice
Grassroots organization, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and their attorney Kareem Musa announced on Wednesday morning that they are prepared to take every step to ensure that the criminal case against corrupt UDP area representative Elvin Penner does not fail despite the numerous roadblocks set up by the Barrow Administration through its official functionaries. As the preliminary May 29th trial date approaches, C.O.L.A. has been working on gathering evidence. But according to President, Geovanni Brackett, their efforts to obtain key evidence from the Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie and Auditor General Dorothy Bradley have been stonewalled.

Barrow Defends “Clear the Cheques” Castro – Are taxpayers funding “Poor” Castro’s lawyer fees?
Minister of State Edmond Castro proved to Belizeans what a facey hustler he is when he claimed that he could not afford to pay for his own mother’s funeral services, so he took $4,000 of public funds to pay for the expense. He did the same when it came to paying for personal bicycle repairs, for dental care services and for the purchasing of chicken and soft drinks for his constituency political events. These acts of misuse of public funds that were exposed by the BELIZE TIMES earlier this year, among other major instances of abuse of office involving the misappropriation of tens of thousands of dollars from the coffers of the Belize Airport Authority, moved one of his constituents to seek a Supreme Court declaration that Castro had seriously violated his oath of office.

Progress in St. Matthews Village & Cayo South
The Cayo South constituency may not have access to its due share of Government support and resources under this vindictive UDP Government, but the leadership and humility of the elected PUP Area Representative Hon. Julius Espat and the willingness of residents to work together for the development of their community have become a perfect combination for progress. There are various examples of the positive results from this partnership. One such is the opening of road access to farm lands in St. Matthews Village. The project was initiated through the leadership of the PUP St. Matthews Village Council and Chairlady Teresa Linarez. She approached area representative Hon. Espat requesting support, and he readily offered to assist.

KHMH Implements Parking Fees
The KHMH administration has implemented new parking fees for anyone accessing parking outside of the hospital. In these hard times this is a cold move to squeeze money out of hard working Belizeans. The Belize Times also noted that the Belize City Council is forcing commuters to park at the KHMH parking lot by making the section of Princess Margaret Drive immediately in front a no parking zone.

Zhi Cheng wins 2014 5-Barrel Veteran’s table tennis championships
Zhi Cheng of Punta Gorda Town won the 4th annual 5-Barrel Veterans table tennis championship after defeating Hector Lopez 3-1, Arturo “Tux” Vasquez 3-0, Yasser Musa 3-0 and Carlos Cui 3-0 at the Belize Elementary School auditorium on Sunday. Cheng won twice over 2-time defending champion Carlos Cui, winning the finals 3-0. Cui had advanced to the finals by victories over David Ho: 3-1, Jorge Espat: 3-0, and 3-1 over Sen Sen. Cui fought his way back out of the losers’ bracket by a 3-0 win over Hector Lopez to face a rematch with Cheng in the finals.

Brown Bombers U-15, Academy FC girls & Hattieville United U-17 – win football championships
The Brown Bombers U-15 and the Academy FC “A” team girls and Hattieville United Youth Sporting Club U-17 won the Belize District Football Association’s championship finals at the MCC Garden on Saturday. In Game 1 of the U-15 finals, Brown Bombers bombed the Collet Strikers: 2-1. Strikers’ Shaquille Matute scored the first goal, but Bombers top goal-scorer Sherwin Requeña equalized 1-1 before the half. Bombers’ MVP Eldon Byrd scored the 2nd winning goal after the break.

Westrac Stingers win SMART River Challenge canoe race
The Westrac Stingers won the 2nd annual SMART River Challenge canoe race from the Iguana Creek Bridge to the National Agricultural and Trade show grounds by the Roaring Creek Bridge on Saturday morning. Top 10 finishers: 1st – Westrac Stingers – 2:06:00 – $150 prize Paddled by Hener and Erwin Cruz, Jerry Cante 2nd – Ziprider – 2:06:07 – 2nd male: $75 prize Paddled by Jerry Rhaburn, Wilberto Daniels, Chris Guydis

Land of Injustice
The United States basketball playoffs are in full effect and many Belizeans have chosen a team to ride with. I am a long time Knicks fan but unfortunately once again this year, my heart was broken. I love the game however, and have so far enjoyed the playoffs and the level of competition among the stars like Durant, LeBron and Chris Paul. I feel no guilt, or in any way unpatriotic, about being a bigger fan of the NBA than I am of the Elite League of Belize. It is chalk and cheese and the taste of one is far superior and to be desired than the other. I remain hopeful that one day our country will understand the importance of sports and grant more monies, attention and effort to the cause. We have talent but sports gets little funding and our athletes have little discipline and commitment. One of the teams that have advanced so far to the second round of this year’s playoffs is the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers once played in upstate New York as the Buffalo Braves. They moved to the West Coast in 1978 and became the San Diego Clippers. In 1981, billionaire Donald Sterling bought the team and three years later, move the franchise to Los Angeles. For many years the Clippers were considered the laughing stock of the NBA as they won very few games. They also have had to play second fiddle to LA’s premier team, the Lakers. With the acquisition of point guard Chris Paul and slam dunk specialist Blake Griffith in 2010, the Clippers improved immensely and began to gain more respect. Despite their success however, and in spite of the Lakers recent losing ways (Clippers swept the season’s series 4-0 and blew out the Lakers in one game by 36 points), LA fans still seem to prefer the Lakers and the Clippers remain just LA’s “other team”. It has taken a racist rant by the team’s octogenarian owner to bring the spotlight attention that the Clippers have so long craved; albeit in a negative way.

Since coming to power in 2008, the United Democratic Party government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow has been steadily building a catalogue of failure and fatal political interference with the nation’s healthcare system. The fight with the Pharmacists Association of Belize over the ill-advised appointment of Minister of Trade Erwin Contreras’ daughter, Danini Contreras, is the most recent example of a government that practices nepotistic rule in important affairs of state. In 2009, Barrow had to appoint a Commission of Inquiry to look into allegations of corruption at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. But what was the result of that investigation? Was disciplinary action taken against any of the hospital top management? The answer is no. Business continued as usual. By mid-2009, it came sweeping into the national headlines that officials at the KHMH were hustling from patients. But what did the Barrow administration do to restore the public’s confidence in the integrity of the hospital? The answer: nothing.

Mayor Swaso and Dangriga Town Council Exonerated
It happened about two weeks ago and got lost in the midst of the post Easter slump. But on the 24th April 2014, the Dangriga Magistrate Court exonerated Mayor Gilbert Swaso and the Dangriga Town Council after it dismissed a claim brought against them by one Dennis Bellini. In August, 2013, Bellini took out a suit in the Dangriga Magistrate Court against Mayor Swaso and the Dangriga Town Council. The claim brought by Bellini was for monies Bellini claims the Dangriga Town Council owed for the transportation of a back hoe from the United States for the Dangriga Town Council. At the time the suit was filed, it got national attention as was expected, since Mayor Swaso is one of only three sitting PUP Mayors. Media coverage was given clearly to sully the image of the Mayor and the Dangriga Town Council,

AMAZING GRACE – Desperate People Do Desperate Things
Despite the appearance of wealth that Belizeans often portray with fancy new cars and designer clothes, a large number of our population is living in poverty, the kind of poverty that inspires tears and reeks of human injustice. Some literally have no food to eat for days and feel the gnawing of hunger attack their stomachs, filling them with the desire to tear themselves inside out. The people who feel this desperate hunger will stop at nothing to satisfy that urgent need. Rummaging through the garbage, salvaging for food by stealing or begging, these are all the things desperate people would do to place a little something in their stomachs. What’s the point? Well, the reason desperation appears in these people is because they are hungry. See, everybody has a need. As humans, it is genetically, scientifically, psychologically and all the other ‘ally’s’, impossible for us to ever be fully satisfied. This principle applies to things as mundane as our need to eat everyday for sustenance, to the complicated problems of infidelity, corruption, and war. Our desires are constantly evolving and achieving one goal is just a stepping stone to achieving another. So no matter how ‘independent’ or put together one may look, he or she always has a need.

SCALES OF JUSTICE – Elections Fever
The signs have not been that illuminating but they are there: elections are around the bend. For starters, he- the Prime Minister- did tell us early in the year (February) that if the variables presented themselves, he would do it- call an early election, with two plus years in his second term. Of course, he gave us a spin (as is his habit with everything) and tried to give us some story about the variables that would compel him to call early elections; chief among them, he said, was that he was personally distraught as a result of the continuing self induced scandals that was riddling his government like bullets from an automatic firearm. But of course, everyone knew that was hogwash- Dean Barrow, personally distraught? Everyone knows that the only true variable that he would consider is the timing- whether he thinks he has given the people sufficient sweets to have them on his side. Which is why this latest revelation of $50,000 of taxpayers’ monies being given to the 17 UDP Area Representatives to give away over this weekend, Mother’s Day weekend, must be closely looked at; it is a good marker of possible early elections. Of course our beloved mothers all need a little reprieve and ought to be celebrated. But this government has never done this before. So the question has to be asked: why now? And it is a clever and shrewd gimmick. The Opposition cannot openly condemn it otherwise we would appear as not into our mothers. But the truth is that this is another obscene example of the government using taxpayers’ monies to finance their political campaign.

WOMAN IN THE HOUSE – Belize needs a Thuli Madonsela
Yesterday I happened upon an article from VOA News about South Africa which was titled “South Africa Protector of the Powerless is Nation’s Most Powerful Person.” It piqued my interest, and so I read the full script and as well watched the video report online. South Africa has in its Constitution the position of Public Protector. I would imagine that this post is akin to that of Ombudsman, but with far more investigative and reporting clout. The woman who holds this important post is Thuli Madonsela, who according to the article enjoys a higher approval rating than her boss, South African President Jacob Zuma. She has grabbed headlines in her country for exposing government wrongdoing. Recently she even called out the President himself for a major corruption scandal. The article goes on to state that recently she has been recognized as one of Time Magazine’s

Children celebrate National Tapir Day
National Tapir Day is celebrated annually around the end of April, and the Belize Zoo has made sure to keep awareness and respect for our National Animal alive and well. This year the day was celebrated on May 2nd due to the May Day holiday the day before and the opening of school after the Easter break. Children from several schools attended, including two schools from the Toledo District, one from Benque Viejo del Carmen, one from Belize City, and one from Belmopan. Also in attendance was the Pannerifix Steel Band from Belmopan along with their Director Julietta Burrowes.

All Belizeans should support and be proud of the strong, determined and principled position taken by the Belize Pharmacists Association (BPA) in demanding that the newly and “specially” created post of DIRECTOR OF DRUG INSPECTORATE, be filled by a competent, qualified and experienced pharmacists. Having a Director of Drug Inspectorate, in and of itself may not be a bad initiative, but creating such a post without consulting the Belize Pharmacists Association and seemingly doing so to simply facilitate the well paid employment of a Cabinet Minister’s daughter is wrong and should be condemned by all Belizeans. Erwin Contreras’s daughter has a right to work and if fully and properly qualified for a job, she should not be denied an opportunity to seek such a job, but she has no right to preferential treatment. The GOB has no place creating a job for her and then thumbing its collective nose at the Pharmacists Association and the Belizean people.

Cotton Tree Village Council challenges GOB’s land subdivision – Andrew Marshalleck, of Barrow & Co., says GOB has broken the law
Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck has filed a civil claim on behalf of the Cotton Tree Village Council before the Supreme Court. The Cotton Tree Village Council has led by Chairman Oscar Otero is protesting the callous and illegal manner in which the Government has distributed land in the village. Without any form of consultation with the duly elected Council, the Government has surveyed a large parcel of land which it will divide into 111 acres for distribution to persons selected by UDP Port Loyola representative Anthony Boots Martinez. Chairman Otero pointed out that the Village Council Act gives Village Councils the authority to distribute land and not the Ministry of Natural Resources.

A family affair exposed
Two weeks ago, with his back against the wall and his nepotistic appointment coming under intense heat, Anwar Barrow did the predictable. He gave in to the demands of BTL employees for a raise just so he could save his own butt and look good. After all, Anwar does not have report to the nation if, when and how he decides to spend BTL money. With the salary adjustments made, the UDPs can now continue along their merry way, using BTL like a candy dispensary. It is a way for the UDP to get rich quick and to stuff their UDP supporters. Information to the BELIZE TIMES is that Magali Perdomo, who is the daughter of UDP mogul and grand party financier, Maito Perdomo, will take up the post of in house attorney for BTL. This is big news.

PUP Dangriga Council upgrades Havana Bridge approach! – “Working together, more can be done,” says Mayor Gilbert Swaso
Residents of Dangriga Town can now enjoy a smoother and more comfortable ride when traversing the Havana Bridge. This is because the Dangriga Town Council invested $26,500.00 for a much needed upgrade on the North and South approach of the bridge. Residents had indicated that the approaches to the bridge caused undue stress on their tires; the Mayor and his Council heard the cries of the people and found funds for the resurfacing of the bridge. The upgrade of the Havana Bridge is in keeping with development plans that the Dangriga Town Council has to upgrade the entire Havana Creek area to make it more user friendly to residents and visitors and make it more aesthetically appealing. It is expected that the development in this area will boost and stimulate economic activity and growth for the residents of Dangriga.


BETEX Trade Exposition in Belize City Brings in Travel Pros, Press & Me from Around The World
After a bit of work, I secured a press pass to the large Travel Expo that is held each year by the BTIA (Belize Tourism Industry Association) to…well…sell Belize. To present the country to visiting travel agents, wholesalers and consolidators (I’m still not exactly sure what those last two are)…to attract visitors to our country. The event was (and is still being) held in the Princess Hotel and Casino which has actually been very recently purchased/repurchased by the Ramada chain. It’s now the Ramada Belize City Princess. The room was filled with booths from hotels, the local airlines and, a bit strangely, the cell phone companies. Lots of freebies for the visiting travel agents from water bottles to shot glasses with rum punch to bags. Lots of bags.

Lizards of Belize – What makes the Belizean Iguana Incredible!
Having briefly talked about the ubiquitous iguana of Belize’s forests and rivers in a recent post, it occurred to us that this amazing reptile, which plays such an important role in Belize’s history and ecology, deserved more than a mere mention. So here, starring in its own post – the Incredible Iguana of Belize! First, some background on our star: Even though it goes through various colour changes during its life, it is technically known as the Green Iguana, with the rather unimaginative scientific name of Iguana iguana (order Squamata, sub order igaunea, family Iguanidae, genus iguana). The name iguana itself is said to come from the native Caribbean Taino language, iwana. Here in Belize things are a bit more imaginative, with Bamboo Chicken, Guana and Garobo for the more bigger, more mature males, who take on an orange hue and can grow up to five or six feet from nose to tail tip.

ReefCI in National Geographic
Polly, ReefCI Founder and MD is featured in the latest edition of National Geographic UK. Check out the article here!

“A guaranteed bundle of fun!”
“I have just returned to reality after spending four months with Reef CI. The diving with Reef CI is hands down the best and most amazing thing I have ever done. With the most beautiful reef I have dived on, seeing Dolphins (that swam close by and played with us), Sting Rays, Nurse Sharks, Eagle Ray, Whale Sharks and much more. I completed my Rescue Diver and my Dive Master course during my stay and I can definitely say that Reef CI has the best instructors I have dived with. They are both knowledgeable about the reef and its eco-system and have such a passion for diving that they want to share their extensive experience and knowledge with everyone. During my stay I did countless conservation surveys that are extremely interesting and fun to get involved in. Lionfish spearing is an experience like nothing else I have ever done and benefits the reef hugely.

International Sources

Statement at the Conclusion of the IMF Article IV Consultation Mission to Belize
Press Release No.14/212 May 9, 2014 An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Jacques Bouhga-Hagbe visited Belize during April 28-May 9 to hold discussions in the context of the country’s 2014 Article IV Consultation. At the conclusion of the visit, Mr. Bouhga-Hagbe issued the following statement: “The Belizean economy is estimated to have grown by only 0.7 percent in 2013 mainly because of continued decline in oil production and weak agricultural output, especially sugarcane and citrus. Inflation eased to 0.5 percent from 1.3 percent a year ago, as commodity price pressures abated. Private sector credit grew by 3.8 percent (y/y) in March 2014. While declining, Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) remained high at 17.6 percent of total loans at end 2013. The banking system’s capital buffers improved and weaknesses in the system are being addressed. The external current account deficit widened to 4.5 percent of GDP up from 1.2 percent in 2012, as exports of oil and agricultural products fell sharply, while imports of fuel and electricity picked up. Nonetheless, international reserves improved to 4.3 months of imports (up from 3.3 months at end-2012) owing mainly to PetroCaribe financing and private capital inflows.

Goblin shark caught in Gulf of Mexico, plus 18-foot oarfish and other big and odd fish
Shrimpers fishing in the Gulf of Mexico pulled up an incredibly rare, almost prehistoric-looking goblin shark. It’s only the second sighting of such a beast in the Gulf. Earlier, an 18-foot oarfish was found off Catalina Island in California. Here’s a look at the goblin shark, oarfish and other big and/or odd-looking fish.

From Atlanta, McCaulay points the way for Belize
Each day he steps onto a soccer pitch, Deon McCaulay does so with motivation derived from several sources. The 26-year-old striker plays to make a better life for his family, to represent the people of Belize and to open doors for other Belizean soccer players. “Growing up in Belize is not something that was very easy. Most young men don’t get very far in life,” stressed McCaulay. “As a kid, I didn’t even own my own football. I didn’t have shoes on my feet. I always try to think about where I come from.” He is now a member of the Atlanta Silverbacks, signing with the North American Soccer League club in February. “Life here is good,” McCaulay expressed. “It took a couple of games to get used to what the league is about, but I think I’ve adjusted well. There are a lot more physical players in this league.” McCaulay previously played professionally in Belize for Kremandala, FC Belize, Belize Defence Force and Belmopan Bandits, in Costa Rica for Puntarenas and for Deportes Savio in Honduras.

The Best All-Inclusive Adventure Resorts for Families
The Tropical Base Camp: Slickrock Adventures, Belize. Sixty-five miles offshore from Belize City, Slickrock's Long Caye eco-lodge is ultra-minimal by design: 15 open-air, thatch-roof cabanas fringe the beach and the turquoise waters of Glover's Reef. You won't find air conditioning, maid service, Wi-Fi, flush toilets, deep mattresses, or a saltwater pool (unless you count the ocean) anywhere on the 13-acre island, but if you like your tropics laid-back and natural and packed with action, this is definitely the place. When I was last there, pre-kids, in the late '90s, I spent my days kayaking the calm waters inside the atoll and surf kayaking just offshore. Since then, they've added a vela, or windcenter, stocked with windsurfers and kiteboards, a full complement of surfboards, and even a dry land trainer for teaching newbies to windsurf. You can scuba, surf-cast from your kayak, or just lounge in the hammocks or beachside all day. The island is wind- and solar-powered, and home cooked meals are served buffet-style in the sand-floored dining palapa—no shoes or fancy table manners required. Kids Included: Although many of Slickrock's guests are solo travelers or couples, families fit right in, and kids especially will dig the Castaway-style isle. Children three and older are welcome, and although there is no designated kids' program, those who are too young to paddle can ride along in a tandem or sit-on-top; there's also a cache of sandcastle equipment and a well-loved beach volleyball court. Slickrock is happy to help arrange for a full-time, on-island babysitter (for just $25 per day, including housing and meals). Note to landlubbers: The boat trip takes three hours, but less than an hour of that is through open seas, so plan accordingly if you or your little ones get seasick.

Cosmic touch in the deep sea
I have never felt closer to the sky than when I was 170 feet under the ocean here at Tuffy Canyons, Belize. It happened on Easter morning. A half-dozen of us slipped out of a boat on the barrier reef here and followed our dive master, Michael, into a canyon, dropping through jagged openings past profusions of coral waving like wheat in the wind. There were clouds of fish, turtles and the occasional shark.Then the ocean floor suddenly fell away. We were hovering like unharnessed window washers on a vast wall of rock and coral, the outermost edge of the second-longest barrier reef in the world, the boundary of the big deep.

Macarena’s Memories From HGTV’s “International House Hunters”
Recently, EscapeArtist sat down with Macarena Rose to discuss her upcoming 5th appearance on May 14th on “House Hunters International,” the popular international television show on HGTV. We also discussed her life in Belize and her involvement with the EscapeArtist’s Global Online Summit: EscapeArtist: How did you originally get involved in HGTV’s House Hunters International? Macarena Rose: The House Hunters Production people called me after they saw shows that I did for Belize Television which featured biographies of people in Belize. We shot episodes with exotic birds, a jaguar and John Carr, a remarkable horse whisperer. EA: What was the most surprising thing about the behind-the-scenes process of participating on “House Hunters International”? MR: The behind-the-scenes experiences have been so entertaining. One time, the pickup truck I was driving started sliding down a steep, muddy hill. The film crew was riding in the back of the truck, and they just kept on filming.


Video: Horses in Belize with John Carr- Horse Whisperer, 15min.
Horse Whisperer John Carr takes us to see his monkeys and horses in this video in Belize.

Video: John Carr with Host Macarena Rose, 15min.
Visit today with Long Time Belize Expat John Carr as we go along with Belize TV Biography host, Macarena Rose. This is Part 2 of 4 and you will see the birds of Belize and hear more from the engaging John Carr.

Video: Blustery day on the reef- Turneffe Atoll, Belize cayes, 1/2min.
A sample of the high winds we faced during a week's stay at Blackbird Resort, Turneffe Atoll, Belize. At times it was gale force, but we still snorkeled the reefs daily to enjoy their pristine condition and the extraordinary life they support.

Video: Belize - BV Expedition (PART 6), 5min.
My expedition together with the amazing Blue Ventures Team and volunteers in Belize, 14 feb - 27 mar 2014. More videos soon, stay tubed. Like, subscribe and expect every part of nature. "Based in Sarteneja and Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve our Belize expedition involves volunteers in marine conservation research and community projects as you immerse yourself in the culture and marine environment of Belize."

Video: Underwater Belize - MACKEENE Beachwear Advertisement, 1min.
Video Made in Belize at Caye Caulker by Arnaud SCIUS (MOUPS) Casting : Pierre VOGEL wearing a Bee model

Video: Belize Scuba, 3min.

Video: Sea Turtle in Belize, 4min.
Snorkeled at the famous diving paradise, Hol Chan Reef, Ambergris Caye, Belize 07/05/14

Video: Jewel Caye Landing, 1/4min.
Jewel Caye Island Landing in Belize --- Gateyway to beautiful Jewel Caye Island!

Video: Holding Nurse Shark - Belize, 1/2min.

Video: Tropic Air - Landing in Belmopan / Belize, 2min.
Flight from Belize City to Belmopan (Belize) on 08th May 2014. These flights are mosty a bit rough, but only as a result of the size of the plane. Its like driving a go-cart but in the air. Pure joy.

Video: Belize tour with Kodi Ireland of the Cayo Area, 3min. slideshow

Video: Costa Maya Festival San Pedro Belize Tropical Night, 5min.

Video: BELTRAIDE Partners with McNab Publishing Ltd. to produce The Invest Belize Magazine., 1.5min.
BELTRAIDE & McNab Publishing Ltd. are pleased to announce their new partnership for the Invest Belize Magazine. The 3rd issue of Invest Belize, which will be released in September, will be created by Beltraide and McNab Publishing. That should be a ground-breaking issue. Beltraide has a video out about the 9 firms that they worked with to increase their sales. The Invest Belize Magazine made its debut early last year and BELTRAIDE's 3rd volume is set to be released this coming September. The magazine is Belize's prime business and investment magazine comprised of engaging articles, enlightening statistics and important information on the country's business community. Invest Belize Magazine provides an opportunity for Belizean Businesses to make their mark; with its wide distribution both nationally and internationally, Invest Belize welcomes both local and foreign parties and promotes their investment in our country. McNab Publishing Ltd. is proud to be partnering in this new venture and to be a part of the growth of this useful tool for promoting Belize.

Video: The illusion of life, 3min.
The 12 basic principles of animation were developed by the 'old men' of Walt Disney Studios, amongst them Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, during the 1930s. Of course they weren't old men at the time, but young men who were at the forefront of exciting discoveries that were contributing to the development of a new art form. These principles came as a result of reflection about their practice and through Disney's desire to use animation to express character and personality. This movie is my personal take on those principles, applied to simple shapes. Like a cube.

Video: Ras Indio’s: Love You, Mama, 2min.
Sunday is Mother's Day, and reggae artist, Ras Indio chats about how he has prepared a special treat for those inspiring ladies that made all the babies. It's a new music video called, "Love You Mama". Now no one has ever missed the mark by making a song about Momma - you can ask Tupac or Sizzla about that - and today Indio told us what makes his message special:

Video: Ras Indio’s: Love You, Mama, 5min.
Here's the video, the cut above is a bit from the video and some interview…

Video: Belize Tunnel, 1min.
Scuba diving pass through. High rez


Video: Into and through San Ignacio Belize, 9min.

Video: Heavenly Belize, 5min.
Belize from the air, ultralight

Video: Gomez the Iguana Belize, 4min.
All about the iguana thanks to a knowledgeable guide

Video: Mr Peters Run fu yu life 2006 in Belize, 5min.

Video: Keisha Belize 2012 San Pedro, 10min.

Video: HiLine Poultry Fiesta processing plant in Belize, 4min.

Video: Househunters International San Pedro Belize Steve Reid, 7min.

Video: Mayan Ruins in Lamanai Belize filmed with XP2 Quadcopter, 2min.

Video: Belize Underwater, 3min.

Video: Shark Feeding Fun, 2min.
SHARKS!!! Thank you David Luxford for the awesome Video! Much appreciation and gratitude.

Video: Travel journey, 5min.
Mexico and Central America - by Adrian

Video: Belize, 2min.
Katie finished the spring break video! Enjoy!

Video: Tikal, 7min.
One of our last activities in Belize last summer was going to Tikal for the day which is where the largest mayan ruins are located! It was so amazing to go there and learn all about the mayans! Afterwards we went zip lining in the rain and it was an absolute blast! :)

Video: Frank Connelly - Sustainability Overview Part 1, min.

May 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

Ready, Set, Race Lagoon Reef Eco-challenge
Everything is set and ready for the 10th Annual Lagoon Reef Eco-challenge. Taking place on Saturday, May 10th and Sunday, May 11th, the challenge will consist of kayakers paddling through San Pedro’s lagoons and sea in hopes of winning a grand cash prize. Organizer of the event, Elito Arceo has stated that this tenth anniversary race may be one of the best ever. Paddlers take off from El Embarcadero, on the lagoon side of the island, on Saturday at 7AM, making into the lagoon area of San Pedro. The first day of the race will take kayakers up to the Basil Jones Area in Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve where they will camp out for the night. The second day of the race kicks off on Sunday at 9AM as kayakers sprint from their campsite to Central Park, along the eastern coast of Ambergris Caye.

San Pedro Tigersharks continue to make waves in the NEBL
The San Pedro Tigersharks continued their winning streak in the National Elite Basketball League after they defeated the Belmopan Bandits in week 12 of the regular season. The Tigersharks gave up their home advantage and took the game to the University of Belize Gymnasium on Friday May 2nd for the rematch. After a tough game, the islanders came out victorious, continuing their lead in the NEBL. On May 10th the Tigersharks will play the DangrigaWarriors ina Mother’s Day visit in week 13 of the NEBL. Game time is set for 8PM at the Ecumenical High School in Dangriga Town. We wish the San Pedro Tigersharks all the best!

Ambergris Today

In Memoriam - Michael Donald Wallace
You would have celebrated your birthday on May 2, but instead you celebrate with the Angels in Heaven. “Even though you are gone to the world, you are forever in our thoughts and hearts.” Rest In peace Mikey From Mom, Dad and Family

First Look At Harper's Bazaar Interiors Full Pictorial on Belize
Here is your first look at Harper’s Bazaar Interiors Magazine’s Travel Issue on Belize featuring the First Lady of Belize Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow. Belize’s First Lady was host to Harper’s Bazaar as she showed off the hidden beauty of our country Belize. “We are ecstatic with the results and with the massive interest it has received on social media in the weeks prior to its release!” stated Luigi Irauzqui, International Style Editor for Harper’s Bazaar Interiors.

Paper Beads Jewelry Workshop Held for Island Schools
Who doesn’t love making arts & crafts? It’s fun for children and adults too! A group of students from the University of North Georgia came to San Pedro to conduct a workshop on how to make jewelry from paper beads. The group consisted of Mrs. Kathy Simmons, Lisseth Keaton, Kristin Xiong, Khanh Tran and Sally Tang. Students from the University of North Georgia have been conducting paper beads workshops since 2007 in Nicaragua and decided to share this art to the community of San Pedro for the first time ever. Workshops were conducted at San Pedro High School and Holy Cross Anglican School. Participants were taught to measure, cut, roll and glaze beautiful beads out of recycled paper. They were even given a short introduction in marketing so that they can have their own business of selling beautiful paper bead jewelry.

Misc Belizean Sources

Mrs. Faith Babb
This week's trailblazer is a little late but here's a look at the accomplishments of Mrs. Faith Babb! Mrs. Faith Babb’s political career is best defined not by the office she once held, but rather the journey that led her to it. She was exposed to politics in her early childhood by attending political meetings with her patriotic grandparents. She became a member the UDP in her teenage years and has worked her way through the ranks of the party from foot soldier to a decision maker in the Party’s Central Executive Committee as National Director of Women. She later, along with other women, formed the UDP – National Organization of Women which certainly helped to propel her to become a candidate for National Election.

Harper's Bazaar (7 photos)
BELIZE is featured in an 11 page spread in this May/June issue of Harper's Bazaar Interior, and the introduction to our beautiful country is undertaken by Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow. The issue which features unique establishments and destinations across Belize includes an interview with Mrs. Barrow about her work as an effective advocate for child protection, cancer awareness and various other causes. The Tourism Industry is such an integral part of our growing economy and we will certainly benefit from the exposure Belize will receive being featured in a magazine with the prestige and audience of Harper’s Bazaar. There are many wonderful people to thank; starting with the hotels who immediately bought into the idea and where thrilled to be featured. Thank you to the management and staff of El Secreto, Victoria House, Cayo Espanto and Turtle Inn. Thanks also to the production team: creative Director - Luigi Irauzqui, photographer - Benny Haddad and cinematographer - Laurent Levy. Francesca Dutton and Kelly Mi Li for Skinny Bikini and hair stylist, Daniel Baseggio, thank you! We are also very proud to say that our very own Belizean makeup artist, Vanessa Awe and Joris Hendrik Design were a part of this Belize feature; thank you both. Thanks, of course, to the Belize Tourism Board and a very special thanks to Rue Kothari – Editor of Harpers Bazaar Interior. Very very special thanks to: Abraham Roffe, Jeff Gram, Martin Krediet, Janet Woolham, Allysa Carnegie, Evan Young, Mick Fleming and Lucy Fleming at The Lodge at Chaa Creek. THANK YOU ALL. Let’s celebrate our beautiful Belize!

BELTRAIDE & McNab Publishing Ltd. are pleased to announce their new partnership for the Invest Belize Magazine.
The Invest Belize Magazine made its debut early last year and BELTRAIDE's 3rd volume is set to be released this coming September. The magazine is Belize's prime business and investment magazine comprised of engaging articles, enlightening statistics and important information on the country's business community. Invest Belize Magazine provides an opportunity for Belizean Businesses to make their mark; with its wide distribution both nationally and internationally, Invest Belize welcomes both local and foreign parties and promotes their investment in our country. McNab Publishing Ltd. is proud to be partnering in this new venture and to be a part of the growth of this useful tool for promoting Belize.

Lime at the local Corozal fruit market is now 3 limes to one Belize dollar. A few weeks ago this same lime sold for one Belize dollar per lime. Certainly the effects of the increased prices ultimately trickled down to the consumer. In Belize the citrus greening has created the shortage of lime in every district. The Asian Citrus Psyllid insect is blamed for the cause of lime shortage in Belize. This insect is considered a pest with a destructive appetite on citrus plants, especially lime, and is responsible for the citrus greening disease. Experts have stated to the Belize media that the disruption in the lime market in Belize by the citrus greening disease may take as long as two years to improve. This is a long wait for the turn-around in Belize as lime imports from Mexico may have more impact in Belize due to the lime squeeze in that country. Demand for Mexican lime is at a high and has cause a price gouge in that country.

Government of Belize Press Office PRESS RELEASE - EVICTION NOTICE
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture takes this opportunity to advise and inform the General Public and more specifically the residents of the Harmonyville Development Area that it is unlawful to clear and occupy any land designated as a Buffer Zone Area (Reserve).

SMCU Mother's Day Celebration
Saint Martin's Credit Union is having a Mother's Day celebration on Saturday, May 10th, at their office. They'll have live marimba music, and some food and refreshments for everyone. They'll also have a raffle. Thanks, SMCU, and happy Mother's Day!

Ian Anderson’s Adventures in Belize Launches Its First Facebook Photo Contest
Adventures in Belize, located on Mile 41 ½ Hummingbird Highway, Belmopan, Belize, is launching its first Facebook Photo contest. The Facebook contest which begins May 7th, 2014 and ends on June 5th, 2014 will give potential clients a chance to experience Belize in a fun and adventurous way. To enter, contestants are required to go to the “Photo Contest!” tab on the Adventures in Belize Facebook and submit a photo of them vacationing anywhere in the world and explain why they would love to visit Belize. Once their entry is submitted, they can ask friends and loved ones to vote for their photo and try to gather as many votes as possible. At the end of the contest Adventures in Belize will review the top three submissions with the most votes and choose a winner. The winner, along with a friend or loved one, will get to enjoy the prize of a 3 nights complimentary accommodations in a Tropical Villa along with complimentary continental breakfast at El Secreto Resort. El Secreto Resort is located 11 miles north of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize. All villas are equipped with a King size bed, a state of the art led lighting system, air conditioning, iPod dock station, LCD, TV, mini bar, safe, hair dryer, Melita coffee maker, 400 thread Egyptian Cotton Vivenda linens and Malin & Goetz amenities.

BCB retirement
BCB Holdings Limited announced that John Searle has decided to retire as a director of the company and its subsidiaries, the Belize Bank Limited and Belize Bank International Limited, with immediate effect. Mr Searle, who is 77 years of age, has been a member of the board of directors of the Company since its incorporation in 1987 and was also an original member of the board of directors of The Belize Bank Limited. Mr Searle has dedicated nearly 30 years of service to the BCB Holdings Limited group of companies.

OAS Culture of Peace Art Project
The Organization of American States is having their Culture of Peace Art Project at the Benque House of Culture. They've posted lots of pictures , and more, from the event. "Engaging and empowering children,youths and adults in artistic expressions for the next 6 months is a task undertaken by the OAS Culture of Peace at the Benque House of Culture. Daily art lessons from 7:00p.m. Pursue your favorite Art-music or visual arts, lessons and materials are all free of cost."

Cahal Pech Village Resort in Belize Launches New Website
Cahal Pech Village Resort, one of the largest hotels in San Ignacio Belize, has just launched a new website. According to CEO Peter Tonti, the new website redesign is part of the resort’s long term plan of upgrading its facilities and services and will offer guests a unique user experience allowing them to easily navigate via desktop, mobile or tablet devices. The homepage of the website features a potpourri of beautiful images such as the hotel’s fresh water swimming pool, Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave which is one of the most visited caves in western Belize, a cozy palm thatched cabana, a honeymoon couple, and the ancient Maya ruins of Cahal Pech which is just a 5 minute walk from the resort.

A Big Day Out at Big Rock Falls
Your romantic adventure starts as soon as you turn down the dirt road, moving away from civilization and in to the scenic Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve. After a bumpy ride and a short hike down a steep path, you arrive at one of the most secluded destinations in Belize! You can hear the water long before you see it, but the view is what really takes your breath away! One hundred and fifty feet of fresh, tumbling water is the setting for your private day out. After you take in the stunning view (and grab some photos, of course!) it’s time to take off those hiking clothes and jump in to the ice cold water for a refreshing swim!

Adventures in Belize – Searching for the Elusive Manatee
“Do you see it? It’s right there!” our guide, Harry Sr. exclaimed as he pointed out into the translucent waters. We didn’t see anything, but eagerly moved to the front of the boat to search for the elusive Manatee grazing on turtle-grass at the bottom of the sea. There in the shadows of the Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary, we finally saw the dark formation swimming near our boat. It was our first Manatee sighting! Manatees are gentle herbivores found in the coastal areas and rivers of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, the Amazon Basin and Western Africa. Sometimes referred to as “sea cows”, these slow moving animals also have a slow metabolism and in order to survive, they’re typically found in shallow, warmer waters.

Attracting investments and growing the economy
“Even though the Statistical Institute of Belize issued a press release in February of this year correctly cautioning that GDP growth, it has no direct correlation with unemployment rate; we still need to ask where new jobs will come from when the economy is growing very little or not at all. Keeping in mind that the September Labour Force Survey gave an official unemployment figure of 14.2% or approximately 21,000 people, how can an economy growing at only 0.7% create jobs for that many unemployed? Bear in mind that the Government of Belize already hires almost 15,000 people at a total annual wage bill -footed by taxpayers- of just over $332 million, so it cannot create 21,000 more jobs within its own ranks. This leaves the private sector to do the needful, but how best to do it? One quick way to create sustainable jobs is to encourage foreign investors to bring new money and business activity into the economy.”— (Kay Menzies, president of Belize Chamber of Commerce).

Channel 7

Southern Regional: How The Embezzlement Went Down
In October of last year, reports surfaced of a massive case of embezzlement at the Southern Regional Hospital. Initial reports said that as much as $300,000 thousand dollars were misappropriated from the hospital's Maternal and Child Health account. The Administrator Nasley Somerville was immediately placed on suspension - and she remains on that tonight, awaiting a hearing form the public services commission. The commission will rely heavily on the completed report from the Auditor General. The 22 page document was submitted a month ago, and tonight, 7News has been leaked a rough copy of 15 of those pages. It paints a picture of massive fraud that went unchecked because of a total absence of internal controls at the Ministry of Health. Here now are the report's major findings. Jules Vasquez reporting "Confidential" - the Audit Report was submitted on April 11th, subject: the suspected embezzlement of 366,468.88 from the Maternal Child Health account at the Southern Regional Hospital by Administrator Nasley Somerville.

City Man Killed In Ladyville
There was a murder yesterday evening in Ladyville. Police say it happened at around 6:30 where a Belize City resident was killed in a very deliberate act. Vince Martinez had gone to a funeral in the village, not knowing that by the end of the day, his family would be preparing for his own. Monica Bodden spoke to the family today:.. Monica Bodden reporting 27 year old Vince Martinez Jr took his last breath under this bus stop in Ladyville - after he was cold-bloodedly gunned down just before 7 last night. The young man had attended a funeral for his grand uncle earlier that evening and was waiting on a bus to return to Belize City. But he never made it home. Instead, his motionless body was picked up by police and put in the pan of a mobile - and taken to the City's morgue where his family was waiting. ASP Chris Noble - Rural Executive Officer "What we know is that the police did get information of a shooting and we came out here. We met one male person with an apparent injury to the head. The person succumb on the scene and we have persons or a person that we may be looking for not from this area. We've establish that the gentleman does not reside in the Ladyville area, buy may have been coming from an event in the Ladyville area."

Raonel Wanted To Go To USA
Raonel Valdez - last night we showed you how he was taken away to Florida - at the very minute that the Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse was saying that his future was in the hands of the Cuban government - and he would remain in jail until they decided. So what went wrong? Did the Immigration Department go behind the Minister's back? Hulse says they didn't. Here's what happened. He explained that indeed that Valdez requested to be turned over to the United States. His country of origin Cuba had no interest in him - as is its standard policy for any citizen who has left the island for the United States. So, Valdez, who had paid his fine for entering Belize illegally was free to choose. Hulse says he didn't know things had reached that point - but the protocol he explained does engender the detained person's freedom to choose their next destination.

Fearing Layoffs, BEL Union Cries Foul
Almost exactly two years ago - the Belize Energy Workers Union at BEL stirred. They were angry because the power company was making layoffs: of linesmen and power plant operators. Things cooled off though when the Labour Commissioner got involved as a mediator - meaning that all plans to proceed with layoffs were frozen. The status quo remained until today when Union leaders came to our office saying that BEL wants to terminate four power plant operators as soon as May 17th. Now, a union exists primarily to make sure its members keep their jobs, so this deadline spurred the energy workers into action. They say they are appealing directly to the board of directors since management is not listening to them:... Marvin Mora, Vice President - BEWU "This time they have given us a date and they have proposed the 17th May to make these guys positions redundant and terminate the guys. Because of the arrangements that we have on our partnership collective agreement the company should have made provisions for those workers to be re-trained and placed somewhere else in the company. They issue has been long in the back burner for over 3 years and still the company has not been able to re-trained not even one employee and relocate an employee elsewhere so that he can keep his longevity service at BEL. The point is that we are past management and now are trying to address this issue with the board of directors to look at what the union side of the issue is and explore all the points that we are bringing to the table before they make a final decision that will ultimately impact all consumers in this country. You see, it is critical to note that the gas turbine is a key element is restoring back power to the country."

BEL Says Plant Workers Resisted Re-Assignment
And so, while that is the position of the Belize Energy Workers Union, this evening the Manager of Corporate Services granted us an interview. She explained that the company is indeed considering that these employees have given 20+ years of service to the company. They've subsequently made attempts to get them trained to fill different positions but these employees refused. Here's how the company representative explained their version of events: Dawn Sampson Nunez - Manager, Corporate Services - BEL "In 2012 the company had given notice to the employees involved that the company would commence remote operations of the gas turbine facility. In giving that information, the company at the same time offered the employees involved the opportunity to be trained so that they would be able to take on job opportunities in the company - trained them and get them prepared for other opportunities within the company. Unfortunately that offer was rejected back in 2012 and you will recall if you go back to your news archives that the matter was escalated to the labor commissioner and thereafter to the minister of labor. Since 2012 up until now we've been in mediation. So instead of using that time for training and getting them ready for this point where we are commencing the remote operations we were dealing with mediation and that's very unfortunate."

CCJ Will Hear Tomlinson's Challenge To Anti-Gay Immigration Law
The Caribbean Court of Justice has ruled that it will hear a case brought by Jamaican Gay Rights Activist Maurice Tomlinson which has implications for the entire Caribbean. He will be allowed to challenge the Immigration Laws of Belize and Trinidad and Tobago on the grounds that it violates the rights of LGBT persons living in the Caribbean to move freely throughout CARICOM. His application for special leave to bring his case was heard in November of last year. He needed special permission to be heard as an individual because his home nation, Jamaica, refused to bring the claim on his behalf. They did so on the grounds that he has travelled to both Belize and Trinidad and Tobago without any problems before, so his right to free movement has not been blocked before.

First Quarter Tourism Figures Are Strong
The latest tourist arrival figures have been released and they show increased in both the overnight and cruise sectors. Cruise tourism had the strongest showing: up 22% from the same period last year - meaning that 322 thousand cruise visitors came in the first three months of the year. March alone was up 39% from the previous year. There was a 10.25% increase in airport arrivals for those first three months, and in line with that arrivals of overnight tourists went up by 9.67%, compared to 2013. The BTB reports that overnight arrivals in the first three months of 2014 have all exceeded 30,000 visitors culminating in a total of 101,982 guests at hotels.

SATIIM To GOB: "Corrupt, inept, despotic and discriminatory"
Last week Tuesday, the Administrator of National Parks and the Chief Forestry Officer officially waived the expiration date on the permit they granted to US Capital Energy to enter the Sarstoon Temash National Park to conduct oil exploration activities. It's been a week since that decision, but yesterday, SATIIM and the buffer communities of Midway, Conejo, Crique Sarco and Graham Creek, voiced their anger at the Government of Belize for that decision. They've interpreted it to mean that Government is ignoring their Mayan Customary Land Rights. And so they describe the waiver as quote, a "historical trademark of a corrupt, inept, despotic and discriminatory government." Strong words, and the communities added that the waiver of the permit is an attempt to circumvent past rulings of the court, including the last one from Justice Michelle Arana delivered on April 3.

SJC Science Students Selected For Cave Hill Camp
There are two 4th Form graduates of Saint John's College who are preparing to participate in a prestigious engineering program at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of Belize. It's called the Caribbean Science Foundation's Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE). It will be a month-long science-based program where Belizean candidates, Mishek Musa and Siian Rancharan will get an educational benefit afforded to 18 other chosen students from the Caribbean. Today, we spoke with Rancharan about the distinction of his representation given the rigorous selection process. He also placed in the context that the Belizean society doesn't place a high value to pursuit of science in higher learning: Siian Rancharan - Selected for Engineering Program "I was hopeful. I wasn't sure if I would get in but it was kind of nerve racking in the sense that they only had limited names on the slots and in terms of the entire Caribbean, you are competing from a lot of different Caribbean countries. I think it's interesting because I know that the program has been for the past I think 2-3 years and we've only had one student from Belize in the very first year and then last year we didn't have any. I was very happy when I found out that my classmate and I would be doing it."

Miss Y, A Healthy Regard For Ageing Gracefully
The Miss Y pageant has become a cultural fixture: a bellyful of laughs intermingled with a healthy regard for ageing gracefully. This year's pageant is no different as the YWCA's flagship fundraiser. We met the contestants today:..

BETEX Shows Off the Best In Tourism
Today, the Belize Tourism Industry Association held the first day of their 2014 Belize Tourism Expo at the Princess Ramada Hotel in Belize City. The expo comes around every 2 years, and brings stakeholders in the industry in location to promote their tourism products. 7News stopped in to see what this year's participants brought to the showcase. The President of the Association explained its importance: Herbert Haylock - President, Belize Tourism Industry Association "It's the Belize Tourism Expo, it's the 2014 event. We do this event every two years, so the last event was in 2012 and then part of that was in 2010. The event is really one that's geared towards getting again the BTIA membership in particular because it's for that particular emphasis and purpose for the association to be able to have those members come to the floor like this at this particular show and offer and present what they have to sell to again, incoming agents and wholesalers who are here basically to do business. So what is going on behind me on the floor is you have business taking place where agents and wholesalers are meeting with particular properties and talking about what they have to offer and how they can be incorporated particularly into those agents and wholesalers itineraries and what they sell and sell onto their clients and customers."

Kim Barrow's 11 Page Spread In Harpers Bazaar
Kim Barrow's 11 page spread in Harper's Bazaar Interiors was launched last night at the opening of BETEX. Wait, did we say Kim Barrow's spread? Sorry, that's our bad! A release from the BTB says the spread, quote, "showcases the beauty of Belize." The official spiel reads thusly: "it gives readers a closer look at the simplistic, yet cultured lifestyle of Belizeans, depicted through the eyes of Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow." Wow, and here we were, thinking (simplistically of course) that self-promotion had somehow magically blended with tourist promotion. The magazine features Victoria House, El Secreto, Cayo Espanto, Turtle Inn, Silk Cayes & Splash Dive Center, Lamanai Archeological Site and Lamanai Outpost.

Channel 5

CCJ rules that gay activist can challenge the immigration act of Belize
A reserved judgment was handed down today via teleconference in the case of gay activist Maurice Tomlinson. The Caribbean Court of Justice which is the highest judicial institution for three [...]

Acting SolGen charts the way forward
Following the CCJ’s decision, Acting Solicitor General Nigel Hawke told the media that the legal victory for Tomlinson is simply the beginning of what will be a protracted argument from [...]

King’s Park resident is executed as he left his uncle’s funeral
On Wednesday afternoon, a Belize City man attended his uncle’s funeral in Ladyville. A little over an hour later, he lay dead in a pool of blood…shot to the head [...]

Motorcycle driver faces 6 charges for death of Holy Redeemer school girl
Today, nineteen year old Visiona Carcamo was slapped with six criminal charges for the death of five year old Akeela Wade on April fourteenth. Wade was on a motorcycle being [...]

2010 P.S.E. Top Scorers accepted into regional SPISE Program
SPISE, the Caribbean Science Foundation’s Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering is a prestigious program offered at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies [...]

Internet rates in Belize are the highest, but the speed is the lowest
The latest stats on regional internet speeds versus cost are in, and Belize is coming in almost dead last, comparatively speaking. The report was submitted by the ICT Pulse, which [...]

BEWU challenges redundancy of 4 B.E.L. employees
The Belize Electricity Workers Union and Belize Electricity Limited are at odds tonight over the fate of four long-standing employees.  Come May seventeenth, a team of plant operators, stationed at [...]

B.E.L. responds to union
In responding to the concerns of the union, B.E.L.’s Manager of Corporate Services, Dawn Sampson-Nunez says that the employees were given a chance to undergo training but when they refused [...]

B.E.L. announces $25Million Series 6 Debentures
There is one more report on Belize Electricity Limited. The company has announced an offering of twenty-five million dollars in series six debentures to shareholders in the government-owned company.  While [...]

Pharmaceutical suppliers support ministry procurement standards
In light of the ongoing debacle within the Ministry of Health, particularly where it concerns the recent appointment of Danini Contreras as Director of Drug Inspectorate, as well as the [...]

Estrada/Jones family acquitted of firearm charges
In July last year, the Gang Suppression Unit arrested a family of six and linked them to the discovery of a firearm, ammunition and week found inside a church adjacent [...]

B.T.I.A. holds its biennial tourism expo
Tourism stakeholders are meeting for the rest of this week in their expo known as BETEX. It is one of the major events hosted by the Belize Tourism Industry Association [...]

Tourism Stats for 1st Quarter of 2014
There is other good news in the industry. The Belize Tourism Board is reporting that arrivals for overnight, cruise and airport visitors went up between January to March 2014, when [...]

UB hosts a math fair for primary school students
The University of Belize through its Primary Education curriculum today put off a math fair. The purpose is to encourage interest in one of the most challenging subject areas in [...]

Second National TVET Conference
The Ministry of Education today hosted the Second National TVET Conference in Belize City. It’s all about showcasing and celebrating education, with a focus on the promotion of technical and [...]

Certified students at ITVET receive National Vocational Qualification
According to Gomez, this is just one prong of an extensive initiative to promote technical and vocational education. There is constant interaction between the Ministry of Education and stakeholders, but [...]

Healthy Living looks at colds and allergies
It’s dry, it’s windy and the mayflowers are in full bloom. Sounds like a beautiful day in the jewel, but for allergy sufferers – it’s anything but. In the United [...]


Scuba School in Belize Ranks High on Trip Advisor
The Scuba School Belize (SSB) located in San Pedro has been ranked as one of the top attractions within Belize by Trip Advisor. According to an article on the international press, thousands of travelers visit Belize each year to attend classes on scuba diving at the SSB. The institution has made its mark in tourism through the provision of the best diving services to travelers. Following a passion for diving, 33-year-old, Venancio Tillett moved from his hometown in Orange Walk and made his life in San Pedro where he opened the school after seeing a demand for the service. VENANCIO TILLETT “First of all, I have a passion for diving; I have been an instructor for over twelve years, I have been teaching throughout the country at different dive shops and I saw the need of a proper training facility. A lot of dive shops actually have just an instructor on staff, they don’t really work on teaching but if someone comes and wants to learn then the instructor is available for them. I saw that Belize didn’t really have a proper training facility and by seeing that and having the passion for it, it came to where I tried to partner with other instructors but they were too busy and they couldn’t do it and so I started it on my own. We started the business for the first year to see how it was going to go and then we had the second and third year and we are seeing that there is a huge amount of people that are looking to get certified. Since there was not an actual school of diving, Belize was losing business as they were directed to other places that had diving centres and now that there is one in Belize they are now coming to Belize just to get their course. As you know, Belize is one of the top destinations in the world and so Belize is in the top ten place they come.”

Murder Under Bus Shed in Rural Belize
“The victim lay motionless at a bus-stop in front of Puma Gas Station in Ladyville, Belize District. He had been shot once to the head by an unknown gunman who lurked up on him. Ladyville Police quickly responded and scene of crime technicians began processing the scene in an effort to acquire clues.” ASP CHRISTOPHER NOBLE “The police did get information of the shooting and we came out here and we met one male person with an apparent injury to his head; the person succumbed on scene. We have a person that we may be looking for, not from this area. We understand that the victim does not reside in this area but may have been coming from an event in the Ladyville area.” HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING “The victim was identified to be 27-year-old, Vince Martinez Jr. of Kings Park, Belize City. His family arrived on the scene a few minutes after in disbelief that he has now become a murder statistic. They hugged each other for support in dealing with the news. Martinez was in Ladyville attending his uncle’s funeral.”

Armed Robbery at Gas Depot in Western Belize
Love news has confirmed that there was a robbery at the Belize Western Energy Limited in San Ignacio Town next to the ITVET compound. Police in that municipality has detained one person. We will have details of this story in our newscast tomorrow.

Lands Department Cautions Residents of Harmonyville
Some residents of the 1300-acre subdivision area, Harmonyville, located at mile forty one on the George Price Highway are being cautioned by the Ministry of Natural Resources, specifically the Lands Department, after it was discovered that the Buffer Zone Area also referred to as ‘reserve’ is being tampered with. Such an act is deemed unlawful and as such the ministry has issued a release to the media and to the residents that those involved should cease and desist from doing so as a continuation of such activities can result in the demolition of any structures being placed on the reserve area. The release noted that on April 29, a letter of eviction and an order to cease and desist any ongoing development in the buffer zone area was issued to individuals of Harmonyville Development Area, informing them that the clearing of lands in the reserve area or the occupation of land designated as reserve in that subdivision is illegal. The notice added that any activity done on the designated reserve area should have the permission of the Lands and Survey Department otherwise the area should be left in its natural state.

CCJ Grants Application for Leave Challenging Belize’s Immigration Laws
The Caribbean Court of Justice in Trinidad and Tobago, today, granted an application for leave that was submitted by Maurice Tomlinson’s, challenging the immigration laws of Belize and Trinidad & Tobago. Tomlinson, who is a gay activist, applied for leave on the matter as a Caricom national. The CCJ says that ‘the mere existence of the provisions is enough to show an arguable case of prejudice as a gay national of a CARICOM country and that it was in the interest of justice that the matter proceeds as it calls into question significant aspects of community law, its relationship with domestic law and the obligation of states.” Section 5 of our Immigration Act forbids, ‘any prostitute or homosexual or any person who may be living on or receiving or may have been living on or receiving the proceeds of prostitution or homosexual behaviour. Love News was out there and we got the reaction of the Acting Solicitor General, Nigel Hawke.


Auditor General’s Report on Southern Regional Hospital Administrator Leaked to the Press
In our newscast yesterday, PlusNews informed that Administrator at the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga, Ms. Nasley Sommerville, will soon be appearing before the Public Service Commission. She is currently on suspension and must answer to hundreds of thousands of dollars missing from the Maternal and Child Health Bank...

Belize City Man Murdered in Ladyville
Around 6:00 Wednesday evening, a Belize City man was executed in the village of Ladyville near a popular gas station. According to police, 27 year old Vincent Martinez Jr. of a Kings’ Park address in Belize City was found motionless in a pool of blood with a single gunshot...

Son Asks for Help in Finding Missing Father
56 year old Mark Phillips Sr. a resident of Teakettle village, Cayo District, has been reported missing. According to his son Mark Phillips Jr., a resident of Camalote Village, his father has not been seen for the last four days Mark Philips Jr.-Son of Missing Person “Apparently, for some...

Lands Department Stops BGYEA from Farming in the Harmonyville Buffer Zone
Executive members of BGYEA (Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association) has for a long time been battling it out with squatters settling on the buffer zone of Harmonyville as it was a direct impediment to the development of the Buffer Zone, an investment BGYEA hoped, would bring them revenue. However...

Belize to Face Lawsuit for its Immigration Laws on Homosexuality
Jamaican homosexual activist Maurice Tomlinson is now one step closer to potentially overturning local laws he feels are discriminating against his right to free movement as a homosexual. This morning the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) granted Tomlinson special leave to file an application under the court’s original jurisdiction,...

Healthy Caribbean Coalition in Belize on Working Visit
On Wednesday night the top two officials from the Healthy Caribbean Coalition began a two day working visit to Belize. The organization serves as a link between non-governmental organizations and individuals promoting issues of non-communicable diseases and especially cancer. Adjunct Professor of medicine at the University of the West...

Belize’s Internet: Highest Prices and Lowest Speed
Belize has the slowest internet plan in the Caribbean. This is according to ICT Pulse, which compares internet speeds and pricing across the Caribbean on an annual basis. For 2014, 19 countries in the Caribbean were compared and Belize was at the bottom of the barrel when it came...

Minister Hulse Comments on Cruise Tourism and BTIA Lawsuit
Despite the thunderous opposition to the planned mega-tourism projects at Harvest Caye and Stake Bank, the Government has thrown in its lot with their developers. Even as the Department of the Environment is accused of running roughshod over its own protocols and the Belize Tourism Board is charged with...

Agriculture Show Draws Huge Crowds; Rodeo Remains a Hit
The National Agriculture and Trade Show 2014, one of the most anticipated events of the year, was a complete success; in fact, sources say it was better than last years. Despite the heavy rainfalls experienced in the Capital throughout the weekend, people from all around the country attended the...

The Guardian

Kareem, ask Yu Pa!
Kareem Musa, the attorney for Cola who says he is pursuing a private prosecution case against Elvin Penner appeared on the local television stations once again on Wednesday. His jugular vein was about to burst open as he shouted, ranted and raved about where the prosecution stands at this time. He is leading a charge against Elvin Penner for what he did as it relates to ONE passport which in the end was never issued to anyone. Kareem must have had to use all his energies for him to restrain himself from publicly making the same call that he is making against Penner against his own father. Yes, Said Musa is the father of the very Kareem Musa who has now become the regular shouter on television newscasts. Believe it or not, Said Musa was responsible for the sale of hundreds of passports, millions of dollars of which are unaccounted for and where various protocols were simply bypassed and rammed through the immigration department. We are sure Kareem knows about these. If he does not know about it maybe he should use the very zeal that he is using against Penner to have the Auditor General provide him with the report that states as much.

Belizean killed in Helicopter crash
Helicopter mechanic with the U.S. military, Sgt. Dwight Burn, 27, lost his life after a Ch47 Chinook helicopter he was in crashed on Saturday. Burn was one of 4 persons inside the aircraft and was the crew chief on board the chopper when it went down. He was the only person who died as a result. The chopper went down at around 8:15p.m on Saturday May 3 near Orogrande, New Mexico in the desert training area north of the Fort Bliss Garrison. Burn is Belizean and the son of Romel Perdomo. He lived in Belize City until the age of 4 when he migrated to the U.S. where he studied and joined the military in 2010 rising to the rank of sergeant. He is survived by his two daughters: Violet,7, and Vivian, 4.

Lower Light Bills... AGAIN!
On July 1st, Belizeans will benefit from another decrease in electricity rates. The exact rate reduction is not final as yet but it is certain that the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) will once again be lower than it was at the time of the nationalization of the Belize Electricity Limited (B.E.L.). On April 1st of this year, B.E.L. submitted an application to the Public Utilities Commission (P.U.C.) for an Annual Tariff Review Proceedings (ARP) covering the period July 1st, 2014 to June 30th, 2015. In its application B.E.L. proposed a reduction in the Mean Electricity Rate from 44.65 cents to 43 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). This is the third consecutive tariff review proceedings in which the company has proposed a rate reduction. The P.U.C. reviewed B.E.L.’s proposal and made some adjustments. According to John Avery, Chairman of the P.U.C., “B.E.L. proposed a substantial increase in approved Operational Expenditure which the Commission does not see necessary at this time.” The P.U.C. also approved less for assets addition to the Regulated Assets Value than was proposed by B.E.L. Avery says the company proposed certain investments that are not necessary under this tariff period. Despite the fact that the P.U.C. rejected B.E.L.’s proposed increase in Operational Expenditure and reduced the amount of proposed assets addition, the Commission’s methodology resulted in a necessary Mean Electricity Rate that is higher than that proposed by B.E.L. The P.U.C. has approved a MER of 43.47 cents per kilowatt hour.

Old PUP Mischief Maker
Landy Espat popped out his head, from wherever it was he had it on Tuesday to decry what he and only he is calling a land grab. Just a couple of weeks ago his PUP colleague Landy Habet was on television showing a cup of water that was dark. He claimed that it came from the faucet at his home and it was dirty. Not responding to Habet’s complaint but in an effort to improve water service to the San Ignacio, Santa Elena and surrounding communities, BWSL has been in the process of upgrading the water system in those municipalities. Currently the existing 50 year old system can neither suffice the expanding municipality either in the amount of water that is required or the quality needed. For over a year now discussions have been taking place to see how those improvements can take place and that had the company looking for a new location on which the water system can be expanded on. The most plausible route for expansion was for BWSL to take over the property where the fire station now sits and relocate the fire station elsewhere. With that a new location within the town limits was sought and the only possible location was a parcel of lot which sits behind the current Center for Employment training.

Electricity Consumers should remember Nationalization
Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow announced at a Special Sitting of the National Assembly that “we would never have wanted to take over a BEL that is debt-overburdened and on the brink of operational collapse. But in one of those perfect ironies of life and politics, it is this very state of affairs that obliges us to take it over. And so we will.” A bill was then introduced for the “assumption of control over electricity supply by the Government in the public interest”. At the time BEL owed approximately $27 million- $5.1 million to BELCOGEN, $10 million to Mexico’s Comision Federal de Electricidad(CFE) and $12 million to Fortis’s BECOL. Those were in addition to debts owed to other financial institutions. The company, for all intents and purposes was on the verge of collapse. But more than being on the verge of collapse, it was a company, which under Fortis' management was threatening "rolling blackouts" if it did not get rate increases as stated by Fortis' principal at the time, Stan Marshal. When the Prime Minister decided to nationalize BEL, the bill was passed at 12:20p.m. and low and behold her Majesty’s opposition, the PUP, was absent. They chose to abstain themselves from a singular act that is now proving to be a God-send. It is likely that they opted to not even have an opinion on the matter because they were the ones who sold BEL to Fortis, and they were the ones who would have forced the country into "rolling blackouts" and more than that, into BEL rate increases.

