Recent Belize News
1/11/2015 to 1/20/2015
Click here to return to
Today's Belize News

January 20, 2015


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

The new top dog in town: Ray’s Big Dog
Ray’s Big Dog opened its doors on Saturday, January 10th and my taste buds could not be happier. These guys are cooking up some serious dogs! As if good food isn’t enough, Ray’s also has a fabulous location- I mean eating a dog while lounging under a palapa over the Caribbean Sea? Only in San Pedro! They are located on the Tackle Box Dock, beach front of Black Coral Street. The relaxed ambiance adds to the dining experience. They started us off with a Belizean favorite: crispy fried plantain chips served with a house aioli. We were off to a good start! Next up was peel n’ eat shrimp: jumbo shrimp steamed in herbs, garlic and Ray’s secret spices. They were served with two side-sauces: Ray’s sunset sauce (a sweet cocktail sauce) and chef’s Diana’s signature Bubba sauce. We definitely had some fun peeling those shrimps.

Young Honduran mother of three violently murdered on Ambergris Caye
Police have no solid lead at this time but are following some information including reviewing surveillance camera footages. First police are trying to establish who the person was that Benitez was last seen with. Police say that while there are reasons to believe Benitez was sexually assaulted because of the restraining marks, doctors were unable to ascertain that theory. Police did confirm that she was found partially nude with all her valuable items on her, which suggests that the motive for her murder was not robbery. Benitez worked as an exotic dancer and according to her friend Alvarenga, she ran away from her home country following a violent past. Alvarenga explained that the father of two of her three kids was murdered in Honduras at the hands of gang members affiliated to the MS-13. When asked if police are looking at that angle, OC Castellanos said that while they will leave no stones unturned, he doesn’t want to speculate. “Her friend, who led the search for her, told me that her kids’ dad had been murdered in Honduras, however I don’t want to speculate at this time if there is any connection. We want to find out what happened and so we are asking for the public’s assistance to help us solve this crime. We are encouraging anyone that may have seen or know something to come and speak to one of our detectives.”

Sea Cucumber Season to Open April 1st to May 31st , 2015
In accordance with the Fisheries (Sea Cucumber) Regulations under Statutory Instrument number 67 of 2009 (Regulation 11), the Fisheries Administrator hereby informs fishermen and the general public that the Sea Cucumber season will open from April 01st to May 31st, 2015. The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) quota / limit has been set at 300,000 pounds. If the quota is realized before May 31, 2015 the fishing season will be officially declared closed.

CONCACAF Qualifying Draw Determines Pairings for First Two Rounds of Preliminary Competition for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) held in Miami last night the draw for the initial phases of the CONCACAF Preliminary Competition for the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. The event was held at the W Hotel South Beach, with the assistance of World Cup veterans from the region including Trinidad and Tobago’s Shaka Hislop, Mexico’s Pavel Pardo, Carlos Pavon from Honduras, and Tony Sanneh of the United States, as well as Brazilian all-time great Ronaldo. The draw involved 27 of the 35 CONCACAF Member Associations seeking to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and determined the match-ups for the first two rounds of the five-round regional qualifying tournament in CONCACAF, which begins in March and runs through 2017. Round one, which will be played in two legs on dates from March 23-31 of this year, features seven home-and-away series, among the CONCACAF Member Associations ranked 22-35 in the region in the FIFA rankings from August 2014 – the first ranking after the completion of the 2014 World Cup and thus the first of the 2018 World Cup cycle.

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Social Service Office Renovated by On Eagles Wings Ministries
On January 13, 2015, the Ministry of Human Development Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation office in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize had a visit from the organization On Eagles Wings Ministries and Belize board member for OEWM Miss San Pedro Michelle Nuñez, who surprised the staff by giving the office a needed makeover. “Before the renovations the office was just four plain walls,” commented Emily. “But now they have a private office for the head social worker Mr. Adan Kay, a comfortable section for the head counselor Mrs. Pamela Killen and a fun children’s corner.

Saga Humane Society Celebrates 15 Years of Community Service
Saga Humane Society recently celebrated its 15th year as a not-for-profit humane organization on Ambergris Caye. Saga member, Eileen Jamison, submitted this piece to Ambergris Today as a way to look back at the work of Saga throughout the years and a glimpse towards future goals. “In order to know where you are going, it is often said you need to know where you have been... Although the organization was named after one of the founder's dogs, it is an appropriate name as Saga is a seemingly endless story of a community's tireless dedication to its animals.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Caneros protest outside House of Representatives in Belmopan

Eric Vellos passes away
The Corozal Daily joins in extending its deepest condolences and sympathies to the family of the late Eric Vellos. May his soul rest in Peace and Rise in Glory!

Remembering Andy Vivian Palacio (December 2, 1960 – January 19, 2008)
Seven Years Ago.. Belize lost a Musical Icon, V. Andy Palacio. Rest in Peace ... Your work and legacy lives on......

Belize Sailing Association Elects New Board
The Belize Sailing Association (BzSA) is the popular NGO that developed the country's Optimist dinghy sailing programme and promotes all recreational sailing. BzSA held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday January 10, 2015, at St. Catherine Academy in Belize City. In attendance to fill by election all13 board positions for 2015 were 44 of the 150 association members. After thanking the outgoing board members for the accomplishments they achieved in 2014 and for their devotion of time, effort, and ingenuity, Mr Joel Wade, 1st Vice Chairman of the National Sports Council, dissolved the 2014 board and officiated the election process to install the 2015 board. The results are as follows:

Boys sifting garbage for food
I live in a failed community in Ladyville where people from within and outside dump residential and commercial garbage. Its unsightly, unhealthy and a good analogy for general deterioration we see around Belize. If that's not bad enough, I was bowled over at the sight of 1/2 a dozen young boys sifting thru the garbage heap for bottles and other refuse they can monetize. Children. Digging thru garbage. Near my home. And yours. Best to assume they need food. I could easily have fed 6 boys. But we eat 3 meals a day. 7 days a week. And they r not the only people who cant afford basic meals. Ill do something.

Working on roads in the airstrip area
Our workers and trucks hard at work fixing the streets in the Airstrip Area.

Sir Denis Byron visits Xunantunich
Sir Denis Byron, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, visited the Maya archaeological site of Xunantunich in Belize.

Channel 7

Sugar Standoff Finally Over
The sugar standoff is officially over - this morning at 11:00 am at BSI Headquarters in Orange Walk - the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association became the third and last association to sign a commercial contract with BSI. So, deliveries of cane to the mill can start possibly as early as next Monday January 26th. At the signing this morning in the BSI boardroom - the mood was cordial, considering how tense and acrimonious it had become over the past two months. There was also relief because the largest growers group which is the still the BSCFA signed on, bringing with it three thousand plus farmers - more than half of the 5,500 farmers in the north. After the signatures were affixed to the documents, the press from the north got an opportunity to speak with the cane farmers from BSCFA and factory owners. Mac McLachlan, ASR's Vice President of International Relations, conceded to the media that both sides have conceded quite a lot in the past few weeks to get to today's signing:

Cane Farmers Meeting to Accept Contract Historically Short
Today's signing was made possible by a breakthrough meeting yesterday at the Esecuela Secundaria Technica Mexico in San Roman Village, Corozal District. After going back and forth on the commercial agreement - the cane farmers finally, resolutely, and swiftly agreed to sign the agreement - the same one they had emphatically rejected two weeks earlier. What changed? Well, almost everything - and the farmers made it clear they had no time to waste. 7News was there:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting Once again, the between 600-800 members of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmer Association gathered at la Escuela Secundaria Technica Mexico for the 3rd Special General Meeting in a row. Knowing that the press would be there, some farmers brought Posters in Spanish, which translated, say "Long Live The BSCFA, Out with the Radicals".

Government Amends Sugar Act - Opposition Rails
And so with everything in place up north - things also had to be put in place in Belmopan. Government went to the House of Representatives today to pass, in one sitting, the bill for an act to amend the Sugar Industry Act. It's a necessary step that should have been made almost 5 years ago when government gave an undertaking to change the Act to make it reflect the constitutional reality - that farmers are free to associate or form any group they wish: they don't have to be members of the Belize Sugar Cane Producers Association. But, before the bill could be tabled, the leader of the opposition lashed out against the government for bringing it to the House too late:... Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "How can we come here today, how can this government come here today to this honorable house, placed before us a bill of such importance, affecting a vital national industry, the sugar industry - placed that bill on our table at 10am, when the meeting is scheduled to start?"

A Radical Remedy?
But first, we go back to yesterday's cane farmers meeting. In today's House Meeting, we heard the Prime Minister talk about sidelining the radicals from within the association like Fred Ortega and Javier Keme. Well, yesterday, we heard much the same at the cane famers special meeting. It happened at about 17 minutes into yesterday's meeting when one of the cane farmers, who was protesting at the meeting, proceeded to name Ortega; Keme; their CEO, Oscar Alonzo; Diody Novelo, a member of the BSCFA's negotiating team; and Lucilo Teck as persons not working for the best interest of the farmers. It did not get any kind of support from the assembly, but here's that moment when the farmer harshly criticized these members, despite Chairman Cansino's attempt to shut him down:

Keme's Cane Fields Were Burnt
So, while democracy failed to get sanctions against these members, did someone decide to take the law into their own hands and burn Javier Keme's cane fields? That's what he and others want to know after Keme learned on Friday the vast acreages had been burnt. For those not familiar with cane politics, burning someone's field is the ultimate act of sabotage, since once the cane is burnt it has to be harvested immediately - and if it is not ready for harvest then the field goes to waste, a complete write-off. That's just what happened to Keme and he told us about it today:.. Javier Keme, Fields Were burnt "The whole parcel is 16 acres, but I managed to harvest half of it last crop, at the end of the crop. About 7-8 acres remained there and that was what was set on fire. More or less about 180-200 tonnes. That's my calculation."

Who Burnt Alonzo's Home?
While Keme continues to get to to investigate that fire, Police continue to investigate the one which destroyed the apartment belonging to BSCFA CEO, Oscar Alonzo. As we told you it happened early on January 2, in the San Lorenzo Housing area of Orange Walk Town. Alonzo was out of the country on his holiday, but it happened only 2 days before the second general meeting of the association, which as viewers may know, ended with the farmers refusing the cane compromise, which was facilitated by Government. Alonzo was one member of the association's negotiating team, who did not believe that the cane compromise was in the best interest of the farmers, and he voiced his at the table. Now, police believe that a crime was committed, but they are still investigating if the fire which destroyed Alonzo's house was caused by arson, or resulted from a burglary where thieves broken and stole his possessions.

BDF Reservist Murdered In City
There were 2 murders over the weekend which left a 23 year-old man and 22 year-old woman dead. The first one happened at about 7:20 p.m. on Saturday, on Complex Avenue in Belize City. 23 year-old Denver Villafranco, a volunteer for the Belize Defence Force, was walking in the direction of Mahogany Street when he was attacked by 3 men. One of the men stabbed him in the right side of the abdomen. He was rushed to the hospital, but he died within 10 minutes. By all accounts we've heard, Villafranco kept out of trouble, and was a model volunteer at the BDF from since the age of 16. So, today, we asked the police what their investigation reveals so far as to why he was violently killed in this manner:

22 Year Old Mother of 3 Brutally Murdered in San Pedro
San Pedro Police also made a disturbing discovery early on Saturday morning, January 17. They found the partially nude body of a 22 year-old mother of three. She is Honduran waitress Sylvia Carmen Benitez. She had been missing for 5 days. The San Pedro Sun Newspaper reports that her body was found about 15 feet off the Mata Grande Road, some 3 and a half miles north of the town. She was in an advanced state of decomposition, and multiple blunt force injuries were discovered on the right side of her face, neck and back, and there were signs that someone tried to hold her against her will. The last time she was seen alive was on Monday, January 12, where persons say that appeared to be intoxicated. Today, we asked the Eastern Division's head of CIB about what their investigation has revealed about the days after that last sighting:

Mayor Darrell Dispossesses Dion
The Belize City Council only has a few weeks to go before its term is over, and while the Council should be holding the status quo, instead it is managing the largest transition in memory as it takes on 150 workers from Belize Maintenance Limited and the responsibility to keep the city clean. And it seems the mayor doesn't want councilor Dion Leslie to be part of it. Leslie had responsibility for the Council's Sanitation Department - but on Friday, we are told the city administrator sent out a text saying that the Mayor had transferred that responsibility to BQ Pitts Jr. And what did Leslie get in exchange? Nothing at all - not even a phone call to give him the news. Today we asked the Prime Minister about it:... Jules Vasquez "We have learnt reliably, that a text was sent out by the city administrator on Friday, saying that BQ Pitts would be in charge of the sanitation portfolio, which was formerly held by Dion Leslie and that other changes would be made. The effect of it was that Dion Leslie, who you had handpicked to send to Houston to facilitate the transition, is now completely a councilor without a portfolio."

PUP Selects New Candidate For OW East
On Sunday, The PUP held a convention in the Orange Walk East constituency to choose a candidate to replace Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez - who is stepping down at the end of his term due to medical reasons. The men who would replace him are political newcomer Josue Carballo, and former two term area rep., David Burgos who was elected in Orange Walk East from 1998 to 2008. 7News stopped in yesterday at the convention and spoke to both aspirants. Here's what they had to say: Josue Carballo - PUP, Aspirant, Orange Walk East "Since we started you can sense that movement, that energy, that enthusiasm, that our camp has brought to this convention. You see the people from all ages coming and definitely support this change that my camp that Josue Carballo brings to Orange Walk East and so we see that energy, that momentum just growing as the hours go by. We expect a big turnout, we expect this shows that the PUP is alive and it's working and it's keeping close to its people here in Orange Walk East. That's what we expect, a big turnout and a victory at the end of the day."

Barrow: Briceno Will Be New PUP Leader
IT's seen as a big win for Orange Walk Central incumbent John Briceno - who backed Carballo against Burgos. IT was critical for Briceno - who is has rivalries from other PUP factions in the north - to hold ground in the division right next to his. It's a part of the power balance within the PUP - which is often in a fluid state - mainly because the party has not won a major election since 2003. Today the Prime Minister tried to play up the perceived rivalry between former leader Briceno and current leader Fonseca - when he said that since there won't be another house meeting before the municipal elections in March - today was Fonseca's last stand as leader. That's because Barrow is predicting victory for the UDP in the Municipals which he thinks could be a death blow for Fonseca's leadership:

Fair Trade Fail?
And going back to sugar now…the crop crisis has been set aside, but the other issue facing the Belize Sugar cane Farmers Association is a possible decertification from Fair Trade. Last week, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association finished giving out 4 million dollars of Fair Trade Premiums, bringing the grand total of monies improperly disbursed by to 6.5 million dollars in one month. Yesterday, CEO Oscar Alonzo was asked for his opinion on the state of those affairs, and he told us that he hopes that Fair Trade doesn't look at the disbursements as isolated incident. Alonzo said that the auditors need to look at the overall improvements and attempts at compliance, as well as the circumstances surrounding why they asked for the premiums to be given out the way they were:

Another Allegation of Medical Malpractice
Last week Tuesday on this newscast, you heard the first-time mother, 19 year-old Lucila Martinez, accuse medical staff at the KHMH of negligence when they reportedly left cotton swabs inside her body after she gave birth. Well tonight, there are reports of another possible medical malpractice case coming out of Western Belize. 24 year-old Arson Moh, a resident of Billy White Village, reported to San Ignacio Police that on last week Monday, he took his common-law wife Norma Marroquin to the San Ignacio Community Hospital because a piece of placenta was left in her when she gave birth the week before at the Spanish Lookout Clinic.

GSU Sent Requena and Mas To Jail for Gun
Tonight, 21 year-old Akeem Requena, and 19 year-old David Mas are at the Belize Central Prison after a gun was reportedly seized from them last night by members of the Gang Suppression Unit. According to the Gang Suppression Unit, a team of officers were on patrol on Gibnut Street when they saw Requena and Mas walking and acting suspicious when they saw that police were in the area. The officers decided to search both men, and that's when the officers found parts of a rusty shotgun was found on both of them.

Two young men who ought to be in school, are under threat of a theft conviction after they were charged with stealing from a business place in San Pedro. a 36 year-old store clerk reported that on Saturday, January 17, she was at her workplace. That's a boutique on Barrier Reef Drive, and that's also where a 2 boys, a 12 year-old and a 14 year-old, decided to shop lift from. They pocketed a chan and a pair of gold earrings to a total value of 48 dollars, but they were caught in the act and charged with theft.

Matura Protest: Small But Spirited, And They Had Stamina
As we told you at the top of the newscast, today in Belmopan - Government went to the House of Representatives to pass the amendments to the Sugar Act. These will make legal provisions for new farmers associations - thus breaking the Belize sugar Cane Farmers 55 year monopoly on membership. And also today, that same cane farmers associations, somewhat splintered, but still three thousand strong, signed a commercial agreement with BSI. Now, the efforts of those who've opposed the signing have been very well documents - and today they made one last stand. Today, Audrey Matura Shepherd, Alfred Ortega, Lucilo Teck, and a few handfuls of cane farmers were joined by members of the NTUCB executive, and members of the public to march n Belmopan. The crowd was small, only 65 at its peak, which isn't very much when one considers that there are 5500 cane farmers. But what they lacked in numbers they made up for in spirit. The group put on hearty show with singing, marching and symbolic cane stalks. We asked Ortega why so few came out:..

Police Big Up Kids Who Did "Rite"
The Mahogany Police Station, which comes under Police Precinct 2, has chosen Kimala Roches, a second former from Sadie Vernon High School as their choice for the Do the Right Thing Program. Even though she's only 16 years old Roches is a veteran cadet of the police department's youth cadet corps, and today, we got a chance to meet her when the Precinct 2 Community Policing commander handed over their tokens of appreciation for her continued aspiration to excellence. She told us that these officers, who are also her Cadet leaders, surprised her with the honor: She will get an opportunity to attend a ceremony later in the year where her accomplishments will be judged in comparison to other promising youths her age.

Violence and Broken Lives
"Broken Images": That's the title of the Women's Issues Network's report on violence against youth. Researchers focused on 160 people from ages 14 to 64 from across the country to analyze this issue from their perspective. The report was officially launched today at the ITVET conference room and Executive Director of WIN Belize discussed the reality of violence in Belize and how it affects the development of youth. There are 16 recommendations, 8 of which will be implemented in the first 6 months and the remaining 8 will be achieved over a span of 3 years. Counselling sessions are also on the recommendation list.

PM Uses Premium, Even if it's not from Petrocaribe
World oil prices continue to tumble - and OPEC nations say it's not going up again anytime soon. As consumers we are all loving it at the pump - but government is feeling it in a reduced revenue flow form Petrocaribe. That's because the Petrocaribe proceeds are a percentage of the purchase price of fuel - and the lower the price, the lower the figure that goes back to government. Today we discussed it with the PM - and got to asking him about what kind of fuel his SUV uses:..

Channel 5

House of Representative Passes Amendments to the Sugar Act
The sugar crisis is a volatile one and has occupied the public conscious for months. On Sunday, the crisis came closer to resolution when the B.S.C.F.A. agreed to sign on [...]

DPM Says Government’s Hand Was Forced by B.S.C.F.A.
As justification, Prime Minister Barrow indicated that it was essential that the bill be pushed through all stages because of the new associations in play, and the complexities involved in [...]

Francis Fonseca Says Treachery and Betrayal Forced Caneros to their Knees
That justification didn’t impress P.U.P. Leader Francis Fonseca, who then declared open season on the government, and on those he called their moles and cronies within the B.S.C.F.A.  Fonseca says [...]

“Why You Gotta Be So Rude…to Audrey Matura-Shepherd?”
Fonseca also reserved special attention for Prime Minister Dean Barrow, asking him why he has to be so rude…to attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd, that is. The P.M. recently referred to her [...]

Caneros Protest House Meeting
Even as the debate raged inside the House, outside cane farmers and supporters were gathered in protest. There weren’t many of them – at peak probably fifty – but there [...]

John Briceño Speaks on What P.U.P. Has Done for Farmers…
Inside the House today, Orange Walk Central Area Representative today handed out his share of licks to his colleagues on the government’s side of the House. He started by making [...]

…And Chastises G.O.B. for Playing Politics
Briceño, after outlining what the P.U.P. has done for the industry, chastised the government for what he calls playing politics with an industry which affects the lives of fifty thousand [...]

PM Blames P.U.P. for Destruction of the B.S.C.F.A. and the Industry
As we’ve heard, government took its licks today over an issue which is serious business. The government has come under serious and sustained fire during the weeks of impasse. Government [...]

B.S.C.F.A. Signs on to ASR/B.S.I.
Like it or not, protest or not, duress or not…the general assembly of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association passed on Sunday a resolution to sign onto the agreement with [...]

Honduran Woman Murdered in San Pedro
According to the murder stats for 2014, San Pedro has quickly become a most dangerous town. The island accounted for the second highest amount of murders last year. On Saturday [...]

B.D.F. Volunteer Stabbed to Death in the City
In Belize City, the grieving family of Denver Villafranco says various persons watched as the B.D.F. volunteer was cold-bloodedly murdered by a group of three men believed to be persons [...]

Fatal Traffic Accident in Corozal
There was a fatal traffic accident in Ranchito Village, just outside of Corozal town on Saturday night. Twenty-four year old Eric Vellos was traveling home when he lost control of [...]

Mark Vega Acquitted of 2002 Murder
On Friday night in the Orange Walk Supreme Court, the murder re-trial of well known street figure, Mark Vega ended in his acquittal. A jury of twelve found thirty-one year [...]

Said Musa Calls House Meeting Crap!
Usually the Prime Minister closes the session in the House, but today Area Representative of Fort George, Said Musa, felt inspired. He pulled no punches, claiming that the government’s entire [...]

PM Ridicules Fonseca in the House
Now there was a senior amount of mud-slinging at government today – as we’ve pointed out, it was open season. But if there’s one man who can give as good [...]

Newest Member in the House Takes the Oath
We end tonight’s coverage of the events on Independence Hill with the event which actually started the House meeting. Recently elected Cayo North Area representative Omar Figueroa was sworn in [...]

“Broken Images” – a Report on Gender Based Violence on Belizean Youth
Today, Women’s Issues Network WIN-Belize launched “Broken Images,” a report on Gender Based Violence with a focus on Belizean Youth. The research, which was done in collaboration with the Women’s [...]

Belmopan Bandits win the PLB Championship
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   The road to the PLB 2014 title reached money time Saturday night at the Isidoro Beaton stadium inside Belmopan [...]


PM Prediction Is To Have A New Leader Coming Next House Meeting
Today there was much back and forth at the house as the debate for the amendment of Sugar Act went on for quite some hours. But when it was time to make his presentation, Prime Minister Dean Barrow strayed away from, the topic a bit as he touted and taunted at the leader of the opposition, Francis Fonseca citing that he predicts that the next house sitting will see a new leader for the PUP. Barrow cited that whilst Fonseca gave a “valedictory speech” on the debate, stating that they live in a bizarre world, he is predicting a “political death foretold” for Fonseca. Here is that clip… “It is my expectation indeed firm conviction that at that time we will have a new leader of the opposition today then was the sort of valedictory speech of the current leader of the opposition, and Mr speaker, if you will allow me to get into it just a little more, ...

BSCFA Signs Agreement With BSI, But What Happens With Fair Trade?
The signing of the agreement between BSCFA and BSI this morning should bring the end to a rather tumultuous and dragged out negotiation, but the association is still not in the clear in that aspect, as some still oppose the commercial agreement presented by BSI. That continues to be one matter of concern for the association. Another, and perhaps even greater, is its ultimate survival as an organization. BSCFA faces decertification in its next audit for this year. CEO Oscar Alonzo told the press after Sunday’s meeting that as an organization they will see how they can best make amends with Fairtrade. Oscar Alonzo- CEO, BSCFA “It’s true that certain the decision that are made that are not, that do not comply with the criteria but I think we, these are made sometimes due to the economic hardships and the economic situations that the cane farmers are faced in, we will be conducting a process of reeducation with the farmers regarding with the Fair Trade criteria and we hope that through this process they can make sure they can stick closer to the criteria and we hope that when FLOCERT makes the audit that they can understand the economic reality that made the farmers make decision regarding the use of the Fair Trade funds and do not deal with them too harshly.”

Police Involve In Minor Traffic Mishap
Over the weekend the Corozal District witnessed a fatal traffic accident which claimed the life of 24 year old Eric Nelson Vellos who was laid to rest today. But that was not the only traffic accident the district recorded luckily though, the second was not fatal. On Saturday evening Officer Commanding of the Corozal Police Department, Andrew Ramirez, and members of the Quick Respond Team were conducting patrols in the rural areas, when they were involved in a traffic mishap. According to Superintendent Ramirez they were on their way back to Corozal Town when the incident played out.

55 Year Old Man Charged for Failure To Provide Specimen For Analysis
A 55 year old man from Santa Elena Road, Corozal Town is tonight facing charges for failing to provide specimen for analysis. According to police, on January 18th 2015 around 2:00am, officers were on mobile patrol on College Road when their attention was drawn to a suburban vehicle which was parked facing an east to west direction with the engine running and lights on parked in the middle of the road. As officers approached the vehicle they noticed that the driver was apparently sleeping behind the steering wheel with a beer bottle in his hand.