National Agriculture and Trade Show 2014 launched
Belize’s premiere agricultural trade show, the National Agriculture and Trade Show was launched on Friday of last week at the Show Grounds in Belmopan. Present for the launching were members of the Diplomatic Corp, Government Officials and many others who share a stakehold in Agriculture and Development. As part of the ceremonies on Friday, the Governor General Sir Colville Young did an Inspection of the Guard of Honor. This was followed by a welcome address by the Mayor of Belmopan His Worship Mr. Simeon Lopez. Mayor Lopez, took the opportunity to thank Show Ground organizers for the use of the ground facilities for market days on Tuesdays and Fridays, while a more centrally located Belmopan market is being completed within the next few months. Invited as guest speaker was Mr. Alvin Henderson, who along with the Chief Executive Officer within the Ministry of Agriculture, Jose Alpuche, co-chairs the innovative Agriculture and Food Consultative Council. Mr. Alvin Henderson, having previously done work at the Belize Chamber of Commerce now overlooks a successful and enterprising shrimp industry with markets in both Belize and abroad. Thus; it was not surprising that with his experience he would state that “…our local fortunes are many times inextricably tied to exogenous market forces far beyond our shores, which unattended can cause devastating local consequences.”

BTIA continues opposition to Norwegian Harvest Caye development
The Belize Tourism Industry Association has filed an application for Judicial Review Proceedings to challenge the decision of the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) and the Department of Environment when they approved Norwegian Cruise Line’s Harvest Caye Cruise Port project. On Friday, March 28, the BTIA’s attorney, Godfrey Smith, wrote to Martin Allegria, the Chief Environmental Officer, who is also the Chair of NEAC demanding that they rescind their approval of the project citing a lengthy list of environmental regulations that the project violates. The BTIA also demanded that the appraisal committee put the NCL environmental impact assessment to a public hearing, which is different from the public consultation held in Independence Village on January 22. Their reasoning is that by way of a public hearing, they believe that all the scientific environmental concerns would be better documented and considered than if they only submitted their concerns in writing. Another major concern of the BTIA is that there was an appearance of secrecy to try to quell the opposition to the project by failing to publish all relevant information for public consumption in a timely basis, as required when dealing with environmental impact assessments.

Education Showcase 2014
Education Showcase 2014 is being held under the theme ‘Quality Teachers: Nurturing the Inherent Potential of our Children’. Over the next two weeks, students from all levels of education will be using lessons from the classrooms to make public presentations. There will be training workshops, literacy fairs and it will end with a grand celebration of dedicated educators. The focus on the first three days of Education Showcase 2014 was the promotion of financial literacy in Belize. Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) and Peacework International has been holding financial literacy camps in Belize since 2008 and they held their latest on Monday, May 5th, and Tuesday, May 6th. Financial Literacy has been an important component of education for Hon. Patrick Faber’s Ministry of Education. Belize, like many countries in the Caribbean region, is far behind developed countries in the area of financial literacy. The culture is one that does not allow children to be involved in financial discussions. Very few parents speak to their children about bills, budgeting and other financial affairs. Majority of the population is not even exposed to elementary level financial literacy training. It is for this reason that the Ministry of Education takes its partnership with Price Waterhouse Cooper and Peacework very seriously.

Major Resorts Capitalize on Harper’s Bazaar Interior’s Interest in Kim Barrow
Kim Simplis-Barrow’s advocacy for special needs and underprivileged children and her brave public battle with breast cancer has drawn admiration from across the globe. It has resulted in numerous requests for features in international publications. Each time such requests are made, she says yes on one condition- that the feature be more about the country than it is about her. Harper’s Bazaar Interiors is the most recent international publisher to make such a request and once again, upon saying yes, Mrs. Barrow made sure that the wonders of the country would be showcased in the feature. It would have been easy for Mrs. Barrow to simply allow them to do a photo shoot and interview in some studio in Los Angeles. Instead, she insisted that the setting for each shoot be one of Belize’s many tourist destinations. This is not a condition that publishers regularly would accept. The result of such condition would in effect be leaning the article closer to the category of an advertisement and advertisements in such magazines cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of US$40,000 for a full page spread. The magazine accepted Mrs. Barrow’s proposal and changed the angle of its special feature.

King delivers Title to the Promised Land to Gaynair
Belize National Football Team Player, Ian Gaynair was all smiles on Wednesday May 7, when Hon. Mark King handed over to him the title to parcel 394 on block 45 in the St. Martin de Porres Area of Belize City. Gaynair had been dragged into a political back and forth last year when claims were being made that Hon. King had taken his land when the reality was that the land had been taken away during the PUP era. Quick to respond to the matter, Hon. King contacted Gaynair and the process started almost immediately to secure another parcel for him in the Lake I division. Last year, on August 28, Hon. King handed over a lease to the very parcel 394. Nine months later, the title was handed over to the football star. Speaking to the media Gaynair said he was happy that of all promises that had been made to him by various people, this was one which was delivered on. He said he has been saving up some finances and is looking at put up a house on his land. He went further and jokingly asked Hon. King if he could assist him with that as well to which the minister quickly replied, "check the National Bank." (the National Bank offers finances to persons like Gaynair for home construction.) But jokes aside, King had taken up all expenses in acquiring the land and the leg work which it takes to get the lease and finally the title.

Ministry of Health Held Recognition Ceremony for Matron Roberts Polyclinic II
On Wednesday April 30, A special recognition ceremony was held for the administration and staff of the Matron Roberts Polyclinic II in Belize City. The Ministry of Health hosted the ceremony to publicly recognize, honor and showcase the outstanding performance of the polyclinic in obtaining the highest scores as a National Health Insurance (NHI) Primary Care Provider (PCP) facility in the Southside Belize City area for 2013. During the ceremony, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health Dr. Peter Allen said that the Matron Roberts Polyclinic II has consistently been receiving high scores in their most recent yearly NHI facility evaluation assessments for Southside Belize City. For 2013, Matron Roberts Polyclinic II received a total value of 100% in facility assessment, services, health team and key equipment.

Special Envoy’s Trailblazer of the Week
This week the Special Envoy for Women and Children is recognizing Hon. Faith Babb as the trailblazer of the Week. Mrs. Faith Babb’s political career is best defined not by the office she once held, but rather the journey that led her to it. She was exposed to politics in her early childhood by attending political meetings with her patriotic grandparents. She became a member the UDP in her teenage years and has worked her way through the ranks of the party from foot soldier to a decision maker in the Party’s Central Executive Committee as National Director of Women. She later, along with other women, formed the UDP – National Organization of Women which certainly helped to propel her to become a candidate for National Election. Mrs. Babb is the first UDP woman elected to the National Assembly and the first woman to serve as Area Representative for the Collet Division. She was also the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and was appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development, Women Affairs and Youth in the UDP Administration of 1993-1998. She served as acting Minister, responsible for this portfolio on many occasions, and was eventually upgraded to being a Minister.

Clarifying U.S. Capital Energy’s Permit to enter Sarstoon Temash National Park
The Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU), which has oversight of petroleum operations in Belize through its Geology and Petroleum Department, is compelled to clarify the continued misstatements by the media regarding the scope of the permit issued to US Capital Energy Belize Ltd., (US Capital) by the Forest Department on April 30, 2013. The permit issued to US Capital Energy Belize Ltd by the Forestry Department is a permit to enter the Sarstoon-Temash National Park for the purpose of conducting petroleum exploration drilling operations and not a permit to conduct drilling operations. It is the Ministry with responsibility for the Geology and Petroleum Department and not the Forest Department that issues permission, through legally binding Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), for oil exploration in Belize as specified in the Petroleum Act. The Government of Belize signed a PSA with US Capital on January 22, 2001 with two subsequent amendments. It is this PSA that grants permission to US Capital to conduct petroleum explorations throughout its concession area, inlcuding the Sarstoon-Temash National Park.

Cop arrested for stolen Guns
Yannick Wade, 27, a police constable from Belize City attached to the San Pedro Police Station, is currently at prison because he allegedly stole a cache of weapons and ammunition from the police station sometime between Wednesday, April 30, and Friday, May 2. It is being viewed as a betrayal of public trust that these weapons were stolen because it is an accepted practice in the Police Department that licensed weapons are taken to the police stations countrywide for safe keeping when owners are unable to do so. On Wednesday, April 30, the KBH Security company left eight .38 revolvers along with 101 live rounds of .38 ammunition with the San Pedro Police believing that they were in good hands. Reliable reports to the press is that Wade called in sick on Thursday, May 1, and on Friday, May 2, at 7 a.m., it was discovered that the weapons and ammunition were missing. Police investigators immediately activated, and they zeroed in on Wade as a suspect. They conducted an extensive raid at his girlfriend’s house at the corner of Cemetery Road and Johnson Street. After hours of searching, the officers found 2 of the missing guns and 8 rounds of .38 ammunition. The entire family was detained by the officers but on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions, only Wade was charged.

Guatemalan found shot dead in Chiquibul
A Guatemalan has been found shot in Belize. On Saturday of this past weekend, San Ignacio police along with Belize Defense Force personnel and members of the Friends for Conservation and Development FCD visited Valentine Camp in the Mountain Pine Ridge Area, whereupon a search was conducted in a grid at point 70111-58638 or about 3 Km North of the Kaldin Community, Guatemala. This search by the joint team led to the discovery of the body of a Mestizo descent male person dressed in black pants and green T-shirt. Investigators were later able to identify the body being that of Heber de Jesus Tzin Alvarado, 47 years of age, a Guatemalan Farmer of Dolores, Peten, Guatemala. The body was also identified by the son of the deceased, Ebel de Jesus Alvarado, a Guatemalan Farmer of Dolores, Peten. Found on the lifeless body of Heber De Jesus Tzin Alvarado were gunshot wounds to the left side of the ribcage area, one to the left leg, one to the left side of the head and another to the mid portion of the back area. Also found at the scene were two 9 mm expended Luger brand shells, located about three feet away from the body. Initial investigations revealed that the deceased was last seen alive on April 28 of this year at about 10:30 am in the village and was discovered dead on May 1st at about 8:30 am

“Battery” charged for attempted murder against cops
On Wednesday May 7, Brandon Smith, aka “Battery” was remanded to the Belize Central Prison along with 28-year-old Alrick Smith, a Mechanic of #19 Matron Robert Street in Belize City, after they were accused of trying to kill four Belize City Police Officers, on Saturday, March 16, 2013. The incident occurred during a shootout with police on Mahogany Street in Belize City whilst the uniformed men were in the execution of their duties as police officers. On Monday of this week, May 5, both Smiths saw the charge struck out for want of prosecution when the case file was not available in the court room when the matter came up. The prosecutor told the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith that the case file was at the DPP’s office at the time. With that explanation the Chief Magistrate, struck out the matter for want of prosecution warning the men that the charge could be brought back at any time. That happened on Wednesday and the charges were brought back.

Fratricidal Blood letting Brother recharged for murder
On Wednesday May 7, Edward Cabañas appeared in Magistrate’s Court where he was read a single charge of murder against his 19 year old brother Brandon Cabañas. The charge was brought back against Edward after the matter was struck out on March 25. Edward is accused of stabbing Brandon Cabañas twice on Saturday December 29, 2012. The incident took place during an altercation between the two brothers in Sandhill Village. Brandon 19, a father of a 3 year-old boy was stabbed twice, once to the left and right upper thigh he was taken to the KHMH where he died while undergoing treatment.

Drug Bust in Cayo
San Ignacio Police have arrested two persons for marijuana possession. On Thursday of last week, a Quick Response Team was conducting a mobile patrol in San Ignacio Town when their attention was drawn to a brown in color pickup truck, which was coming from the direction of Benque Viejo Town at high speed. As a result the vehicle’s driver was signaled to pull over, but upon seeing that Police officers, the driver drove off at high speed. Police then followed the driver to Stanton Street and then to Buena Vista Street, where the vehicle overturned on Buena Vista Street, just in front of the Police Station.

Accused of Sexual Assault and Wounding
Justin Goff, 26, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison after he was accused of wounding and sexually assaulting a 19-year-old female. Allegations are that on Wednesday, April 21st, 2014, the woman was walking on the street when Goff approached her and touched her breast. She says she was offended and punched him in the mouth. Goff punched her back in the mouth and they began to tussle. She eventually got away and fled the area. The woman made a report to police after which Goff was arrested and charged for assault and wounding.

Executioners caught up with Julian Willoughby
Julian Willoughby, a 24 year-old Antelope Street resident with many enemies, died after a wild shooting incident which left 4 other young people injured on Friday May 5, at around 10:30 p.m. Willoughby was socializing with 21 year-old Chris Reyes, 20 year-old Phillipa Ramirez, a 14 year-old student and 18 year-old Francisco Rivas at an apartment complex on Antelope Street Extension when 2 gunmen ambushed the crowd and opened fire. Reyes was shot to the left arm and left upper chest area, while the minor was shot in the left leg. Ramirez suffered an injury to the left side of the jaw, and Rivas ended up with a bullet in his left upper back. Willoughby, who seemed to be the man that the assailants were targeting however; suffered multiple gunshot injures to the body. He was the only victim who was trapped inside one of the rooms which prevented his escape. In the room, the gunmen executed him after which they immediately retreated and escaped into a waiting vehicle on Pitter Street.

Senior Citizen pleads guilty to Possession of Crack Pipes
On Friday, May 2, 64-year-old Marjorie Pitts appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano and pleaded guilty to a charge of being in possession of metal pipes used to smoke drugs. Police officers were conducting foot patrol on Cemetery Road at about 2 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30, when upon reaching Taylors Alley they saw a female in the area acting suspiciously. The officers approached and conducted a search on her which resulted in the discovery of two metal pipes. She was arrested and escorted to the police station where she was charged.

52 year old woman guilty of drug trafficking
On Monday May 5, 52-year-old Brenda Mejia was convicted of drug trafficking before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith. While she escaped an immediate jail term, she was fined $10,000. The Chief Magistrate, did not fine and confine but rather ordered her to pay $3,000 forthwith, in default 2 years and the balance must be paid by March 2015, in default 5 more years. Mejia was busted at her home on August 20, 2013. She was found in possession of 113.4 grams of cannabis by Cpl. Gino Peck, and two other officers Deon Welch and Harold Grinage. The bust was made when the officers searched her home and under the house bottom, they found a bag with what appeared to be a leafy like substance suspected to be cannabis and it was shown to her after which she was charged.

San Pedro Tigersharks maintain lead in National Elite Basketball League competition
The National Elite Basketball League competition continued over the last week with four games on the schedule. On Thursday May 1, at the Stann Creek Ecumenical College Auditorium in Dangriga Town, the home team the Dangriga Warriors edged out the visiting Toledo Diplomats by the score of 48-44. The top scorers for the Dangriga Warriors were Jamir Flores with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals, Brandon Flowers with 7 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals, Gary Francisco with 7 points, 3 rebounds, and a steal, and Trevaughn Usher with 6 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. For the Toledo Diplomats, their top scorers were Jovannie White with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals, Elbert Arida with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and a steal and Frank Lopez also with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. The competition then continued on Friday May 2, at the Bird’s Isle here in Belize City where the visiting Cayo Western Ballaz won handily over the Belize City based Smart No Limit squad by the score of 77-63. The top scorers for the Cayo Western Ballaz were Kurt Burgess with 20 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, Travis Lennan with 18 points, and 5 rebounds, and Farron Louriano with 14 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.

FFB President’s Cup Tournament opens
The 2014 Football Federation of Belize (FFB) President Cup Tournament opened on Saturday May 3. On Saturday May 3, at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence Village, the visiting Roaring Creek United defeated Sagitun by the score of 3-2. The goals for Roaring Creek United were scored by Alden Crawford in the 47th minute of play, Michael Lewis in the 54th minute of play and Orin Reneau in the 92nd minute of play. Meanwhile, the goals for Sagitun were scored by Ashley Torres in the 72nd minute of play and Wilbert Rivas in the 13th minute of play. The competition continued on Sunday May 5 with two more games on the schedule. In the game played out at the Ricalde Stadium in Corozal Town, Progresso FC edged out San Antonio FC by the score of 2-1. The goals for Progresso FC were scored by Marlon Miranda in the 42nd minute of play and Eliazar Itza in the 78th minute of play. For the San Antonio FC, the only goal of the game was scored by Russell Casanova in the 55th minute of play.

Police United and Belmopan Bandits wins in playoffs opener
The Semi-final round of Premier League of Belize Belikin Cup Tournament commenced on Saturday May 3, 2014 with 2 games on the schedule. At the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga Town, the league’s top team, Police United edged the host team the Belize Defence Force by the score of 2-1 to take a 1-0 lead in the home and away series. The visiting Police United got on the scoreboard first when Clifton West scored the 1st goal of the game in the 31st minute of play to give his team a 1-0 lead. At the end of the first half of the game, the Police United enjoyed a 1-0 lead. The Police United team took the 1-0 lead well into the second half of the game and it not until the 81st minute of play that Ambrose Thomas scored for the Belize Defence Force to even the game at 1-1. But that was short lived, as Police United offence was able to penetrate the Belize Defence Force’s defence when Danny Jimenez scored the winning goal in the 87th minute of play.

Belize City Primary Schools Volleyball Competition opens
The 2013-2014 Belize City Primary Schools Volleyball competition opened on Wednesday April 30, 2014 at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City. On Wednesday April 30, in the girls’ game played, Holy Redeemer School defeated Hummingbird Elementary School by the score of 25-11, and 25-20. In the boys’ game, it was also Holy Redeemer School winning over Hummingbird Elementary School by the score of 25-13 and 25-18. The competition then continued on Tuesday May 6, with three games on the schedule. In the girls’ game played, St. Ignatius School defeated St. John Vianney School in three sets by the score of 26-24, 20-25 and 15-4. In the first of two games in the boys’ category, Holy Redeemer School defeated All Saints’ School by the score of 25-13 and 25-9.

Belize Book Industry Association celebrates Book Week
The Belize Book Industry Association BBIA continued to celebrate Book Week in San Ignacio Town last Friday at the Cayo Welcome Center. This time Book Week was held with the theme, ‘It’s cool to read.’ The event on Friday saw the outpouring of enthusiasts from High Schools and Primary Schools from the Cayo District; coming out to support their love of books. First form students from the Saint Ignatius High School in Santa Elena were out in force to perform a ‘Flash Mob’. Ms. Terry Ulloa, Senior Library Assistant had come out not only to organize the flash mob but to take a perfect shot at ‘brother Anansi.’ In her welcome address, President of the BBIA Montse Casademunt described the value of writing, as it “...allows us to communicate with persons we will never meet”. The accomplished publisher from Cubola, urged her followers to take on the joy of reading, “While we learn to read during the first few years of attending school, unless the books we are given to read are interesting and fun we will not develop a passion for reading. This is why we find that very often adults stop reading to the point that for lack of practice, they almost forget it and they end up doing it with difficulty and not even truly understanding what they read!”

Ramada is Back in Belize
There are more changes taking place within the Princess Hotel group in Belize; fortunately, these changes are positive for the industry and the company’s employees. The Princess Hotel in Belize City will now be operating under the internationally acclaimed Ramada brand as the Ramada Belize City Princess. Erol Olcan, Princess Hotel General Manager, stresses the fact that there is no change in ownership of the hotel. He says the company still belongs to Turkish owned Princess International Limited but it is a new chapter in the company’s affairs and a partnership agreement has been signed with Ramada. The main purpose of the partnership is for Princess to benefit from the global marketing of the Ramada brand. The Belize City Princess will now be featured on Ramada’s global reservation system which should attract more customers to the hotel (and tourists to Belize).

Cyclists participating in Pan American Cycling Championship
The Cycling Federation of Belize informs the Belizean populace that a contingent of six male cyclists left the country on Tuesday May 6, 2014 enroute to Puebla, Mexico, where it will participate in the Pan American Cycling Road Championship that is scheduled for May 6th -11th, 2014. A total of 22 countries will be participating in this event, from which a total of 18 spots (13 for Road Race and 5 for Time Trial) will be distributed for the Pan American Games scheduled for Toronto, Canada in 2015. The Belize Team is made up of Joel Borland (u-23), Marlon Castillo (Elite), Gregory Lovell (Elite), Giovanni Lovell (u-23), Byron Pope (Elite) and Ron Vasquez (Elite), Perry Gibson (Head Coach) and Orson Butler who is the Central Region President. All six cyclists will be participating in the Road Race, while Marlon Castillo, Byron Pope, Joel Borland and Giovanni Lovell will be participating in the Individual Time Trial.

Patrick Jones

CCJ grants leave to challenge Belize’s Immigration Act
The Caribbean Court of Justice has ruled that Jamaican national Maurice Tomlinson can proceed to challenge the immigrations laws of Belize. Tomlinson went to the Trinidad and Tobago-based CCJ contending that the immigration laws of Belize and of Trinidad and Tobago discriminate his freedom of movement as a CARICOM national under the Treaty of Chaguaramas because he is a gay man. Section 5 of the Immigration Act lists homosexuals or persons living on or receiving proceeds of homosexual behaviour as persons who can be denied entry to Belize.

Belize City man murdered in Ladyville village
Belize City resident twenty seven year old Vince Martinez Junior was shot and killed last night in Ladyville village, Belize District. Police say that when they went to the scene of the homicide, a bus stop in front of the Puma Gas Station, around 6:15 pm on Wednesday, they found Martinez’ body in a pool of blood with a single gunshot wound to the right side of the head. Initial investigations by police reveal that Martinez was sitting under the bus stop when a man of dark complexion came running from the direction of Marage Road and allegedly fired the single fatal gunshot.

Belmopan resident says school girl WAS NOT the victim of a hit-and-run driver
Some family members of a primary school girl from the Maya Mopan area of Belmopan were shocked this afternoon to learn that their pre-teen daughter was the victim of what they originally thought was a traffic accident this morning. The Standard 5 student of a primary school in Belmopan left home for classes this morning, but just before midday, the family received word that she was at the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan. The original report was that the girl was the victim of a hit and run accident but soon after the story was first published, word came that there was no accident.

Police investigate murder of Belize City man in Ladyville
Around 6:00, Wednesday evening, a Belize City man was executed in the village of Ladyville near a popular gas station. According to police, 27 year old Vincent Martinez Jr. of a Kings’ Park address in Belize City was found motionless in a pool of his own blood with a single gunshot wound to the right side of the head at the bus stop in front of Puma gas station located at the corner of the Philip Goldson Highway and Marage Road in Ladyville. He was shirtless and wearing long blue jeans pants. Police say Martinez was sitting at the bus stop when a single gunman, dark-skinned and in white shirt and black long pants, ran at him from the direction of Marage Road and fired once at Martinez, before running back the way he came and escaping in a waiting car.

Maurice Tomlinson wins leave to challenge immigration laws
Jamaican homosexual activist Maurice Tomlinson is now one step closer to potentially overturning local immigration laws he feels are discriminating against his right to free movement as a homosexual. This morning the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) granted Tomlinson special leave to file an application under the court’s original jurisdiction, seeking to have the court declare that the immigration laws of Belize and Trinidad and Tobago are arguably prejudicial to him. Presenting the judgment of the court, CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron said that Tomlinson had met the standard of presenting an arguable case. According to the court, the very existence of the laws amounts to prejudice, the states’ arguments that they do not treat homosexuals that way in practice notwithstanding. It is in the interests of justice that the CCJ is allowing the case to proceed, as they believe that there are significant questions about aspects of community law, the relationship with domestic law and the obligations of states under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas which must be answered.

Healthy Caribbean Coalition visits Belize
On Wednesday night the top two officials from the Healthy Caribbean Coalition began a two day working visit to Belize. The organization serves as a link between non-governmental organizations and individuals promoting issues of non-communicable diseases and especially cancer. Adjunct Professor of medicine at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill, Barbados, Sir Trevor Hassell, is the President of the Coalition and told us that Belize’s Cancer Society, the local affiliate, has been recognized for its work in bringing awareness to the issue of cervical cancer among women. With funding procured for it from the Australian High Commission Aid Development Office, 600 pap smear tests have been administered to women across the country, many of whom had never been tested before and knew nothing about cervical cancer. Professor Hassell added that it is not only important for individuals to live healthy lifestyles – avoiding foods high in sugar, fat, salt and so on and not drinking, smoking or practicing other harmful behaviours – but for there to be an enabling environment in the country for this to happen.

Cuban fugitive accused of gold heist sent to U.S.
Raonel Valdez-Valhuerdis, with two other men, is accused of masterminding the biggest gold heist in Florida history, robbing the American owner of a Bolivian-based gold exporter of 100 pounds of gold flakes in two suitcases valued at US$2.6 million in October of 2012 before fleeing the country. In February of this year local immigration officials found him in the bushes near the Western border with a Cuban passport but no Belize immigration stamp to show that he had entered. After local courts ordered him to pay a fine for illegal entry, there was a three-way back and forth between Belize, American and Cuban authorities as to what to do with him. Should he be sent back to Cuba, or back to the U.S. authorities who wanted him? Minister of Immigration and Nationality Senator Godwin Hulse discussed the issue with reporters on Wednesday in Belize City emphasizing that even in thorny cases like this one, Belize tries its best to follow the law.

All systems go for Harvest Caye and Stake Bank
Despite opposition to the planned mega-tourism projects at Harvest Caye and Stake Bank, the Government has thrown in its lot with their developers. Even as the Department of the Environment is accused of running roughshod over its own protocols and the Belize Tourism Board is charged with ignoring its own plans for tourism in the area, the Government clings to the hope that development will come sooner rather than later. Senator Godwin Hulse, who chairs the Cabinet’s sub-committee on Investment, re-states the Government’s position. He says that the Government is for development of the South and lifting the residents there out of poverty.

Women’s Cross Country prize doubled
The first prize for the Women’s Cross Country Cycling Classic to be held next Sunday, May 18, has been doubled from $1,500 to $3,000. It came about as part of efforts to promote equality for women in Belize, and the members of a committee consisting of members of the National Women’s Commission and Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis Barrow, are seeking means of influencing how women are perceived in Belize. Mackeva Westby, Program Coordinator in the Special Envoy’s Office, reports that the grant facilitating the prize came from the Oak Foundation. Following the 20,000 Strong Women’s Empowerment Rally in March, an Action Plan Committee 2014 was formed specifically to look at ways women’s lot could be strengthened.

Stephen Okeke out of door on TV Ramos bust
A few weeks ago he was $5,000 richer as a result of donation for the completed bust of Thomas Vincent Ramos, Garifuna hero. But tonight, sculptor Stephen Okeke has once more run afoul of certain elements that he says are trying to suppress his creativity. Because his deal with key sponsors of the project has apparently fallen through, Okeke is putting up the bust for sale, as he previously did with that of Philip Goldson. Okeke says he will not put up with any more abuse from individuals who question his motive for putting together the bust, especially those who suggest he is a con artist trying to milk the community. If you want to buy the bust contact Okeke at 662-1678.

Major renovations underway at PG Police Station
The Punta Gorda police station is undergoing major renovations. The improvement works started on April 15 and is expected to be completed by July of this year. According to the Deputy Commander of the PG Police Inspector Ernel Dominguez, the building has not had a major renovation for close to two decades and the changes being made will make for a more welcoming atmosphere for members of the general public who seek the services being offered.


What’s happening in Belize City and San Pedro
What a whirlwind it has been since I returned home from covering the Agriculture show Belmopan Monday Morning. Right before I was about to have travel related a Skype interview, a bunch of my important files disappeared off my laptop. I managed to remain calm and focus on the task at hand not get too bummed out by it. Thankfully my tech help was able to help me recover some of the files but we have not had time to find the rest. My interview went well and my homework was to make a short video resume in less than 24h and get tacoboy to do a 10 min interview asap. Mission accomplished on both counts – you can see my video below. My focus quickly turned to travel TV shows to travel trade shows as the Belize Tourism Expo (BETEX) was starting and I needed to book our hotel in Belize City and hop on a plane.

I also met an amazing woman who started and really devotes her life to helping the birds of Belize with The Belize Bird Rescue. We are so lucky to live in a country with some many gorgeous birds from the awesomely oafish pelican… There was also a huge need for sick or injured birds – both those who had been kept as pets and mistreated or birds that were found hurt. Nikki got to work…and birds quickly became her passion. And when I followed her on a tour of the enclosures on her property and when I met some of the birdies (some with broken wings, a few blind parrots and others), I could see why… Belize has some GORGEOUS native birds. An amazing climate and country where birds like Harry fly free in the wild.

The 7 Deadly Financial Sins of Small Businesses
This year’s tax season has finally been put to bed. And many people — both small-business owners and consumers — are breathing a collective sigh of relief. However, there is a fundamental difference between business and personal finances when it comes to taxes. While the “average Joe” may not have to worry about taxes again until next year, “Joe the small-business owner” needs to start thinking about his next quarterly tax filing now. Yes, for the small business owner, the taxman cometh four times a year. While this is bound to cause anxiety, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With proper planning and the right financial tools, many business owners can approach each filing with confidence. For the entrepreneur who has achieved this, I applaud you. And for the rest, to start you off on the right track for next year I’ve flagged seven financial faux pas that are commonly overlooked by small businesses.

“Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Sitting on the veranda – the western or lagoon facing one – this morning with my mug of black coffee (no sugar) and the iPad I did what I normally do first and read The Times online. I don’t know why but I nearly always start off by reading the obituaries first. A morbid curiosity on my part? I don’t think so. I actually do enjoy reading the biographies of the famous and not so famous. Sometimes its the achievements of the latter that I find more interesting and (sometimes) more uplifting. The greatest pleasure I get though is being in a position to read them. Life is good and all that … Having finished reading The Times I switched to Facebook and my feeling of joie de vivre was knocked sideways when I read the following comment that had been posted in respect of yesterday’s edition : “If you are going to make the claim that you are a “writer,” be cognizant of your spelling, use of punctuation, and grammar…and most importantly, don’t be a retard!”. My initial reaction was irritation but this was quickly followed and replaced by anger. What had I done to upset someone so much that they felt compelled to make public such views. What could I do in retaliation? But then my mind wandered a little -it’s apt to do that a bit nowadays – back to the days when I worked for News international and I was in attendance at a ‘Sun editorial meeting.

Financial Institutions and Insurance
Many may wonder, why it is important to get insurance when applying for a credit facility (loan) at any financial institution. There are many reasons why it is important and why its commonly requested by financial institutions. One main reason is the fact that it provides security benefits for both the lender and the borrower. It’s used as a security blanket to protect the client’s investments by providing coverage in case of any damages to the collateral, while offering a guarantee of payment to the financial institution. Three types of insurance that are normally offered and requested by the financial institutions are: Works In Progress insurance Building insurance Life insurance Works in Progress Insurance is offered to clients who apply for a loan to build, repair or renovate. The insurance primarily covers properties that are undergoing new construction, repairs, renovations or major rebuilding works. It is only required during the construction phase of the project and it is required to be undertaken by the property owner with the financial institution as beneficiary. This type of insurance is highly recommended to property owners since they are exposed to the possibility of a great loss if the works are damaged by an insured peril such as fire, theft or flood during the building phase.

International Sources

Belize: Fiscal Paradise With High Level of Confidentiality
An IBC is the most popular type of offshore corporation as it is designed for any international business activity, does not pay any taxes in the jurisdiction where is established, provides confidentiality to its owners and is not subject to reporting requirements. "According to different lists of international organizations, there are dozens of countries that can be considered as tax heavens. But these countries are far from providing the same advantages, and each is specialized in hosting one or more types of the simplest to the most complex financial transactions. In this respect, Belize is the no. 1 option for international investors who need the advantages provided only by an IBC established in Belize, where privacy is a state policy", said an ICO Services executive/official.

Indigenous Hondurans unite to preserve culture
Were it not for conscientious documentaries, topical, historic and often under-reported news-worthy issues might never be exposed. Thanks to Ali Allie and Ruben Reyes who wrote, produced and directed the documentary “Garifuna in Peril,” the fast-vanishing Afro-Amerindian culture struggling to survive in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Belize and Honduras is now getting some notice. Reportedly the entire community could disappear after the next generation. Since production in 2012, the film has consistently gained momentum with screenings at film festivals throughout the USA, Canada and in every country the culture endures. From Cannes, France, to Zanzibar, the plight of a proud people is slowly being acknowledged as one to save from extinction. In a 99-minute documentary that begins with a mother schooling her two sons about the importance of maintaining the Garifuna language, she lovingly implores -- Ricardo and Miguel -- to speak the tongue of her people. In an environment where Garifuna lags third behind Spanish and English she is of a minority that believes in its salvation. “We went to cast the movie and were shocked that there was almost no one under 18 years old who spoke the language,” director Allie stated.

Explore the world of sharks and rays with Dr. Rachel Graham at the Houston Zoo May 15
Dr. Rachel Graham experienced what she can only describe as her “Aha Moment” when she met a 22-foot long whale shark underwater for the first time. “If that doesn’t make you think about a change of lifestyle and work, nothing will,” she said. Register now to reserve your seat when the Houston Zoo’s Call of the Wild Speaker Series presents “Sea Stories” with Dr. Rachel Graham on Thursday, May 15, 2014. Doors open at the Zoo’s Brown Education Center for this free presentation at 6:30 p.m. Register online at Dr. Graham works to save sharks and rays with the Gulf and Caribbean Sharks and Rays Program. Based in Belize, Dr. Graham has taken her conservation work to Mexico, Honduras, Cuba, Pohnpei (Micronesia), and the Gulf of Mexico’s Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. The Houston Zoo’s Call of the Wild Speaker Series offers a forum for global conservation leaders to share their knowledge, concerns and plans for the future. Proceeds from the Call of the Wild Speaker series benefit the Houston Zoo’s local and global conservation initiatives. The Houston Zoo’s Call of the Wild Speaker series is generously supported by The Tapeats Fund and by United Airlines, the official airline of the Houston Zoo.

Mérida Airport will connect the “Maya World” with regional routes
Executive President of Interjet Miguel Aleman Magani, announced on Wedenesday May 7th, that the Mérida International Airport will become a “Hub” for this airline. Interjet seeks to connect the “Maya World” creating regional routes that will allow faster and better communication with other states, such as Tabasco, Campeche, Chiapas, Veracruz and Oaxaca, among others. “It is a medium term plan” Interjet president Miguel Aleman stated, before the Governor of Yucatan, Rolando Zapata Bello, during the grand opening of the Tianguis Turistico Cancún 2014. Zapata Bello said that “This is not only a commitment in terms of new air routes and connections, but also of investment and promotion of the wide array of cultural and natural attractions that the Peninsula has to offer”. Aleman Magnani confirmed that a Cancun-Palenque flight is about to commence service. The official announcement was made later on by the governors of Chiapas and Quintana Roo. The Hub will allow the airline to operate domestic flights departing from Merida, and then seek to extend the circuit to international destinations, mainly in Central American countries such as as Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador, that are also part of the Mayan World. The airline is still in the process of acquiring 40 Airbus A320 aircraft and 20 Superjet 100 airliners, to cover other routes also departing from Merida airport. José Luis Garza, Interjet General Directive Manager, explained that the 100-seat aircraft are ideal for short routes, estimating that it could have an occupancy factor of 60% during the year and up to 80% during high seasons.

I write about travel for a living, and recently that’s kept me from writing about strangers. Which does not make me happy. This also makes me think about travel all the time. In summation: I need to travel. Soon. For now, I’m thinking back to one of my favorite moments in Belize. I was snorkeling in Shark Ray Alley, and getting the chance to actually hold a shark. As you can see, I seem to have the shark in a wrestling move—maybe a modified half nelson or the beginnings of a sleeper hold—but I was really just trying to pet it. I do have one regret from my trip to Belize. I really wish I could have made it to the Chicken Drop while I was there. The Chicken Drop is an organized event where humans watch with great interest as a chicken defecates on a large bingo board. People bet on which number the chicken will choose.

6 of the best Central American journeys
Cross the border into neighbouring Belize and you will discover an equally extraordinary world of jungle-veiled ruins, jaguar preserves and unbroken coral reefs. Most visitors divide their time between the coast, most popularly at the reef protected Ambergris Caye, where we recommend Victoria House, a grand colonial residence located on a quiet stretch of beach, and the jungle, where Chan Chich , part of a privately owned, 250,000-acre nature reserve near Gallon Jug, and Chaa Creek, a secluded riverside lodge in the shadow of the Maya Mountains, are two of the best places to stay.


Video: tacogirl video resume, 5min.
This video resume shows a small slice of what it is like having traded in Canadian winters to live my dream life on the tropical island of Ambergris Caye.

Video: FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour - Belize, 1min.
The FIFA World Cup Trophy made its way to Belize and lucky fans from all over the country had the opportunity to visit and get their photo taken with the trophy. We had delegates, politicians, football players from the National Team and of course the fans. Bowen & Bowen along with Coca-Cola Belize are happy to be part of this history making event in Belize. Produced by Joanna Popik and Ben Popik of Island Films.

Video: Belize Travel Video, 4min.
With one foot planted in the Central American jungles and the other dipped in the Caribbean Sea, Belize combines the best of both worlds. You've heard that the Belize Barrier Reef is the second longest in the world. But have you heard that this reef is home to more than 100 different kinds of coral and some 500 species of fish? This alluring underwater world is undoubtedly the top attraction in Belize. Snorkelers swim through translucent seas, gazing at a kaleidoscope of coral, fish and turtles; divers go deeper, investigating underwater caves and walls and the world-renowned Blue Hole. The turquoise waters are inviting even for those who choose to remain above the surface. Kayakers glide from one sandy, palm-dotted islet to another; windsurfers and sailors skim across the surf by the power of the breeze; sunbathers lounge on the dock, lulled into relaxation by the gentle lapping; and foodies feast on delectable fresh fish, spiny-tailed lobster and other creatures of the sea.

Video: Belize Ocean Club Beach Front, 1.5min.
The Belize Ocean Club resort comprises of 60 Luxury residences, 30 oceanfront and 30 lagoon front, each being 1,100 sq ft and consisting of two en-suite bedrooms, living room, kitchen and large balcony. The hotel is set on six acres of beautiful landscaped tropical gardens, right on the Caribbean Ocean. Our resort features four hundred feet of private beachfront in Maya Beach, one of the Placencia Peninsula's most sought after areas. The gentle east indies trade winds blowing through the resort at night and the occasional flash of lightning in the distance provide the spectacle as guests drink at the beach bar or have dinner under the palapa restaurant. The other side of the resort faces the resplendent lagoon and mountains, with stunning sunsets and natural wildlife. All rooms face either the sea or lagoon.

Video: Sea2Sky Drone Vision Test Flight: San Pedro, Belize, 6min.
at Chuck and Robbie's dive shop with the DJI Phantom 2 for BIG SUP Belize dock pre-construction.

Video: Belize Snorkeling the Blue Hole Good 1080, 1.5min.
Snorkeling the reef circling the Blue Hole Belize

Video: belize, 4min.
Vacation video!

Video: The Black Hole Drop with Ian Anderson's Caves Branch, 4min.
Belize-Adventure Sports

May 8, 2014


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Specials and Events

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The San Pedro Sun

2014 Lobster Fest is a go!
With the opening of lobster season fast approaching, dates have been set for the highly anticipated 2014 San Pedro Lobster Fest. The San Pedro Lobster Festival Committee has officially announced that Lobster Fest will be held from June 14th to the 21st. This year the festival will be bigger and better the than ever before. The weeklong festival will see revelers enjoying the tasty treats of the sea- courtesy of the Spiny Lobster- at various establishments on the island. As an added bonus, visitors will also have the opportunity of winning a grand vacation package by using their 2014 Lobster Fest Passport.

San Pedro Fishing Teams do well at the Copa Gobernador 2014
Two Belizean teams took the second and third place spots at the 2014 Copa Gobernador held in Mahahual, Quintana Roo, Mexico on the weekend of May 2nd to the 4th. The 23rd edition of the fishing tournament saw 57 vessels from five Mexican states, Belize and the United States of America participating for the big prize. The fishing tournament brings significant economic benefits to the area, and is considered one of the largest tourist attractions for Mahahual. “Real Challenge” of Ambergris Caye took second place with 621,000 points. “Real Challenge” was captained by San Pedrano Enrique Marin, and its crew compromised of Giomar Marin, Jashua Marin, Enrique Marin Jr. and Joe Hemple. They caught two dorados, one white marlin and one wahoo, weighing in at 109.51 pounds. For their efforts, the team received a trophy and a compact car.

Ambergris Today

Princess Hotel and Casino Makes Improvements Under Ramada Brand
Since 2012, the Princess Hotel has done extensive renovations to all the guest rooms and public areas and continues to improve customer service to all our valued clients. Now in the year 2014, we are widening our vision and scope by joining the hotel chain Ramada and establishing the required International standards which brings with it. Ramada operates several brand hotels under the Wyndham Group. The group operates in 53 countries more than 1000 hotels worldwide. Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Travel Lodge, Planet Hollywood, Microtel, Wyndham Garden Hotels are few of them. Mr. Erol Olcan, Princess Hotel General Manager, unveiled the new Ramada Logo and announced the new name of the hotel as Ramada Belize City Princess at the Press Conference which held on the 30th April, 2014 at the hotel.

Mexican Footballer Pavel Pardo Visits San Pedro
Club America fans in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize were more than delighted to bump into Mexican international football player Pavel Pardo. A few local fans caught up with Pavel at Lily’s Treasure Chest and were able to get autographs and take pictures with the famous football player. Pável Pardo Segura is a retired Mexican international footballer who last played with Club América and is the second most capped player in Mexico national team history. Pardo participated in two World Cups (1998 and 2006), won two CONCACAF Gold Cups and won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Mexico in 1999.

Misc Belizean Sources

Corozal Fish Market
Salt Fish or corn fish, as locally known here, is fresh fish that has been salt-cured and dried until all the moisture has been extracted. In order to prepare salt fish for cooking, it needs to be rehydrated and most of the salt removed through a process of overnight soaking in hot water and subsequent boiling. The aim is never to remove all of the salt, enough salt should remain to taste, if not, you can end up with a bland piece of fish. Salt fish, also called dried/corn fish, has been a part of Corozal’s cuisine dating all the way back to the days of colonial rule. Salt fish was first introduced to this area in the 16th century. Vessels from North America - mainly Canada - would come bringing lumber, and pickled and salted cod, they would return with molasses, rum, sugar and salt. Today, most of the salt fish consumed in the Corozal can be bought at the local fish market. In addition to the ever popular barracuda, shad and mullet are also salt cured and dried. Salt fish is primarily made with meaty white fish. Ask your local resident for a recipe of boil up with this fish. Power to the people in the struggle.

Free concert Mothers Day, Corozal
This Saturday May 10th in celebration of Mother's Day, the Corozal Organization Leading Cultural Heritage and Art(COLCHA) will be hosting a free concert with Corozal's best, the Caribbean Roots Band!!! Bring mom out to enjoy and have fun!

Bailey Scholars Volunteer in Cayo
Michigan State University students are back in Cayo, and doing some community service work while enjoying their stay. They are working with Toucan Education Programs, who bring many student groups down to do voluntourism. Thanks, TEP, and MSU! "For several years, the Bailey Service Organization, a student organization of the Bailey Scholars Program, offered a service learning trip in San Ignacio, Belize. This opportunity allowed students to actively engage with members of San Ignacio and work by their side on a variety of projects, largely related to education and social service issues. BSP would like to expand the experience to a wider audience, including BSP alumni and other BSP community members... We will be working Toucan Education Programs, a locally owned, private business in San Ignacio, who not only helps plan trip logistics, but helps foster our relationship with the community partners with whom we work."

Book Week in the Twin Towns
The Institute for Social and Cultural Research got some great pictures from the BBIA Book Fair at the Cayo Welcome Center. "Book Week continued at the San Ignacio Welcome Center on Friday and Saturday with a cultural evening on Friday night and Literary Evening on Saturday night. Here are some shots of the events."

Bandits Host No Limit
The Belmopan Bandits will be hosting the Belize City No Limit today. The bandits are still in the running for 4th place, and the No Limit have 3rd place pretty much locked up. In related news, the Bandits lost to the Tiger Sharks last week 84 - 70. They uploaded some pictures from the event. The Western Ballaz are travelling to PG on Saturday to play the Toledo Diplomats.

Freedom Writers at Screen on the Green
This month's Screen on the Green will be today, Thursday, May 8th, at the Governor Generals Field. The movie will be Freedom Writers.

A little bit of intrigue
The mystery unveiled! A colonial clay pipe with the UK Royal Coat of Arms, silver Garifuna bangle, silver napkin holder, metal napkin holder, silver piece of eight, and a silver snuff box that dates 1852. Museum of Belize!

Visit Castillo's Hardware
and get a chance to win this year's Mother's Day Raffle

Southern Regional Hospital Administrator, Nasley Sommervile to Appear Before Public Service Commission this Thursday
Nasley Sommerville, Administrator at Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga to appear before Public Service Commission tomorrow, Thursday, May 8th, 2014 to answer questions regarding Quarter Million Belize dollars siphoned from the Maternal Child Heallth (NHI) funds from the Southern Regional Hospital. According to details gleaned from an audit report, Sommerville loaned $15 Thousand Dollars to Dr. Francis Morey, with whom she was having an extra marital affair. Sources say that when Morey repaid the money, Sommerville told him to pay it into her personal account. Investigators have reportedly found accounts belonging to Sommerville at St. John’s Credit Union in Dangriga and another at Scotia Bank. The account at St. John’s was recently closed. Sommerville has been on suspension and on half salary since this story broke in early October of last year.

Channel 7

Cuban Fugitive Valdez Gone to America; Minister Didn't Know
Since last week we've been reporting on Cuban Raonel Valdez Valhuerdi. He's wanted in Miami for masterminding a gold heist. But he was caught in Belize in February – trying to cross over illegally from Guatemala. He pleaded guilty and paid his fine, but the Belize government said it would hold him until the Cuban government decided his fate. But, on Friday of last week, the Americans started pushing to get him back to Florida to stand trial. This morning at 11:15, Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse explained what he said is a very clear position: Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Immigration "The law is very clear. You have to deport a person to his country of origin, or to where he wants to go. That is, you can't - the US may want him like they may want so many other people. We can't just pick him up and send him. We're in communication with the Cubans, to try to get a response from them in the first instance, and then in communication with him to get a response from him. After that, we go forward. The US Embassy understands that; they've always been wanting various people, and that is okay, but if it were an American citizen, we couldn't just pick him up and send him to Cuba, or send him somewhere else. We have to follow the law and the protocols."

Borderline Benquenos Say Trigger Happy Contraband Cops Traumatizing Children
Contraband passing through from Melchor to Benque is nothing new – in fact, in the west it is almost a way of life. But, as with any illicit movement, things can get dangerous very quickly and on Monday evening, the community's sense of peace was shattered when gunshots rang out. Benque police were chasing a suspected smuggler, right past a yard where children were playing, which put them right in the line of fire. Our news team went to the town today, to speak with residents about the shooting, and they told us that this latest incident is only a symptom of a bigger problem: Daniel Ortiz Reporting The Churchill Street in Benque Viejo Town is a stone's throw away from the Guatemalan border town of Melchor de Menchos. All you really have to do is walk down this hill - which takes about 5 minutes - cross the Mopan River, you're basically a few minutes away from cheap Guatemalan goods.

COLA Calls Out Auditor General, Ombudsman, Holds Out Hope For DPP
In March, the activist organization COLA brought criminal charges against UDP Cayo Northeast Representative Elvin Penner. Their next court date is May 29th. That's three weeks from today when the private prosecution is required to give disclosure of what evidence it has against Penner. Thing is, they don't have any! COLA and its attorney Kareem Musa launched the prosecution on a prayer in late March because if they waited any later it would be statute barred. Since then they've been trying to gather evidence from official sources: the police, the auditor general and the DPP. So far the results have been nil, while the prospects are mixed. The Police are just flat out ignoring them; the auditor General has said "no," while the DPP Cheryl Lynn Vidal is willing to assist. And so today at a press briefing, they didn't bash the DPP, but they did heap scorn on the office of the Auditor General and the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman Lionel Arzu comes in because COLA appealed to his office to intervene when the Auditor General Dorothy Bradley turned them down – but he upheld her decision. Musa says they asked her for her raw evidence, and she told them they couldn't have her report – two different things:

PM Has Auditor General's Preliminary Report
But before any talk of subpoena, right now the Prime Minister is in possession of the preliminary report from the Auditor General. That was confirmed in her letter to COLA – which she says qualifies it as a exempt document because presumably, he will share it with Cabinet. But, Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse today told us that it hasn't been shared yet: Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Immigration "The preliminary report has been submitted to the Prime Minister and not to the Cabinet yet. And of course, the final report will come to the Cabinet before it gets to the House. Then, it will go to the House, then the Senate, and then it goes to the public." Jules Vasquez "Have you had a chance to look at it?" Hon. Godwin Hulse "No yet."

Preacher-Men Visit The PM
51 weeks ago, on May 16, 2013, the Revised National Gender Policy was launched. On the surface, it seemed harmless enough – but when the churches dug deep, let's just say (and you'll excuse the play on words) they found lots of devils in the details, mainly non-traditional references to sexual orientation. In the year since, the gender policy has become the subject of protests, debates and hours of dialogue between the prime minister and church leaders. That continued today – this time because the Evangelical Association says they came upon an interview Anne Marie Williams the National Women's Commission Director supposedly did at a UN sponsored meeting in New York, where they quote her as saying that Government would not be implementing the report from the Church on the revised Gender Policy. Williams says there's no way she gave any interview to anyone in New York – and we have not seen any news article from a credible source. But the Evangelical Church leaders remained convinced that she said it and concerned at the implications. And that's why they met with the Prime Minister at his Belize City office today – they wanted to hear the official position from his mouth. When they came emerged from a two hour meeting – we had to speak with them through a grilled gate – since the owners of the Withfield Tower have banned the media from the compound. Pastor Crawford was very cautious in his remarks:

Hon. Hulse Holds The Line: Says NCL In It For The Long Haul
Earlier this week we told you about BTIA's lawsuit against the government for approving the Norwegian Cruise Lines Environmental Impact Assessment. No date for hearing has been set yet, but it's one more hurdle for the controversial project. So how long will Norwegian stick around to tough it out? Fact is, the cruise line wants the project active like yesterday – and in the banana republic calculus often employed by wealthy transnationals – nothing should get in the way of it. But, plenty has been getting in the way of this project which made us wonder, how much more can they take? Today, Minister Godwin Hulse who chairs the cabinet subcommittee on investment – held the official line: all is well, and all will end well: Jules Vasquez "From your communication with NCL, are they at a point of frustration, exasperation, because I know that they have certainly become impatient, because they need a front in the Western Caribbean."

Why Stake Bank Hasn't Started
And what about that other mega project – at Stake Bank? That has gotten full environmental clearance, and it even got a bill passed in the house with bi partisan support. Nine months ago developer Mike Feinstein told the media he had the financing to get the project started…so why hasn't it started. Well, you hear all kinds of stories, but what we hear most is that Feinstein doesn't have the full financing and is looking for a strategic investor. Today, he told us that's just plain not true: he says he has a consortium of local banks willing to finance him – and is just waiting for government to stop dragging its feet and sing off on a commercial agreement covering head taxes and other items. Today we asked Investment Committee Chairman Hulse what's the status: Hon. Godwin Hulse – Head of Cabinet Sub-Committee for Investment "It's a straightforward project to develop a berth for 4 ships at a time, and a causeway from Drown Caye, and from there, to the City. There's been one little issue with respect to FSTV and Royal Caribbean Lines' investment therein, which Mr. Feinstein is, as we speak, clearing through. Once that's cleared through, we should be reaching a final agreement, and they should be ready to roll."

Cabanas Re-Arrested For Fratricide
19 year-old Edward Cabanas, who has been out of prison since March 25 when he was freed of a murder charge for killing his own brother, is back on remand after he was arraigned today for a second time. Cabanas reappeared before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart, where he was read his charge of murder for a second time, and he was remanded to prison once again. As we reported, 21 year-old Brandon Cabanas, who is believed to have been drinking, got into a fight with Edward Cabanas at their Sandhill home on December 29, 2012. That’s when he pulled a knife and stabbed Brandon in the legs, severing an artery causing him to bleed out before he could be rushed to the hospital.

Battery and Alrick Back to Court
2 other men who saw criminal charged brought back against them also are 28 year-old Brandon Smith, a.k.a. "Battery", and 28 year-old Alrick Smith. They were freed on Monday before the Chief Magistrate, who struck 4 attempted murder charges out of court for lack of prosecution, but on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions, they've been rearrested. They were arraigned before Magistrate Stuart for those 4 counts of attempted murder, and they were remanded to prison until June 6. Constables Mark Tzul, Wayne Trapp, Terry Reyes and Abner Pascual all reported that on March 16, 2013, they were processing the murder scene when a blue car, sped past them. They set chase and when they caught up, the car crashed into a drain. The officers said that when Brandon Smith exited the car, he had a gun in his hand, and opened fire on them. They were forced to return fire, and that's when Alrick Smith was shot in the abdomen. Alrick Smith had to be rushed to the KHMH for treatment, but during the shootout Brandon Smith escaped. He was detained a day later, and both were charged for the incident.

Princella To Jail
19 year-old Princella Edwards allegedly stole her friend's laptop, and is in jail tonight for it. According to police, the theft happened at Karema Sanchez's house in Ladyville on April 27. She reported to police that she went home and saw the door of her room opened. She found that her laptop was missing. Her grandmother explained that Edwards stopped by and asked to take the laptop saying that Sanchez supposedly gave her permission. Police tracked Edwards down and recovered the computer from the Fair Brothers Pawnshop in Belize City. They charged her with theft. Edwards was arraigned before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, where she pleaded not guilty and was granted bail of $5,000, which she was not able to meet. She will remain in police custody until she is able to make arrangements for bail, and she must return to court on July 2.

BEL Offers Debentures At Attractive Interest Rate
The fourth annual GIS conference was held today at the Biltmore Best Western in Belize City. GIS means global information systems and it has to do with how satellite imagery can be used for planning everything from disaster responses to housing project to retail strategies. The idea is problem solving with technology and the conference organizer explained how it works: It is a two day event.

Gaynair Gets His Goal: the Promised Land
But footballer Ian Gaynair won't need GIS to find his new titled land. That's because it's two lots away from his father's home. We've been following the story of Gaynair's land since August of last year: first, his lease was cancelled and then his area representative in Lake Independence intervened to get a new lease for a new lot for him. Today, he'll lease no more; King handed over title for the land and 7News was there: King says his land amnesty program will deliver 300 titles in total this year for leases converted to titles.

Alleged Belizean Child Kidnapper Released In Mexico
A week ago, we told you about a report coming out of a small Mexican community on the banks of the Rio Hondo in Quintana Roo, called Sabidos. Resident had taken custody of a 19 year-old Belizean, identified only as Ariel, who allegedly tried to kidnap two 8 year-old girls to smuggle them across Belize. Well, reports out of Quintana Roo say that the 19 year-old Belizean may not be criminally charged because of lack of evidence. Townspeople from Sabidos, Quintana Roo were up in arms denouncing the decision of the Mexican authorities to release the Belizean young man and his accomplice because of lack evidence. It turns out that the 2 young victims told the investigators that the persons detained were not the men who tried to kidnap them. The "Por Esto" newspaper reports that parents and residents of Sabidos were very angry, suggesting that this just one more time that the Mexican authorities dropped the ball on an important case.

A Fair For Finance
The First ever Community Fair, which was organized by the Ministry of Education, Peace Work and Price Waterhouse Coopers, was held at the ITVET Compound Today. It's become an annual occurrence that the international facilitators return to Belize to teach students from primary and High Schools around the country about the importance of business. The community fair gave those students trained in financial literacy an opportunity to show off what they learned, and 7News stopped by. Here's how the Deputy Chief Education Officer explained its importance: Dr. Carol Babb - Deputy Chief Education Officer "It's to build awareness. We have 3 components, a business showcase, where the primary schools were asked to submit a product that is original, that is creative. They must know how to brand it and promote it. Today, we also had that competition, and coming first was Queen Square Anglican School. Second was Ebenezer School, and third was All Saints School. We also have the vendors at the front, where we have organizations in finance health, and education sharing their resources, showcasing what they do on a daily basis. We have already expanded to 3 schools in each district, and for the past 3 days, we've training educators in financial literacy and entrepreneurship. So, we have officials from the Ministry of Education in every district; they were participating in training. So, it was a training of trainers, and they are expected to train teachers, principals, students and parents in their individual district."

Channel 5

Mother’s Day cheer for U.D.P. area reps.
News Five can confirm tonight that seventeen U.D.P. representatives have received fifty thousand Belize dollars each for Mother’s Day programs and activities in their respective constituencies. That’s a whopping eight [...]

Belmopan teacher accused of having sexual relations with 14 year old student
Stories of carnal knowledge and sexual abuse of children are among the hardest to report. But it’s a far too common occurrence in Belize – and far too often, it [...]

Auditor General’s report on immigration scandal submitted to PM and Minister Hulse
Can you say cover-up at the highest levels of government? Well that’s just how it’s looking tonight. Last year, the Auditor-General was brought in to investigate corruption in the Ministry [...]

COLA attempts to prosecute Elvin Penner have been frustrated
The existence of that preliminary report has been kept under wraps, so what’s contained in it is anybody’s guess. As we said, it only came up as a side note [...]

3 weeks before trial date, COLA’s hope is with the D.P.P.
It’s a frustrating development – or maybe we should say lack of development – for COLA. The small grass-roots organization has taken the lead in the Penner fiasco, even as [...]

Is a Cuban Gold fugitive in Belize?
After two months of negotiations between the US and Belize thirty-four year old Cuban national Raonel Valdez is locked down in a Miami jail. The fugitive wanted in connection to [...]

COLA offers reward for evidence in case against Penner
We told you earlier about the significant setbacks Cola is experiencing in the private prosecution of Elvin Penner. But despite the setbacks, COLA is unwilling to relent in the criminal [...]

ComPol comes under fire from COLA
In the latter months of the Elvin Penner debacle, the only man who has come under similar fire is Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie. That’s because widespread public opinion is [...]

Will the Prime Minister also be subpoenaed in Penner case?
And finally where COLA and Elvin Penner are concerned, today it is clear that all legal avenues are being pursued, or at least contemplated. It’s even possible, according to the [...]

SATIIM says G.O.B. is corrupt, inept, despotic and discriminatory
“It is the historical trademark of a corrupt, inept, despotic and discriminatory government.” Stern words coming from the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management, in a letter written to Prime [...]

Sand Hill resident is arraigned for a second time for the murder of his brother
Twenty-one year old Edward Cabanas was set free on March twenty-fifth for the stabbing death of his brother, but tonight, is once again on remand at the Belize Central Prison [...]

Brandon ‘Battery’ Smith re-arraigned for attempted murder
Another man was also re-arraigned for charges today. No sooner had twenty-eight year old Brandon ‘Battery’ Smith been freed of attempted murder when he was brought back before the court [...]

Pharmacy Association goes public with a list of bad decisions in health system
The Pharmacy Association of Belize was outraged and went public when the post of Director of Drug Inspectorate was created and Danini Contreras, the daughter of Minister Contreras, was appointed [...]

Council of Churches meet with Prime Minister
The leadership of the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches met today with Prime Minister Dean Barrow at his Belize City office. It came on the heels of a report that [...]

Ladyville Tech wins High School Innovation Challenge
A High School Innovation Challenge was held today as part of activities of education Week. High school teams from throughout the country were challenged to come up with an innovative [...]

Annual financial literacy training culminates with community fair
As we reported earlier, the annual financial literacy training initiative of PricewaterhouseCoopers in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Peace Work culminated today at the ITVET Compound. It gave [...]

4th Annual Belize GIS User Conference
Geographic information systems or GIS, as it is called, is designed to process geographical data of all types.  The technology is driven by location, purpose or application requirements.  Today, the [...]


More Problems Brewing At Ranchito Government School
Yesterday we told you about the situation faced by students at the Ranchito Government School who have had to stay at home following the cancelation of classes for the week. This is due to the dilapidated condition of the largest school building at the school compound and the rodent and insect infestation in at least two buildings. The biggest and perhaps the oldest building at the compound has been deemed unsafe and unsanitary by the Belize Central Building Authority following an inspection sometime last week. Officials from the health and Education departments visited the school yesterday while students were out of classes. They were assessing the situation and finding appropriate spaces to relocate the now displaced students. Today, our News Room received a letter from one Mister Mendez who claims to be the president of the school committee at the Ranchito Government School. We attempted to get in contact with Mendez but to no avail. In his e-mail, Mendez says that parents have not heard from the health official. According to Mendez, they held a meeting on April thirtieth which the Health official informed she could not make but promised to meet at a later date. In that meeting, Mendez says 119 parents signed a letter stating that they will not be sending their children to school until the Ministry of Education finds a solution to the problem.

Child Predator And Sex Offender Lives In Belize, Says The U.S
The Department of Law Enforcement in Florida USA has released a picture of a 63 year old child predator and sex offender residing in Belize. According to the report, the predator is known to be Thomas Allen Bloom. In 1997 he was convicted for sexual battery and child coercion in Brevard Florida. He is now registered as a sexual predator in Florida and his given address on the flyer is Belize. When checks were made, indeed it only indicated to be Belize formerly British Honduras.

Residents Of Mexican Community Up In Arms
The Mexican community of Sabidos Quintana Roo located along the banks of the Rio Hondo is up in arms and is speaking out against the authorities of that municipality since they have released a 13 year old female minor and a 19 year old man allegedly of Belizean Nationality accused of trying to kidnap two 8 year old girls from the community. Reports coming out of the community indicate that authorities released both individuals due to lack of evidence. Reports are that the two victims were unable to identify the 13 year old and the 19 year old as the persons who tried to deprive them of their freedom and bring them over to Belize. Community members argue that it is not the first time that authorities arrest and later release alleged criminals in this case believed to belong to a human trafficking ring.

Weekly Crop Review
May 4th 2014 marked the end of week 15 of the 2013/2014 sugar cane crop season. The report, provided by the Belize Sugar Industries Limited, shows that for week 15 the factory milled fifty thousand three hundred and forty tons of cane. To date, the factory has milled a total of seven hundred and sixty four thousand six hundred and forty two tons of cane. Last year the factory milled six hundred and thirteen thousand forty six tons cane during the same time frame. Taking a look at sugar production, five thousand four hundred and ninety one tons of the sweetener was produced for week 15. An overall of eighty two thousand six hundred and thirty five tons of the product has been produced so far. Last year, the factory produced sixty two thousand eight hundred and two tons of sugar during the 15 weeks of crop. This week the factory worked at a grinding rate of seven thousand one hundred and ninety one tons cane per day. Overall, for the 15 weeks of crop, the grinding rate per day stands at seven thousand five hundred and seventy one tons cane. Last crop it was at six thousand seventy tons cane per day.

Caribbean Rum To Be Exported To The U.S
This past weekend the Belize Embassy in Washington DC hosted their third annual open day where they featured and promoted a little of everything that is Belizean. This annual event, Passport DC, is organized by a non-profit organization called Cultural Tourism DC, and it counts with the participation of about seventy Embassies located in Washington, DC. Last year, the Embassy of Belize based its participation on the Belize rainforest with the theme “Special emphasis on the Chiquibul National Park” were over three thousand five hundred visitors came through the premises in one day. In 2012, the theme was the Maya World that attracted over three thousand five hundred visitors. Now this year, the Belize Embassy based there presentation on the Belize Barrier Reef. CTV3 News was made to understand that the Embassy of Belize in Washington DC features annually Belizean DJ’s, cultural presentations, Belizean food, drinks and more. When we talk about drinks, this year Cuello’s Distillery Limited was invited to promote one of Belize's most marketed products, Caribbean Rum.

P.M Meets With Leaders Of Evangelical Churches
The Alliance of Leaders and Ministers of Belize issued a release on Monday in which they gave the Government of Belize a deadline of 30 days (May 31st 2014) to completely retract the Gender Policy and all destructive laws associated with it. Today, the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches issued a release after they met for two hours with the Prime Minister at his Belize City Office. It was the Executive Team of the Association that met with the Prime Minister to discuss a way forward in reference to the Gender Policy. In that release, Reverend Eugene Crawford, President of the Evangelical Association states that the PM clarified remarks that the government was implementing the document without further consultations with the churches.

Project To Rehabilitate Guadalupe Street Moves Forward
Sometime last year a group of concerned residents and business owners saw the need of uplifting Guadalupe Street and based on the necessity a group of them came together and formed the Guadalupe Street Improvement Project Committee. After months of long hours of planning and discussion, the committee submitted a letter to the Ministry of Finance requesting that the General Sales Tax for the overall cost of the rehabilitation of Guadalupe Street be waived, which would ease the committee of an approximately$30,000.00. According to Osmany Salas, member of the GSIP committee, the letter was submitted after the decision was made that Rodla Construction Company Ltd from Ladyville would be awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of the street. And today they received some good news.

Pharmacist Association Gives MOH An F In Their Report Card
Tensions continue to grow between the Pharmacists Association of Belize and the Ministry of Health. And root cause of the turmoil is the appointment of Danini Contreras as Director of Drug Inspectorate. The Pharmacists Association believes that Contreras, who is the daughter of Minister Erwin Contreras, is under qualified for the newly created post and the required procedure under the Public Service Act were not followed prior to her appointment. The association has asked that her appointment be withdrawn, but the Ministry of Health has stuck to its guns defending Contreras’ appointment. Contreras, who recently obtained a bachelor’s degree in science from Guatemala, is currently on a six-month contract. The association is also up in arms since Contreras is also authorized to approve the entry of pharmaceuticals through Customs. And that is where the dispute stands today, a dispute that won’t go away anytime soon. Today the Pharmacists Association of Belize sent out a release highlighting the actions taken by the Ministry of Health that have been continuously eroding the practices and profession of pharmacist and the consequences/impact on the Health of the people of Belize and the nation itself.

SATIM Lashes Out At GOB
The Government has waived the expiration date of US Capital’s permit that allows the company to conduct pre-drilling work in the Sarstoon Temash National Park. That was done on April thirtieth. That has not settled well with the Sarstoon Temash Institute of Indigenous Management, SATIIM, especially after the NGO has made numerous attempts to seek audience with the Government officials and after the court rulings that affirm the Maya traditional rights. Immediately following that decision, the representatives of thirty-eight communities gathered at an access point to the operation area of US Capital in Sunday Wood, one of the five buffer communities surrounding the National Park. For years, tensions have been escalating and it appears that this has reached an all-time new high as today, Executive Director of SATIIM, Gregorio Choc, sent a letter to the media. That letter is dated May first and was directed to the Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow.


Marshalleck Defends the Cotton Tree Village Council
Last Friday, the Cotton Tree Village Council filed a suit against the Government of Belize reference a piece of land was subdivided into some two hundred and sixty five lots for the purpose of distributing to Belize City residents. Renee Trujillo has been following the story and brings you this update. RENEE TRUJILLO REPORTING “National land, under Belize’s law is described as being all lands and sea bed, other than reserved forest within the meaning of the Forests Act, including cayes and parts thereof not already located and granted, and excludes any land which has been, or may hereafter become, escheated to or otherwise acquired by the Government of Belize….now that is a definition that will come into play in Belize’s courts as the Cotton Tree Village Council has opt to take the Government to court over 265 lots that are being distributed to residents of Belize City. It is an issue that has been brewing for some time now as close to two months ago, a dispute had erupted outside the confines of the National Assembly building in Belmopan City between stalwarts of both the ruling party, the United Democratic Party and the main opposition, the People’s United Party based on these very same lots in the Cayo District that the current administration had begun surveying with the purpose of distributing to Belize City residents.

BEL Plans Schedules Meeting with PUC
Belize Electricity Limited’s management team will be meeting to review the Public Utilities Commission’s Initial Decision on its 2014 Annual Review Proceeding. It will also review the five schedules approved to determine the possible implications of the PUC’s decision on BEL’s five year investment plan. BEL says it is pleased that the PUC’s Initial Decision also proposes a reduction in electricity rates, which amounts to a one per cent difference from the company’s proposal. BEL says it will submit its written comment to the PUC by May 12.

CEO Jones Discusses Prison Rehabilitation in Jamaica
The Chief Executive Office for the Kolbe Foundation, Earl Jones, is being hosted in Jamaica for a 3-day workshop that will look at rehabilitation programs in prisons. Jones will be sitting in meetings with several government officials up until Thursday, May 8 with the purpose of sharing his experience with rehabilitation programs for Belize’s only prison as well as getting a first-hand look at programs being implemented in Jamaica’s primary penal facilities. Among those that Jones will be meeting with, are the Minister of national Security, Peter Bunting and Commissioner of Corrections, Jevene Bent. The CEO’s trip is being sponsored by the Delegation of the European Union in Jamaica, that has been working with Stand Up Jamaica, UNICEF and Rise Life Management for the last three years with a look at supporting programs in penal facilities including juvenile centres.

Cuban National Suspected of Gold Heist Repatriated to the USA
Belize’s immigration and police officials today repatriated Cuban national, Raonel Valdez Valhuerdi to the United States this morning where he was booked into the Miami Dade County Jail. Valdez was detained on Belizean soil back in February when he was caught at the Guatemala/Belize border. Valdez is being accused, with the assistance of two other men of robbing a Bolivian export company employee near a Coral Gables apartment building in October 2012. The gold that was taken away had an estimated value of two point eight million dollars. At the time of the robber y the gold was being transported to an Opa-Locka refinery. Valdez was arraigned and granted bail of seventy five thousand dollars in March 2013 but he eluded the authorities when they lost track of his GPS monitor.

Teenager Rearrested for the Murder of His Brother
Nineteen year old Edward Cabanas, who was charged with the murder of his brother, Brandon Cabanas and was freed of the charge on March 25, was rearrested last night and brought to court today. Cabanas was arraigned on the charge of murder before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart and he was remanded into custody until June 6. The incident occurred around 9:45 p.m. on Friday, December 29, at the home of the brothers, Located in Sandhill. According to police reports, 21 year old Brandon, who reportedly had been drinking, got into a fight with Edward and Edward pulled a knife and stabbed him in the legs. Apparently the knife severed an artery and Brandon bled to death before he could be taken to the hospital.

Duo Returns To Court After Shooting at Policemen
Two men 28 year old Brandon “Battery” Smith and 28 year old Alrick Smith, who were freed of four counts of attempted murder on Monday, May 5, were brought back to court today and charged with the same offences. The two appeared before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart and they were remanded into custody until June 6. They were charged with the attempted murder of police constables Mark Tzul, Wayne Trapp, Terry Reyes and Abner Pasqual. The charges arose from an incident that occurred on March 16, 2013. The police reported that they were processing a murder scene when they saw a blue car speed past them. The police pursued the car until it crashed into a drain. According to the police, Brandon Smith exited the car with a gun in his hand and he began firing at the police. The police returned fire and that was when Alrick Smith, the alleged driver of the car, was shot in his abdomen. The police reported that Brandon Smith fled from the scene and escaped but he was apprehended later and charged. Alrick Smith was charged after he was released from the hospital.

Girl Steals Laptop From Friend’s Bedroom
Nineteen year old Princella Edwards, a.k.a. “Bella”, an unemployed who allegedly stole a laptop computer from her friend, was charged with theft when she appeared today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. Edwards pled not guilty to the charge. She was offered a bail of five thousand dollars and her case was adjourned until July 2 but Edwards was unable to meet bail and therefore was remanded to prison. The theft occurred on April 27. Edwards’ friend, Karema Sanchez, who resides with her grandmother in Ladyville, reported to the police that she went to her residence about 1 p.m. and noticed that the door of her room was opened. She said when she checked she discovered that her laptop computer and the bag for it were missing. She said her grandmother told her that Bella came to the house and said that Karema sent for her things. The police reported that they located Bella in Belize City on May 5 and detained her at Queen Street Police Station the following day. The police also reported that after they informed Bella of the report made against her they recovered the laptop from Fair Brothers Pawnshop.


Belmopan Comprehensive School Teacher is Remanded to Prison, Receives no Bail
Reports were that a male teacher of Belmopan Comprehensive High School allegedly had had an affair with a 14 year old female student of the same high school. Today the former teacher, now identified as Michael Angel Guzman, was arraigned at the Magistrate’s Court in Belmopan. He was charged...

14 Year Old Minor is Sexually Assaulted in Punta Gorda
In another carnal knowledge incident, a 14 year old female minor of Punto Gorda Town has reported to police that she was sexually assaulted by a grown man. According to Punta Gorda Police, the girl, accompanied by her grandmother, reported that on the afternoon of Holy Saturday, a man...

COLA Says, will not Give up on Elvin Penner Prosecution
Last week we showed you an interview with attorney for Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), Kareem Musa, detailing his frustration with the effort to privately prosecute Elvin Penner for breaches of the Passport and Nationality Acts committed while he was Minister of State, specifically with respect to...

Ministry of Health Holds Meeting with Drug Suppliers
Recently we have reported that Danini Contreras, Director of Drug Inspectorate, has been recommended, along with three others, to authorize pharmaceuticals coming into the country, following a rumor that the Chief Pharmacist was on strike. Now we must take this time to remind our viewers that the controversial post...

Sommerville Soon to Answer to PSC Regarding Missing Monies from Hospital
Plus News has been informed that the Administrator at the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga, Ms. Nasley Sommerville, will soon be appearing before the Public Service Commission. Sommerville will be answering questions regarding Hundreds of thousands of dollars missing from the Maternal and Child Health Bank account from the Southern Regional...

Evangelical Pastors Meet with Prime Minister
This morning, eight pastors, led by president of the Evangelical Association of Churches, Pastor Eugene Crawford, met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow in his Belize City office for an update on the churches’ recommendations for editing the Revised National Gender Policy. Around this time last year the Policy was...

Attempted Murder and Murder Cases Restarted
Separate charges of murder and attempted murder were re-instituted by Police against three young men today. In the first case, 28 year old Brandon Smith, a.k.a. “Battery”, and 28 year old Alrick Smith, were re-charged for attempted murder of four police constables who were shot at while processing a murder scene. They had been...

Belizean US Army Sergeant Dies During Training in New Mexico
27 year Sgt. Dwight Burn died this weekend in a helicopter crash at Fort Bliss, Texas. Dwight Burn, who lived in Barstow, California up to the time of his death, was a Belizean born national who left Belize years ago to pursue a career with the US Army. According...

Major Changes Expected for Belize City Schools
Wednesday April 31 a meeting was held in Belize city by Ministry of education personnel for teachers from Sadie Vernon High School, Maude Williams High School and Excelsior High; all government educational institutions. According to our sources MOE intends to merge all three schools by this coming August and...

Havana Bridge in Dangriga Town Upgraded
Residents of Dangriga Town can now enjoy a smoother and more comfortable ride when traversing the Havana Bridge which is one of the three main bridges crossing the North Stann Creek river which runs through the town. The Dangriga Town Council invested some $26,500.00 for a much needed upgrade...

Patrick Jones

Approaches to Havana Bridge in Dangriga upgraded
The Dangriga Town Council this week announced the completion of repairs to the approached to the Havana Bridge. According to a press release from the Town Council, some $26,500 were invested in the upgrade to the north and south approaches to the bridge, making for a smoother and more comfortable crossing for motorists and pedestrians alike. The upgrade, according to the Town Council is part of its improvement plan to make the area of the Havan Bridge more user-friendly for residents and visitors and to make the area more aesthetically appealing.

Police detain Teakettle men following car-jacking
There was a car-jacking on Monday night in the Cayo district. Teakettle resident Ricardo Guzman was accosted by two men who forcible entered his vehicle at the junction of the George Price Highway and the Valley of Peace Road around 10:20 pm on Monday. Guzman told police that one of the men who had a firearm, sat next to him and ordered him to continue driving. Police say Guzman was later robbed of his wallet containing $30 and his personal documents.

COLA will not give up Elvin Penner prosecution
Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and their attorney, Kareem Musa, have detailed their frustration with the effort to privately prosecute Elvin Penner. The Cayo Northeast representative is on the hot seat for allegedly for breaching the Passport and Nationality Acts while he was Minister of State, specifically with respect to Citizen Kim Won-Hong. Today, the organization met with the press in Belize City to say that they have not given up. COLA President Giovanni Brackett compared their efforts here to previous usages of novel legislation to facilitate change, and warned that if this route were to fail, it would because the Government failed, because the country lives with an administration that is in his words, “conducive to failure.” Brackett also reported that they have secured financial resources for a small reward, of $500, to persons who come forward with material evidence that will help the case.

Evangelical pastors meet with Prime Minister on Gender Policy
This morning, the executive team of the Evangelical Association of Churches of Belize, led by president Eugene Crawford and pastor of Jubilee Ministries Scott Stirm, met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow in his Belize City office for an update on the churches’ recommendations for editing the Revised National Gender Policy. Around this time last year the Policy was released to uproar as it sought to enshrine teaching on multiple genders, abortion, homosexuality, prostitution and the like in public life from schools to businesses, and threatened harsh penalties for opponents. The Government committed to re-revising the Policy, but information suggests that this is being done without benefit of the churches’ recommendations. The meeting concluded around 1:00 pm and Pastor Crawford noted that the tone of the meeting was open and generally good, and the Prime Minister was being receptive to the churches’ position.

Teen girl charged for theft
An adult teenager is tonight behind bars at the Belize Central Prison, having been unable to meet bail on a theft charge. Princella Edwards, 19, aka Bella, is accused of stealing and pawning off her friend’s laptop computer on April 27. According to Karema Sanchez of Ladyville, she came home that day to find her room door open and upon searching the room found that her laptop computer and the bag containing it were missing. Sanchez said that her grandmother, with whom she resides, told her that Edwards had previously come to the house claiming that she, Sanchez, had sent her for the laptop, which of course she had not. Police were called in and located and detained Edwards in Belize City on Monday, and later recovered the item from a popular pawnshop in the Old Capital.

Attempted murder and murder cases restarted
Separate charges of murder and attempted murder were re-instituted by Police against three young men today. In the first case, 28 year old Brandon Smith, a.k.a. “Battery”, and 28 year old Alrick Smith, were re-charged for attempted murder of four police constables who were shot at while processing a murder scene. They had been freed on Monday for unspecified reasons but were brought back to court and charged again before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart and remanded until June 6. On March 16, 2013, Constables Mark Tzul, Wayne Trapp, Terry Reyes and Abner Pasqual were at the scene when a blue car sped past them. The officers pursued the car and caught up with it when it crashed into a drain.

Community fair recognizes thrifty students
The First Annual Community Fair organized by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports along with Peacework and Pricewaterhousecoopers took place at the ITVET grounds today. Students from around the City visited displays by vendors and businesses teaching the importance of business. It was also an opportunity to showcase the explosion of teaching about financial literacy, which according to Peacework’s Corporate Program Director Lia Flur, is about more than dollars and cents. She told us that it is more about managing one’s personal life and choices. This week, teachers from around the country were in Belize City to learn about financial literacy.

Belize prepares for its biggest international tourism trade fair
BETEX which is the largest tourism expo in the Belize and is organized by the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) is scheduled to commence tomorrow May 8, 2014 at the Princess Hotel in Belize City. The Expo is a business-to-business event that showcases Belize’s travel destinations, hotels, tour operators, and other tourism service providers and attracts more than 350 local and international tourism professionals and press representatives. The event is an exclusive opportunity for international traveler resellers to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business with local travel suppliers and to learn more about Belize and experience the destination first hand.

GIS conference looks at practical applications
The fourth annual GIS User Conference began in Belize City today at the Biltmore Plaza. While the Conference’s theme refers to enhancing business decisions, a wide variety of presenters over the next two days shows that geographic information systems are the new wave of tools for applications in all sectors. We spoke to Senator Godwin Hulse, who is Minister in charge of many departments that have use for GIS. The Minister says that Ministries from NEMO to Weather Bureau to others have uses for the technology, and it even trickles down to usage of cell phones and IPad’s without which, he told us, he would have been less informed about a recent flood in the Stann Creek District.

Vermin infestation forces cancellation of classes in Corozal
Classes have been cancelled for the Government Primary School in the village of Ranchito, Corozal district. The decision to cancel classes for the remainder of the week stems from what has been described as a vermin infestation. While the Ministry of Education has been tight-lipped about the situation, our Corozal correspondent says that parents say the problem has been persisting for some time now and their calls for help have gone unanswered until now. According to information received, the parents of the two hundred or so students of the school, met with the school’s administration and officials of the Ministry of Education to discuss the situation.


A Mayan Site, One Million Birds, Dolphins: A Trip All Around Ambergris Caye, Belize
Though the names San Pedro and Ambergris Caye are often used interchangeably when talking about the “island”, the town proper is actually just a tiny sliver… The caye is about 26 miles long, a few miles thick in parts and to the north? Pretty much jungle where deer and cats like pumas and ocelots live. Most of that area is the Bacalar Chico Reserve. And to the back side, the “lagoon”, there are pretty cayes and even one owned by Leonardo DiCaprio (the very thin – unlike the current Leo – Blackadore Caye west of the Ambergris.) Unless you travel far north and around, you really don’t get much of a sense of the size. Luckily a few tour companies do the trip. Take you all the way up to the northern tip, through the mangrove surrounded cut (some of which was dug by the Maya hundreds of years ago)…

Canoeing in Belize: Summer’s Here and the Time is Right!
OK, summer’s not officially here yet, but it’s always time for canoeing at Belize’s Chaa Creek. And why not? With the pristine Macal River gently flowing past the front door and a fleet of well-maintained canoes at your disposal, canoeing is one of the activities at Chaa Creek that consistently delights guests of all ages. Even people who have never been in a canoe before discover just how enjoyable this age-old pastime is. The Macal River was one of the major aquatic highways of the ancient Maya, passing through the rich agricultural and trade centres, linking ancient cities and ceremonial centres via the various tributaries flowing into it, and, as it joins the old Belize River, still takes people and goods down to the Caribbean Sea, joining up with the Maya sea trade routes that extended all the way from Mexico to Panama and perhaps beyond.

“Who’s Sorry Now” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
My ‘me time’ on the veranda in the early morning with the mug of black coffee and the iPad sometimes does the trick. I found myself racking my brain (OK that didn’t take long did it) but nothing. Or “nada” as they say here. A distinct absence of anything remotely close to stirring me in to action that is until I got demands (OK, a gentle hint) from my readers (OK, one reader -and thank you for that Kristina) that I put an edition out. Inspiration sometimes comes from the most unlikely of places, things or people ! So here goes but don’t blame me. Oh no, blame Kristina ! Had I known that I could be so easily persuaded (read a push-over) I would have got out there and taken some photos of the tried and trusted. You know, a photo of the Palapa Bar, a beach shot looking out at the Caribbean, breakfast on a plate at Estel’s Dine By the Sea (not surprisingly I’ve got loads of those but no recycling for me. Oh no, it’s got to be authentic) or a colourful sign. You know the kind of thing. But I didn’t because it’s normally my will that dictates when I publish an edition, it’s not something that is determined by the will of others. That is until today. The ego is an easily manipulated thing isn’t it!

Spicy Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Just in time for Mother's Day a sweet and spicy treat. This cake is easy to make and would be great for you to make for that special someone in life.

“A guaranteed bundle of fun!”
“I have just returned to reality after spending four months with Reef CI. The diving with Reef CI is hands down the best and most amazing thing I have ever done. With the most beautiful reef I have dived on, seeing Dolphins (that swam close by and played with us), Sting Rays, Nurse Sharks, Eagle Ray, Whale Sharks and much more. I completed my Rescue Diver and my Dive Master course during my stay and I can definitely say that Reef CI has the best instructors I have dived with. They are both knowledgeable about the reef and its eco-system and have such a passion for diving that they want to share their extensive experience and knowledge with everyone.

International Sources

La majestuosidad del Quetzal, captada por el ojo fotográfico de Rizzo
Diego Rizzo tiene 29 años y vive en la capital, donde junto a su esposa tiene una pequeña empresa de creatividad y diseño gráfico. Desde hace dos años empezó a aficionarse a la fotografía y su ilusión por este arte se fue transformando paulatinamente en la ilusión de dar a conocer Guatemala a través de imágenes. Este es el objetivo que hace apenas un mes le llevó a visitar el Refugio del Quetzal de San Rafael Pie de la Cuesta, en San Marcos, donde por primera vez pudo apreciar "en vivo y en directo" la majestuosidad del Ave Nacional. "Bajamos por un sendero, donde nos indicaron que había nidos y, pasados unos 10 minutos, vimos a una pareja de Quetzales. Si se puede expresar en palabras lo que sentí, diría que es una experiencia espectacular. Por eso quise dejar constancia de este momento a través de un video", comenta.

Regional Forum meeting warns of risks of climate change
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday 23 April 2014 - Climate change is now seen as “a truly comprehensive risk that affects a wide range of systems: agriculture, energy, infrastructure, water, workplace and many more”, today said the Administrative Vice Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, Luis Fernando Salazar. Minister Salazar recalled that last month, the second working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded years of efforts to summarize the state of knowledge on the impact of climate change and how to respond to its challenges. The report was surprising in the sense that climate change is now seen as a truly comprehensive risk that affects a wide range of systems. Overall, the impact of climate change presents a fundamental threat to our national development and an economic and social challenge to governments, said the Deputy Minister. His words came during the inauguration of the Regional Workshop on Climate Vulnerability in Marine Coastal Areas held in Costa Rica that brought together fifty government experts, academics and representatives of civil society in Central America and the Caribbean to address the main risks and impacts of climate change, especially in ecological and socio-economic terms, as well as opportunities for regional cooperation.

Over 1,000 Mayan Codices Discovered in Yucatan Ruins
Uxmal: Deep inside the jungle of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, near the pre-hispanic city of Uxmal, a team of archeologist from the university of Boston in collaboration with local archeologists from the University of Mexico, have uncovered yet another pyramidal structure estimated to be 1,100 years old. But even more surprisingly enough, satellite imagery confirmed the existence of a secret chamber where the team found thousands of mayan codices, a discovery that could shatter previous views and shed a new light on our understanding of mayan culture and the sudden and tragic destruction of their civilization. Professor Jenny Rothsgard from the research team from Boston was in for a huge surprise when she fell first hand on the codices, which only three copies remain in the world today. "Most copies were burned during the Spanish conquest" she concedes. "Most of them were destroyed by Bishop Diego de Landa in July of 1562. They were deemed diabolical at the time by the authorities, who burned all copies. For a long time, archeologists were hoping that a mayan ruler might have hid some from the spaniards. This might just be our luck!" she adds, very enthusiast.

Church Spring Extravaganza to support mission trip to Belize
It’s important to consider the needs of others. And, a mission group from the Powhatan Christian Church has been doing just that since it began traveling to Belize to provide much-needed help to inhabitants of that foreign country. The group’s desire to provide assistance abroad is the motivation behind the second annual Spring Extravaganza that will be held on Saturday, May 10. The celebration is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Powhatan Christian Church’s Powhatan Campus at 4480 Anderson Highway in Powhatan. Proceeds from the event will help to fund the Belize Mission Team’s upcoming excursion. Powhatan Christian Church has two other locations: one in Midlothian and one in Bremo Bluff. Members of each campus will participate in the mission trip.

10 Places We're Meh About And Where To Go Instead
6. We're meh about Costa Rica, but we're loving Belize. Costa Rica was once the "it" place for service trips in a beautiful, tropical place. But Costa Rica's been done and it's time to find another gorgeous Central America location, so we're going to visit Belize, which boasts lush jungle, beautiful beaches, the Belize Barrier Reef, ancient Mayan ruins and plenty of cultural activity. Belize also offers service trips and volunteer opportunities, if that's what you're looking for.


Video: Resplendent Quetzal, 1min.
The Resplendent Quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala, its name is given because of its feathers resplendent the light from green to blue colours; its chest is red and its tail is longer than 90 centimetres. In the video it has a little Emerald beetle.

Video: Butterfly House- Belize, 3min.
Butterfly House- Near Sang Ignacio in Belize

Video: Dangriga From the Dock- Belize, 1min.
Trip to Belize

Video: Fly Boarding In Caye Caulker, Belize, 2min.
Fly Boarding is the water sport of the future! Check it out in action at "The Split" in Caye Caulker, Belize

Video: Interview with Horse Whisperer John Carr, 15min.
Jaguars, Birds, Monkeys and Horses join us with John Carr of Banana Bank in Belize- for this exclusive interview of this well renowned horse whisperer and expat in Belize. This is a show from Belize Teve Biography with our Host Macarena Rose. You do not want to miss Sarah ( Producer) up close with the jaguar- this is one of 4 parts.

Video: Aerial Video of Ambergris Caye, Belize, 5min.
Enjoy this video and aerial views of Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Video: DOLPHIN ATTACK!, .5min.
We decided to make a run out to Glovers’s Reef on a friend’s catamaran for a couple of days of SCUBA diving. There wasn’t a lot of planning involved. It was afternoon and the drinks were flowing in anticipation of one of those life-altering sunsets over the water. An idea started a conversation that quickly led to consensus: let’s do it. Gear was gathered; bathing suits and sunscreen were grabbed; an ice chest was filled; and we were off. Conversation on most dive trips centers on past underwater experiences and undersea adventures to come. We were under sail about an hour east of Royal Belize enjoying the sun and the conversation when this happened…

Video: Belize 2014, 7min.

Video: Belize Scuba Diving, 7min.
Scuba Diving at Lighthouse Reef in Belize, including Half Moon Caye Wall, The Aquarium, and Julia's Jungle.

Video: Dolphins in Manatee Sanctuary Belize, 2min.
Male and 2 females playing around

Video: Full Circle Belize, 7min.

Video: Belize Documentary, 10min.

Video: Gale force boat ride back to Ambergris Caye from the mainland Belize, 1min.

Video: Shark encounter snorkeling Lighthouse Reef Belize, 1min.
Whilst shooting a video of a coral head and some fish I swam around behind and what do you know - a shark!

Video: SEARIOUS ADVENTURES tour boat ride into Belize River, 2min.

Video: Blue Tang School Blue Hole Belize Snorkeling, 1min.

Video: Cessna takeoff from the cargo airport (Muni) in Belize, 2min.
Check out Erica's view - ah chooo!

Video: Cessna landing at the Belize cargo airport with dirt runway, 2min.

Video: Multiple Reef Dives - Placencia, Belize April 2014!!!, 4min.
Scuba Diving in Robert's Grove Placencia Belize this past Easter week 2014. Had some great dives with lots of Eels and different fish. Warm water and great Vis, always a great time.

Video: Belize, 3min.

Video: Discover Sanctuary Belize, 3min.
from Buy Belize

May 7, 2014


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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
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The San Pedro Sun

Gabriela “Gaba” Nuñez places second in Mr. Vigor y Fuerza 2014
In only the second competition of her career, Gabriela “Gaba” Nuñez has placed second in the Bikini Fitness division of the 9th Annual Mr. Vigor y Fuerza 2014. Held on Sunday, May 4th in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, the competition saw participants from across the region join in commemorating the 29th anniversary of the Vigor and Strength Gym located in Merida. The competition included categories for children up to the age of 17 years, beginners, youth, novice, men’s physique, modeling women’s figure for veterans, and bikini fitness. Winners of the Mr. Vigor and Fuerza qualified for Mr. Mexico Youth and Veterans National Tournament to be held on May 16th and 18th in Mexico City. Winners in the female category will participate in an exclusive championship for women to be held in Mexico City on May 10th and 11th.

Team Legends are the Champions!
It was an exciting afternoon on Sunday, May 4th at the Honorable Louis Sylvester Football Arena as the San Pedro Sports Committee Football Tournament final games were played. After weeks of games, it was down to Team Southwind and Team Legends in the finals. Eager football fans came out to see the highly anticipated games, and they were not disappointed. The first game was actually to determine the third place team, Team Dorados or Team Caye Caulker. The team from our neighboring island village came out with all its might, showing no mercy as they scored a goal in the first minutes of the game. Dorados quickly evened the score, but that single goal did not matter in the face of Caye Caulker’s four goals total. With a final score of 4-1, Caye Caulker was awarded the third place trophy and $500 cash.

11 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have reduced maternal mortality, new UN data show
A new United Nations report shows that 11 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have made significant progress in reducing deaths from pregnancy-related causes since 1990. However no country in the region is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing maternal mortality 75% by 2015. The 11 countries that significantly reduced maternal mortality (MMR down 40% or more since 1990) are Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Peru. Despite this progress, an estimated 9,300 women lost their lives in Latin America and the Caribbean due to pregnancy-related causes in 2013 (down from 17,000 maternal deaths in 1990). The new report, Trends in maternal mortality estimates 1990 to 2013, estimates changes in maternal mortality worldwide and by region and country. It was produced jointly by the World Health Organization

Ambergris Today

Bella Italia Is Doing Something Right
In the short amount of time that we sat waiting for our food at Bella Italia Restaurant, I saw quite a few boxes of pizza come out of the kitchen ready for delivery. And still, in no time, our food was out – two pizzas, lasagna and shrimp pasta. The cook is a fast one at Bella Italia and people are loving this aspect of the restaurant; and their food is great too! Bella Italia offers great new options for pizza lovers in San Pedro, having different pizza styles that are delicious, plus they come out faster than most pizza places in town. Browsing through Bella Italia’s menu you find pizza options like Salsiccia Pizza (tomato, mozzarella & Italian sausage); Carbonara Pizza (mozzarella, parmesan, bacon & eggs); Esotica Pizza (ham, mozzarella, tomato & pineapple) and Margherita Pizza (tomato, mozzarella & oregano), plus the popular favorites like Meat Lovers, Supreme, Shrimp, Veggie and Pepperoni.

Kids Summer Camp at Basil Jones
Learn about our environment in a fun and interactive way! July 7 – August 1 Registration for Summer Camp is now underway. Applications can be picked up from the Ministry of Education office in San Pedro. Camp will include: Overnight stay, Reef Education, Swimming, Hiking, Bird watching, Arts & Crafts. Cost is $150/week. Some scholarship may be available. Choose the week or stay all four weeks. The camp is located in the north part of the island near Bacalar Chico and will be chaperoned by teachers and trained personnel. Ages 11 – 16 years. Register by May 15th. For Additional info please call Miriam Codd at 662-0858 or Mito Paz at 663-2865 or [email protected]

San Pedro Teams Top Mahahual Fishing Tournament
Two fishing teams from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, topped the 23rd annual Copa Gobernador 2014, Fishing Tournament that was held over the weekend in Mahahual, Mexico besting 57 other teams from five different Mexican states, USA and Belize. Fishing crew of the Real Challenge boat managed to secure the second place at the tournament while Team Amigos (Amigos del Mar) placed third, both taking home a new vehicle and trophy. Participants from San Pedro include Team Amigos, Lady Leslie, Real Challenge, Rojo Lara among others. Ambergris Today Congratulates both teams on their excellent performance.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize Tourism Expo 2014
Betex, Belize's Tourism Expo, starts tomorrow, and ends Friday. Many Cayo businesses will be attending the BTIA organized event, which will, take place in Belize City. Cayo's Larry Waight wrote an article about BETEX for You can find out more at their website: "The Belize Tourism Expo is an initiative of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, Belize’s leading national private sector tourism association. BTIA represents a unified voice, and advocates for issues that benefit its members. BTIA also influences tourism policy, legislation and marketing for the sustainable development of the industry and improved quality of the visitor experience. BETEX was first organized in 1996 and now takes place every two years, attracting approximately 300 - 350 local and international tourism professionals and press representatives."

Western Ballaz Take Down No Limit
The Western Ballaz travelled to Belize City to play the No Limit at the Bird's Isle court. The Western Ballaz won the match 63 - 77, sealing their 2nd place in the NEBL(photos on G+). They travel to PG this Saturday to play the Toledo Diplomats. They host the Belmopan Bandits on Friday, May 16th. Go Ballaz!

FISHING REPORT: Week of April 27 – May 3rd, 2014
Week Summary: It was great having Jason and Dane from the Crested Butte Fly Shop hosting a great group from Texas, 20 in all, and all had a blast! The wind was just relentless until very late in the week so it kept the permit and tarpon number in check.

Phase 2 Solar Panels Installed and working at Holy Cross!!
Thanks to you, our many donors, our Phase 2, second set of solar panels, have now been installed by Baker Renewable Energy (BRE, at Holy Cross Anglican School in San Mateo, Belize. This second set will produce peak 5KW of power generation -- doubling our capacity from 5KW to 10KW.This past week, two BRE technicians spent the week working at Holy Cross Anglican school to afix the new array on roofing sections above the kitchen and lower division classrooms. As shown in the attached picture, the new array features 10 250W panels that are angled toward the east, and 10 that are angled toward the west. This will even out the power distibution curve. Further, the roof-length is long enough that we can, up to a point, simply add-on additional panels without having to implement additional breaker equipment. Since each panel has its own microinverter, a problem with any one panel will not bring down the entire array.

WITH WARMER WEATHER COMES MOSQUITOS! WITH SUMMER APPROACHING I THOUGHT I’D SHARE THIS Have you noticed the Mosquitos are already out! Here is a homemade trap to help keep you and the kiddos from being a blood donor!!! HOMEMADE MOSQUITO TRAP: Items needed: 1 cup of water 1/4 cup of brown sugar 1 gram of yeast 1 2-liter bottle HOW: 1. Cut the plastic bottle in half. 2. Mix brown sugar with hot water. Let cool. When cold, pour in the bottom half of the bottle. 3. Add the yeast. No need to mix. It creates carbon dioxide, which attracts mosquitoes. 4. Place the funnel part, upside down, into the other half of the bottle, taping them together if desired. 5. Wrap the bottle with something black, leaving the top uncovered, and place it outside in an area away from your normal gathering area. (Mosquitoes are also drawn to the color black.) Change the solution every 2 weeks for continuous control.

Government by default
By Abdulmajeed K Nunez How can we allow Francis to become PM by default? No wonder the country is doing economic summersaults It’s gonna be everyone’s fault For failing to think outside the colonial vault Development is at a screeching halt The minute you sell you vote And take the load of sand and the blue note The citizenry eating five years worth of salt Because of the contract they made under strain It’s youths committing all sorts of assaults The entire country is at fault

Medical SNCO: Helping others makes for happy heart
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Cassandra Glasco says it makes her heart happy whenever she's able to help other people. Helping people is essentially in her job description as a New Horizons Belize 2014 medical technician deployed from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., in support of medical readiness training exercises, or MEDRETEs, in the Punta Gorda region in Belize. The 19-year senior NCO is spending the second year in a row on the New Horizons team, sharing her lessons learned from last year and also sharing her compassionate demeanor with Belizeans lining up to receive free medical care. New Horizons is a multi-faceted exercise geared toward providing mutual medical training and advancement opportunities for Belizean medical providers and their Canadian and U.S. military counterparts. "The difference I'm seeing this year is our reach has been a little further," Glasco recalled. "Last year, we stayed closer to the main cities for our MEDRETEs. This year, we are going out into the villages.

SBDC and DOE at Agric
The Small Business Development Center was at Agric, and they got some pictures of their clients' merchandise. The Department of the Environment had an information booth there too. "Proud clients of SBDCBelize"

Romain Virgo Unplugged Concert
Romain Virgo played after Agric at Barrio Fino, and Danny Chung got some wicked shots of the concert. Denise Castillo and Shannelly Sutherland also performed. More great pictures are coming.

Belmopan Sports Wednesday
The Bandits host the Verdes today at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium for the semifinals of the PLB Belikin Cup. The game starts at 7:30pm. The Belmopan Active Youth is having their basketball final at Hilltop Court, starting at 7:00pm. They'll have Above the Influence playing the Ball Hard Live Free.

BEL Reviews PUC’s Initial Decision on Annual Review Proceeding
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) is reviewing the Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) Initial Decision on the 2014 Annual Review Proceeding (ARP) for BEL. BEL is pleased that the PUC’s Initial Decision also proposes a reduction in electricity rates, which amounts to a 1 per cent deviation from BEL’s proposal. This decision allows BEL to fulfill its Mission to “provide reliable electricity at the lowest sustainable cost…” The Company will be meeting with its Management team to review the PUC’s entire decision, including the five schedules approved, to determine the possible implications of the PUC’s decision on BEL’s Five Year Investment Plan. BEL will submit its written comment to the PUC by May 12, as required under the ARP.

The Belize Road Safety Initiative
Sometimes you've just got to "take the keys" to save lives. Young Ashley Silva lost her life last month in a tragic traffic accident. Her parents, Karim and Melonie, open up their ordeal, reminding us to "buckle up" and "think before you drink". Be sure to like The Belize Road Safety Initiative to listen their story and more. Learn about what the Government of Belize is doing to make Belize's roads safer for all!

Channel 7

Cayo CET Says UDP Chairman Alberto Wants to Quitar School Land
Tonight, the faculty, staff and student body the Center for Employment Training in San Ignacio are upset because a piece of their school land is being allocated for another public purpose. They say that they've been maintaining it for years with hopes of getting a title for it, but now the Chairman of the Belize Water Services, Alberto August - who is also the Chairman of the UDP Party - is hoping to make use of it for the relocation of the San Ignacio Fire Department. 7News went to the Cayo District to speak to the Vice Chairman of the CET Cayo Board of Governors - who is also a prominent PUP in the town. Here's how he explained it: Orlando "Landy" Espat - Vice-Chair, Board of Governors, CET Cayo "It was never maintained by the sports council and we at CET we use to maintain it. It came to a point we heard that this was going to be given away to some private individual and we calculated that it was for speculation purposes, so what we did was to move the board and then we held a meeting with Honorable Francis Fonseca, he was the Minister of Education under the People's United Party government.

Canadian Complains About Street Crime
A Canadian businessman who's been in Belize for just over a week says he might not make it to the end of his stay because he's been robbed twice in eight days. John Lorenz is stating at the Renaissance Towers in Belize City - and walks over to the Radisson Gym for his morning workout. But, twice, on the walk over, he claims two different pairs of men have tried to rob him. Lorenz told us about it today:.. John Lorenz, Canadian businessman "I've been here now since March 26th and I'll be staying for the foreseeable future unless I get killed in the meantime." Daniel Ortiz "Why do you feel that your life and safety is threaten in this country?" John Lorenz, Canadian businessman "I have lived in a lot of different countries in the world like Rio de Janeiro which is a dangerous city and I never felt unsafe there, but I feel very unsafe here in Belize City.

Accused Cop's Family Complains Of Setup
Last night, the big news was about police constable Yannick Wade, accused of masterminding the theft of 8 guns from the San Pedro police station. Wade is assigned to the san Pedro police station and called in sick on Thursday; the guns were discovered missing on Friday morning - but could have gone missing from Wednesday night. Wade is in jail tonight because two of the guns were found on the premises of his girlfriend's house - where he is known to reside. He faces multiple charges of theft for the eight missing guns and for keeping an unlicensed firearm. But while police seem to have a credible case against - what if it is all a setup? That's what his family is alleging. They spoke with Monica Bodden this afternoon:..

Coye Family Money, It's Complicated
Last night we told you about the temporary relief that the Coye family received when Justice Shona Griffith ordered that their bank accounts be unfrozen so that they could get full access to their money. Well, a few hours after that major victory, a Panamanian company, Internet Experts SA, through their local attorney, Lisa Shoman, managed to get an ex-parte injunction from the Supreme Court which restrained the Coyes from accessing their bank accounts. It's a significant setback for the the Coyes, and today, we got a chance to speak by phone with Lisa Shoman, about why her clients believe they had to block the family at the last minute: Lisa Shoman "This was an injunction, an ex parte hearing that was held before Madam Justice Young and it was an application which was made on the 8th of April. When my clients saw that the Coye's were making moves to try and have their funds release the clients instructed that we go ahead and try to get an injunction because going back to 2010 there has been a claim for 4, 8 million dollars by Internet Experts which was file in November of 2010 claiming that the monies were being held among other people were owe to them by Money Exchange International Ltd. Melanie Coye and the late Michael Coye. This was all part and parcel of business that Money Exchange International was doing Internet Experts."

US Child Predator Listed To Be In BZ
A flyer from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement says that a convicted child predator is residing in Belize. 63 year old Thomas Allen Bloom was convicted of sexual battery and child coercion in Brevard Florida in 1997. He is registered as a sexual predator in Florida and his given address on the flyer is Belize. Doesn't say where in Belize but the information was updated to reflect his Belize location in 2013. US sex offenders are not required to register in Belize.

Hon. Boots Says 254 Lots In Cotton Tree Was Private Land Acquisition
Last week Friday on the news - we interviewed the chairman and vice chairman of Cotton Tree Village - who explained why they were suing the government for giving away land within their village boundary. The villagers - bolstered by their PUP Area Representative Julius Espat - have retained attorney Andrew Marshalleck of Barrow and Company to challenge government for overstepping the local authority of the lots committee and the village council to decide who gets land in their village. The challenge comes out of a recently disclosed decision to give city residents 254 lots within Cotton Tree village. In the House of Representatives, it was alleged that all 254 lots are for Anthony Boots Martinez to distribute to his PORT LOYOLA constituents. Well, Martinez tells us that not quite how it works. The 254 lots are to be shared amongst the eight UDP Area Representatives in Belize City - who will get 30 each. Martinez adds that the lands were not national lands but were acquired from a Chinese landowner who owns a large tract in the area. He said his cabinet colleague Wilfred Sedi Elrington negotiated the purchase of the land for a public purpose. He says the landowner has twice that volume of land to sell and he would encourage the villagers, or their sponsor Julius Espat, to speak to him about purchasing it.

Bliss Center Far From Blissful With Broken AC and No $$$ To Fix It
The Bliss Center, it's one of the only air conditioned indoor facilities in the country, and while it should be the National Theater, in reality, it is used for everything from graduations to pre school variety shows to spiritual revivals to rock concerts. But anyone who's been in there recently will know that it's not so air conditioned anymore. NICH President Dianne Haylock confirmed to us today that only one of the three air conditioning units in the main theater is working. The facility has no windows, so when a performance is going, and there's even half of a full house, it starts getting very hot, very quickly. So why don't they just fix it? Well Haylock says it's not that simple. She says the Bliss Center has multiple chronic leakage problems due to poor construction when it was first built in the early two thousand's.

Robber Jailed
29 year-old Lincoln Sabido is at jail tonight after he was taken to court for robbing a Chinese Grocer a week ago. According to police, 37 year-old Desuo Li, the owner of Ying Li Shop, reported that on last week Tuesday, he was unloading items from his vehicle when 2 men entered his shop. One of the men pulled out a gun and the other a knife. At gunpoint, the men ordered him to lie on the ground, and that's when they robbed him of 2 cellular phones and 2 cartons of cigarettes and $700 cash. 2 customers were in the store at the same time and they were also robbed of money and possessions to a total value of $3,500.

BEL Pleased With PUC
BEL sent out a release today basically saying it's not fighting with the Public Utilities Commission - even though the regulator cut its proposed rate decrease by one percent. BEL says it is pleased that the PUC's Initial Decision also proposes a reduction in electricity rates. But will it object to that decision as BWSL recently did? A release says the Company will be meeting with its Management team to review the entire decision…to determine the possible implications…on BEL's Five Year Investment Plan. BEL will submit its written comment to the PUC by May 12th.

Why Was Water Interrupted For Hours?
Yesterday just after midday, approximately 12,000 households along the Northern Highway and in Belize City, which is the largest population centres in the country had no water for a little over 7 hours. It wasn't a planned service interruption; early in the morning they discovered complete break in one of their 24 inch main pipes on the highway, which required them to dig 10 feet into the ground to repair it. Today, the operations officer explained to us why they had no choice but to interrupt service after trying to ensure that those customers had water to use earlier that morning: Dave Pascascio - Operations Manager BWS "We woke up yesterday morning to a break in our main transmission line that supplies Belize City and so what we had to do was to manage the storage we had to last for the duration of the repairs, but cognizant of the fact that we were entering peak morning demand we did not reduce pressures until after peak until about 8am.

It Was A Very Good Year
Last night we told you thirty five thousand people had attended the national agriculture and trade show. Today the Ministry of Agriculture sent out day by day breakdowns: 16000 persons attended on Saturday and 18000 on Sunday. This is an increase over the previous year.

Cyclists To Puebla
Today 6 top male cyclists left Belize for Peubla Mexico to participate in the Pan American Cycling Road Championship form May 6th - 11th. They are Joel Borland and Giovanni Lovell in the Under 23 category, and Marlon Castillo, Greg Lovell, Ron Vasquez and Byron Pope in the elite category. They are accompanied by Head Coach, Perry Gibson and cycling Association official, Orson Butler. A total of 22 countries will be competing for 18 spots in the Pan American Games Toronto 2015. All the riders will be taking part in the Road Race, while Marlon Castillo, Byron Pope, Joel Borland and Giovanni Lovell will be participating in the Individual Time Trial.

Channel 5

Land dispute between BWS and CET in San Ignacio
There is growing discontent in San Ignacio tonight over one acre of land. The land is a portion of a five acre plot on which the Center for Employment Training [...]

PSU says Chief Pharmacist has been victimized by Health C.E.O.
The pharmacy dispute surrounding the appointment of a Minister’s daughter remains on centre stage. Danini Contreras is the daughter of U.D.P. Minister Erwin Contreras. Contreras, who is not registered as [...]

Minister Godwin Hulse has 21 days to resolve Danini Contreras dispute
Those circumstances surrounding the Chief Pharmacist, and arising from the appointment of Danini Contreras, are among the issues which have been taken before the Minister of Labour. As promised, the [...]

Should Danini Contreras be removed as Director of Drug Inspectorate?
And our question for tonight is: Do you believe that Danini Contreras should be removed as Director of Drug Inspectorate? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to [...]

70 year old US businessman attacked twice in 8 days
A seventy year old US national currently in Belize on business is reporting that he has been attacked twice in eight days and in broad daylight. John Larencz has been [...]

Despite a court ruling, Coye family still has no access to their monies
On Monday, the Coye family enjoyed a short-lived legal victory when the Supreme Court ordered that their assets, amounting to millions of dollars in cash, be unfrozen.  The family’s holdings [...]

Attorney speaks on injunction by Panamanian company
According to Bradley, the injunction was filed without their knowledge.   Via Phone: Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley, Attorney for Coye Family “So, yesterday the judge gave an order.  Arguments were also [...]

G.O.B. versus Jamaican Gay Activist, Maurice Tomlinson; ruling to be delivered
The Caribbean Court of Justice convenes on Wednesday at its seat in Trinidad where it will hand down a decision in the case of Maurice Tomlinson versus the Government of [...]

Alrick and Brandon Smith acquitted of attempted murder
In March of 2013, police were reportedly engaged in a shootout with two alleged street figures. The incident involved Brandon Smith, aka Battery, a member of the PIV gang located [...]

Accused robber, Lincoln Sabido, is arraigned
A Belize City man from the Berries Street area of Saint Martin’s De Porres is tonight on remand at the Belize Central Prison after he was accused of robbing a [...]

Barranco residents speak on oil exploration by US Capital Energy
The village of Barranco is a Garifuna community in the Toledo District; it is also one of five buffer communities on the outskirts of the Sarstoon Temash National Park where [...]

Caye Caulker without a doctor for months
One of the prime tourism islands has been without a doctor, in some instances for months, and the access to timely healthcare on Caye Caulker has become an issue for [...]

17 pharmacies, but only 2 pharmacists in San Pedro
The appointment of the new director of drug inspectorate has brought to the forefront a wide range of shortfalls within the system in respect of imported pharmaceuticals and persons practicing [...]

Belizean is killed in a helicopter accident in the U.S.
A Belizean who left Belize years ago has died in a helicopter crash at Fort Bliss, Texas. He is twenty-seven year old Sergeant Dwight Burn who lived in Barstow, California [...]

PricewaterhouseCoopers hosts financial literacy training
Financial Literacy Training…it not a topic that you often hear about, but it is an initiative that has been ongoing in Belize since 2008.  It targets teachers and students from [...]

Financial training culminates with multiple fairs at ITVET
The two-day training is interactive and includes presentations from various institutions. Deputy Chief Education Officer, Carol Babb, spoke of how the continuous work of the international organization has led up [...]


Shots Fired In The Louisiana Area, Bullet Graces Its Target
Residents living in the Louisiana Area of Orange Walk Town had a pretty good scare sometime around 9:00 last night when seven shots rang out in the area. Reports indicate that Victor Luna, who resides on Asuncion Street, was the target. According to our sources the individual was driving his vehicle on Macal River Street when a lone gun man fired seven shots at his direction. One of the bullets found its target but luckily Luna was only grazed on the right foot. Orange Walk Police visited the area and recovered 7 (9mm) expended shells. As for the gunman he was long gone by the time police arrived in the area. But police investigations have led to the detention of a 17 year old minor from Sittee River Street in Orange Walk Town.

Thirteen Year Old Goes Missing
A woman from the Village of Carmelita in the Orange Walk District is tonight desperately looking for her 13 year old daughter who exited the family’s home at around 3:35am Monday to use the outdoor latrine and went missing. According to Angela Martinez, when she saw that her daughter, 13 year old Janet Elsie Daniela Martinez did not return inside, she called out for her but received no response. Checks were made in the area and to Martinez’s surprise Janet was nowhere to be found. Martinez reported to police that when she checked Janet’s room, she discovered a back pack containing her daughter’s clothes and deodorant. Martinez suspects that her daughter left with a twenty three year old man from the same village.

Belizean Soldier Dies In Plane Crash
A Belizean who served with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, in the US Military has died after he and three other soldiers crashed during training exercise in New Mexico. International reports indicate that twenty seven year old Sergeant Dwight W. Burn was the crew chief aboard the CH-47 Chinook helicopter that went down during high altitude mountainous environment training in Fort Bliss' northern training area near Orogrande, New Mexico which is about 45 miles away from the Texas base. There were three other soldiers with Burn and are reportedly listed in stable condition. Their names and the extent of their injuries were not released. The CH-47 Chinook is a heavy-lift transport helicopter that was first used in Vietnam and today is used mainly to move troops, ammunition, large-caliber guns and equipment. The Brigade Burns was attached to and other units from across the military routinely train at Fort Bliss because of its vast desert and mountain terrain, according to the Military officials.

Electricity Rates To Reduce
And amidst all the bad news there is a bit of good news to share with you tonight especially in these hard economic times. Belizeans are to see a reduction in their electricity bill. That announcement was made yesterday by the Public Utilities Commission who has approved a minimal reduction in electricity rates, after carefully following the Annual Review Proceeding submitted by Belize Electricity Limited earlier this year. According to the PUC the rate presently stands at 0.04465 cents per kilowatt per hour. A 0.0165 cents reduction has been applied to the rate, cutting it down to what now consumers will be paying 0.04300 cents per kilowatt per hour. BEL had predicted a little over ninety three million, three hundred thousand in regulating assets value; however the Public Utilities Commission has reduced that figured by approximately seventeen million dollars. After carefully reviewing the annual proceedings by BEL, in a press briefing John Avery, Chairman at the Public Utilities Commission spoke about the corrections of the retroactive formula used from the period of July 1st 2012 to June 30th, 2013.

Muffles High School Receives Much Needed Financial Assistance
Muffles High School is much closer to achieving their dream of constructing their much needed auditorium. Today, during a short assembly at the school grounds, Chairman of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association Committee of Management, Alfredo Ortega, handed over a cheque of one thousand dollars to the Principal of the highs school Margie Johnston. The donation was made under the BSCFA / Fair Trade Educational Program. Alfredo Ortega - Chair Man BSCFA “It’s a program that the farmers throughout the social program that they had approved when we had the meeting for the Orange Walk branch in which they approved for the different schools and at this time it was four schools and one charity group that were approved for this program and the farmers set aside five thousand dollars and it was divided equally so each school will be getting a thousand dollars and today it is Muffles Highs School that will be getting a thousand dollars for the auditorium program that they have.”

Rossana Briceno To Receive Principal Of The Year 2014 Award
The Ministry of Education has selected a Principal of the Year for the year 2014 and the award is going to Rossana Briceno, School Principal at Saint Peter’s Anglican School in Orange Walk Town. Briceno was chosen by the Ministry of Education and the Teacher Education Development Service for her years of service and dedication to her work at the Anglican school. Briceno was selected for the award following an extensive interview session with principals from primary schools across all six districts in the country. We will have more on this story in our subsequent newscast.

Classes Cancelled At Ranchito Government School
An insect infestation has prompted the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and the Village Council at Ranchito Village in the Corozal District to take action at the Ranchito Government School. While officials at the Ministry of Education would not give an official comment on the matter, our news room has received several phone calls from concerned parents who have told us that classes have been cancelled for the week. Our News Team visited the school today in an effort to find out what the situation is. Dalila Ical reports. Dalila Ical – Reporting Classes have been cancelled for the week at the Ranchito Government School after parents and the school administration complained about serious insect and quite possibly rodent infestations at the school. While Officials at the Ministry of Education refused to give us an official comment, concerned parents have made calls to our news room saying that the situation is one that has been ongoing for a long time now.

58 Immigrants Including One Belizean Detained In Mexico
Over the past weeks Mexican Newspapers have been reporting on a number of cases that are being linked to human trafficking. First it was the alleged kidnapping of two 8 year old girls from Sabidos Quintana Roo, a small Mexican Community located along the banks of the Rio Hondo. The minors were allegedly lured to the river bank by a 13 year old girl who reportedly worked for a 19 year old Belizean man only identified as Ariel who lives in the community. Luckily the kidnapping was foiled after the parents of the minors went searching for them. The girls were allegedly to be brought to Belize. The second report was aired last night. As we mentioned a 16 year old minor reported to Mexican Authorities in Felipe Carrillo Puerto that for the past seven months she has been in a relationship with a man identified as Miguel Angel Manzanero Cocom and all that she wanted was to come back home to Belize since she was being verbally and physically abused by Cocom. We understand that authorities were investigating the matter. And now to tonight’s report.


Berry Street Residence Charged with Robbery
Twenty-nine year old Lincoln Sabido, a resident of Berry Street who the police believe was one of two persons involved in the robbery of a Chinese shop, was charged with one count of robbery and three counts of aggravated assault when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Sabido pled not guilty to the charges. He was remanded into custody until August 8. The incident occurred around 10 a.m. on April 29. Thirty-seven year old Desuo Li, the owner of Ying Li Shop, located on Tibruce Street, reported to the police that he was discharging items from his vehicle to his shop when two persons, one of them armed with a gun and the other with a knife, accosted him and ordered him to lie on the ground. Li said he complied and the person with the knife entered the shop and stole 700 dollars, one laptop computer, two cellular phones and two cartons of cigarettes. Two persons, who were inside the shop, were held at gunpoint while the robbery was in progress. As a result, Sabido was charged with aggravated assault on Li, Garret Casimiro and Randy Smith.


American Fugitive Escapes from Belmopan Police and is Recaptured
American fugitive escapes legal custody and is recaptured in Roaring Creek. On Monday April 28th, we reported to you that an American Fugitive, identified as 52 year old Martin Chapman, wanted in the US for several criminal offences was apprehended in Roaring Creek village, Belmopan. One of the offences for...

High Speed Hijack on the George Price Highway; One Man Hospitalized
Tonight there are reports of a high-speed hijack that resulted in the arrest of three Belizean unemployed men of Teakettle Village. According to the Officer Commanding Belmopan Police, sometime around 10:20 pm last night, Bolivia National Ricardo Guzman, Chief Mechanic of Discoveries Oil Company, and a resident of teakettle...

Two Female Minors, Cousins, Go Missing at the Same Time
Two female minors, cousins to each other, reportedly went missing after leaving their homes towards to go visit their aunt. According to police reports at around 4:30 pm on Sunday, May 4th, 15 year old Jennilee Cassasola, Belizean student, of Zacaranda Street, Belize City and 14 year old Shanda...

Mentally Challenged Man is Missing- Believed to Have Wandered Off
A mentally challenged person has also been reported missing. 21 year old Clifton Clifford Willoughby, known also as “Grizzle”, Belizean unemployed of Iguana Street Extension, Belize City has been mentally challenged for over three years. He is of brown complexion, slim built, about 6 ft. in height with a...

Man Charged for Robbery of Grocery Shop
29 year old Lincoln Sabido was arraigned in court today for the robbery of a Chinese shop last week Tuesday in Belize City. Owner of Ying Li Shop on Tibruce Street, 37 year old Desuo Li, was supervising the removal of items from his vehicle into the store around...

Suspicious Belizean Boy Allegedly Attempts to Kidnap Girls in Mexico
There are troubling reports of attempted kidnapping coming out of Mexican newspaper Por Esto. According to the reports made by Por Esto, the townspeople of Sabido, Quintana Roo captured a Belizean, identified only as 19 year old Ariel, who was trying to kidnap two 8 year old girls and...

Abducted Belizean Girl is Found in the Custody of a Mexican Man
In a completely opposite situation, a 16 year old Belizean girl was found in Carillo Puerto, Mexico in the company of a 53 year old Mexican man who had apparently kidnapped her and was abusing her. According to reports made by Por Esto Newspaper, at around 9:00 pm on...

Coye Family Assets Still Under Lockdown
At news time Monday, PLUS News was informed that contrary to the hopes of their attorneys, the surviving members of the Coye family were not allowed access to their bank accounts following an order lifting the freezing of the accounts by Justice Shona Griffith. This is because according to...

Evangelical Christian Leaders to Meet with the PM over Gender Policy
On Wednesday morning (May 7th) The National Executive Team from Evangelical Association of Churches under the Leadership of President Reverend Eugene Crawford intends to meet with the Prime Minister Dean Barrow. The team requested a meeting with him to discuss comments made by Ann-Marie Williams, Executive Director of the Women’s Commission, to a...

Alliance of Leaders and Ministers Give GOB Deadline to Retract the Gender Policy
Another Christian organization is not as soft spoken in its rejection of the Revised National Gender Policy 2013 is the Alliance of Leaders and Ministers of Belize. The group formed by Patrick Menzies and currently led by President Alejandro Grande is a Belizean organization of Leaders and Ministers from diverse...

Comprehensive High School Teacher is Arrested; Suspected Carnal Knowledge
In last night’s news cast we reported to you of allegations of an indecent nature made against a male teacher at the Belmopan Comprehensive High School. Reports were that the male teacher had had an affair with a 14 year old female student of Belmopan Comprehensive and had recently...

Electricity Rates to Go Down
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has released its initial decision on the Annual Review Proceeding (ARP) for Belize Electricity Limited (BEL). If there are no objections before May 12, on July 1 the utility regulator will reduce the mean electricity rate to 43.47 cents per kilowatt-hour from 44.65 cents,...

New Officer in Command for the Belmopan Police
Sinquest Martinez previously an Assistant Superintendant has been working as the Officer Commanding the Belmopan Police for well over a year now. Recently however, he has been promoted to Superintendant and upholds a new role as the Staff Officer to the Head of National Crime Investigation Branch; taking his...


Fisheries employee beaten and robbed on Lakeview Street
An employee of the Fisheries Department on Princess Margaret Drive was beaten and robbed while sitting in his vehicle, which was parked at about 10:00 yesterday morning in front of a store in the high-crime area of Lakeview Street, on the south side of the city. The two robbers got away with the man’s half-inch thick gold chain with a cross medal, designed with eight circular stones on it, hanging from his neck. The value of the chain has not yet been ascertained. The employee, who was the driver of the vehicle, had his window down because he was waiting for a beer that one of his friends had bought from the shop and was bringing to him. The victim reported that while sitting in his vehicle, a man approached, grabbed his chain from around his neck and tried to rip it off.