Cane Farmer Should Be Allowed In Sugar Marketing Committee, Says O/W Central Area Rep.
When it comes to the Sugar Industry, much was said in the House today. While both sides defend their position on the Sugar sag as the debate on the amendment of the sugar act took place, one member of the opposition that stood up for the farmers at the same time offering recommendations for the betterment of the Sugar Industry was member for Orange Walk Central Honourable John Briceno. “I think that the government needs to pass legislation to allow the cane farmers to be represented on a sugar marketing committee, why do I say that, for so long, the cane farmers have been saying that when they deliver their cane and BSI process that cane into sugar they take it to their own and give it to their parent company which was Tate & Lyle and now ASR to sale the sugar and we don’t know if it is the best price, we don’t know if that is the price or they could get a better price or a lower price, we don’t know that but a to avoid the suspicion that have been growing up in the industry, I think it is important that we have legislation where a cane farmer represents the cane farmer on that board so that they could be assure that whatever price BSI/ASR five the farmer for their sugar it is the best price that they can get, so that is my first recommendation Mr Speaker.

CEO Oscar Alonzo Speaks About Removal Of Membership
As we mentioned before, the BSCFA continues to be riddled with problems of its own outside the negotiations with BSI, some of which were perhaps born from these negotiations. Even with the negotiations concluded, the process has left some farmers bitter and who have publicly called for the removal of several officials in the association. Some of these include Alfredo Ortega, Javier Keme, Oscar Alonzo and Ezequiel Cansino even. At Sunday’s meeting, at least one farmer called for the removal of some of these individuals although the matter was not pursued further in at the meeting. It is not the first time however and when asked about this, Alonzo and Cansino this is what they responded. Oscar Alonzo “We are an association that respects the views and the decisions of all members, if that is his view I respect it and I think the membership know what type of person I am and the work I do and the response I bring to them and I do not have anything against that resolution that is his right and it is the farmers that decide and I will respect whatever decision I make and I am confident with what farmers have seen what I have been trying to do and they will interpreted it in their own way.”

Who Burnt Down CEO's Rented House?
On the morning of January second this year, the house rented by BSCFA CEO Oscar Alonzo was set on fire. Most of Alonzo’s property was destroyed, and police have still not closed that case which was believed to be arson or burglary. At the time of the blaze, Alonzo was on vacation and was informed of the fire by his colleagues. On Sunday, he shared his sentiments of the incident stating he hopes it was merely coincidental that the fire occurred at a critical and tense time for the association. Oscar Alonzo- CEO, BSCFA “It’s so strange that it happens two days before the last but I wouldn’t like to speculate, I think it is in the hands of the police to see what occurred, nothing intentional means of trying to intimidate myself or the farmers and we hope that it is not that and I hope we are not moving in that direction, I think we are still a democratic and free country that we can express our views and sentiments and take position without being having to look our shoulder and expect some sort of violence would occur.”

Sugar Act Amended After Much Debated
The Sugar Industry Amendment Bill was the main debate in today’s fiery meeting in the House of Representatives and from the onset it triggered much scrutiny from the members of the opposition. But before divulging into that segment of the news, we start off with a debut appearance of newly elected and appointed Minister of State to the National Assembly, Dr. Omar Figueroa. And while the dust has settled since his victory over Richard Harrison in Cayo North, he took his opening remarks to thank his supporters and campaign members for their victory. Also gracing the chambers with his presence was disgraced Minister and former house member, Elvin Penner who sat adjacent to the pews of his party’s parliamentarians. But back to the substance of the matter, the Sugar Industry Amendments to the Bill was presented and it was met with much objection from the Opposition, People’s United Party. The Bill presented today was to enact legislation for freedom of associations, a move that was to be acted upon four years ago. And in just one day, the Government moved to have the bill pass all its stages and for it be amended so as to jump start the sugar cane crop season. Here are the highlights of todays ‘historic’ motion.


Boat Accident in The Barrier Reef
The Belize Barrier Reef is the World’s Second Largest Barrier Reef consisting of a series of coral reefs straddling the coast of Belize. Being one of the Country’s most natural beauties, the coral reef is constantly at risk of being damaged or becoming extinct. Last two weeks, a concerned Caye Caulker resident made reports of a boat that had crashed in the reef. Today Love News spoke to Vice President of OCEANA, Janelle Chanona, who spoke to use further more on this incident. JANELLE CHANONA “Well this is a situation we are monitoring closely we were advised of this officially via a concerned citizen from a resident from Caye Caulker saying that there had been this incident as long as two weeks ago where there had been a stranding of a vessel at sea and there had been some visit by regulatory authorities but then the boat has just been sitting there so we are obviously very concerned that even though there has been official notice of this vessel being there that it still has the potential to be causing further damage.

Belize Defense Force Volunteer Stabbed to Death
A young woman and a toddler just under two years old are grieving after 23-year-old, Denver Villafranco was stabbed to death on Saturday, January 17 around seven o’clock. Villafranco had just left home and was enroute to visit his spouse of six years, Keisha Thompson on Flamboyant Street when it is believed he was attacked from behind and stabbed multiple times. When we met up with Thompson this morning, she was still uncertain as to how to tell their daughter that Denver is dead. KEISHA THOMPSON “All I know is that they stabbed him near the lane and it hurts really bad because he has a baby that he has left behind. People don’t know the pain that they inflict on people. He just came back from the bush and not even a month he’s spent with me and they just took him like that. He was going to my house when this whole thing happened. They attacked him from back on and then after they attacked him they knocked him out and then they put him near the drain, which we live near and as you walk out on the veranda you can see the spot where he died. When my mother in law got there his gut was in his hand and they transported him to the hospital.”

Sadie Vernon Student Awarded By Police Department
The December Award for the Do the Right Thing Program under the umbrella of the Belize Police Department was presented today to a second form student from Sadie Vernon High School in Belize City. 16-year-old, Kimala Roches received her certificate and award this morning during a brief ceremony held on the school’s compound. Roches was selected from a number of nominees from other secondary schools and institutions and was recommended by the school counsellor, Solomon Jacobs. SOLOMON JACOBS “The criteria came directly from the Belize Police Department and I know Kimala met some of the criteria in terms of her academic performance. She is a good role model for her peers at school. Kimala is very outgoing she is friendly, she is smart and she assist the school in terms of extracurricular activities and she is very talented as well.”

Prime Minister Says Cane Farmers Will Reap on Future Production Increases
In wrapping up the debate Prime Minister Dean Barrow assured cane farmers that they will benefit from any future increase in production. PRIME MINISTER DEAN BARROW “We do say to Mr. Cansino, Aban, Patt, Navaro and the others of good will please do not ever let us have a repeat scenario. The extremists those that in fact are for whatever reasons, I don’t know if it is in addition to politics, those that are against the partnership which is an absolute essential if we are to take this industry forward must be isolated, they cannot ever again be allowed to take center stage. Mr. Speaker we like the once and future king put on record one more time that we believe in foreign investment, we believe in the need for an equal partnership in sugar between the miller, the manufacturer and the cane farmer.

Non-Profit Organization Caters For Homeless and Unfortunate
“Together We Can Solve Hunger”, a non- profit organization, is a charity that feeds the homeless, and provides help for families that cannot afford some of the basic needs. Today Love News spoke to the Vice-president of TWCSH, Geraldine Mai. GERALDINE MAI “We have a Sunday lunch every Sunday that we look forward to preparing for the homeless. We usually cater for 50 homeless and we have also had three different families now who have joined and come up to us telling us that they are not homeless but they simply don’t have that day, so we have 50 plus the three additional families that we are catering for. The organization stems from a lot of our own personal challenge and wanting to give back with any NGO we rely heavily on donation. In terms of the finance we have been getting some donations from home and a little from abroad and we are thankful for those but most of our donation comes from my husband Mr.Mai he has been so supportive of this organization and he allows us to use a portion of his pension at the end of the month. Every Sunday we are at battle field park with our Sunday dinner for the homeless we also have another project that we have adapted into this organization it’s called the ‘Food Basket’ whereby we give out food baskets to single mothers every Friday at 2 pm but as I have mentioned before we rely on donations so it is how we get the donations that we try to give back for the food baskets.”

GSU Weekend Operations Yield Several Arrests
The Gang Suppression Unit held operations throughout the weekend. At around seven o’clock on Friday night they conducted a search on a house located on Rivero Street in Belize City which led to the discovery of a black plastic bag containing 174 grams of cannabis found hidden inside a container next to a concrete wall. Since no one was in the immediate area, the drug was labeled as “Found Property”. Later that night the GSU officers were in the area known as Dykes on Fabers Road. They conducted a search of an open lot which resulted in the discovery of a black plastic bag containing 143 grams of cannabis which was hidden under some dry leaves.

Burnt Cane Field; Chair of BSCFA Being Targeted
Over the weekend, the Chair of the Finance Committee of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, Javier Keme, got a phone call informing him that his cane had been burnt. Keme told the media today that he believes that he was target because of the position he has taken on the sugar situation. He said that the culprit burnt about eight acres of cane costing him more than ten thousand dollars. JAVIER KEME “I normally give my tour in my cane fields every evening and I did that on Thursday evening and everything was okay up to 5:30 or 6:00 in the evening but on Friday at about 9:30 I received this call and I went to check and the whole parcel is 16 acres but I managed to harvest half of it at the end of the crop. So about 7-8 acres remained there and that was what was set on fire and it was new planted cane, 16 months because it supposed to be harvested at the end of the crop but because of the crop ending there is always production that stays so that stayed on the field and more or less 180 to 100 tons, that is my calculation.”

PUP Needed More Time to Consider Sugar Amendments
The House of Representatives met today in Belmopan. The first order of business was the swearing in of the newest member of the House of Representatives. Dr. Omar Figueroa who won the recent bi-election in Cayo North was sworn in. The special meeting was called to make amendments to the Sugar Industry Act. The amendment seeks to amend chapter 324 of the ACT to quote “bring the act into conformity with the Belize Constitution; to secure to all cane farmers the freedom to belong to an association of their own choice; to facilitate the commencement of the grinding seasons in a fair and equitable manner” end of quote. Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca appealed to the Prime Minister to withdraw the bill but that request was strongly rejected. GASPAR VEGA “In accordance with standing order number 49, I move that the bill be taken through all its stages forthwith.” FRANCIS FONSECA “We object to this in the strongest possible terms. How can we come here today, how can this government come here today to this honorable house, place before us a bill of such importance affecting a vital national industry, the sugar industry.

BSCFA Remains a Robust Association
Members of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association met yesterday in San Roman to approve the signing of the commercial agreement with BSI/ASR. BSCFA saw it very important to convene its members to pass this crucial resolution as three farmers associations have gone ahead and signed contract with BSI and are ready to start the sugar cane crop. Until Friday last week, BSCFA had not received a positive response from BSI/ASR as to when to sign an agreement even though the Prime Minister told us he has been lobbying with BSI to go ahead and sign an agreement with the BSCFA without the need of approval from its general assembly. Chairman of the BSCFA Ezequiel Cansino spoke with the media after the meeting. EZEQUIEL CANSINO “As you can see we just came to get an approval from the membership to go ahead and sign the agreement with BSI and well we came straight to the point and the cane farmers responded positively.”


Man dies in fatal road accident
A traffic accident on the Phillip Goldson Highway between miles 81 and 82 in Ranchito village, Corozal,  has left one man dead. The incident happened sometime after 11  o’clock on Saturday night. Eric Vellos was northbound in a Nissan Altima car, when it received a tire blowout...

Man crashes into police vehicle
On Saturday in Corozal, a man crashed into the back of a police vehicle. Sometime after 6 pm,  Corozal Police were conducting village patrol along with OC Corozal and Corozal QRT in a Police marked vehicle, travelling from Copper Bank Village...

Police investigate sudden death of young mother after childbirth
A woman from Billy White Village in the Cayo district is dead, after a piece of placenta was left in her after childbirth. On January 5th, 25-year-old Norma Noemi Marroquin was taken to the Spanish Lookout clinic where she gave birth...

Men charged for components of firearms
A firearm does not have to be whole to be considered a firearm under the laws of Belize.  That is the reason why two young men are in Central Prison at Hattieville. 21 year old Akeem Requena and 19 year old David Mas are accused of keeping component parts of a firearm, a charge to which they pleade...

Kimala Roche awarded for “Doing the Rite Ting”
The Mahogany Police Cadet Corp has acknowledged 16-year-old Kimala Roche, a Second Form student of Sadie Vernon High School and an active member of the Precinct II Cadet Corp, with a do the right thing award. Kimala holds the rank of Acting Cadet Junior Instructor, whose duties is to assist the Poli...

Patrick JonesPJ

Demonstrators picket National Assembly Building
While the House of Representatives was meeting today inside the National Assembly building, outside, a handful of people were holding a protest. About five dozen caneros and their supporters marched around the National Assembly Building carrying placards and pieces of sugar cane. They also carried placards and banners denouncing the way government handled the whole sugar impasse. At a general membership meeting on Sunday, the members of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association voted to authorized the BSCFA to proceed with signing the commercial agreement with BSI/ASR, which, as was announced by the Deputy Prime Minister was done this morning.

A BDF volunteer is stabbed to death
Did an attempt to settle a fight lead to the death of 23 year old Denver Villafranco on Saturday night in Belize City? That is what residents of Police Street believe, and they are puzzled as to why attackers targeted Villafranco, who was found lying motionless on Complex Avenue with a stab wound to the right side of the abdomen, from which he died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital while undergoing treatment minutes later. He had been walking on Complex Avenue about 20 minutes earlier headed in the direction of Mahogany Street, when three men attacked him and caused his fatal injury.

Men charged for components of firearms
A firearm does not have to be whole to be considered a firearm under the laws of Belize. And that is the reason why two young men are in Belize Central Prison at Hattieville tonight. 21 year old Akeem Requena and 19 year old 21 year old Akeem Requena and 19 year old David Mas are accused of keeping component parts of a firearm, a charge to which they pleaded not guilty before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer in court today.

Bill introduced to amend the Belize Sugar Industry Act
The Honorable the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture Mr. Gaspar Vega has introduced a Bill to parliament to amend the Belize Sugar Industry Act. The amendment will bring the law into conformity with a Supreme Court order to give all cane farmers the freedom to belong to an association of their own choice. The amendment will also facilitate the commencement of the grinding season and takes into account the legitimate interests of all stakeholders.


Hot Donuts at San Pedro’s New Ice N’ Beans – At The Sandbar Hostel: Love This Place
For those who have NOT heard the news, Caye Caulker’s Ice N Beans now has an outpost in San Pedro. I spent quite a few blog posts – particularly this one – GUSHING about the hot donuts that were a heart breaking 25 minute water taxi ride away… But now we have our own in San Pedro. Hello 200 pounds! Located at the new Sandbar Hostel (know many hostels with this kind of beach?)… …starting just this past Monday, they are now pumping out three things and three things only. Hot donuts with cinnamon sugar or chocolate sauce (or probably both if you ask nicely), yummy coffee drinks and shaved ices with tons of different flavors.

Drifting along the Ambergrise Caye shore
This morning I learned about the day the red apples drifted up on the shore of Ambergris Caye. It was in the days before island people had the ability to can and preserve food. They were fresh, red, sweet and juicy apples and they came in like a red tide. There were so many of them that people grew sick of eating them and fed them to their dogs, recalls Angel Nunez. In time there were red apples rotting everywhere, probably smelling much like the sargassum does today. Another time, recalls Mr. Nunez, green apples drifted on to shore but people did not care for them as much. Drift is such a beautiful word. It can convey aimlessness or randomness — or a Zen-like oneness with a certain flow. You can drift through life and end up very successful. You can drift through life and end up in a cardboard box. Chance plays a certain role when you drift.

International Sourcesizz

Scuba diving in the Yucatán Peninsula's spectacular cenotes, Caribbean
Our scuba group plopped into the cenote and slipped below the surface into a spectacular light show of wavering, laser-like sunbeams that sliced through the crystal clear water. They reminded me of the northern lights and were just the beginning of the visual treats my family and I would experience in the Yucatán Peninsula. Many of these cenotes — limestone sinkholes — are connected to huge, freshwater caverns filled with stalagmites and icicle-like stalactites created tens of thousands of years ago when the seas were significantly lower and the caves well above water. Though not for everyone, a guided scuba trip in a cenote is something I would recommend for gutsy and experienced divers who won't be intimidated by swimming through chambers with overhead enclosures. I first dived in a cenote here 20 years ago and was eager to return, this time as part of a family scuba trip.

Cayman to tackle Belize on road to Russia
The Cayman Islands national football team has been paired with Belize in the first round of the regional qualifiers for the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia. The first match will be an away game for Cayman followed by a home leg. This is a very tough draw for the Cayman Islands which is seeded 33rd in the region while Belize is ranked 23rd. Cayman has not played on the international stage for some four years and is currently at the bottom of the world rankings and the team is likely to struggle to gain any points in the match-up. But if the national squad does comes out on top the team will go on to play Dominica in the second round or its world cup hopes for 2018 will be over pretty quickly.

Belize it or not, we’re diving the Great Blue Hole
Like a massive pupil in a sea of turquoise, the Great Blue Hole off the coast of Belize is easily considered the most amazing underwater sinkhole in the world. There are others that are deeper and larger in diameter but none can compete with the splendor of this natural depression. The Great Blue Hole formed as a limestone cave system during the last ice age when sea levels were lower, and the caves flooded as the planet warmed and sea levels rose. Jacques-Yves Cousteau made the site famous in 1972 when he explored the area with his research ship, the Calypso. It was quickly declared one of the top 10 scuba diving sites in the world. At nearly 1000 feet wide and 480 feet deep, it’s a feature attraction for gutsy divers looking for the adventure of a lifetime. Diving guides Maverick, Michael, Jorge and Captain Edgar briefed our group of eight divers before we headed east for about 60 miles or 2.5 hours, bobbing up and down on moderate waves. My boyfriend George became PADI-certified in June 2014. Other than taking his dive exams in the waters of Lake George last summer, he had zero dive experience. Would this first dive prove too risky or scary? The dive exceeds the depth limit of an Open Water Certified Diver by a few feet.

Hacking John McAfee: Truth behind the guns, aliens and fake heart attacks
Heard the story about what Mark Zuckerberg got up to in LA at the weekend? Or the bizarre exploits of Larry Ellison at the Oracle Christmas party? And what about the scrapes Kevin Systrom got into when he went on holiday last year? Well actually, you've probably not heard about any of this. We haven't either. Because these multi-millionaire tech moguls don't want to let us into their lives. Yes, they're happy to publicise their companies' latest product roll-outs, but as individuals they are, understandably, fiercely protective of their privacy. Anyone who wants to find out about their private lives has to rely on stolen snippets of information, gleaned from a paparazzi lens or a particularly ballsy gossip reporter. John McAfee though, takes a rather different approach. In fact, it seems no aspect of his private life is off-limits. We know he went to live in Belize and fled the country after his neighbour died in mysterious circumstances. We know he faked a heart attack to avoid going back there. We know he lives a nomadic existence, carries 10 guns, and thinks the American government is after him. We know he was almost murdered by an ex-lover, driven mad by lust and jealousy, in Poland last year. We know all this because McAfee talks freely about all these things.

Witness: Bain's axing put everyone on tenterhooks
A medical doctor testified yesterday that Professor Brendan Bain's sacking by the University of the West Indies (UWI) left the academic staff worried that others among them might also be fired if their expert evidence wasn't in keeping with the ideology espoused by the university or its donors. Dr William Aiken, who is based at UWI, made the statement while being redirected by Bain's attorney Georgia Gibson-Henlin after his cross-examination by Queen's Counsel Hugh Small. "What happened to Professor Bain put everyone on tenterhooks that if your expert report is not the ideological position of the university or others that it will create an anxious environment in which one works," Williams said. Asked by Justice Lennox Campbell who are the "others" to which he referred, Aiken said the donors of the university.

The Caribbean Glass Ceiling
Women Less than 5% of CEOs & 50 to 100 years for parity In its Jan. 2015 report, the International Labour Organization (ILO) announces a gaining momentum of women in business and management across the globe. As I prepared for a lightning read through, my first stop was the ‘Contents’ pages. The ‘Introduction’ was sobering. Headings such as, “Glass ceiling still intact”, “Still lonely at the top”, “Making corporate culture more inclusive” and “Women in the “pipeline”’ did not make it appear that substantial progress was being made. And, the ILO report emphasizes this point. Under “Still lonely at the top”, and citing from the 2010 World Economic Forum’s Gender Corporate Gap, the ILO report highlights that on average, women account for less than 5 per cent of CEOs in the largest companies in OECD countries. Whether in the 34 OECD countries or outside of that grouping, in highly populated countries like China and India, or in places like South Africa and Mexico, the situation for women at the top in companies is still ‘lonely’ as the percentages remain pretty fixed at 5 percent or less.

Norwegian Escape welcomes Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant
Cruisers should get their Fins Up and shakers of salt ready, as the first-ever floating Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant and 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar will soon set sail onboard the all-new Norwegian Escape. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings chief executive officer Kevin Sheehan announced the news at a company-wide event, with the help of a very special guest the legendary Jimmy Buffett who performed for the crowd. Norwegian’s exclusive partnership with Margaritaville Holdings extends to Norwegian’s island destinations including the new Harvest Caye in Belize and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, as well as other ships in the fleet.


TRAILER IMAGINE: CAMINOS,2.5 min. Imagine 2012 is a very human, mystical, historical and beautifully shot documentary about what really happened on December 21st 2012. It was mostly shot in Mayan territory (Mexico, Guatemala and Belize) during December 2012. We are a group of independent filmmakers from Mexico, Australia, United States and Chile.
Interview with a Mayan Shaman in Belize, 4min. An interview with Martinez, an ancient Mayan shaman who lives in San Ignacio, Belize.
Sunbreeze Hotel, San Pedro, Belize, 4min.
The Orion Classic Bikini & Body Building Competition in Placencia Belize!! :D, 2min.
Belize ZipLine, 4min.
Belize 2nd dive, 13min.
The Crocodile Hunter: Steve's Greatest Crocodile Captures, 10min. Steve talks about his adventures with crocodiles and about how he captured them...
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association back, to its general assembly on Sunday January 18th 2015, 2.5min.
Mirna's Baby Shower in Belize,29 min. Mirna and Miguel soon are expecting the arrival of little Asher- and today we gather to celebrate her Baby Shower !!
Takeoff and Ascent from Philip Goldson International, Belize, 9min. AAL 1419 - Boeing 737 from Belize City to Miami on 3-15-2014 Tail Number N877NN
Great Blue Hole Dive, Belize January 2014, 6.5min. Deep and quick dive (130 ft., 8 mins) to see the stalactite formations.
Underwater Belize GO PRO 3, 3.5min. Ambergris Caye, Belize
Diving San Pedro Ambergris Caye, Belize Pro Dive Center., 4.5min. There are many reasons why Belize is one of mother nature's best kept secrets, and these are just a few. All these shots were taken from December 2014 - January 2015 here on San Pedro Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Chukka Crocodile Encounter and Shrimp Farm Tour Belize, 3min. It’s an unlikely combination, a shrimp farm and a crocodile sanctuary, but Chukka Belize makes it happen in one exciting and educational tour. It’s the latest package that the tour company has come up with to bring you more of the Belizean experience. Chukka’s Crocodile Encounter and Shrimp Farm package is both thrilling and delectable.

January 19, 2015


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Wolfe’s Woofer: We Are Professionals
“Can you give me a ride to the airport?” Charlie asked. “I’m meeting Russell when he comes in.” “Sure,” I said. “He’s finally making it back to the island? It’s about time.” “Charles was going to take me to meet him but he’s tied up with something. Mark had to go to Belize City so I’ve got no way of getting to the airport except taxi.” “Let’s go,” I said. “I’m looking forward to seeing Russell.” When Russell arrived he wasn’t his usual smiling self. “What’s wrong with you?” Charlie asked. “I brought a brand new guitar with me and I’m worried about it.” “What’s the worry?” I asked.

Letter to the Editor: Paul Martin
Dear Editor: I just finished a week stay in San Pedro at the Paradise Villas. I enjoyed the trip however a couple of things really bothered me. I did several snorkeling trips including to the Blue Hole. People were allowed to smoke on the boat operated by Aqua Scuba, and little was done to stop people from throwing cigarette butts out into the water. Fish die from cigarette butts. Someone from that area needs to stop this kind of activity. No smoking signs should be put up and no discarding of butts into the water should be allowed. I also visited the park and walked around many of the places in town. It is becoming deplorable. The downtown park is run down. All the buildings need painting. I tried contacting the administration of San Pedro, but that apparently is not possible. Someone needs to get in touch with them and tell them to start spending some money on keeping the area a good place to visit. You will encourage tourism that way in having a vibrant area for people to visit.

Unidentified body confirmed as missing Honduran Silvia Benitez
Police in San Pedro Town are investigating the circumstances leading to the death of a missing Honduran. She has been identified as 22 year old Silvia Benitez, a waitress of the San Pedrito Area. Benitez, a single mother of three, was discovered about 15 feet off the Grand Belizean Estate road 3 ½ miles north of San Pedro Town on Saturday morning, January 17th. She was in an advanced state of decomposition, and as such doctors performed the postmortem onsite.

Doctor Love
Dear Doctor Love, My husband and I were divorced two years ago. He was a cheater, an abuser and a manipulator who was very good at hiding his private life from those around him. The only people who know the details of the divorce from me were my close friends and family. All of my friends have been very supportive but many of them are curious about what caused the split in my marriage. My ex moved away so they can’t ask him about it. Even though they have been nice to me some of them are always questioning to find out what went wrong. These people also make a lot of assumptions and try to give me advice to get over the relationship because I have not started dating. I have avoided their questions because I feel it is no one’s business but mine. The truth is that I am long over the relationship and I am simply relieved that it’s over.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Missing Honduran Woman Found Dead
Carolina Sylvia Benitez, a Honduran national living in San Pedro. She was last seen drunk on 12.01.15 at around 4:00 a.m. sitting on a bench with an alcoholic beverage in her hand. She was in the company of four male persons and that was the last time that she was seen alive. According to the San Pedro Sun she was " a stripper/waiter of the San Pedrito Area." And the body was found near the Grand Belizean Estate road 3 ½ miles north of San Pedro Town on Saturday morning. A postmortem examination was conducted on site and she had mutiple injuries caused by blunt force. Benitez is a mother of three. She was reported missing by 36-year-old Danilo Alvarenga, one of her friends.

Reef Week 2015
Enter Oceana Belize's Instagram competition to win cool prizes! Special thanks to Tropic Air and Belizean Nirvana for the Placencia prize package and our anonymous donor for the GoPro! Good luck and we're excited to see the photos you use to describe your love affair with Belize's incredible marine resources!

The Reporter

Man killed in traffic accident
Police need the public’s assistance to identify the body of a man who was killed in a traffic accident sometime after 11 p.m. on Saturday night between miles 81 and 82 on the Phillip Goldson Highway in Ranchito Village. Police say the man’s gold Nissan Altima car bearing license plates, CZL-C-04613, was found overturned in a drain on the right hand side off the road, when travelling in a northerly direction. The car, according to police, was traveling northwards and experienced a tire blow-out, then lost control of the vehicle, slammed into a culvert and flipped several times. The driver suffered a large gash in the back of his head and other injuries to his body and died within an hour at the Corozal Community Hospital.

Ministry of Education CEO: ‘The ministry is improving employability for TVET students
By aligning the curriculum for technical and vocational students the Ministry of Education is improving the employability of Belizean students in the Caribbean, says the ministry’s Chief Executive Officer, David Leacock. Speaking at the close of the two-week curriculum alignment workshop funded by the banana accompanying measures BAM project of the European Union, Leacock explained that the exercise is a step towards the Ministry being able to offer Caribbean vocational qualification CVQ certifications. “The CVQ is regionally recognized so our students will be able to be employed wherever they go in the Caribbean, ” Leacock said, “so it’s a matter of getting the systems in place to back able to offer the qualification. ” Leacock added that the alignment and the other undertakings to offer the CVQs are a part of the education sector reform strategy which aims at improving quality and the relevance of education provided in Belize.

Missing woman found murdered in San Pedro
Police have discovered the badly mutilated body of a young woman who was reported missing this past Thursday. On Saturday afternoon San Pedro police responded to an alert in the Grand Belize Estate area about 3 1/2 miles north of the town and found the partially nude and decomposed body of Silvia Carmen Benites, 22, a Honduran who lived in the San Pedrito area on the island. The body, according to police, was discovered ‘on the right hand side of the road in a pond of mud and water’. Police say that on Saturday morning before midday two passersby smelled a stench coming from the area and saw the corpse, which had bruises to the face, neck and back. A post mortem confirmed that Benites suffered severe ibternal injuries where the bruises were. She also suffered ‘restraining-type injuries to the shoulders and inner thigh’. The autopsy, however, could not determine the cause of death.

Mexico arrests gang member for students’ murders
Police in Mexico have arrested a member of a criminal gang accused of killing 43 students in Iguala in September. Felipe Rodriguez ordered Guerreros Unidos gang members to burn the bodies and clothing of the victims to hide evidence, prosecutors say. They say the students were detained by police after a protest and handed over to the gang. The students’ disappearance sparked weeks of protests across Mexico against corruption and violence. Felipe Rodriguez – known as “El Cepillo” or “The Brush” – was arrested on Thursday night in the city of Jiutepec, some 90km (55 miles) south of Mexico City. Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam identified him in November as the gang member who ordered the bodies and clothes of the victims to be burned in a nearby rubbish dump and thrown into a local stream. “His intent was to destroy all evidence of the murders,” said Mr Murillo Karam.

KHMH CEO says he will not defend wrong in negligence
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Authority is scheduled to meet with Lucia Martinez on Monday following allegations of the hospital leaving cotton swabs insider her body after delivering a baby. Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, Dr. Adrian Coye, said this week that he has received the final report on the hospital’s investigation, and is holding the meeting to discuss the findings with Martinez and give her the opportunity to vent all her concerns. “The question of a retained swab is a very serious incident, and we won’t take this matter lightly,” Coye said, “if we’re liable, we’re liable and I will not defend things that are wrong.” He added that after assessing how the incident may have taken place, corrective measures have been put in place to safeguard against future incidents. However, he would have preferred if Martinez had brought her complaint to the KHMH before going to the media.

American delegation arrives in Cuba
An American Congressional delegation has arrived in Havana in the first such visit since the United States and Cuba agreed to restore ties severed in 1961. The Democrat politicians plan to meet Cuban officials and civilian leaders to discuss practical measures required for the normalisation of relations. The thaw in relations was announced on 17 December by President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro. Earlier this week, Cuba completed the release of 53 political prisoners. The measure was agreed as part of the agreement. “We have all been to Cuba before, and we strongly support the president’s new direction for our policy towards Cuba,” said Senator Patrick Leahy.

Patrick JonesPJ

Fatal traffic mishap on the Phillip Goldson Highway in Corozal
A traffic accident on the Phillip Goldson Highway late on Saturday night has claimed the life of one person. The victim has been identified as Eric Vellos. Police say Vellos was northbound in a Nissan Altima car around 11:50 pm on Saturday when it suffered a tire blowout. Vellos is reported to have then lost control of the car which crashed into a culvert and flipped several times. Police say Vellos was thrown from the overturning vehicle and sustained fatal injuries, including an open wound to the back of the head.

Body of woman reported missing found in San Pedro
Two days after police reported her missing, the body of 22 year old Silvia Carmen Benites was found in an area north of San Pedro town on Saturday afternoon. According to authorities, passersby in the area three and a half miles north of San Pedro town found the nude body of the young mother, of Honduran nationality in a muddy pond at the side of the road. Police say that a post mortem examination revealed that Benites’ body has multiple blunt force injuries to the right side of the face, the neck and the back. They autopsy also found restraining type injuries to the shoulders and inner thigh.


Operationalizing Sustainability for Solutions
Is the thinking associated with the suggestion that concepts of sustainability can guide our daily lives accurate and on mark, or just another wave in the sea of change associated with trying to solve our long-term global problems that is popular to surf at the moment? Everyone is now talking about sustainable development. But how do we move beyond the rhetoric of sustainability while also establishing or maintaining a “big picture” approach to problem-solving? To stimulate your thinking view the 90 second video “What is Our Legacy.” Trying to operationalize the concept of sustainable development often is met with confusion and complexity around what the idea promotes. An approach to understanding and thinking in a sustainability context needs to move into the mainstream with regards to how integrative thinking can break down the notion of silos on the landscape, generate new solutions, and promote greater ownership of the challenges. This shift in perspective can be the difference between a system in which you add a device to lessen the pollution emission at the end of a pipe to one in which you eliminate the need for the pollution abatement device altogether.

Belize Can Make You Crazy? Perhaps. The New John McAfee Retreat & Amazon’s New Series: “Mad Dogs”
A New McAfee Themed Resort on Ambergris Caye You don’t need to read much about John McAfee to liken him to Colonel Kurtz. Comes down to Belize, greases a few palms, tries to start all sorts of businesses, make friends and/or enemies with the police, builds a laboratory in the jungle, maybe manufacturers a few hallucinogenic bath salts and goes a bit nuts. And then quite possibly has a neighbor murdered. He makes the comparison SO much easier with some of the ridiculous gun toting, shirtless photos that he posed for. See below – Cuckoo for coconuts. Anyway…a new resort/villa is just opening on a property that McAfee owned on North Ambergris Caye. Right next door to the home where he lived… Just south…it was an empty lot when McAfee purchased it – along with the main house. And then he built a few palapas. After JM was wanted for questioning in relation to a murder, hid out in a flurry of drama and paranoia in Belize…

The Advantages of Retiring in Northern Belize
If you are thinking about relocating and investing in a new home in Belize, then it is a must to look at the advantages of living in northern Belize. A great place to retire and get off the beaten path, Northern Belize offers a diversity of nature, history and culture than any other district in Belize. In fact, when you take a close look at the benefits that the region provides, you may decide that this is the ideal place to call home. The Climate Throughout all of Belize, you can enjoy pleasant tropical climate. Sitting very close to the equator and along the coast, you can expect mild to warm temperatures throughout the year. However, the climate in the northern region of the country is somewhat unique in that it has lower average rainfall per year than the coastal areas. This means more days of radiant sunshine and beautiful blue skies than you will have if you invest in a home in the southern region of Belize. In addition, the geographic features and the proximity of the area to the coast make the northern region more protected from tropical storms and hurricanes.

Meeting with Myself (aka - That hooker may stab me yet)
So I'm drinking a Carla's Sweet Nipples when Raven walks down the bar, passing plenty of vacant stools, opting to take his place beside me. A true 'salty dog' sailor if I've ever met one. Shoulder length gray hair, a beard far more full and masculine than I can grow...also grayed by the years. He had about 40 years on me; most spent sailing around the Mediterranean - a few pretty crazy adventures I enjoyed hearing about - with his most recent years being spent in the mountains of Mexico. He had spent his life jumping from adventure to adventure; and had no doubt achieved short term happiness in bunches. You could see it on his face as he talked. It was very nice cruising around and watching the sunset on Eric's birthday. Good Times for sure. If you haven't experienced a Sunset cruise with us...WTF? Realy?! Call me...maybe. Is that still a thing? Still don't understand it - getting old.

International Sourcesizz

Belize first as Cayman returns to international competition
The Cayman Islands will play Belize in the first leg of the 2018 World Cup qualifying football games in a couple of months’ time. Cayman has not played internationally at senior level since 2011 and dropped to 205 in the FIFA world rankings, its lowest position ever. Only Djibouti, Cook Islands, Anguilla and Bhutan are lower in the FIFA rankings. Cayman Islands Football Association’s technical director Renard Moxam said it is not impossible for Cayman to one day make it to the World Cup finals, but there will be some serious obstacles to overcome. He said, “For this particular World Cup campaign, which will eventually get you to Russia 2018, we have many hurdles to go over and many hurdles to pass and some huge ones too.”

The Incredible Story Of How This Man Saved A Baby Manatee Will Melt Your Heart
A baby manatee is recovering nicely after being rescued by a young volunteer last year. Mitchell Thomas, 19, found the too-cute-for-words mammal while volunteering for Wildtracks Manatee and Primate Rehabilitation in Belize. “This little man was found in the waters of Belize struggling to stay at the surface after his mother was presumably killed by a boat,” Thomas wrote on Imgur. “An adult manatee was found dead nearby.” Since Thomas was the one responsible for saving the little guy, the conservation and research non-profit named the manatee Mitchell. Mitch the manatee was taken to the rehabilitation center on June 30, where he was wrapped in a wet t-shirt and doused with water to keep his skin from drying out.


Christmas in Belize 2014, 2min. 2 days inside Belize Central Prison from Mpact Ministries
Life in a Day (Central America), 2min.
Guatemala to Belize: an exercise in survival, 6min. A snippet from our danger-tinged trip from Guatemala to Belize and back.
Placencia Belize 2015, 26min. 2015 Trip to Belize with my skydiving family
Belize 2005, 20min. by CAN Belize
Caye Caulker Channel, Belize - 2015-01-07, 4min.
Blue Hole, Belize - 2015-01-09, 2min.
Half Moon Caye Reef & The Aquariuim - Long Caye Reef, Belize - 2015-01-09, 5min.
Bike Belize City, 30min.
Mini Calabash, Belize, 7min.
Belize 2015, 3min.
Project Smile Mission Trip, 5min. A brief video introduction to taking a short term mission trip with Project Smile, which works in Belize City, Belize in a partnership between the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia and the Diocese of Belize.
Beautiful Belize 1, 3min. A short video of one of the beautiful rivers and a cave in Belize, Central America.
Maruba Resort Jungle Spa, Maskall, Belize, 3min.

January 18, 2015


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Sargasso all up on our shores!
Dear Sargasso Sea, Thank you for being so generous with your bounty, but really, you SHOULDN’T have!! Not last year. Not this month…at least, not this much. Really, it’s TOO much!!! We get it; the currents have been depositing the marine plants and refuse into your waters…but sharing sometimes isn’t all that caring…

Unidentified Woman Found Dead North of San Pedro Town
The unidentified remains of a partially-clothed woman were discovered today, Saturday January 17th in the Grand Belizean Estates Area 3 ½ miles north of San Pedro Town. At approximately 11:30 AM passer-byers on the road that runs through Grand Belizean Estates noticed a foul smell and vultures in a specific area. On closer look they found the body on the north side of the road, lying face down in the mud and water. They promptly notified the police who arrived within minutes to the scene. Due to the advanced stage of decomposition and animal predation, forensic authorities will conduct a post mortem at the scene. Police suspect foul play.

Police Report
On Wednesday, January 14th, San Pedro Crime Investigation Branch (CIB) and Special Branch (SB) personnel conducted a search at the apartment room of 28-year-old Belizean Willis Estrada Davis and 24-year-old Belizean Christian Smith in the San Marcos Area. A thorough search was conducted inside the room which led to the discovery of 1.1 grams of suspected cannabis. They were both charged jointly for Possession of Controlled Drugs.

Solid Waste transfer station on Ambergris Caye to be completed by March
The Solid Waste Transfer Station on Ambergris Caye is scheduled to be completed in March, almost two years after the project was expected to be finished. The project is part of the national Solid Waste Management Project (SWMP) which will see the garbage generated from several parts of Belize including Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, transferred to mainland Belize for proper disposal. The transfer station in San Pedro is being built at a cost of almost $1 million, which is part of a larger loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) obtained by the Government of Belize (GOB). It is estimated that annually over 3,500 short tons of solid waste from commercial and residential usage are collected on Ambergris Caye alone. One short ton is equivalent to about 2,000 pounds which indicates that on Ambergris Caye, over seven million pounds of garbage is generated annually. It is projected that by the year 2030 the island would be generating approximately 8,173 short tons of garbage per year or 37.5 million pounds.

Saga – 15 years of community service
Saga Humane Society recently celebrated its 15th year as a not-for-profit humane organization on Ambergris Caye. In order to know where you are going, it is often said you need to know where you have been… Although the organization was named after one of the founder’s dogs, it is an appropriate name as Saga is a seemingly endless story of a community’s tireless dedication to its animals. In March of 1999, Dr. Bronwen Eastwood, a Veterinary Surgeon, got together with six other members of the island community (Walker Marchal, Sari Frank, Eileen Jamison, Ruben Gonzalez, Ramon Nunez, and Lane Llewelyn) to form The Saga Society (also known as The Saga Humane Society or just “Saga”). On June 16th of that year, it was officially registered as a non-profit, non-governmental organization under the Laws of Belize, possibly the first of its kind in Central America, as a means to address stray animal challenges.

US Student teachers learn to be ‘global citizens’ while on Ambergris Caye
“One of the main objectives of the course is to develop knowledge, skills and disposition in our students so that they can be stewards for the common good,” stated Dr. Shelly Fairbairn. Fairbairn, along with two other professors, Dr. Sally R Beisser and Lynda Brown are on Ambergris Caye with 21 students from Drake University located in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The students have been divided into three groups, working along with the Belize Strombus gigas Alliance (SGA), Marco Gonzalez Maya Archeological Site and Holy Cross Anglican School. During their 12-day stay on the island, the students have been involved in several projects that have given them a taste of the real world. This is the ninth consecutive year that Drake University has been sending students to Belize and the second time they have done so in January. The January group is on the island as part of their course called January Term. According to the three professors accompanying the students, the personal experience on trips, such as the one on the island, is a life changing one for the participants. “Part of our mission statement is to prepare students to be responsible global citizens,” said Dr Fairbairn.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

The Day of Triumph: A Glimpse in the Life of World Cultural Icon. The true heroes behind our music are really those first Garifuna fighters who in the 18th. Century on the island of Yurume, St. Vincent, stood up against slavery, colonization, and cultural domination. Andy Palacio Those were the passionate words that a spiritually uplifted Andy Palacio uttered at the World Music Expo, WOMEX, in reception of the internationally acclaimed music prize in Spain in October 2007. He had finally culminated his cultural and musical crusade for the Garifuna people, and laid the seal to the mission to which he was called. The work of this incredible personality in Belizean history was a life that was lived and not preached. His was the life of a splendid character, whom if you had got to know him and the beliefs that embodied and drove his way of life, was the epitome of a humble cultural revolutionary. He was a man from the inception of his career who had a vision to change the present status quo of what today we call Belizean culture and music. He was the quiet warrior, sometimes quite unpredictable, who sacrificed most of his life for a cause that he truly believed in, the liberation of the Garinagu.


BSI/ASR sends BSCFA back to members or no agreement signing
The BSCFA are in limbo as they await the outcome of a discussion between Prime Minister Dean Barrow and ASR. On Wednesday the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) sent a letter, signed by the majority of its members, saying they are willing and ready to sign the agreement with BSI/ASR. As we told you on Thursday, fragments of BSCFA signed the agreement with ASR as the Corozal Sugar Producers Association or CSPA. We also understand that another group, the Progressive Sugar Producers Association or PSPA signed the same agreement with BSI on Thursday evening. Together, officials say the two associations along with other individual reaping groups, registered under the Sugar Industry control Board, surpass the minimum tonnage of 5 thousand tons required to start the crop . All this was happening while old-faithful sat and waited for BSI’s response.

PM Barrow updates on sugar agreement and BSCFA predicament
Prime Minister Dean Barrow met with selective members of the media on Friday. PlusTV was not invited. However, media reports are that the PM said that he does not envision the start of the sugarcane crop without the involvement of the Belize sugar Cane Farmers Association. The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to bash, what he called, the extremist minority, referring to Matura, Ortega and company, and blamed them for the current predicament of the BSCFA. “The ASR position now is precisely the position taken by Matura, Ortega, Teck, and the extremists when they started their campaign to undo the first BSCFA decision to sign. Indeed they filed an application in Court for an injunction to stop the BSCFA from signing without going back to the General Assembly. So it is they that have places this noose around the neck of the BSCFA. For they can hardly be heard to say now that ASR is wrong in merely insisting that what they, the extremists, billed as non-negotiable, is what must prevail

Will the fragmented BSCFA protest at Monday’s House Meeting?
The amendment to the Sugar Act set to be passed on Monday is of historical importance. It changes the very fabric that has governed the sugar industry since its early years of inception. Farmers jumping onboard one of the new Associations say it is a step in the right direction; but not everyone is of the same opinion. As a matter of fact, we have received reports that the BSCFA is planning a protest to coincide with Monday’s House Meeting. We contacted Alfredo Ortega, Chairman of the Orange Walk Branch for the BSCFA, to confirm the validity of those reports. He refused to speak on record, nevertheless he told us that the decision to protest is still on the table and that it is up to Chairman Ezequiel Cansino and the other directors to make that call. But Alfredo Ortega is not known to go with the flow. So we asked him point blank, if the majority directors voted against a protest what would be the next move. He said that he will still protest.

Government did not follow the law on Sugar Act
Earlier this week Attorney General Wilfred Elrington admitted that the Government deliberately ignored a consent order obtained by the United Cane Farmers Association a few years ago detailing amendments to the Sugar Act to de-regulate the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) as sole representative of sugar cane growers. The Government is now belatedly going to the House of Representatives to pass the amendments on Monday but according to president of the Bar Association of Belize, Eamon Courtenay, the law has been violated and it will be difficult to undo the damage. “Every order of the court takes effect immediately upon its being pronounced, unless the order itself suspends its effect or appoints a later date for its coming into force. So, to the extent that there was an undertaking given to the Court, as to the basis on which that case was settled, there was a duty from that date on the Government to do what it promised the Court.

Avian Influenza in poultry detected in Cayo District
A limited outbreak of Avian Influenza Type A in poultry has been detected in two farms in Spanish Lookout, according to BAHA. The organization has already implemented containment measures in effect prohibiting poultry and poultry products from exiting the affected farms. There are very little clinical signs in the affected birds, and this suggests a low pathogenic infection. BAHA has heightened its surveillance at all other poultry farms. Samples have been sent to a reference laboratory in the USA for confirmation and sub-typing and the results are expected in 4 days.

BRC Printing sues GOB
The Ministry of Education has been purchasing readers and work books from BRC Printing Ltd since 2009. Over the years, BRC readers have grown into household names. Every year, as part of an unsigned agreement, the Ministry of Education sends a request for a quotation for textbooks to BRC Printing Ltd, who then sends a quote and thereafter the Ministry of Education places its order with BRC. Last year was no different. The Ministry submitted its request in January and BRC followed up with a quote in the sum of over $463 thousand dollars. Then, according to BRC executives, based on the practice developed over time and the legitimate expectation that the Ministry would proceed to purchase its books, BRC began production of the said books.

CCJ President visits Belize
Belize ascribed to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in 2010 as the final appellate court, and has so far sent 29 cases to its seat in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. It is one of only three Caribbean countries to do so, Barbados and Guyana being the others. With the fifth anniversary of its joining coming this year, the Bar Association of Belize this week hosted CCJ’s president, Sir Dennis Byron, in Belize for a round of consultations with senior legal, judicial and government officials. Scheduled in between those meetings was a rare sit down with the press on Friday morning, where all subjects save discussion of actual cases before the Court was in play. Sir Dennis reported on progress in the region to expand accession to the appellate jurisdiction of the Court, with several countries expected to make decisions shortly.

Bar Association hosts law conference
We spoke to President of the Association Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay. “There’s a wide range of topics that will take place throughout the day, starting with a discussion by a presenter from England on digital assets. Things like if a person dies, suppose they don’t leave a will or if they don’t leave a will who has a right to contact [sites like] Gmail [or] Yahoo to get their password. Who has the right to their Facebook and that type of thing? So there have been cases in that area, and she will be talking to us about that. Then we get into the criminal reform. There are some significant reforms that are being proposed, and are very near implementation in Belize. For example, anonymity of witnesses, circumstances in which witnesses will be able to give evidence in cases from remote locations, and no one knowing who they are.

Parents plan picketing over late school bus runs
Many children who attend school in rural areas depend on the public transportation to take them home after school. In some instances, however, the Ministry of Education makes arrangement with a Bus Operator to transport the children to and from school. The St Margaret Mary Primary School in St Margaret’s village in the Cayo District sits on the Hummingbird Highway, and 60 of its students are ferried to and from school by a Ministry of Education Contracted Bus owned by Westline. According to the School’s Administrators, the bus line has been coming to pick up students extremely late in the evenings. This is putting the lives of the kids at risk, as some of them still need to walk a couple of miles to reach their homes in the dark of night after being dropped off. On Friday evening, the 60 kids waited at the school until 6:15 pm, before the Westline Bus came and picked them up.

Butane prices down by more than $10 per 100 pound cylinder
There’s some good news directly affecting the pockets of consumers. The price of LPG has dropped by $11 or $12 per 100 pound cylinder depending, on the mixture of propane to butane. Compared to 2014 LPG, prices are at an average of $32.00 lower on the 100 pound cylinder.

Man walking home with 6 year old son was shot
There was another shooting in Belize City on Thursday night just before 8 PM. 33-year-old George Matthews of Lacroix Boulevard was shot twice; to the left arm and the lower back. According to police, Mr Matthews was walking home along with his 6-year-old son, and when they reached on Lacroix Boulevard Extension a perpetrator came out from behind a fence and fired several shots at him, causing his injuries. George Mathews was admitted to ward in a stable condition.

Independence Police Officer Arraigned for unlawful sexual intercourse
P.C. 860 Patrick O’Brien was arrested and charged for the crime of ‘Unlawful Sexual Intercourse’. He was arraigned on January 14 and was escorted to the Hattieville Prison on 15th January, 2015. P.C. O’Brien was accused of carnally knowing a girl while she was 15 years old. The matter attracted attention when the nude picture of the girl, allegedly sleeping on a bed at the police barracks, made its rounds on Face Book. His case was adjourned until 14th April, 2015.

Trio caught visiting Belize illegally
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) recently celebrated having more than 1.2 million persons from around the world visiting Belize by airplane, cruise ship or otherwise, but a trio from Mexico are accused of failing to obtain a permit to come and stay here.. 61 year old Michael Huston of Australia, who captains the sailing boat Pristiq, and passengers 30 year old Marketa Rychecka and 34 year old Frantisek Gaspar of the Czech Republic, pleaded guilty to illegal entry before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart and paid fines of $1,000 each, avoiding jail time. On Friday morning, they docked the boat at the Radisson Fort George Hotel’s marina after coming from San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye. Immigration officers visited the boat and checked the passport of Michael Huston, which indicated he did not have a visa or permit to stay in Belize. Frantisek Gaspar and Marketa Rychecka were caught at the Philip Goldson International Airport in Ladyville, where Rychecka was attempting to board a flight to the United States. Her passport indicated no visa or permit to stay in Belize, while Gaspar did not have a passport or other identification at all. There is no indication if the trio face deportation from Belize.