Clash in Sarstoon Temash!
Unity, solidarity and determination reigned, but tensions were high nonetheless within the confines of the majestic Sarstoon Temash National Park on this Labor Day holiday as a crowd of agitated Maya leaders, village chairmen, alcaldes and concerned villagers from the buffer communities in southern Belize gathered at the entranceway to US Capital Energy’s A1 Drill Site – which is located about 10 meters inside the national park – demanding to be given access to what they reiterated was their communal lands. The Mayan communities were up in arms particularly because yesterday, despite prior court rulings declaring their rights to those same communal lands, Chief Forest Officer Wilber Sabido and National Parks Administrator, Hannah St. Luce-Martinez, signed a waiver on the expiration date of the oil exploration permit which grants the oil company entry into the protected area. A little over a hundred representatives from 38 Mayan communities in the vicinity decided to take a stand and make a statement today by setting foot on what they believe to be their lands in accordance with the court’s rulings.

Bloody Friday on Antelope Street Extension
The seemingly never-ending gun violence has claimed the life of a man who, along with four others, was socializing in a yard in front of a house on Antelope Street Extension, in the city’s Southside, at about 11:30 on Friday, May, 2, when two gunmen approached and fired at them. Julian Willoughby, 24, of Antelope Street Extension, was killed immediately due to multiple gunshots to the head and upper body. Police found him lying on the ground in pools of his blood. Another man, Chris Reyes, 21, had received gunshot wounds in the upper chest and arm; Francisco Rivas, 18, was shot in the left upper back; a male minor, 14, was shot in the left leg; and Philipa Ramirez, 20, was shot in the left jaw. Amandala was told that the bullet is currently lodged in her chest and she has been declared to be in a critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit of the KHMH.

Cop + stolen guns + ammo = jail!
A Belize City policeman, Yannick Wade, 27, who was posted in San Pedro, gave the Police Department another unneeded black eye just a week after another cop, special constable Jose Haylock, 36, was sentenced to five years in prison for possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition. On Friday, May 2, a search by police officers, during which Wade and his in-laws were present, recovered two out of eight .38 revolvers that were reportedly stolen from a metal safe inside the San Pedro Police Station, where the security company, KBH, had stored them for safety. The company also reported that 101 rounds of its .38 ammunition that were inside the safe were also stolen. Constable Wade spent the weekend in police custody after he was arrested and charged for the theft of the revolvers and ammunition, which were found at his in-laws’ house on Cemetery Road. In an unprecedented show of their displeasure with Wade, the police brought their comrade to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court in handcuffs on Monday afternoon. But Wade’s arraignment was delayed until almost the end of the work day, because all of the magistrates were busy in a meeting.

Good news for BEL customers – rates may drop further!
Consumers were buffeted with a 16.87% increase in electricity rates last January, with the average electricity rate being raised from 41.81 cents per kilowatt-hour to 48.86 cents per kilowatt-hour, due to a reported rise in the cost of power. Since then, though, Belizean consumers have seen a reprieve, with the electricity rate falling to 44.65¢, and effective July 1, 2014, there may be a further 2.65% decrease to 43.47¢. John Avery, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), told the media at a press conference Monday afternoon that the PUC’s decision calls for total corrections of $17.7 mil in favor of consumers. Avery said that in its submission on April 1, 2014, the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) asked for more money to cover operational expenses, but they also proposed that the rates should be lowered to 43 cents per kilowatt hour – a reduction of about 3.7%. The PUC chairman said that with further corrections to be paid in favor of consumers, rates are likely to decrease further down the road.

Dr. Henry Canton steps down as CPBL CEO
Speculation has been rife in the last few weeks, and last Friday the news finally surfaced that the embattled Chief Executive Officer of the Citrus Products of Belize Limited (CPBL), Dr. Henry Canton, had not been fired as was originally believed, but had in fact resigned from his post on Wednesday, April 30, after a 12-year tenure at the helm of the citrus processing company. A press release which was issued last Friday, May 2, by CPBL, announced Canton’s departure, saying that “Canton tendered his resignation from the company where he has served as the CEO…since October 2002.” According to the release, Canton will continue to serve on CPBL’s board of directors as a representative of Banks Holdings Ltd. and his second-in-command, Chief Operations Officer Jaime Alpuche, will be the acting CEO until a new CEO is eventually appointed by the board of directors.

TIDE Junior
The TIDE Junior Freshwater Cup football tournament resumed after the Easter Break with 1 game played on Friday, May 2; and it was San Pedro Columbia Boys, 2-0, over Little Flower Boys, with goals coming from Gabriel Che (25’) and Gilbert Chiac (35’). The tournament will now continue until June with 3 games being played each week.

Western Ballaz
A pivotal match to secure the home court advantage in the upcoming National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) playoffs turned out to be an exciting, high intensity showdown this evening at Bird’s Isle in Belize City, as the Western Ballaz of Cayo went up against Smart No Limit of Belize City. Early in the game, it was all Smart No Limit, who jumped the Western Ballaz by 7 points with a score of 11-4 at 6:34 remaining in the first quarter; but by the end of that quarter, the Western Ballaz had taken the lead by 4 and brought the score to 21-17 in their favor. The Western Ballaz continued to dominate the game throughout the second quarter, and by halftime, Smart No Limit was trailing by 6 points, 42-36. Both teams seemed re-energized as they began the third quarter, and although Smart No Limit came within 1 point of the lead with 3:49 left in the quarter, the Western Ballaz retained control of the game, leading by 3 points, 57-54, at the end of the third.

FFB President’s Cup
The first FFB President’s Cup tournament kicked off with Week 1 games over the weekend at 3 of 4 scheduled venues. There are 8 teams participating in the tournament, and they represent 8 different football zones of the country – Estrellas FC from Toledo, Sagitun from Independence, Pomona United from Stann Creek, Roaring Creek RC from Belmopan, Benque D.C. United from Cayo, Belize District Stars from Belize District, Progresso FC from Orange Walk, and San Antonio FC from Corozal. In the only game on Saturday night, the Michael Ashcroft Stadium was the venue where visiting Roaring Creek United got the 3-2 win over home standing Sagitun. Alden Coleman (47’), Michael Lewis (54’) and Orin Reneau (92’) shook the net for Roaring Creek; while Ashley Torres (72’) and Wilbert Rivas (13’) scored for Sagitun. In the first Sunday afternoon game, up north at the Ricalde Stadium in Corozal, visiting Progresso FC clipped San Antonio FC, 2-1, with goals from Marlon Miranda (42’) and Eliazar Itza (78’), while the lone tally for San Antonio was by Russell Casanova (55’).

Support our Belize National Women
Fresh off a 2-1 victory over the Quintana Roo champs in their recent international friendly in Chetumal on April 27, the Belize National Women “A” Team embarks on a another weekend of matches, leaving Belize on Friday for Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, where they will participate in a Mundo Maya tournament, returning to Belize on Sunday. The team is preparing for the UNCAF (Central American) eliminations in Guatemala on May 19-25, which is an official Qualifier tournament for the CONCACAF Women Gold Cup, to be held later in Cancun, Mexico. Three members of the National Women “A” Team were guests on this morning’s Krem WUB, along with their team manager, Mrs. Carol Palma, and coach, Kent Gabourel. Also accompanying the delegation was FFB Public Relations Officer Luis Pena, who exhorted football fans countrywide and the business community, in particular, to give their full support, financial and otherwise, to the team.

EDITORIAL: The faceoff at the Sarstoon/Temash
Cheap, abundant petroleum is a primary foreign policy objective of the United States of America, the world’s superpower and the undisputed boss of the planet’s Western Hemisphere. The political leaders of the United States are elected by voters who want an ever improving standard of living. Cheap, abundant petroleum is a prerequisite for maintaining and improving America’s wealth and power. When British Honduras became a self-governing colony in January of 1964, we Belizeans did not realize that at that point we were really entering the orbit of United States’ influence. Even if we had so realized, very few of us would have objected. The research of California-based Belizean Dr. Jerome Straughan has established that Belizeans had been travelling to the United States to work and live from the latter part of the nineteenth century, after the U.S. Civil War was won by the Union under Abraham Lincoln, a Union which had abolished slavery. Early in the twentieth century, especially during and after World War I (1914-1918), a great deal more movement from British Honduras to America took place, especially through the New Orleans port of entry.

From The Publisher
1964 was the year when British Honduras attained internal self-government, it was the year when the school holidays were arbitrarily changed from April and May to July and August in order, apparently, to coincide with the school holidays in the United States, and it was also the year, in late August or early September, when St. John’s College Sixth Form went co-ed, with a class of young ladies who were mostly from the St. Catherine Academy’s graduating class of 1964. There were also at least three young ladies from Cayo, I remember that clearly. In fact, one of these young ladies later married one of my classmates from the SJC high school graduating class of 1963 – Alvaro Magaña. Alvaro told me that when I ran into him in San Ignacio a few years ago, after not having seen him for almost five decades. Between January and June, say, of 1964, we who became the 1965 graduating class of SJC Sixth Form had begun our Advanced Level studies on the southern side of the traditional high school campus under the supervision of Fr. Ronald Zinkle, S. J. That class included the late Neil Garbutt, Julian Castillo, Carlson Gough, Pedro Carrillo, Carlos Perdomo, the late Roger Silva, Lennox Vernon, Marion Paulino, Alexander Monsanto, and Daniel Castellanos.

LETTERS: The dam company’s responsibilities
With regards to the BELPO press release concerning the need for a safety alert system to let people know when the rivers will rise due to dam operations, this is essential and should have been in place a long time ago. We must recognize that the dam is a money making operation — a business — and uses precious Belizean resources to function. There should be outrage if just one Belizean mother has to bury a child due to neglect on the part of the entities financially gaining from operating the dam and using Belizean resources to do so. At the very least, the dam company (no pun intended) should be providing a system toward the safety and protection of Belizeans.

GOB issues clarification on US Capital’s oil permit
Last Friday, May 2, the Government of Belize (GOB)’s Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities – which is the oversight body for petroleum operations in Belize – issued a press release that initially censured the media for what it referred to as “misstatements” regarding the permit which was issued by the Forest Department to US Capital Energy (Belize) Limited, and later clarified the scope of that permit. According to the Ministry, the permit that was issued to the oil exploration company by the Forest Department on April 30th, 2013 allowed for US Capital to simply enter the Sarstoon-Temash National Park for the purpose of conducting petroleum exploration drilling operations, and the Ministry explicitly notes that the permit does not give permission to conduct actual drilling operations. Permission to drill, explained the release, is given by the Ministry with responsibility for the Geology and Petroleum Department and not the Forest Department.

H. E. Adalbert Tucker laid to rest
Official funeral services were held on Saturday morning, May 3, for His Excellency, Adalbert Alexander Tucker, at St. John’s Cathedral in Belize City. Bert passed away on April 10 in Kingston, Jamaica, at the age of 70. Celebrant of the Requiem Mass was Rt. Rev. Philip Wright (Lord Bishop of Belize), assisted by Rev. Eric Richards, Rev. Rudolph Anthony, and Rev. Lynda Moguel. The Organist was Mr. Kevin Campbell. Hon. Godwin Hulse, the Minister of Labor and Local Government, gave the Official Remembrance, while Eulogies were given by Norman Fairweather and Vernon Card. Elecif Tucker Arthurs, a sister of the deceased, gave the Family Reflection. The Pallbearers were Russell Tucker, Milton Arthurs, Jr., Chad Tucker, Alister Martin, Kingsley Jenkins, and Amilcar Mutilifa.

To drill or not to drill: Belize High School wins 1st Nat’l Oil Debate
While the oil drilling issue rages on in southern Belize between the Sarstoon-Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) and the oil exploration company US Capital Energy (Belize) Ltd. regarding the right to conduct oil exploration activities within the Sarstoon-Temash National Park, high schoolers from across the country were engaged in the first ever National Secondary School Oil Debate competition which concluded last Wednesday at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. The competition, which was organized by the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, started back in November of 2013, and the goal of the competition was to encourage discussion and research on oil exploration in Belize. The participating high schools who were enlisted took part in a series of debates concerning the merits and disadvantages of oil exploration, and in the end, the Belize High School debate team from Belize City won over Julian Cho High School from Toledo after over 40 minutes of constant debating.

From “The Princess” to “The Ramada Belize City Princess”
This morning during a media briefing at its Belize City location on Newtown Barracks, the management of the Belize City Princess Hotel and Casino announced that they will be rebranding the hotel in an effort to change its image both locally and internationally, as well as attract international clientele to the country. The owners of the hotel – which will now be known as the Ramada Belize City Princess – have agreed to join the Ramada chain of hotels, a subsidiary of the Windham Hotel Group from New Jersey, U.S.A., which happens to be the largest hotel company in the world, with over 7,200 hotels currently in operation worldwide. The new general manager of the Princess Hotel, Erol Olcan, noted that the hotel is not being sold to the Ramada and that financial considerations are not part of their decision to rebrand; instead, he said, there is a partnership between Ramada and the Turkish-owned Princess International.

Inflation 1.7% and exports down 22% for first quarter
Belize is reporting an inflation rate of 1.7% for the first quarter of 2014, according to information released today by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB). Although the inflation rate is marginal, consumers were faced with substantial price spikes for red kidney beans – a staple commodity of the national dish. While the bad news for consumers on the local market was an increase of 24.4% in the price of red kidney beans, from $1.99 a pound to $2.48 a pound in the month of March, the good news for the productive sector is that export earnings from the sale of red kidney beans to Jamaica was up by $3 million due to higher demand from the sister Caribbean nation. The overall inflation rate for March 2014 was 1.4% higher than March 2013, and the most significant price increases were recorded for beef, pork, black beans, red kidney beans, cabbages, carrots, onions and limes. Cooking costs are also higher, due to a rise in butane prices.

Guatemala man found decomposing in Chiquibul
The decomposed body of a Guatemalan, identified as Heber De Jesus Tzin Alvarado, 47, a farmer of Dolores, Guatemala, has been returned to his family members for burial in his home village after the body was recovered in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve by a composite police-BDF patrol on Saturday, May 3, and taken to Santa Elena for an autopsy that was performed yesterday, Sunday, May 4, at the Western Regional Hospital to certify the cause of his death. The body was to have been buried at the conclusion of the autopsy in Santa Elena, but the family requested that the body be returned to them, and the corpse was returned yesterday, Sunday, May 4. Police reported that Alvarado had been shot multiple times. Gunshots wounds were seen in the left side of his ribcage area, and he also had a gunshot wound in the left leg, one in the left side of his head and another in the mid portion of his back.

Police caught Honduran youth who “just walked over to Belize”
A Belize City police mobile patrol on the south side of the city nabbed a Honduran youth who has been living in Belize illegally. He was found loitering in front of Tow Tow Grocery Store on Mahogany Street on Wednesday. He could not properly identify himself and after an aunt took his Honduran identification document to the police station, he was handed over to the Immigration Department. When interviewed by immigration officers, Dasty Moises Guerrero, 21, told them that he had no problem when he “just walked over to Belize.” He said he was not detected and has been living here since last November. A check at the western border entry confirmed that there was no record of Guerrero’s entry to Belize. He was deemed a prohibited immigrant and a removal order was signed by Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer after he pleaded guilty to entering Belize illegally.

Baby, 2, dies after drinking herbicide
Rhondene Usher of Belize-Corozal Road, Orange Walk Town, is mourning the death of her baby, Justice Usher, 2, who died after he drank poison at about 10:30 Wednesday morning, April 30. Baby Justice had been playing in the yard, where Rhondene was hanging her laundry on a clothesline. Rhondene later heard the child crying, and the baby emerged from a storeroom next to their house, which he had entered at some point. The crying child went to her, with liquid insecticide coming out of his mouth, and told her that he had drunk “juice.” The frantic mother reportedly began washing baby Justice’s face with soap and gave him water to drink, but the liquid was still coming from his mouth, so she immediately induced vomiting and rushed him in a taxi to the Northern Regional Hospital in Orange Walk Town, where he was declared dead on arrival.

Russell Roberts says GOB “mum” on promised firearm reforms
Back in February, National Security Minister John Saldivar announced that the Government would undertake immediate consultations to pave the way for much needed reforms to Belize’s firearms legislation, amid continued complaints that the laws, described by some as “draconian” because they impose mandatory remand for persons charged for guns and ammunition, have been responsible for landing innocent and upstanding Belizeans behind bars. Under the existing laws, a driver unaware that a hitchhiker has a gun in his or her car or a guest at a home where such illegal guns and ammo are found could find themselves on remand for weeks before being able to get bail. In February, Minister Saldivar announced that, “We have also been looking at proposals to narrow the net of persons that the police would be able to hold accountable for these firearms and ammunition as they are found on these premises; so, we are looking at those and shortly, will begin the public consultations with the various stakeholders…”

Youth, 18, drowns in the Macal in Ontario
The body of Justin Lamb, 18, of Camalote, Cayo, was recovered from the Macal River in the Ontario area at about 9:00 Saturday morning, two days after he jumped into the river for a swim and failed to resurface. His body was taken to the Belmopan Hospital, where a post-mortem was carried out to certify the cause of his death. Police say that at about 12:30 Thursday afternoon, May 1, Lamb and two friends, Travis Gongora, 18, and another man from Ontario, went swimming in the area behind the Ontario Christian School. Lamb jumped into the river, went under the water and did not resurface. His friends, who were waiting for him to emerge from the water, became anxious, when he failed to do so. They immediately began a search for him, but the water was murky and the current was strong, which impeded their efforts.

Kayaking at sea turns tragic – 1 saved, 1 missing
The National Coast Guard, along with the San Pedro police, concerned fishermen of San Pedro and the BDF Air Wing, are presently conducting a search-and-rescue operation in the area of Northern San Pedro, which has been extended to Turneffe and the surrounding area to find Wrangler Shane Leesman, 29, an American soldier who went under water and failed to resurface after the kayak in which he and his friend were riding overturned while they were kayaking in the Northern San Pedro area at about 11:30 Tuesday morning. Six days after he was submerged in the water, Leesman has not been found. Bradley Evans Josker, 24, also an American soldier, who was along with Leesman in the canoe, was rescued by the Coast Guard at about 5:30 that same Tuesday evening, 6 hours after they overturned in the sea. Josker was taken to the San Pedro Polyclinic, where he was examined and released. He was then taken to the San Pedro Police Station, where he gave a formal statement to police.

Police net 48 pounds of weed after high speed chase
A driver and his companion who were reportedly transporting two chockfull sacks of suspected cannabis totaling 48 pounds in weight did not make it to his intended destination because he was busted after his vehicle overturned just in front of the San Ignacio police station last night while being pursued by the cops. According to San Ignacio police, they were conducting a mobile patrol in San Ignacio Town last night at around 8:25 p.m. when they noticed a brown Mazda pickup truck approaching from the direction of Benque Viejo Town at a very high speed. Police said that they signaled the driver to stop, but he continued barreling past at the same speed, after which they set chase behind the truck, which later overturned on Buena Vista Street in front of the police station. After the accident, the officers conducted a search on the capsized vehicle and reportedly discovered a red sack on the front passenger seat which contained 28 pounds of suspected cannabis, and a further search of the vehicle led to the discovery of another sack behind the driver’s seat which contained 20 pounds of suspected cannabis.

Sexual assault allegation lands construction worker behind bars
A construction worker who allegedly touched a woman inappropriately and ended up in a fight with her after she retaliated physically, was remanded to prison after he was arraigned on two criminal charges in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court this morning. Justin Goff, 26, pleaded not guilty to one count of wounding and one count of sexual assault — the new name for the charge in the amended section of the law, formally known as aggravated assault of an indecent nature — and one count of wounding before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart. But when the question of granting bail to Goff came up, the court’s prosecutor, Sergeant Pablo Pikney, objected to bail on the grounds that the charge is prevalent and in the present case, it also appears from the report the victim gave to the police that violence was used.

Supreme Court bail and “police negligence” kept KHMH nurse’s aide out of prison
A Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital nurse’s aide, Bernadette Samuels, 53, who suffers from hypertension and had to be hospitalized after a Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) search of her Far West Street home uncovered two .9mm rounds and two small portions of cannabis, was spared prison time when she was arraigned before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer on Tuesday. Samuels is among the few persons charged under the amended Firearms Act mandating automatic remand to prison for persons caught with unlicensed firearm or ammunition, who have not been remanded to prison. That she did not enter the remand section of the Central Prison, however, is not attributed to any abandonment of the rigid prescription of the Firearms Act, but was caused by what her attorney characterized as “negligence on the part of the police who failed in their responsibility to take her to court.”

Patrick Jones

Electricity rates to go down
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has released its initial decision on the Annual Review Proceeding (ARP) for Belize Electricity Limited (BEL). If there are no objections before May 12, on July 1 the utility regulator will reduce the mean electricity rate to 43.47 cents per kilowatt-hour from 44.65 cents, a reduction of just over 2.6%. After a whopping 16% increase last January due to higher power costs for the state-run provider, there have been successive decreases due to improved services from the trio of dams in the Cayo District which between July of last year and February of this year powered 64% of the country’s electricity consumption, compared to 25.7% for Mexico. The Mexican share of electricity was cut in half from 56% over the previous 12 months.

Coye family assets remain locked down by court order
As of late on Monday, contrary to the hopes of their attorneys, the surviving members of the Coye family were not allowed access to their bank accounts following an order lifting the freezing of the accounts by Justice Shona Griffith earlier in the day. This is because according to multiple credible reports, a Panamanian company known as Internet Experts, S.A., otherwise doing business as Instadollar, successfully applied for an ex parte injunction from the Sureme Court on Monday afternoon, which has since been served on all financial institutions doing business with the Coye family and their attorneys. The injunction keeps the over $1 million left after Government’s Income Tax Department seized nearly half the estate for income taxes out of the Coyes’ hands until the resolution of their suit on Monday, May 19.

Lincoln Sabido charged for grocery shop robbery
29 year old Lincoln Sabido is charged for the robbery of a Chinese shop last week Tuesday in Belize City. Owner of Ying Li Shop on Tibruce Street, 37 year old Desuo Li, was removing items from his vehicle into the store around 10:00 a.m. on April 29 when two men entered, carrying a firearm and a knife respectively. The man with the gun proceeded to point it at Li and two other individuals inside the store at the time, identified as Randy Smith and Gareth Casimiro, and ordered them all to get on the ground. As they complied, his companion stole a total of $3,500 in cash and goods, including $700 in cash, a black laptop computer, two cell phones and two cartons of cigarettes.


We often say that it’s impossible to exhaust all of your options for activities on the island, but the Yanez family came close! Tony, Colleen and their sons, Dan and Tom had numerous soccer matches and put our staff to work playing defense. They snorkeled the reef at South Water Caye, the reef by the island, Tony tried spear fishing and everyone hunted for conch shells and sand dollars. It was their first time to jet ski and we got everyone out on the tube. They caught fishing bait with Clifford and went out to fish with he and James. They had some well deserved naps in the hammocks, tried out our new telescope and ate some delicious food when there was time for it! Thank you, Yanez family, for all of the memories and for bringing so much life to the island - we hope you were as impressed with our little slice of paradise as we were with your unstoppable energy! We may be due for a hammock nap now…


Video: Tarpon - Lighthouse Reef - Belize, 15sec.
We found those big beautiful tarpon in Belize at Night Watch near Long Caye.

Video: Protected Areas of Belize by APAMO, 6min.
This video was produced by APAMO (Association of Protected Areas Management Organization). It describes the magnificence of Belize's natural resources and gives a thorough break down of Belize's PA categories.

Video: Belize - Horseriding, 3min.
April 2014

Video: Belize CAVE TUBING, 17min.

Video: Belize 2014, 23min.
Kaylan MacInnis

Video: Replacing a Chevy Shock Absorber in Belize, 9min.
The roads here in Belize, Central America are really bad in most places. With the heavy truck transport of crude oil, the Hummingbird Highway has really deteriorated badly. Most roads in Belize are not paved and in the wet season they can get extremely rough. One must be extremely careful in their driving if they expect a vehicle to last down here. Our 2003 Chevy Venture van has about 250,000 miles on it. Before we left to drive down here to Belize through Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona and Mexico, we installed Gabriel Hijacker air shocks because we know of the "topes" in Mexico and Belize. These are essentially "speed bumps" (or "sleeping policemen" at they are affectionately called) in the middle of the highway. We often carry as many as 18 people in the Chevy (yes - this IS the Caribbean....). The extra weight makes the van bottom out on the topes and pot holes. We air the shocks up to minimize undercarriage damage. Suspension damage is one of the leading causes vehicle failures here in Central America. Sometimes with deadly consequences.

Video: Blackbird Resort Belize panorama, 1min.
Blackbird Resort on Turneffe Atoll, off the coast of Belize. Brief panorama.

Video: Cozumel & Belize, 10min.
We had a great time as you can tell.

Video: Azul Resort, 3min.
(Raw footage for Gay Travel Belize)

Video: jerry jeff belize, 2min.

Video: jennifer lawrence belize, 2min.

Video: Belize Day 1, 4min.
Check in with Brian from the Learning Cycle as he arrives in Belize and heads to Punta Gorda.

Video: Belize 2014, 7min.
from Emily Barlow-Krelina

Video: UNICEF Analysis Of Women And Children Belize, 15min.

Video: Coral Nurseries In Belize, 9min.

Video: Maya Land Rights Judgement Decision In Belize, 8min.

Video: Caye Caulker Belize, 4min.

Video: Be One With Belize, 18min.

Video: Trailer To Belize Video, 2min.
Trailer for the Belize Marketing Video

Video: Hummingbird Highway, Belize, 5min.

Video: Chelsea and Stephen Belize 2014, 5min.

May 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

From Employee to Owner in 12 years: Caribe Creations exchanges hands
The way the business world works, employees often head to work every day, not knowing if their employers are planning on selling and leaving, or if they’ll stay for the long haul. At least, that’s how it can seem in a rapidly evolving community like San Pedro Town. For the past 15 years, Aida Graf owned Caribe Creations. With the motto “From Cloth to Clothes in 24 Hours”, Caribe Creations had to have a reliable seamstress to ensure that the items ordered would be ready and made well. That’s where Maria Aide Alfaro came into play.

YJ’s Deli at Saca Chispas raises concerns
For months, residents in San Pedro Town have been wondering about the status of YJ’s food deli that is located at the corner of Black Coral Street and Angel Coral Drive. The deli belongs to Joel Chi, driver of the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation and Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr. It was erected two years ago with the sole purpose of providing food for the construction workers of the San Pedro Sunset Boardwalk Project. When questioned about it, Mayor of San Pedro Town Daniel Guerrero said it was a decision made through the STP project and not the local municipality. He did confirm that indeed no fee has been collected for the use of such prime property.

Officer Yannick Wade charged for theft of guns and ammunition
According to a report issued on Monday, May 05, 2014, Belize City police have arrested and charged one of their own for the offence of “two counts Kept Firearm without a Gun License and two counts of Kept Ammunition without a Gun License”. Yannick Wade, 27-year-old Belizean Police Officer of Belize City, is also being charged for the crime of theft by San Pedro Police as they continue their investigations into the loss of eight (8) .38 revolvers and 101 .38 live rounds, property of KBH Security, and lost from the San Pedro Police Station. He was formerly attached to the San Pedro police precinct.

Search team recovers clothing items of missing soldier Wrangler Leesman
The search for missing retired American Army Ranger Wrangler Shane Leesman continues off the coast of Ambergris Caye, Belize. 29-year-old Leesman, of Austin Texas, USA, went missing on Tuesday April 29th in the Mexico Rocks area, located some five miles north of San Pedro Town. Divers from the small municipality who are working along with Belize Coast Guard have recovered clothing confirmed to belong to the missing American. Meanwhile, resources from US Southern Command, from the Soto Cano Air Base (commonly known as Palmerola Air Base) in Honduras, have been deployed to assist in the search and rescue operation in Belize. Belize police said that Leesman was with another friend, retired US Army Corporal Bradley Evans Josker, when the red kayak they were on capsized, near the Belize Barrier Reef due to very rough weather conditions. A frantic eyewitness called the Belize Coast Guard after she saw the incident unfold from her beachfront home. Josker was recovered a few hours into the search and hours later, the small kayak was retrieved from the sea some three miles away from the area of the incident. The two were in Belize on a seven-day vacation, and despite being warned about a small craft warning, decided to venture into the open sea without life jackets.

Ambergris Today

US Assists Belize in Search for Missing US Army Ranger
A second round of searching commenced today Monday, May 05, 2014, for missing US Army Ranger Wrangler Shane Leesman, who went missing since Tuesday, April 29, in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, after his kayak capsized close to the coral reef while on vacation. Leesman’s mother is still very optimistic that authorities will find his son alive and because the Belize Coast Guard does not have helicopters, Leesman’s family has hired rescue helicopters to conduct aerial searches. Three US rescue helicopters were spotted over the reef as of Sunday, May 4. And while these aerial searches are taking place, dive volunteers and boat owners have been asked to help with the search at sea. Gas money is being offered to volunteers as the search for Leesman continues.

San Pedro Police Officer Charged for Missing Guns at Department
Eight guns and more than 100 rounds of ammunition were reported stolen on Friday, May 2, 2104, in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. The weapons and ammunition belonging to the KBH Security Company are kept at the Police Station where the company has installed a metal box to keep safe their firearms. Luis Castellanos, Officer in charge of the San Pedro Police Department, launched and immediate investigation into the matter.

San Pedro Lions Club hosts 36th Annual National Convention
The San Pedro Lion's Club hosted the Belize Lions Zone 59 36th National Convention under the theme "Lions-Rejoicing & Uniting to Better Serve Our Communities" from Friday May 2, 2014 to Sunday, May 4, 2014 at the R. Angel Nuñez Auditorium. The convention kicked off on Friday, May 2, 2014 with an official opening ceremony attended by club members from the Belize City Lions Club, Belmopan Lions Club, San Estevan Lions Clun and Chetumal Lions Club. Lion members and guests visited the various hospitality booths set up by the different clubs.

Pic of the Week: Don't Worry Be Happy in Belize
Waiting in line for just about anything can be very stressful; patience runs out and annoying people can make your wait even more horrific. But in Belize you can always look at the bright side of things and just look around to find some peace and tranquility while you wait. Much like these two men who are patiently waiting for the next available water taxi out of Ambergris Caye, most people can find it very relaxing just waiting in line. Soak in the beautifyl scenerey with a cold Belikin Beer in hand - No Worries at All!!

Misc Belizean Sources

Happy International Midwifery Day
Internationally licensed and certified mid wife Gail Johnson and healthcare providers of the Corozal Community Hospital on hand to provide information and support to mothers and expecting mothers in Corozal Town. Contributed by Corozal House of Culture

The crime situation on Chinese businesses in Corozal has become a trend
Two years ago a similar scenario occurred in Corozal when the crime situation started against Chinese businesses, then it escalated to serious gun violence, robberies including murder against the local community. Most if not all stores in Corozal Town are run and owned by wealthy Chinese nationals. Obviously, they will be a target to ruthless criminals. On April 19th, 2012 a non-partisan and non-political coalition group of citizens, residents and business persons involving a cross-section of our community, including expatriates (Corozal Citizens Coalition for a Better Corozal) was formed to assist the Corozal Police Department with human resources, intelligent gathering (to some extent), neighborhood watch, special constables, mobile and related assistances.

BDF volunteers assist US, Canadian forces at MEDRETEs, construction sites
Belize Defence Force volunteer service members have spread throughout the country in support of New Horizons Belize 2014 as they work in various capacities from security and logistics at medical readiness training exercises, or MEDRETEs, to security and engineering at construction sites in three Belizean cities. Through the end of June, BDF volunteers are providing security at each of the five construction sites within the country. They were up north in the Corozal District and are now in the southern Toledo District providing MEDRETE security. They also offered an extra set of hands and language skills as they assisted with the flow of patient traffic and translated between local Belizeans and U.S. and Canadian service members. "We are going from success to success," said Retired Lt. Col. George Lovell, Belize Ministry of National Security chief executive officer. "There have been several programs that both the U.S. government and the military and Belizean government and its military have been doing together, and we continue to do it together.

Fuego's Birthday on Tapir Day
The Belize Zoo celebrated World Tapir Day with a birthday celebration for Fuego. He even got some birthday cake especially for him. It was another great event at the Belize Zoo. Channel 5 got some video and did some interviews. "Another smashingly successful National Tapir Day at the Zoo! Over 250 guests from all over the country joined us to celebrate our national animal, the 'Mountain Cow.' Excitement and energy were high, especially when Belize's new tapir ambassador, 'Fuego,' finally had his first birthday fiesta! Students bravely addressed the crowd and shared why tapirs were important to them and their country. The young, talented musicians from Panerrifix Steelband kept us entertained with steelband melodies, followed by an enthusiastic sing-along session by the entire party crowd, lead by TBZ Director, Sharon Matola. While students had their refreshments and played clever tapir games, Fuego munched away on his splendid birthday cake made of sweet potatoes, carrots, honey, and all the things a young, growing tapir loves to eat! TBZ thanks all our special guests that made this day extra special. Here's to another 30 years of magical mountain cow events."

Youth Artist Award 2014
The National Institute of Culture and History is doing a call for nominations for this year's Youth Artist Award. The winner will receive $1000 towards their education and development, so if you know of anyone, now is the time to nominate them. The deadline for nominations is May 23rd. Elvis Avila was NICH's National Arts and Culture award recipient last year.

Lazy Babsie Cake
This cake has become my new favorite confection. The cake taste quite similar to an Angel Food Cake and the coconut flaked topping reminds me of our Belizean Tableta. Make sure you share or you'll find yourself eating all of this dessert by yourself.

Channel 7

Cop Accused Of Stealing Trove Of Weapons
On Friday morning at 7:00, San Pedro police discovered that eight - 38 revolvers and 101 live rounds of ammunition had been stolen from the police station. The guns had been stored there in a metal safe by KBH Security. But it turns out the lock on the safe wasn't working right - someone picked it and stole the gun. That "someone" was most likely a policeman - and most likely, the guns were going to be sold into the criminal underworld - and fast. So, police had to act swiftly to locate and apprehend the suspect - and in Belize City they zeroed in on police constable Yanick Wade. 12 Hours after the theft was discovered - Wade's house was the target of an intensive raid: Sr. Supt Edward Broaster, 2nd O/C Eastern Division "We view this as a serious breach of trust. We are the custodians of the community safety and security and when as police we are breaking and breaching that trust we take that very serious." Jules Vasquez reporting And that's why on Friday night at 7:00 pm, four police mobiles and about two dozen officers descended on this address at the corner of Johnson Street and Cemetery Road.

Suspect Police Officer Jailed
And just before the closing of the Magistrate's Court this evening at 5 p.m., Yannick Wade was arraigned before the Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith. He was charged with 8 counts of theft for the missing guns, and 1 count of theft for the 101 rounds of ammunition from KBH Security in San Pedro. Additionally, he was charged with 2 counts keeping an unlicensed firearm, for the 2 .38 revolvers found at his girlfreind's Cemetery Road home, and 2 counts of keeping unlicensed ammunition for the eight rounds of .38 ammunition found in that search. He was remanded until June 25. Of note is that that isn't Wade's first time to be arraigned on criminal charges. in July of 2011, Wade was charged with carnal knowledge of a 15 year-old girl, where it was alleged that he fathered the baby of minor.

Friday Night Shooting: 4 Injured, 1 Dead
10 days ago - Eastern Division police held a mediation session with all warring gang factions - and for a week, the peace seemed to be holding. But on Friday night, there was a wild shooting in the Collet Area that left 4 persons injured and one man dead. Two men pulled up at an apartment and just opened fire with 7 shots on a group of young persons. Four persons between the ages of 14 and 21 lay injured while 24 year old Julian Willoughby, fresh out of jail was dead. The rain came down shortly after and 7News was at the crime scene in the downpour:... Daniel Ortiz reporting This apartment complex on Antelope Street Extension was the scene of shooting where 4 people ended up injured and one man dead. 24 year-old Julian Willoughby, whose mother moved out of the apartment only the day before, was at a social gathering along those 4 other shooting victims when 2 men snuck up on the crowd and fired several shots at them.

Court Tells GOB To Give Back Money
The Supreme Court has ordered that the bank accounts frozen when the Coye Family was charged with money laundering, should be unfrozen. That's the decision that Justice Shona Griffith ordered today after an in-chamber's hearing this morning. The Coye family has not enjoyed access to that money since it was frozen when they were initially charged. So, their attorneys Dickie Bradley and Arthur Saldivar, made an application before Justice Griffith which was heard today. After hearing all the arguments, the judge agreed that since the criminal matter has been fully dealt with, the Coyes should have full access to their money. The Attorney for the Financial Intelligence Unit explained after the hearing about the current status of the Coye Family's finances: Trecia Pitts-Anderson, Counsel for the FIU "There was the hearing of an application for the unfreezing of accounts belonging to the Coyes. As you know, those funds have been frozen for quite some time. But contrary to what has been leaked to the media or said on TV that, the Coyes have been having access to these monies over a period of time. In fact, I think they have been getting close to fifty thousand dollars on four month intervals. So they were not quite without funds for the entire period of time. But this morning, I am a little out of breath coming up the stairs, but this morning, the matter effectively came to an end. The court discharged the order and so their funds are released and that's the end of it."

Belizean Girl Abducted and Abused In Mexico
A 16 year old Belizean girl was found in Carillo Puerto Mexico in the company of a 53 year old Mexican man - who had apparently kidnapped and was abusing her. The Por Esto newspaper reports that On Saturday night at 9:00, local police were patrol when their attention was drawn to a vehicle in a dark area. The couple inside seemed to be fighting so police pulled up to find out if anything was wrong. The driver, who identified himself as Miguel Angel Manzanero Cocom, said that nothing was wrong, but before he could finish what he was saying, the young lady in the passenger seat told the police that she was being physically and verbally abused.

Search for Leesman Continues, Coast Guard comes Up With Clues
Last week we told you about the missing American tourist and Army Ranger, 29 year old Wrangler Shane Leesman. He disappeared in a kayaking accident near the reef on April 29th; that's six days ago - and tonight the Belize Coast Guard is reporting that search teams have found some trace of him. That's the product of intensified search efforts bolstered by two Blackhawk helicopters from the US Government and scuba divers. The Coast Guard's Operations Officer detailed the items found and their location:.. Lieutenant Greg Soberanis, Operations Officer - Belize Coast Guard "We had divers from "Tuff Enuff" dive shop who were diving in the area just south of where Mr. Jusko and Mr. Leesman had capsized. They found 3 items: a grey ball cap, a black ball cap and a light grey swim trunk. Close family friends who are in the country of Mr. Leesman has confirmed that the grey ball cap which bears the ranger emblem is indeed for Mr. Leesman. They have confirm that it is the regiment to which he was a part of. They also believe that the grey short pants that was found may be his. It's a size 31 quicksilver shredded grey short pants that was found. No confirmation as it relates to the black cap that was found."

Castro Faces Challenge In Court
In January, news broke about the Belize Airport Authority cheques approved for Edmond Castro, the Belize Rural North area rep. The result of that revelation was that the BBA's Board was required to resign, and the Department of Civil Aviation was removed from Castro's ministerial portfolio. Well, Belize Rural North resident Trevor Vernon believed that wasn't enough, and so he filed a civil suit against Castro claiming that he breeched the code of conduct given to Ministers under the Belize Constitution. The Chief Justice heard the application to bring that lawsuit, and both Vernon and Castro were in court today. After the hearing, we spoke to attorneys on both sides about the arguments as to why the Chief Justice should or shouldn't allow the full case to be heard. Here's how they explained it: Denys Barrow, attorney for Edmund Castro "It is under the rules of court under which the case was brought. They brought it under a particular provision which deals with administrative law applications, constitutional relief, judicial review and claims for a declaration. But the particular rule is very clear as to when you can get a declaration and it is you can get a declaration against the state, against a tribunal, against a court or against another public body. Mr. Castro is not the state, he is not a tribunal, he is not a public body therefore this claim simply cannot be brought against him."

Guatemalan Man Found Dead In Chiquibul
A Guatemalan man was found dead inside the Chiquibul, but this time the BDF isn't to blame - as the killing appears to have been the result of a dispute involving Guatemalans. On Saturday, May third the police and BDF were called out to Valentin Camp, two miles north of Kaldin Guatemala. The found the body of 47-year-old Heber De Jesus Tzin Alvarado, a Farmer of Dolores Guatemala. He had been shot in the head, chest, leg and back. Police also found two 9mm expended shells three feet from the body. Police say he was last seen alive in his village on April 28th and was found dead by Villagers from Kaldin on May first.

PUC Explains Light Bill Decision
Last week we told you about the decision of the Public Utilities Commission to lower light bills by a little more than one cent. Still, the PUC decision puts the rate at a few cents higher than BEL had proposed. Now, when it comes to bills, you know every cent counts, and today at a press conference, the Chairman of the PUC explained why their figures don't always match with BEL's:.. John Avery, Chairman - PUC "I can't tell you the exact reason why B.E.L. came up with forty-three cents, but I mean every time, it is just like in December, B.E.L. recommended a three cents reduction. After we did our calculations and put it in our thing, we came up with forty-four point six five; so we were one cents lower than them. This time, they recommended forty-three cents, we apply our methodology consistently as we do every time and we came up with forty-three point four-seven. Now, as I said, if you look at what we did, we basically reduced everything they projected, yet we still came up with a higher figure than them. I can't say how they came up with forty-three; all I can tell you is that the forty-three point four-seven is based on our methodology that we try to apply consistently."

The Sudden Passing Of Officer Alton
He was the officer commanding at the Independence Southern Formation for more than 5 years, but suddenly on Friday night. Superintendent Alton Alvarez died suddenly of a heart attack. Just before 8:00 pm, Alavarez called police to his house where he had sever pain. They took him to the village polyclinic where he was treated and sent home an hour later. But on his way home, he started to complain of shortness of breath. They rushed him back to the polyclinic but he had already succumbed to an apparent heart attack. Alvarez was 45.

BTIA Tells NCL: See You In court
Today, the Belize Tourism Industry Association filed its claim for judicial review in the Supreme Court. They're seeking to challenge the decision of the Department of Environment and the National Environmental Appraisal Committee's decision to give the green light on Norwegian Cruise Line's Harvest Caye Cruise Port. That's the decision they took after receiving a response from the Government about their concerns on how the committee approved the project. At a press conference this morning, their attorney, Godfrey Smith, explained it to us: Godfrey Smith, attorney for BTIA "We have received instructions from Belize Tourism Industry Association to file an application for leave to bring judicial review proceedings challenging certain decisions of the NEAC (National Appraisal Committee) and the Department of the Environment."

Kaina Competing
In December we told you about Kaina Martinez, the sprinter who became the first Belizean to earn a full athletic scholarship. Well she's in school now at Texas A and M Kingsville. And her coach Colin Thurton tells us that she excelled in the Lone Star Conference Championships over the weekend. She won the one-hundred meters, and ran a personal best 11.5 seconds. She also won the 200 meters, running 24.02 seconds. Now Kiana is preparing for the Division II National Championships which she travels to in 3 weeks.

Thousands Went To "Agri"
It may have rained on the fairgrounds at the National Agriculture and Trade Show this weekend, but that didn't stop the thousands from coming out. Un-reconciled figures say that as many as 36 thousand persons visited the two and a half day event. As in years previous, it was a showcase of agricultural and trade prowess - as well as a great place to see and be seen. But, there was a serious undertone - because with Belize's ever widening trade imbalance, something has to be done to produce more. Keynote speaker at Friday's opening Alvin Henderson had one idea:.. Alvin Henderson, Royal Mayan Shrimp farm "Importing and consuming more than we produce and export is an unsustainable economic model for a small developing country like ours. And if we want to make export led growth the foundation of our economic edifice, public/private sector partnership has to be the cornerstone." "My hope is that this year's Agriculture and Trade Show will be an occasion for us not only to reflect and to make a justified spectacle of the accomplishments of the past year, but also that it would cause us to recognize a new what can truly accomplish if we gave new wings to the public/private sector partnership."

PSE Day Two Reviews
And while thousands went to the trade show for diversion, today thousands of standard six students from across the country got down to business as they sat Paper two of the PSE. That's Math paper one and two and Social Studies. It is the end of an exam that these students took all their primary school years preparing for and today it was a sigh of relief. 7news spoke with a few of them who told us what was challenging and what was not. Fermin Archer - Student of James Garbutt "The math was hard, it was really hard." Monica Bodden "What part of the math was difficult for you?" Fermin Archer - Student of James Garbutt "The electricity bill." Monica Bodden "That was on problem solving?" Fermin Archer - Student of James Garbutt "Yes ma'am."

Bert Tucker, Honoured As A Humanist
On Saturday at St. John's Anglican cathedral an official funeral was held for Ambassador Bert Tucker. He died three and a half weeks ago in Jamaica form complications of prostate cancer. His friends remembered him fondly:.. Norman Fairweather, Tucker's friend "He modeled what a servant leader does, it's a very hard road, it is not easy. But I say to you today lets shine a light where he has open a window - shine a light there. Do not cover our eyes because we've been in darkness for a long time." Godwin Hulse, Tucker's friend "He saw man not divided, but united. Sighting in another of his writings "the journey of the great African tribes brought here by colonial masters but though physically separated from ancestors and love ones still connected as the great Zambezi River flowed across the seas and fused with the magnificent Belize River - a route he dubbed, not La Ruta Maya, but la ruta humana."

Channel 5

PC Yannick Wade charged for stolen guns and ammo from San Pedro Police Station
A police officer was returned to court late this evening for charges relating to stolen guns and ammunition from the San Pedro Police Station. Police Officer Yannick Wade was rushed [...]

Julian Willoughby is gunned down while on bail
An apartment on Antelope Street Extension was the scene of a shooting at the start of the weekend. One man was killed and four others injured, including a fourteen year [...]

Court declares the release of over $6Million in Coye assets
Just before midday this morning, the Supreme Court ruled that the financial assets of the Coye family, frozen by the FIU for years, were to be released. It is a [...]

B.T.I.A. sues G.O.B. over NCL project
The Norwegian Cruise Line tourism development project in southern Belize is running into yet another obstacle. That’s because, the Belize Tourism Industry Association, through Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith, has proceeded [...]

B.T.I.A. presidents say the EIA process flawed
At this morning’s press conference, B.T.I.A. President Herbert Haylock also made reference to the outcome of a public consultation held in Independence in January as the origin of the impending [...]

Edmond Castro is taken to court for dereliction of duties
Minister of State Edmond Castro was in the Supreme Court this morning, defendant in a private claim brought against him. On February twenty-sixth, 2014, a resident of Belize Rural North, [...]

Guatemalan farmer killed in Belizean territory
According to a police report, the lifeless body of a Guatemalan national was discovered on Saturday afternoon in Belizean territory, in an area several miles north of Kaldin, Guatemala.  Forty [...]

16 year old girl victim of kidnapping and human trafficking
A Belizean minor is believed to be a victim of kidnapping and human trafficking across the northern border. According to newspaper accounts, police on patrol in Carillo Puerto, which is [...]

Grandmother convicted for drug trafficking offense
Fifty-two year old Brenda Mejia, who is the grandmother of three children, was today convicted of drug trafficking in the court of Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith.  While she escaped [...]

Primary school students sit day-two of the P.S.E.
Primary school students throughout the country today completed day-two of the Primary School Examinations. The two subject areas were in Social Studies and Math one and two papers. Math two, [...]

Coast Guard intensifies search for former US Army Ranger
Wrangler Shane Leesman survived five tours of duty in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan, but is believed to have died while on vacation in Belize. On Thursday, April twenty-ninth, Leesman and [...]

Electricity rates to be lowered
The Public Utilities Commission has approved a nominal reduction in electricity rates, following an Annual Review Proceeding submission by Belize Electricity Limited earlier this year.  While the mean electricity rate [...]

Body of Ontario youth found
On Thursday afternoon, eighteen year old Ontario resident Justin Lamb went swimming with friends. Shortly after his family received the news that the young man, who could not swim, had [...]

The unexpected death of Supt. Alton Alvarez
The Police Department is tonight grieving the death of one of its own. Superintendent Alton Alvarez, the officer commanding Intermediate Southern Formation, died unexpectedly on Friday night in Independence. Forty-five [...]

2 notable Belizeans laid to rest
Two notable Belizeans were laid to rest over the weekend. Former Minister of Government, Maxwell Samuels was eulogized by P.U.P. Party Leader, Francis Fonseca at a service in Willows Bank; [...]

Basketball and football stats with James Adderley
Good Evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   Week 12 in the NEBL Season saw Belize City No Limit look for revenge against the Cayo Western Ballaz [...]


Belize-Can Wants Government To Withdraw Gender Policy
Following a few months of going silent, the Alliance of Leaders and Ministers of Belize issued a press release over the weekend and they are back on their attempts to force government’s hand into retracting the Revised Gender Policy and this time around have added four more requests. In their release, the Alliance states that they are giving the government a thirty day deadline, until May 31st to retract the Gender Policy. The Alliance falls under Belize Can which is headed by President Patrick Menzies. He says they again reiterate that they will not stand idly while government implements the policy and quote “the destructive laws that it will force the government to implement” end of quote. Patrick Menzies “Phase one was the making of the nation declaring July of last year constitutional awareness month. Phase two with a spiritual strategy where we occupied the national assembly area which is the Independence Plaza with 21 days, we did videos, we prayed, we had services then we went from there into the education strategy which is when we got signatures from thousands of people telling the government to withdraw then from there we went to a technological strategy we start using e-mails and text as a matter of fact the Prime Minister we were told he had to change his cellphone number because we texted him so much and from there we went to the strategy five which was recruiting organizations to join us and then strategy six was when we did the school boycott and now we are in number seven which is the perfect number of God and this is called occupying Belmopan and if the government does not retract by the 31st of May sometime after that there will be action taken in Belmopan and it will be affected nationwide.”

Hundreds Of Students Sit Part Two Of PSE
Day one of the Primary School Examinations was held on April seventh. Fast-forward to today, and almost a full month has gone by and the second half of the exams were sat by over seven thousand students countrywide. The exams are an important part of the student’s education as they transition into secondary school. When students sat the first two papers, English papers one and two and science, we were there to find out the reactions of a few of them as they came out of class. Today, we asked them once more what their experience was like. Dalila Ical – Reporting As hundreds of students poured out of their temporary classes today, they were smiling and had much to talk about. It was a time to breathe after sitting the last two papers in the PSE, Mathematics and Social Studies. The math paper has always proven to be the most feared and for a few the most challenging, but overall, the confident boys and girls we spoke with today say they feel they managed rather well.

Police Charged One Of Their Own For Stolen Firearm
Another police officer makes the news tonight for breaking the same law he swore to uphold. Friday we told you about Police Constable Raul Medina attached to the Orange Walk Police Formation who was arraigned in Court for the crime of theft. Tonight the spot light is on Police Constable Yannick Wade who is facing the long arms of the law. On Friday San Pedro Police reported that sometime between Wednesday April 30th and Friday May 2nd, KBH Security company left eight .38 revolvers and 101 (.38 live ammunition.) in a metal safe box at the San Pedro Police Station. Upon making checks on Friday morning police realized that the metal box was missing. An investigation was launched and over the weekend Belize City Police arrested and charged 27 year old Police Constable Yannick Wade. Wade was charged for two counts of keeping firearm without a gun license and two counts of kept ammunition without a gun license. PC Wade has been additionally charged for the crime of theft.

P.C. OverTurned On The Philip Goldson Highway
Police Constable Irvin Jones is lucky to be alive tonight after being involved in a traffic accident on the Philip Goldson Highway near the Mameyal Curve on Saturday night. CTV3 News understands that Jones was on his way back from the village of San Jose where he had just dropped off his two children and was returning home when he attempted to overtake a cane truck. Reports are that he lost control of his trooper causing him to run off the road. The vehicle ended in a ditch with its four wheels in the air. Jones was rushed to the Northern Regional Hospital and was released a few hours after with minor abrasions on his hands and forehead.

Corozal House Of Culture Holds International Day For Midwives
Today is observed as International Day for Midwives. To celebrate the occasion, midwives, along with various stakeholders from across the globe, engage in a number of activities with their respective midwives associations. The women also conduct a virtual campaign advocating for investment in midwives and midwifery, globally resulting in the wellbeing of mothers and new-borns. In Corozal Town, Gail Johnson and the House of Culture came together for a one day activity to educate the general public of the importance of the role played by mid wives here in Belize. Gail Johnson - Mid-wife “Today we have been showing some DVD’s, births, water births, breast feeding, labour support techniques, how to help mother have their babies with knowledge so they don’t fear and also how to have a family and the support people with them having easier births, and I think birth with a midwife means that women can most of the time and at the same time they are people that have had children themselves and historically they were the wife women of the village they knew about herbs and natural remedies to help pregnant mother and to help them have their births and keep them healthy so the importance is to have preventative care making sure the mother eats well, take care of themselves well and looks after to have a normal birth.”

Elders Of The Shipyard Community Clarify Allegations Made Against Them And Their Church
The story we aired on the troubles rising out of the peaceful shipyard community has been the subject of conversation for many, especially since it came as a surprise to many Belizeans. Over the weekend, the media was able to speak with leaders of the Shipyard Community on accusations against their church and customs. They clarified these accusations but did not grant on camera interviews as they say it is against their religion but that the media could quote their side of the story. To begin with, the leaders headed by former elected chairman George Wall and current chairman Cornelius Krahn, say the Mennonite community at Shipyard was first established in 1958. The first Mennonites arrived in Belize from Chihuahua Mexico. The people bought land and established their church and have been here for over fifty years. After the story broke on the altercation between two groups of young men, the leaders say they heard the stories on the radio and say the stories are not accurate. The elder says that the fight broke out among young men.

Belizean Minor Allegedly Being Held Against Her Will In Quintana Roo
Reports coming out of “El Por Esto”, a Mexican Newspaper in Quinatana Roo Mexico indicates that a sixteen year old Belizean was allegedly being held against her will in Felipe Carrillo Puerto Quintana Roo. The newspaper states that authorities were on mobile patrol on 68 Street on Colonia Jesús Martinez Ross, when their attention was drawn to a vehicle that was parked in the dark and two persons where inside arguing. Both police officers approached the vehicle and questioned the driver who was identified as 53 year old Miguel Angel Manzanero Cocom, if everything was ok. But before Cocom could respond his female companion told authorities that she was being verbally and physically abused.


FIU Releases Assets for Coye Family
The Coye Family is getting their millions unfrozen – it is an order that was handed down today in the courtroom of Justice Griffith. Melanie Coye and her family through their attorney, Arthur Saldivar, filed an application in the courts of Belize to have the Financial Intelligence Unit unfreeze their assets. The assets and money amounting to a total of about 6 million dollars were frozen under suspicion that it was obtained though money laundering. For today’s hearing, the FIU was represented by Attorney Tricia Pitts Anderson who told us that as far as the FIU is concern, their case against the Coye is over.

Search Still On For US Army Ranger in Belize Waters
The Belize Coast Guard and their United States counterparts have teamed up in the search for the missing American national who is a member of the Elite Special Forces of the Army Ranger Regimen, a part of the US military. 29-year-old, Wrangler Leesman went kayaking with his work colleague and friend, 24-year-old, Bradley Josker on Tuesday, April 29, north of Ambergris Caye, when their vessel capsized. Love News got a rundown of the timeline of the incident leading up to today’s update on their search efforts as Lieutenant Gregory Soberanis, the Operations Officer accommodated us at the headquarters earlier today. LIEUTENANT GREG SOBERANIS “This slide here gives you an overview of what has transpired over the last few days. Initially, this is where Josker and Leesman capsized; this area is the Mata Grande channel which is approximately five miles of San Pedro Town. Josker was found that same day, Tuesday, at about 5pm and he was found just south of the capsized area almost in front of the Coco Beach Resort which is approximately .77 miles just south of the capsized area. Just yesterday, local civilian divers who were doing recreational diving from Tuff Enough Dive Shop, found two hats and a light grey swim trunk; a grey ball cap and a black ball cap.

Court Holds First Hearing on Application Against Elected Member
Belize Rural North resident and voter, Trevor Vernon, has taken legal action against Area Representative, Edmund Castro over the scandal of cheques that were written to Castro from the accounts of the Belize Airport Authority. Vernon filed an application for declaratory relief, asking the court of Belize to rule that Edmund Castro went against his oath of office for using funds for personal reasons from the Belize Airport Authority. The first hearing was heard in the courtroom of Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin. Attorney for Castro, Senior Counsel Denys Barrow, argued that the case be struck out because it was brought under the wrong rule of law. SENIOR COUNSEL DENYS BARROW “They brought it under a particular provision which deals with administrative law applications, constitutional relief and judicial review and claims for a declaration but the particular rule is very clear as to when you can get a declaration and it is that you can get a declaration against a state, against the tribunal, against the court or against another public body. Mr. Castro is not the state, he is not a tribunal, he is not a public body, therefore, this claim, simply cannot be brought against him. For a properly made out claim to be brought before the commission for them to investigate it, there is the preliminary step of making an investigation.

Police Superintendent Dies of Natural Causes
The Police Department has announced the death of Superintendent Alton Alvarez. Superintendent Alvarez was the officer commanding Intermediate Southern Formation. On Friday night Alvarez complained of pain and was taken to the Independence Poly Clinic. He was attended to and discharged from the poly clinic. On his way home he complained of shortness of breath and was taken back to the poly clinic where attempts were made to resuscitate home but they proved unsuccessful. The Department has extended condolences to Alvarez’ family and friends.

Police and BDF Soldiers Finds Guatemalan National Dead
On Saturday afternoon the body of a Guatemalan farmer was found about three kilometres north of Kaldin, Guatemala. With the assistance of the Belize Defence Force, members of the Police Department went to Valentine Camp and found the body of 47-year-old Heber de Jesus Tzin Alvarado of Dolores, Guatemala. The body had what appeared to be gunshot wounds to the left side of the abdomen, left leg, left side of the head and the back. Police also found two nine millimeter expended shells about three feet from the body. A post mortem was conducted on Sunday morning which certified he died of severe injuries due to the gunshot wounds.

Stolen Weapons and Ammunition: Police Constable Remanded
Police Constable Yannick Wade, who allegedly stole 8 firearms and 101 rounds of ammunition from San Pedro Police Station, was charged with 13 offences when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. The charges included 9 counts of theft, 2 counts of kept firearm without a gun license and 2 counts of kept ammunition without a gun license. Wade pled not guilty to the charges and was remanded into custody until June 25. According to the allegation, (8).38 revolvers and 101 rounds of ammunition were stolen from San Pedro Police Station between April 30 and May 2. On May 3, police searched a house on Cemetery Road in Belize City, opposite the Rogers Stadium and reported that they found (2) .38 revolvers and several rounds of ammunition that were stolen from San Pedro Police Station. As a result, Wade was arrested and charged. Police say the firearms and ammunition were the property of KBH Security. Wade is no stranger to the courts as about 2 years ago he was charged with unlawful carnal knowledge but was acquitted.


High School Teacher Forced to Resign for Alleged Misconduct?
There is a very troubling story to report. According to reliable sources, a male teacher from the Belmopan Comprehensive High School has recently resigned but not of his own will. Allegedly, he had had an affair with a 14 year old student and, in an attempt to sweep it...

Julian Willoughby Murdered in Belize City
His colourful criminal background began allegedly with the murder of a 4-year-old child when he himself was still a minor. It ended, as he himself appeared to prophesy, with his death at the hands of gunmen in a house on Antelope Street Extension on Friday night. 24 year old...

Police Officer Charged for Stolen Firearms
A police officer is charged for stolen fire arms. According to police reports at around 7:00 am on Friday, May 2nd, (8) .38 revolvers and (101) .38 live rounds, property of KBH security, were reported stolen from the San Pedro Police Station. Police immediately launched an investigation and have...

Guatemalan Found Gunned Down in the Chiquibul Area
The body of a Guatemalan National was found on the Chiquibul area with multiple gunshot wounds. According to police reports at about 2:10 pm on Saturday, May 3rd police with the assistance of the BDF visited Valentine Camp, Chiquibul where about 3 kms. north of Kaldin, Guatemala, they discovered...

Dangriga Resident, Hansel Garcia Succumbs to his Injuries
Harry Arzu- Corespondent from Dangriga “17 year Hansel Garcia, a resident of this municipality, succumbed to his injuries this morning due to gunshot wounds he had sustained a few days ago. On Wednesday at about 8:15 p.m., Garcia was sot multiple times while he was walking on Castillo here...

BTIA Applies for Judicial Review on the Harvest Caye Project
Today in Belize City, the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) formally announced that it had applied for judicial review of the decision of the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) and the Department of the Environment (DOE) to push forward the Harvest Caye project sponsored by Norwegian Cruise Line. The...

Hon. Edmund Castro Back in Court; Final Decision Adjourned
A decision will be given on Monday, May 19 in the case of Trevor Vernon and Minister of State Edmond “Clear the Land” Castro, area representative for Belize Rural North. Vernon initiated proceedings against Minister Castro earlier this year charging that in his actions with regard to some 80 cheques...

Justin Lamb Found and Confirmed Dead by Drowning
On Thursday, May 1st, Justin Lamb, 18 year old resident of Camalote Village, Cayo reportedly went swimming in the Belize River at Ontario Village, Cayo District at around 1:30 pm. Lamb reportedly jumped into the water and did not resurface. Search parties were deployed and at around 8 am...

High Official of the Police Alton Alvarez Passes Away
45 year old Alton Alvarez, Superintendent of Police and Officer Commanding Intermediate Southern Formation (ISF) passed away on Friday evening. According to reports, police were called to the residence of Superintendent Alvarez, where he complained of pains to his body. Alvarez was taken to the Independence Poly Clinic where he...

Primary School Students Sit the PSE
More than 7 thousand 6 hundred primary school students all around the country sat day two of the Primary School Examinations known as PSE. The examination is a crucial for evaluating academic performance, in particularly for secondary school admission. Today the students were to get tested on Maths, among...

Patrick Jones

Weather conditions improving over Belize
Belize continues to dry out after a weekend of rain. The Belize Weather Bureau says that the improving conditions will continue into the week. The general forecast for Belize and her coastal wasters is for cloudy spells with a few showers or isolated thunderstorms over inland and northern areas of the country this afternoon. This activity will become isolated tonight and tomorrow morning. Winds over the open sea and along the coast are northeasterly to easterly at 5 – 15 knots. The sea state is choppy.