Security guard charged with assault of teenager
A 14 year old teenager accuses a man nearly three times her age of assaulting her earlier this week. On January 13, according to the minor, 55 year old Adrian Cruz inappropriately touched her in her private area. Adrian Cruz, a security guard, pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexual indecent assault before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart, who agreed with prosecutors that Cruz should not be offered bail. The prosecutors contended that Cruz may interfere with the complainant, is a flight risk and asked that the girl’s status as a minor be taken into consideration.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Caye Caulker Fuels holds Christmas Raffle
Caye Caulker Fuels held their annual Christmas Raffle on December 22, 2014 providing customers the opportunity to win fabulous prizes every year as a part of Customer Appreciation since its inception. Mr. Noel Blanco of Caribeña Enterprises along with Miss Caye Caulker Lobster Fest, Ms. Britney Ysaguirre, who picked out the winning tickets were on hand to conduct the raffle. Third place was first called out and winner of a picnic ham was Carlos Ayala, a well known Tour Guide, Second place went to Eduardo Hernandez who won a gift certificate valued $100 to purchase fuel or supplies from the gas station, first place went to Leon Gordon who won an LG flat screen TV. A heart Congrats to all those winners! The Management and Staff of Caye Caulker Fuels thanks their valued customers for their support and patronage throughout the years and they look forward to serving the general public during 2015 and onwards.

The Belize Times

PUP’s Revolutionary Education Agenda – New ideas will unleash Creativity and Technology
Leader of the People’s United Party Hon. Francis Fonseca today introduced revolutionary ideas which the next PUP Government will pursue for today’s old education system to undergo much-needed transformation which will allow teaching and learning to become more relevant and productive in the present technologically-advanced society. “The next PUP Government will lead the way in making relevant and meaningful investments in new, bold and appropriate technologies that can support modern methods of teaching and learning from pre-school to universities,” declared Hon. Francis Fonseca to the energetic crowd of young people as he unveiled the “Education Agenda” at Independence Hall in Belize City.

Finnegan lashes out at UDP CitCo for Dean St. disaster
When it comes to talking the ugly truth about the UDP Belize City Council’s term in office, being “magnanimous” is the last thing in UDP senior politician and party whip, Michael Finnegan’s mind. There is clearly bad blood between him and UDP Belize City Mayor Darrel Bradley. On Monday, January 12th, Finnegan personally called into Wave Radio’s “Wus Ting Da Mawning show” to bash the Mayor for the infrastructural disaster in the Mesopotamia constituency. Finnegan told the show hosts Joe and Fonso that the Mayor has really messed up parts of Mesop. He pointed specifically to Dean Street between West Canal and Collet Canal, where the water rises and remains stagnant for days following a brief period of rain.

PUP to GOB: Roll out Petro-Caribe Support for Cane Farmers
The People’s United Party has called on the Barrow Administration to urgently provide financial support to the cane farmers through available Petro-Caribe funds. As a result of the impasse with American Sugar Refinery, and a prolonged delay in the start of what was supposed to have been a 2014/2015 crops season, cane farmers in northern Belize have suffered tremendous economic loss and hardship with no delivery of sugar cane. The Barrow Administration has virtually abandoned the cane farmers, leaving them to be crushed under ASR’s might. Faced with the realities of economic loss, throughout the Christmas season and now as schools are about to resume, the cane farmers called on their association, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, to provide support using the funding available. The BSCFA was able to meet the request of such spending prior to Christmas, disbursing $2.5 million, but a second request has placed the Association’s future in trouble.

In their hour of need, the Cane Farmers of the North have been betrayed by the Prime Minister. Just when they needed their leader of government to provide them with leadership and get the crop season started while negotiations with B.S.I. continue, the Prime Minister sold them out. For the first time in history, cañeros were treated like the Taliban. They were called radicals and made to understand that the power of their government was completely against them. Like the last paragraphs of George Orwell’s book, Animal Farm, the pigs in charge of the farm looked and talked and walked just like the new investor humans who came to negotiate business. The Prime Minister clearly sounded like ASR/BSI. He behaved like ASR and he adopted all of ASR’S arguments.

Death Knell for an Industry
Prime Minister Dean Barrow bared his fangs and snarled at the cane farmers in a press conference last week Thursday. It was a frightening sight to see and a very disturbing exposé of the position taken by this, the leader of our country. The cane farmers had been locked in an impasse with multinational company American Sugar Refinery (ASR) who in 2012 bought majority shares in Belize’s sugar cane industry. By coming out and openly siding with ASR in the fight, the Prime Minister practically pulled the rug from under the feet of Belize’s 5,300 sugarcane farmers. As was also revealed in the press conference, no other than the nephew of the Deputy Prime Minister (who also serves as the minister of agriculture and the man responsible for the industry), has been busy convincing farmers to break away from the long established Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA) and form another association. The farmers had received an infusion of hope and energy when their cause was taken up by the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) and in particular firebrand attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd.

UDP Politics as Usual…
In terms of this crime thing, can we realistically expect 2011 to be any different from 2010? Can we expect a decrease in murders, in home invasions, in assaults, in robberies and shootings and thefts? The government has offered nothing different from 2010 – no new initiatives, no new agenda, no new plans, no bold, visionary ideas. There is nothing new coming out of the Ministry of Police, nothing new coming out of the Police Department. Operating Restore Belize is still putt-putting merrily along on the wings of a song. Poverty is increasing apace, as is unemployment. Frustration and desperation are heading on up. There have been no social programs offered and no move to address the school dropout rate. There is still no state of the art forensic/DNA lab which Mr. Barrow promised something like three years ago. He continues to promise the lab periodically but still nothing. That’s all we’ve gotten from this government – NOTHING. The Minister of Police did his media thing the other day but while he may be cute (or not) we were given NOTHING concrete, nothing to base our hopes for better on. So far 2011 isn’t looking all that great…

Editorial: Francis vs. Barrow – The Difference is Clear
After seven years as Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Barrow has turned out to be the biggest disappointment since Melting Pot Disco closed. Those seven borrowed years have been brutal to the people of Belize. By all types of measuring stick, Barrow has come up very short. The most murders ever to occur in the country have happened during his tenure. The most incursions into Belize by Guatemalans have taken place under Barrow. The most Police abuses against citizens have become common place during Barrow. The worst kinds of plunder, daylight cronies stealing of public monies and Ministerial corruption have been under his watch.

Buttonwood Bay Nazarene & BES girls lead basketball competition
The Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School and the Belize Elementary School girls each have 3 wins and are leading the Belize City primary school basketball tournament. On Monday, January 12th the Buttonwood Bay girls posted their 3rd win in 5 outings: 3-0 against the St. Luke Methodist School girls with Alliyah Moore scoring 2 points. Last Monday when the tournament resumed after the Christmas break, the Belize Elementary girls had also blown away the winless St. Luke’s girls: 12-2; with BES’ Allyana Musa scoring 12 points while Deandrea Parham scored 2 points for St. Luke’s.

Holy Redeemer RC & St. Luke’s boys win in primary schools basketball
The Holy Redeemer RC School and the St. Luke’s Methodist School boys both posted wins when the Belize City primary schools basketball tournament continued on Monday, January 12. The St. Luke’s Methodist School boys won 18-14 against the Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School boys; with St. Luke’s Justin “Akon” Menzies scoring 15pts, while D’ Shon Staine and Edmond Flowers scored 5 pts each for Buttonwood Bay.

OCB Wavemakers win Boom to Manatee Lookout canoe race
The OCB Wavemakers: Chris Guydis, Jerry Rhaburn and Wilberto Daniels won the 2015 annual Burrell Boom-Manatee Lookout canoe race organized by the Belize Canoe Association on Saturday, in preparation for the 16th annual Ruta Maya River Challenge coming up over the Baron Bliss Day weekend in March. The next race comes up on Saturday, January 24, from Haulover Bridge to Burrell Boom. Here are the results: 1st Team/1st Male Category – OCB Wavemakers – 1:17:48 2nd Team/2nd Male Category – N.I.C.H.’s Alex, Felix & Efrain Cruz – 1:17:49

“Boots” Victimizes Fire Victim for Supporting PUP
Dear Editor, The denial of housing assistance to Port Loyola fire victim and single mother, Rose Williams, is one of the most outrageous, spiteful, unconscionable, and heartless acts of political victimization by the Area Representative Anthony “Boots” Martinez. One year ago a fire completely gutted Miss Williams’ home. As a result of the blaze she and her children were left homeless, and they were unable to save any of their belongings. Once I became aware of the unfortunate situation, I immediately rendered some financial assistance to the family. On the other hand when Miss Williams approached the elected Area Representative for housing assistance, “Boots” Martinez told her that she has no help to receive from him, because she is a supporter of Gilroy Usher, Sr. and PUP.

Lawsuits against GOB: A cost to taxpayers
Dear Editor, Of late, a number of lawsuits have been brought against the Government of Belize (GOB) some of which have resulted in GOB having to pay thousands of dollars in compensation. While I celebrate the sufficient empowerment of people to resort to the courts for redress, I am also keenly aware that any monetary penalties levied against GOB, is paid by taxpayers. In most instances it appears to me that liability suits against GOB appear to have resulted from personnel/worker culpability. Good agencies strive to have clear policies and procedures to protect themselves from potential liability resulting from personnel/worker malpractice. Good agencies have personnel/workers sign that they have read and understood agency policies. Further, some agencies have personnel/workers purchase malpractice insurance. As a social work grad student in Oklahoma, United States of America, I had to purchase malpractice insurance with liability limits to the tune of One Million dollars. Without this no social work agency would admit me into practice.

More Autonomy for Village Councils
Dear Editor, If you take a quick glance at the average budgetary allocation for out-district communities, it is approximately $6,000 to the duly elected Area Representative to be spread among, for example in Stann Creek West, approximately 20,000 people, which would give a measly 30 cents for assistance, per month, per person! What can you do with 30 cents? Buy a small pack of soda biscuits? Out-districts have very little autonomy and do not have the ability to take advantage of 1). The collection of property taxes, 2). The collection of trade license fees and 3). The submission of estimates of revenue and expenditure to the Minister of Finance. In this article I will focus on just how important and how easy it is for villages to gain more financial autonomy, especially villages that have a high level of tourism investment, such as Placencia, Seine Bight and Hopkins.

Searching for my family
Dear Editor, I am writing as I am looking for any family that I may have in Belize. My name is Raymond Willis Oliver. Dorothy Willis and Joseph Gillett married at the civic centre, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England on 15th June 1968. I heard that Dorothy, Thaddeus, Juanita and Tanya went to Belize in 1968.I heard that Dorothy and Thaddeus were legally separated in 1971 or 1972. Dorothy moved to Belize City living in a small hotel for 2 years before moving to USA it is thought and Thaddeus also known as Teddy, moved with my two sisters to live in Corozal Town with a common law wife whose name I don’t know. Teddy died and my 2 sisters continued to live with the common law wife until possibly 1979. After that I have no information. I know it is sketchy but if you could possibly publish this in your paper and if anyone could contact me on [email protected] I would greatly appreciate it. I will be visiting Belize this April-May.

By Francis W. Fonseca On Monday January 12th, 2015 the People’s United Party held a Press Briefing to outline for the Belizean people our Party’s position and concerns regarding the present crisis in the Sugar Cane Industry. I presented the following points: The crisis in the Sugar Industry is not one which we in the PUP seek to exploit for political advantage. This is a national issue. The great majority of the cane farmers are already supporters of our Party whom we represent in the National Assembly. We care deeply about the Cañeros, their families and their livelihood. The Sugar Industry is the lifeblood of the North and its survival and success is vital to our national economy. This Industry has had a long history of growth and development based on a working tri-partite relationship including the Farmers, the Miller (BSI/ASR), and the Government of Belize. Each of these parties has a critical role to play in the work of the industry and must be valued and respected.

Kudos, Rosita Baltazar!!
On December 17 last year, just before Christmas, Rosebud’s Dance School presented its Christmas Recital at the Ladyville Community Center. The fact that there is a full-fledged dance school right in Ladyville makes me quite excited. For many years as a child and then as a teenager, I danced with the Mary Valdes School of Classical Dance (Ballet), and the love of dance is still very much a part of me. Needless to say I am thrilled that Rosebud’s Dance School was able to hold an exquisite recital of dance in my home village/municipality. In attendance were veteran dance instructor and choreographer Sistie Fairweather Harmes, Village Chairman Albert Magdaleno, and myself, as well as many adoring moms, dads and relatives of the girls who are members of Ladyville’s first dance school.

Fisherman murdered in speedboat shooting
Already there have been five murders and it is just mid-January. 29 year old Pedro Aldana is the latest homicide victim and the Police are trying to figure out who is responsible for this crime. The method of the murder is also strange, as it is believed that the gunman or gunmen were travelling on a speedboat along the New River which runs right through Belize City. Aldana was inside his fishing boat near Belcan Bridge when it was approached by another fishing boat in which the attacker travelled. Two shots were fired, which caught Aldana in the abdomen. He died inside his boat. Reports are that Aldana had just returned from dropping off a friend at Conch Shell Bay. They had gone fishing earlier in the day.

Hon. Dolores continues the support in Belize Rural Central
Continuing her energetic outreach to Belize Rural Central Communities, Hon. Dolores has recently contributed to a special children’s party in Mahogany Heights. Also she has made a significant financial contribution towards school fees for seven needy children who attend St. Agnes Anglican School in La Democracia. The photos show Hon. Dolores handing a cheque to Chairlady of Mahogany Heights Nurse Raquel Vega and also the presentation of funds to Principal and Teacher Pamela Neal and Kamel McFadzean, along with the parents and children.

Patrick JonesPJ

Belmopan Bandits 3-Peat for PLB Football Competition
The packed Football Stadium in Belmopan was a testament to the love of the game called Football in Belize. Fans for Police United Football Team and Belmopan Bandits brought life to the stadium and energy to the players as each fan had his/her say. In the end […]

Belize City man fatally wounded near his home
A man was fatally injured in an assault tonight in Belize City. Details are not yet fully known, but the victim has been identified as Denver Villafranco, a resident of Police Street. According to reports received, Villafranco who is a volunteer of the Belize Defence Forec (BDF), was accosted and […]

Good weather for Belize the next couple of days
Fair weather is prevailing over our area this weekend. The general forecast for Belize and her coastal waters is for partly cloudy skies on Sunday with only isolated showers expected. Winds over the open sea and along the coast will be northerly to north-westerly at five to fifteen knots. The […]

Security guard charged with assault of teenager
A 14 year old teenager accuses a man nearly three times her age of assaulting her earlier this week. On January 13, according to the minor, 55 year old Adrian Cruz inappropriately touched her in her private area. Cruz, a security guard, pleaded not guilty to a charge […]

Protest in support of cane farmers planned for Monday in Belmopan
The House of Representatives will meet in special session in Belmopan on Monday. But parliamentarians will have company on Independence Hill as a call went out today via a press release for Belizeans to come out for a protest in front of the National Assembly. According to the press release, […]

Trio caught visiting Belize illegally
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) recently celebrated having more than 1.2 million persons from around the world visiting Belize by airplane, cruise ship or otherwise. But a trio from Mexico is accused of failing to obtain a permit to come and stay here. 61 year old Michael Huston […]


Camp Belize is almost upon us
This one is for all you Jerry Jeff Walker Fans, Camp Belize 2015 is almost upon us! Every year for the last 15+ years, Country Music fans have enjoyed performances by none other than Jerry Jeff Walker himself. This year is no exception. On Tuesday and Friday January 20, 23, 27 & 30 JJW will once again wow the crowd at at Fido’s. There are a group of diehard fans flock San Pedro as well. “VIP” Laminates are sold from the JJW website for 2 separate weeks (the first starts tomorrow) and then again beginning next Sunday. According to Jerry Jeff’s website, online passes are sold out, but Fido’s still has a few for sale. Both Tuesday and Friday shows; $150.00 USD and for a single show $100 USD. Although the dates above are the only official dates for the actual concerts, the members of “Camp Belize” are known to go around town and do a bit of jamming (otherwise known as “Picking Parties”) at local restaurant/bars.

GORGEOUS WEATHER, A Look at the Renamed Wet Willy’s Bar and a Very Strange Sighting on Ambergris Caye, Belize
I walked by the FORMER Wet Willy’s Bar & Restaurant – now Di Vu. I received an email from a resident saying this: A resident of South Ambergris Caye has been very concerned with something going on around his home on the island. He has installed security cameras to try and figure it out but it has only led to additional questions. He gave me two images from his security camera and I am attaching them hereto. Apparently this is terrifying the dogs so that they don’t want to go outside and these were the best shots they got. The images are taken at night so they aren’t clear AT ALL. But described as a “Furry Beast”…

International Sourcesizz

Teacher Organizes Exciting Trip to Belize
This upcoming spring break, Berkeley High science teacher Russell Campisi is planning to take BHS students on a trip to Belize. Under the guidance of a research team from the Oceanic Society, Campisi will take students first to a dolphin hot spot, Turneffe Atoll, and then other wildlife-rich areas in Belize. Students will get the chance to explore Turneffe Atoll, which is the largest and most biologically diverse coral atoll in the Western Hemisphere. The trip is in association with Ecology Project International and offers a unique opportunity for students to embark on an ecotourism trip to the area of Belize, which is full of wildlife. Students will snorkel, meet other people from within the Berkeley community who are also going, and observe animals such as jaguars and dolphins. Students will also work with graduate students from the Belize area and conduct experiments based on hands-on activities they will do throughout the trip. Data will be collected and analyzed from that day’s activities.


Wander: Journey from Belize to Guatemala, 4min. Some of our highlights from our journey through Central America, exploring Mayan cities, filming the StreetStore project, staying in a tiny island in Belize and crossing all the way to Guatemela by busses, cars and boats. We've been so impressed by the kindness and smiling attitude the locals have here, even by Guatemalan's who have 70% poverty rate. Places visited: Belize: Caye Tobacco (Paradise Lodge) Guatemala: Tikal, Flores, Semuc Champey, Guatemala City, San Pedo (Lago de Atitlan), Antigua
Belize 1st Dive google tv, 6min.
Belize 2015, 4min. A short slideshow of pictures from our trip to Ambergris Caye and the Cayo district in Belize. What a great time we had!!
Day2 - Belize City, Belize, 3.5min.
Belize Yacht Club Resort, San Pedro, Belize, 1min.
San Ignacio Resort Hotel, San Ignacio, Belize, 4min.
Robert's Grove Beach Resort, Placencia, Belize, 5min.
Belizean Shores Resort, San Pedro, Belize, 4min.

January 17, 2015


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Second Phase of Police Barracks Project to tentatively resume in two weeks
Two weeks into 2015, and work has not yet resumed on the second phase of the police barracks project as previously indicated. The delay is attributed to the lack of time from construction agents Gaby’s Construction who undertook the project for no charge. Owner of Gaby’s Construction and Deputy Mayor of San Pedro, Gabriel “Gaby” Nuñez has stated that construction is now tentatively scheduled to resume in two weeks. Currently only the foundation and first floor walls have been constructed.

The build-your-own experience at Coconut Café
Coconut Café is one of the newer establishments around town and allows patrons the opportunity to pick what they want in their pizzas, paninis, sandwiches and even their egg platters. Sounds like my kind of joint! The Coconut Café is the perfect spot for breakfast, brunch, lunch or even just to take a delicious coffee break. It’s located in Coconut Drive directly across Ramon’s Village Resort, and is the brainchild of Donna Ehart and Timm Crouch who moved to the island from Kansas in 2014. Both being coffee lovers, they wanted to create a business that would give patrons the opportunity to enjoy a cup of joe and have an accompanying tasty treat in a calm and peaceful setting. They call their cooking ‘American classics with a Belizean twist’, with the added opportunity to create it yourself.

Avian Influenza in Poultry detected in Cayo District
As a result of BAHA’S active surveillance for Avian Influenza, a limited outbreak of Avian Influenza Type A in poultry has been detected in two (2) farms in Spanish Lookout. Containment measures already in effect prohibit poultry and poultry products from exiting the affected farms. There are very little clinical signs in the affected birds and this suggests a low pathogenic infection . BAHA has heightened its surveillance at all other poultry farms. Samples have been sent to a reference laboratory in the USA for confirmation and subtyping. BAHA expects to have the results in 4 days. Further updates will be provided as information becomes available. The BAHA, Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Ministry of Health and the Poultry Industry are collaborating in a coordinated response against this limited outbreak. Commercial and backyard poultry farmers across the country are encouraged to step up their biosecurity measures and to notify BAHA of any unusual occurrence in their flocks. BAHA wishes to reassure the public that poultry meat and eggs are safe for human consumption. BAHA and its partners are taking all the necessary measures to address this disease outbreak. Although it cannot be confirmed at this time, wild bird migration is the most likely source of the infection.

Sir Barry Plaque Memorial at St. John’s
Officiated by Rt. Rev. Phillip Wright, Lord Bishop of Belize, the ceremony was attended by Belize’s First Lady Kim Simplis Barrow, and many members of the political and business community of Belize. There are only 20 plaques affixed to the walls of St. John’s Cathedral, ranging from 1777 to the present, honoring pioneers and statesmen who have supported the growth from British Honduras to contemporary Belize. Sir Barry, long-time resident of San Pedro, met an untimely death in an airplane crash on February 26, 2010. He left a strong legacy of successful businesses, schools, land preserves and agriculture in the Orange Walk District, state-of-art-shrimp farming near Placencia, and loving family members and friends.

Belize Tour Operator Selected as the Caribbean’s Leading Tour Operator
Mr. and Mrs. Wilson will be receiving a letter of commendation and a plaque to commemorate this outstanding accomplishment. The letter from Carnival Cruise Lines to H2O-Tierra is quoted to read, “Your Company’s position as a leading provider for shore excursions and your reputation for first-class service are attributed to your strong leadership and the sense of direction that you provide.” Director of Tourism, Mrs. Karen Bevans, commented, “We are very proud of Tom and Ivette Wilson on achieving Carnival’s award of the Leading Tour Operator in the Caribbean. They work very hard to ensure that their business is compliant and offers high quality service, while providing memorable experiences to our visitors.”

MoH fails on promise to open 24-hour Polyclinic
Residents believe it is long overdue for Ambergris Caye to have a properly equipped public health facility especially because the island has been the country’s fastest growing community for the past 15 years. But despite the increase in population and being the prime tourism destination of the country while generating over $600 million in tourism revenues annually, the island remains without a proper hospital, and with a clinic that only offers limited services. The tourism sector has been very vocal about the issue in the past, fearing for a bad scenario that could be catastrophic for the island’s tourism product. Equally vocal and very frustrated are the local residents, some who have witnessed a loved one die at the locked doors of the clinic, awaiting proper medical care during closed hours. Those affected are concerned that GOB and the MoH has been delaying in addressing the seriousness of the health needs of the island. But what is the hold up? Sources at the Ministry of Health say that the department is unable to attract professional workers such as doctors and nurses to come to Ambergris Caye. According to the source, the professional workers are being offered a similar salary to those that work on the mainland, without housing allowances to compensate for the high cost of living on the island. It is a deadlock having to do with a key factor – salary.

Ambergris Today

Give Her Hope Inaugural Event
On Eagles Wings Ministries invites you to the Give Her Hope Inaugural Event featuring Dinner, Awards Ceremony, Live Auction and Fun! OEWN provides Hope, Empowerment, and a Brighter Future to girls who have been sexually exploited and those at risk. This is the launch event for OEWN Belize. Please join us Saturday, January 17, 2015 from 6pm – 8pm at Ramon’s Village Resort. Tickets are $30 BZD per person. You can pay at the door. Ticket price includes heavy hors d’oeuvres.

Schneider Family Makes Donation to San Pedro Community
Many visitors come to Belize for relaxation, adventure and the perfect tan. Some mingle with the locals and fall in love with Belizean lifestyle; opening their hearts to the people of this lovely country by making a heart-warming donation. This story introduces the Schneiders, a lovely couple from Canada who has been visiting Ambergris Caye for 5 years. Clif and Patty Schneider told Ambergris Today that ever since their first vacation to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, they fell in love with the island's charm and beauty, which encourage them to keep coming back. On their recent trip they decided to make it extra special by giving out donations throughout the community. The Schneiders visited the Holy Cross Anglican School and gave out 50lbs of childrens' vitamins and bibles. Their next stop was at the Dr. Otto Rodriguez Poly Clinic where they donated a blood pressure monitor along with some bibles for the nurses. All these donations were supplied by Costco Pharmacy Medicine Alberta and Gideons Organization.

Carnival Cruise Lines Names Caribbean's Leading Tour Operator In Belize
Carnival Cruise Lines Tour Operations has selected the Leading Tour Operator for Belize. H2O-Tierra Ltd, owned by Tom and Ivette Wilson, has been chosen as the 2014 Winner for Caribbean’s Leading Tour Operator in Belize. The Belize Tourism Board sent out congratulations to H2O-Tierra Ltd on this exciting achievement. Director of Tourism, Mrs. Karen Bevans, commented, “We are very proud of Tom and Ivette Wilson on achieving Carnival’s award for the Leading Tour Operator in Belize. They work very hard to ensure that their business is compliant and provides the best service, while providing memorable experiences to the tourists.” Mr. Wilson commented, “The Carnival award being presented to a 100% Belizean owned and operated Tour Operator is showing the industry, Belizeans can do it too.”

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

2014 Weather, Temperatures and Rainfall for Belmopan
The top picture is Temperatures, the Heavy Red line is the 31 day, smoothed Average Maximum Temperatures, with the actual daily variations shown by the thin Red line. . . . . . The Blue lines are the Minimum night time Temperatures. . . .. The Green line is simply the Media between the Max and Min and really has no practical significance, except may well be what so may weather information show for Belize as normal Temperatures. . . . . . There is also a dotted Red and dotted Blue lines, these are the 10 year Average temperatures. . . . So you can see that this year 2014, was very close to the normal Temperatures. . . . . Fahrenheit scales on the Left, Celsius on the Right

Effective Communication Workshop
BELIZE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE - January 22nd – 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Effective Communication. This workshop teaches and offers proper practice in a systematic model for effective communication. It strengthens core communications’ skills essential to managing conflict. It also improves listening skills and helps develop your talent at communicating with people from different cultures and backgrounds. • Types of Communication Verbal Non Verbal (Email/ IM etiquette) • Effective Communication skills and tools

Time Management Workshop
Jan 16 - BELIZE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE - January 22nd – 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Time Management: - This workshop offers you a variety of valuable information n and procedures for effective time management. It aids you in effectively using your time and understanding the importance of prioritizing work. It provides tips and advice on how to better manage your time, deal with stress and pinpoint time wasters. • Managing time efficiently – How well do I save time? Do I throw time away? Developing time log. • Managing resources (identifying resources, maximizing use of resources) • Managing Priorities ( how to prioritize work, developing schedules and setting time sensitive deliverables • Time Management tips

Career Management and Professional Development Workshop
This workshop delivers a comprehensive overview of the fundamental skills needed to get ahead in the workplace. It covers dressing for success; building self-confidence; maintaining a positive attitude; staying motivated; communication skills; business etiquette; loyalty; confidentiality; integrity; corporate transparency; as well as personal and business conflicts. Work Ethics and Culture As Ethics are the cornerstone of any good business, this workshop identifies core values and principles for a systematic model for legal and ethical decision-making. You will also have the option to explore the “Do’s and Don’ts” according to international professional standards, A work ethic is a valuable set of values based on the idea of hard work and discipline. Building a reliable work ethic means training yourself to follow these values, so that work becomes automatic instead of a struggle.

Government of Belize Press Office

Power interruption 7:00am to 12:00 midday, Sunday, January 18, Belize City
Gabourel Lane from North Front Street to Hudson Street junctions, North Front Street from Gabourel Lane to Eyre Street, Eyre Street, Hudson Street, Fort Street, Cork Street, Dredge Street, North Park Street, South Park Street and Marine Parade from Cork Street junction to Hudson Street junction. BEL to replace utility pole carrying high voltage lines, pin insulators and grips, adjust power lines and conduct line clearing in the area.

Reggae Festival honoring The Musical Prophet Bob Marley
There will be a two days Reggae Festival honoring The Musical Prophet Bob Marley, the show will be on the 6the and 7th of February 2015, food and drinks, arts and craft, hand made jewelry will be on sale. This will be the 6th annual, Bob Marley Tribute, it will be big, don't miss it. There will be give aways too.

U.S. Embassy Belize: The Embassy is currently accepting applications for a Security Investigator position.
The Security Investigator Position conducts security background investigations and re-certifications relating to the determination of suitability for employment with the Embassy or other U.S. Government (USG) agencies; Conducts other routine security and criminal investigations; Assist in the security of the Mission and its personnel; Processes requests for fingerprints; maintains residential security files; reviews and recommends security enhancements for offices and residences; acts as a liaison with local police and security agencies, and conducts liaison at all levels of the government and throughout the community, up to and including meetings at the Ministerial level. To learn more and apply please visit this link.

Kanantik Belize Debuts and Introduces the First Model for Affordable, Sustainable Master-Planned Community Living in Coastal Southern Belize
Residences with unobstructed views of the Caribbean Sea, a commitment to low-impact design, and amenities usually found only in the most exclusive luxury developments await investors at Kanantik Belize, now offered by Mango Springs Development. This first-of-its-kind master-planned community is the ideal vacation retreat or retirement destination for buyers who want to preserve the raw beauty of Belize’s diverse ecosystem while investing in a residential and golf development that offers a superior living experience — and benefit from the surging real estate market as Belize’s profile rises internationally. “In planning Kanantik Belize, we committed to creating one of the first sustainable, eco-sensitive and low-impact designs in Belize,” said Luke Chadwick, founder, Mango Springs Development. “And the result is a stunning model, where affordability intersects luxury, and ways to protect Belize’s natural resources while enjoying its immense treasures are built into daily life.” Once completed, the private 5,800-acre gated community will offer 2,800 residential home sites, with 300 beachfront condominiums served by a private concierge. In addition to being the leading model of resort-style sustainable living in Belize, Kanantik Belize will boast the only 18-hole championship golf course in the country, designed by Casey O’Callaghan, the famed Orange County, Calif. golf course designer. It is slated to open in late 2016.

Couple in viral flash mob wedding video get surprise honeymoon
First, Brian Green surprised his fiancée with a flash mob wedding. Now he's getting a surprise of his own: a free honeymoon. Green tricked his fiancé, Christina McGinnis, into wearing her would-be wedding dress for a church "photo shoot" at the Mall of Georgia on Dec. 14. Instead, she was a treated to special wedding. Thousands of people across the world saw video of the wedding, including tourism officials in Belize. They contacted Christina and helped her arrange the surprise trip. The Belize Tourism Board offered the couple a free honeymoon to the country because "Belize loves adventurous couples,"

Bahamas-Bermuda in March as 2018 World Cup qualifying starts
Just eight months after the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil, the Bahamas will play Bermuda in March in one of seven pairings as qualifying starts for the 2018 tournament in Russia. The governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean held the first draw Thursday night. The other first-round pairings are Barbados-U.S. Virgin Islands; Belize-Cayman Islands; British Virgin Islands-Dominica; Curacao-Montserrat; Turks and Caicos Islands-St. Kitts and Nevis; and Nicaragua-Anguilla. Seeking its first World Cup berth since 1986, Canada opens at home against the British Virgin Islands or Dominica in the second round from June 6-16, when Cuba faces Curacao or Montserrat, Guatemala plays Bahamas or Bermuda, Puerto Rico meets Grenada and El Salvador plays the Turks and Caicos-Islands-St. Kitts and Nevis winner. Jamaica and Haiti have byes until the third round from Aug. 21-Sept. 8, and the United States joins for the start of the semifinals in November along with Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago.

ANGLING: Julian Humm thrilled after claiming grand slam
North Oxford Angling Society chairman Julian Humm is on cloud nine after claiming the Caribbean’s so-called elusive ‘grand slam’ on a Christmas trip to Belize. Bonefish are quite common, but Humm, from Stadhampton, also nabbed a 25lb tarpon and a 20lb permit fish to complete the fly- fishing treble. The ‘grand slam’ involves catching one each of these three fish on the same day, which is what Humm did. “I’m over the moon,” he said. “It’s the best day I’ve had in my 60 years of fishing.”

Government of Belize Press Office

Sea Cucumber season
The Fisheries Administrator hereby informs fishermen and the general public that the Sea Cucumber season will open from April 1st to May 31st , 2015. The total allowable catch limit has been set at 300,000 pounds. If the quota is realized before May 31, 2015 fishing season will be officially declared closed. Sea cucumber license holders for 2014 are reminded that failure to submit catch data to the fisheries administrator will result in nonrenewal of the license for the upcoming season. For any further information, kindly contact the Fisheries Department at 224 – 4552 or 223– 2187.

BOLEDO DRAWING for Friday, January 16, 2015: 26

One cannot but enjoy this video from Wildtracks.
Wildtracks Video: Today we are celebrating manatees with a short video of Khaleesi...injecting some quiet manatee moments into your busy day!

Omolewa Osain Concert
Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina, Belize January 30, 2015 at 7pm

Channel 7

Cane Farmers Cave: Special Assembly Sunday, Signing Monday
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association will hold another special general assembly on Sunday January 18th. This one is to undo what the last one on January fourth did. Around 5:15 this evening in Orange Walk Town, Chairman of the Committee of Management Ezequiel Cansino told the media that the Branch Directors have met and agreed that this is the Best way forward. Again, they are having this meeting to pass a resolution which will renounce the resolution they took two weeks earlier. This is so that BSI can accept the BSCFA signing unto the agreement.

PM Says BSCFA Led Astray By Extremists
If it seems like a lot of needless back and forth, it is. Because if and when the Cane Farmers sign the agreement on Monday, it will be to the very same agreement they rejected 15 days earlier. That's when the cane farmers voted overwhelmingly to reject the cane compromise agreement. Activist and Attorney Audrey Matura Shepherd convinced the gathering that they could ask the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to force the Sugar Industry Control Board to declare the season open without the new agreement. After that, the Cane Farmers Association sent BSI a letter saying it had resolved to reject the agreement. Since then, much has changed in the landscape of the industry - and the cane farmers have been forced into a position where they have no option but to sign the agreement. Except that BSI's attorneys advised the company that before the BSCFA can sign, its general assembly would first have to reject its own January fourth resolution. Now, the BSCFA was hoping to work around that. It took a survey of three thousand of its members who agreed to sign the agreement as a demonstration of clear intent. But still BSI held that it wasn't enough - which made the BSCFA members feel that they were being pushed around.

Farmers Say BSI/ASR Pushing Them Around
Name calling aside, as we told you earlier, there are still farmers who resent being pushed around - and that's just what they feel BSI si doing to them. That sentiment is what drove some farmers to gather in front of the BSCFA's Orange Walk headquarters today, ready to protest in front of the Tower Hill plant. Rumors of as an impending protest reached the management of the factory owners, who took immediate steps to send home employees and prepare for a possible riot. When we arrived in Orange Walk Town, the company's security personnel, were closely monitoring the entrance. We spoke with two of the branch chairmen who said that their members were very upset: Alfredo Ortega - Director, BSCFA Orange Walk Branch "Yesterday saw in the news that BSI is signing with producers and other group that named themselves association and at this point BSCFA is a legal entity that represent the farmers. Based of those points and the letter that the BSCFA sends to BSI, informing them that they have 3,088 signatures if farmers saying yes to sign the agreement and to start the crop, then they are coming with other things. I told the chairman yesterday that he needs to step up and let them respect him, because he is the chairman of the association which legally represent the 5,300 cane farmers and no letter of resignation from one single farmer have come to the association.

CITCO Makes The Big BML Switch
Yesterday, the Belize City Council's contract with Belize Maintenance Limited, which Mayor Darrell Bradley did not approve of, officially expired. This means that the sanitation company will no longer be in charge of cleaning up the city. It also marked the day when 158 of BML's sanitation staff joined City Hall as full time employees with security of tenure and job security. As we showed you 2 weeks ago, Mayor Darrell Bradley announced that he and the council would work absorb the employees, instead of resisting it, as he had been doing. Today, those new City Hall employees participated in an all-day orientation in which they met with Bradley and other key members of the council in which they discussed their rights and obligations, given that they are to be treated as full members of staff.

KHMH Position On New Mother Mess-Up
On Tuesday we reported on the young mother - Lucia Martinez who had a cotton swab left inside her after delivering her baby at the KHMH. Her husband had to take up the role of a doctor and remove it himself. According to Lucia this could have been fatal and she plans on suing the hospital. So what is the KHMH saying? Well we asked CEO Dr. Adrian Coye and he said that certain measures are being explored to address it. Dr. Adrian Coye, CEO - KHMH "The question of a retained swab is a very serious incident and we don't take this matter very likely. So, in finding out what had happened, as in the first media report, I spoke with her directly to find out how she was, how her baby was and reassured her that we will deal with this is a very serious way internally, but we also want to make sure that she is well.

55 Year old Remanded For Child Sex Assault
55 year-old Adrian Cruz, a Honduran Security Guard, is at the Belize Central Prison Tonight, after he was taken to court for allegedly molesting a 14 year-old girl. The child and her mother went to the police station and reported that on Tuesday, January 13, Cruz allegedly touched her inappropriately on her private parts. Police investigated the child's report, and they arrested and charged Cruz with the offence of sexual assault. He was arraigned today before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart, who remanded him to into custody, based on the strength of the prosecution's objections.

CCJ President in Belize
The President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, Sir Denis Byron is in Belize. He's here to address the Bar Association's 2015 Law Conference which was held today in Belize City. This morning before meetings with the Governor General and the Prime Minister - he held a press conference where he gave us the news that the CCJ plans to have a sitting in Belize:... Jules Vasquez "When will the cort sit in Belize?" Sir Denis Byron, CCJ President "I thought you would never ask that question. We have in fact, plans to sit in Belize during the course this year. We haven't even selected a month, if you ask they might tell you. Just recently notified our relevant counterparts here and arrangement will have to be put in place. They are not put in place yet. They have not made an official press announcement as yet, for that reason. But I can let you know that we are planning to do it in the first half of this year."

Bar Says Membership Unfazed By Non Compulsory Membership
Sir Denis delivered the keynote address at today's Law Conference Luncheon at the Radisson. It's an annual event where the country's legal practitioners gather to discuss pressing developments in their field. Bar President Eamon Courtenay says continuing education is a priority: Courtenay also discussed the bar membership - since it is no longer mandatory for lawyers to be a member or pay fees:..

New Judge For The CCJ
And keeping it on legal news, President Justice Dennis Byron will be joined by a new sister judge at his next sitting. She's Madame Justice Maureen Rajnauth Lee, and she was selected by the eleven-member Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission. She is a Trinidadian who was serving as a Justice of Appeal in Trinidad and Tobago. Included on her long list of impressive resume is that she a member of the International Association of Women Judges. She was a member of the Steering Committee and now serves as Vice-President of the Caribbean Association of Women Judges. She is Vice-President of the Trinidad and Tobago. She was selected from a list applicants coming from the Caribbean, North America and Eastern Europe.

Caring For The Horses Carrying The Carriage
The horse and carriage is a popular Belize City tour for cruise visitors. We see them rolling by on cruise ship days carting tourists around the city. But, while the tour is a winner, many times, the horses are not: they often look much the worse for wear. Well today the BTB held a horse inspection session for 4 of the companies which operate horse and carriage tours to ensure that proper standards and regulations are being followed. Compliance officer for BTB Shola Babb says the overall health of the horses does matter.

CELL Savers For Spines
Today the KHMH received 2 Cell Saver Machines from their international partners, "Spine Overseas." Through this partnership, the Belize Spine Program began in 2010 and since then the team has conducted a number of spinal surgeries. Now, more patients will be able to benefit from this donation. A short handing over ceremony was held in the KHMH conference room and co- founder of Spine Overseas John Williams discussed how these machines will play a critical role in the improvement of patient health. Dr. John Williams, Co-Founder - Spine Overseas "It's been a thrill to see patient care and patient coming to the Karl Heusner with bad spine problems and walk out with improvement in their situation. The importance here is, when a patient needs blood after they lost blood during surgery, this way they get their own blood back. It takes stress off their blood back facilities here in the country and is the more healthy option when a patient does need blood after surgery."

Belize Company Gets Propos From Carnival
On Tuesday we reported on the exceptional performance of the cruise tourism sector this year - recording an overall 43% increase compared to 2013. Well the good news doesn't end there. The Belize Tour Operator, H2O Tierra has been chosen as the leading tour operator for the entire Caribbean. The owners of H2O Tierra, Ivette and Tom Wilson will be given a letter of commendation and a plaque. The award is part of Carnival Cruise Lines Tour Operations award program that highlights tour operators in the Caribbean with the overall best performance, best customer service, best ratings and quality.

PM Says Party's Political Future Unaffected By Sugar Strife
And so as we end the news tonight - things still aren't quite settled in the sugar industry. Two new formidable grower associations have appeared and up to this evening, they claimed to have increased their membership with a combined five hundred thousand tonnes of productions form their membership. Still, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association remains the largest growers group - and they have yet to sign a contract with BSI/ASR. Until they pass a new resolution on Sunday - it's still wait and see. It's also been a rough week for the Prime Minister who was accused of abandoning the Cane farmers Association, and leaving that venerable body to splinter. So, will the PM pay a political price for it? Today he rejected that assertion:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Ultimately, the effort to change the narrative won't succeed. We are satisfied that already those that matter, those that constitute, the silent majority, perhaps know what the truth is and so we in fact feel that when all this is over, when all the said and done, we will emerge even stronger politically in the north."

GOB Will Repair Sugar Roads
But to make good on his commitment to the cane farmers, Government has to work quickly on the sugar roads. They are an annual problem - but this year the PM pledges to spend at least two million dollars on them. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Not going to spend money on sugar roads except I know there is going to be a crop. I am pretty certain now that there will be a crop and so, we can start in fact to look urgently with the Ministry of Works, the engineers from the Ministry of Works commencing Monday at the remedial, at the repairs that must be done - try to prioritize where it is more urgent and we can disburse the money immediately. I have heard some suggestion as to government giving farmers Petro Caribe money to make up for the fair trade disbursements - that's not going to happen, It can't happen under Petro Caribe and it's not even desirable, but we will be spending, I think even more than we spent last year. Don't hold me to it. I have to examine properly the state of affairs. We will be spending robustly on sugar roads. I had already determined in my own mind that not less than 2 million dollars will be spent on sugar roads."

PM Says Imer Under Review
The government is also spending plenty on the Belize Corozal road as it passes through Orange Walk Town. But, critics say they are not getting value for money - because the first mile of the road was a fiasco - and the contractor was the Deputy Prime Minister's nephew, Imer Hernandez. Today the Prime Minister told the media it is under review:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "There was a section of the Philip Goldson Highway that was clearly not properly done. Mr. Hernandez claim that some engineer made a huge mistake and that engineer has been fired. Of course, the Ministry of Works is supervising and nobody will be paid for any work that is substandard. I think that particular problem was resolved. Remedial efforts were instituted very quickly. Any contractor appears to be incapable, then that contractor will not be able in fact to get additional government work."

Avian Influenza In Belize
The Belize Agricultural and Health Authority (BAHA) is waiting tonight for the results of some poultry samples after detecting what they believe is avian influenza at two poultry farms in Spanish Lookout. A release from BAHA says that they are on Heightened, active surveillance after poultry from 2 farms showed "very little clinical signs in the affected birds". The health authorities are collaborating to coordinate a response against this limited outbreak. BAHA advises commercial and backyard poultry farmers across the country to step their surveillance and biosecurity measures, and to notify BAHA if there is any unusual occurrence in their flocks.

Channel 5

ASR Will Not Sign With B.S.C.F.A.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow called a press conference just before noon stating that government is once again intervening to save the sugar industry. Actually, it wasn’t quite as simple as [...]

PM Barrow Says He will Protect the B.S.C.F.A.
Arising from ASR’s new stance, there is some speculation that the company is seeking to punish the organization for its insubordination, so to speak. And following from that, there is [...]

All Parties Must Agree on Crop Start
Now here’s the thing. News Five has been reliably informed that if ASR/B.S.I. does open its gates to those Associations with which it has signed, farmers registered with the B.S.C.F.A. [...]

PM Lashes Out At “Extremists”
For some time now, attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd and Prime Minister Dean Barrow have been trading insults. On Thursday, Matura-Shepherd got in her shots, stating that she found it embarrassing as [...]

Sugar Act to be Amended on Monday
And so ends our coverage of the critically complicated sugar industry tonight. On Monday there will be a sitting of the House of Representatives, where the government will push through [...]

Cop Accused of Unlawful Sex Gets Bail
A cop from Independence who has been charged for having sexual intercourse with a minor appeared before the Supreme Court today. Patrick O’Brien was charged this week and while it [...]

Avian Flu Detected in Cayo
It was confirmed today that the Avian Influenza Type A has been detected in two poultry farms in the Spanish Lookout area, Cayo District. BAHA says the outbreak is limited [...]

CCJ President Byron on Death Penalty
This afternoon, Sir Dennis Byron, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, was a guest at our studios for an in depth interview on the work of the CCJ; that [...]

CCJ’s Role & Function Still Largely Unknown
On February fourteenth, 2001, Belize joined Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago in signing an agreement establishing the [...]

Justice Byron Says Belize Cases Significant Regionally
Again, while he could not divulge details of pending local matters, Justice Byron says that past cases from Belize have been very significant in setting legal precedence within the Caribbean [...]

Bar Association Hosts Law Conference
‘Reforms, Rights and Remedies’ is the theme for the Bar Association’s 2015 law conference.  Following the press encounter with Justice Dennis Byron, attorneys, magistrates and legal practitioners from across the [...]

Bar Seeking Assistance in Expediting Cases
The issue of inmates who have been condemned and are awaiting execution at the Belize Central Prison remains a concern for human rights activists.  In the bar association there is [...]

Near Fatal Accident on Northern Highway
There was a near-fatal traffic mishap along the Phillip Goldson Highway sometime around four-thirty this evening when a motorcycle heading towards Belize City collided into the rear of a pickup [...]

K.H.M.H. C.E.O. Speaks On Lucia Martinez Case
The case of eighteen year old Hattieville resident Lucia Martinez is distasteful and disturbing. The young girl gave birth to her first child recently at the K.H.M.H. She claims that [...]

Investigation Has Been Concluded
Coye reiterates that corrective measures to address what could have led to the event have been implemented, and they will meet with Lucia Martinez and her family as necessary to [...]

K.H.M.H. Hosts Belize Spinal Team
The words Belize Spine Program don’t immediately ring a bell, but there are Belizeans today who would not be walking without it. It was born in 2010 out of a [...]

Spine Overseas Donates Cell Savers
Earlier we told you about the donation to the K.H.M.H. of two cell-saver machines. It’s expected that they will be used in complicated spinal surgeries. But that’s only one aspect [...]

MoE Hosts Training Workshop
Approximately thirty persons from technical and vocational high school instructors as well as personnel from ITVETs across the country were engaged in a training workshop at the Biltmore Plaza. The [...]

Ministry Addressing Human Resource Needs
The training works hand in hand with the education sector strategy of the ministry, says C.E.O. David Leacock. With major industries in the south for banana and the introduction of [...]

SJC Launches Fundraising Initiative
A fundraising initiative was launched this morning by one of the oldest and largest academic institutions in Belize. Saint John’s College is hoping to raise a significant amount of money [...]

YWCA Assisting At-Risk Youths
Another well established institution, the Young Women’s Christian Association, with the assistance of the US Embassy, is rolling out a two-year program aimed at building human resources capacity for at-risk [...]


Cane farmers say they will sign, but under duress
The reports of the demise of the sugar industry in Belize and especially that of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) appear to be greatly exaggerated, in the view of at least one senior leader of the Association. But first we bring you the comments of attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd, who maintains that the planned signing of the Commercial Agreement between multiple parties and BSI/ASR is under protest and the case for writ of mandamus to force the SICB to open the season under consultation will not be withdrawn immediately. She looks forward to Monday’s sitting of the House of Representatives, where it is expected that the Sugar Act will be amended to pave the way for de-regularization of the BSCFA as the sole growers’ representative – but how, she points out, is still not clear.

Who represents BSCFA?
Over the past few days Branch Chairman for the Orange Walk Division Alfredo Ortega, Finance Chairman of the BSCFA Javier Keme, and Attorney Audrey Matura Shepherd have been hitting the air waves to discuss matters concerning the status of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. On Thursday they took it a step further and held a press conference in partnership with the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB), where they spoke on behalf of the farmers of the association. But, there is a problem. According to a press release signed by the Chairman of the Association Ezequiel Cansino, they are not legally authorized to represent the interest of the BSCFA, nor have they received the managements blessing to speak on their behalf.

Cane farmers not at the end of the line
The reports of the demise of the sugar industry in Belize and especially that of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) appear to be greatly exaggerated, in the view of at least one senior leader of the Association. But first we bring you the comments of attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd, who maintains that the planned signing of the Commercial Agreement between multiple parties and BSI/ASR is under protest and the case for writ of mandamus to force the SICB to open the season under consultation will not be withdrawn immediately. She looks forward to Monday’s sitting of the House of Representatives, where it is expected that the Sugar Act will be amended to pave the way for de-regularization of the BSCFA as the sole growers’ representative – but how, she points out, is still not clear. “We don’t know what else would be on this order, but I can assure you it is not here. What’s the implication? The implication maybe they will not pass any amendment and they will be actually listening to the people, and they might go to the industry and the stakeholders, and consult before they pass an amendment. It could be that. If thta’s it, that’s very good news.

Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association also ready to sign
On the backdrop of the agreements signed this morning, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association is also ready to sign, even if it is under duress. According to Ezequiel Cansino, the signing of the agreement with this new association came as a complete surprise to them, since no one has submitted any letter of resignation to the BSCFA board. “None of them have sent orders that they have resigned from BSCFA. What we are doing is trying to get with the least of cane farmers that they are representing. I personally spoke with the Chairman of the SICB that I would like to see that letter. He said that he would provide me that letter.”

Murder number four for Belize City
29 year old Pedro Aldana Ayuso is Belize City’s latest murder victim, shot dead around 7:00 Tuesday evening inside a fiberglass skiff near the Belcan Bridge in Belize City. This is murder number four for 2015. According to police, the fisherman, who resides on Oleander Street in Belize City, had dropped off a skiff at a residence in Conch Shell Bay and while traveling in his own vessel approaching the Bridge, another skiff approached from behind and the shooter inside opened fire, shooting Ayuso twice in the abdomen, before fleeing toward the Belchina Bridge.

New Associations Sign Agreement
BSI/ASR called an impromptu press briefing on Thursday, where they signed what BSI’s Belizario Carballo categorized as a historical agreement. The agreement was signed with the United Cane Farmers Association and the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association. Belizario Carballo was one of the key signatories for ASR. “Indeed it is a historic occasion. I think it marks the start of what we hope and expect to be a very productive, constructive partnership with the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association as a recognized player, new stakeholder in the sugar industry of Belize. This process, in fact, was initiated by the gentleman here to my left, Mr Wilfredo Magaña, who heads the United Cane Farmers Association, which we understand has partnered with the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association in this current initiative. Mr Magaña had, in fact, initiated the process with the United Cane Farmers Association, along with Mr Vincente Canul from Corozal, in challenging the exclusivity of the just one association at the time.”