Police Constable charged for theft of firearms
Police have arrested and charged one of their own in connection with the theft of a cache of weapons and ammunition from inside a safe at the San Pedro Police Station over the Labor Day holiday. Constable Yannick Wade, 27, has been arrested and charged for the two counts of kept firearm without a gun license and two counts of kept ammunition without a gun license. PC Wade has been additionally charged for the crime of theft. The charges arose out of the theft of eight .38 revolvers and 101 rounds of matching ammunition belonging to KBH Security Company.

Coye family to get their frozen assets back by day’s end
The Supreme Court of Belize has agreed to discharge the order which effectively froze millions of dollars in assets belonging to Melanie Coye and her family in Belize City. Melanie and her late father Michael Coye and 6 others were convicted of money laundering charges and sent to prison after a 2008 raid of the Coye family home on Johnson Street in Belize City resulted in the discovery of over a million dollars. But the family and the six others, who were charged, were exonerated when the Belize Court of Appeal overturned their conviction. Still the Financial Intelligence Unit FIU continued the freeze on the Coye family’s asset and so they went back to court on Friday to get a final resolution of the matter.

Belize City Mayor not committed to running again?
The Mayor of Belize City, Mr. Darrell Bradley, has not committed to run again for Mayor, well after the deadline for application set by his United Democratic Party. The question Belizeans are asking is: WHY? Mr. Bradley is a relatively young lawyer….under whose leadership Belize City has seen significant improvements in the conditions of streets and parks….with over 100 streets now cemented, and the principal parks completely overhauled….with a full year left in his three-year term. This improvement is already yielding benefits in the cost-of-doing business in the city…with significant reductions in time, cost and convenience of moving around the city.

Students sit second part of PSE
Thousands of Primary School students today sat the second half of the PSE, the Primary School Exams. In the Toledo district, 682 students sat papers in Math and Social Studies today. District Education Officer for Toledo Floyd Lino today said that the Ministry of Education had invested a lot into helping both the teachers and the students prepare for the exams. Lino says expectations for a good result this year are high given that teacher training was done and also parents were involved in their children’s academic performance. The examination centers for Toledo were the Julian Cho Technical High School the Toledo Community College and the Corozan Creek High School.

Police Constable charged for firearm theft
Police Constable Yannick Wade is tonight an inmate of the Belize Central Prison after he was remanded today. PC Wade was criminally charged and arraigned in the Magistrate’s Court this morning for the theft of eight .38 revolvers and 101 rounds of ammunition. The firearms and ammunition, which are property of KBH Security Firm, were stolen from a metal safe inside the San Pedro Police Station sometime between April 30 and May 2. Wade is additionally charged for the crime of possession of firearms and ammunition without a gun license. Wade pleaded not guilty to the charges and was remanded to prison until his next court appearance on June 25.

BTIA files for judicial review of EIA in Norwegian Cruise Lines project
The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) has been the longest-standing opponent of the Harvest Caye project being developed by Norwegian Cruise Lines with the support of the Government of Belize. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was approved in quick time by the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) and they do not appear as eager to change their mind. But the BTIA is introducing a legal challenge of the decisions of NEAC and the Department of the Environment (DOE). Papers seeking leave to apply for judicial review have been filed and Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith told reporters that the challenge is centered on the lack of public consultation and opportunity to review the EIA and a related addendum.

Coye family to receive frozen assets
Supreme Court Justice Shona Griffith has lifted the freezing order against nearly $6 million in financial assets belonging to members of the Coye family in Belize City. The family – parents Michael (deceased) and Marlene; daughter Melonie and son Jude, and associates James Gerou, Atlee Matute and Dietrich Kingston, as well as the company Money Exchange International Limited which they ran until the start of investigation by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) into allegations of money laundering – were exonerated after two trials and two appeals, the latest coming in March of this year. The FIU has chosen not to appeal the decision, but there were nontheless some last legal hurdles for the family to clear.

The Cause of Poverty in Belize
The biggest cause of poverty in Belize is not lack of or absence of wealth….but rather improper distribution of the wealth that is already here. The biggest cause of this improper distribution of wealth is the kind of thinking that promotes BIG GOVERNMENT with skewed policies that favor some sectors and not others….some investors/investments and not others…some workers and not others…some “needy” and not others. The index finger of big government pointing to who will be winners and who will be losers…not allowing for people to be rewarded based on merit, ability and integrity as per our constitution is the biggest culprit for our growing wealth gap and resultant increasing poverty. Large SPENDING since Independence on “social development” programs….without concurrent INVESTMENT in the development of ALL productive sectors and creation of new opportunities for honest work…is totally unsustainable and we have tasted the results of such thinking.

Will Castro case fall apart?
Attorneys for Minister of State for Transport and Belize Rural North area representative Edmond Castro today called for a case brought against him by one of his constituents to be struck out before going to trial. At the first hearing of the case with constituent Trevor Vernon today in the Supreme Court, Senior Counsel Denys Barrow said that the case brought for alleged violations of the Constitution Code of Conduct and Prevention of Corruption in Public Life Act lacked sufficient grounds on which to proceed and was an abuse of process, and should be struck out before going to trial stage. Senior Counsel Denys Barrow told Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin that his opponent, Philip Palacio, joined by Castro’s political rival Arthur Saldivar, did not think his case through.


Belize’s Biggest Gathering: The 2014 National Agriculture & Trade Show – Part Two
I always love the folks just doing their own thing. Making yummy jam like these two Swiss-Bealizeans. $3-$4.50bzd for DELICIOUS spreads. I bought quite a few. Time for the kids rodeo. Saturday was the children (you’d put your 7 year old on a bucking calf, right?) and Sunday for the adults. Kids on angry calves…more cute/scary. The beer tents and the cell phone providers were especially packed but not really my thing. SO much other good stuff to do and see.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo from Belize!
Chaa Creek wishes our many friends in Mexico, the USA, here and around the world a very Happy Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May celebrations). Cinco de Mayo holds a special place for Belizeans not only because of our close proximity to Mexico and the large Spanish speaking population, but due to the similarities between the Battle of Puebla and our own Battle of St George’s Caye – that defining moment in Belize’s history and the beginning of the long road to independence in 1981. Just as with the Baymen at St George’s Caye, the Mexicans at Pueblo met and conquered a vastly superior foreign invasion force – in this instance the French Army, which hadn’t been defeated in over 50 years – in an act that galvanised the people, kick-started patriotism and helped define the nation.

BBIA Book Fair in Cayo
The Belize Book Industry Association's annual Book Fair was held at the Cayo Welcome Center on Friday and Saturday. There were tons of activities, including workshops for teachers, booths from local publishers, face painting, and even a book exchange. The San Ignacio Public Library was there too, and they did some storytelling. A literary evening on Saturday night, where some members from Drums Not Guns played, ended the festivities.

Big Cats of Belize: Five Beautiful Species
A little while back we did a piece on the international efforts to establish and maintain a green corridor running from Mexico down to Argentina to protect the region’s jaguar population, and some people registered surprise that Belize actually has a jaguar population. That population not only exists, but is hopefully growing today thanks to efforts from conservation groups such as Panthera and the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Well, we thought that if people were surprised that Belize had jaguars, they’d be even more intrigued to hear that there are actually five major big cats species running around Belize. So here’s an introduction to Belize’s big cats. First and foremost would be the jaguar, perhaps the most well known of Belize’s big cats, (besides being the name of the national football team). Known to scientific types as Panthera onca, it’s amazing that they have survived at all, given the high value placed on their stunning pelts, from the days of the ancient Maya up to modern times.

International Sources

Local fly-fisherman goes after bonefish in sunny Belize
I love the snowy months and I love ice fishing but, man, what a winter. Little did I know when my family and I booked a trip to Belize last fall, for the following March, that it would be a much-needed vacation to escape the grips of the bone-chilling cold that our area has experienced the last few months. We certainly had plenty of ice and an extended season this year, but it comes to a point where enough is enough. When March finally arrived, it was definitely time to go. The morning of the trip was here and after driving through a not-so-unusual blizzard on the way to the Buffalo Airport, it was time to head south. The flight out of Buffalo left at 6:30 a.m. and by 2 p.m. it was time for shorts, sandals, and my favorite fishing shirt. And, oh yes, it was 85 degrees in Belize City. Another short, yet very scenic, flight from Belize City Airport found the final destination on the Island of San Pedro, also known as Ambergris Cay. Reservations had been made at a luxury resort called Victoria House, and upon arrival on the island their limo and friendly driver was awaiting my family and I. This is, however, not your traditional limo. This limo was one of the nicest eight-person golf carts that you have ever seen. The primary mode of transportation on the island is either golf cart or bicycle.

These Reefs Are Beautiful—But Most of the Coral Is Dead
Grand Cayman Island is a speck of white sand about twice the size of Manhattan floating in the Caribbean Sea halfway between Cuba and Belize. It's known mainly as an offshore tax haven—"Wolf of Wall Street" Jordan Belfort spoke to a gathering of business leaders there recently—and as a stopover for cruise ships packed with sunburned Americans sipping bright blue cocktails with paper umbrellas. It's also a key haven of marine biodiversity, sporting 36 different coral species (corals are tiny animals that build rock-like reef structures) and 350 kinds of fish. Generally speaking, coral reefs are some of the most ecologically rich habitats on Earth, supporting 25 percent of marine life in less than one percent of the ocean environment. They're a first line of defense for coastal communities against devastating storm surges. In Cayman, as in many small island nations, reefs are the backbone of the local tourism and subsistence fishing industries. And they're rapidly dying off. A study published last October found that on reefs around Little Cayman, a kind of suburb island adjacent to Grand Cayman, coral cover fell from 26 to 14 percent just between 1999 and 2004. Since the early 1980s, coral cover across the entire Caribbean has plummeted 80 percent, so that living corals now cover only 10 percent, on average, of available surface area. And a 2011 report from the World Resources Institute that labeled reefs around Grand Cayman as highly threatened found that what's happening there is a microcosm of a global trend: 90 percent of the world's coral will be at risk of disappearance by 2030, thanks primarily to ocean acidification and global warming, both products of greenhouse gases released by human activity.

International players making major impact in NASL
For a second consecutive week, the league's overseas players have scored more than half of the goals during the Spring Season encounters, Saturday's Week 4 featured nine of the 14 total goals scored (65 percent) to highlight this edition of the NASL International Spotlight. Belize international and CONCACAF's World Cup Qualifying leading scorer Deon McCaulay had his second goal of the season for Atlanta Silverbacks in the 2-1 victory over visiting Ottawa Fury FC at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. Palestine international defender Omar Jarun earned his first goal of the season when he scored late in the match for Fury FC in the loss.


Video: Belize - Discover How To Be, 4min.
Love this video... gotta put it up here now and then...

Video: The Honeymoon, 5min.
An adventurous, young couple go on a fun, romantic, unique honeymoon in Belize where they climb temples in the jungle, swim in lakes and snorkel the reef with rays and turtles, make tortillas with the Maya community, kayak through ancient maya ritual caves, enjoy candlelit dinners beside firepits, luxuriate in hammocks and having massages, staying in wonderful luxury boutique hotels such as Ka'ana, Victoria House, Portofino, Nitun (Guatemala), El Convento (Guatemala)...

Video: Belize dive slides, 7min.
Here is a slide show from my latest dive trip to Belize. I am producing a full video from the trip and it will be available in a couple weeks.

Video: MVCC Intro to Marine Biology BIO 221 Belize 2015, 6min.
This video is about MVCC Intro to Marine Biology BIO 221 Belize 2015

Video: Belize Agricultural Fair K9 demonstration 3, 4min.
Police dog demonstration

Video: Hannahs Caribbean Cast Iron Cinnamon Rolls, 11min.
Hannah makes Caribbean Cinnamon Rolls. She bakes them in a cast iron pan because that is what we have. She makes the cinnamon rolls with Soy milk because she is allergic to cows milk and we don't have any goats right now. We hope to be able to be in a place we can have goats once again. We sure miss the goats and fresh goats milk. The cinnamon rolls were delicious! Papa says they are the best in all Belize and Mexico! But maybe he was exaggerating just a bit...

Video: Belize it, 6min.
This is a recent video of my trip to Belize City, and San Ignacio, Belize. I used the GoPro Hero3+

Video:Missions Update , 46min.
Compassion Sunday/Belize trip update/Missions we support update

May 5, 2014


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Specials and Events

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Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Cutest little reef fish…ever!
Sometimes you just see the CUTEST things when snorkeling! I know, you are probably thinking, cute??? Really? Well, tell me if this little guy isn’t adorable? He looked like a little windup toy spinning around the corals! This boxy little fish is a Spotted trunkfish, and they are shy but curious fish that swim slowly above reefs, often hovering under ledges or over small holes. Trunkfish are protected by a bony outer surface that acts as body armor and includes two sharp spines guarding their rear fins. The rigid outer structure helps protect spotted trunkfish from predators, but they are poor swimmers because of their rigidity and bulky shape. At maturity they average 6 to 12” in length. This guy was no more than 4” in size and one of the highlights of my snorkel trip yesterday just minutes from San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye.

Wolfe’s Woofers: Seasick
A boat ride turns quite interesting when one of the passengers gets seasick.

San Pedro church leaders say, “The solution to crime is found at home”

Doctor Love: Unnecessarily Jealous
The thought of her partner cheating is driving a jealous girlfriend crazy, but is it all for naught?

Misc Belizean Sources

Queen's Baton Relay in Belize
The Queen's Baton Relay came to Belize, and it biked through Belmopan on its journey. The British High Commission got some good pictures, as did the Cycling Federation of Belize.

Which Belize Beach Town Will Win Out?
The attributes of a life of ease in Belize have been well documented: beautiful warm weather, friendly people who speak English, and lovely sand beaches with the Caribbean Sea lapping at the shoreline. Those are just some of the reasons my wife Char and I are considering Belize as our retirement destination. We’ve previously lived as expats in Thailand, and are seriously considering another expat adventure, but because we want to be in close proximity to our family and friends in the U.S., we’re looking at Central American locations. Earlier this year I took my second trip to Belize—having previously scouted out Ambergris Caye two years ago—and had a hard look at what one could really expect if he/she lived in San Pedro on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye or Placencia, a beach town in southern Belize.

The Reporter

Farmers of the Year recognized
The Farmers of the Year received a plethora of prizes in a ceremony at the National Agriculture and Trade show this morning. At the opening ceremony on Friday evening Minister of State for Agriculture Hugo Patt sashed the three farmers: senior farmer Felix Esquivel of the Corozal district, woman farmer Angelica Dubon, and junior farmer Dieni Jones of the Cayo district. Prosser Fertilizer gave each farmer $500, IICA gave each $150, OIRSA gave each $300; while others followed a formula of $500 for Senior, $300 for Female and $200 for Junior. These included the La Inmaculada Credit Union, Social Security Board, Citrus Products of Belize, Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and Westrac. Caribbean Chicken also gave each winning farmer 50 pounds of chicken and other businesses sponsored gift certificates.

CARICOM meets to discuss teenage pregnancy
Representatives from CARICOM member states met in St. Lucia this past week to discuss a strategy and plan of action to address the issue of teenage pregnancy in the region. The meeting is a consultation aimed at securing broad-based multi-stakeholder engagement and support before the framework is presented to CARICOM’s Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD). According to Sheila Roseau, director of the UNFPA Sub-regional Office for the Caribbean, teenage pregnancy is one of the major challenges standing in the way of girls’ education and their ability to achieve their full potential, especially when the necessary support systems are not in place. “We cannot talk about sustainable development without addressing in a serious way, the needs of young people who make up over 60 percent of the population of CARICOM,” she said.

Uruguay to sell marijuana legally
Uruguay will begin to produce and sell marijuana legally but people will be restricted to how much they can access. Licensed pharmacies will sell the drug for less than $1 a gram, with consumers allowed 40g (1.4oz) a month. Under the new bill, each family will be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants, and that marijuana may be consumed in the same spaces as tobacco, except at workplaces. Drivers caught “smoke-driving” will be subject to the same penalties as those under the influence of alcohol. One gramme of marijuana would cost between 20 and 22 pesos or little less than $1 US. The Uruguayan government estimates that the current marijuana demand at between 18 and 22 tonnes, which would equate to about 10 hectares of cannabis plantations.

Patrick Jones

Body of Ontario village youth retrieved from the Belize River
The body of 18 year old Justin Lamb has been recovered from the Belize River in Ontario village. Lamb and some friends had gone to the river to swim on Labour Day when he reportedly went under the water and did not resurface. His family was informed of the incident around 3:30 pm on Labour Day and despite a frantic search on Thursday and on Friday, it was not until early on Saturday morning that Lamb’s body was found. According to reports, family members who had gone back out on the Belize River to search for him, found the body near Warrie Head, about a quarter of a mile away from where he was last seen by his friends.

Search continues for American man missing at sea
The search continues for an American national and former Army Ranger Wrangler Leesman, 29. Leesman has been missing at sea north of San Pedro town since Tuesday, April 29. Leesman and another man, identified as Bradley Evans Josker went kayaking around midday on Tuesday, but encountered rough seas near the Belize Barrier Reef. When they attempted to return to San Pedro town, their kayak capsized in the turbulent waves and the two men were thrown into the Caribbean Sea. While Josker was rescued some hours later, Leesman was not and remains listed as “missing” at sea.

Body of Guatemalan extracted from Chiquibul National Park
The decomposed body of a Guatemalan national has been retrieved from the Chiquibul National Park in the Cayo district. Police have not yet released an official report on the discovery of the body; but preliminary information received say the body had what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds, including to the head. The name of the man has not yet been ascertained and will be released as soon as it is confirmed. The body, according to the information received, was found in Belizean territory and was extracted from the Chiquibul on Saturday night.

The Belize Times

National Security Threat!!
The Pharmacists Association of Belize has heightened their resistance to the appointment of the daughter of UDP Minister Erwin Contreras to the newly created post of Director of the Ministry of Health’s Drug Inspectorate, calling it a major threat to Belize’s national security. If the appointment goes through, Contreras would oversee the entire pharmaceutical drugs sector. The Pharmacists Association says that is where the major security risk lies because Contreras does not have the adequate academic nor technical training to hold the key post. The result of any errors from her limited capability and judgment could be costly and disastrous to many lives. Contreras, a recent Bachelor’s Degree graduate of a University in Guatemala, was awarded the high-level post without any knowledge of the Pharmacists Association on March 4th. The light bulb Minister of Health Pablo Marin has defended the appointment, claiming that Contreras is the most qualified person in Belize. The professionals in the sector strongly disagree with his conclusion.

Baiting Belize
Belizeans were informed on Monday that the Prime Minister was once again departing the country on personal leave. I swear this man spends more time abroad than he does in Belize. As is his custom, he met with members of the media and answered a few questions on Friday just before leaving. Those who follow his pattern knew that this was coming and expected that he would be gone by Monday. According to the notice sent from Belmopan, he “departed the country today, 28th April, 2014, to Houston, Texas on personal leave to accompany his wife, Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow, for a medical checkup”. Mr. Barrow has milked his wife’s illness for every drop of publicity, sympathy and political mileage that he can get. Whenever he needs a vacation or to get away from a hot button issue, the man grabs poor Kim and jumps on a plane. (Understanding that this is a figure of speech since “poor” is a far cry from anything Kim). Just last year, Kim Simplis was reportedly on verge of death with a weak heart and stage-three cancer. She had half the women in Belize shaving their heads in solidarity and preparing black dresses for funeral. Now, miraculously, just a few short months later, she is prancing and frolicking on the beach being chased by high priced photographers. Some are beginning to wonder if we haven’t really been duped.

Taiwan $$$ bails out NICH
The BELIZE TIMES is investigating a report that the National Institute of Culture and History has run out of money to carry out programmes and has had to turn to the Barrow Administration’s political friends, the Government of Taiwan, for an unofficial bail out. Officials at NICH had no comment and the BELIZE TIMES was not able to reach Director of Culture, Dianne Haylock. Sources have indicated that Taiwan has agreed to provide additional funding to the statutory board, but is requiring stricter financial control and spending and that a financial controller be attached to NICH to ensure better accounting of funds. If confirmed, this is surely a disgraceful state of affairs for one of the most critical arms of national development. NICH has fumbled and stumbled under the leadership of the UDP Government and specifically Dianne Haylock. The UDP have shown that they do not consider the development of art and culture as a priority in the country. Artists have been left abandoned and there are no programs or initiatives to spur a cultural awakening.

Water rates increased by 6.9%
Your next water bill will be much higher thanks to an increase in water rates announced by the Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday, April 29th. The PUC said it approved a 6.9% increase in water rates that became effective on April 1st. Belize Water Services, which is a Government-owned company, had requested a 16% increased when it applied to the PUC for its annual tariff review.

Mothers sue KHMH for killing their babies
Thirteen babies died in the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit when they contracted an infection due to the negligence of the hospital. This happened a little more than a year ago. Not only was no one held accountable, but the mothers of the dead infants were not even given an apology by Ministry of Health officials. Minister of Health Pablo Marin avoided talking to the media during the entire fiasco. His silence on the neo-natal deaths was deafening. Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who also holds the portfolio of Minister of Everything, tried to shift the focus from the failing health system to the results of the Village Council elections. Barrow showed little in the fact that infants were dying in the KHMH Neo-natal ward.

A Government of the MINORITY
The Dean Barrow Administration has become one of the most unpopular Governments in the history of our country. Over the six years which the UDP has been in office, the Prime Minister and Leader of Government, Dean Barrow, has offended so many individuals, organisations and groups that several have had to resort to the last option of taking the Government to Court. Check the stats! The indigenous Maya people of Belize and the Dean Barrow Government presently find themselves opposed philosophically, historically, politically, morally and even in the most basic of ways – in the interpretation of the common English language. In August 2010 at a UDP Convention in Orange Walk Town, the UDP proudly announced and endorsed a Policy Statement which distorted and offended Mayan heritage. This Policy approved by Barrow himself set the UDP’s scornful tone towards the Maya people and first exposed the hatred with which the UDP were preparing to fight the Maya, even if it meant re-writing their history. In bare terms, the UDP rejected the historical fact that the Maya people were the first Belizeans, indigenous by right; and, therefore had communal rights to land in the Toledo District.

Police United bombs BDF 2-1
Police United FC, defending champs of the Premier League of Belize’s 2013 closing season tournament, is leading the 2014 competition with 25 points from 8 wins and 1 draw. Their last win came bombing the Belize Defence Force at the Carl Ramos Stadium last Saturday night. Lennox “Criminal” Castillo scored the Police’s 1st goal in the 40th minute, and in the 2nd half, Berneld Valdez added a 2nd goal in the 48th minute. The Police goofed up in the defense to give a penalty which Vallan Symns converted for the BDF’s only consolation goal in the 77th minute. The Police enjoyed their 2nd victory in their midweek match against the Paradise Freedom Fighters at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium last Wednesday.

Ecumenical Junior College crowned ATLIB national champs
Centro Escolar Mexico men were ‘bridesmaids’ once again, as Stann Creek’s Ecumenical Junior College men won 3-2 to be crowned as the Association of Tertiary Level Institutions of Belize (ATLIB) national football championships. Otis Smith scored EJC’s 1st goal to lead 1-0 up to the half. In the 2nd half, CEM’s Elkin Harris equalized 1-1, and CEM’s Aldair Toledano came off the bench to score a 2nd goal to lead 2-1. Emery Bennett came off the EJC bench to equalize 2-2 and Otis Smith scored EJC’s 3rd goal to clinch the championship.

UB girls win ATLIB football nationals
Defending champs, the University of Belize girls drilled the Independence Junior College girls to win the Association of Tertiary Level Institutions of Belize (ATLIB) national football championships hosted by Sacred Heart Junior College at the Norman Broaster Stadium over the weekend. UB’s Zenda Avila executed a free kick that beat IJC goalie Marian Trujillo for UB’s 1st goal in the 10th minute. Arlene Bennett came off the UB bench to score a 2nd goal in the 45th minute for the 2-0 win. The Belize Adventist Junior College girls from Calcutta Village, Corozal, won 1-0 over the Centro Escolar Mexico girls from San Roman, Corozal when Maira Acosta scored the winning goal in the 25th minute.

HOME ECONOMICS – Sweet Potato vs Irish Potato Production Industries
“Potato (Solanum tuberosum) originated some 8,000 years ago in high-altitude tropical areas of Peru, where a staggering 5,500 cultivated varieties have been developed by generations of farmers. Taken by the Spanish to Europe in the 16th century, the tuber quickly adapted to northern growing conditions and soon became a staple food at a time of rapid population growth. From Europe it spread further across the globe: today potatoes are grown on an estimated 180,000 sq km of farmland, ranging from China’s Yunnan plateau and the subtropical lowlands of India, to Java’s equatorial highlands and the steppes of the Ukraine. Potatoes are also crucial to the food security of hundreds of millions of people in the developing world, where annual consumption has risen from 9 kg/capita in 1961-63 to around 21kg today. While potato output has declined in Europe, growth is so strong in developing countries – notably China and India – that global production has nearly doubled over the last 20 years. Since the early 1960s, FAO says, the increase in the production area dedicated to potatoes in the developing world has outstripped that of all other food commodities, and by 2020 demand for potato is expected to be double that of 1993.

From 75 cents to $472.5 Million – HRCU Celebrates 70 Years
The Holy Redeemer Credit Union (HRCU) Annual General Meeting (AGM) has become almost a cultural event, a highlight of the April calendar for member-owners of all ages. Every year thousands pack the SJC Gym in West Landivar to listen to reports on the financial affairs of the “poor people’s bank,” to approve dividends and rebates, to meet and talk to the staff, and to appoint the directors and committee members, who continue to steer the vital financial institution in a positive direction. This past Saturday, April 26th it was no different, as it was standing-room only for HRCU’s 70th AGM. Neither the heat nor the post-Easter fatigue could keep away Belizeans from all walks of life who came excited to hear about how their wealth had grown. For as Miss Jane reminded them in her report, “Together, HRCU member-owners are all multi-millionaires.”

How high will the price of fuel go?
The BELIZE TIMES has launched a fuel price monitoring campaign on behalf of Belizeans, with the aim of keeping a close watch on the Government’s barefaced gouging of commuters through petrol prices. It’s as if the Barrow Administration has forgotten its promise of keeping the cost of living down “no matter what”. But that’s what we are here for…to defend the interest of Belizeans and keep the cruel UDP on check. The most recent fuel price hike occurred on the eve of the Holy Week, as prices jumped closer to the $12.00 mark. Fuel prices vary by district, and perhaps, on politics too as we know the UDP hates Southern Belize, and so fuel prices are the highest there. How high fuel prices will go under the UDP Government? Is it $12.00 or $15.00? Only Prime Minister Dean Barrow seems to have that answer, and we will be keeping a close watch.

PUP Corozal Southwest holds Executive Committee meeting
On Sunday 27, April 2014 a meeting was held at the PUP Corozal Southwest Office in San Narciso Village, with the Honorable Ramiro Ramirez and his Executive Committee to discuss some of the issues affecting the constituency such as unemployment, deteriorating infrastructure, the need for greater access to education and poor healthcare facilities. The residents of the communities in Corozal Southwest along with the Honorable Ramiro Ramirez and his executive committee are ready for the change. “Honorable Ramiro Ramirez working hand in hand with the people for a better Corozal South west”.

Harper’s Bazarr lies about Belize
A recent high-maintenance video “documentary” on Belize, along with a pictorial spread with the Prime Minister’s wife, is far removed from reality television. The “documentary” promotes an officially endorsed myth about a non-existent “First Lady” and outright lies about her lifestyle and the way she travels around Belize being falsely enthusiastically greeted by crowds of school children and other “admirers”. The photographic spread which features her as a model is false and in some instances totally unbecoming. It is obvious that this expensive public relations stunt has to do more with the fantasies of the Prime Minister’s second wife who is certainly no “First Lady”. There is no such provision in the Belize Constitution. It is a title designated to the wives of Presidents.

Chamber of Commerce elects new Executive Council
On April 24th, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza. At the AGM, an election was held to elect a new Executive Council for the Chamber. The persons elected to serve on this new Council from 2014-2016 are Mr. Arturo Vasquez, President; Ms. Kay Menzies, Past President; Mr. Allen Reimer, V.P. Industry; Mr. Reynaldo Magana, V.P. Services; Mr. Marcello Blake, V.P. Commerce; Mr. Claudette El Ters, Treasurer; and Mrs. Ashanti Arthurs Martin, Secretary. Elected Councilors are Mr. Daniel Gutierez, Manager of Marketing, Logistics and Corporate Communications at Belize Natural Energy; Mr. Nikita Usher, Chief Administration Manager and Group Sales Marketing Manager at Citrus Products Belize Limited; Mrs. Karen Ysaguirre-Lewis, Director of Retail Banking at Scotiabank (Belize) Ltd.; Ms. Linda Thornton, Owner of Cardelli Farms – Belize Shrimp Growers Association; and Ms. Sue Courtenay, Executive Director of Belize Coalition of Service Providers.

Murders in San Pedro, Punta Gorda
While the Police Department continues its investigations into a spate of murders that occurred in Belize City and northern Belize over the past weeks, there are two more that took place over the weekend. The killing of 43 year old Dennis Palacio has left residents of San Pedro shocked, as their once peaceful community has become more prone to violent activity. Palacio, who is better known as “Chingy”, was ambushed just before midnight on Saturday April 26th by a blood-thirsty gunman. Palacio was hanging out on the Seaweed Street in the San Juan area of the island when he was approached by an unidentified person who shot him. Palacio tried to escape his attacker by running into a yard, but he was caught by the armed man, who fatally shot him three more time on the back.

REFLECTIONS ON THE PUBLIC SQUARE – Hon. Max Samuels – Respect to a Fallen Brother
This week our PUP family lost a true and loyal soldier of the peaceful, constructive Belizean Revolution with the passing of our dear friend and colleague Hon. Max Samuels. Hon. Max, as I called him, was a disciplined man who believed in order, honor, and loyalty. He lived a life of service to Belize and its people, first as a distinguished member of the Belize Police Department where he rose to the rank of Commissioner in 1980, and then as a Politician representing the PUP serving three terms as the Duly Elected Area Representative for Belize Rural North from 1989 to 2003. During that time, Max served as a Cabinet Minister under both Prime Minister’s Price and Musa and served on the national Executive of our Party in various capacities including that of a Deputy leader. Even at age 74 and retire from active Politics, Hon. Max continued to be fully engaged in the work of our Party and at the time of his passing was a sitting member of the Order of Distinguished Services Committee (ODS) of the PUP.

Waffles Mayor – Darrel Bradley on “farewell tour”
Belize City Mayor Darrel Bradley confirmed on Monday that he is on a farewell tour as he prepares to demit office at City Hall. The Mayor has been his usual self, feisty, difficult and very quarrelsome, over the past few days as he argues with himself whether or not he will run for Mayor in the upcoming municipal elections slated for March next year. Bradley appeared absolutely confused when he went on the Krem WUB Morning Show on Monday morning. He complained that “people” have been throwing “curved balls” at him, referring to media reporters’ questions about the upcoming elections. He told host Most Hyde that he likes to “clown around” when he faces the media. Hyde disagreed and told Bradley that his responses have been “diva-ish”.

PUP Mourns Hon. Maxwell Samuels’ Passing
The People’s United Party wishes to record our profound sadness on the passing of our friend and colleague, Hon. Maxwell Samuels. Hon. Max was a true and loyal member of our PUP family who served as a PUP Area Representative for Belize Rural North from 1989 to 2003. He served as a Cabinet Minister in the administrations of both the Rt. Hon. George Price and the Rt. Hon. Said Musa and served on the National Executive of our Party for many years including in the capacity of Deputy Leader. At the time of his death, Hon. Maxwell Samuels was a serving Member of the Order of Distinguished Services Committee (ODS) of the PUP.

28 days to Penner’s criminal trial
On Thursday May 29th, corrupt UDP representative Elvin Penner will return to the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court to answer to the criminal charge of illegally issuing a Belizean nationality certificate and a passport to South Korean, Kim Won Hong, who had never been to Belize and was at a Taiwan prison at the time of getting the documents. The charge was brought about through a private criminal complaint lodged by grassroots organization Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and their attorney Kareem Musa. Penner was charged on March 27th, exactly 189 days after he had been stripped of his portfolio by the Prime Minister, who said he acted upon learning of the serious allegations against Penner. Since then the UDP Government has been playing a dangerous game, protecting and defending Penner and using state resources to block every effort to make him face justice for his treacherous actions.


Belize’s Biggest Gathering: The 2014 National Agriculture & Trade Show – Part One
The Belmopan Agriculture fair is huge. And supposedly over 50,000 Belizeans roll into town for the two day event. Since I had attended once before (posts below), I knew I was going to make it only one day. It’s so hot, so crowded, so fun but EXHAUSTING. So I got there early… I arrived at about 9:45am on Saturday, the first real day of the show. The line was long already and charter buses and cars were unloading all along the road into Belmopan.


Video: Belize Mural Project 2014, 19min.
Good morning. Take a look at what's been happening at the Stella Maris School in Belize City, the Carl Ramos Stadium and Why Not Island in Dangriga and the team behind it. Hannah Rose, Croz the artist and Ras JahSun Thynkfree speak about how and why they came together to create public art in Belize and how everyone can benefit from a little more creativity in their lives.

Video: Belize Agricultural Fair K9 demonstration 2, 2min.
K9 Labrador explosives discovery demo

Video: Belize Agricultural Fair K9 demonstration, 2min.
Belgian Malinois doing some basic obedience training with the handler.

Video: Belize Day 4&5, 6min.

Video: Friends of Retzer Nature Center - Slideshow of Belize Trip 2014, 19min.
Friends of Retzer Nature Center - photographic and chronologic slideshow of the 2014 Belize Trip

Video: Chicken Drop at the WAhoo lounge on the beach San Pedro Belize, 15min.
May 1 2014 W/ MJ and KJ

Video: Green Moray Eel - Lighthouse Reef - Belize, 3min.
We found this beautiful moray eel in Belize at Ruth's Place near Long Caye. She was really interested in the GoPro Hero3 Black i had on her.

Video: Davis Falls, Belize, 7min.
Davis Falls is a remote, 500-foot waterfall, accessible via a dirt track off the Hummingbird Highway at Alta Vista village in Stann Creek District.

Video: Belize 2014, 5min.
Trip to San Ignacio - Cahal Pech, Xunantunich, ATM cave, Tikal Trip to San Pedro - Hol Chon, Shark Ray Alley, Coral Forest Daniel Chao kendra Chao Stanley Lin Bernadine Lui Apr 25 - May 2, 2014

May 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

Officer implicated in missing guns and ammunition from San Pedro Police Dept
Have Belize City Police recovered two of the eight stolen guns missing from the San Pedro Police Station? Reliable sources have indicated to The San Pedro Sun that they may have indeed found two firearms on Cemetery Road, Belize City. The firearms were reportedly in a lot behind Atlantic Bank, and have been identified as belonging to the cache that went missing between Wednesday evening and Friday morning from the San Pedro Police Station. According to our sources, Police Constable #1332 Yannick Wade is one of the people detained. While our sources cannot confirm if PC Wade took the firearms, it is believed that he was involved in their disappearance as he was at the location where the firearms were found. PC Wade joined the San Pedro Police formation in April of 2013, after being transferred from the Criminal Investigation Branch in Belize City.

Education outreach provided by Nat’l AIDS Commission, Island Committee
The National AIDS Commission (NAC) /Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) Island Committee along with PASMO carried out several community outreach activities in the month of April. The month of activities culminated on SaturdayApril 26th with a Mobile Testing outreach. In the weeks leading up to the 26th, Dennis Craft; PASMO Educator along with volunteers from the NAC CCM Island Committee visited various sites on the island and provided sexual health education, HIV transmission prevention, Sexually Transmitted Infection education along with Risk Reduction activities. Along with health care professionals from the Dr. Otto Rodriguez II Polyclinic and a member from the Unites States Peace Corp, NAC/CCM Island Committee and PASMO tested 57 individuals on Saturday April 26th, of which 11 were females and 46 were males. Volunteer with the program and the Secretary for the NAC CCM Island Committee, Omar E. Solis Segala was more than happy to share a little about his experience during the outreach. “Sexual health education is extremely important and Saturday’s outreach along with all of this month’s outreaches have been very successful.

National News: PUC approves 6.9% increase in water rate
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved an increase in water rates requested by Belize Water Services (BWS) Limited. The confirmation came via a press release from the PUC dated Monday April 28th and was followed by a press conference on April 29th. With the exception of Caye Caulker, water will increase countrywide by 6.9%. According to PUC, in December 2013, BWS applied for a water increase of 16.2% in the annual tariffs but were denied that increase and instead recommended a 6% increase. The reduction in the requested increase was triggered by a reduction in the company’s proposed capital investment. According to Rudolph Williams, PUC Water and Water Sector Director, BWS appealed the initial decision, which triggered a review of PUC decision. “BWS made a submission to the PUC for an annual review proceeding for the approval of a 16.25% increase in tariffs to be applied during the annual tariff period of April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015. After reviewing the proposal and considering BWS’s past performance and its ability to fund its investments, the proposed $25.675 million in capital investments for 2014-15 was reduced to $14.326 million.

Misc Belizean Sources

Boca del Rio park vandalized
The following pictures brings sadness to us. The Boca del Rio park was vandalized, the plant barriers were broken and removed from the ground, a swing was broken, many palm trees were broken and graffiti on the picnic tables. We ask of everyone to please take care of the parks. Lots of labor and money are spent on the upkeep of these parks for it to be destroyed. The parks are there for everyone, and for everyone to enjoy and make use of it. The Boca del Rio Park received a major "facelift" back in November of 2013 thanks to the sponsorship of Mr. Dan Listwin of Canary Coves. Help us take care of the parks, if you see someone vandalizing the parks, tell them not to practice vandalism. If they insist, report them to the town council or the police. (8 photos)

Ramon's Village Resort Thanks Mayor
Mr. Richard Headrick from Ramon's Village visited Mayor Daniel Guerrero at the San Pedro Town Council office to present him a plaque of recognition which reads: Ramon's Village Resort extends a sincere thank you to Mayor Danny Guerrero for his unselfish support, kindness and generosity shown to us during the reconstruction of San Pedro's enchanted village - Ramon's Village Resort. Signed, Richard & Gina Headrick. Dated, April 12, 2014.

Coastal Xpress Ferry Stops & Schedule
Coastal Xpress Ferry and Water Taxi offers regular taxi service to all resorts, restaurants and private docks departing from Amigos del Mar Dock, San Pedro, and travelling north to Blue Reef Resort approximately 9 miles up the Island of Ambergris Caye. Please see the schedule below for our daily hours of regular service – 5:30 am to 10:30 pm.

Local health committee listens to needs of villagers
Village Health Committee members in Santa Theresa, Belize, rotated shifts at a food stand to host the committee's first fundraiser to raise money to better people's access to health care in the area. Nominated by the people of the southern Belize villages, the committee listened to the needs of the people and is taking action to better the lives of all who call that region home. The fundraiser was held at the Santa Theresa medical clinic where Belizean, Canadian and U.S. medical care providers offered free health care to Belizean people May 1-2 as part of New Horizons Belize 2014. New Horizons includes medical readiness training exercises that provide all three countries valuable training and experience in their respective medical fields. "This is our first fundraiser because we are somewhat newly-elected," said Pedro Teul, Santa Theresa Village Health Committee chairman. The committee worked with local health care providers to determine the best sort of fundraiser. One requirement for any fundraiser was that if they sold food of any sort, it had to be healthy, said Elbia Chic, Santa Theresa clinic health nurse.

Acoustica Concert
The Acoustica concert is next Saturday, May 10th, at the Cave Garden. "An [unplugged] rock concert covering your favourite songs by local bands in Belize. Come on out with your friends and have a fun night listening to amazing songs and enjoy the cool laid back environment at Cave Garden Restaurant in Benque Viejo Del Carmen. Performing Bands are: 'In Bloom' from San Ignacio, Cayo, 'Emendo' from Guatemala, 'Bad Rabbits' from San Ignacio, Cayo and Rick Galvez doing a solo performance. Genres include Grunge Rock, Alternative, Power Ballads and Classic Rock/Blues. Tickets can be bought from Oscar (Oki) Mis, Kevin ( Guillermo) Berganza and Jose Barrera. $10.00 at the door and $5.00 in advance. Support our local Bands as we help push Belize forward on a higher global scale as it relates to arts and culture. Rock on!"

Bullet Tree Mopan River Cleanup
Bullet Tree Falls is having their annual River Cleanup Extravaganza today. Come out and join in the cleanup, and have some good food and fun at the same time.

Cayo Classifieds Issue 14
This week's issue of Buy and Sell Weekly. There's an article about the Black Hole Drop at Caves Branch, one about the San Ignacio market, and another about the Green Iguana Conservation Project.

Support Corozal's Annual East Indian Festival
Keep Corozal's Culture Alive and kicking! Sponsored by the Corozal Organization of East Indian Cultural Heritgae (COEICH).

Copa Gobernador 2014, Mahahual Mexico
The Annual Copa Gobernador Fishing Tournament is ongoing in Mahahual. Participants from San Pedro Ambergris Caye, include Team Amigos, Lady Leslie, Rojo Lara and others. Photo courtesy Dianela Hancock.

The Reporter

Police bust yields stolen guns from security firm
A search for stolen guns proved successful on Saturday night when police searched an open yard at # 2 Cemetery Road in Belize City and found three weapons. Reliable reports to The Reporter say that a tip led police to the location where they repossessed three of eight guns that were stolen from the San Pedro Police Station. The search began at 8:00 p.m. and yielded the guns and ammunition after an hour-long search. The guns were the property of KBH Security and were stored at the Police Station for safekeeping. The eight .38 revolvers and over 100 bullets were last seen on Wednesday when KBH personnel, who secured the weapons at the location discovered them missing. An on-duty guard noted that the guns were on Friday when he went to the station to retrieve the weaponds.

NICH raises the bar for National Song Competition
The National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) through the National Celebrations Commission (NCC) launched its annual song competition this week. NICH says that heavier emphasis will be placed on lyrical content this year. President of NICH and co-chair of the NCC, Diane Haylock explained that the commission has decided to make major changes in the format of the competition this year because over the past few years they have had concerns about the quality of submissions, particularly the lyrics. “We feel that the content of the songs are not as rich as it could be and part of our objective at NICH is to really see the growth and development of our music industry in Belize,” Haylock said. Haylock explained that NICH intends to work with artists to help them improve the quality of their lyrics and their music. It will do so by organizing workshops to work closely with the artists participating in the competition and will provide technical assistance for them.

Children murdered in Honduras for refusal to join gangs
At least seven children have been murdered after refusing to join criminal gangs in Honduras. In the most recent incident, police found the body of a seven-year-old boy who appeared to have been tortured. Authorities found his 13-year-old brother dead a day before. The crimes took place over the last month in an area dominated by street gangs in the industrial city of San Pedro Sula. Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world. The constant battling between the country’s main maras, or street gangs – Mara 18 and Mara Salvatrucha is the cause of the most of the violence in Honduras.

Friday night shooting leaves one dead, several injured
One man is dead and several more are injured after a gunman fired several shots at a group in an apartment after 10 p.m. on Friday on Antelope Street extension. Julian Willoughby, 21, was killed in the shooting and four other people were also wounded, including a female who was shot to the mouth. The group was reportedly in the apartment building socializing when the gunman approached firing multiple shots in their direction. Police investigations into the matter continue but the department has not yet issued an official release.

Officer Commanding Independence Police Formation dies
The Belize Police Department is mourning the passing of Assistant Superintendent of Police, Alton Alvarez. Alvarez, who headed the Independence Police Formation, died on Friday night, the apparent victim of a heart attack. Alvarez was for many years the Officer Commanding the Intermediate Southern Formation in Independence Village.

Patrick Jones

Senior police officer passes away
A senior member of the Belize Police Department has died. Superintendent Alton Alvarez died on Friday night. A cause of death has not yet been officially released, but it is believed that he suffered a heart attack. Up until the time of his death, the veteran law enforcement officer was serving as the Officer Commanding the Intermediate Southern Formation in Independence Village. The news of his sudden death has come as a shock to many of his fellow officers and the community at large. Police flags were lowered to half mast on Saturday morning as word of Superintendent Alton Alvarez’ death spread across the country.

Authorities investigate theft of revolvers from inside police station
The Belize Police Department has gone mum on the theft of a cache of weapons and ammunition from inside the police station in San Pedro town. A total of eight .38 calibre revolvers and 101 rounds of ammunition were stolen from a safe inside the San Pedro police station sometime between Wednesday evening, April 30 and Friday morning, May 2. Information received today says that two of the weapons have allegedly been recovered from a place on Cemetery Road in Belize City; but this has not been confirmed officially. Information received also suggest that a police officer who was recently on interdiction is detained in connection with the theft of the forearms and ammunition. The stolen revolvers and ammunition are the property of the KBH Security firm which always deposits its firearms at the police station for safe keeping.

Murder in Belize City
A shooting incident on Friday night in Belize City as left four people injured and one dead. A preliminary report issued by the Police Press Officer said that the incident happened around 11 PM on Friday on Antelope Street Extension. Among the victims of the shooting was a 14 year old and a woman. Police say that a 21 year old man, whose name they did not released, died while undergoing treatment. A police investigation into the incident continues.


Belize agriculture show
Coming at you live from the Belize agriculture show. We are having a great time so far. Lots of San Pedro peeps here, aside from Cowboy and Monty we ran into Picasso Spirits and San Pedro Scoop. My favorite picture is the one where Cowboy’s calculator saved him from a heifer who got a bit to feisty. Got lots more pics of the Ag show and Belmopan to share when I get back to San Pedro monday, off to watch the rodeo now.

Fuego the Tapir’s First Birthday Party and A Close Encounter with a Puma at the AMAZING Belize Zoo
The Belize Zoo is an ABSOLUTELY must visit when you take a trip to Belize. If you live here, you should be stopping by as much as possible. All animals are native to Belize. All animals are rescued from the wild. All in small beautiful natural enclosures that, if the animal isn’t busy, allow you some pretty amazing close-up encounters. Seeing Junior the Jaguar as a baby playing with his ball to him as an adult…you feel like they are YOUR animals. And they are Belize’s animals. But this one is mine all mine. Take a look at my new bestie Carlos. CAN. YOU. BELIEVE. how gorgeous he is? No zoom. None. But more on him later. I was invited by my friend (a VIP guest) to the zoo for the celebration of National Tapir Day (April 27th) and for Fuego the Tapir’s first birthday. This celebration has been going on for YEARS but had celebrated Belize’s most famous national animal, April. Poor April, the oldest tapir in the world in captivity, passed after 30 years as Belize’s tapir ambassador.

“Goin’ Out of My Head” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
As we get ever closer to the rainy season the weather this week has, at times, been somewhat muggy. Hot days, cloudy skies, periods of hardly any breeze and humidity high and the ‘threat’ rain for around the last three days. Not complaining, just giving you some background information. Yesterday morning (Friday that is) at around 04.00 hours (give or take ten minutes) the sky was lit up by flashes of lightening (no I wasn’t at all tempted to rush to get my camera , this blogging is, after all, a fun thing for me. Now if I was taking it seriously? Well that would be a whole different matter). This continued for around ten minutes and was then joined by thunder which was followed shortly after by rain. At this time I decided to get up. No not to grab the camera but a mug of coffee and my iPad. Time for ‘me’ time on the veranda. It didn’t rain particularly hard but it did rain -off and on – for around four hours. Enough to put a reasonable number of ‘showers worth’ in the rainwater collection tank beneath the house. I know that our tank holds 45,000 gallons and it was full to the brim when the rain eventually stopped in January and all of the calculations that I carried out regarding per capita usage indicated that a tank that size should be more than enough for Rose and I but it hasn’t stopped me occasion wondering if we will have enough to last!

International Sources

"Bomba geoestratégica para EE.UU.": Rusia y China preparan el canal de Nicaragua
La colaboración entre Rusia, China y Nicaragua, que están a punto de empezar a construir el canal de Nicaragua es "una potente bomba geoestratégica que explotará cerca de EE.UU.", dice el escritor ruso, Alexánder Projánov. "Como se mantiene la amenaza de la invasión de Nicaragua por EE.UU. en el norte, Nicaragua firmó un acuerdo con Rusia de que los buques de guerra rusos patrullen las aguas del mar Caribe. Y también que los bombarderos rusos de largo alcance pueden aterrizar en la capital de Nicaragua, Managua", explica el experto citado por 'Izvestia'. Recientemente, tras la reunión con el ministro de Exteriores ruso, Serguéi Lavrov, el presidente de Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega destacó la posición continua de su país que apoya a Rusia en la resolución pacífica de los conflictos en el Oriente Medio, Siria y Ucrania, rechaza categóricamente la política de sanciones y la "doble moral". Projánov asegura que es improbable que la presencia de los buques y aviones rusos en la región provoquen enfrentamientos militares. Lo único que es cierto es el hecho de que el acercamiento de China y Rusia sí está asustando a Occidente, añadió este escritor ruso.

Former US Army Ranger missing off coast of Belize
A 29-year-old former Army Ranger went missing off the coast of Belize Tuesday when the kayak he was in flipped over near a reef off Ambergris Caye. Wrangler Shane Leesman, of Austin Texas, was last seen about noon when he and another former Ranger pushed off from the beach on a red kayak. The kayak was seen capsizing near a reef by an American on the beach, according to a police report provided by the San Pedro Sun. Family and friends back in the states were expecting the pair, who now work as security contractors, back today. "He's just an all around good guy," said Leesman's friend David Corley. "He really opened up to me about what went on over there, I guess because I'm a veteran too."


Video: Former Army Ranger Wrangler Leesman, originally from Valley, missing in Belize, 3min.
A Mesa mother remained hopeful Saturday that her son, a former Army Ranger missing in Belize, will be rescued. Dee-Dee Leesman's heart tells her that her son, Wrangler, "is alive," she said. Wrangler, 29, has been missing since Tuesday. He was born in the Valley; he now lives in Texas. He and a friend were kayaking off Belize's coast, according to the family and The San Pedro Sun. Rough weather threw the pair into the water. The friend was found alive; Wrangler remains missing.

Video: Belize City road trip, 7min.
Belize city road trip from Placencia (May 2014)

Video: Southbound to Dangriga, Belize, 20min.
Beautiful morning driving from Belize City to Dangriga... lush farm land, beautiful greenery, and small villages along the way...

Video: Belize Tree House Villa, 2min.

Video: Snorkeling in Belize, are you Tuff E Nuff, 4min.
Snorkeling in Belize, are you Tuff E Nuff . this was my first time snorkeling here we have done many other tours with the Tuff E Nuff group they are pretty laid back but will get you some great memories like these. definitely have to do this again and sorry for the crumby dive footage I have never done this before and I did have one of the two gopros go down so its not bad ..enjoy and thanks Rico and the Boys at Tuff E Nuff

Video: Rainy Day in Belize with some flooding, 1min.
Flooding in the city of Belize from rain.

Video:Nurse Shark in Belize , 2min.
Reef fishing off the coast of Ambergris Caye in Belize. Caught this 4-5 ft nurse shark, ~ 100 pounds.

Video: Belize - Looking Back - Compress, 4min.
The Beer Diaries World Tour

Video: Tour of Miramar, 5min.
Many have asked where we are living on Ambergris Caye, so here is a tour, from Bill McDonald.

Video: Belize 2014, 3min.
A brief recap video from our team that went to Belize in February 2014. from Faith Community Media

May 3, 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

Costa Maya 2014 is on!
There was much talk about the International Costa Maya Festival, and the possibility of it not happening this year, but the committee has met and confirmed the dates for 2014! From August 7th through August 9th, the three-day festival will be welcoming guests to the island and treating them to music, games and much entertainment. The Reina de la Costa Maya pageant will be held on Thursday, August 7th, while Friday August 8th will see a variety of entertainers, all leading up the big Saturday night International highlight. Sponsors are being contacted, as are performers/ entertainers who will lead the charge this year. As always, we encourage businesses to join in the sponsorship and support one of the longest-running international festivals on the island. It is a boost to during the slow season, and it will certainly be a highlight for many residents and

SPHS Students and Teachers enjoy Sports Exchange Program
While most students enjoyed their Easter Vacation by going to the beach and spending time with their families, the San Pedro High School (SPHS) volleyball and basketball teams, along with a host of SPHS teachers travelled to Jacksonville, North Carolina, USA to participate in a sports exchange program. The trip, which lasted nine days, gave students the opportunity to participate in sports competitions with volleyball and basketball teams from Northside High School. The unique opportunity gave the students the experience of playing in a professional facility, while participating in practice sessions together, exchanging training and tactic tips to improve their skills.

Caye Caulker Sailing Club hosts Sailing Revival Regatta
On Saturday, April 19th and Sunday, April 20th, the Caye Caulker Sailing Club hosted the first ever Sailing Revival Regatta. Participating teams included San Pedro Junior Sailing Club (SPJSC), Corozal Bay Sailing Club (CBSC), Belize City Sailing Club (BCSC), Belize Sea Scouts and Caye Caulker Sailing Club (CCSC). After the two day competition, SPJSC returned not only with first and second place but with the complete top five roster. The regatta was not a national ranking competition, but rather purely for the love of sailing. The Sailing Revival Regatta was divided into two categories: advanced and beginners. Each group comprised of 15 sailors. At the end of the race, it was Kevin Velasquez from SPJSC who took first place in the advanced group, while first place for the beginners’ group when to Trent Humes from BCSC. SPJSC also took home second, third, fourth, fifth, seventh, ninth, eleventh and thirteenth place in the advanced sailing category, and fifth, sixth, seventh, tenth, and eleventh place in the beginners’ sailing category.

Community support can help Kent succeed in the Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games was established in 1930, and is a multi-sporting event that takes place every four years. This year, the 2014 Commonwealth Games are set for July 23rd-August 3rd in Glasgow Scotland and San Pedro’s very own Kent “Bob” Gabourel is set to represent the country in the one man triathlon. While Gabourel has been hard at work training on the island and mainland, the road and weather conditions are still far from what he will face in Glasgow. As such, Kent needs to travel to Glasgow ahead of the Belize contingency if he is to perform well, and that is where the community comes into play. For Kent, this is the opportunity of a lifetime and he feels most privileged to be representing his country. Kent, who is also a devoted trainer in triathlon and cycling for island youth, sees this opportunity as a practical example for his youth, teaching them that no matter where they come from, with hard work and dedication to one’s skill, anything is possible. He has spent the past several months preparing by competing in cycling races, triathlons and a daily workout regime, and Kent already knows the challenges he will face in Scotland. While most sports will be on a controlled platform or field that fundamentally meets the same standards globally, factors such as different altitude for running and cycling, and the icy waters he will encounter in swimming, will surely call for some special preparation and adaption.

Elias Zetina to represent the Belize District at the National Spelling Bee
On Monday, April 28th, 16 students from across Belize District competed in the hopes of representing not only their school, but the entire Belize District, at the 20th National Coca Cola Spelling Bee. In the end that honor went to Raymond Silva and Elias Zetina. Zetina is a proud student of New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist School here in San Pedro Town. The competition saw some truly amazing spellers from 15 different primary schools. Contestants in the Belize District Elimination included Jann Burn from Pancotto Primary School. Britney Longsworth from Crooked Tree Government Primary School, Dawnille Godoy from Zion Park Methodist Primary School, Lori Herrera from Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Primary School, Ruben Hernandez and Steven Hernandez from Hattieville Seventh Day Adventist Primary School, Raymondo Silva from St. Joseph Roman Catholic Primary School, Jonathan Smith from Hummingbird Elementary, Cathrina Williams from St. John Vianney Roman Catholic Primary School, Clinto Edwards from St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Primary School, Amira Arnold from Ebenezer Methodist Primary School, Amberley Marin from Belize Elementary, Jawaan Miranda from St. Luke Methodist Primary School, Monifah Vernon from Queen’s Square Anglican School, Jannelie Mas from Caye Caulker Roman Catholic Primary School and Elias Zetina from New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist Primary School.

Caracol, deep in the Belize Chiquibul Forest still undiscovered!
Time passed quickly, and we were soon deep within Belize’s rainforest in the Maya Mountains, nestled within the Chiquibul National Park. Rising high into skies, in the middle of the thick vegetation of the Maya Mountains is Caracol–the largest archeological site in Belize. She is quite the beauty! Deigo Cruz, our guide for the day, walked us through the rich history of what once was a powerful Maya City. Caracol’s ancient Mayan name was once Uxwitza which means “Three Water Hill but in the Early Classic period, it was renamed to UxWitzAjaw, or “Three Hills Lord.” Later, after modern day archaeologists began uncovering the remains of city in the late 1930’s, they gave the site the name Caracol. Spanish for snail, Caracol was chosen because of the winding road leading to the site, and the discovery of two workstations at one of the structures, El Barrio (The Neighborhood), that were used to crush snail shells. Most of the crushed shells were mixed with clay to make pottery – a unique discovery to Caracol during the excavation process. Distinctive and elaborate carvings at the 16 altars and 11 stelae that are on display make Caracol different from many other ruins in the Mundo Maya region. In fact, our tour guide pointed to evidence that suggests that at one point, part of the architecture on one structure suggest the influence of the Yucatec Maya, after a queen married one of the rulers at Caracol. That explains why part of a structure at Caracol has a slightly different, steep layer, similar to those found on ruins in southern Mexico. Read more: Caracol, deep in the Belize Chiquibul Forest still undiscovered! - My Beautiful Belize Follow us: @MyBeautifulBze on Twitter | MyBeautifulBelize on Facebook

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Costa Maya Festival Confirmed for 2014
After much waiting and speculating that there would not be another festival this year, the San Pedro Costa Maya Festival Committee met this week and has confirmed that Costa Maya Festival 2014 is good to go from August 7 to August 9. The Costa Maya Festival will once again retain its shorter 3-day format with the Miss Costa Maya Pageant taking place on Thursday, August 7; multiple entertainers on Friday, August 8 and an international entertainer highlighting the last night of the festival on Saturday, August 9. The festival committee has started cranking up its gears in organizing the event by contacting sponsors, booking entertainers and performers and booking the international artist who will be the highlight of the festival.

Misc Belizean Sources

Mother's Day Extravaganza 2014
The San Pedro Town Council presents the Mother's Day Extravaganza 2014 on Saturday, May 10 at the Old Football Field. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. This year we have three performers: imitator of Latin Divas, a singer and a stand up comedian. Cost of ticket is $20 and includes gourmet turkey dinner, drink, dessert and a token for all mothers. The show is for ADULT AUDIENCE ONLY! NO CHILDREN ALLOWED! Click this link below to view a performance of singer Julia Manrique.

Misstatements by the media regarding the scope of the permit issued to US Capital Energy Belize Ltd
Government of Belize Press Office, PRESS RELEASE: The Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU), which has oversight of petroleum operations in Belize through its Geology and Petroleum Department, is compelled to clarify the continued misstatements by the media regarding the scope of the permit issued to US Capital Energy Belize Ltd., (US Capital) by the Forest Department on April 30, 2013.

The Love and Peace Concert for youth development will be next Sunday, May 11th, at Mae Gordon Park, starting at 3:00pm. Pen Cayetano and his family band will be playing at the event. Panerrifix Steel Band will be playing also, and the Belmopan Active Youth Marching Band will be there. Don't miss this great event. "All are invited to come out at the Mae Gordon Park on Sunday, May 11th for Love and Peace Concert."
The Love and Peace Concert for youth development will be next Sunday, May 11th, at Mae Gordon Park, starting at 3:00pm. Pen Cayetano and his family band will be playing at the event. Panerrifix Steel Band will be playing also, and the Belmopan Active Youth Marching Band will be there. Don't miss this great event. "All are invited to come out at the Mae Gordon Park on Sunday, May 11th for Love and Peace Concert."

Ms Dangriga, Belize, captures Ms Garifuna 2014 title
For years now, Ms Mirtha Colon, a long time Garifuna activist, who is the president and CEO of Hondurenos Contra El Sida and the manager of a Garifuna center by the name of “Casa Yurumein” in Bronx, New York, has been sponsoring the annual Ms Garifuna Pageant. This contest is the largest one held in the United States for young Garifuna women to compete for the title of Ms Garifuna and normally attracts about 800 people from all over the city. On Sunday 27th April 2014 at 5:00 pm, the contest was held at the Riverside Park Auditorium on Riverside Drive in Manhattan, New York City, and about 400 people turned out to witness this annual historic occasion. Ms Colon has been reaching out to the parents of all the various Garifuna communities from the countries of Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize, “Yurumein” St Vincent and the Grenadines and the United States to enroll their young daughters in the competition. It was always difficult for her to get a Belizean to participate in this event. Why? Many Belizeans felt that they do not stand a chance to win because it is being sponsored by somebody from Honduras, which always has the most contestants and also the majority of Garifuna people in New York City and throughout the entire world. This year she was able to convince Ms Brenda Ellis to enroll her daughter Erin Arzu to participate in the pageant.

Belize Lions Zone 59 36th Naitonal Convention
On behalf of the San Pedro Lion's Club we are inviting the community of San Pedro to the Belize Lions Zone 59 36th Naitonal Convention under the theme "Lions-Rejoicing & Uniting to Better Serve Our Communities" on May 2, 3 & 4 at the R. Angel Nuñez Auditorium. FRIDAY - May 2 - Opening Ceremonies - 6:30 PM Entertainment - Introduction of Queens - Keynote Address - Hospitality Booths - Music & Dancing with DJ Tracks. SATURDAY - May 3 - 10 AM - 12 Noon Zone 59 Meeting - 1:30 PM - Afternoon Activities 8 PM: Fun & Entertainment! Queen Pageant & Club Presentations SUNDAY - May 4 - 8 AM Church Service - 10 AM Lions & Citizens Parade with Queens 12 Noon - Auditorium closing remarks & Ceremony 2 PM - Jump Up with DJ Tracks.

On Monday, April 28, Mayor Daniel Guerrero gathered with the church leaders in San Pedro Town to discuss the recent crime incidents. The Mayor welcomed everyone to the gathering and thanked them for taking the time off their busy schedules to meet with him and his councilors. Mayor Danny opened the forum by asking all pastors to help him find a solution through their congregation. All pastors introduced themselves and with their introduction they gave their opinions towards the situation. All pastors gave ascertive opinions towards the situation and came into agreement that a foundation at home needs to be established and that we should start educating the youths, show them dedication and love.

SHJC Marketing Expo
Sacred Heart Junior College had a small Marketing Expo. The new auditorium is getting a lot of great use.

Phillip Goldson Highway between miles 59 and 60
The Ministry of Works and Transport hereby informs the general public that Phillip Goldson Highway between miles 59 and 60 will be undergoing urgent culvert replacement from Monday, May 5 to Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Traffic will be channeled through a diversion and therefore motorist are advised to slow down and exercise extreme caution when approaching the work area. The Ministry of Works and Transport apologizes for any inconvenience caused!

BETEX, Belize's Largest Tourism Expo is next Week
BETEX, the largest tourism expo in Belize, is organized by the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) and is scheduled to commence next week from May 7-9 2014 at the Princess Hotel in Belize City. The Expo is a business-to-business event that showcases Belize’s travel destinations, hotels, tour operators, and other tourism service providers. It attracts more than 350 local and international tourism professionals and press representatives. The event is an exclusive opportunity for international travel resellers to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business with local travel suppliers, and to learn more about Belize and experience the destination first hand. First organized in 1996, BETEX is held every two years; the last expo was in 2012. Businesses from around Belize that sent representatives included The Lodge at Big Falls, Hatchet Caye Resort, Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort, Programme for Belize, San Ignacio Resort and Cahal Pech Village Resort. This year, the opening night of the event is scheduled for Wednesday, May 7 at the Princess Hotel and Casino. As Belize’s leading national private sector tourism association, the BTIA represents a unified voice and advocates for issues that benefit its members. The organization also influences tourism policy, legislation and marketing for the sustainable development of the industry and improved quality of the visitor experience.

Back to back armed robberies target another Chinese business and leaves woman wounded. ROBBERY: At 11:15 p.m. on May 1st, 2014, police visited Ma’s Fast Food located on 7th Avenue, Corozal Town where a businessman of that address reported that at 11:15 p.m. on same date, he and his wife were at their business place when two masked men entered, one of them pointed a sawed-off shotgun at him and demanded money. He stated that he handed over $2,000.00 Bcy in cash, (2) Samsung Galaxy cell phones and $300.00Bcy in phone cards, all to a total of $3,900.00 Bcy. The other male person who was armed with a knife reportedly hit his wife causing bruises and swelling to the left side of her face. The male person with the firearm also hit him to the forehead causing a swelling. Both men then made good their escape. Police investigations continue.

Look out Corozal - International Museum Day Celebration is coming!!

Manuel Heredia Jr. had the opportunity to represent Belize
Yesterday May 1st Minister of Tourism, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. had the opportunity to represent Belize in a SITCA meeting held in Dominican Republic- Santo Domingo. Many regional tourism initiatives were discussed at this forum.

UDP Having Trepidations About the Return of Godfrey Smith and Ralph Fonseca to PUP’s Executive
Very few people if any make the roguish ruling United Democratic Party shiver in their pants but the announcement of the return of Ralph Fonseca and Godfrey Smith to the ranks of the opposition PUP visited some unease amongst the unruly bunch. Rumors of General elections in Belize have been circulating for months. While no one knows for sure, there is mounting evidence that those suspicions may just be right. Constitutionally, general elections are held once every five years in Belize. The next general elections are not due until February 2017. However the ruling Barrow administration has not been able to hold their own therefore elections may well be called sooner as was the case in 2012 when elections were called one year early. Two years in and Barrow is out of gas – bogged down by “self inflicted” wounds. Corruption so rampant in his administration that calling general elections soon, as in before the end of 2014 may be his only way out. And Barrow knows all too well the decision he must make. He articulated that to the media on February 5th of this year following a meeting of the House of Representatives.

Channel 7

Ministry and Union Part Ways On National Teachers Day Celebration
If you're not a teacher, you probably don't remember back to May of 2009 when a huge national celebration was held in Belmopan for all teachers countrywide. It was a first, a very major event to mark Teacher's Day, and thousands of teachers converged in the UB Gym in Belmopan. The plan was to have it again this year, but that plan has fallen apart, reportedly because of disagreements between the Ministry of Education and the Belize National teachers Union. And this year, the breaking point was over money. Our reports are that the ministry had asked the Union to contribute thirty five thousand dollars to the event - which was budgeted for well over one hundred thousand dollars - most of it set aside for transport to bus in teachers from all over the country. But, citing the large number of activities it has staged this year - including teacher rallies and its national convention a few weeks ago, the Teachers' UNION said it could only contribute ten thousand dollars.

USA Wants Cuban Fugitive Who's In Belize Jail, But Red Tape A Factor
In February, we told you how Cuban fugitive Raonel Valdez Valhuerdi had been caught in Benque Viejo. Valhuerdi is listed as a wanted man by US Marshals for masterminding the 2012 robbery of 110 pounds in gold flakes valued at 2.8 million US dollars. He was caught in Belize in mid February, where he pleaded guilty to illegal entry and paid a two thousand dollar fine. But, local authorities tell us he is still in jail, and an article in the newspaper USA Today says that's because US Immigration has blocked attempts to return him to the United States to be put on trial. The USA today reports that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has told investigators it will not allow Valdez, a Cuban national, to go back to the states. That's because the US has no way of sending Valdez back to Cuba once they get him back to America. The situation is under review by homeland security, but those working closely to the case in the States are concerned that Belizean authorities will release him before he can be sent to the US for trail. The newspaper reports that Investigators from the U.S. Marshals Service chased Valdez from Florida to the Bahamas and Mexico. That's where the trail went dead until he turned up in Belize carrying a Cuban passport without an entry stamp. It would have gone without notice, but Immigration officers at the Benque border, sensed something unusual and searched his name on the Internet and found that he was wanted in Florida.

Mayans From Buffer Community Got To Us Capital Drillpad For A Showdown
The exploration permit for US Capital Energy was supposed to have expired yesterday, May first. But, it didn't; the Administrator of National Parks and the Chief Forestry Officer simply rolled it over, waiving the expiration date, which allowed the company to keep operations going. But the Mayan communities in the buffer zone rejected that decision; they say it is illegitimate because it defies the judgment handed down by Justice Michelle Arana. And so the Mayans say that they'll monitor the drill site inside the Sarstoon Temash National themselves. Sounds a lot simpler than it is - since that would be considered a trespass by the private oil company. But trepass is just what they did yesterday. Our colleagues from KREM News were there - and Daniel Ortiz put together this story. Daniel Ortis reporting Yesterday morning at around 10:00, about a hundred or so residents of the Mayan Buffer Communities made their way to US Capital Energy's A1 Drill Site, which is about 10 meters inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park.

Is Valentin Makin Actin' the Fool?
On Wednesday, we told you about the letter that Valentin Makin, the ejected 1st Alcalde of Conejo Village, wrote to the Toledo Alcalde Association demanding an explanation about the procedures used to remove him from office. Well, the Association's president, Alfonso Cal, has responded to his request. In a letter to Makin, Cal outlined the series of events which preceded his removal from office. He noted that Makin had to have known that this move was in the works given what had transpired in his presence. According to Cal, two village meetings were held, where the allegation emerged that he unilaterally signed on behalf Conejo Creek Village that the community gives, quote, "unequivocal free, prior and informed consent for US Capital Energy Belize Ltd to continue its work and drilling on Maya Customary Lands." End quote. Cal noted that in that meeting, a villager confronted him with the allegation that he'd betrayed the community, and that he denied it.

PUC Says Not So Fast, Not So Low On New Light Rate
The Public Utilities Commission wants to lower your light bill, but not quite as low as BEL wants it. On April first, BEL put in for a rate reduction to 43 cents per kilowatt hour, almost 4% down from 44.65 cents. But the PUC says the best rate would be more like 43.47 cents per kilowatt hour - which is only down 2.65%. That is the PUC's initial decision and if you don't like it, you can make your objection known to the PUC by May 12th, 2014. The new rates are for July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015.

Cotton Tree Village Council Taking GOB To Court For Land Lawlessness
If you follow the news, you'll remember that in March there was an ugly scene at the foot of the National Assembly Stairs. It was the scuffle between UDP Minister Boots Martinez, Mace Bearer Yellow Man Audinett and PUP Cayo South Operator Vaughan Gill. They were fighting about 254 lots that Anthony Boots Martinez had secured in Cotton Tree Village for his Port Loyola constituents. Gill and his boss, the Cayo South representative Julius Espat alleged that Martinez and the Ministry of Natural Resources were disenfranchising Cotton Tree Villagers of land that should be set aside for their village. Now, with Espat as their sponsor, the village council has secured a top law firm to take their challenge to the Supreme Court. They say that the ministry bypassed all the requirements in the Village Council, and Land Utilization and the Environmental Protection Act when it set aside the land for Port Loyolans. Those laws say that the village council and its lots committee have the authority and the autonomy to decide who gets land where within their village boundaries.

Labour Day Was For Lounging?
Yesterday was Labour Day - the day for workers, and the National Trade Union Congress of Belize invited its membership to be part of a march from Constitution Park to Memorial Park, where they would hold a rally. In terms of support, it was poor; from a possible membership of more than ten thousand, we only counted about 30 people. That would suggest that it was a failure, but the President of the NTUCB told us that the hope is that a seed has been planted: Dylan Reneau, President NTUCB "Today we had a host committee meeting at the ITVETT and it was attended by the chamber and I think we did a masterful job of presenting the workers views on occupational safety and health and in fact the house committee did invite us to be a part of the panel whenever we do the countrywide tour and I am looking forward to that." Daniel Ortiz "Sir, are you able to tell us if you've gathered the opinion that you sway them a bit. I know that chamber was one of the individual groups that came out strong against the OSH bill?"

Downpour Leaves City Inundated
The heavy rains don't usually come until June but a late season cold front pushing past Belize caused a torrential downpour last night. It rained for hours here in the city - and when residents woke up, it was to a city underwater. Here's how it looked this morning: Cecil Jenkins, Sanitation Administrative Supervisor "Like you say we could never predict when the rains will be falling, so I guess yesterday or last night when this rain came it was like a surprise to the public, but we never expect this." Monica Bodden reporting It was tough going this morning in the city, rubber boots - fashionable ones - were called for Or high stepping across the puddles while the police station looked like it needed a coast guard rescue.

Canton Done At CPBL
Embattled CEO of CPBL Henry Canton was allowed to resign - and he did so effective Wednesday April 30th. A release from CPBL says that "Canton tendered his resignation from the company where he has served as the CEO…since October 2002." It confirms that Canton will continue to be on the Board of Directors - and that his second in command, Chief Operations Officer Jaime Alpuche will be Acting CEO until a new CEO is appointed by the Board of Directors. Giving no hint of any acrimony surrounding his departure, the release says quote, "on behalf of the Citrus Products of Belize, its employees and the Board of Directors, the Chairman Mr. Douglas Singh takes this opportunity to thank Dr. Canton for his years of valuable service...and looks forward to a continued working relationship with him as a member of the Board of Directors..." And while that is a graceful end, many in the Citrus Growers Association feel that it is not a fitting end; they would have wished for Canton to be summarily dismissed, and for his successor to be someone from outside the company.

Social Security Can't Issue Cards
One of the most basic functions of the Social Security Board is to issue social security cards - every adult living and working in Belize should have one. But, what happens when somehow SSB runs out of the stuff to make the cards? Well, we're finding out right now because that's just what has happened. For over a month - those going in for cards have been given a provisional letter instead. Social Security tells us that the stock of what are known as "overlays" finished in mid March. Overlays are the protective plastic that goes on top of the card. Now, we suppose, these sorts of shortages happen even to multi million dollar organizations like Social Security, but the really incredible part is that SSB tells us that the new stock of "overlays" was ordered in the last week of January 2014 - and they still haven't arrived! That's more than three months ago! And, guess what? They aren't arriving until the end of May, making it four months - a quarter of the year - between ordering and arrival. Makes us wonder, where do these magical overlays come from!? Wherever it is, we'd have to guess that rush delivery wasn't available, and SSB coolly tells us that they expect to resume issuing of cards by May 27, 2014.

The US Changes Its Position On Valdez
At the top of our newscast, we told you about how US Fugitive Raonel Valdez may not be sent to America to face trial for a 2.8 million US dollar gold heist. Well, a few minutes ago, American Newspaper, USA Today, published on their webpage that US Immigration Officials have reversed their position, and that they will allow Valdez to be extradited to face trial for the crime. The Newspaper reports that Barbara Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Barbara Gonzalez, confirmed late this evening, the agency has approved Valdez's return. USA Today says that Gonzalez did not say why the Agency changed its mind. Finally the paper notes that in the sequence of events that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement changed their position shortly after the US press picked up the story that Valdez might be released because of their decision to block his return.

City Residents Put In Work On Labour Day
While you were at home relaxing and enjoying Labour Day yesterday, the City Council reports that 468 city residents came out and participated in the third annual "Labour for Belize Initiative". The event started at the San Cas Plaza where the participants gathered for an opening ceremony. Participants included workers at business houses, students, community groups and employees of the Belize City Council. They were deployed on different assignments at 22 project sights. Those assignments included clean-up campaigns and tree planting along the Northern and Western Highways and Mahogany Street and upgrades to several parks and public spaces. By noon, more than 350 bags of trash had been collected. This is the third year of the event.

Romantic Romain In Belize
As part of the Agric fair weekend festivities, Jamaican reggae superstar, Romain Virgo will be performing live in concert on Saturday night in Belmopan. But, it's not any old reggae concert, Virgo's performance is billed as an "unplugged" event. Today he made he stopped in at our studios for a one on one interview about the show and told us what his fans can expect tomorrow night. The concert is tomorrow night at the Barrio Fino Night Club Parking Lot in Belmopan.

Jackie Case Comes Out With Video
Jackie Castillo - is one of the most well-known vocalists in Belize. But, for all her years of performing - she's never released a music video. That's what she stopped by our studio to do today. It is called "Borrow and Steal" and was directed by Tariq Young of Young Star Entertainment who is a Belizean American music director living in California. Castillo told us the video was shot at various locations in the city and only took the team 5 days to put everything together. And we close tonight with Jackie Cas's full video for "Borrow and Steal"

Channel 5

Standoff between Maya communities and US Capital Energy in the south
For months, tensions have been mounting between SATIIM, the Sarstoon Temash Institute of Indigenous Management, and US Capital Energy Limited that is carrying out pre-drilling activities within Maya communal lands [...]

Guns and ammunition are stolen from the San Pedro Police Station
Eight guns and more than one hundred rounds of ammunition were stolen between Wednesday night and Friday morning in San Pedro. Usually when that happens it’s time to call in [...]

Henry Canton resigns as C.E.O. of CPBL after years of infighting
After weeks of speculation and more than a decade at the helm of Citrus Products of Belize Limited, C.E.O., Doctor Henry Canton, has tonight stepped down from the post.  This [...]

Search team scours the Macal for the body of an Ontario resident
A young man from the village of Ontario in the Cayo District is missing, and is presumed drowned in the Macal River. Eighteen year old Justin Lamb was with two [...]

Cotton Tree villagers to sue G.O.B. over lands given to Port Loyola residents
A land dispute is tonight brewing between residents of Cotton Tree Village and Port Loyola Area Representative Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez, following the parceling out of two hundred and fifty lots [...]

Belize City man charged for sexual assault
A Belize City man was remanded today to the Belize Central prison for two weeks after he was accused of committing a sexual assault upon a female during which he [...]

Repeat drug offender found guilty of possession
An elderly woman who made her way into the courtroom with the help of a walking stick was today charged with possession of a pipe.  She is sixty-four year old [...]

U.S. Army Ranger missing at sea for 3 days
Police and Coast Guard are continuing the search for kayaker Wrangler Shane Leesman, missing in the seas off San Pedro since April twenty-ninth. The former American Army Ranger was with [...]

Big drug bust in the west
Two men are in Police custody tonight, charged for drug trafficking and multiple traffic offences. Roland Rivers and Paul Morgan fled from San Ignacio Police when they were approached, and [...]

Central Regional Administrator allegedly named in an audit report
On Wednesday, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Health, Peter Allen, was under fire particularly for the recent appointment of Danini Contreras as Director of Drug Inspectorate. There is one other [...]

Birthday celebration for Fuego in honor of National Tapir Day
The tapir is the national animal of Belize and rightly so, because the jewel is home to the healthiest tapir population worldwide. To celebrate that notable achievement, the Belize Zoo [...]

Flooding in the city
Torrential rains on Thursday night caused flooding in most parts of the city. The municipal airstrip had to be closed…some schools including St. John’s Sixth Form called off classes and [...]

Romain Virgo in concert for Agric Weekend!
The annual National Agricultural and Trade Show kicked off today with an opening ceremony at the show grounds in Belmopan and will continue throughout the weekend. Aside from the livestock, [...]


Cotton Tree Council Wants Say Over Their Village Lands
Reports reaching Love News is that the process of issuing land to Belize City residents is well underway by the Government. An estimated two hundred and fifty lots have been surveyed in the western village of Cotton Tree in the Cayo District…..and while the perception out there would be that the government is doing the right thing by giving Belizean citizens their little piece of this jewel, the Village Council of Cotton Tree is condemning the move. The village council, headed by the Chairman, Oscar Otero sought the legal services of Barrow and Williams to seek an injunction against the Government in order to have the issuance of these lots put on hold. We spoke to Chairman Otero today. OSCAR OTERO (Spanish to English translation) “Our situation in regards to the lands in Cotton Tree Village is that we want the government to respect us, right now they have no respect for the Cotton Tree village council. There are laws that states that the Village Council should be consulted on this land issue and the government should respect those laws when they started this land project where they are dividing land into lots and giving it away to who they want and that is why we condemning that move by the government.”

Drowning Reported in Western Belize
He recently relocated to Ontario Village from San Ignacio Town, Cayo District following an incident of assault that occurred about two weeks ago where he was accused of cutting someone in the throat area….but seemingly luck was on his side as the victim refused to have any court action or police investigation conducted on the incident. That was two weeks ago…and now, Justin Lamb is presumed dead after having gone underwater and not resurfacing. Reports are that on just after midday on Thursday afternoon, Lamb was in the company of 18-year-old, Travis Gongora when they went to the river with another friend. Lamb reportedly jumped into the water around 1:30pm but he never came out. Police went to the area by the river and efforts were made to locate Lamb but they proved fruitless.

Vehicle Flips During High Speed Chase with Police
Two men of the Belize District brought attention to themselves in western Belize on Thursday when they sped down the George Price Highway between the towns of Benque Viejo del Carmen and San Ignacio. A mobile patrol was in the area and immediately pursued the brown pickup truck, indicating to them to pull over but the driver refused and continued at high speed…that is until he lost control of the vehicle on Buena Vista Street near the San Ignacio Police Station. A search of the vehicle was conducted and a red sack containing twenty eight pounds of cannabis was found on the passenger side. Another sack was found behind the driver’s seat containing twenty pounds of cannabis. As a result, 32-year-old, Rolan Ranique Rivers of a Daisy Hornby Street in Belize City and 39-year-old, Paul Rubio Morgan of Mahogany Heights were detained. Both men will remain under lockdown in San Ignacio holding cell until Monday as there is no court in session for today. They will be charged with several traffic offences and drug trafficking.

Restaurateurs Robbed and Assaulted in Northern Belize
A case of assault and robbery is being investigated by the authorities in Corozal Town following the armed holdup of a business couple in that municipality. On Labour Day, Police responded to a call and went to Ma’s Fast Food on Seventh Avenue where the owners reported that just after eleven o’clock on Thursday night, two armed, masked men entered their place of business and demanded money. The man told investigators that he handed over two thousand three hundred dollars in Belize currency along with two Samsung cellular phones. But the thieves, perhaps feeling the need to leave their mark behind, assaulted the man, leaving him with a swollen forehead. The man’s wife was also injured to the left side of the face. Police are investigating as the men made good their escape.

Coast Guard Extends Search For Former US Marine
The search continues for the American national that went missing at sea on Tuesday, April 29 north of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye. On Tuesday morning, two former officers of the Unites States Marines, who arrived in Belize last Saturday, had gone kayaking around eleven o’clock when the kayak capsized and the men drifted out at sea. A concerned resident, who saw the kayak drifting on the waters, contacted the Coast Guard to alert them and that was when the search began for 24-year-old, Brad Josker and 29-year-old, Wrangler Leesman, both of the Texas state, USA. Leesman was found and rescued during the initial part of the search while Josker remains missing. Love News was reliably informed that Leesman’s family had chartered a helicopter to do a flyover of the waters but that proved futile. While a search at sea would ordinarily be done over a period of 72 hours, it is expected that this search will be extended as consideration has been given to the experience acquired by Leesman as a former Marine officer. Up to news time, the search for Leesman has been conducted as far as thirty five miles outside the reef. Meanwhile, Josker has returned to his home in the USA yesterday.

Canton Resigns From Citrus Company
Dr. Henry Canton has resigned as Chief Executive Officer of the Citrus Products of Belize Limited. It has been rumoured for some time that Canton would be relieved of his post, one he has held since October 2002. During that time Dr. Canton has held a sometimes testy relationship with the majority shareholder, Citrus Growers Association. Dr. Canton will continue to serve as a member of the board of directors. A release from the CPBL informs that Chief Operations Officer Jaime Alpuche will be acting CEO until a new CEO is appointed by the Board of Directors.


Belize River in Cayo Claims Another Life
Many people frequent the river, especial during days of hot weather. Yesterday, May 1st, was no exception. At the height of the midday sun 18 year old Travis Gongora,18 year old Justin Lamb, of Camalote Village and another friend from Ontario village went swimming in the Belize river just...

U.S. Capital Carries On with Work in Sarstoon-Temash
The Forest Department has confirmed with U.S. Capital Energy that it has decided to waive the expiration date of today, April 30, 2014, contained in the permit granted to the company to conduct petroleum exploration operations in the Sarstoon Temash National Park. Because it was ordered to by Supreme...

Ministry Clarifies Type of Permit that U.S. Capital Received
Today, the Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU), which has oversight of petroleum operations in Belize through its Geology and Petroleum Department, issued a press release to clarify what they say is “continued misstatements by the media regarding the scope of the permit issued to...

Squatters in Harmonyville Buffer Handed Eviction Letters
Only last week Plus News visited the community at Harmonyville on the George Price Highway along with BIGYEA leaders to bring to national attention the squatting problems that the community is experiencing. The squatting continues to persist even though three years have past since the plot of land was...

Agriculture Show 2014 is Declared Open
The official opening ceremony for the Agriculture and Trade Show 2014 kicked off at the show grounds at 3:55 pm and after the inspection of the Guard of Honour by the Governor General Sir Colville Young, the National Anthem was sung accompanied by the Panerrifix Steel Band. The event...

Earthday Celebrated at the University of Belize
International Earth Day was celebrated on the 22nd day of April, but with the celebrations still young, the University of Belize, in Belmopan, hosted their own annual earth day celebrations, organized by the class from the Natural Resource Programme under the Faculty of Science and Technology with guest speaker...

Belize City Council Celebrates Labour Day with Community Clean Up Initiative
Yesterday, Labor Day, the Belize City Council held its third annual “Labor for Belize initiative”. The event encourages residents of Belize City to labor for their community through service and fellowship. At San Cas Plaza where the opening ceremonies were held, some 468 participants gathered for remarks by Mayor...

Cayo Police High Speed Chase Ends in Accident and Drug Bust
At 8:25 p.m. on May 1st, while police were conducting mobile patrol within San Ignacio Town, they observed a brown pick-up approaching from the direction of Benque Viejo at a very high speed. Police signaled the driver to stop, however; he continued driving at the same speed. Police then...

More Robberies to Report in the Corozal District
Reports coming in to Plus News are that a spate of Robberies in the Corozal District continues. According to Police reports, on Thursday, May 1st, at around 11:15 p.m., a businessman, along with his wife, was at their business place, namely Ma’s Fast Food, located on 7th Avenue, Corozal...

Infant Viciously Attacked by Dog in Santa Elena
On Wednesday, April 30th, five year old Christopher Jones was reportedly playing in a yard on Zaiden Street in Santa Elena town when he was viciously attacked by a dog. An eye witness says that the scene of the aftermath was “horrifying” as the witness described the little boy...

Cotton Tree Village Council to Sue Government Over Land Distribution
You will recall that Plus News broke the story of the discontent in the village of Cotton Tree in the Cayo District when villagers learned that a large parcel of land surveyed in the Cotton Tree village for distribution would be given exclusively to residents from Belize City and...

The Reporter

Police seize nearly 50 pounds of weed
A police mobile patrol in San Ignacio Town, Cayo at around 8:25 p.m. Thursday night yielded almost 50 pounds of marijuana. It happened when police observed a brown pick-up approaching from the direction of Benque Viejo Town at what they describe “very high speed”. A police press release issued today states that police signaled the driver to stop, but he continued at the same pace. say they pursued the vehicle which later overturned on Buena Vista Street in front of the Police Station. Police say they searched the interior of the vehicle and they discovered a red sack on the front passenger seat which contained 28 pounds of cannabis.

Robbers target Ma’s Fast Food in Corozal Town
Armed robbers got away with almost $4, cash and valuables when they targeted Ma’s Fast Food in Corozal Town shortly after 11 p.m. on Thursday. The owner of the business, whose name police have withheld, reported that he and his wife were inside the establishment when two men wearing masks entered. One of them pointed a sawed-off shotgun at him and demanded money. The businessman said he handed over $2,000.00 in cash and the man then stole two Samsung brand cellular phones and $300.00 worth of phone cards, all valued at around $3,900.00.

Rains cause class cancellations; downpours expected to last all weekend
The rains that came down on Thursday night and caused flooding throughout Belize City led to the cancellations of classes for many schools throughout the city. Streets and compounds for many of the schools were severely flooded and inaccessible. Some of the schools which cancelled classes include, St. Ignatius Primary, St. Joseph Primary, All Saints and even St. John’s Junior College which, was supposed to be having exams today. Forecaster at the Belize Meteorological Service, Francisca Wellington told The Reporter that two systems converging over the region are causing the rains. Wellington explained that a frontal system in the Bay of Campeche and another nearby caused increased moisture and instability in weather conditions.

Study: Consuming more coffee reduces risk of type 2 diabetes
A study which the Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) has published shows that increasing coffee consumption by on average one-and-half cups per day over a four-year period reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. According to the study, led by Drs. Frank Hu and Shilpa Bhupathiraju of the US Department of Nutrition and Harvard University respectively, the reduction of that risk is as much as 11 percent. The authors examined the associations between four-year changes in coffee and tea consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in the subsequent four years. They used observational data from three large prospective, US-based studies in their analysis which collected detailed information on diet, lifestyle, medical conditions, and other chronic diseases every two to four years for over 20 years.

Cyclist’s murder impacts many sectors
Members the Cycling Federation of Belize turned out en masse last Friday to lead the funeral procession of their slain brother-in-the ride Ernest “Dangalang” Thurton, a 41-year-old cyclist of the Santino’s team, who was gunned down behind his aunt’s home in the Junesville area of Belize City around 4:00 pm Tuesday evening, April 15. Funeral services were held at the Central Assembly of God Church on Freetown Road in Belize City, where his employer and cycling teammate of more than 14 years, Minister of State for Economic Development, Santino Castillo, paid tribute to Thurton’s life as a hard worker on the job and on the road with his cycling team.

Special constable gets 15 years for keeping unlicensed gun
Former Special Constable Jose Haylock, 36, is serving jail time after he admitted to being in possession of an unlicensed gun and unlicensed ammunition. Haylock received three sentences of five years, which include one for keeping an unlicensed pistol and two for keeping unlicensed ammunition. The sentences, however, are to run concurrently, so he will spend five years or less behind bars. Haylock chose to change his plea from not guilty after prosecutors introduced video footage of the search that officers of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) conducted at his Louise Bevans Street residence in February of 2012. Haylock was present at the time. His live-in companion, Corrine Martinez, was not. On the strength of a search warrant, the officers recovered a .22 caliber pistol with ten rounds of ammunition in the magazine under the cushion of a single couch, as well as eleven rounds of 9mm ammunition in a blue purse. While sentencing Haylock, the Chief Magistrate chided him for allowing a “charade” of a trial to continue for two years, knowing fully well, she said, that he was in fact guilty.

UB girls win National ATLIB Football Championship
The defending champions, the girls of the University of Belize won the Association of Tertiary Level Institutions of Belize National Football Championship. Sacred Heart Junior College hosted the event at the Norman Broaster Stadium auditorium in San Ignacio last Saturday and Sunday. The UB girls won the championship finals 2-0 over their arch-rivals from the year before, the girls of Independence Junior College. Iris Galdamez and Emmerlyn Nunez led the UB offensive, supported by Delmi Cornelio and Leonella Chu on the wings and Anijay Quiroz and Zenda Avila at midfield. Avila scored the first winning goal on a free kick that sailed over the outstretched gloves of IJC goalkeeper Marian Trujillo to find the far corner of the net. Iris Centeno and Brenda Alvarado led the furios IJC counterattacks with the help of Erica Vallecillo and Roxana Alvarado on the wings and Zulma Portillo and Sylvia Cabral at midfield, but they could not get past the staunch UB defense anchored by Esther Cal, with the help of Aaren Ritchie-Bonar, Tricia Coye and Albertha Garcia.

Smart No Limits crushes Toledo Diplomats 105-46 in NEBL basketball
Basketball fans witnessed the Toledo Diplomats, the only team to defeat the league leading San Pedro Tigersharks in Toledo, fall 46-105 to Smart No Limits. No Limits enjoyed their sixth victory when the national elite basketball competition continued at Birds’ isle last Saturday night. Akeem “Timmy” Trapp hit two 3-pointers as he led No Limits with 19 pts, four boards for a 17-11 lead in the first quarter. Greg “Chippy” Rudon also hit a 3-pointer as he poured in another 18 pts and three rebounds, while Kevin Domingo laid up 17 pts to cruise to a 45-17 lead at intermission. Andrew Ortiz rammed home three monster dunks to add 16 pts, snagging nine boards, while Brandon Rogers tossed in 22pts and Brian White added 10 pts. John Rudon matched his brother with a 3-pointer as he added seven and Ervin “Poty” Orosco chipped in four.

Alba Petrocaribe opens office in Belize
The opening of a head office for Alba Petrocaribe Belize Energy Limited, APBEL, last Friday is expected to bolster the diplomatic ties that Belize and Venezuela enjoy. Petrocaribe is an oil alliance of Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of concessionary payment. Since the signing of the existing agreement in September of 2012, the United Democratic Party Government has embarked on an infrastructure development that has resulted in the construction of sports stadiums in every municipality, the introduction of social programs and a $20 million investment to establish the National Bank of Belize Ltd. Under the Petrocaribe agreement APBEL buys the fuel from the state owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela Sociedad Anonima, (PDVSA) and then sells to Trafigura, which through its subsidiary, PUMA Energy Belize Ltd, markets all petroleum products in Belize.

PUP talks oversight reform
“Our governance reform agenda is about how do we fix these oversight institutions once and for all,” People’s United Party Leader Francis Fonseca said during a recent conversation with The Reporter. “We have to legislate it. We have to put the changes that we want into law,” Fonseca said. Singling out the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Fonseca said that a reconstitution of the PAC is necessary for it to be effective. Sharing Civil Society’s proposition presented several months ago, Fonseca agreed that the PAC should maintain the four government representatives and two opposition representatives but include three social partners, namely, the Senators representing the churches, the business community and the unions.

Rescuers look for trapped miners in Colombia
It is a race against time as rescuers in Colombia use large mechanical diggers to try to uncover up to 30 people buried under tonnes of mud at a gold mine. They have recovered three bodies so far but Colombian officials say the unstable soil is making the search a challange. At least seven large mechanical diggers have been working non-stop at the bottom of the large pit. Those who have gathered at the scene have refused to move away despite being warned that they themselves could be buried alive by another landslide. Fellow miners and relatives of the victims watch on as the rescue operation in Santander de Quilichao, Colombia, continues. Thousands of unchecked mines can be found in Colombia’s most remote areas and a Colombian official says illegal miners had used machinery to open huge holes to extract gold, and one of them caved in, burying them.

Patrick Jones

Belize prepares National Transportation Master Plan
The Government of Belize has enlisted the technical support of the South Korean Government in preparing a National Transportation Master Plan. The Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU) unveiled this to private and public sector interests at the Radisson Fort George Hotel last Friday morning. The Ministry made the request for the assistance in February of 2013 and the Korea Development Institute, the University of Seoul and the TESO Engineering Company of South Korea came up with the plan. Minister of Science and Technology, Senator Joy Grant explained that since tourism is a prime mover of the Belizean economy, infrastructure improvements to roads used for tourism were a priority, and two roads considered were the old Northern Highway to Maskall, which tour companies use to access the Mayan site at Altun Ha, and the longer, steeper road to the Caracol Archaeological Site in the Mountain Pine Ridge, which becomes impassable in the rainy season.

OSH consultations continue with unions
Consultations regarding the tabled Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Bill continued on Tuesday night in a meeting, which included members from the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) and the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI). The forum took place at the ITVET campus on Freetown Road under the aegis of the Public Service, Labour, Industry and Trade Committee, which has been hearing concerns from relevant stakeholders. Reneau made a presentation of the NTUCB’s perspective of the OSH Bill and explained that the union believes the Bill will cause more positive than negative effects. Chamber members also voiced their concern and the BCCI maintains its position that the Bill as currently constructed will do more harm to the economy than good. One of the major points of contention that has come to the forefront in the OSH Bill dialogue is the issue of regulations.

BTL and BCWU sign new CBA
Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) executives and its workers’ union, the Belize Communications Workers Union (BCWU) have signed a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The agreement was signed on Tuesday at The Renaissance Towers and BTL Executive Committee Chairman Anwar Barrow said that the signing was significant, given that the last CBA was signed 15-years ago. he conditions of the CBA include a four percent increase each year for the next three-years, an increase in subsistence and lodging allowances, an increase in burial grant allowance, a new paternity grant, the provision of 4G service to all staff members, and most importantly, an increase in the company’s contribution to the employees pension scheme, Barrow explained.

U.S. Capital carries on with work in Sarstoon Temash while Maya divided
U.S. Capital Energy has received official word that it can continue with its work in the Sarstoon Temash National Park, where it is searching for petroleum. Chief Forest Officer Wilber Sabido and National Parks Administrator Hannah St. Luce-Martinez wrote to the oil company’s local representative, Alistair King this Tuesday, stating that they consider it appropriate in their discretion, to defer deciding on the application for an extension until the outcome of the consultations with the people of southern Toledo District ordered by Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana is known. This is on the condition that the operations for which the permit is granted continue since they were not specifically stopped by Justice Arana. For this reason, the Forest Department has decided to waive the expiration date of April 30, 2014, contained in the permit granted to the company. Attorney for U.S. Capital Michael Peyrefitte says this essentially confirms the status quo. The company can proceed because Justice Arana did not strike down the permit, making their presence and activities legal; and there is presently no injunction stopping them (although attorneys for SATIIM have applied for the third time for an injunction, this time post-judgment following Justice Arana’s decision on April 3.)

Pharmacy Association introduces public awareness campaign
The Belize Pharmacy Association this week introduced a public awareness campaign highlighting the importance of the Drug Inspectorate and the need for qualified persons to operate it. The BPA began its media rounds on Monday by appearing on local talk shows. It is also preparing fliers and educational posters to be distributed within the coming weeks. The BPA maintains that without properly trained personnel and adequate checks and balances for the importing of medical supplies, the general public is at risk of serious harm due to sub-standard drugs. Hortence Humes, president of the BPA, told the Reporter that the association launched the campaign because the Ministry of Health refuses to listen to the BPA’s request that a more qualified person be appointed as the Director of the Drug Inspectorate.

Mothers to sue KHMH for dead babies
Five mothers who lost their children to the bacterial outbreak at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital last year are suing the hospital for damages. According to the claimants’ attorney, Karim Musa, the mothers are suing for the cost of burying the babies, valued at $2,000 per child; and compensation, at the court’s discretion, for the emotional trauma caused by the loss of their children. They are also seeking interest, and costs of the legal proceedings. Musa explained that the parents have been trying to come to a settlement with the hospital since last year but nothing has been done. He added that they have requested the medical records for the children but the hospital has not submitted any.

Independence Needed Reveals Auditor General’s report to OAS MESICIC Commission
The Auditor General, Dorothy Bradley has met with the Organization of American States (OAS) Commission to discuss the difficulties facing her office. Bradley told The Reporter that she met last Thursday, April 24, with members from the OAS Mechanism for Follow-Up on the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (MESICIC). The discussion, according to Bradley, revolved primarily around the obstacles the Office of the Auditor General has and continues to encounter. Bradley said she re-iterated some of the concerns she has publicly aired before, including the issue of autonomy. In the Auditor General’s last published report for the period April 2010 to March 2011, Bradley detailed many of the issues that the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) faces on a frequent basis and Bradley has maintained her position. That report cited that the International Organization for Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), the Lima and Mexico Declarations and the December 2011 United Nations (UN) General Assembly Resolution A/66/209, all strongly support the independence of SAIs. According to the April 2012 issue of the International Journal of government auditing, INTOSAI declared, “the task of an audit institution can only be objective and effective if it is independent of the audited entity and protected against outside influence.”

Businessman loses wife and child in traffic accident
Businessman, Raul Magaña Jr., 35, is reeling from the loss of his common-law wife and his three-year-old son who were killed in a traffic accident. The accident occurred around 3:30 p.m. on Monday at mile 27 near Biscayne Village on the Philip Goldson Highway. Magaña, was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser fromñOrange Walk Town towards Ladyville when he lost control of the vehicle and ran off the road. Magana’s common-law wife, Lisa Li and their three-year-old son, Raul Lee Magaña were seated beside him on the passenger side of the vehicle when they suffered a rear wheel blow-out and ran off the highway before it overturned several times and landed on its roof in nearby bushes. Li and baby Raul were flung violently from the vehicle as it summersaulted off the highway.

Water bill to rise by 6.9%
The Public Utilities Commission has approved a water rate increase of 6.9 percent for Belize Water Services Limited. The increase, which was approved on Monday, will be retroactive to April 1. The approved rate represents an increase of $6.90 per $100of water used, and will be in effect at least until March 2015. Caye Caulker, residents who were originally thought to be unaffected will see an increase of approximately five cents. Rudolf Williams, director of Water and Waste Water at the PUC, explained that the approval should mark the end of the discussion on rate increases for this annual review period. “They (BWSL) do still have the option to take it to court and apply for judicial review if they disagree with our decision,” Williams said. “But I think it is unlikely that it will go any further than this.”

PSU threatens to sue MOH’s CEO
The Public Service Union has threatened legal action against Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health Dr. Peter Allen, if he does not formally apologize to Chief Pharmacist, Sharon Anderson. The PSU said in a release this week that Allen via email made libelous statements assaulting Anderson’s character. The union quoted Allen as saying that Anderson was “holding the(pharmaceutical) system to ransom.” “The Public Service Union condemns the attack on Mrs. Anderson’s character and reputation and will continue to support her in demanding an apology and a retraction of the email. If not forthcoming legal action will be taken for libel,” the union said. The union also emphasized that Allen had authorized several persons to sign customs entries for pharmaceuticals without giving due process, including consultations with the Chief Pharmacist and the Director of Health Services.

Toddler Dies after he ingests insectide
A toddler from the Orange Walk district is dead after having apparently ingesting an insecticide or some other poisonous solution on Wednesday morning. Two-year old, Gutige Usher was rushed to the Northern Regional Hospital after his mother, Rhondene Usher saw him walking out of a storeroom adjacent to the house around 10:30 a.m. with liquid that smelt of insecticide coming from his mouth. Usher, who was hanging out clothes at the time, rushed to the toddler’s aid and washed his face with soap, gave the child some water to drink but liquid continued to come from his mouth.

Bags of marijuana found in crashed pick-up truck in San Ignacio
The Belize Police department has released additional information on the incident in San Ignacio on Thursday night in which a vehicle crashed near the police station. It turns out the pick-up truck was carrying just under 50 pounds of marijuana. As we first reported, the occupants of the vehicle appear to have been trying to evade police but ended up crashing into the police parking lot. The official report says that around 8:25 pm on Thursday, a mobile patrol saw the brown pickup truck approaching at a high rate of speed from the direction of Benque Viejo del Carmen. Although police signaled the driver to stop, he continued past the police and a chase ensued.

Alcaldes meeting in Punta Gorda town
The Maya communities in the Toledo district that are near to the drilling site for US Capital energy are intent on keeping the pressure on the oil company to suspend operations until prior and informed consent is obtained. On Thursday, bus loads of people showed up at the site inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park; but they were met with resistance, including a group of police officers. Today, Alcaldes from 38 Maya communities met at the Social Security Board conference room in Punta Gorda town for what can only be described as a strategy session.


Mexico to Belize | Bumpy Boats & Immigration Issues
As we ate our last quesadillas and sipped our last Coronas in a lively Mexican restaurant, a feeling of melancholy crept over us. Our two months in Mexico were relaxing, rejuvenating and exactly what we were looking for, but we weren’t expecting to be so sad to leave this colourful country. We reflected on our time here and enjoyed our last delicious Mexican meal. As we made our way to the Chetumal pier, our sadness soon melted away in the intense sun and we both became excited for our next paradise, Belize. We were greeted by unexpected costs and fees when we arrived at the windy dock. Apparently there is a $5 USD “port fee” as well as a $25 USD fee (306 pesos) for exiting the country. The somewhat friendly immigration officers told us “If you flew into Mexico, this fee would have already been included in your ticket price”. The good news was that we did fly into Mexico, the bad news was that we didn’t have the papers to prove that we already paid this “tourist” fee. Officially, there is no fee for exiting Mexico and the fact that we flew into the country should have been proof enough that this fee was already paid.

International Sources

Cayman Islands, Belgium sign tax information exchange agreement
The Cayman Islands and Belgium have officially signed a tax information exchange agreement, reports the Caribbean Journal. Cayman Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton and Belgian Ambassador Godelieve Van den Bergh signed the agreement last week at the Government Administration Building in Grand Cayman. The tax information exchange agreement is the 35th into which the Cayman Islands has entered. It provides for the exchange of information for tax purposes upon request between the two countries. The Cayman Islands has signed a number of such agreements in the last few years alone.

Mayan glory days echo at Belize's elegant Xunantunich ruins
It’s not as famous as Mexico’s Chichen Itza. It’s not as tall as Guatemala’s Tikal. But here in western Belize, the Xunantunich Mayan ruins will make your jaw drop. And maybe your palms sweat. Pronounced shoe-NAN-to-nitch (or as some tourists mangle it, Tuna Sandwich) its name means “stone maiden.” The dominant structure, El Castillo, is notable not only for its elegant friezes of hieroglyphs depicting rulers and gods, but for the fact that visitors can still climb to the top of the 130-foot temple, if they dare. Unlike at Mexico’s Chichen Itza, which was closed to climbers in 2006 after a woman fell to her death, Xunantunich’s climb is done in bits and pieces, with plenty of flat places to stop — and even a handrail staircase for the final descent. Still, it’s not for everyone. “I’m afraid of heights,” one tour guide confessed as he stood in the shade on a plaza halfway up, watching the rest of his group ascend to the very top. “The view is still good from here.” Mayan grandeur Reachable independently by car or as a day-trip excursion for cruise ships docked in Belize City (see sidebar), Xunantunich is one of Belize’s top attractions, although many Americans have never heard of it.

Family: US Coast Guard to aid in search for missing Austin-area man
The US Coast Guard will be sending an airplane and two helicopters to help in the search for a missing Pflugerville man who was last seen off the coast of Belize, a family spokesperson said. Wrangler Leesman and a friend were on a small kayak off the coast on Tuesday when it flipped over, according to the San Pedro Sun newspaper in Belize. His friend, Bradley Evans Josker, was located by Coast Guard officials and told police strong winds and high waves knocked them from the kayak, the paper said. The two were holding on to the kayak when another wave hit them and they became separated. Leesman, a former Army Ranger, has not been seen since.

Gilbert mom pleads for help finding missing US Army Ranger son
He's served five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, but now US Army Ranger Wrangler Shane Leesman is missing in Belize, and his family has set up a crowd funding page to help with search costs. Leesman, who was born in Arizona, was on vacation with an Army friend. The two men were kayaking in rough waters when their boat capsized. His friend, Bradley Evans Josker, was able to make it to shore. "They decided to turn back and they couldn't get the kayak to turn back," said Leesman's mother Dee-Dee Leesman. "A second wave hit him so hard, that it knocked him completely off of the kayak," she continued. The incident happened on Tuesday, April 29th, and though the Belize Coast Guard has searched the area, there has been no sight of the 29-year-old Ranger.

Mayan ruins Xunantunich Belize
Xunantunich, a grand Mayan ruin in the rolling countryside of western Belize's Cayo District, had its heyday around 600-850 AD. The main structure, El Castillo, is notable for its elegant friezes on three sides. Unlike many other Mayan ruins, you can climb up a series of stairs either part way or all the way to the top of El Castillo.

For What it's Worth: Sailing the Seven Seas - okay, the Caribbean
Sorry about my absence last week, but I was on vacation with the family on a cruise in the western Caribbean. What follows, in large part, are observations from the last seven days. Most daunting: Snorkeling in a strong current off Belize was a challenge, but I would give the nod to finding out that the average age of the 3,000 or so passengers on the ship was 53 years. Almost as daunting: That I am now older than that average age. Nothing better: Than when perfect strangers take time to complement your children for their manners and/or maturity. I never get tired of such a gratifying gesture; of course, I always double check to make sure they're talking about mine.

Latin America: A Culture of Violence?
On April 17, 2014, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its 2013 Global Study on Homicide. Once again, Latin American countries were ranked the most violent in the world. Central and South America captured more than a third of all global homicides, with the majority of those homicides occurring in the top five countries: Honduras (1), Venezuela (2), Belize (3), El Salvador (4), and Guatemala (5). With the exception of Belize, which is not considered a Latin American country, each country has sustained a top 10 Global Study on Homicide ranking since at least 2010, and Venezuela alone has had a consistently rising homicide rate since 1995. It begs the question, why is Latin America so violent? Some analysts have suggested that Latin America suffers from a “culture of violence.” While socialization into a violent environment can result in desensitization to violence, it does not provide an explanation for the presence of violence in the region, only the outcome. In addition, socialization does nothing to explain why the Latin American “culture of violence” is not present in countries such as Chile and Costa Rica – Latin American countries that have relatively low homicide rates in comparison to the global average.

'My favorite' series - the Morpho amathonte butterfly
Edgar Corales, a butterfly farmer from Costa Rica, is fascinated by the Morpho amathonte butterfly. He's trying to breed the vividly-colored creatures. But it's not easy.

Cuba to host international LGBT conference
More than 400 advocates from across the world will travel to Cuba next week to attend the first international LGBT conference that will take place in the Communist country. The sixth International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association for Latin America and the Caribbean (ILGALAC) Regional Conference will take place in the beach resort of Varadero. A number of parties and other events are scheduled to take place in nearby Havana, the Cuban capital, during the gathering. Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro who is the director of Cuba’s National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX,) is president of the local committee that organized the ILGALAC conference. Mariela Castro did not return the Washington Blade’s request for comment. CENESEX’s website prominently features information about the ILGALAC conference that includes a preliminary agenda. “As the host country for the sixth ILGALAC Regional Conference, Cuba is not exempt from the problems of the region’s LGBTI communities,” states the organization. “The humanistic nature of the Cuban Revolution has focused on the human being in his teleological purposes since its beginning. Although the Cuban LGBTI movement does not have the organization of other international movements, the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the country is now evident with more impact and achievements.”

Shrimp ban agreed in Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea
In order to protect the shrimp breeding and development periods, the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) established ban seasons and areas for catching all shrimp species in seawater and estuary lagoon systems in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The new order published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF) will also promote the sustainable exploitation of the species and will make it possible to maintain availability levels. The fishing ban will apply in the following dates and areas: From 1 May to 1 August 2014 in the area stretching from the US border in Tamaulipas to the mouth of the Coatzacoalcos River in Veracruz; From 15 June to 1 November in the marine waters covering from the mouth of the Coatzacoalcos River to the meridian of 87° 00' west longitude, including the marine waters of Contoy fishing grounds; From 1 May to 30 September in the coastal strip opposite the states of Campeche and Tabasco to the seabob (Xiphopenaeus kroyeri) fishery with smaller vessels. In addition, the authority established a closed season for catching all shrimp species in the estuarine lagoon systems under federal jurisdiction of the Gulf of Mexico, according to the following time periods and zones:


Video: Waterfall Jumping in Waterfall Cave, Belize, 3min.
Waterfall Cave contains a series of 6 or 7 underground waterfalls which can be climbed. On the way back we had the option of jumping into the deep pools below or to rappel down. We chose to jump!

Video: Science Hope for Sharks and Reefs in Belize nytimescomvideo, 6min.
Glover's Reef

Video: Belize diving 2014: Turneefe & Lighthouse atolls, 5min.
A video of the northern atolls of Belize around Caye Caulker. Lots of turtles, morays and eagle rays. Taken on a GoPro hero3. Enjoy!

Video: Juanita Ballet Belize, 3min.

Video: Falsetto Vybz - Missing You Official HD Music Video | Belizean Artist (Corozal Town), 4min.
Falsetto Vybz is missing his boo Majestic Essence. He never believed he would ever find real Love but now his only problem is that he wants his love to stay by his side every day of his life. Listen to him as he voice his feelings about how he feels since she went away.He toured Corozal Town, Belize remembering the days when she was around with him. #Like, #Share, #Comment, #Subscribe and keep on supporting Falsetto as he keep propagating on his music journey. God Bless!!!! :)

Video: 2,334 Photographs from Central and South America, 5min.
Just over a year ago my girlfriend and I set off on what was to be an amazing three months of travelling throughout Central and South America. Together we created a film to ensure that we never forget the fantastic places we visited, the wonderful friends we made and the great times we had. Every frame in our film is a photograph taken on a 550D Canon camera and then (painstakingly) edited together on to an 8 frame per second timeline. The music bed is 'Milky Chance - Down by the River (FlicFlac Edit)'

Video: Belize 2014, 1hr 17min.
Placencia, Tradewinds CruiseClub, San Ignacio 3/13-3/25/2014

Video: Rebecca's Belizean Fudge, 6min.
Making fudge at our place in a small village here in Belize. Follow along with Becca as she makes fudge - and a video in the process. She had her older sister video tape the making of the fudge, but other than that, she did the entire process herself. This fudge contains no chocolate or peanut butter. It was absolutely delicious! Papa got to eat one small piece when Becca first made it, but it all disappeared somewhere. nobody seems to know where it went to.....

Video: Scuba Diving 2014 - Isla Marisol Belize Lionfish Highlights, 5min.

Video: Allied Health Belize Mission Trip, 6min.

May 2, 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

Tigersharks defeat Western Ballaz to top the NEBL
With 10 wins out of 11 games played, The San Pedro Tigersharks take the lead in the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) after a come-from-behind win over Cayo Western Ballaz. That game was played on Saturday April 26th at Sacred Heart College in San Ignacio Town, and was considered the most hotly anticipated game of the season. For the two teams the game was critical, since it would determine who would be the undisputed league leader going into week 12 of the 14 game regular season. There was a spectacular pre-game show, but the real spectacle was the game on the court. Ballaz’s Farron Lauriano opened the scoreboard by stealing a bad pass from Darwin Leslie to score the first two points. For the Tigersharks, Jamal Kelly got the ball rolling when he stole an intended pass from Kurt Burgess and raced to the basket to earn him two points plus a free throw, making the first three points for Tigersharks. The Ballaz took advantage of Tigershark’s dismal performance the rest of the first quarter, ending it with a15-9 lead.

Three miles of northern road to be paved
According to Mayor Danny, the first phase will see three miles of concrete slabs placed on the officially declared road from Grand Caribe Resort southwards to the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge. “We are working with Medina’s Construction Company to carry out this major investment. We will start from Grand Caribe and head southwards towards the bridge. In the second phase, we will move from Grand Caribe to four miles northwards which should be in the general area of X’tan Ha Resort. That area represents 80% of resorts and hotels on northern Ambergris Caye.” The improvement to the roads in the residential area of San Pedro Town is being financed by the municipality. The $3 million investment for the pavement of the first phase of the project is a joint effort between the central government and the SPTC.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize Labor Movement, Antonio Soberanis
Labor Day is a holiday appreciated by so many and yet understood by so few. Each year, we look forward to the well-deserved holiday; however, many Belizeans do not truly understand why it is that Labor day holiday is so significant. If asked, many older folks will be happy to mention the actions of Samuel Haynes, Antonio Soberanis and the Belize Labor Movement. Antonio Soberanis was a model activist who pushed Belizeans to fight for fair wages and lived by the motto that he would rather be “a dead hero than a living coward”. But why was it so necessary for Antonio Soberanis to take such a firm stand? How bad were the labor laws in our country? It all began in the early 1800s, when the British were looking for workers in the settlement. Many Belizean men were not able to own land and had to resort to logging. For more than a century, workers were paid no more than $15 monthly plus rations (28qts of flour and 16lbs of pork) for their work. In some cases, advance salary was given and paid back immediately upon returning to work. Workers were responsible to pay employers if they were sick, late, lazy or disrespectful and often owed employers money at the end of contracted work which meant having to sign up for another term of work.

AGRIC 2014 Layout
It's the National Agriculture and Trade Show weekend. They have a new layout for this year. Have fun, stay cool, and be safe.

Belizean health workers, administrators key to New Horizons
From security and logistics to medical care and patient processing, the Belizean health workers have been vital in New Horizons Belize 2014. Belizeans can continue to receive free medical care and health education until May 9 through Belizean health care workers and Canadian and U.S. military care providers participating in New Horizons. New Horizons includes medical readiness training exercises, or MEDRETEs, that offer medical health professionals from all three countries the opportunity to train and interact with one another. Community health workers from various remote villages volunteered their time to assist with New Horizons medical care in the five villages where care is being provided. Such volunteers are imperative to ensuring the people receive the best care possible. "We know the people, and we know the language," said Juan Imish, Belizean community health worker from the remote village of Santa Theresa. "We work together with the (New Horizons medical) team ... so the patient can get the proper health care service.

Benque Viejo at Band Fest
The Benque Viejo Marching Band won at Band Fest, and here's a video of them performing Bob Marley's 'Is This Love' during the event. Congratulations, BVMB!

Cornerstone Semi-Annual Health Fair
Cornerstone had their Health Fair at the Cayo Welcome Center.

UB Earth Day
The University of Belize had their Earth Day festivities yesterday. Looks like a lot of knowledge was imparted. Picture Album 2.

Channel 7

2 Year-Old Dies From Drinking Insecticide
A family in Orange Walk has been plunged into grief after their two year old drank insecticide this morning and died. It happened around10:30 this morning in the on the Belize - Corozal Road in Orange Walk Town. His mother says she was hanging out clothes while her two year old baby Justice Usher was playing in the yard. She heard him crying and went to look for him. She found him coming out of the store-room and saw liquid coming out of his mouth. When she asked him what was wrong, the toddler reportedly told her, quote, "I drink juice." She smelt insecticide on his breath, and, terrified, she tried to push her finger down his throat to force him to throw up – but that failed. She ran to a taxi and rushed him to the Northern Regional Hospital but he died on the way. He was pronounced dead at 10:50 amby doctors at the hospital. The insecticide was the type used to get rid of termites.

CEO Allen Grilled By Media
Today the media grilled Peter Allen, the CEO In the Ministry of Health for 40 minutes. He was at an event to honour the management and staff of Matron Roberts health clinic, but the media had a lot more to ask him about. That's because the Public Service Union is accusing Allen of defaming chief Pharmacist Sharon Anderson. He wrote in an email that she was quote, holding the system to ransom while she was on sick leave in early to mid-April. This is after the Procurement Manager at the Central Medical Stores office sent out an email alleging that Anderson was on strike and quote, "refusing to sign supply orders, which could endanger the health of patients." The PSU claims that CEO Allen supported that statement in his email. The PSU demanded an apology, and today Allen told the media why he couldn't give one: Jules Vasquez "Sir, did you make aspirsions against Mrs. Sharon Anderson, saying that she is holding the system hostage by not cooperating, apparently, when she is on sick leave?" Dr. Peter Allen "Well, let me say this, in my opinion, no I did not, but since -" Jules Vasquez "Either you did or didn't." Dr. Peter Allen "You see the thing is that once lawyers become involved, and I gather from the press release that the intent is to sue for libel, once that happens, then we're talking about tax payers money because we can't risk litigation against the Government, which could cost the taxpayers' money. So, we immediately refer the matters to the office of the Solicitor General, in the Ministry of the Attorney General."

Health Changes Customs Signatories
But one thing he's already taken lawyer's advice on is the decision to add three people to the list of those who can approve entry of medical supplies. Previously, this was the sole domain of Chief Pharmacist, Sharon Anderson and Drug Inspector Dana El-Amin. El Amin retired in January of this year, and when he thought Anderson had gone on strike (but was actually on sick leave) he authorized three other persons to approve such entry. He explained why he did it:… Dr. Peter Allen - CEO, Ministry of Health "Our, the advice we received, the legal advice and the regulatory advice we received is that it is a risk to have only one person who can sign such entries. So on that legal advice we decided that we would add, not remove anybody, three other pharmacists, Ms. Danini Contreras, the Senior Pharmacist from the Central Medical Stores office, and the Drug Inspector who took over from the past Drug Inspector in January. We have sent that off, but I have not yet sent - as is required - specimen signatures to the Customs Department, so that those offices would subsequently be authorized. So, at the moment, only one person is authorized to sign these entries." Alindy Marisol Amaya - News Director, KREM News "When would it become effective that those other 3 would be able to start signing?" Dr. Peter Allen "Well, given the concerns that have been raised, I am going to double check with different advisors."

CEO Allen's Much Criticized Management Style Under Scrutiny
And, indeed, that sort of thing, going above the heads of others, and keeping them out of the loop is what we have consistently heard about Dr. Allen's management style. Now, don't get us wrong, we know people always criticize the boss, and if he or she is a tough boss, the criticisms multiply. Indeed, running the show – any show - is not a popularity contest. That's accepted, but, in the case of Dr. Allen, what we've seen is the mass exodus of a number of highly trained professionals from the ministry – not making a fuss publicly, but privately, complaining bitterly about Dr. Allen's vindictiveness and micromanagement. Again, complaints will come, but these ones just keep coming. In fact, Dr Marjorie Parks, on her retirement a year ago, gave a speech right in front of Allen and his minister where she complained about the meddling of the political directorate in the nursing profession, and spoke about, quote, "a system of micromanagement and unwarranted victimization…for any real or imagined infraction against the powers that be." Those "powers that be" reference is a not so oblique swipe at Allen. Today we asked him squarely about his management style:

KHMH Faces Class Action Suit For 5 Baby Deaths
It's been 10 months since we last reported on the case of the deaths of the 13 neonatal patients inside the hospital's intensive care unit. While the families continue to live with their loss, the tragedy has faded from the national headlines. But tonight, it's back again because 5 mothers are suing the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital's Board of Governors. They claim that the negligence at the hospital caused the death of their babies when they failed to control the outbreak of the entobacter cloacae bacteria. Marissa Cruz, Katricia Panting, Nichole Grinage, Kelsey Young and Gorgiana Hernandez all want to ensure that someone is held publicly responsible for the babies, and they've been working with attorney Kareem Musa to make that happen. Today, Musa outlined the case for us: Kareem Musa - Attorney for the Applicants "We've been writing to the K.H.M.H. because we said that perhaps they might be willing to settle because this was a clear act - in my opinion - of gross negligence on the part of the hospital. So we made attempts to reach out to the K.H.M.H., but at the end of the day all attempts proved futile. We have requested the medical records - something as basic as that Daniel and the K.H.M.H. has not been forthcoming with that.

Coyes Trying To Thaw Millions From GOB Freeze
It's been almost 2 months now since Melonie Coye and the late Michael Coye were found not guilty in the Court of Appeal, which overturned their conviction in the Supreme Court for money Laundering. Still, they haven't been able to access any of the millions of dollars being withheld by the state. Well, they're making a move to get the Supreme Court to unfreeze their family bank accounts. These were accounts which were not a part of the original money laundering case, but which the Financial Intelligence Unit wanted to keep locked up tight while they investigated and prosecuted the family for money laundering. Since they've won their appeal, they believe that the court should no longer entertain suspicions that the frozen accounts held proceeds of a crime. And so, today, their Attorney, Arthur Saldivar, made an application before Justice Shona Griffith.

The Curios Case Of Bad Bailiff Still In Court's Good Books
Tonight, there is a great deal of suspicion surrounding the actions of a senior court staffer, which suggest multiple, condoned irregularities within the lower court system. Gabriel Casey is a bailiff working for the Magistracy department, and his job is to go around collecting payments from defendants who are brought to court for civil suits. It usually involves individuals who prove to be difficult in honouring commitments with different business places like loan institutions or persons who've been sued and lost their case, where the court has ordered them to pay fines or compensation. Acting as an official enforcement arm of the court, Casey goes out and collects from those persons who owe, but the problem is, that persons he has collected from, claim that instead of depositing the money into the public purse or on behalf the finance institutions, he pockets it.

Former Marine Missing Presumed Drowned In Kayak Incident
Kayaking is a major activity for tourists all along the Belizean coast – but one tourist apparently took it too far when he paddled to the reef. At around midday yesterday, Bradley Evans Josker and his friend, 29-year-old Wrangler Shane Leesman - both ex marines went out on a kayak. Josker told police that when they got close to the reef, they saw the water was getting rough, and decided to turn back. But, it was too late; the powerful currents pulled them out beyond the reef, where the kayak was capsized by the huge swells. In rough waters, they tried for about 10 minutes to get back unto the kayak but couldn't. Another huge wave hit them, pulling them under, and Josker says when he re-surfaced he didn't see Leesman. Josker then tried to swim to the shore but he was outside the reef, and the powerful currents kept pulling him back. Luckily for him, a woman saw the kayak floating and called the Coast Guard, which sent out a search team at 3:30 pm. They found Josker at 5:00 pm – 5 hours after he had first set out. He was completely exhausted and collapsed in the boat.