Death came in a skiff!
Pedro Aldana Ayuso, 29, a well-known fisherman and a father of three children, with a baby on the way, was gunned down while traveling home in a boat on the Haulover Creek near BelCan Bridge at about 7:00 Tuesday evening. His family cannot understand why. Police say that Ayuso had just dropped off a friend, the owner of the boat he was using, at Conch Shell Bay and was heading back home on the Haulover Creek, upon reaching the BelCan Bridge area, a boat came from behind and someone in the boat fired at him. Ayuso was shot in the arm and abdomen. The other boat that contained his shooter reportedly circled and travelled back towards the BelChina Bridge and disappeared.

$2.4 million heroin bust in Corozal
The Police Anti-Drug Unit (ADU) has busted four men with over $2 million dollars’ worth of heroin, which was found in a vehicle in which they were travelling. The men were busted on the outskirts of Corozal Town near a restaurant in front of which their vehicle was parked, at about 7:00 Tuesday evening. The ADU reported that they had been conducting an operation in Corozal Town and were also looking for a stolen vehicle. While driving around town to find the stolen vehicle, they passed a restaurant in the south end of town and saw a man carrying a gun, and three other men were standing near a vehicle that was parked outside the restaurant, which matched the description of the stolen vehicle they were looking for.

Cotton swab left inside woman after childbirth almost kills her
Lucia Martinez, 18, the mother of a 1-month-old baby, is lucky to be alive after a cotton swab was left in her body after childbirth at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) on Friday, December 12. When the cotton was taken out by her husband about three days later, the smell was so horrible, that the whole house was filled with the stench, said Martinez, who described the odor as being similar to that of a dead rat. Martinez, who lives in Hattieville, said that three days after childbirth, she went home, but began to feel ill, and began smelling a foul odor. At first, she did not believe the foul odor was coming from her, but when she rode the passenger bus, people became offended by the smell and believed it came from her.

Breakaway cañeros sign with BSI — “radicals” cry foul!
Tensions stemming from a long-standing disagreement between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI)/American Sugar Refineries (ASR) continue to linger since a majority of the cane farmers have hesitantly yielded to what some have referred to as a “one-sided” deal that was brokered between the two major stakeholders in the interest of a time-sensitive crop season that has been delayed by six weeks, but mainly due to the fact that 99% of those cañeros are immersed in overwhelming financial obligations which have negatively impacted their bargaining position. As it presently stands, two cane farmers associations which broke away from the BSCFA and are now scheduled to also be registered as legitimate business partners with the factory owners, reportedly signed their own commercial agreements with BSI/ASR earlier today.

Central Belize is country’s killing zone
The latest crime statistics released by the Belize Police Department confirm that 2014 saw 24% more homicides occurring in the country than in 2013. The stats indicate that 24 more persons were killed in Belize than in 2013, when the country reported 99 murders. The final count for 2014, according to police, is 123 murders. Our mapping of the data by district demonstrates that the murders showed the same geographic pattern in 2014 as they did in 2013, with central Belize – the Belize and the Cayo Districts – reporting the vast majority of cases. The data show that consistently over the past two years, roughly 6 in 10 murders happened in the Belize District, with the second highest number of homicides occurring in the Cayo District. However, Cayo did see a reprieve in the number of slayings, with the homicide count for 2014 falling 24% over the previous year.

Attorney says the “Anti-social Behavior Order” issued against George McKenzie, Jr., is unconstitutional
A court-issued “Anti-social Behavior Order” was served on George McKenzie, Jr., 20, a resident of Majestic Alley, who is the son of the slain gang leader George “Junie Balls” McKenzie. The order, dated December 15, 2014, was signed by Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith and is based upon a complaint made by Senior Superintendent of Police, Alford Grinage. The order, however, has been questioned by the McKenzie family’s attorney, Kareem Musa, who has characterized it as unconstitutional. “We intend to take two legal challenges in regard to this case — namely, an application to discharge this order at the Magistrate’s Court level and a constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court,” Musa told Amandala today, Wednesday.

Stubborn rumors about Norman Broaster
For the past few weeks, repeated reports from various concerned individuals in Cayo have come to this sports desk, to the effect that secret moves are afoot to convert the Norman Broaster Stadium into a parking lot. Yes, football fans, you heard right; a PARKING LOT. We also thought at first it must be a mistake, or someone running a serious joke. But the reports continued, and this morning it was repeated on the airwaves, on Positive Vibes Radio, by former Minister of Government and Mayor of San Ignacio, who was also a football star in his days, Hon. Hector Silva. Mr. Silva was beside himself in expressing his outrage at this most shocking and heartbreaking idea. Who could conceive of such a plan, and who encouraged it and gave support to it? He vowed that footballers of San Ignacio, and especially the veterans of the Avengers Football Club would never allow it. Football sacrilege is the thought that comes to our mind. The historic Norman Broaster, home of The Mighty Avengers, how dare anyone even think about it!

Cricket Corner
I say to all cricket fans, a very Happy New Year to all. I pray this year will be one of the very best years of cricket ever being played in the River Valley. Over the weekend, the AGM for the Harrison Parks National Cricket Competition was held in Bermudian Landing. The executive body that held the official posts for the last two years was dissolved, and a new body was elected to serve for the next two years. They are: Mr. Jeremy McCulloch (President); Mr. Dirk Sutherland (Vice President); Mrs. Melonie Rivers (Secretary); Mr. Peter Young (Asst. Secretary); Mr. Leroy Banner (Treasurer); Miss Daphne McFadzean (Asst. Treasurer); and Mr. Derrick Hendy (Committee Member).

Nil-nil on Wednesday
The rain held up enough during the day to make the field playable last night at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan for game 1 in the best-of-2 games series for the Premier League of Belize 2014-2015 Opening Season championship. And after 90 minutes of spirited action on a heavy and still slippery pitch, with a number of close misses on both sides, it was still a nil-nil ball game. Though both teams play out of Belmopan, and Bandits owner Hon. John Saldivar is also the Minister responsible for the Police Department, there was no “pitta patta” involved in the on field combat, as emotions flared on a number occasions, requiring referee Christopher Reid to give some stern verbal cautions as well as a couple red card ejections. After a skirmish away from the play between the Bandits’ Jerome “Jarro” James and Police’s Marlon “El Matador” Meza that left Meza lying on the ground in pain for a couple minutes before getting up, both Jarro and Meza were shown red cards. The incident happened around the 73rd minute of play. Both men will be sorely missed in game 2 of the finals. Meza has been a spark plug for the Police attack, and has had a great impact coming off the bench, either scoring or assisting on goals for his team. And Jarro, despite accusations of lackluster performances during the regular season, has fared much better in scoring goals in post season.

San Ignacio based boxers score victories in Quintana Roo, Mexico
Unknown to many, a contingent of three boxers who train in San Ignacio, Cayo – Gilbert Omier Sandino, Eduardo Esquivel and Andy Dominquez – along with their trainer Frank Martinez and corner man Santiago Ku, traveled to Chetumal, Mexico on December 20 to participate in a professional boxing event that was sanctioned by the Boxing Commission of Quintana Roo, and the main event was sanctioned by the W.B.C. Upon arriving at the weigh-in a day prior to the event, due to their historic professional boxing tradition, the Mexican teams viewed us as very “light,” as they would say, “poco tiempo;” but after the events, their views of us changed due to the efforts and performance of our boxers. There were 9 professional bouts and one exhibition bout. The main event was fought by a Cuban and a Mexican for a vacant W.B.C. belt. Our fighters were the co-features on the card. Andy Dominquez fought an exhibition bout, which was a 4 rounder. Andy clearly won 3 of 4 rounds, but was given a draw against his Mexican opponent. Eduardo Esquivel fought the first official professional bout of the night at junior welterweight. He scored a knockout of his Mexican opponent in 1 minute and 20 seconds of the first round. Gilbert Omier Sandino fought the next bout at junior middleweight. Sandino scored a second round TKO of his Mexican opponent.

Orange Walk Five-A-Side results for Tuesday, January 13
As the regular season of the Orange Walk Five-A-Side tournament is coming to an end, teams are battling for playoff positions. Tonight’s Match Day #13 games were intense from the beginning, with the experienced teams keeping their composure and proving to be contenders. 1st game (Interoffice) – Centaur 2:1 BSI. Centaur came into the game looking to lock up the #3 position in the Interoffice Division; while BSI had already sealed the #2 position, but was looking to continue with their hot streak heading into the playoffs. The first goal came from Centaur’s George Rodriguez (1), but BSI’s Enrique Castillo (1) quickly tied the game. As the first half was ending, Ladrick “Mad Bull” Sheppard managed to get his shot past the BSI goalkeeper, taking the 2-1 lead into intermission. Early in second half, Centaur’s Ladrick Sheppard’s emotions got to him, earning a red card and leaving Centaur with one man less. But Centaur’s defense stepped up, and some incredible saves by goalkeeper Omar Mendez allowed them to come up with the big win.

“Self-induced duress”
In Belize, as a majority Christian nation, we say that all men are created in the image and likeness of God. We say that all men are created equal. It should be the case, therefore, that we consider an order of things wherein some men overpower and dictate to other men, as an unnatural order of things. It should then follow, if we believe in the Holy Scriptures, that we resist such an unnatural order of things, that we fight for a more just order. In the words of the late Jim Carney, S. J.: to be a Christian is to be a revolutionary. At this newspaper, we have said to you over and over again that we Belizeans began our territorial reality in this settlement of Belize as Africans and Maya who were being enslaved and crushed by Europeans – mostly British, but also Spanish. In the beginning of this settlement, then, there was an unjust, unnatural order of things, and our African and Maya ancestors fought in different ways for a more just and natural order in this Belize. It was our human right to resist injustice: it was our human duty to fight oppression.

From the Publisher
I have a friend, a Hispanic businessman, who visits me every Christmas. This has been going on for the last 35 years or more. This last Christmas, I drove him home after his visit, and spent some time at his home. My friend lives in a residential area southeast of the Municipal Airport. The houses are pretty expensive in this part of town. I think some ambassadors live out there. My friend has been married to his wife for 40 years or so. She is from Costa Rica, as was Lady Araceli Hunter, the widow of Sir Alexander “Sandy” Hunter. While my friend was visiting me last year, he mentioned that Mrs. Hunter had died and was buried. The news had been kept quiet, he said, no announcements, but even so, he said, St. Joseph Church in Belize City had been packed for her funeral services on December 1, 2014. Sir Hunter and Lady Araceli had been his neighbors to the west.

Open letter to SICB and GoB
Dear Editor, I must write on the fact that it is clear that at no time the Sugar Industry Board (SICB) has intended to act in good faith and do what the law requires it to do, that is, fix the grinding season. Sadly, when we talk about SICB, they have become synonymous with the government, although the Act says they are to be an autonomous body. This is because of the pronouncements made by the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Oliver Barrow, that ASR/BSI will not open its gates until there are agreements signed. Now, effective Thursday, January 15, 2015, there are agreements signed with Producers and United Cane Farmers Association of Corozal and still, neither has SICB declared the grinding season open nor has ASR/BSI even opened its gates.

Parliament to pass changes to Sugar Act next week
Parliament is scheduled to meet early next week to pass an amendment to Belize’s sugar laws which Government sources say is intended to acknowledge new cane farmers’ associations which have emerged in the north of the country as rival groups to the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA) – the only association which is named in law as the representative agency of almost 5,500 cañeros. A communiqué issued by the National Assembly yesterday announced a Special Sitting of the House of Representatives that will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 19, 2015 in the National Assembly Chambers in Belmopan. The amendments should next be tabled at the Senate, which is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, January 20. A week ago, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance told the press that Government would not rush to Parliament this Monday to pass emergency laws to facilitate splinter groups of cañeros forming new organizations, who intend to sign with the Belize Sugar Industries. At least two organizations exist apart from the BSCFA: the United Cane Farmers Association and Corozal Cane Farmers Producers Association.

Caribbean experts warn region overdue for devastating earthquake
You may not have known that earthquakes are more common in the Caribbean than tropical storms. The Seismic Research Centre reported 28 earthquakes in various Caribbean countries in 2014, including Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe and Anguilla, and since 2015 began, two earthquakes have already been reported in the Caribbean: a 4.4 magnitude earthquake on January 10 in Trinidad and Tobago and a 4.0 magnitude earthquake east of Barbuda. UWI’s Seismic Research Centre warns that “…the region is capable of generating an earthquake of magnitude 6.0 or larger every 3-5 years.” It said that “…we are long overdue for a magnitude 8.0 earthquake, which has 32 times more energy than the Haiti event” – a catastrophe which occurred on January 12, 2010 and is described as the most devastating Caribbean earthquake in recent history.

Professor Bain loses UWI job over Belize testimony in UNIBAM case
Professor Brendan Bain, the Jamaican medical professional who gave an expert report to the Supreme Court of Belize in the constitutional challenge to Belize’s sodomy laws, lost his bid this week to get the Supreme Court of Jamaica to extend the June 2014 injunction which barred the University of the West Indies (UWI) from proceeding to fire him from his post as director of the Regional Coordinating Unit of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training (CHART) Network. Since Monday, the constitutional claim, originally set for hearing for 5 days but now extended to 15 days, has been ongoing before a three-judge panel comprised of Lennox Campbell, Paulette Williams and Frank Williams. Hugh Small, QC, argued successfully against the application by Bain’s attorney, Georgia Gibson-Henlin, to have the injunction extended beyond its expiration date of January 13. It means that his termination letter of May 2014, which was barred by the June 2014 injunction granted by Justice Carol Edwards, takes full effect.

The Reporter

Spine Overseas concludes week long surgical clinic
Seven Belizeans have benefitted from having complex spinal surgery done at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital through the international organization Spine Overseas. The team from SOS conducted a week long clinic at the KHMH, where they performed two surgeries on patients with degenerated spines, four cases of spine trauma and one complex multiple pathology case. Dr. John Williams of SOS told The Reporter that SOS has had an expanding relationship with the Belize Spine Program of the KHMH for five years, and have been able to provide surgeries that would have been otherwise inaccessible to some patients. “We make trips twice a year and when we do we see patients that have been referred by Belizean physicians,” Williams said, “after we treat them surgically Dr. Javier Dupui and the rest of the KHMH staff are here caring for those patients they recover from surgery.”

Brazil: Rio announces 2016 Olympics ticket sales programme
Organisers of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics have announced details of its ticket programme for the 2016 Games. Seventy percent of tickets will be reserved for residents of Brazil, said the Rio Committee. Fans can register online now, but sales will begin in March. The first results of the draw will be announced in June. The opening ceremony for the first Olympics hosted by a South American city will be held at the Maracana stadium on 5 August 2016. Seven-point-five million tickets will be available and more than half of them will cost $27 (£18; 70 reais) or less. The cheapest tickets will cost $15 (£10; 40 reais)

Nurse’s aid from Belize accused of killing elderly man in New York
Bronx police in New York have arrested Cherylee Young, 41, a Belize-born nurse’s aide who worked at the University Nursing Home in the Bronx, and charged her with negligent homicide for the death of a 77-year-old patient. Young is accused of assaulting Frank Mercado […]

Teacher under investigation! Penalties can be harsh
Sr. Barbara Flores, General Manager of Catholic Schools in Belize, this week confirmed with this newspaper reports of a thorough investigation currently under way over an allegation of inappropriate behaviour against a male teacher at Saint Ignatius Primary School in Belize City. The Reporter […]

Young Belizean woman to receive honor from Queen
Eighteen-year-old Denielle Neal will be just one of 60 persons being recognized for her community activism and the only Belizean receiving the first ever Queen’s Young Leaders Award in London, England this June. Neal, a Business Science major enrolled at the University of Belize, […]

GOB makes first payment to child who suffered permanent injury caused by doctor
The Government of Belize, through the Attorney General’s Ministry, has made its first payment to Georgia Matute, the mother of Janae Matute, 14, who suffered a permanent and debilitating birth injury due to a doctor’s miscalculation of her gestational age, causing her birth one […]

Education sector signs tripartite agreement
This week a first of its kind tripartite agreement was signed between the Ministry of Education, the University of Belize, and Bridgewater State University. The Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, President of the University of Belize, Allan Slusher, and Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria, President, Bridgewater State […]

Belize records 1.2 million tourist arrivals in 2014
Final tourism numbers are in for 2014 and as expected, Belize set a new record for tourist arrivals with a total of 1,207,386 visitors to the country as the prospects continue to look bright for 2015 with additional flights adding Belize to their routes. […]

New Supreme Court rules to speed up delivery of justice in Belize – Chief Justice Benjamin

The Supreme Court will enact numerous legal reforms to improve the delivery of justice this year, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin announced this week. Justice Benjamin, speaking at the commencement of the 2015 legal year, announced that areas such as criminal procedure rules, regulations for police […]

US OK with idea of visa-free Colombians

The United States says it respects the decision that Belize has taken to allow Colombians to visit the country without visas – a move that took effect at the start of this year. The US, which has long assisted countries like Belize where drug […]

VIP calls out PUP and UDP on secrecy in campaign financing

The Vision Inspired by the People (Party) has called out the People’s United Party (PUP) and the United Democratic Party (UDP) on what it describes their hypocrisy on the issue of campaign financing reform. VIP Public Relations Officer and current San Pedro Mayoral candidate, […]

Professor Bain says pressure applied to prevent his testimony in UNIBAM case

Professor Brendan Bain, former Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network Director, whose contract was abruptly terminated after pressure from advocacy groups in Belize and the Caribbean, said he had been warned against testifying in Belize. Under cross-examination in Jamaica in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, Bain said he was warned about […]


It is unjust to blame the Prime Minister for what has happened to the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. Mr. Barrow did not pressure the company last year into starting the grinding season without a delivery contract. That was the work of the Cane Farmers Association. Mr. Barrow did not […]

Cops seize heroin worth $10,000,000 Drugs have suspicious links to Nigeria; destined for North America

Heroin, worth more than $10 million, was confiscated during an Anti Drug Unit (ADU) operation on Monday night in Corozal Town. Four men have been arrested and charged with drug trafficking of 43 pounds of the highly addictive stuff. The men, Lennon Tillett, 30, a […]

Mom claims KHMH negligence!

Christopher Petillo and his 18 year-old common-law wife, Lucia Martinez are preparing, through an attorney, to file a law suit against the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for gross negligence that they say almost resulted in Martinez’ death after she gave birth to a baby […]

Farmers Fold and NTUCB fires up!

The future of the BSCFA is looking increasingly bleak, after ASR/BSI signed cane purchase agreements with associations who have committed to commence the delivery of cane as soon as the mill says it is ready. The factory has stated that upon receipt of guarantees of at least five hundred thousand […]

Patrick JonesPJ

Bar Association hosts law conference
The annual Law Conference of the Belize Bar Association took place today, featuring a wide variety of topics. It is a chance for local attorneys to get up to speed on critical issues affecting their profession and the wider society. President of the Bar Association Senior Counsel Eamon […]

President of the Caribbean Court of Justice on working visit to Belize
President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Sir Dennis Byron is on a working visit to Belize. He is being hosted by the Bar Association of Belize. On Thursday he met with Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin and Opposition Leader and attorney Francis Fonseca, and was scheduled to […]

Consumers to start paying less for butane
A huge drop in butane prices was announced today by government. A press release from the Ministry of Trade announced that effective January 17, the new price structure will see Belizean consumers paying $12 less to purchase a one hundred pound cylinder of butane imported from Mexico and sold locally […]

Belize to play Cayman Islands in World Cup qualifying game
Belize will play the Cayman Islands national football team in the first leg of the qualifying games for the 2018 World Cup. 27 of member associations of CONCACAF took part in the World Cup draw for Rounds 1 and 2 today in Miami, Florida which resulted in the pairing of […]

Avian Influenza detected at a couple of farms in Spanish Lookout
A coordinated effort is now underway in the Cayo district to contain what has been described as a “limited outbreak” of Type ‘A’ Avian Influenza in poultry at two farms in Spanish Lookout. According to a press release from the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, BAHA, immediate steps were taken to […]

Police and community group work for safer Orange Walk
The partnership between the police and the People’s Coalition of Orange Walk is being renewed in an effort to create a safer environment for residents of the municipality. On Thursday, police officers and members of the Coalition were beating the pavement meeting and greeting residents of the community, particularly in […]

Belize City man injured in shooting incident
A Belize City man was shot in the presence of his 6 year old son. 33 year old George Matthews was walking home with his son around 7:50 pm on Thursday when he was accosted by a gunman on Lacroix Boulevard. Police say the gunman emerged from behind a fence […]

Book of maps of colonial Belize released
Book publisher Cubola Productions’ latest production is a collaboration with the French Institute of Research for Development (IRD) and others, written by geographer, cartographer and research Dr. Odile Hoffmann. Titled “British Honduras: The Invention of a Colonial Territory, Mapping and Spatial Knowledge in the 19th Century,” it is […]


Learning about the Queen Conch
The students were split up into groups and were told to pick a “station” where Julia and her daughter Tisane and friend Melissa had laid out all of the ingredients for 5 different dishes; Ceviche, Fritters Coconut Curry, Soup and Hudut. Thanks to Julia’s watchful eye and kitchen skills she made sure all our dishes turned out well. What a fun morning and an enjoyable group lunch tasting all our hard work. SGA is an organization seeking to improve the sustainability of Queen Conch. Believe it or not, eating them is a part of that sustainability. The SGA Intentional website has a wealth of information, including a presentation on the sustainability of the Queen Conch. Their current projects are: By-product collection (from the meat harvest) Habitat cleanup Sustainability (of the Queen Conch)

Belize Rural School Benefits from Pack-a-Pound Program!
Our Pack-a-Pound initiative gives Chaa Creek’s guests an opportunity to donate school supplies to classrooms in Belize by replacing one pound of their luggage space for materials (pens, pencils, erasers, etc.) to be donated to local schools. “As an Eco Sustainable Destination, we are always looking for ways in which we can give back to our communities. After reviewing different ideas, we identified a need for students of rural schools in western Belize, and we thought, why not design a program where our guests can not only enjoy a vacation, but also enjoy the gift of giving!? And so the Pack-a-Pound program was employed as an outreach agent, giving students the proper materials needed to flourish in a stimulating environment.” said Ms. Denise Duran, program coordinator. St. Peters Roman Catholic School in 7 Mls, El Progresso Village, Cayo District was carefully selected this time to receive the donations. Program coordinator, Denise Duran, visited the primary school along with Emil Bradley and Marketing assistant Lea Itzab to deliver the school supplies.