19 year-old Belizean Caught Behaving Suspiciously In Mexico
There is a very troubling report coming out of a Mexican newspaper today. The website for "Por Esto", Quintana Roo claims that townspeople from Sabido, Quintana Roo captured a Belizean who was trying to kidnap two small children. The male is only being identified as 19 year old Ariel, and the paper says he tied to kidnap two 8 year old girls and smuggle them over to Belize. It happened on Monday afternoon in Sabidos, a small community which borders the Rio Hondo. Reports say that the girls had just come out of classes when they were approached by a 13 year female who reportedly works for Ariel. She allegedly promised to take them to a beautiful place where they would have everything they wanted if they went with her to the edge of the banks of the Rio Hondo. She got them to do it, and the newspaper reports that the kidnapping was only foiled when the girls' parents went to pick them up at school and didn't find them. They sounded the alarm and rounded up a search team.

US Capital's Expiry Waiver Is Official
Today was supposed to be the expiration date for US Capital Energy's drilling permit inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park, but as we've told you, the Government of Belize has waved it. That official letter arrived yesterday to the company from the Administrator of the National Parks and the Chief Forestry Officer, noting that at the behest of the government, the expiration date has been waived. That means that the company will be allowed to continue their activities tomorrow as per normal, but the Mayans from the Buffer Communities opposing the oil company say that they will be acting as security tomorrow, "the day after US Capital's permit expires". With a promise – or a threat, depending on how you take it – that they will be making a presence every day after that. We asked US Capital Energy's attorney today if this is a matter for concern.

Former Alcalde Gives Notice
And in an update to our Monday story about the Ousted Alcalde Leader from Conejo Village, Valentin Makin made his challenge to his removal official today with the Toledo Alcalde's Association. He wrote a letter to Alfonso Cal, the president of Association, demanding that he hand over all the written details about the signed petitions, the village meeting, and the process by which they community decided to eject and replace him as Alcalde. Valentin said quote, "I think that you are setting a very bad precedent as the president of the Toledo Alcalde Association in allowing the Alcalde System to be manipulated by a few NGO's in the District. This action will cause all Alcaldes to now be afraid that SATIIM or any organization who do not like an alcalde to simply come into a village use your office to remove them without due process." End Quote.

CEO Allen Still Behind Drug Inspectorate Director
At the top of the newscast, we showed you how the media grilled the CEO in the Ministry of Health about his dealings with the Chief Pharmacist Sharon Anderson. Well, hovering in the background is the case Director of the Drug Inspectorate Danini Contreras. She's being empowered to approve entry of medical supplies – which has stirred another controversy about her fitness to do this. CEO Allen defended her again today: Dr. Peter Allen - CEO, Ministry of Health "Now, the issues regarding the Directorate of the Drug Inspector, the position that we've created a temporary contract for, is that the person appears to hold all of the best possible to perform those functions which we will require from the Directorate of the Drug Inspection Unit. I've heard people saying that Ms. Contreras is being paid all kinds of money, and I'm sorry, it's just not true." Alindy Marisol Amaya - News Director, KREM News "You say that it's pay scale 18; can you clarify what it is then?"

FSTV Pharmacy Not Tightly Policed?
But, our reports say that one place Allen didn't want drug inspectors to go to was the pharmacy in the Fort Street Tourism Village. That has been an area of concern for those who monitor the pharmaceutical trade because of the concerns about less than optimal monitoring of the disbursement of pharmaceuticals to visitors. When Dr. Allen today went on a tack about private businesses violating pharmaceutical standards, we asked him about that drug store – and why he has stood up for it in the past: Dr. Peter Allen - CEO, Ministry of Health "We've had complaints of medications which are controlled, and should only be available under prescription being sold without a prescription. We don't know sometimes where the medications come from." Jules Vasquez "Sir, but you are very well aware about the situation in the Tourism Village, where there are 4 pharmacies and only 1 pharmacist, and all sorts of stuff are sold over the counter. Yet, I know that you have vouched for the owner of that drug store to have a second chance. There are 2 sides to this story."

Central Health Region Manager Under Investigation
And we weren't done with Allen yet. As we told you the interview with four media houses was 40 minutes on a hot and humid day. Sure, Allen spent about 30 of those minutes in his own personal spin zone, cooled by a steady stream of hot air…but we did get to ask him pointedly about the presence of Melinda Guerra at today's ceremony. She's the manager of the Central Health Region – and an audit of her performance came upon irregularities. Today we asked Allen if her presence at an official ceremony means that she had been cleared for all duties: Mike Rudon - Channel 5 News "She's a person who was named in an audit investigating irregularities, misappropriation of funds in the Central Region. Could you tell us today if her presence here today is a signal that all is cleared, that she's been cleared of all wrongdoing?"

Dr. Gamero's Sudden Passing
Tonight we note the very sudden passing of Dr. Arturo Gamero. 59 year old Gamero was at the gym last night at 6:00, and caught a stroke in the middle of his workout. He arrived at the KHMH unconscious and never regained consciousness. We understand that he had a massive brain hemorrhage. He died at 9:30 this morning. Gamero was a long practicing Buddhist, so there will not be a traditional funeral. His family says there will be a Buddhist ceremony at a date to be announced.

The Rise Of Matron Roberts
That image of Gamero was from 2005 when he was the clinical director at the Matron Roberts Public Health Clinic. Since then, Matron Roberts has come a long way, operating as a public health facility and an NHI Mclinic – where its competitors are all private. The news tonight is that Matron Roberts is doing better than they are. We found out why:

Nurse Samuels Gets Her Ammo Charge Arraignment; Avoids Remand
48 year-old nurse Bernadette Samuels, who had been hospitalized, pending an arraignment for firearm and drug offences, was finally taken to court today after being hospitalized for her high blood pressure. She was supposed to have been arraigned 2 weeks ago, and police department was getting frustrated hinting that she was using her influence at the hospital to get her physician to give her more bed rest until her attorney could arrange for bail so that she could avoid jail time in the first instance. Whether that was really the case or not, the arraignment took place before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer today, where she was read charges of unlicensed ammunition and cannabis possession.

Nigerian Pastor Had A Fake Visa
You may remember, Fifty-three year old Nigerian national Patrick Joshua Aibaengbee. He was one of 3 persons who landed at the PGIA with false immigration documents. He told the Immigration Department initially that they had to prove that his visa was fake, but yesterday, he changed his mind and pleaded guilty. Patrick Joshua was fined $1,000 by Magistrate Dale Cayetano after he pled guilty to using permit not issued by lawful authority. Patrick Joshua was ordered to pay forthwith, in default 6 months imprisonment. After he has paid the fine or served the time, he will be deported to Nigeria. As we told you, he arrived in Belize on April 10 on an Avianca flight from El Salvador. When he landed at Phillip Goldson International Airport he handed over his passport to an immigration officer who checked and detected that the Belizean visa was not genuine.

BDF Going Back To The Jungles
The BDF is expected to come off the streets soon – and police sources say they might not be there for May. We've reported this before, in February when they were supposed to come off the streets at the end of that month. It never happened because that's right when gang violence started to jump off in precinct one. They remained in precinct one – but with last week's gang truce, the hope is that the soldiers can return to the jungles by May. Last week, the commander of the BDF told us why it's important, in the context of the shooting incidents and Guatemalan incursions: General David Jones - Commander, BDF "It's going to take a solution between two countries, or probably also international efforts to assist Guatemala to dissuade their people from coming over into Belize. That is a big part of the problem where we have these illegal farmers and peasants coming over into Belize. We want to stop these incursions coming over. My intention this year, and for the rest of my career while I'm in the BDF, is to maintain the territorial integrity and sovereignty of this country.

Appeal Court Releasing Their Decision On Second Nationalization
The long awaited court of Appeals decision on the second nationalization of BTL will be delivered on May 15th at 2:00 pm. It's been scheduled and delayed before, most recently in early April. But, this time it's for real – and by a jarring coincidence, May 15 is also the day that Appeals Court Justice Samuel Awich's contract expires. It still hasn't been renewed and last week we asked the Prime Minister about it:.. Jules Vasquez "Sir, Justice of Appeal Awich, has his contract been renewed?" Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "Not yet, sir." Jules Vasquez "And it expires in May, what considerations go into that?" Hon. Dean Barrow "The usual considerations, is the man of sound mind? Is he in good health? Has he discharged his duties during the period of the first contract? That sort of thing." Jules Vasquez "As you know, some unfortunate allusions have been made about the timing of the long-awaited -"

Nat'l Song Competitition Going To The Districts
This afternoon the National Celebrations Commission launched the National Song Competition at the House of Culture in Belize City. This year for the first time the competition will be branching out to the districts offering both workshops and stage performances to the artists and song writers. We found out more at the launch. The winners of the district competitions will be invited on the National stage on August 9th.

SIB: Trade Imbalance Widens
Belize's Trade Imbalance continues to grow. The statistical institute of Belize reports that In March 2014, Belize imported $162.9 million dollars in good, up by $13.4 million or 8.9 percent over March 2013. The most significant rise was in Chemical Products, which surged by $6 million as a result of increased imports of fertilizer. Considerable increases were also seen in purchases of steel and iron products for construction. Consumer goods also saw an increase, rising by as much as $21 million due to increased purchases of vitamins, seeds and wines. And while imports were up, exports totalled only $48.6 million in March 2014, a decline of $20.6 million or 30 percent over March 2013. This fall was entirely the result of no sales of crude petroleum and a decline in sugar and orange concentrate exports of $7 million and $4 million, respectively.

The Reporter

Darrell Bradley says his reason for not running again for mayor is personal
Mayor Darrell Bradley says that though he is focused on wrapping up his three-year term and he is not yet completely certain about his career path, he is giving consideration to his candidacy in the Caribbean Shores area. “I’m a very strategic person, I never do something by mistake, I deliberately did not submit the application for a specific reason,” Bradley said. He explained that the decision for him to not run again is a personal one based on multiple factors but did say that he intends to remain committed to public service, wherever that may lead him. Bradley told The Reporter that he is committed to the United Democratic Party (UDP) and would support any of the candidates who have submitted their names to run as mayor in the next municipal elections.

American citizen missing at sea
An American citizen remains missing after a kayaking adventure on Tuesday turned into disaster near the reef off the coast of San Pedro. Wrangler Shane Leesman, 29, and his friend, Bradley Evans Josker, went kayaking around noon and decided to return to shore when they noticed the sea getting rough. But before they could do so, a wave hit them, capsizing their kayak. Josker told police that they tried for a while to return to their kayak but another wave that struck them made that effort futile. He added that they started to drift apart and that was the last time he saw his friend.

Galen replaces Dr. Louis Zabaneh as president
Galen University’s majority owners have moved to replace Dr. Louis Zabaneh as president of the institution in an attempt to move the university in a different acadmeic direction. The institution will expand to become a school of veterinary medicine and Professor Andreas Charalambous from Cyprus is the interim president. Zabaneh has explained that the decision was a bit of a surprise to him, even though he knew that there were discussions about taking the institution in another direction. Zabaneh has been the president of the privately-owned tertiary institution since December 2009 and has been a key figure in developing the academic programs at Galen.

Gold mine collapses in Colombia; up to 30 people trapped
Rescue efforts are underway in Colombia to save the lives of up to 30 people trapped underground after a gold mine collapsed in the south-west of the country. At least three miners were killed in the incident. The collapse occurred shortly before midnight in a rural area near Santander de Quilichao. So far, authorities have recovered three bodies and do not know if there are more victims. BBC World News and the Associated Press are reporting that the mine was operating illegally. Illegal miners used machinery to open huge holes to extract gold, and a wall on one of them caved in, burying the miners.

Patrick Jones

Belize’s Petrocaribe Credit Limitations
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela’s PETROCARIBE agreement allows Belize to purchase fuel by paying 40% of the costs up front….and the balance to be paid at 1% per annum interest over 25 years. The government of Belize claimed in April 2014, that since the program started in 2012, Belize has accumulated around $190 million of credit. Assuming a two year period, this would suggest that Belize accumulates around $95 million in credits per year….which at 60% of purchases would suggest that total purchases of fuel averaged $158 million per year. However, Belize is known to import around $220 million in fuel per annum….so perhaps Belize is sourcing another $62 million of fuels from a source outside the PetroCaribe agree

Boy mauled by dog continues to recuperate
Thursday, May 1, 2014. PATRICK E. JONES Reporting: The family of 5 year old Christopher Jones, the Infant One boy who was mauled by a dog in Santa Elena town on Wednesday afternoon, has released a set of photographs of his injuries. Some of the pictures are too graphic to post, but the update is that little Christopher continues to recuperate following the vicious mauling. According to a note that accompanied the pictures, Jones is scheduled to undergo a CATSCAN on Friday in Belize City to determine if there is any brain damage as a result of the mauling. In one of the pictures, the little boy’s scalp is shown torn open and there are multiple scratches on his face.

Pickup truck crashes into police vehicles in San Ignacio town
There are reports of a vehicle crashing into two police vehicles in San Ignacio town. Information is sketchy at this time, but it appears that the occupants of a gold Ford ranger pickup truck were trying to evade the police but ended up crashing into their vehicles. The crash reportedly happened at the bottom of the street beside the San Ignacio police station. The occupants of the crashed Ford Ranger pickup truck are believed to be from Belize City and it is suspected that marijuana may have been their cargo. A total of three vehicles were involved in tonight’s incident which happened just before 9 o’clock.

Maya Leaders take community members to US Capital drill site
There was a showdown at the entrance to US Capital Energy drill sight inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park in Toledo today. A group of men and women from buffer communities, aided by the Maya Leaders Alliance went to the area today claiming that they were going to stop the oil company from carrying out any further activities on what they describe as ‘Maya land. US Capital Energy’s permit to carry out oil exploration in the Sarstoon Temash National Park was set to expire at the end of April; but that expiry date has been waived by government. That means that US Capital Energy could continue with its activities as per normal. But the Maya Leaders Alliance and members of buffer communities will have none of it. And so when they showed up at the entrance to US Capital Energy access road today, they were met by a team of police officers. Reports from Toledo say that despite the police presence, some members of the group from the Maya Leaders Alliance still managed to make it pass the over a dozen police officers at the entrance.


Belize Tourism Expo is fast aproaching
Where does the time go? Hard to believe it has already been 2 years since the last Belize Tourism Expo and the popular travel trade show is coming up next week. This years event runs from from May 7-9 2014 and will take place at the Princess Hotel and Casino in Belize City. BETEX is a is a business oriented travel industry trade show featuring information on Belize travel destinations, accommodations, tour companies, and other tourism service providers. The Belize Tourism Expo provides an exclusive meet and greet opportunity for international traveler resellers to network and conduct business with local Belize travel suppliers. It also allows for them to learn more about the country and experience what this popular travel destination is like first hand in order to better help people when they are selling Belize vacation packages. I know this is very important from personal experience. When my mom was coming to visit and we were going over her travel itinerary, I learned her travel agent had her booked on a Tropic Air flight two hours after she had landed Philip Goldson International Airport. I emailed her back and let her know that was too long and the recommended time to clear customs and be ready to hop on a puddle jumper was 45 minutes. It was clear the Toronto based woman was thinking Miami sized airport. Anyone who has passed through International Airport, or done their research, would have the correct information and better be able to guide someone in booking their trip to Ambergris Caye Belize. That experience illustrates why BETEX is an important and useful resource to giving travel industry people a chance to gain first hand knowledge of the country of Belize and it’s travel related businesses.

A Beautiful Lunch At Elvi’s Kitchen And Some Animals About Town
I walked into town at lunch time for a meeting and passed the new Diamante project just south of Blue Water Grill. They just officially broke ground about one month ago and it’s growing. Quickly. I had planned to go to Estel’s Dine by the Sea for their delicious breakfast all day. I was going to get my usual and set up my computer for a few hours to answer some questions for a magazine article. But Estel’s was oddly closed. Maybe taking a little well deserved time off. I headed over to Middle Street and Elvi’s Kitchen. A restaurant that I can NOT write about without showing this picture of me and Prince Harry. PRINCE HARRY!

Belize Labor Day Holiday: 5 Facts you should know
May 1st of every year marks a very important day for us Belizeans, especially for the working class; Belize Labor Day Holiday! This Belize holiday is a public and bank holiday that we enjoy as a day of rest from work, and as gratitude for all our hard work. However, many are unaware what we Belizeans had to go through to be able to enjoy such treat in this jewel of our country. 1. In the 18th century the British tried to force the Maya people to work for them. The Mayan people were mostly forest dwellers, hunters and worked on their own agriculture crops mainly for trade. They refused to work for the British in the logging of Mahogany. As a result the British had to settle by purchasing African slaves then eventually obtained workers from Belize (at that time known as British Honduras). Most of these workers couldn’t afford a land to work on their own so that they can take care of their family therefore had to work on logging with the British foresters.

San Pedro is Belmopan Bound
Wunderground was right on the money this morning weather wise, they predicted 80% chance of lightening and rain today which exactly what we woke up to at 4:00am. Thankfully Paul reminded me fast to get the cart unplugged as I had been charging it overnight to leave my friend Dick with a fully charged cart for the weekend. Hopefully it will be drier by the time we leave on our 8:00am flight. For the last two days a bunch of us from San Pedro have been making plans to meet up at the National Agriculture & Trade Show happening in Belmopan this weekend. Not only is the Ag show a great way to learn about agriculture in Belize, it is also the biggest annual social mobilization activity for the for the Belize Red Cross. Every year, BRC participates and all branches are invited to send volunteers to help for the show, this year Shirlee and I are going to represent San Pedro. The Red Cross booth is #23 which is located in the area of Prosser Fertilizer and CPBL, stop by and say hi if you are at the show.

Wa lee breeze in Paradise by: Aria Lightfoot
Today I was on the receiving end of a patriotic tongue lashing on Facebook. It was done unapologetically and in no uncertain terms I was told that I was “full of crap” and I am trying to make “Belize into what it is not. “ It was done by one of those very happy people who refuse to take me off her newsfeed but seemed genuinely disturbed by my posts. Some of my Belizeans like their world to be filled with sunshine, roses, sugar, spice, and everything nice; never wanting to be exposed to a reality outside their happy circle. Cognitive dissonance maybe? Many people in the US normally need prescribed happy pills to keep them in such constant state of oblivious bliss. I theorize that some Belizeans come with an unusually high amount of serotonin that keep them happily devoid of the reality around them. I guess my patriotic Belizean friend has never ventured or worked amongst the poorest and downtrodden. She has never cried the tears of thousands of mothers who lost sons and daughters to the blood bath in the city and probably have never had to cross a London bridge to poor living conditions during a rainy season that brings out the harsh elements of nature. Rainy days in Belize to her were probably pellets on the roof that lulled her into a calm comforting state where she eventually drifted to sleep.

International Sources

U.S. Army Ranger missing off the coast of Belize
29-year-old Wrangler Shane Leesman went missing Tuesday. A 29-year-old former Army Ranger went missing off the coast of Belize Tuesday when the kayak he was in flipped over near a reef off Ambergris Caye. Wrangler Shane Leesman, of Austin Texas, was last seen about noon when he and another former Ranger pushed off from the beach on a red kayak. The kayak was seen capsizing near a reef by an American on the beach, according to a police report provided by the San Pedro Sun. Family and friends back in the states were expecting the pair, who now work as security contractors, back today. “He’s just an all around good guy,” said Leesman’s friend David Corley. “He really opened up to me about what went on over there, I guess because I’m a veteran too.” Leesman’s companion, Cpl. Bradley Evans Josker, and the kayak were found about 5 p.m. by the Belize Coast Guard.

Queen's Baton Relay: Belize's first Commonwealth triathlete
In 2013, 33-year-old Kent Gabourel was crowned winner of the Lionman, the biggest triathlon in Belize, and qualified for a place at Glasgow 2014. His home, Ambergris Caye, is a small island 90 minutes by boat from Belize City. The tiny cobbled streets of the town are populated with golf carts and holidaymakers. However, the idyllic, laid back facade hides the reality of a community that is struggling with gangs and drugs. Last year, Belize was named the sixth most violent country in the world, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. I soon find out that fighting this situation is exactly what motivates Kent. He picked up the triathlon after finishing his career as a footballer recently, and is realistic about his hopes for the games.

Soldier from Houston area missing at sea off coast of Belize
Friends and family of 29-year-old Wrangler Leesman, of Rosenberg, are desperately watching from afar in the search for the former Army Ranger. The decorated veteran has been missing since Tuesday. Leesman -- who in five years as a Ranger deployed five times to Iraq and Afghanistan -- went kayaking with an Army buddy on vacation in Belize. The boat capsized after a wave hit. They were holding on to the kayak when another wave struck and separated them. The Belize Coast Guard eventually located Leesman's friend, but the Foster High School graduate remains missing. "I think there's still a chance that if they haven't found him yet that he's still out there," said friend Jimmy Bruinsma. Bruinsma has known Leesman since high school and they served together as Army Rangers. Bruinsma said his close friend has the skills to survive in rough waters, but believes the U.S. government should be doing more to search for him, in light of the fact that American assets are being used to search for the missing Malaysian jetliner in the Indian Ocean.

Merida celebrates 20th anniversary of Association of Caribbean States
In celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Association of Caribbean States, “ACS 20/20: Present and Future,” Merida prepared a draft declaration at the Sixth Summit of Heads of State and/or Government of the States, Countries, and Territories of the Association of Caribbean States: We, the Heads of State and/or Government of the Member States and Territories of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), meeting in the city of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, on April 30, 2014, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of our Association and to continue moving forward with its strengthening in preparation for future challenges: 1. Underscore the importance of the Greater Caribbean, a region that accounts for almost half of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean and which represents fifty five percent of its total trade, and we reiterate the permanence of the Association of Caribbean States as a special space for dialogue and co-operation in order to make strides in Latin American and Caribbean integration;

SOUTHCOM, National Guard review state partnerships in the Western Hemisphere
U.S. military leaders, planners and coordinators from U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), the National Guard Bureau and 18 states’ National Guard met at SOUTHCOM headquarters in Miami from April 29-May 1 to review how the Defense Department’s State Partnership Program (SPP) supports the combatant command and its defense ties in the Caribbean, Central America and South America. The 2014 Western Hemisphere State Partnership Program Adjutant Generals’ Conference marks the first time the group has gathered since 2011 to discuss the combatant command mission and priority areas supported by the program. “Your contribution across this region matters, and we thank you for it,” said U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Kenneth Tovo, military deputy commander for SOUTHCOM, as he addressed participants prior to the start of the conference. “It’s critical that everything we do is focused and is synchronized.”

A chocoholic's guide to the Caribbean
Not many things trump an island getaway. Here's one that does: a chocolate-filled island getaway. And the Caribbean islands have much to offer when it comes to the beloved cacao bean. Here, you'll come across a storied history, chocolate factories and dedicated chocolatiers. In other words, it's not hard to find your sweet spot. Chocolate Festival of Belize, Belize There's more to Toledo than dramatic waterfalls, Mayan temples and world-class fishing spots. It also has a longstanding cocoa-producing history, and it all culminates in May during the Chocolate Festival. Here you can sip specially brewed chocolate stout while listening to steel-pan music, get to know the chocolate producers themselves and sample chocolates flavored with organic orange peel and baalam nut. Also for sale are powdered cacao, baking chocolate, homemade cocoa-butter lip balm and cocoa-butter soaps. And don't forget to sample the dark chocolate mixed with bacon bits.

The Last Coral Reefs
A new survey is documenting the rain forests of the ocean—before they’re gone There’s only one way to lower a $20,000 custom-made underwater camera from a swaying fishing boat into the open sea: very, very carefully. And that’s exactly how Manuel Gonzalez-Rivero’s colleagues handled the SVII camera as they nudged it overboard, where the coral ecologist was bobbing in the bathtub-warm waters off the Central American country of Belize. Gonzalez-Rivero is based at the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute in Australia, but he was in the Caribbean working with the Catlin Seaview Survey, a scientific expedition that is assessing threatened coral reefs around the world. Once in the water, the cumbersome SVII–a beach-ball-size camera head with three separate lenses at the end of a 7-ft. (2 m) pole–was easy for Gonzalez-Rivero to maneuver. The camera’s attached propeller sled saved the scientist the work of swimming as he covered more than a mile of Belize’s protected Glover’s Reef, part of the vast and endangered Mesoamerican Reef that stretches from southern Honduras to the eastern tip of Mexico. Every three seconds, the lenses on the SVII–facing to the left, right and below the camera head–snapped pictures of the reef. Over the course of his 45-minute dive, Gonzalez-Rivero produced more than 900 detailed images of Glover’s Reef, each one rich with data about corals and sea life. Back on the catamaran that served as the expedition’s temporary base, those images would be processed to generate a precise three-dimensional image of the reef. Later, computers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography would analyze the pictures, giving scientists a quick diagnosis of the health of one of the most valuable marine ecosystems in the Caribbean. What’s long been possible on land, thanks to satellites scanning jungles and deserts, is now feasible beneath the waves. “Every coral reef is different,” says Gonzalez-Rivero. “This will allow us to see the reef as it really is.”


Video: National Geographic Student Expeditions- Belize, 3min.
Meet National Geographic Expert Tierney Thys, and see what makes our Belize: Oceans and Underwater Exploration program so special.

Video: Mountain Pine Ridge Fun, 4min.
Mountain Pine Ridge Belize. Belize is not all beaches and Cayes. There are waterfalls, caves, ruins and many things to explore in the mountains of Belize. Come join us on the road in Belize to see how much fun' you'd be missing if you stayed at the beach. Belize's 107,000-acre Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve is home to exotic wildlife such as Cougars, Jaguars, Ocelots, Crocodiles, and many bird species. The Rio On Pools and the 1,000 foot falls are the best attractions in the reserve. Waterfalls flow over smooth granite, creating shallow pools perfect for sunbathing and lounging. Take the stairs down to the lower pools, or hike upstream for better views and bigger pools. It a great place to spend those 100+ degree weather days.

Video: Belize - BV Expedition 2-14 (PART 5), 6min.
My expedition together with the amazing Blue Ventures Team and volunteers in Belize, 14 feb - 27 mar 2014.

Video: Belize Dance Company Jr. BUTTERFLIES & FLOWERS, 4min.

Video: Caye Caulker, Belize 4 30 14, 4min.
Backpacking Central America. Snorkeling day trip with Ragamuffin Tours. Very cool.

Video: Franckner CARNIVAL CRUISE stop in Belize., 35min.
CARNIVAL CRUISE stop and ride in Belize tourists center.

May 1, 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

Breaking News: American Citizen lost at sea
Upon doing so a wave hit them causing their kayak to overturn. Bradley Josker stated that they tried for about 10 minutes to get back on the kayak but were unsuccessful, another wave then hit them causing them to drift apart and that was the last time he saw his friend. Bradley Josker tried to swim towards shore but was unable to because the current kept pulling him over the reef. Bradley was later rescued by the Belize Coast Guard; they also searched the area for Wrangler; however, it was unsuccessful. Shane Leesman is of Caucasian decent, 5’8 in height, weights about 170lbs has a sleeve tattoo on his arm and was last seen wearing only a white swim shorts. Police investigation into the matter continues.

Ernildo Jones hosts first ever Elito Arceo Cup
San Pedro’s football enthusiasts came out the Saca Chispas Football Field on Sunday, April 27th to participate in a football marathon, namely the Elito Arceo Cup, hosted by Ernildo Jones. The marathon was sponsored by Elito Arceo, Dr. Geovanni Solorzano and Councilor Wally Nuñez. The games commenced around noon, and by 8PM the winning teams were being awarded a trophy and prizes. It was certainly a day of fun and love for the sport.

Belize Coast Guard continue their search for US Soldier missing at sea

Gabriela “Gaba” Nuñez competes in first Body Building Competition
Born and raised San Pedrana Gabriela “Gaba” Nuñez competed in her first ever body building and fitness competition at the 2014 Mr. and Miss Costa del Caribe held on Saturday, April 26th in Cancun, Mexico. This was the fourth edition of the competition and it saw more than 50 men and women competing. The competition focused on the culture of sculpting the human body to achieve the greatest possible muscle definition. Held at the NovaSport Club, the competition’s categories included male beginners, male novice, male classifieds and men’s physique raid mode, whereas the ladies competed in bikini fitness and physical fitness. Gaba competed in the bikini physical fitness along with five other participants. “I can finally say I made it! I enjoyed competing; this part of my dream, but this is still just the beginning for me,” said Gaba about her first competition.

Here is a quick video of our King Air doing a flyby during its pilot familiarization program

Ambergris Today

Coast Guard and Police in Search of Missing Kayaker

San Pedro Resident to Compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland
The XX Commonwealth Games will be held in Glasgow, Scotland from July 23 to August 3, 2014 and as a precursor to the games, the Queen’s Baton arrived in Belize on Her Majesty’s Queen Elizabeth II 88th birthday, Monday, April 21, 2014. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World News team is travelling around the world following the Baton Relay and making features, not only about the Queen’s Baton, but also featuring athletes’ stories. The filming crew from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World News met with San Pedro Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Deputy Mayor Gabriel Nuñez and Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism, Culture & Civil Aviation and Mr. Kent “Bob” Gabourel and were interviewed in regards to Bob’s participation in the XX Commonwealth.

Misc Belizean Sources

Trailblazer Tuesdays: Mrs. Sylvia Flores
It's time for another Trailblazer Tuesdays feature! This week we present to you, Mrs. Sylvia Flores: Sylvia Flores should be well-known to you. She is a former Minister of Defence and National Emergency Management as well as a former Minister of Human Development and Women. In 1988, representing the People’s United Party, she was appointed the first woman Mayor of Dangriga and was subsequently elected to serve a second term. In 1998, Mrs. Flores became the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives. Among other responsibilities, she was tasked with maintaining the Standing Orders and Parliamentary Procedures amongst representatives who were not always particularly well behaved—and 27 of the 29 were men! She also served Belize as President of the Senate.

Belize March 2014 External Trade Bulletin & Consumer Price Index
Here are the S.I.B's March 2014 External Trade Bulletin and March 2014 Consumer Price Index. Statistical Institute of Belize. In March 2014, Belize imported goods valuing $162.9 million, up by $13.4 million or 8.9 percent over March 2013. There were increased spending in all major categories except Mineral Fuels and Lubricants and Machinery and Transport Equipment. The most significant rise was in Chemical Products, which surged by $6 million as a result of greater imports of chemical fertilizer. Considerable increases were also seen in purchases of steel and iron products for construction. The all-items consumer price index for March 2014 stood at 103.6, according to figures released today by the Statistical Institute of Belize. This was up by 1.4 percent from 102.2 in March 2013, and brings the inflation rate for the first three months of this year to 1.7 percent. The increase was mainly as a result of higher prices in the Food and Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels categories. During the month, the Food index rose by the same rate as the national all-items index. The most significant price increases were for beef, pork, black beans, Red Kidney Beans, cabbages, carrots, onions and limes. Sweet pepper and tomato prices, on the other hand, fell considerably due to substantial increases in the supply of both products. As was reported for the previous month, home rentals in March, especially in Dangriga, San Ignacio and Belize City, were almost 2 percent higher than in the same month last year. Butane prices were up by more than 10 percent, with the average cost of a 100-pound cylinder rising from $116 to $128.

RED HORSE veteran contributes to New Horizons Belize success
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Adam Moreau has been with the 820th RED HORSE Squadron out of Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., for about nine years, and he is applying those years of experience to New Horizons Belize 2014. New Horizons is an annual exercise incorporating Belize Defence Force, U.S. military and other countries' government and non-government organizations as they receive engineering and medical training opportunities for all involved. With his experience, and working with so many Airmen who are on their first international mission, Moreau is doing his best to guide the novice Airmen in their trade as he receives an advanced education in leadership. His career started 12 years ago at Langley Air Force Base, Va., now Joint Base Langley-Eustis, where he worked at the civil engineer squadron. A RED HORSE team arrived to construct a pre-engineered building, or PEB, and Moreau asked how he could become a part of such a team.

Belize-Guatemala Comics
By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez Everything in Belize is politics A fake nationalism has replaced our logic Some may call me unpatriotic But that’s because I don’t buy into gimmicks This Belize/Guatemala foolishness The ruling party tactics has positioned themselves to profit Denying both countries real benefits Whiles the governments and the OAS boys Playing verbal gymnastics, it’s time Belizeans do their personal analysis Creating an imaginary conflict Blaming the British, when they and the Americans are orators of this comics They need to put a sock in it! I’m not buying it! Guatemalan and Belizeans share the same river Both can benefit from working together Fertile lands for agriculture and sharing one border Similarity in diverse culture Both have citizens traversing their borders

Residential garbage pick-up today
The San Pedro Town Council kindly informs the general public that residential garbage pick-up for today, Thursday, May 1, will be from 12:00 a.m. (midnight) to 7:00 a.m. We appreciate your cooperation and we kindly ask you to make the necessary arrangements for the above mentioned time. We would also like to take this opportunity to inform you that our offices will be closed today, Thursday, May 1, for the Labour Day Holiday and will resume to regular working hours on Friday, May 2. We hope you all have a great day and have a splendid Labour Day Holiday!

Fuego Wednesdays with Barefoot Skinny
Fuego Bar and Grill is having Barefoot Skinny play on Wednesdays. He's playing Pictures from last week.

Western Ballaz vs Tiger Sharks Match
The Western Ballaz are in 2nd place after narrowly loosing to the Tiger Sharks, 70 - 75. They travel to Belize City on Friday to play the No Limit, and there's a bus for fans. "Important game this Friday, May 2nd in Belize City at Bird's Isle against Smart No Limit. This game will determine the 2nd or 3rd seed team. We need our fans to come out and support. We will have a Fan bus leaving SHC at 5:30 pm sharp. The cost is only $5. You can sign up with Shalue Butcher at Aguada or Miss Jonelle at SHC. Send us a message to let us know you need a seat."

Ministry of Health Held Recognition Ceremony for Matron Roberts Polyclinic II
Government of Belize Press Office

Channel 5

Director of Health Services wasn’t consulted about appointment of Contreras
Danini Contreras – the young lady from Benque has come under very intense scrutiny after she was appointed to the newly created post of Drug Inspectorate Director and today per [...]

Novice Director authorized to approve entry of pharmaceuticals
News Five confirmed on Tuesday that newcomer Contreras is now also authorized to approve the entry of pharmaceuticals through Customs. That decision was taken by C.E.O. in the Ministry of [...]

Health C.E.O. Peter Allen downplays Contreras’ powers
As we told you, Contreras is now authorized to approve the entry of pharmaceuticals through Customs. That has raised all sorts of unpleasant speculation. Minister Erwin Contreras is considered a [...]

Are things cosier at the Ministry of Health?
Aside from authorization to Danini Contreras, Ministry of Health C.E.O. Peter Allen has also issued authority to two others to approve entry of medical supplies through Customs. As we’ve also [...]

Will pharmaceutical debacle result in legal dispute?
With all that out of the way, we can get to the matter of the Public Service Union, which has declared the Danini Contreras appointment as an essential services dispute. [...]

US Capital granted extension to drill in the Sarstoon-Temash
A delegation of elders from several villages comprising the buffer communities of the Sarstoon-Temash National Park is set to conduct an assessment of oil drilling activities taking place within the [...]

Toddlers after drinking insecticide
An Orange Walk mother’s worst fear was realized today when her infant child ingested a fatal dose of insecticide.  This morning, sometime around ten-thirty, two-year-old Gutige Usher was outside playing [...]

10 months later, lawsuit brought against K.H.M.H. for dead babies
Five of thirteen mothers are taking legal action against the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for negligence. An attorney has filed a claim against the hospital for the deaths which occurred [...]

Attorney speak on roadblocks in private prosecution of Elvin Penner
Attorney Kareem Musa is also representing the grassroots organization, COLA    in a private prosecution of former minister Elvin Penner who illegally issued a passport to a South Korean fugitive who [...]

Has NCL signed environmental compliance plan with D.O.E.?
The battle between the Belize Tourism Industry Association, Norwegian Cruise Line and the Government of Belize over the construction of a proposed port of call at Harvest Caye will imminently [...]

C.E.O. Mike Singh’s inflammatory statements on Facebook
According to Krohn, while the fifty million U.S. dollar project is unwarranted, it is largely the brainchild of former C.E.O. in the Ministry of Tourism, Mike Singh.  Singh, who is [...]

Coye Family files for release of assets
The Coye Family was back again in court this morning because even though they were exonerated of a money laundering charge, their assets remain frozen. In a raid of their [...]

Coye Family Attorney gives update on challenge of unpaid taxes
The FIU had indicated that it would appeal the ruling of the Appellate Court. But the forty-two days in which that leave of appeal would have had to been made [...]

Cost of living up according to Consumer Price Index
The consumer price index for March, a government-issued list of the retail prices of basic household goods and services, has been released by the Statistical Institute of Belize.  There has [...]

Kareem Musa, P.U.P. standard-bearer for Caribbean Shores
Earlier in the newscast, you heard Attorney Kareem Musa defending five mothers who have been aggrieved by the death of their newborns. Well, Musa also confirmed that he has thrown [...]

Threatening words lands woman in court
A woman, who allegedly made threats against another woman to allegedly set her house on fire with all her family members inside, was before the court today to answer to [...]

Belize High School wins Coalition’s oil debate
Oil drilling is a hot button issue. As it stands, SATIIM is fighting tooth and nail against US Capital Energy for drilling operations within the Sarstoon Temash National Park and [...]

Matron Roberts stands out as the number one NHI provider
Today, the Ministry of Health held a special ceremony to acknowledge the efforts of the administration and staff of the Matron Roberts Polyclinic Two. That’s because the facility, which consistently [...]

National Song Competition launched
It’s that time again….the National Institute of Culture and History, through the National Celebrations Commission, is launching its annual national song competition. In 2014, however, the commission is for the [...]

Princess Hotel rebrands as Ramada
The Princess Hotel is now formally the Ramada Belize City Princess. The announcement was made by new General Manager Erol Olcan this morning, during a media breakfast at the hotel. [...]


Mr. Belize Wins Competition Mr. Cedral 2014 In Cozumel, Mexico
Mr. Belize Rigo Vellos has done it again. Vellos was named the overall winner of the bodybuilding competition Mr. Cedral 2014, which was held on Sunday afternoon in Cozumel, Mexico with a record attendance of over 1,500 people who enjoyed a high international level sports competition. Thirty six bodybuilders took part in the event which featured various categories. In the senior category, first place went to Vellos, second place went to Bladimir Burgos Castle from Cozumel and third place went to Mefirsoset de la Rosa Molina from Chetumal Quintana Roo.

OWFD Expresses Advisory On Increasing The Risks Of Bushfire
The Fire Department is predicting warmer and drier conditions in the coming months, increasing the risk of bushfires. Today, one such incident occurred at the Savannah where large plumes of smoke blanketed the skies. When we arrived fire personnel were monitoring the situation and told us that they expect more calls of bush fires but that residents can do their part in the prevention process. Kenneth Mortis is the Fire Chief at the Orange Walk Fire Department. Kenneth Mortis – Fire Chief, OWFD “Right now we are experiencing an extra dry that started a bit early so from the fire department stand point we will be face with these types of emergencies primarily the savannah which is well known through Orange Walk town what we pretty much try to advice the public is that while we the fire department will respond to all the calls we have we would remind that we will be getting more than one so if you can start doing your early prevention s that if you are faced with something like this then we can have probably a garden hose to just minimize the damage and to try to keep your vegetation as low as possible and if your neighbour vegetation is in proportion asked them to keep it low, manageable that if a wild fire like this should jump then your property can withstand the damage until the fire department arrives.”

MOH And Department Of Health In Quintana Roo Looks Into the Matter On Belizeans with Leukemia
Reports coming out of Chetumal Quintana Roo in Mexico indicate that within the next 60 days, the State Department of Health in Quintana Roo and Belize’s Ministry of Health will sign a collaboration agreement that will benefit Belizean children with leukemia. The State Health Laboratory will also be used to review the sanitary and epidemiological samples of Belize, to shorten the response time in case of a health emergency. We understand that this past weekend, state health authorities from Quintana Roo came to Belize to review the country’s infrastructure and service delivery which served to finalize strategies to increase cooperation between the two nations, ranging from epidemiological surveillance to combat regional vectors, and medical care to patients.

Police Van Crashes On The Phillip Goldson Highway
While there were no serious injuries, a police van transporting prisoners to Hattieville crashed this morning in Biscayne Village. The incident occurred around 9am at mile marker 27 and fortunately there were no fatalities. Authorities say the police van slammed into the back of an SUV which was carrying a family of 5. Driver of the SUV reported to police that he slowed down on the road and the driver police van didn’t notice in time. The police van was transporting 7 prisoners and 4 police escorts heading for the Corozal Supreme Court. The prisoner van sustained extensive damages and 3 of the 5 member family travelling in the SUV suffered minor injuries from the collision.

O/W Police Clarify Allegations Of Bribery
The confrontations emerging from the Shipyard community is a complicated matter that is centered on religious belief and practices. There are also allegations that the police have been bribed by several elders within the community to ensure they run their community as they see fit. Second in Command at the Orange Walk Police Formation Selvyn Tillett rejects these accusations adding that Shipyard is well within authorities’ reach and control. Selvyn Tillett “Shipyard is part of Orange Walk, is part of Belize so we have jurisdiction over that.” Dalila ical - Reporter “There are allegations from certain sections of the community that police is being bribed by the elders and those who leads the church and have these strict rules in order to have things run their way in the community, what is your comment on that?”

Traffic Accident Claims The Life Of Mother and Son
A tire blow out was the cause of a major traffic mishap that occurred yesterday afternoon which cost the life of a mother and her child. The tragic incident unfolded between mile 26 and 27 on the Philip Goldson Highway. According to the authorities, 35 year old Raul Magana, businessman and resident of Ladyville, was travelling in his Toyota Land Cruiser along with his girlfriend Lissa Ying Li and their 3 year old son Raul Li Magana Jr. when the vehicle suffered a blow out.

Mennonite Resident Of Shipyard Charged For Several Offences
In last night’s newscast we presented the story on the fight that broke out at Shipyard on Tuesday April 22nd and which resulted in the arrest of Franz Petkau, a resident of the community. Petkau has been slapped with five charges. Today CTV-3 News spoke with Second in Command at the Orange Walk Police Formation Selvyn Tillett who gave us the report on police records. Selvyn Tillett “There was one Henry Petka and Abram riding their carriage and arriving in front of the Petka family one George Petka started insulting them and thereafter it is understood that he went to his yard and took a machete and assault these people and subdued and machete taken away from him and when he called for his dad he came driving with his pickup with his shotgun and fired a shot. Henry Petka receive a braced to the right cheek, he was dealt with and after investigation police arrested and charged Mr Franz Petka for discharging a fire arm in public, repeated assault with a firearm, having a firearm whilst under the influence, drove motor vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol and he was taken to the court on Friday and he was remanded until the 21st of May.”

Mr. Belize Wins Mr. Cedral 2014 Competition In Cozumel, Mexico


Armed Robbery at Huan Huan Store, Corozal
At about 7:00 pm on Tuesday, April 29th, 45 year old Wanbi Wu, a Chinese and naturalized Belizean reported to the Corozal police that while he was in his store, namely Huan Huan Store, located on 5th Avenue, Corozal Town, 2 male persons entered his business establishment. One of...

American Man is Missing after Kayak Capsizes Near the Reef
A day kayaking in Belize turned life threatening for two Americans and has lead to the missing report of one of them. According police reports on Tuesday, April 29th, at around 12:00 pm Bradley Evans Josker, American national, went kayaking with his friend Wrangler Shane Leesman, also an American...

Nurse Avoids Jail on Ammunition and Marijuana Charges
Back on April 14, six persons were taken to court for possession of unlicensed ammunition and controlled substances following a Police search of a house on Far West Street on Sunday. Nicoli Rhys, 23 of Euphrates Avenue; Rheonna Rivero, an 18 year old student; Shane McKoy, 27; and Godwin...

Five Parents Sue the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital over Dead Babies
Nearly one year ago, several families experienced heart-wrenching pain when they lost their newborn premature babies to a bacteria that was somehow allowed inside the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. There have been plans to upgrade the facility but no one- the hospital, the Government or those in authority –...

Prosecution Against Penner Alleges Encounters with Roadblocks
The continued prosecution against Elvin Penner has endured a torturous history over the last eight months. As predicted by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, his opponents are having a difficult time finding anything that will stick on the ex-Minister of State. But that, according to private prosecuting attorney on behalf...

Chinese Business Owner Held up at Gun Point
A Chinese Business man is short of BZ$3,100 today after his shop was held up. According to Police reports, on Tuesday, April 29th, at around 10:00 am, a Chinese Businessman and owner of Ying Li Shop located on Tiburce Street, Belize City was discharging items at his business place...

The Guardian

Pressure on Satiim
Over the past couple of weeks an organization identified as the Toledo Association for Belize Rights (TABR) has come out swinging against SATIIM. TABR's chairman, Joseph Estephan has consistently been out on the streets in Punta Gorda with loud speakers at any place where people gather to deliver the organization's message that Belize is for Belizeans and that SATIIM does not represent everyone in the Toledo district. His message is also one that the Ketchi people are not indigenous to Belize and therefore are not entitled to ancestral lands. Estephan's goal is one where he is asking Belizeans to join him to ensure that Belize's petroleum wealth, if it is ever found in the Sarstoon Temash Park, that it be spread equally to all the people of Belize. Estephan has gone as far as to visit the various Mayan communities in Toledo and has been canvassing them to get an idea of what the true sentiment is about oil exploration in the Sarstoon Temash park. He is also getting a sense of whether or not SATIIM truly represents everyone in the Toledo district. And he says, unlike what Greg Ch'oc would like the country to believe, SATIIM is neither representative of the mayas in Toledo or does his organization’s views of communal land shared by all. He also says that the way in which Ch'oc gets people to follow him is almost dictatorial. In his visits to the various Mayan villages, Estephan claims he has come across instances where alcaldes with opposing views to those of SATIIM are removed and replaced on whims.

Petro-Caribe Funds Turning Possibilities into Realities
In initiating Petro-Caribe, version 2.0, Prime Minister Barrow’s Administration turned the page on another ugly PUP privatization story. The late President Hugo Chavez’s objective was to promote regional solidarity and alleviate poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean when he introduced the Petro-Caribe Agreement for Energy Cooperation. His goal, according to the Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Belize, H.E. Yoel del Valle Perez Marcano, was to stabilize the economies of countries in the region using energy. Unfortunately, Said Musa Administration’s doctrine of crony upliftment (via privatization of national assets) limited the potential of Chavez’s trailblazing initiative. It is only now, with a Prime Minister committed to national development, that Belize is realizing the possibilities of the Petro-Caribe initiative. Belize signed the Petro-Caribe Agreement for Energy Cooperation on June 29, 2005. The agreement is for the sale of petroleum products on concessionary terms. The price is set at market rate since Venezuela cannot sell at a lower price as a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Belize can import about 1.46 million barrels of petroleum products per year, about 4,000 barrels per day. Belize currently uses under 1 million barrels of petroleum products per year. The terms are based on the world oil price. If the world oil price is less than US$40 per barrel, Belize has to pay 75 percent of the cost (referred to as the ‘Cash Portion’) within 90 days of importation. The other 25 percent is referred to as the ‘Financed Portion’ and is to be paid over a period of 15 years at an interest rate of 2 percent with a 2 year grace period. If the world oil price is over US$40 per barrel the interest rate on the Financed Portion falls to 1 percent and is payable over a period of 25 years with a 2 year grace period. The higher the world oil price the greater the Financed Portion. At US$40 per barrel the Financed Portion is 30 percent; at US$50 per barrel it is 40 percent; at US$80 it is 50 percent; at US$100 it is 60 percent; and above US$150 the Financed Portion is 70 percent.

Labour Day Gift for BTL Employees - 12% increase over 3 year
Belize will celebrate Labour Day on Thursday, March 1st, and workers in almost every sector have reason to celebrate. Due to Government’s infrastructure program, there are more men and women employed in the construction industry than ever before. This Labour Day will also meet teachers, public servants, police officers, fire fighters, soldiers and pensioners, among others, set for a significant salary increase. The employees of BTL can also be added to that list of thousands that will see their salaries increase because the Belize Communications Workers Union inked an agreement with the Executive Committee of the company on Monday, April 28th, three days before Labour Day 2014 for a three-year annual salary increase of four percent along with additional benefits. For employees of the local communications giant, it has been 15 years since a collective bargaining agreement was signed with the company. Negotiations with this current executive commenced in June of 2013 and ended with a town hall type meeting earlier this year with members of the company’s executive, the union’s executive and their general membership. Anwar Barrow, Chairman of BTL Executive Committee, says an agreement was easily reachable because of the great relationship between the union and the executive. He says it is a “relationship that has been growing from strength to strength.” Barrow says, “The one key difference between this new era of GOB majority ownership and the past is the climate of mutual respect that exist between the union and the executive… The union operates in an environment where the door has been left opened and they have unfettered access to the Board of Directors if they so feel necessary.” Barrow says, “This access allows the rank and file to have their voices and concerns heard by the ultimate decision making body of the company.”

Hugo Chavez’s Legacy Concrete in Belize
“I don’t think there is another country in the world that has gone as far as Venezuela in terms of making resources possible and specifying that those resources ought to be used specifically to transform the relationship of the people, help the poor, but Venezuela is giving until it hurts and for that I really want to thank them.”- Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Elrington. In just 19 months the Government of Belize has gained access to over $200 million through the second incarnation of Petro-Caribe Agreement for Energy Cooperation and every penny will be used for poverty alleviation and national development, as intended by the late President Hugo Chavez. Using Petro-Caribe funds, the Government of Belize has been able to open the National Bank of Belize which lends to public servants and middle income Belizeans at rates that have forced the commercial banks to lower their lending rates to all Belizeans. The Petro-Caribe fund is also being used to create thousands of construction jobs countrywide in projects being executed by the Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL). As a result, a new state of the art Belize City Center will be constructed and sports complexes costing at least $5 million will be built in every municipality of the country. Belize is a model in the region for the effective implementation of the Petro-Caribe initiative and on Friday, April 25, the program took another step forward with the official opening of a local office for ALBA Petro-Caribe Belize Energy Limited (APBEL), a joint venture company owned by the Governments of Belize and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow, and Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Belize, H.E. Yoel del Valle Perez Marcano, cut the ribbon for APBEL’s office on Friday.

Luke Espat Thrashed, Dan Silva back in Retirement
The season leading to the PUP standard bearer convention for Cayo Central was one which saw Luke Espat and Dan Silva going at each other. The amount of dirt that the camps heaped on one another was no joke. Facebook provided much entertainment and enlightenment for those who looked on as the two duked it out. Everybody was apprised of Luke Espat's shenanigans at the port. People were also exposed to Dan Silva's inaction for over a year as his son had completed treatment in Guatemala and chose not to return home to face murder charges. We even learnt a little bit more of Dan's role in the soy bean project which cost over 40 million dollars and which never ground a single soy bean as it was intended to. But more than dirt, the extravagant spending that took place was unlike anything we had ever seen. Luke Espat plastered and posted monster size billboards announcing him as the re-incarnation of the savior himself. Dan was a bit more reserved in spending money on banners that couldn't vote. His choice of spending was on the ground. There are stories that he greased his way wherever he went. And it seemed that his money politics actually worked. At the end of the voting he had beaten Luke Espat so bad that it is doubtful that he will ever return to electoral politics again. The thrashing was of a margin of 3 to one at the hands of a man who said he wanted nothing more to do with the PUP.

Repeat Offenders
You know, for me it has been a while now since I have heard anything but bad or sad news. And even when our young, fellow Belizeans are not murdering each other, which is rare, or dying from serious traffic accidents, there will be some half-baked, uncorroborated, depressing story by Channel Fox or Maheia of illegal Rosewood harvesting, or of some low level clerk who is being accused of hustling. The dire news continued all over the Easter weekend with more deaths being reported, and then of our Belizean riders losing the coveted national cross country race, which Fox came close to blaming Government for, since they were not authorized to carry the event live. After those miserable four days, even when my daughter showed me the Facebook posting of the OW Mayor getting married, my spirits could not lift since that too seemed like a cheerless occasion. And of course there is always the Ashcroft Alliance which takes delight in suing Belize at a different location on earth every so often, hoping to cripple Belize economically and embarrass her internationally. To this perspective you add the frequent challenges of Ch’oc, who continuously files lawsuits against GOB, trying to compel the government to first carve out a kingdom for him in Toledo and then affording him our country’s resources to protect his territory.

All Roads lead to Belmopan this coming weekend
All roads will be leading to Belmopan this coming weekend, with the beginning of the National Agriculture and Trade Show at the show grounds, located by the Guanacaste Park and at the entrance of Roaring Creek Village. The National Agriculture and Trade Show NATS Committee of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture has announced that the dates will be from May 2nd to the 4th, where thousands of Belizeans are expected to attend from all over the country. The NATS will be inaugurated at 4:00 pm on Friday, May 2. The guest speaker will be Alvin Henderson, from the shrimp industry. The main address will be delivered this Friday, also at the show grounds, by the Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture. The Show gets underway at 6:00 am on May 3rd. The cost for getting into the show grounds is $2.00 for children and $5.00 for adults. For this year NATS will have a new arrangement for the better flow of visitors. Organizers have zoned the grounds where there will now be seven bars in the bars arena; set up exclusively to sell liquor.

New Board of Directors for BTB
Belize Tourism Board’s Board of Directors 2014-2016: • Einer Gomez, Acting Chairman • Herbert Haylock, Belize Tourism Industry Association Representative • Doug Thompson, Belize Hotel Association Representative • Gaspar Guerrero, Local Airline Sector Representative • Neil Bradley, Cayes & Outer Islands Representative • Glen Eiley, Southern Region Representative • Rosendo Urbina Sr., Northern Region Representative • Gamayel Babb, Legal Expertise • Christy Mastry, Project Management and Planning • Tracy Panton, CEO, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation

Fire Season is on
The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development and the Forest Department are informing the General Public that the Fire Season is on. In Belize the Fire Season is observed from February 15 to June 15 on an annual basis. Presently we are in the middle of the season. With the periodical onset of the dry weather, the General Public, especially agricultural farmers, are asked to take all the necessary precautions when using fire for their daily necessities such as the burning of their garbage and preparing land for cultivation. Most forest fires originate from negligent use. In most instances agricultural fires tend to get out of control due to the time of the day when the fire is lit and the failure to open fire lines around the entire perimeter of the land clearing.

Hon. Sylvia Flores is Special Envoy’s Trailblazer of the Week
In this week’s edition of “Trailblazer Tuesdays”, the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, is recognizing Mrs. Sylvia Flores for her contributions to national development as a politician and educator: Sylvia Flores should be well-known to you. She is a former Minister of Defence and National Emergency Management as well as a former Minister of Human Development and Women. In 1988, representing the People’s United Party, she was appointed the first woman Mayor of Dangriga and was subsequently elected to serve a second term. In 1998, Mrs. Flores became the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives. Among other responsibilities, she was tasked with maintaining the Standing Orders and Parliamentary Procedures amongst representatives who were not always particularly well behaved—and 27 of the 29 were men! She also served Belize as President of the Senate.

Orange Walk East Re-animated
Ever since Elodio Aragon Jr. won the convention for the Orange Walk East Constituency, there has been new life infused into the area. Aragon had hit the ground running, and even before securing the seat as Standard Bearer, he had started to work to make living conditions better for residents. Since being elected as the Standard Bearer for the UDP in the East, Aragon has activated all resources available and the work has continued, now at an exponential rate. Just a few weeks ago he opened up his office on Liberty Avenue where he attends to residents on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays , Fridays and Saturdays. During the week his office opens from 8:30a.m. to 12:00p.m and from 1:30p.m. to 5:00p.m. Having a functional office is now allowing Aragon to guide the work that is ongoing in the division. So far there is a buzz of infrastructural activity in the East where at least 25 streets are being upgraded. It’s the kind of work that the division has not seen in years. Major roads like the Palmar Boundary road and others are the primary targets. Also being upgraded is the Santa Martha Road which is being upgraded and widened for use by those villagers.

Security Guard charged with ammunition offence
On Monday April 28, security guard, Mauricio Perez, 34, was taken before Magistrate Ann Marie Smith where was read a single charge of kept ammunition without being granted a gun license. Allegations are that on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, he kept in his possession, a black in color magazine containing 7 live rounds of 9 mm ammunition, 5 live rounds of luger brand ammunition and 2 live rounds of Aguila brand ammunition. In court, Perez pleaded not guilty to the charge but due to the nature of the offense, he was remanded into custody at the Belize Central Prison until June 17, 2014. Perez’s attorney, Nazira Espat was seeking to have the matter thrown out since he was originally arrested by police on Tuesday April 22 and was not charged until Friday April 25 however he did not appear in court until Monday April 28. Espat in a submission to the court, stated that her client was in custody over 48 hours with no charges until some three days later when he was served with a charge sheet. The delay in processing her client was because of the arresting officer being on day off.

Special constable sentenced to 5 years
On Friday April 25, special constable Jose Adolfo Haylock Jr. was convicted before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith in the Belize City Magistrate’s. Haylock had originally pled not guilty to a charge of having in his possession an unlicensed firearm being a .22 pistol along with 11 rounds of unlicensed .22 ammunition and 10 rounds of unlicensed 9 millimeter ammunition. The special constable changed his not guilty plea to guilty after a video was played in court. After only 12 minutes of the 1 hour 31 minutes 51 seconds of footage was reviewed, Haylock pleaded guilty. Jose Adolfo Haylock Jr., had been charged jointly with his girlfriend, 28-year-old Corrine Diane Martinez. They were busted on February 11 2012, at #3716 Louise Bevans Street, the home of the cop where he lived with Martinez. Inside their home the Gang Suppression Unit found the gun and ammunition. During the search, PC #619, Paul Phillips, recorded the entire search.

Charged with gun and weed offences
Barry Bernard Johnson, 21, a Construction Worker of #14 Welch Street in Belize City was charged jointly with 32-year-old Steven Olmedo, a Belizean Artist of #2 Bocotora Street in Belize City for cultivation of a cannabis tree. Johnson was additionally charged with aggravated assault with a deadly instrument upon Mark Anthony Jones and discharging a firearm in public being the corner of Hicatee and Dolphin Street. Allegations being made against Barry Bernard Johnson is that on Thursday, April 24, he allegedly pulled out a .38 firearm and fired shots at Mark Anthony Jones near Rogers Stadium whilst Jones was at the corner of Dolphin and Hicatee Streets.

Man is killed by his Stepson in PG
Police have arrested and charged 24-year-old David Branson after he allegedly stabbed and killed his stepfather, 69-year-old, Norman Benguche Sr. Police report that Benguche was having breakfast on the verandah of his house when Branson, without warning, picked up a knife that was on the table and stabbed Benguche three times. The victim was taken to the Punta Gorda Town hospital but died an hour after the incident at around 10:30a.m. on Sunday morning.

Sentenced to 3 years for sucking 8 year old girl’s nose
On Monday April 28, 38-year-old Edelmiro Oliva was sentenced to prison for 3 years after he was found guilty of aggravated assault of in indecent nature upon an 8 year old girl. The Chief Magistrate stated that, “These kinds of cases are prevalent and we must ensure we send a message.” In court, the prosecutor, Inspector Carol Tucker called the child to the stand. In camera, she testified that on July 18, 2013, she was at a home with her babysitter, when she stepped out of the house to do an errand, 38-year-old Edelmiro Oliva sucked her on her nose then caressed her on her buttocks. In the trial, Oliva was represented by attorney, Simeon Sampson who allowed his client to take the stand and give sworn testimony. In his testimony, Oliva explained that what the child said did not take place and that he was innocent.

Another drug related murder San Pedro
Dennis “Chingy” Palacio, a 43-year-old native of Maskall Village who was living out on the island of San Pedro, was shot to death at around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 26. It is believed that his murder was drug related. Palacio was leaning up against a fence at the entrance of an alley off Seaweed Street on the Island when a gunman ambushed him. The man fired 5 shots at him, and when Palacio realized what was happening, he tried to escape. The assailant chased him down in a neighbour’s yard and shot him 3 times in the back and once to the right hand. The shooter managed to escape, and 5 minutes later, San Pedro police arrived on the scene, and found Palacio dead.

Security Guard charged with ammunition offence
On Monday April 28, security guard, Mauricio Perez, 34, was taken before Magistrate Ann Marie Smith where was read a single charge of kept ammunition without being granted a gun license. Allegations are that on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, he kept in his possession, a black in color magazine containing 7 live rounds of 9 mm ammunition, 5 live rounds of luger brand ammunition and 2 live rounds of Aguila brand ammunition. In court, Perez pleaded not guilty to the charge but due to the nature of the offense, he was remanded into custody at the Belize Central Prison until June 17, 2014.

Teenager raped in San Ignacio Town
A man from Belize City has been charged with the crime of rape against a teenaged girl from San Ignacio Town. Garth Longsworth, born on July 23, 1982, was charged for the crime on the 16 year old female at the instructions of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Gareth Longsworth who is a sales marketing manager of Cran Sreet in Belize City is accused of preying on the teenager at about 10:00 pm on March 7th while she was taking a brisk walk on Bullet Tree Road and just after buying some food at Maxim’s Restaurant.

Police United number one seed into semi-final round
The Premier League of Belize Belikin Cup Closing Season Tournament regular season will come to an end on Wednesday April 30, 2014 with three games on the schedule. On Sunday April 27, out at Toledo Union Field in Punta Gorda, the visiting FC Belize edged out the host team Paradise/Freedom Fighters by the score of 2-1. The visiting FC Belize got on the scoreboard first when Jarret Davis scored the 1st goal of the game in the 38th minute of play to give his team a 1-0 lead. FC Belize took this lead well into the second half of the game when Steven Baizer scored his team’s 2nd goal of the game in the 73rd minute of play for a 2-0 lead. However, the host team was able to cut the deficit in half when Franz Vernon scored his team’s only goal of the game in the 78th minute of play for a 2-1 heart break defeat. The competition continued on Saturday April 26, with two games on the schedule. At the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the Belmopan Bandits and the San Ignacio United FC played to a 0-0 draw.

San Pedro Tigersharks are the sole leaders in the Elite Basketball League competition
The 2014 National Elite Basketball League competition continued over the last weekend with a number of games across the country. On Saturday April 26, at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio Town, the league’s leading San Pedro Tigersharks won quite handily over the Cayo Western Ballaz by the score of 70-65. The top scorers for the San Pedro Tigersharks were Winston Pratt with 17 points, 17 rebounds, 1 assist and 4 steals, Jamal Kelly with 13 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists and 3 steals, and Darwin Leslie with 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists. For the Cayo Western Ballaz, the top scorers were Farron Louriano with 29 points, 15 rebounds, and an assist, and Richard Troyer with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 steals. In the game played at Bird’s Isle in Belize City, the Belize City No Limit Team walloped the visiting Toledo Diplomats by the score of 105-46. The top scorers for the Belize City No Limit were Akeem Trapp with 19 points, 4 rebounds, an assist and a steal, Gregory Rudon with 18 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists, and Kevin Domingo with 17 points, 5 rebounds and an assist.

The Burrell Boom Police Cadet sports day
The Burrell Boom Police Cadet held a sports day on 26th April 2014 at the Elton Gillett Park in Burrell Boom Village. The following are the results of the Sporting Activities conducted at the Sports Day: were each winner received 1st & 2ndplace Medals with trophy in each sporting activity as follows: Football 1st Place- Ladyville Cadets 2nd Place- Hattiville Cadets Special Awards Burrell Boom Police Cadets Rural Executive Sports Day Most Goal- Michael Flowers-(Ladyville Cadet) Most Valued Player (MVP)- Joseph Seguro (Burrell Boom Cadet) Best Gold Keeper- Shawn Flores (Ladyville Cadet)

Belize City primary schools volleyball competition opens this Wednesday
The 2013-2014 Belize City Primary Schools Volleyball Competition will commenced on Wednesday April 30, at the Bird’s Isle with four games on the schedule. The schools that are competing in the girls’ competition are Hummingbird Elementary School, Holy Redeemer School, Muslim Community School, Wesley Upper School, All Saint’s Anglican School, Belize Elementary School, St. Ignatius School, and St. Mary’s Anglican School, St. Martin De Porres School and St. John Vianney School. Meanwhile, the schools that will participate in the boys’ competition are Hummingbird Elementary School, Holy Redeemer School, Trinity Methodist School, Wesley Upper School, All Saint’s Anglican School, Queen Street Baptist School, Belize Elementary School, St. Ignatius School, St. John’s Primary School, St. Martin De Porres School and St. John Vianney School.

Magana Family Traffic fatality
Elissa Li and her 3 year-old son Raul Magana the Third perished in a terrible accident on the Northern Highway at mile 27 on Monday, April 28. The well-known Raul Magana Jr., Elisa’s boyfriend and the 34 year-old father of the child, continues to receive treatment at the KHMH for that accident. Magana was driving his Toyota Land Cruiser with his family as his passengers, and he was heading toward Belize City. At mile 27 in Biscayne Village, he experienced a tire blowout which caused him to lose control of the vehicle. It over turned several times flinging Elisa and her son through the windshield, killing them on the spot.

Cornerstone in San Ignacio holds health fair
One of the Cayo District’s most noted humanitarian organization, Cornerstone Foundation, held its semi-annual health fair at the Cayo Welcome Center in San Ignacio Town on Friday of last week. Residents had an opportunity to get a free check of their Body Mass Index, blood pressure and HIV/AIDS status. Other community members also came out to buy clothes from Cornerstone to fund many of its ongoing activities for vulnerable youths, women and children. For the day, workers highlighted Cornerstone’s daily program in feeding 98 kids. From a previous interview, General Manager Rita Defour believes that no child should go hungry while attending school. The Cornerstone is a community based nonprofit humanitarian organization founded in 1999 and is headquartered at Number 43 Church Street in San Ignacio.

Macal River claims its fourth victim for this month
A young boy drowned in the Macal River on Saturday of this past weekend; thus becoming the fourth victim of drowning for this month. Johnatan Melisio Requena, 14, had dived into the Macal River on the side of San Ignacio by the Boat Warf, which is between the Hawkesworth Bridge and the lower lying temporary wooden bridge, and soon began to struggle to remain above surface. His close friend Jose Thomson, 16, reported that he had gone into the water in an attempt to assist Johnatan Requena, but the water was too deep. However; another young man jumped into the river and dragged Johnatan Requena to the river's bank. Passing men attempted to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the child but it was to no avail.

Mexican musical Trio perform in San Ignacio and Belize City
A Piano-Soprano-Guitar Gala Concert was held last Friday night at the Cayo Welcome Center in San Ignacio. The free concert was brought together by the local House of Culture in San Ignacio in partnership with the Mexican Embassy. At the piano was Melanie Lopez and with guitar was Victor Celis, who last year had done a solo trip to Benque and to the cultural capital - Dangriga. While the main singer, Christina Woodward, has been exercising her vocals cords since being eight years old, only to perfect it during a six year experience at an art school in Mexico. All three Mexicans come from the Yucatan Peninsula and thus their choice of 19th Century Composers from Yucatan was clearly evident. With little interruption, Christina Woodward sang pieces from European Composers and popular Spanish Songs like ‘Nana’ and ‘Cancion.’


Edelmiro Oliva, 38, gets 3 years for fondling girl, 8
Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith sentenced a Belize City stevedore to three years in prison on Monday, after she found him guilty of aggravated assault of an indecent nature. Smith indicated that she wanted the sentence to send a message to those who may fall into the same category of the convicted man, who fondled an 8-year-old girl. In handing down the sentence, Smith said that “these kinds of cases are prevalent, and we must ensure we send a message.” The trial of the convicted man, Edelmiro Oliva, a stevedore, began around 9:30 a.m. when the court’s prosecutor, Inspector Carol Tucker, called her first witness to the stand. Witnesses included the police investigator and the child victim, who testified en camera. In her testimony, the child told the court that on July 18, 2013, she was at home with her babysitter and had stepped outside to do an errand.

PSU threatens lawsuit against Dr. Peter Allen
The Public Service Union (PSU) fired off a press release today threatening legal action against Dr. Peter Allen, the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health, on allegations that Allen had made libelous statements in an e-mail against Chief Pharmacist Sharon Anderson, claiming that she was “holding the system ransom” by going “on strike and refusing to sign” customs entries for supplies to enter the country. In its statement issued today, Tuesday, the PSU said it “condemns the attack on Ms. Anderson’s character and reputation and will continue to support her in demanding an apology and a retraction of the email. If not forthcoming, legal action will be taken for libel.” Amandala attempted to speak with Senator Ray Davis, the PSU executive who we understand is handling the case for the PSU, but he told us he was unavailable, because he was in a meeting at the time when we called him.

KHMH sued for 5 dead babies
Almost thirteen months ago, on April 1, 2013, a baby died in the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). That first death was followed by the deaths of twelve other newborn babies who died in the NICU before authorities realized that they had a major problem on their hands with an outbreak of enterobacter cloacae, a bacterial infection. Since those newborn deaths at the nation’s premier public hospital, no one has been held accountable. But five of the mothers of the dead babies, through their attorneys, are attempting to hold the board of governors of the KHMH accountable in a claim filed at the Supreme Court on March 28, 2014, seeking damages for their wrongful deaths. Attorney Kareem Musa told Amandala today that the five women, on whose behalf their law firm has filed the claim, were brought in by Yolanda Shackron, the president of the United Women’s Group, about one year ago.

Blowout kills mom, 28, and son, 3
Ladyville businessman Raul Magaña, Jr., 35, suffered a devastating loss when his Toyota Land Cruiser had a tire blowout at Mile 27 in Biscayne on the Philip Goldson Highway, causing the vehicle to violently roll over a number of times, killing his common-law wife and 3-year-old son who were travelling with him. The accident occurred around 3:30 p.m. on Monday when Magaña was returning from the Orange Walk District and heading to his home on Flamboyant Street in Ladyville. Ladyville police reported that when they visited the accident scene, they saw a grey Toyota Land Cruiser with license plate BC C- 34719 on the side of the road with extensive damages. Magaña, the police report said, was transported by a B.E.R.T. ambulance to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and released. He had suffered a cut wound to his head and right arm, said police.

SCA’s ’64 grads reflect on history and pay respects to their alma mater
Marion Slusher, 67, describes herself as a “reunion junkie.” Her passion has been organizing reunions for her former classmates who graduated with her from St. Catherine Academy in 1964. That was 50 years ago, and her graduating class made history in becoming the first set of girls to attend St. John’s College Junior College. Needless to say, their male counterparts were excited to have them come on board! Although they moved from an all-girl to a coed school, they have since taken the time to reunite, and reminisce and reconnect. Their last such gathering was held last Saturday, April 26, 2014. Eighteen 1964 SCA grads attended a Saturday night Mass at Holy Redeemer Church, after which they gathered for a social evening at Slusher’s home. They dined together and enjoyed the cabaret sounds of Beverly Swasey. Virginia Foreman entertained them with dance.

BTL pens new CBA with BCWU
Today, at the Renaissance Towers in Belize City, the executives of telecommunications service provider Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL); the leaders of its workers’ union, the Belize Communication Workers Union (BCWU), and members of the union’s negotiating team sat together and signed a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for Telemedia’s employees. The negotiations, which reportedly commenced last year, concluded earlier this month and led to the first new agreement between the two entities in 15 years, and at the official signing late this afternoon, both sides concurred that negotiations went very smoothly, with minimal agitation. Recently appointed Chairman of BTL’s Executive Committee, Anwar Barrow, son of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, told the audience that the agreement – which spans up to 2016 – represents a positive step forward for union-management relations.

Weekend Warriors
The Weekend Warriors/Bel-Cal race held on Sunday, April 27, was held in support and memory of “our fallen brother,” Ernest “Dangalang” Thurton who was buried on Friday. The Class “A & B” riders started at 8:00 a.m. and rode together from Leslie’s Imports up the George Price (Western) Highway, to Hattieville junction, on to the Boom Road up to the turn at the Philip Goldson (Northern) Highway junction, and back via the Boom Road to the finish at Leslie’s, for a distance of 50 miles. Class “C” riders left at 8:15 a.m. from Leslie’s Imports and went up the George Price (Western) Highway, turned right on to the Boom Road, and went up to the turn at Boom Village junction, and back via the Boom Road to the finish at Leslie’s, for a distance of 40 miles.

Belize National Women Team
A release this afternoon from the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) said that our Belize National “A” Women team had won “a friendly match against the Pumitas Chetumal on Sunday, April 27, in Chetumal. The team won 2 goals to 1. Kursha Pollard and Corby Rhaburn scored the two goals for Belize in the first half of the match.” According to Mose Hyde, who is the new FFB appointed Chairman of the National Team Committee, there were some financial hurdles to overcome in trying to make the trip a reality. The FFB has a very limited budget, but his committee felt that the trip was important for the Women Team, who are scheduled to participate in UNCAF Qualifiers in Guatemala next month, May 19-25, for the Women CONCACAF Gold Cup to be held later in Cancun, Mexico. Their perseverance paid off at the ninth hour, as a couple private sponsors – Douglas Thompson of Black Orchid Resort and Yoni Rosado of Cave Tubing Dot Com – stepped forward to help make the endeavor possible.

Barnett sisters
Paying a brief visit behind the zinc fence last Wednesday were some familiar faces of yesteryear when there used to be “Fire at the Barracks.” Earl “Mandingo” Barnett was a big football star on teams like BEC and White Label in the mid 1970’s, and his sisters, Sherlyn and Barbara, were among the beautiful female fans that adorned the perimeter of the MCC. In the above photo they are accompanied by their childhood neighbor and friend, Marilyn Marin, a sister of popular Krem personality Yaya Marin Coleman. Yaya said that “Babsie” used to baby sit the four Marin girls, and later introduced them to the football culture, Mandingo also becoming their super star. “Our families have remained extremely close and connected all these years,” said Yaya. The Barnett sisters are enjoying their visit home from the U.S., where Sherlyn resides in New Jersey and Babsie in L.A. Marilyn, a retired U.S. Naval Officer, now lives in Belize.

Deon gets on scorecard
In their third outing of the North American Soccer League (NASL) 2014 season, the Atlanta Silverbacks finally garnered their first 3 points of the competition, when they defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies in Tampa this past Saturday, April 26, by a 3-1 score; and our own Deon McCaulay registered his first NASL goal. Their season opener was a disappointment a couple weeks ago on Sunday, April 13, when Belize City fans at the MCC watched on a wide-screen T.V. as defending NASL champions New York Cosmos delivered a 4-0 beating to the visiting Silverbacks. Deon played well but didn’t score. He had scored 4 goals in pre-season matches, but he would have to wait a while in the official regular season to remember the feel of shaking the net. In their second game, the Silverbacks lost at home, 2-1, to the San Antonio Scorpions on Saturday, April 19; and again Deon was scoreless.

Police Cadets
The Elton Gillett Park in Burrell Boom Village was the venue on Saturday, April 26, for the Burrell Boom Police Cadets Rural Executive Sports Day where over a hundred young Police Cadets from Burrell Boom and other Belize Rural villages had a day of fun participating in various competitive sporting events. In each discipline, a team trophy along with individual medals were given to members of 1st and 2nd place teams, as well as special individual awards for outstanding cadets. Following are the results in football, softball, basketball, volleyball and drill competitions. Football: 1st place – Ladyville Cadets; 2nd place – Hattieville Cadets; Most Goals – Michael Flowers (Ladyville Cadets); MVP – Joseph Seguro (Burrell Boom Cadets); Best Goalkeeper – Shawn Flores (Ladyville Cadets).

Letters: Big up, Delmar Sutherland and Frank Folgarait
There are people who take of their time to make a positive difference in our communities and are seldom acknowledged. Kudos goes to the people who shape our kids’ lives to make them better at what they do! Delmar Sutherland and Frank Folgarait are two of these people, who have transformed the lives of kids by nurturing their sporting abilities, confidence and character. They took the boys from the St. Francis Xavier football team under their wings and essentially changed the way these kids will feel about themselves for the rest of their lives. Last season, for the Mayor’s Cup in Corozal, this team was the cellar-dweller in the standings and were physically blown away by the competition. They were taking losses of 8-0 and 10-0 and were unable to get a goal. About four months ago, Delmar and Frank teamed up to make a difference. They began to teach the kids the basics of football along with having them do rigorous physical exercise. They would meet the boys at the Santiago Ricalde Stadium after classes and train them for about an hour and a half daily.

Letters: Dr. Sharmayne writes Mayor Darrell
As you begin to plan the trajectory of the City Council as it relates to your budget forecasting exercise, I would like to strongly recommend that you consider including a mechanical STREET SWEEPER for the City of Belize, at least in the first instance. I know we are already on this odyssey to ongoing street upgrading of utilizing manual labour, as seen by your Council’s decision to use Cisco Woods and hiring Southside males. If I may also suggest, kindly include signage that will indicate to the citizens which side of the street they can park for the days that the streets will be cleaned. I am very convinced that this could be equipment owned by the Council and the operators of these mechanical sweepers can be appropriately trained at the ITVET. I am hoping that we have not already contracted this service to party associates who are anticipating contracts that exceed the term of your Council’s governance.

Letters: From Liyawada Cerro CBO
We are kindly writing to you to update your offices, readers and listeners about the struggle for clean drinking water in Cerro/Saint Vincent Block. We were very grateful for the publishing of our appeal for insight and assistance on our plight. We are also very grateful for the support we have gotten from neighbors, community members, and people from all over Belize who have heard our call for support. We live on the 960-acre Garifuna communal land trust known as Saint Vincent Block/Cerro/Serru. As Mr. J C Arzu wrote recently, our ancestor Jose Maria Nunez, bought this land in 1889 and our ancestors were required to organize again to retain the property when he passed without an heir in 1923. These are beautiful, fertile and abundant lands. We love them and the people who call this place home.

Letters: Did the water surge from Macal cause three deaths?
It is sad that it takes dead bodies to bring attention to the potential for disaster created by the lack of a workable dam break early warning system for the Chalillo, Vaca and Mollejon dams. It only takes talking to people in the area to realize that there is no general knowledge of what to do if the dam breaks. It took the deaths of two students from Corozal – Egar Puck and Anahi Zepeda, who “were swept off into depths” of the Macal and drowned, to learn that BECOL releases water from the dams, which causes a rise in the water levels in the area of the bridges connecting San Ignacio and Santa Elena. According to Stephen Usher, BECOL’s Vice President of Operations, interviewed after the death of the two students earlier this month, Vaca Dam releases water to generate electricity that reaches San Ignacio around 4:00 p.m. But why didn’t the public know that information? Just prior to the death of the students, there were two other drownings, one in the Macal River and one a little downstream at Santa Familia where the Macal meets the Mopan River.

Budna recaptured while trying to enter Honduras
Amandala received official confirmation today that Joseph Budna, 33, the Belizean who fled the custody of Guatemalan authorities on Monday while receiving treatment at a Guatemala hospital, has been recaptured. H.E. Alfredo Martinez, Belize’s Ambassador in Guatemala, indicated that Budna was recaptured in the Department of Chiquimula, while attempting to enter Honduras. “People in the area recognized his photo and called the police. He was accompanied by two persons who purportedly were ‘helping’ him cross into Honduras,” the Ambassador explained. Prensa Libre’s Friday edition quoted Budna as saying that he opted to escape when one of the guards fell asleep and the other was having an affair with a woman who was at the hospital to care for her critically ill husband. Budna said that he planned his escape because of the treatment he was receiving while in prison.

Rival gangs reportedly agree to keep the peace
The escalation of crime, specifically murders and shooting incidents in the Jane Usher Boulevard area of Belize City, presents a dangerous situation which has been a source of concern not only for area residents and Belize City police, but apparently also for Prime Minister and Queen’s Square area representative, Hon. Dean Barrow, who said that a meeting was scheduled to take place with the relevant gang personalities today in an effort to take hold of rising tension between streAet elements which control the affected neighborhoods. After exiting a formal event in Belize City this afternoon, Prime Minister Barrow explained that apart from amplifying the police presence, buying additional police weapons and equipment and posting a mobile police unit in the area, law enforcement authorities are also seeking to address the root cause of the problem by applying methods of conflict resolution.

Deaf-mute man, 48, missing
Kelmart Rudolfo Buddan, 48, of Handyside Street, has been reported missing since Holy Thursday, April 17. His family told police that Buddan left home on Handyside Street on Thursday, and that was the last time he was seen. The family said that he is deaf, mute and suffers from fits. He is about 5 feet 9 inches tall, and slimly built, with curly hair. Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Kelmart Rudolfo Buddan is urged to contact the nearest police station, or 0800 922 TIPS, or Jessie Downs at 207 – 5749.

Maya land rights and Bladen Reserve cases on appeal at CCJ
Even as the Government and the Maya communities of Toledo are disputing over petroleum works being undertaken by US Capital in southern Belize, the Caribbean Court of Justice, the country’s highest appellate court, has listed for hearing the appeal of the Maya Leaders Alliance and The Toledo Alcaldes Association, as well as 23 Maya villages of Toledo in a claim against the Attorney General of Belize. The Maya have insisted that the Government should respect their rights as indigenous landowners, and put in place systems which recognize their customary land tenure, including the demarcation of ancestral lands, and mechanisms for dialogue which will bring them into the decision-making process before the issuance of logging and petroleum concessions, and other agreements which could infringe or impact on their rights. Meanwhile, the Government is being challenged over its decision to permit hydro-development inside the Bladen Nature Reserve, which has paramount protective status. The case is Ya’axche Conservation Trust versus Wilber Sabido — the Chief Forest Officer, The Attorney General and The Belize Hydroelectric Development Management Co. Ltd.

Belizean-Taiwanese businessman escapes kidnapping attempt in Chetumal
Naturalized Belizean —Taiwanese national Ming Teng Chang, 57, who lives in Chetumal, is injured but alive after two kidnappers posing as prospective customers beat his head with pistol butts and tried to kidnap him by forcing him into a vehicle at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Chang’s screams in the Madero and Jose Maria Morelos area of Chetumal, however, drew the neighbors to the scene, and the kidnappers ran away. Chang was then rushed to the hospital, where doctors treated him for the injuries he suffered. According to Diario De Chetumal, Teng Chang was at home that Sunday evening when two men came to his house and knocked on his door and began to enquire about the vehicles he was selling. He reportedly opened his door and came out of his house to show them the vehicles, and that was when the men grabbed him by each arm, and one of the men began to beat him in the head with a pistol butt, and then they tried to put him into their vehicle, but Chang resisted and screamed. The men then threatened to kill him, then drove away from the area.

Maya alcalde accused of sellout to US Capital
There were media reports circulating this week that an alcalde of a Toledo village has been sacked over allegations that he has sold out to the oil company which aims to begin drilling in the south in just a few weeks, but the unfolding dispute raises questions over whether the political administration in Belmopan—which supports oil drilling in the south—can veto such a vote by the Maya community. Under Maya customary law, an alcalde cannot sign away on anything without consultation with the villages. Valentin Maak’in, first alcalde of Conejo Village, has been accused of doing just that. While villagers have voted him out, Maak’in has been advised by an attorney who also serves as Speaker of Parliament—who is also the attorney for the oil company—that the ouster cannot be effective if the Attorney General, who appointed him, was not included in the process. Pablo Mis, spokesperson for the Maya Leaders’ Alliance, who detailed the background of what transpired to our newspaper, told us that he was at the meeting in Conejo on Thursday, April 24, to which Maak’in was invited but did not show up. It was at that meeting, said Mis, that villagers voted overwhelmingly to remove him as alcalde.

6.9% increase in water rates takes immediate effect
The next water bills you receive in your mailbox will reflect higher waters, retroactive to April 1, following a decision by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) this week to approve a 6.9% increase in tariffs for water customers, with the exception of Caye Caulker. For example, the minimum water rate on the mainland will increase from $8.00 to $8.55 for the first 1,000 gallons, but Caye Caulker’s rate of $23 for the first 1,000 gallons will remain the same. This increase is expected to net the Belize Water Services (BWS) $39,580,359 over the 12 months ending March 31, 2015, including $14,326 million in capital investments for this annual tariff period (ATP). The PUC notes that BWS had requested the approval of $25,679,000 in capital expenditures for the Annual Tariff Period (ATP) of April 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015, which would have meant a tariff increase of 16.25%. The PUC reduced that figure by $11.35 million.

Gun law, religious law and Alcalde law
I am not a fan of the present gun laws in our country and was excited recently when a group had organized to challenge it and attorneys were planning to place a question before the courts to determine the constitutionality of such law. But sadly, that movement seems to have died off… it needs to be addressed urgently! The recent charges against six persons for two bullets allegedly found at a Belize City residence just bore witness to the injustice of said law and how people would go to desperate measures to now defeat this law. I do believe it is an unjust law that deprives all of their freedom once gun or ammunition is found on a premises. It is unjust because in most cases some of the folks caught in the midst of this catch-all law, are merely visiting, do not ever live there, are minors, persons with no knowledge of the presence of guns or ammunition and also persons in an already abusive situation where that is the only place they have to live.

New BTB Board selected
Last month, former telecoms executive Karen Bevans was officially selected as the new Director of Tourism, and today, the Ministry of Tourism announced that a new Board of Directors – to be headed by current vice president of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Carla Barnett – has been appointed to manage the affairs of the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) for the period 2014-2016. The newly appointed board is made up of tourism stakeholders representing different sectors of the tourism industry, and according to the Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia, Jr., the team is “well-positioned to strengthen the institution and ensure meaningful stakeholder engagement.” Comprising the BTB’s new Board of Directors are Herbert Haylock, president of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA); Doug Thompson, representing the Belize Hotel Association; Gaspar Guerrero, representing the local airline sector; Neil Bradley, who serves as a representative of the cayes & outer islands; Glen Eiley, the southern region representative; Rosendo “Chendo” Urbina, Sr., northern region representative; Gamayel Babb, for legal expertise; Christy Maestre, who will be in charge of project management and planning; and Tracy Panton, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation.

Belize developing multimillion-dollar National Transportation Master Plan
The National Transportation Master Plan for Belize was at the center of a senior policy dialogue held Friday morning at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City. That multimillion-dollar plan is divided into three phases, spanning well beyond the year 2030. Belize has been receiving technical assistance from a team of 10 Korean experts, led by Professor Eui Young Shon of the Department of Transportation Engineering at University of Seoul’s Institute of Transport Studies. Senator Joy Audrey Grant, Minister of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities, told the media Friday that the relationship with Korea started about two years ago and they have been meeting ever since. Jung Wook Kim (KDI) – Fellow, Korea Development Institute, told the media that Korea has been working with Belize as part of a knowledge-sharing program sponsored by the Korean government, to help other developing countries. He said that they formally began their collaboration in 2013. The Korean team also includes Seol Joo Kim of Teso Engineering Company.

SCA’s ’64 grads reflect on history and pay respects to their alma mater
Marion Slusher, 67, describes herself as a “reunion junkie.” Her passion has been organizing reunions for her former classmates who graduated with her from St. Catherine Academy in 1964. That was 50 years ago, and her graduating class made history in becoming the first set of girls to attend St. John’s College Junior College. Needless to say, their male counterparts were excited to have them come on board! Although they moved from an all-girl to a coed school, they have since taken the time to reunite, and reminisce and reconnect. Their last such gathering was held last Saturday, April 26, 2014. Eighteen 1964 SCA grads attended a Saturday night Mass at Holy Redeemer Church, after which they gathered for a social evening at Slusher’s home. They dined together and enjoyed the cabaret sounds of Beverly Swasey. Virginia Foreman entertained them with dance.

From The Publisher
One of the problems with colonialism, for the colonial territory, was that one had to do all of one’s trading with the mother country. The colonial tariff structure was such that we in British Honduras had to buy all our goods and machinery from the United Kingdom, and we had to ship most of our mahogany and other hardwoods to Britain at prices the British controlled. A Belize businessman by the name of Bob Turton began to do a lot of import and export business with American companies, and he saw where the colonial tariff structure was designed for Britain’s benefit and detrimental to Belize. He therefore supported the anti-colonial movement which called for Belizean self-rule, beginning in 1950. In the years following, the leadership of the ruling People’s United Party (PUP) told Belizeans that independence for Belize would bring more development for the country. Three years after independence in 1981, Belizeans voted for their first change of government in the modern political era, replacing the PUP with the United Democratic Party (UDP) in 1984. Since that change of government thirty years ago, the UDP has spent roughly sixteen years in government, and the PUP fourteen.

Editorial: Patience, Belizeans, patience…
When you read the history of the Europeans after they entered/invaded the “New World” in 1492 and how they behaved or misbehaved in the centuries thereafter, the theme of greed is a dominant one. The Europeans wanted gold and silver and precious stones, and after that, using force, they grabbed enormous tracts of land to grow cash crops like sugar cane and cotton. Eventually, they built civilizations in the Western Hemisphere which became dependent on more fossil fuel than the territories which they controlled absolutely, the United States and Canada, could provide. So in the first part of the twentieth century, the New World Europeans used all their military and financial power to bring Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Middle East countries into line, so to speak. They had to have the Saudi and Middle East oil, because their Western economies and lifestyle demanded excessive amounts of energy. From the time the first contact took place between the European Columbus and the indigenous people of the Caribbean islands, there was a conflict in philosophical perspective. The Europeans wanted wealth, they wanted it quickly, and they did not care what the consequences were for mother earth. The indigenous people, wherever they lived in the Western Hemisphere, had an approach to life which emphasized the sustainability of their food production and dwelling construction, and an abiding respect for the blessed bounty of the earth which had given them life, for generations and generations and generations. There was a patience in the indigenous people, and there was wisdom.

Mayor Darrell Bradley’s eyes still on Santi’s seat in Caribbean Shores
Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley, 35, may be out of the mayoral race for the 2015 municipal elections, but that is because the mayor seems not to be interested in municipal politics any longer. He is eyeing a seat in Parliament, and he told Amandala today that he is working hard in the Caribbean Shores division to galvanize the popular support he needs to win his party’s divisional convention and capture that seat when general elections are called some years from now. Speaking with the media on Friday, leader of the United Democratic Party, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, told journalists that it is a pity that Bradley did not submit his name for the mayoral race. “I still am not sure whether it is because he honestly did not want to stand for reelection, or whether there is more to it than that,” Barrow said. He spoke highly of Bradley’s work saying, “I will yield to no man in my admiration for his accomplishments, but as one television station said, ‘you never know from one day to the next exactly what the position is.’”

Cpl. Gino Peck escaped jail; Special Constable Jose Haylock didn’t!
A Police Special Constable, Jose Haylock, who was on trial for possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday after he changed his not guilty plea to guilty when the prosecution presented video evidence linking him to the firearm and ammunition that police found at his home. Haylock’s live-in girlfriend was also charged with the same offences. But there was no evidence that she had knowledge of his illegal stash, so Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith dismissed the charges against her, after their attorney Arthur Saldivar made a no case to answer submission on her behalf. Jose Haylock and his common-law wife, Corrine Diane Martinez, were charged after a Gang Suppression Unit search of their home at 3716 Louise Bevans Street on the evening of February 11, 2012, resulted in the discovery of a .22 pistol loaded with ten rounds, and eleven .9mm rounds, for which Haylock could not produce a license. He was consequently charged with one count of possession of a firearm without a license and two counts of possession of ammunition without a license.

Security guard in police lockdown for six days on a single firearm charge
A security guard who has been accused of being in possession of unlicensed ammunition spent a marathon six days in police custody before he was brought before a Magistrate today, Monday, for arraignment, prompting his attorney to make a submission to the court about the violation of his constitutional rights. For three consecutive days, since police detained him, the family of security guard Mauricio Perez, 34, has been making trips to the Magistrate’s Court in the hopes of seeing him brought to court. But on Friday, when he was not brought to court, the family decided to seek legal help and retained attorney Nazira Espat-Myles from the law firm of M.H. Chebat and Co. Police arrested Perez on Tuesday, April 22, on the allegation that he illegally kept a black .9mm magazine with seven rounds — five of a Luger brand and two of an Aguila brand.

15-year-old detained for Patrick Bevans’ murder, but later released
Amandala understands that Belize City police had detained a 15-year-old minor in connection with the murder of Patrick Bevans, 22, which occurred early Wednesday morning, April 23, in the Port Loyola area, but that suspect was later released from custody without being charged. Bevans – whose family told us that he was on crutches at the time of his murder – was shot multiple times in the head and body at around 7:00 a.m. as he was making his way back home after buying from a nearby store on MS Street just a short distance from his Louise Bevans Street home. Bevans’ murder was the third in the area in three weeks, and residents believe that it was due to increasing tensions instigated by affiliates of two notorious city gangs – one of which is allegedly trying to carry out a so-called “takeover” of the Jane Usher Boulevard Area.

Death and mourning continue after Holy Week
There were three separate deaths – in Punta Gorda, San Pedro and Santa Elena, Cayo, respectively – over the weekend following Holy Week. On Saturday afternoon, Jonathan Requeña, 14, of 9th Street, San Ignacio Town, drowned in the Macal River. After he was taken out of the river, rescuers conducted chest compressions on him, but he was already dead. The body was taken to the morgue at the San Ignacio Hospital to await a post-mortem to certify the cause of his death. According to police, at about 3:30 Saturday afternoon they responded to reports of a drowning and visited the Macal River in an area between the Hawksworth Bridge and a nearby board bridge where they saw the body of Jonathan Requeña lying face-up on the banks of the river. Police reported that Requeña and his friend, 16, were swimming in the Macal River when he went under the water and did not resurface. His body was later found a little after 3:00 that same Saturday afternoon.

Man found with 455 grams of weed in Corozal
A Corozal man was busted with 455 grams of weed by police who stopped and searched him in the South End area of Corozal at about 3:00 this morning. Police said that they were on patrol when they saw a man walking on the road, and he was acting suspiciously when he saw them. They immediately stopped and conducted a random search on the man, and found, in the front pocket of his pants, two transparent parcels containing cannabis. The man and the cannabis were taken to the Corozal Police Station, where the man was arrested and charged with drug trafficking. The weed was weighed and it amounted to 455 grams.

Elvis Hamilton, Jr., 25, charged for burglarizing home
A man employed as a caretaker for Richard Michael Estephan, Jr., a resident of 7 North End Estate in Belize City, appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer on Friday and pleaded not guilty to one count of burglary in connection with the disappearance of his employer’s BMW key and a 21-inch flat screen television set. Elvis Hamilton, Jr., 25, appeared unrepresented and tried to explain to the Senior Magistrate the events that transpired that led to the allegation against him. But Frazer told him that he had already pleaded not guilty and he should leave his defense until his matter goes to trial. When the question arose of whether nor not bail should be granted to Hamilton, the court’s prosecutor objected to bail on the ground that the police are still investigating the burglary, and that none of the stolen items have been recovered. The prosecutor also told the court that the accused man knows the complainant well and might harass or threaten him or his family.

Garth Longsworth, 31, charged with raping minor, 16
A Belize City resident who works as a marketing manager was formally arrested and charged for rape in the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court yesterday following a report which was made in March by a 16-year-old female minor who resides in the western town of San Ignacio. According to San Ignacio police, Garth Longsworth, 31, of a Cran Street address in Belize City, was apprehended following a report by the young woman, who said she was walking home at around 10:00 p.m. on March 7, 2014, on Bullet Tree Road in San Ignacio, and upon reaching near a pharmacy at the corner with Joseph Andrews Drive, she was suddenly approached from behind and dragged to the rear of the pharmacy building.

Blue Saturn car stolen from owner’s home on Vernon Street
Earl Gentle, Sr., of Vernon Street, is without his blue 4-door Saturn car with license plate BZC 35657, after the car was stolen from in front of his house. Gentle has been all over the city trying to recover his car, but to no avail. Gentle told Amandala that he drove home at about 1:45 Sunday morning and parked his car in front of his house. He then went to bed. When he awoke at about 8:00 that same Sunday morning, Gentle saw that his car had disappeared. Gentle checked in the neighborhood, and now throughout the city, but his efforts were in vain.

4,600 grams of weed confiscated onboard bus
Over 3,800 grams of marijuana was confiscated from two passenger buses travelling to the city from the west by police on anti-drug operations that were conducted on Friday, April 25, on the George Price Highway. Police said that at a checkpoint at about 10:30 Friday morning, they stopped and boarded a bus travelling to the city from the west and conducted a random search for drugs, guns or ammunition. The search led to the discovery of a black bag under a seat, and inside the bag was marijuana which weighed 1,800 grams. No one was arrested. Shortly after, at about 1:00 that afternoon, police officers stopped and boarded another passenger bus at the vehicle checkpoint on the George Price Highway, and again marijuana was found. Police said that they came across a school bag under a seat in the rear of the bus and when it was opened, they found that it was loaded with cannabis.

Prisoner shot during escape attempt
A prison inmate who tried to escape from the Belize Central Prison was shot in the buttocks by vigilant prison officers. Marcos Gomez of Trial Farm, Orange Walk, who is serving a 12-month sentence for theft, is now recovering at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. The incident occurred at about 10:15 a.m. yesterday morning, Monday. Chief Executive Officer at the Kolbe Foundation, Earl Jones, told reporters that at about 10:15 a.m. yesterday morning, inmate Marcus Gomez attempted to escape from the Belize Central Prison. Prison officers who saw what was happening quickly reacted and shot the escaping prisoner in the buttocks. Gomez was taken to the medical unit at the facility, after which he was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for further treatment.

Jane Doe not yet identified
The unknown woman whose decomposing corpse was found floating in the Quintal Lagoon on the Chan Chen Road on Tuesday last week, still has not been identified. Police, who have begun an investigation said that four men were detained and interviewed, but were released from custody, and they are back to square one in the investigation. Superintendent Andrew Ramirez, Commander of Corozal Police, said that the woman was in her twenties, was of dark complexion and her toes were painted with orange nail polish. She also had two silver crowns on her two front teeth. He said that the woman was not killed in the area, and that her right hand was bitten off by crocodiles.

Gunmen attack residents in San Juan area of San Pedro
Some men who were on a golf cart in front of a house on Canister Street in the San Juan area of San Pedro are lucky to be alive after gunmen opened fire on them at about 9:30 Thursday night, sending people in the area scrambling for cover. The gunmen escaped in a boat. No one was hit, but those who were in the area were traumatized and there were bullet holes in several golf carts and homes. Police who processed the scene announced that twelve 9mm expended shells were found The incident occurred in front of the Campos’ residence, but no one was there at the time. Witnesses told police that six armed, masked men, wearing black clothing, came from the mangrove area along the lagoon side, to in front of the Campos’ house, where two golf carts, in each of which there were some men, were parked. The gunmen then began firing at the men. The police reported that no one was injured in the shooting, which, according to police, was drug-related.

2 Belize City men elude firing gunman
Yesterday, two men who were riding in the Port Loyola area of Belize City luckily escaped the lethal bullets of a lone gunman who let off a hail of shots in their direction as they traveled on Freedom Street just before midday. Police said that they visited Freedom Street in Belize City yesterday, April 24, at about 11:35 a.m., and observed seven expended shells on the street. Their investigations later revealed that at about 11:25 that morning, Jermaine Ottley, 18, a student of Freedom Street Extension in Belize City, was riding with Paul Sambula on separate bicycles on Freedom Street when they were approached by a brown-complexioned man wearing a blue T-shirt and short khaki pants who was also riding a bicycle.

Patrick Jones

Ministry outlines way forward on pharmacy dispute
The Ministry of Health continues to defend its position with regard to its actions on appointing an extended regime to supervise the signing of Customs entries for importation of pharmaceuticals into Belize. Currently the only person authorized to sign for the Ministry is Chief Pharmacist Sharon Sanchez Anderson. But the Ministry wants to change that. CEO Dr. Peter Allen says the final call on adding additional persons to the list is pending. He indicated that he would further consult before making the changes while insisting that they are necessary. Our interview was extensive but we do have two more important pieces of news to report.

Belize Tourism Expo (BETEX) is Next Week
The Belize Tourism Expo (BETEX) which is organized by the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) is scheduled to commence next week from May 7-9 2014 at the Princess Hotel in Belize City. BETEX is a business-to-business event that showcases Belize’s travel destinations, hotels, tour operators, and other tourism service providers and attracts more than 350 local and international tourism professionals and press representatives. The event is an exclusive opportunity for international traveler resellers to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business with local travel suppliers and to learn more about Belize and experience the destination first hand. BETEX was first organized in 1996 and since then it has been held every two years in Belize. The last expo was held in 2012 and businesses from around Belize that were present were: The Lodge at Big Falls, Hatchet Caye Resort, Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort, Programme for Belize, San Ignacio Resort and Cahal Pech Village Resort to mention a few.

Corozal chooses its Spelling Bee champion
The competitors for the 20th annual National Coca Cola Spelling Bee competition have all been chosen. The last District Final was held today at the Corozal Community College Auditorium. At the end of the competition, Arbaz Khan from Corozal Methodist School emerged as the top speller for the Corozal district. The runner up is Christiline Hill from the Corozal Seventh Day Adventist School. Since the Zone Eliminations started, over 500 students were involved in the competition, seeking to become the spelling champion for Belize.

Princess Hotel joins Ramada chain
It was once the Ramada Royal Reef Hotel, but after a change in ownership to Turkish group Princess Hotels International it became known as the Princess Hotel and Casino. Today, its management announced that it is coming home, of sorts, as it once again assumes the name Ramada after agreeing to join that world-famous chain, which has operated in 53 countries. Ramada, since 1990, has been a subsidiary of the largest hotel group in the world, Wyndham of New Jersey, U.S.A., which owns over 7,200 hotels worldwide. General Manager of Princess, Erol Olcan, says the hotel will take advantage of the Ramada brand and be able to better access customers in key areas. The casino portion of the hotel is separately managed but is included in the Ramada co-branding.

Coye family goes to court to get its money back
The Coye family would like nothing more than to move on from an ordeal that cost them their father and several years of their lives. Melonie Coye and her family were acquitted on appeal to the Court of Appeal on money laundering charges two months ago. But today they were back in the Supreme Court seeking its approval to unfreeze the family’s assets which were seized by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) at the start of its prosecution five years ago. Attorney Arthur Saldivar initially refused the press an interview on the grounds of preserving their privacy. But he relented and forcefully made his case for why the money should be returned. According to Saldivar, the monies in question, which he did not quantify, are separate from the $1.5 million taken from the family’s Johnson Street residence on New Years’ Eve, 2009 which was ordered to be returned by the court. Some of the accounts date back to 1965, he said, in the name of late family patriarch Michael Coye.

Labour Department hosts open day
Thursday is Labour Day, a time to honor the working class of the society. On this last working day before the holiday, the Labour Department hosted countrywide open day sessions to show the general public what work it does. Senior labour officer Calbert Barber told us that the Department’s chief work is to promote labour rights of workers, especially those in special conditions – sick, unlawfully terminated, disabled, unemployed, pregnant, or even dead. However, he noted that the worker should take more of an interest in becoming knowledgable about what rights they have under the law.

Nurse avoids jail on ammo and weed charges
Back on April 14, six persons were taken to court for possession of unlicensed ammunition and controlled substances following a Police search of a house on Far West Street on Sunday. Nicoli Rhys, 23 of Euphrates Avenue; Rheonna Rivero, an 18 year old student; Shane McKoy, 27; and Godwin Neal, Jr., an 18 year old student, along with a 17 year old minor who was also a student, were remanded after being charged with possession of 2 9mm brass Luger brand bullets and 1.2 grams of cannabis located in a compartment inside a standing fan. A sixth person, nurse Bernadette Samuels, had to be taken to Karl Heusner Memorial hospital from court to be treated for high blood pressure and she has been in hospital since, until she was arraigned today. In addition to the above charges, she was additionally charged for possession of 4.4 grams of cannabis seeds. Samuels works at the KHMH but was a patient until today, when she was brought to court by attorney Bryan Neal.

National Song Competition launched
This afternoon the National Song Competition 2014 was launched by the National Celebrations Commission in Belize City. It has a different look this year as part of efforts to improve the professionalism of performers and the quality of the songs presented. NICH Creative Arts Development Officer Joseph Stamp Romero says the competition will be decided by on-stage performances in regional finals followed by a national final on August 9. As per usual there are two categories, the Belize (formerly Patriotic) Song Competition and the Carnival Song Competition but for the first time, a viewer’s choice and breakout performer of the year award are being offered.

U.S. Capital carries on with work in Sarstoon Temash
The Forest Department has confirmed with U.S. Capital Energy that it has decided to waive the expiration date of today, April 30, 2014, contained in the permit granted to the company to conduct petroleum exploration operations in the Sarstoon Temash National Park. Because it was ordered to by Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana, the Government is proceeding to arrange for consultation with the Maya communities most affected by the work. Chief Forest Officer Wilber Sabido and National Parks Administrator Hannah St. Luce-Martinez, wrote Alistair King, U.S. Capital’s representative, this week, saying that they consider it appropriate in their discretion, to defer deciding on the application for an extension until the outcome of the consultations is known, provided that the operations for which the permit is granted continue as they were not specifically stopped by Justice Arana. Today we spoke with attorney for U.S. Capital Michael Peyrefitte who says this essentially confirms the status quo: the company can proceed because the permit was not struck down by Justice Arana, making their presence and activities legal; and there is presently no injunction stopping them (although attorneys for SATIIM have applied for the third time for an injunction, this time post-judgment following Justice Arana’s decision on April 3.)

Five parents sue KHMH over dead babies
Nearly one year ago, several families experienced heart-wrenching pain when they lost their newborn premature babies to a bacteria that was somehow allowed inside the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. There have been plans to upgrade the facility but no one – the hospital, the Government or those in authority – has stepped forward to address the personal pain of these families. Thirteen babies died, of which the deaths of eight were officially claimed to have been caused by the bacteria. Now, five women are suing those involved. Their attorney is Kareem Musa, who says the hospital has refused to release key medical records or otherwise respond to the case beyond preparing to file a defense.

Penner prosecution encounters roadblocks, says private prosecutor
The continued prosecution of Elvin Penner has endured a torturous history over the last eight months. As predicted by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, his opponents are having a difficult time finding anything that will stick on the ex-Minister of State. But that, according to private prosecuting attorney on behalf of COLA, Kareem Musa, is because the Government is playing keep-away with the results of its investigation. Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie continues to refuse to release the results of his investigation and is suing to overturn the decision of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin that he continue that investigation over his insistence that he would not. Musa says they had been hoping for better from Auditor General Dorothy Bradley but so far that too has been a dead end. She has written him claiming that she is unable to release the details of her investigation as it is exempt under the Freedom of Information Act.

Matron Roberts Polyclinic recognized for best performance
It is the oldest health facility in Belize and has faithfully served generations of residents of the Old Capital. Today the Matron Roberts Polyclinic II received an award from the Ministry of Health for outstanding performance in obtaining the highest scores as a National Health Insurance (NHI) Primary Care Provider (PCP) facility in the Southside Belize City area for 2013. CEO Dr. Peter Allen in presenting the award paid tribute to the staff’s care of the more than 55,000 patients of the clinic in 2013. The award was accepted by Alexy Rosado, polyclinic administrator, on behalf of the staff and administration of the Polyclinic. In receiving the award, Ms. Rosado expressed her gratitude to all partners who work along with the polyclinic to promote the continued growth over the years.

Man missing at sea after kayak capsizes near Belize Barrier Reef
The sea search continues for an American man who was thrown into the Caribbean Sea when a kayak he was in capsized in rough seas on Tuesday afternoon. 29 year old Shane Leesman is listed as missing at sea. A second man who was in the same kayak, Bradley Evans Josker, was rescued by the Belize National Coast Guard. Josker told police in San Pedro town that he and Leesman had gone kayaking arounf midday on Tuesday but encountered rough seas as they approached the Belize Barrier Reef. They decided to turn back and head to shore; but Josker says that they were hit by a wave which caused the kayak to capsize throwing himself and Leesman into the water. Josker says that he and Leesman tried for ten minutes to get back into the kayak but they could not. After a second wave hit the two men, they became separated. Josker says that he tried to swim towards the shore but the current kept pulling him over the reef before being rescued by the Belize National Coast Guard. Police say Shane Leesman is of Caucasian decent, is 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs about 170 pounds. Leesman has a sleeve tattoo on his arm and was last seen wearing only a white swim shorts.

Dog mauls 5 year old boy in Santa Elena town
A 5 year old boy from Santa Elena town, Cayo was viciously attacked by dog this afternoon. According to reports received, the little boy, identified as Christopher Jones was playing in a yard on Zaiden Street in Santa Elena town when he was mauled by the dog. One person who witnessed the aftermath of the mauling said that the boy was bitten and torn up badly, mostly in his head. The witness describe the aftermath as “horrifying.” The attack, according to reports, was so bad that the boy’s scalp was ripped and he had several holes in his face, apparently teeth marks from the dog.

Two year old dies; poisoning suspected
A two year old boy from Orange Walk town is dead and it appears that he ingested some kind of poisonous substance. The child has been identified as Justice Usher, a resident of the Belize/Corozal Road. The child’s mother says little Justice was in the yard playing as she was doing laundry and hanging out clothes to dry around 10:30 this morning. The mother says that after a while she realized that Justice was missing and then heard him crying. She said that when she went to check on him, she smelled a strong scent, believed to be that of termite poison, coming from the child.


Mobile Testing outreach on Ambergris Caye
The National AIDS Commission (NAC) /Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) Island Committee along with PASMO carried out several community outreach activities on Ambergris Caye in the month of April. The month of activities culminated on Saturday April 26th with a Mobile Testing outreach. In the weeks leading up to the26th, Dennis Craft; PASMO Educator along with volunteers from the NAC CCM Island Committee visited various sites on the island and provided sexual health education, HIV transmission prevention, Sexually Transmitted Infection education along with Risk Reduction activities. Along with health care professionals from the Dr. Otto Rodriguez II Polyclinic and a member from the Unites States Peace Corp, NAC/CCM Island Committee and PASMO tested 57 individuals on Saturday April 26th of which 11 were females and 46 were males.

A Walk Around San Pedro Town: Art, Signs, Lunch, A Hummer Golf Cart and My Weekend Plans
San Pedro has some beautiful hand painted signs. They add so much to the charm of the town. (If I was in charge, they would be mandated. A beautification project. But sadly, I am not…) Yesterday I was in town for some errands, some lunch and…one of my least favorite things to do….going to the bank. Here in Belize, bank systems are just starting to be automated and on-line options are limited. Much of the population spends maybe an hour? Or if you own a business, probably more standing in line at your local bank. Hey…at least it’s air conditioned. Here are some pictures around town yesterday. My very favorite grocery store – The Greenhouse. Great for shopping for necessities and many things you didn’t know you needed. Yesterday I was eyeballing some delicious looking angel food cakes and frozen key lime pie (covered in dark chocolate) on a stick!

“Happy” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Ever since Ziggy’s blogging experience on Sunday I’ve had a real job of wresting my iPad from him. Fame (OK fame with a small ‘f’) has gone to his head! His first attempt at blogging wasn’t bad. Not as good as mine (sic) but not bad … and with a bit more practice I’m sure he’ll improve. But he now considers himself an island, no, a Belizean, celebrity. He’s got his own Facebook page (you’ll find him at Ziggy Belize) and it won’t be long before his got more friends than me (not too difficult you’re thinking). There’s a definite spring in his step and the constant standing in front of the full length mirror is starting to grate a little but this prancing and preening on his part does have its upsides. He wants to look good and this played right in to our hands when it was time to give his first bath on Sunday.

Chocolate Potato Cake
I love recipes that call for abnormal ingredients that I wouldn't normally think would go in the recipe. The secret ingredient in this dish that makes it special is mashed potatoes. You will absolutely love this chocolate cake. It is dense and moist and the frosting is satiny and delicious.

Occasional Discourse on the Nigger Question (Historical Documentary)
This documentary by the BBC looks at Scientific Racism, invented during the 19th century, an ideology that drew on now discredited practices such as phrenology and provided an ideological justification for racism and slavery. These theories ultimately led to eugenics and racial policies of the “master” race. Herbert Spencer, the father of Social Darwinism as an ethical theory, was thinking in terms of elitist, “might makes right” sorts of views long before Darwin published his theory. However, Spencer quickly adapted Darwinian ideas to his own ethical theories. The concept of adaptation allowed him to claim that the rich and powerful were better adapted to the social and economic climate of the time, and the concept of natural selection allowed him to argue that it was natural, normal, and proper for the strong to thrive at the expense of the weak. After all, he claimed, that is exactly what goes on in nature every day. However, Spencer did not just present his theories as placing humans on a parallel with nature. Not only was survival of the fittest natural, but it was also morally correct. Indeed, some extreme Social Darwinists argued that it was morally incorrect to assist those weaker than oneself, since that would be promoting the survival and possible reproduction of someone who was fundamentally unfit.

Why I Love Laughing Bird Caye in Belize
A beautiful and stunning Belizean Isle, Laughing Bird Caye is located 11 miles from Placencia Village in Southern Belize and is an ideal base for snorkeling and scuba diving. In fact, almost all travelers who vacation in Placencia visit this gorgeous piece of paradise for a full day of diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking and even picnicking. Laughing Bird Caye got its name from the Laughing Gulls – the birds that once used to breed on the Caye, however due to a growing human presence, the colonies moved to a nearby undisturbed Caye for breeding. Presently, the Island is home to a number of exotic birds like the brown pelican, green heron, and melodious blackbird. The island stands on an elongated ridge of reef known as faro which is an angular atoll on a continental shelf, also known as shelf atoll, and is an important part of the Belize Barrier Reef System. Last year in August, I stayed at Chabil Mar, a luxurious and elegant resort in Placencia and took a day trip with Splash Belize to explore Laughing Bird Caye. I departed Placencia Village around 9am and arrived at this beautiful island an hour later to be astonished by the natural beauty of the atoll. I discovered a white sandy beach, scattered coconut trees and mangroves and a number of interesting plants like the spider lily, seaside purslane, morning glory and black mangrove in the 1.4 acre island. “This reserve was declared a protected area on December 21, 1991 and is managed by the Placencia based community, Friends of Nature,” announced our guide when we were stepping out of the boat.

Best Belize Wedding Photos of 2014
Looking for your dream destination wedding? A honeymoon you’ll rave about for years? At Chabil Mar Villas, you can have that and more for a truly once-in-a-lifetime event. Here, see the top wedding photos of 2014:

5 Observations About Food in Belize
Staying physically healthy is an important aspect of living an overall happy life. With issues like chemicals/GMOs in food and the rising cost of health care, many people are looking for alternative ways to stay healthy. Before arriving in Belize, I assumed that Tropical Paradise = Totally Healthy Lifestyle. True? Hmm… Yes, and no. My opinion: it’s possible to eat healthy here, but it’s also very easy to slide into some bad habits when it comes time to fill your bucket. In general, it’s always best to know where your food comes from, start with the most basic, whole ingredients for preparing meals, and strive for a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. I LOVE the cuisine, which is as varied as the people who settled here. As a result of this amazing diversity, Belize foods can have the flavors of Caribbean, Mexican, African, Mayan, and Spanish cultures. Since becoming more of a melting pot with the arrival of North American, European, and other expats, additional options are available, like American burgers and pizza and spicy curry dishes from India. If you’re thinking about moving to Belize, either permanently or for a temporary travel break like ours, you should know a few things about the food here. I’m not a farmer, doctor, or nutritionist – just someone who eats. Here are some of my humble observations:

International Sources

Mexico hosts the Third Mexico-CARICOM Summit and the Sixth Summit of the Association of Caribbean States.
Both forums will be held in Merida, Yucatan, and led by President Enrique Peña Nieto, along with heads of state and government of the region. • They will discuss trade, tourism, cooperation, sustainable development and disaster risk reduction. The city of Merida, Yucatan will host the 3rd Mexico-CARICOM Summit and the 6th Summit of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) on April 29-30. President Enrique Pena Nieto will preside over the summits, along with heads of state and government of the region, which aims to enhance regional integration and cooperation. At the Mexico-CARICOM Summit on Tuesday, April 29, President Peña Nieto will meet with his counterparts from the Member States of the Caribbean Community to give continuity to the cooperation program and to find new priorities for the Caribbean.

Mexico pledges continuing support for Caribbean
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto says his country is proud of its relations with the Caribbean, with which it has “a shared vision of development and unity.” He made the declaration ahead of Tuesday’s opening of a historic “double summit” of Caribbean and Latin American leaders of states belonging to the Association of Caribbean States and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). His country holds the presidency of the ACS and the Mexican leader, as host, took the opportunity to explain his country’s view of its relationship with “the Greater Caribbean”, as well as to outline some of the issues to be discussed when the Latin American and Caribbean leaders meet for two days of talks on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Mexican city of Merida. According to Pena Nieto, “Mexico has close historical and cultural ties with the Caribbean nations.” He described the nature of the ties as “bonds that fill us with pride.”

Kauai town's eateries no longer use plastic foam
Not one restaurant in Kilauea on Kauai's north shore uses plastic foam disposable containers. Starting this week there are two signs at the entrance to the town saying "Welcome to Kilauea. A Styrofoam Free Community." The Garden Island newspaper reports the designation is the result of a campaign by the Surfrider Foundation and Zero Waste Kauai to stop eateries from using non-biodegradable containers. Surfrider Foundation Kauai Chapter Treasurer Gordon LaBedz says plastics - including Styrofoam - present litter, pollution and health problems. The foundation says plastics break down into small particles that persist in the ocean, absorb toxins and enter the food chain through fish and other marine life. Thirty-five percent of the nearly 250 restaurants on Kauai have already done away with single-use plastic to-go containers.

Living the Dream in Balmy Belize
Nadege Thomas lived in Toronto, Canada for 22 years where she was a successful financial planner. But as the pressures on her sector mounted and the cold weather wore her down, she began to yearn for an easy life in a balmy, tropical environment. “After 22 Canadian winters, I had had enough of the cold and was looking for a warm place,” she says. For as long as Nadege could remember she’d envisioned one day owning and operating a resort hotel or B&B and today, she and her husband, Tom, run the Mystic River Resort in sunny Belize. Nadege likens it to living in paradise. She is enchanted by the wild verdant jungle, meandering rivers, Maya history, lush vegetation, and abundant produce. They live comfortably and—during slower times—they regularly take jaunts to the U.S. and Canada. The couple met in Belize and began the project together. Tom had come from Oklahoma in 1991 and become a Belizean citizen.

UD grad mines the world for medicine
In Belize, Central America, Balick established the Belize Ethnobotany Project with Dr. Rosita Arvigo, a local physician and resident. The Project joined with the National Cancer Institute to collect medicinal plants in Belize to be tested for potential anti-cancer properties. The Project has also hosted several traditional healers’ conferences. “We can say in some parts of the world, such as in Belize, people are starting to stand up for their roots,” says Balick, who figures worldwide, there are at least 30,000 medicinal plant species used by local cultures. In Belize, one of those plants is the gumbo-limbo tree and it has a symbiotic relationship with another plant. “The bark has a creamy resin on the inside that will stop a rash caused by the poison wood tree,” says Balick. The sap is also effective for sunburn, insect bites, and other skin irritants. The relationship reminds Balick, a Delaware native, of walking the local woods as a boy near his home in northern New Castle County. He knew that if scratched by stinging nettles, he could pluck some nearby jewelweed and rub its juice on the emerging rash to quell it.

Olson Engage: Agency Business Report 2014
Olson Engage enjoyed a very successful 2013, culminating with its Midsize PR Agency of the Year and overall PR Agency of the Year victories at the 2014 PRWeek Awards this past March. On top of its 14.5% year-over-year revenue increase in 2013, Olson Engage kept busy with a slew of account wins, new hires, an agency rebrand, and an acquisition. President Bryan Specht attributes the majority of the firm’s accomplishments to the staff. "At the end of the day, it’s about great talent delivering phenomenal work," he says. "It’s a simple formula and sometimes people tend to overthink it." New business last year, which makes up about 75% of the agency’s growth, included Mars petfood brand Royal Canin, Belize Tourism Board,, and global work for McDonald’s. This year, the firm won Kraft Foods’ Planters account, replacing incumbent Edelman.

Conclusions of Mexico – CARICOM and ACS Summits
The city of Mérida Yucatan hosted the Third Mexico – CARICOM Summit and also the VI Summit of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), forums on April 29th and 30th 2014. These forums were led by Enrique Peña Nieto, along with chiefs of state and the state government. These summits will impulse the development of regional integration and cooperation. On Tuesday, April 29, aiming the development of Mexico – Caricom Summit III, President Peña Nieto met with the representatives of the States Members of the Caribbean Community, with the goal of continuing programs of cooperation and to identify new areas of interest in the Caribbean. It was reported that the leaders reviewed the Program of Technical and Scientific Cooperation 2012-2013, they also discussed the progress in natural disasters prevention, and developed a new program of cooperation for the evolution of agricultural progress in the Caribbean.

IL Radio Episode 42: Finding Paradise on Ambergris Caye, Belize
Ann Kuffner first started dreaming of living in Belize full-time when she was in her 20s…but it wasn’t until six years ago, at the age of 57, that she finally left behind the corporate life in the U.S. to enjoy all that the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye has to offer. Dan Prescher caught up with Ann to ask her what it was that drew her to Ambergris Caye…what her everyday life is like…and how you could follow in her footsteps.


Video: Belize Holy Cross Dance 2014, 4min.
Holy Cross' Standard VI (8th grade) rehearsal for the Belizean Day of the Arts 2014. They are performing to Katy Parry's "Roar" and Matthew West's "Hello My Name Is." This dance features a parachute designed and constructed specifically for Holy Cross by Raven Industries in Sioux Falls, SD.

Video: TIDE Tours Chocolate Tour Belize, 6min.
This tour takes place in the Toledo District of Belize , Central America

Video: My Belize Diving Trip, 4min.
This video was shot in my diving trip to Belize, using my Iphone 5s and its underwater housing. I edited them together just for fun. Thanks my diving guides Watter, Edgar, buddies Jun, Chris and Scott for taking videos of me. Thanks Bobby for suggesting the music. You are all great! Belize is a nice place for diving, and it's famous for Blue Hole. My favorite diving sites were Turneffe and Lighthouse.

The Marine Conservation Expeditions (MCE) world class team of filmmakers shot, edited and broadcasted this film on location with live events during Reef Week. 'Reefs In The Balance' was showcased at two local outreach events. The first in Placencia and the second in Belize city at which hundreds of local people attended. The film was also and shown on national television. Appealing to truly adventurous and influential people wanting more from their precious travel time, MCE´s filmmaking expeditions give individuals the unique chance to work with a dream team of international filmmaking talent on documentaries that leave potent environmental and social legacies.

Video: Avioneta en Belize, 4min.
Viaje en avioneta de Belize City a Placencia con Air Tropic.

Video: Een donkere jungletocht door Belize, 4min.
Chris Zegers is in Belize en maakt 's nachts een tocht door de jungle om de meest angstaanjagende dieren van het land te ontdekken.

Video: Lamanai: een prachtige Maya-tempel in Belize, 3min.
Chris Zegers verblijft in de Lamanai Lodge en bezoekt de mooiste Maya-plek van heel Belize: de Lamanai. Hij beklimt de stenen jaguar en laat zich veroveren door de schoonheid van Belize.

Video: Scuba Diving 2014 - Scuba Diving in Belize Beautiful, 23min.

Video: Belize 2013, 9min.
Scuba diving and The Great Blue Hole

Video: Belize 2014, 7min.
a few photos and videos we shot while in West Belize, Cayo district

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