The January 4, 2015 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

The January 11, 2015 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Omar Figeroa Wins Historic Landslide:
    On Monday, 5 January, 2015 bi-elections in Cayo North, 13 ballot boxes from two polling stations were carted over to the Center for Employment Training compound. That was the counting station for only the third divisional bi-election in Belize’s history. Voting started slow that day but when polls closed at 6:00 pm, figures say the final turnout was 4023 voters or about 61% of the registered voters - that’s in line with the divisional bi-election in Freetown in 1993 where 60% came out. And while the voters were slow to come out early on - the mass parties muscled in on the division and flooded the area with supporters from all over the country.
  • Bernadette Fernandez - One Of Four To Receive Queen’s Honors:
    Her Majesty the Queen, Queen Elizabeth II has been graciously pleased to make the appointments of the most exelent order Brritish Empire on the occasion of the New Year honors 2015. Four Belizeans were honored under three cathegories. There are as follows: . The honor to be a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) was granted to attorney at law Michael Young, whose award is for services rendered to the legal profession and the community. The honor to be officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) are Esther Ayuso for services to the community and women’s rights and Laura Longsworth for services to nursing and the community.
  • A Time for Everything:
    As it was mention long ago There is a time for everything And if you do the very good To you the best future bring There is a time when the very strong, also becomes the weak And everyone on this here earth is designated to a friend There is a time to listen and a time to speak When you travel anywhere every road have an end There has been times that you have failed And times that you have passed all test There is a time for you to harvest After what you have invest
  • You’re Still in Process…:
    You are not who you were yesterday, You are not who you will be tomorrow. You’re in the middle of the beautiful process of becoming. We fight that as women, don’t we? We tell ourselves we have to be it all, do it all, know it all now. We deny ourselves permission to learn. And when we can’t learn, we can’t grow. I thought about this recently as I stood in the curtain section of TJ Maxx saying these words over and over to myself: You’re learning to decorate your house. You’re learning to decorate your house.
  • Hon. Rene Montero Christmas 8 Ball Tournament in Cayo - Shooters Champs!!!:
    The 2nd annual Hon. Rene Montero Christmas 8 ball tournament which began six weeks ago ended on Dec 21,2014, at Link-Up Bar, in Santa Elena, Cayo. The finals was truly a grand Christmas dance as if it was a national tournament with Shooters going up against the defending champs, Link-Up, whereby it was the best of two matches, meaning two teams had to win four games to become the champ. In the first match, Shooters started shooting sharply by defeating Link-up, 2-1. For Shooters, Gilbert Luna calmly won Juan Villanueva, 4-2, and David Fernandez used his sling like when David took down Goliath as he won Jimmy Rudon also, 4-2. But, Wayne Wiltshire stepped up big time for Link-Up and won Luis Usher, 4-1, to give his team hope. So, we off to the second match, and this time it was Link-up defeating Shooters, 2-1.
  • Eighth Annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Canoe Race- January 10th:
    Its time to get the season started with the “8th Annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Canoe Race” sponsored by, Belize Global Travel Services Ltd., Joseph & Taylor Ltd, Bear Mountain Boats in Canada and Architectural Accents Ltd. The race is scheduled for Saturday, 10th January and marks the first race for the season. The race is for MEMBERS ONLY and those wishing to participate who haven't submitted their membership application can do so before the race. Also, canoes that have not been registered, you will be able to get this done before the race as well. All canoes must have on a BCAnoe Racing number. Avoid the rush come early, Race starts 10 sharp, no delays! The race will have an entry fee of $50 per team and all paddlers will receive a free BBQ at Manatee Lookout.
  • Bun Up Busted With Weed:
    A well known Santa Elena man was arrested and charged for the possession of a controlled drug. San Ignacio police were conducting their usual patrol in Santa Elena when they saw Albert “Bun Up” Myvett, 45, Belizean laborer, riding a black beach cruiser bicycle on the George Price Highway. Myvett was stopped and searched. Police reportedly found on his person, a yellow plastic bag in the front part of his pants.
  • Costa Rica Boat Accident Kills Three Elderly Tourists:
    Survivors were taken to Costa Rica's Herradura beach, in Puntarenas Three elderly tourists were killed in Costa Rica when a boat carrying more than 100 people capsized in rough seas. The victims are a British man and a Canadian and an American woman, said the Costa Rican authorities The catamaran was taking tourists unidentified woman told local television. The Pura Vida Princess was carrying 99 tourists and 10 crew when it sank some 15km (nine miles) offshore.
  • Why Do I Have So Many Issues?:
    "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 (NIV) Have you ever looked at other people and thought to yourself, "How does everyone else have it all together? And why is it I seem to have so many issues?" I understand. For most of my life, I’ve struggled with my weight and committing to a healthy lifestyle. My soul was rubbed raw from years of trying and failing. I wanted something to instantly fix my issues. I wanted to stop calling myself awful names I’d never let another person call me. I wanted to be naturally thin like my sister. I wanted to stop crying when I walked into my closet to get dressed in the morning.
  • Ayala Sentenced To Twelve Years In Jail:
    Four men and a minor were arrested for the possession of a controlled drug. On Wednesday, December 31, 2014 at about 8:20 am, police conducting routine patrol in the area of Stanton Street in San Ignacio Town, noticed a suspicious male person at a garage standing by a blue plastic drum. As they approached the garage the said male person went inside the storeroom, while the others waited outside. Police then informed the group that they will be conducting a search for drugs. The men were all searched and immediately after the blue drum was searched and found to contain some loose green leafy substance which was suspected to be cannabis.
  • Insomnia:
    Insomnia, or sleeplessness, is a sleep disorder in which there is an inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep as long as desired. While the term is sometimes used to describe a disorder demonstrated by polysomnographic or actigraphic evidence of disturbed sleep, this sleep disorder is often practically defined as a positive response to either of two questions: "Do you experience difficulty sleeping?" or "Do you have difficulty falling or staying asleep?" Insomnia is most often thought of as both a medical sign and a symptom that can accompany several sleep, medical, and psychiatric disorders characterized by a persistent difficulty falling asleep and/ or staying asleep or sleep of poor quality. Insomnia is typically followed by functional impairment while awake. Insomnia can occur at any age, but it is particularly common in the elderly. Insomnia can be short term (up to three weeks) or long term (above 3–4 weeks); it can lead to memory problems, depression, irritability and an increased risk of heart disease and automobile related accidents.
  • Mexico Police Held Over Abduction Of Journalist Sanchez:
    Colleagues of Moises Sanchez think the state may have colluded in his kidnapping Thirteen municipal police officers are being held in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz over the kidnapping of a journalist on 2 January. Moises Sanchez was abducted from his home by armed men on 2 January. Mr Sanchez works for a newspaper in the city of Medellin and is known for his coverage of drugrelated violence. The arrests come amid a series of horrific disappearances and murders in which the security forces are alleged to be involved.
  • STAR Humor
  • Your Weekly Horoscope and Lucky Numbers
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Public Notices

International Sourcesizz

Fingerprints 'breakthrough' for wildlife crime investigators
Scientists say they have made a forensic breakthrough in the fight against wildlife crime. A team from Dundee has been able to recover fingerprints from the feathers of birds of prey, which are under threat from illegal poisoning, shooting and trapping. If the birds have been handled, the incriminating marks could help police to identify the suspect. The research is published in the journal Science and Justice. The RSPB's latest figures reveal that in 2013 there were more than 120 confirmed incidents of shooting, trapping and poisoning of birds of prey in the UK. It is a problem also seen elsewhere in Europe and in other parts of the world. But scientists say that if the dead birds have been handled, possibly when they were discarded, crucial fingerprint evidence can now be gathered. A team from the University of Abertay, in Dundee, has shown for the first time that the incriminating marks can be lifted from the birds' feathers using fluorescent powders.


Mexico, Guatemala & Belize Go Pro Hero 3, 4min.
Belize - Bocawina Zip Lining - Longest and Fastest Run, 2min. This is the one you have waited for. This is a long and fast run through the jungle and down into the clearing at the end.
Belize Zip Lining - First Run, 3min. This was the first line. The place that they give you a chance to get a feel for it before you really get into it.
Belize - Bocawina Zip Lining - Second Run, 2min. This is the second run of 8.
Horizontal Drop - Bocawina Zip Lining, 1.5min. This stage you need to drop from the tree to the floor, so why bother with stairs.
2015 Belize & Guatemala Archeological Conservancy Tour, 7min. January 4-14 2015 C. Mehrl Bennett took a few videos during the Maya Belize & Guatemala archeological tour guided by Dr. John Henderson of Cornell University, Ithaca NY. This includes some of those plus a few photos, but does not include all sites visited, nor all the activities and hotels.
Belize Tourism Board Surprises Atlanta Couple With Free Honeymoon, 1.5min. On December 14, 2014, Brian surprised his fiancee, Christina, with an amazing flash mob wedding at the Mall of Georgia. The Belize Tourism Board saw the video and was inspired to help Christina surprise her husband back... with a free honeymoon to Belize. Watch as the Belize Tourism Board, Christina, and her brother-in-law surprise Brian with the news.
River Tubing in Belize, 6min. Awesome time tubing down the river in Belize after the bumpy bus ride.
Loggerhead Turtle, Tobacco Caye, Belize, 1min. A huge, 3+ foot loggerhead turtle.
Diving Belize, 3min. Den and Jons Honeymoon.

January 16, 2015


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

OC Castellanos returns from FBI training program
Officer in Charge of the San Pedro Police Department, Superintendent Luis Castellanos is back on duty after taking a three month study leave. Superintendent Castellanos left in September, 2014 to participate in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy Program in Quantico, Virginia, USA. He was selected to represent Belize in the training program alongside 215 other law enforcement agents. Superintendent Castellanos officially resumed his duties in San Pedro on Monday, January 12th. According to an official release issued by the FBI on December 19th, 215 law enforcement officers graduated on December 19, 2014 from the FBI National Academy Program at Quantico, Virginia. The 258th Session of the National Academy consisted of men and women from 49 states. Included in the class are members of law enforcement agencies from the District of Columbia, 26 international countries, three military organizations, and four federal civilian organizations. Internationally known for its academic excellence, the National Academy Program, held at the FBI Academy, offered 11 weeks of advanced investigative, management, and fitness training for selected officers having proven records as professionals within their agencies.

CNU Teachers host workshop for Island Schools
A team of 15 student interns are currently on the island as part of a two-week workshop in Belize. The interns, led by Professors Rita Kohr and Judy Pantelides of Christopher Newport University (CNU) in Newport News Virginia, USA, are currently working along with teachers from Ambergris Caye as part of their final internship for their Masters of Teaching Degree. According to Professor Rita Kohr, CNU has been sending interns to the island since 2008 as part of the University’s “Teaching across Cultures Course” through a relationship formed by Dr. Marsha Sprague, Director of CNU’s Masters of Teaching Program and the founders of Holy Cross Anglican Primary School. While on the island, in addition to gaining teaching experience in the Belizean classroom, the interns are also hosting several workshops.

Record number of manatees killed in 2014
34 manatees were found dead in 2014 in Belizean waters. Overwhelmingly, 65% of the deaths registered were caused by boats. Commonly known as the “sea cow”, the Antillean manatee can be found across Belize in rivers, lagoons, estuaries and most coastal area. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Antillean manatee is listed as Endangered because the current population is estimated at less than 2,500 mature individuals. According to Janelle Chanona, Vice-president of Oceana in Belize, death by propeller is threatening the population of manatees in Belize. Irresponsible boat captains are not respecting the ‘No Wake Zone’ regulations which at many times lead to the injury of manatees. “We always talk about the importance of protecting the manatees. Not only are they a significant part of our environment, but they also have an economic importance. Tourists pay money to see these creatures in the wild. But if this threat continues, we may no longer have any manatees left in our waters. In the last seven days, two manatees have suffered the same terrible fate: death by propeller. Support efforts on the water can help curb this disturbing trend. Respect no-wake zones and minimize speed in high traffic areas,” said Chanona.

Ambergris Today

More Sargasso (Seaweed) Invading Ambergris Caye
It is never-ending and causing lots of frustration, especially to residents living along the beach - TONS of sargasso (seaweed) washing onto the shores of Belize. Here in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, it seems like the Sargaso Apocalypse - the stench!! And it's hard to enjoy a day on the beach when the water is covered in seaweed. What gives? Clean up crews from the San Pedro Town Council, resorts and private homes cannot keep up with the tonnage of seaweed that just keeps washing ashore on a daily basis. As soon as it is cleared up, more rolls in. Just yesterday, our good friends at Chuck and Robbie's Scuba Diving and Instruction posted these pictures of a sargasso patch the size of a football field coming onto shore. And fishermen say that it's everywhere, from back in the San Pedro lagoon to the Turneffe Atoll, large patches of sargasso floating in mid-sea and washing up on shore.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

BEL Job Opportunity
A vacancy exists at Belize Electricity Limited for the post of Logistics Coordinator in the Purchasing and Stores Department.

BEL Job Opportunity
A vacancy exists at Belize Electricity Limited for the post of Accounting Clerk II in the Purchasing and Stores Department.

Mo' Mojo in San Ignacio on Wednesday, January 28th for a FREE concert at the Cayo Welcome Center!!!
Mo' Mojo will be in San Ignacio on Wednesday, January 28th for a FREE concert at the Cayo Welcome Center!!! This morning U.S. Embassy staff member Mirsy Ponce joined Lupita Ferguson from San Ignacio & Santa Elena House of Culture (NICH) and Sam Harris from the World Culture Band, who will perform the opening song for Mo'Mojo on 28th to advertise the concert on OYE FM in English and Espanol with host Nelson Pinelo. Want to come to the concert in San Ignacio? Call OYE FM or visit San Ignacio & Santa Elena House of Culture office, or email the U.S. Embassy at [email protected] for FREE tickets. While the concert is FREE you have to have a ticket to secure a seat at the venue so don't miss out and be left standing! More info. to come on the other concert venues in San Pedro and Corozal, so stay tuned....

BOLEDO DRAWING for Thursday, January 15, 2015: 94. FANTASY 5: 1 23 29 13 31 U

United Cane Farmers sign
United Cane Farmers sign with BSI/ASR Willie Magana (third from left) of Progresso Village took the issue to court and won the right to have associations independent from the BSCFA. Though the court ruled in his favor, it would be years before the Government made legislative changes that would make United Cane Farmers a legal entity. The government has a called for a House Meeting next week Monday and during that meeting the changes will be made to the Sugar Act to allow the existence of this group and other associations. In three years time United Cane Farmers, the Corozal Cane Farmers and what is left of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association will be able to renegotiate the price of bagasse. In 2017 preferential prices for sugar in Europe will come to an end.

More Exciting Basketball this weekend in Corozal - Saturday January 17
Come out and Cheer!

Corozal Belize Heroes and Benefactors Exhibit
A wonderful opening of the Belize Heroes and Benefactors Exhibit this morning, so great to see our children engaged in the history of our nation. We want to graciously thank the standard five students of St. Paul's Anglican School, Miss Donna Gillett, and guest speaker Mr. Roy Rodriguez. Also a special thank you to Mr. Benjamin Cal for installing the exhibit. Thank you to our sister institution; the Institute for Social & Cultural Research in producing this patriotic exhibit. We kindly encourage the community to visit and view this insightful, educational exhibit on display through to June 2015..

It is Esquipulas time in Belize! Blessed Esquipulas to all those celebrating it...

Street Arts Fest 2015
February 28th, Albert Street will be blocked off and crammed with arts, crafts, music...a great annual event in the city:

Jan 4 - Jan 11 2015 Belize Fishing Report
Alison and Reeves, congratulations on your marriage! And thank you for bringing your family to El Pescador for your fishing vacation. May your marriage bring you many fabulous fish! Jay and Amy – thank you for bringing your beautiful daughters, Katie and Abby. I know the guys around here are going to miss their beautiful smiles and fun laughter. Jay – I know you are a doc, but tarpon fever never goes away! And of course we love our friends from Cutthroat Anglers in Colorado. Jim and Kouri it is always a pleasure to see you here. Visit more often! Cutthroat Anglers will be hosting a trip in October – give them a buzz and join in the fun! Fish On!

Channel 7

Two New Growers Groups Sign Contracts With BSI/ASR
Tonight, it's official, after months of back and forth, two new Cane Farmers groups have officially entered into contracts with BSI/ASR. The first to sign was the Corozal Cane Producers Association - which has teamed up with the United Cane Farmers Association. United is the first group that challenged the Cane Farmers Association's monopoly on membership back in 2009 - and got a Supreme Court Declaration to say that by their constitutional right to freedom of association, they could form their own growers association distinct from the BSCFA. Today at BSI's Boardroom in Orange Walk, Willie Magana who led that charge then said today's signing was historic:... Willie Magana, United Cane Farmers Association "I am very pleased to be a part of this historical day. I think this is a dream that started way back in 2008 or maybe long before. I've been hearing that they are blaming the Prime Minister for dividing the association, but I think we were divided long before 2008 and that was one of the reasons why myself and 4 other colleagues took the sugar act to the supreme court because it has compel us to belong to one group even though they were doing so bad, but we had to be under that group and for some time we were kind of being discourage. But today's vision was what maintained us together to be able to go there to the end."

Cansino Says BSI Boxing Out BSCFA
And so, while the BSI/ASR is doing brisk business with the new groups, what about old faithful, the BSCFA? That five decades old organization yesterday wrote to BSI/ASR saying its Directors have agreed and it is willing and ready to sign. The letter says they are also ready to go to another general membership meeting to get a resolution if necessary. But they say BSI hasn't answered - and late this evening, Chairman Ezequiel Cansino told the media that he feels BSI is disrespecting the BSCFA. We couldn't make it to that late evening press conference, but at this morning's signing ceremony, ASR Vice President Mac McLachlan did give a dubious response. Mac McLachlan, Vice President, International Relations - ASR Group "This is a new scenario now. We need to consider who it is the BSCFA are representing at this point and who is signing separately, but we are giving consideration to the latest letter that we've received."

NTUCB Lashes Out On Cansino
And while Chairman Cansino is getting a cold shoulder from ASR/BSI - he also got hit below the belt today by union firebrand Audrey Matura Shepherd. The occasion was a midday press conference in Belize City held by the National Trade Union Congress of Belize. The union group lamented the way things have gone for the cane farmers, and Audrey Matura-Shepherd pinned it on Chairman Cansino:.. Alfredo Ortega - Director, BSCFA Orange Walk Branch "What they are trying to do in that regard is to intimidate the farmers, that if you don't sign this document, you won't be able to deliver your cane and that is [email protected]#^*#!t. Why I say that? It's because the act says that a farmer once being registered by the sugar cane production committee and the season is open, you have that right to deliver your cane. So, I want to see, once the gate is open which of those farmers that didn't sign won't have the opportunity to deliver their cane."

The Enduring Importance Of Rt. Hon. Price
National Hero, George Price would have been 96 years-old today. And though he passed away four years ago, his legend endures and the PUP - the party he founded - is determined to keep that memory alive. And so, today, on his birthday, January 15, they held the annual wreath-laying ceremony in memory of his accomplishments as a leader and a politician. We were at Price's grave in the Lord Ridge Ceremony where Leader Francis Fonseca told us that it is important to his party and to the nation that he is not forgotten:

PUP Launches Education Reform Framework
And from there the party moved over to its headquarters on Queen Street to launch its education reform framework. This is one year after the party launched its social justice platform - which got lukewarm reviews - most probably backlash after the party's ten year neo-liberalist binge. But with education, they wanted to get it right - and to do that they pulled out a career educator with senior pup credentials. 7News was there:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting PUP Standard Bearers, Caretakers, and Area Reps, all crowded into Independence Hall along with Party loyalists. They were there for the Party's release of ideas targeted at Education Reform. And to introduce their concepts, the first two speakers, Cordel Hyde and Francis Fonseca, two former ministers of education, spoke generally about what is currently wrong with the education system.

Evan As Hope Fades, Fred Ortega Still Pointing Fingers
As we told you at the top of the newscast, it's a historic day in cane country - after two breakaway associations representing combined production of four hundred thousand tonnes of cane signed independent agreements with BSI/ASR. That means that with at least a combined 500 thousand tons of cane, the crop season may be able to start in a week or ten days. That pretty much means "game over" for the naysayers - who have held countless press conferences and interviews to urge the farmers to stand strong. Today, in one last swipe at what he considers lamentable circumstances Director of the Orange Walk Branch Fred Ortega blamed it on the Prime Minister:..

NTUCB Sticking By BSCFA, Calls For Unity In A Time Of Division
And at today's press conference, the National Trade Union Congress held its ground as well. The vice president said they are duty bound to get involved:.. Marvin Mora, 2nd VP - NTUCB "This is a matter that will have tremendous effect over the economy of our country and we represent the workers of this country and their best interest. So, we have absolutely no option but to come in defence of the farmers, with moral support, with whatever knowledge we can garnered amongst our members to help them in their plight. In this case, the strength of the cane farmers is in two things; one, their cane and the other, their ability to stay united in the fight. This is our cane, this is Belize's cane and this is the industry of the Belizeans. If we allow a multinational company to come and bully-rag the system, to try to put it in their favor, we run the risks of losing control over the industry and that it would benefit other people and not this nation."

NTUCB President Absent
And while the NTUCB had a strong showing of its leaders at a press conference which was held over the lunch hour to accommodate its various union leaders who are also workers, one person we didn't see is President Dylan Reneau. When asked about it, the vice president made it clear that he was on his own:... Adelaide Guerra, First VP- NTUCB "I am not able to respond for the president. I believe that he will have to answer for himself. The second part of your question, the NTUCB is made up of several unions, it's not the president or the vice president that makes the decision. We have a general council that need to meet every time and they are present here as I speak. The general council is here today in full force."

NTUCB's Battle Cry
And even without its president, and with new growers groups signing left and right - those at the head table put up a mean fight - and even had a battle chorus at the end. They started off with Cansino quoting Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata:..

A Titanic Police Error
The last time we reported on the criminal case against the Bahamians Rohn Knowles and Kelvin Leach, it was to tell you that they got closer to being acquitted of the holding charge of failing to declare funds over $10,000. Well, the case fell further apart today. The Detective Constable attached to the FIU, who made the error in the last exhibit presentation before the court, was called up today to testify. As we told you, Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer refused to accept the only piece of evidence available against Kelvin Leach. That's because the officer, who seized the money he allegedly failed to declare, could not say under oath how much was in the envelope that the prosecution was trying to get admitted against the accused.

History From A Map
History is usually taught or conveyed through anecdotes or timelines of events but there is a new Belizean history book that creates a more vivid perspective on history. The book is called British Honduras: The Invention of a Colonial Territory. It demonstrates Belizean history through 19th century maps. The author Odile Hoffman is a geographer at the Institute of Research for Development in France and it took her and Belizean researchers and observers about 8 months to complete the book. A launch was held today at the Leo Bradley Library to celebrate its publication. Director of Cubola Productions, Montse Duran says that in this book the narrative resonates from both the land as well as its occupants.

Cop Remanded For Carnal Knowledge
Last week we told you about an investigation at the Independence Police Station involving a police constable who'd allegedly had sex with a teenaged girl in the police barracks. It came to the fore because his common law wife found a nude picture of the girl on his cell phone and out of spite posted it on the internet. That's when the 16 year old girl's family found out and they filed a complaint. Well the investigation found that Police Constable Patrick O Brien had unlawful carnal knowledge with the girl when she was 15 year and 11 months old - which is below the age of consent. He was charged in court today and ordered to be remanded. He was taken away in cuffs to the Hattievile prison.

Channel 5

N.T.U.C.B. Pledges Support to Farmers
Even as the start of the sugar cane crop seems inevitable, the chaos within the industry continues unabated. Tonight, there is much to report—both from the farmers and the factory, [...]

Matura-Shepherd Embarrassed by PM and AG
When it comes to the government in this scenario, attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd pulled no punches. She believes that Prime Minister Dean Barrow deliberately and with great calculation did not speak [...]

ASR/B.S.I. Signs Agreements with New Associations
As we told you earlier, there is news to report not only from the farmers, but also from ASR/B.S.I., and it is fairly monumental. Early this morning two associations outside [...]

Associations Say it is a Dream Come True
So where does this leave the B.S.C.F.A.? Well certainly not in a better position than they were in before negotiations. In fact, there are those who expect that the Association [...]

B.S.C.F.A. Chairman on the Hot Seat
That’s bad news for the Association, and there’s more. There’s allegedly a report circulating that ASR/B.S.I. is expressing some hesitation in signing with the B.S.C.F.A. branches who have expressed that [...]

CCJ President Visits Belize
There is a historic visit taking place today. That’s because at the invitation of the Bar Association, Justice Dennis Byron, the president of Belize’s highest court of appeal, the Caribbean [...]

P.U.P. Celebrates Birthday of George Price
Nationally recognized as the father of the nation, George Price was remembered today by the party he led for four decades. Price passed away in 2011, but today he would [...]

Party Launches Education Platform
On the occasion of the ninety-sixth birthday of its deceased leader, the P.U.P. also launched its education platform entitled Education: Creativity plus Technology.  The policy is a call to arms [...]

Prosecutions Rests in Case Against Bahamians
Now to the courts…the case by the Financial Intelligence Unit against two Bahamians, Kelvin Leach and Rohn Knowles, for failure to declare in excess of ten thousand Belize dollars resumed [...]

San Pedro Police Investigate Shooting
The last time we reported of a major crime in San Pedro was on December fifteenth when Pedro Castillo was shot dead in an exchange of gunfire between Coast Guard [...]

Geographer Launches New Book
A book of maps by geographer Doctor Odile Hoffman was launched today at the Leo Bradley Library in Belize City. Five hundred copies of the publication, British Honduras: The Invention [...]

Bandits and Police Draw in Game 1
It’s not Monday, but James Adderley reports tonight on game one of the finals of the Premier Football League of Belize in which the Belmopan Bandits defend its title against [...]

Healthy Living: Meditation to Improve Physical and Mental Fitness
The ancient practice of meditation has long been extolled as a life changing practice capable of improving one’s health both mentally and physically. There have been several studies that show [...]


Who Is The Best Man For The East?
On Sunday January 18th, the electorate in the Orange Walk East Constituency will come out en masse to exercise their voting rights in the People’s United Party Convention between newcomer Josue Carballo and veteran Dave Burgos. Both candidates are aspiring to be the elect standard bearer for the PUP in the constituency for the upcoming General elections. And while Dave Burgos has been relatively contested, his fellow opponent is relatively new to the political arena. Mayor Bernard told us his support is with the much younger and vibrant Carballo Camp. “I wish both of them well, I can tell you categorically though that Josue has worked with me when I was President of the National BYM, Josue worked along with me building the bus stops at the Santa Martha School, at the Palmar areas...

OWTC Finalizes Makes Final Arrangements To Pay Off Grijalva
In September of last year, viewers may recall a decision was handed down on the matter in the Supreme Court of Belize in favor of Denny Grijalva’s De’Mars Stone Company for the Orange Walk Town Council to pay for past works done. Viewers will note that Grijalva filed a lawsuit against the Town Council after Mayor Kevin Bernard made the decision in 2012 to not honor a payment owed to the company. And while the Court’s decision was in favor of Grijalva, we asked the Mayor about this financial burden that keeps haunting the council. Here’s what he told us today. “I recently check with our attorney and they say that they are still finalizing an arrangement with De’Mars Stone Company lawyers so at this point we don’t have any really significantly but all what I can tell you is that we cannot afford any huge payment because we have a plan of work to do in the next three years and we expect to continue those work we will not let any major debt hinder us,...

How The OWTC Managed To Stay Afloat
Another financial encumbrance inherited by the present PUP administration was a liability of a little under a half a million dollars. And while the cash strapped Administration did its best to fulfill its other obligations as promised in their 2012 manifesto, the Mayor was quite elated to report that thanks to his prudent management, the council managed to stay afloat even though they were indebted. “I can tell you and I am happy to say that the people of Orange Walk the almost $490,000 in debt almost half a million dollars in debt by the end of February we are out of those debt, I can tell the last major debts that we are paying were the Social Security and the Belize Bank over Draft that we had to convert to a loan and we are settling those debt by the end of February the last payment will go in so I can tell the people of Orange Walk you have a council that practice prudent management and things that were never done before we have been able to stay afloat even though we were indebted and that is why give us the opportunity to serve you and the Orange Walk residence for the next three years so that we can continue to bring more development to our community.”

Mayor Bernard Discusses 2015/2018 Manifesto
And while the dynamic PUP 7 slate are pounding the pavement and hitting the streets in their campaign trails, we had the opportunity to ask the Mayor about their plans of their newly drafted Manifesto. And while we are all aware of the difficulties and hardships faced by this Administration, Bernard sufficed to say that they are looking at a wider scope of community needs and infrastructural development for Orange Walk Town and how best to further improve in their services and boost tourism for Shuga Citi. “Our manifesto, if you look at the theme “Continuously Servicing The People” is driving the message that we will continue to work hard for the people of Orange Walk, we will continue to bring about progress, we will continue to bring about things that we believe that we can better improve the lives of our citizens, if you look at the Manifesto our key issue is talking about the street because we know that is priority and we know how best we can further improve, so in the Manifesto there are several areas where we have touched, financial stability of the council will remain because that was our mantra, we had to turn things around...


Rotary District Governor Elected Speaks on Preparations For District 4250
The Belize Rotary Club, which belongs under the Rotary International, is a club that provides services to others and promotes high ethical standards that foster goodwill and peace through its fellowship of business, professional and community leaders. The Rotary Club in Belize is a part of Rotary Club 4250 which comprise of Belize, Honduras and Guatemala. The Club has the honor of having had three of its members serve as District Governor: John Searle (1999-2000), Salvador “junior” Espat (2004-2005), and Dr. Marcelo Coyi (2009-2010). Our fourth Belizean District Governor Nominee is Rene Villanueva Sr. Love News reporter Leigh-Andra Gentle; spoke to Rene Villanueva Sr. more about his experience in reaching this position. The Rotary Movement is made up of 1.2 million Rotarian’s around the world and can be found in 200 countries around the world with 33,000 clubs. It is divided into zones due to its size. Belize is currently in zone 21 A, which is made up of Mexico right through to South America. The zone 21 A is broken down into 18 Districts which is headed by a district governor. Belize is currently in district 4250, which is made up of rotary clubs in Honduras, Belize and Guatemala. The governor of each district is rotated between the three countries. This year’s Governor elect is Rene Villanueva Sr. who will take over the post on July 1, 2015. Love News spoke to Villanueva about the preparation he has been undertaking to take up the post.

BSCFA Former Chairman Responds to Allegations
In an exclusive interview with Love News, the former CEO of the BSCFA, David Madrid, made several serious allegations aimed at the former Chairman of the Association, Alfredo Ortega and the current CEO, Oscar Alonzo. So we asked Ortega about those allegations today. BSCFA FORMER CHAIRMAN, ALFREDO ORTEGA “From last week when the Prime Minister made his press conference he announced that there was a group of farmers that had sent him a letter that they wanted to form their association and we have heard from ever since that there has been the producers from Corozal and also the United Cane Farmers that arose in 2010. Nevertheless none of those farmers have resigned from the BSCFA so speaking at this point in time, yesterday I was away from the association and I did not see any letter from any particular farmer or group saying that they are resigning from the association. What transpired on Friday after the court session, 18 branch chairmen were called in Orange Walk to have a meeting to settle a way forward.

Education Frame Launch to Add Value to Education
The People’s United Party used the occasion of the birthday of Right Honorable George Price to launch its Education Framework at Independence Hall in Belize City. According to Fonseca, the framework seeks to equip Belizeans at every stage of their lives with the tools they need to create value out of their education. LEADER OF OPPOSITION, HON. FRANCIS FONSECA “The education agenda we present today is grounded in that social justice agenda. The PUP believe in education, we believe that education is the great equalizer, we believe that education is key to national development and our investments as a nation in education continue to be the most effective poverty alleviation strategy. Education reform is one of the three central pillars which will form the foundation of the next PUP government. Our government’s development agenda will have two other important pillars, economic reform and governance reform. All three education reform, governance reform and economic reform all three are linked to and dependent upon each other.

Book Published Shows How Belize Evolved
Today Cubola Productions, a publishing company that has been established since 1973, are conducting the launching of their book “British Honduras: The invention of a Colonial Territory, Mapping and Spatial Knowledge in the 19th Century.” Today Montse Casademont, Publisher, addressed the media and spoke to us about the publication of the book. MONSTE CASADEMONT “It’s the first time that we are able to produce a book in color and for a book of maps it is essential that we see the maps in color so initially I was approached by Edil Hoffman who is the primary researcher and the author of the book and she had been working in Belize for a long time and also in the south and Mexico and she said well I have this book and I would really like to publish it with a Belizean publisher.

UCFA Signs Sugar Agreement with BSI/ASR
A commercial agreement has been signed by a group of cane farmers and the miller. The major event took place at Tower Hill this morning. Arturo Cantún has the story. ARTURO CANTUN REPORTING “The Corozal Cane Producers’ Association along with the United Cane Farmers’ Association has signed a commercial agreement with BSI/ASR. The major event took place this morning at the BSI Sugar Factory in Tower Hill where an impromptu press conference was offered by the miller and the new association’s leader. BSI’s Beliz Carballo was one of the key signatories for ASR and categorized this morning’s signing as historic. BELIZARIO CARBALLO “Indeed it is a historic occasions I think it marks the start of what we hope and expect to be a very productive, constructive partnership with the Corozal sugar cane producers association as a recognized player and new stakeholder in the sugar industry of Belize.

Police Releases Comparative Crime Rates
The Belize Police Department sent out comparative figures as they pertain to various crimes committed around the country. The figures looked at the years 2013 and 2014 and the reported crimes for each district. Of the six districts, the Belize District had the highest number of murders recorded with 58 cases in 2013 and a spike in murders for 2014 with 77 cases reported. The Cayo District followed with 25 cases in 2013 and 19 in 2014; while the Corozal District recorded 5 cases for 2013 and 9 in 2014. The number of murder cases reported for the Orange Walk District in 2013 was only two … but that figure more than tripled in 2014 with 7 cases reported. The Stann Creek District showed an increase by one in 2014, with only 8 cases reported while the Toledo District had two cases in 2013 and three in 2014. Other crimes reported ranged from rape to robbery to theft. On a whole, there was a significant increase in crimes committed in 2014 when compared to 2013. The most prevalent is theft, which showed a spike in 2014 with 596 cases reported as compared to 508 in 2013. That was followed burglary, robbery, carnal knowledge then rape. We will look further into the comparison of crime statistics as presented by the Police Department in tomorrow’s newscast.

Ortega Responds to Former CEO of BSCFA
In an exclusive interview with Love News, the former CEO of the BSCFA, David Madrid, made several serious allegations aimed at the former Chairman of the Association, Alfredo Ortega and the current CEO, Oscar Alonzo. SO we asked Ortega about those allegations today. ALFREDO ORTEGA “Well really I have not heard his comments. I don’t know what he commented; I only read on Facebook that he took out some things there on the Facebook but I believe that if he has the information and if he feels that if he has strong allegations on that why did he not come forward with it from long ago.” Hipolito Novelo: “He says he was advised after he did the audit he says that he was advised to go to the police station and report it and name eight directors of the BSCFA, however he says that the police did not want to take that report and after he spoke to some members he was threatened to be fired.”

PUP Remembers George Cadle Price on His 96th Birthday
Today marks the 96th birthday of Belize’s first Premier and Prime Minister, George Price. Price, who many recognize as the Father of the Nation, was born on January 15, 1919. He died on September 19, 2011 – three days short of the 30th Anniversary of Belize’s Independence. Price was a founding member of the People’s United Party and worked tirelessly to take Belize into nationhood. So on this day, Party Leader, Francis Fonseca and other members of the People’s United Party laid wreaths at Price’s burial site at Lord Ridge Cemetery. HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING “He was dubbed the “Father of the Nation” and if he would be living today he would be 96 years old. He was Belize’s first Prime Minister and a founding member of the People’s United Party, PUP. George Cadle Price died on September 19- three years ago and just before Belize’s 30th Anniversary as an independent nation. He was buried at the Lord Ridge Cemetery in Belize City and this morning, Leader of the PUP, Francis Fonseca, laid wreaths on Price’s tomb.”

Former CEO Reveals Cover Ups of Missing Monies and Mismanagement within the BSCFA
The sugar industry in Belize is going through one of its worst crisis in history. For the past two months farmers have found themselves in a critical position in deciding the future of their live hood. This week a number of harvest groups have expressed interest to leave the association and join other alliances and the newly instituted Corozal Cane Producers Association. Some observers of the industry have said that it’s likely we may be seeing the last of the 55 year old association. And if we thought that was the worst coming the farmers’ way, the former CEO of the association, David Madrid have spoken publicly about mismanagement and lack of transparency at the BSCFA during his tenure. Madrid made his view public by publish it via Facebook. Today, Madrid sat with LOVE NEWS and spoke exclusively to this station about the year and a half he was CEO. One of the matters Madrid touched was a 2009 contract given to the present CEO of the association, Oscar Alonzo, to start negotiations with BSI for a new commercial agreement. Madrid alleges Alonzo was well paid but the problem is he never delivered to the farmers. Madrid says this was unfair to the farmers but no farmer did anything to address the matter.


New book plots geographic history of Belize through maps
Cubola Productions, the leading publisher of books on Belize in Belize, released its latest publication on Thursday in Belize City. Titled “British Honduras: The Invention of a Colonial Territory, Mapping and Spatial Knowledge in the 19th Century,” it is a collection of maps from various sources in Great Britain, France and Spain and closer to home that traces the geographic history of Belize from its genesis as the colony of British Honduras. It is written by Dr. Odile Hoffmann, a researcher and geographer with the French Institute of Research for Development (IRD). Publisher Montse Casademunt explains that each map tells its own story, and collectively, they trace the development of a logging camp populated by the castoffs of British society, that grew to become the multi-cultural Jewel known as Belize by the sea.

Shooting in San Pedro
There was a shooting in San Pedro late Wednesday evening. According to authorities, at around 11:12 pm on Wednesday January 14th, police responded to reports of gunshots being fired in the San Pedrito Area, San Pedro Town, and spoke to the land owner of Lopez’s Apartments Building, who told authorities that he heard a total of 9 gunshots coming from somewhere on his premises. According to police investigations the culprit or culprits visited the Apartment unit of 32 year old Kareem Eagan, and fired a total of 9 gunshots. Kareem’s room was found locked from the outside with a small padlock and Kareem was not found anywhere in the area. No one was reported injured.

No-case submission expected in Titan case
Attorney Godfrey Smith, Senior Counsel, is expected to make a no-case submission on behalf of his clients Rohn Knowles and Kelvin Leach, the Bahamian executives of Titan International Securities, after the prosecution led by Christelle Wilson closed its case on Thursday. The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) accuses both men of failure to declare funds totalling US$12,300 upon leaving Belize, as they tried to do in September of 2014. In December when the case was heard before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer, a police officer who picked up both men from the Philip Goldson International Airport testified that the envelope he confiscated from Leach contained US$6,300 and 11 Belize dollars and was so labelled. A check of the envelope, however, failed to turn up the Belizean currency and Senior Magistrate Frazer declined to accept the envelope as evidence, because its integrity was compromised in her view. Detective Constable Julian Chub now says the envelopes were mislabelled – the one he testified to actually contained the US$6,000 to have been declared by Knowles, and not the US$6,300 and BZ$11 to have been declared by Leach.

The Guardian

Former BSCFA CEO alleges corruption within BSCFA
The former Chief Executive Officer of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association came out on Facebook, swinging at the directors of the association like 'halligator from riva bottom.' In a posting by David Madrid of January 11, 2015 he made wide allegations of corruption against the directorship of the BSCFA. His posting was picked up by Love FM's Arturo Cantun and in a lenghthy interview Madrid catalogued a series of allegations against the leadership of the BSCFA. But it is not the first time that Madrid has spoken up publicly. On October 4, 2010 he had made an appearance on Channel 5 claiming very much the same thing which he claimed on Wednesday. At the time he had just been fired as the Chief Executive Officer of the association. The allegations he's consistently made include the misappropriation of funds from Fair Trade, the Cess which farmers pay to the association, the awarding of supply contracts to select bidders among other allegations. In his facebook posting he notes thus:

Cane Farmers Association splinters
After 55 years of serving a majority of the cane farmers in the north, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association has lost just under half of its membership. That follows in the wake of the very misinformed decision to reject the cane deal at the last general meeting held on January 4. Readers may remember that in our last issue, this newspaper outlined what happened at that meeting where Audrey Matura-Shepherd, and others convinced the general membership that they should fight for a better cane deal and sue the Sugar Industries Control Board and have the Supreme Court compel that independent body to declare the season open in the absence of a signed deal between the cane farmers and the factory owners. That was an ill-advised outcome, despite the best efforts of Chris Coye, the attorney for the cane farmers, who tried to convince them at that meeting that the compromise deal, facilitated by the Government was the best opportunity at this time. They clamored for the Prime Minister to go back and convince the factory owners, BSI/ASR, to start accepting sugarcane deliveries without any commercial agreement governing the operation. Well, Prime Minister Dean Barrow did just that, and as he has reported back, ASR/BSI refused to start the season without a signed agreement from both sides. Furthermore, if the Government makes any attempt to force their hand in accepting cane deliveries, they will close down the factory, and leave the country.

Independent Cane Farmer begin to sign agreement with BSI
The Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. announced on Wednesday January 14 that they have begun to sign commercial agreements for the delivery of cane with farmers who are not affiliated with the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA). The Guardian has been reliably informed that there are at least two groups of farmers who have signed with BSI while the United Cane Farmers Association headed by Wilfredo Magana is expected to sign shortly, possibly before the end of the week. There is no word yet when the BSCFA will sign but all indications are that BSI would choose to sign with them only after they have gone to their general membership to get a yes vote on the cane delivery.

Largest Heroine bust in Belize
Officer from the Anti-Drug Unit went looking for a stolen car, and ended up busting 4 men who allegedly had 43 pounds of heroine in their possession at a restaurant in Corozal Town on Monday night. At this time, the officers don’t know what kind of quality it is, but the street value is estimated at several million dollars. ADU officers were on an operation looking for a stolen vehicle which matched a grey Chevy Tahoe pickup truck which was parked outside the restaurant. This drew their attention to 32 year-old Jose Antonio Lara, a fisherman from Julio Street, San Pedro; 30 year-old Lenon Leonardo Tillett, a BEL Contractor of Ebony Street, Belize City, who also has a house in Corozal; 42 year-old Gerardo Beraldo Allen, a tour guide of Back Street, Caye Caulker; and 35 year-old Hierder Martin Perez, an employee of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Office from San Pedro. Perez had his licensed 9 mm pistol when the ADU Officers approached, and decided to search them. That’s when they found 15 parcels of heroine on the back seat. They weighed it, and found out that it was tallied at 19.5 kilograms - or 43 pounds - the largest amount of heroine seized on Belizean soil.

Honduran busted with fake nationality document
Honduran national, Carlos Roberto Cantiano, 30, has been deported from Belize for an immigration offense. On Thursday, January 8, Cantiano was picked up by police and during questioning the officers asked for his immigration documents. Cantiano presented a Belize National Certificate, #1684, 1/13 Volume 16/26 issued on July 29, 2013 in the name of Carlos Roberto Cantiano Tut. The officers turned Cantiano over to the Immigration Department along with the document. Immigration Officer Robert Gursney investigated and learned that the certificate is one of many on a list of flagged certificates. Cantiano was charged with using a document not entitled to.

Pleads guilty but says girlfriend set him up
David Castillo was busted with .2 grams of crack cocaine and pleaded guilty to drug possession but claims he was set up by his ex-common law wife. The Quick Response Team of the Police Department was on mobile patrol at about 12:05 a.m. on Saturday, January 10, when they saw Castillo riding a female beach cruiser. The officers stopped and conducted a search on him. In his right rear pocket a dry tobacco leaf, a bamboo paper and other items were found. Inside the bamboo paper police found the crack cocaine. Castillo was arrested and charged. In court on Monday, January 12, Castillo pleaded guilty to the charge with an explanation. He told Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser that he had gone to look for his ex common law wife when the police met him that morning. Castillo said he had gone to the shop to buy and that was when his ex gave him an amount of items; including the bamboo and tobacco leaf. He said he didn’t check it until the police stopped him and made the discovery. Castillo told Fraser that his ex wants more than the $150 he is currently giving for child maintenance of their two children and that is why she set him up.

Killed in a boat
Police continue to investigate the very strange murder of 29-year-old Pedro Aldana Ayuso Jr, a fisherman who was killed on a boat near the Belcan Bridge on Tuesday, January 13. Not much is known about how Ayuso was killed, but what police have been able to determine is that sometime around 7 p.m., he was on a skiff. He had just dropped off a skiff to the Conch Shell Bay Area, and was on his way back with another vessel when someone on another boat approached him and fired two fatal shots at him. He was struck in the abdomen, and he collapsed into the boat, with the shooter speeding off toward the Bel China Bridge. Police responded as soon as they got the call. While Ayuso was being transported to the hospital he died. Police have no leads to go on at this time, but they do suspect a possible drug connection, for which there is no proof currently.

Alleged chain snatcher stopped by police
A man walked up to Brea Burgess on Thursday, January 8 and ripped a $475 Cuban gold link chain from off her neck. The culprit then ran from the scene but police in the area were made aware of the incident and responded quickly. The officers apprehended Joseph O’Brien and took him back to the scene of the crime. He was identified by Burgess as the individual who snatched her chain and was arrested and charged with robbery. According to Police Constable Josel Garcia, O’Brien attacked him with a piece of 2x4 lumber while he was trying to make the arrest. Police Constable Victor Cholin also reported that while trying to make the arrest, O’Brien told him, “I wah kill yuh, I see yuh face." O’Brien was additionally charged with one count of harm upon Burgess for hurting her neck, one count of aggravated assault upon PC Garcia and one count using threatening words against PC Cholin.

Snatched weed from police and threw it in a canal
Police are accusing Jane Usher Boulevard resident, Shawn Palacio, of resisting arrest, assault upon a police officer and obstruction of justice after he allegedly grabbed an amount of weed out of an officer’s hands and threw it into a canal. According to reports, police was conducting a search on Palacio’s Jane Usher Boulevard home on Saturday, January 10, and found an amount of marijuana inside. Police say that Palacio snatched the drugs from the hands of PC Delton Mariano and ran out of the house. According to police, Palacio ran up the street to a nearby canal and three the marijuana into the body of water. Palacio was arrested and charged with resisting lawful arrest, assaulting PC Mariano and obstruction of justice.

Prisoner Charged with Murder of Cellmate
Lorenzo Smith Jr., 29, is serving a ten year prison sentence for arson and now he is staring down a much longer sentence for the murder of a cellmate back in 2009. Smith is being accused of killing inmate Alfonso Eck in October of 2009. Eck was found dead on Friday night, October 9, 2009 inside his prison cell. He was serving time for maim and assault and was due to be released in 2010; however, a few months before his sentence was to expire his cellmate, Lorenzo Smith Jr., found his body hanging from his blanket inside the cell. According to reports, authorities initially thought it was a case of suicide. Five years later, police’s investigation now end with an arrest for murder.

San Ignacio Police recover stolen items
A variety of computer related items have been recovered by San Ignacio Police. Peter Redekop reports that he had left for the Casino in San Ignacio Town at about 11:00 pm on Sunday of this past weekend and while there his peach in color bungalow house was burglarized. When he returned home at 4:00 am, he discovered that the door knob of his door was completely damaged. Police were informed of the burglary and immediately went to work, which has resulted in the recovery of four lap top computers and an assortment of computer peripherals worth over $5,500.00. These were found at several residences in the Cayo District and Police are now in the process of laying charges.

Hector Rangel of Benny’s Megabytes is 25th KREM Classic Champion
The 25th Annual KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic is now history. The much heralded event was held on Thursday 1 January 2015, where some 68 elite riders participated in the 96 miles event. In the Open Elite category, the first rider to cross the finish line was Hector Rangel, a Mexican who rides for the Benny’s Megabytes Cycling Team, in a time of 3:50:26 to laid claims to the 25th Annual KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic. He was then followed by David Santos of Bel-Cal Cycling Club in a time of 3:53:25, and he was followed by Ron Vasquez of Western Spirit Cycling Club in a time of 3:53:00, and he was followed by Angel Tzib of Team Smart in a time of 3:53:27 and he was followed by Giovanni Lovell of Digicell 4G Elite in a time of 3:54:00 for the top five positions. The other top positions went to John Delong who is unattached, and he completed the course in a time of 3:54:00, and he was followed by David Henderson of Team Smart, Nissan Arana of Predators, and he was followed by former champion Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes, and then by Henry Moreria of Team Smart for the tenth position.

Belize Athletics Association to hold Annual General Assembly
Belize Athletics Association will hold the 2015 Annual General Assembly at the University of the West Indies Auditorium, Princess Margaret Drive, on 31 January, 2015 at 2:00pm. There is one vacancy open for the election of a committee member for which nominations are sought. All members are required to pay their 2015 annual dues by the 27 January, 2015. Payment of dues can be made at any of the National Sports Council offices throughout Belize. All members are asked to please bring along their identification cards.

Dr. Omar Figueroa officially sworn in as Cayo North Area representative
Dr. Omar Figueroa was officially sworn in as Area Representative for the Cayo North Constituency on Monday, January 12. Accompanied by family members and close friends Hon. Dr. Figueroa took the oath of office which was administered by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young at 4p.m. on Monday. Along with him now being sworn in he was appointed by Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow as a Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister. He joins other Minister of State Hon. Santino Castillo in the PM's office. Hon. Dr. Figueroa will officially take the Oath of Office as a Member of the House of Representatives on Monday January 19 which is scheduled as the next House Meeting.

Bar President Makes Pitch to Free Agent Attorneys
Belize’s most intelligent legal minds marched through downtown Belize City on Monday, January 14, 2015 for the Opening of the Supreme Court. This year’s pageantry signaled the start of a new era for these officers of the Court. It is the first in which they are being granted the fundamental human right of Freedom of Association. Therefore, the President of the Bar Association, Eamon Courtenay, had to briefly depart from his mountain of complaints about the state of the Judiciary and make a pitch to these first time free agents. Courtenay encouraged his colleagues to stay with the Association as it continues to work tirelessly in an effort to provide continuous education and training to people of the profession and develop the judicial system of Belize. He called on them to exercise their rights and make the choice to join the Association, “voluntarily” because “There is no other body in the legal profession that will continue to do the work that will assist the judiciary, to assist the judicial arm, to assist the government and to advance reform and revisions of the law besides the Bar Association of Belize.” Attorney General Wilfred Elrington championed the amendment to the Legal Profession Act which eliminated the clause for mandatory membership to the Bar Association of Belize for local attorneys. He pointed out that the Bar seems to be doing more for the development of its members recently and pronounced that he himself might consider rejoining the Association.

Stevedores call on their president Matura-Shepherd to represent them
Stevedores have approached this newspaper in the hopes of trying to get the attention of their president for her to get up and actually represent them. Readers will recall that in mid August of 2013 there was a move to oust the then President, Antonio Gonzalez and its General Secretary, James McFoy of the Christian Workers Union (CWU). At the time there was a swirl of allegations of financial mismanagement and irregularities at the CWU where it went as far as it being kicked out of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize. There were also accusations that the leadership of the union was not interested in negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with the Port of Belize. Amidst the entire fiasco surfaced Audrey Matura-Shepherd who somehow managed to be endosed as the president on December 13, 2013. At that time she stated "I told them that I am prepared to serve for one term, I do not believe in holding on to an office forever because you become complacent, you become so complacent; you don't become accountable. It becomes about you and not about the job." Well it appears that her words are turning prophetic against herself.

Belizeans represent our heritage at UWI
The Belizean Students’ Association of Jamaica, BelSAJ, is a group of Belizean students studying in Jamaica at the University of the West Indies, Norman Manley Law School and the University of Technology in Jamaica. These students come together to make the best of their new home away from home and become ambassadors for the Jewel by portraying the rich “Caribbeanness” and Central American heritage that makes Belize unique. Though the Association structure has been a struggle to maintain due to all members being students, the pressures of the stressful academic life and funding issues, 2014 had proved to be its comeback year and the students surely represented with a vengeance.

Bobble Head Journalist
It's amazing how local media houses and talk show hosts expose themselves as either being biased or disingenuous. Day-in day-out these pseudo intellectuals pose on their thrown where they are comfortable since they have control with absolutely no idea of topics discussed. Yet they float along like bobble head dolls pretending to know. Their head bounces from call to call trying to maintain a middle of the road stance to mask their ignorance. Not one journalist or talk show host discussing this issue have ever spoken from an informed position, as none have ever bothered to discuss while reviewing a copy of the sugar act or the draft agreement. At last week's PM press conference a certain religious media person displayed this classic case of media ignorance. The person went to the press conference where he had the golden opportunity to ask and be educated on the cane industry problems by a well informed individual- the PM. He chose not to do so, but rather to big up the Chetumal Street bridge.

Belize Central Prison packed to capacity
To close the 2014 session of the Supreme Court, Honourable Justice Troadio Gonzalez concluded with the “jail delivery” which was sealed by the testimony of Prison Officer Jarette Twist. Twist is in charge of the Processing Unit at the Belize Central Prison Department, Kolbe Foundation, and he gave a report on the prison’s population. According to Twist, as of Friday, January 9, 2015, there were 1,545 inmates at the Belize Central Prison, 44 females and 1,501 males. There are 11 tangos at the prison. In Tang 1 there are 65 inmates, 92 inmates in Tango 2, 95 inmates in Tango 3, 104 inmates in Tango 4, 137 inmates in Tango 5, 56 inmates in Tango 6, 225 inmates in Tango 7, 254 inmates in Tango 8, 129 inmates in Tango 9, 35 inmates in Tango 10 and 120 inmates in Tango 11. There are 102 inmates receiving treatment at the Ashcroft Rehabilitation Center, 44 inmates in the female section and 48 juveniles at the Wagner's Youth Facility. 172 inmates are foreigners: 36 on remand, 80 convicted and 56 presently locked up for illegal entry.

Respect for others - and children too!
Every day we come across individuals that may be older than us, most often share the same generation lineage, or even those that are younger. Who we choose to be affiliated with tells something about ourselves; however, not so much. A person's decency, it has been said, should be judged by the way he treats his subordinates. Deference towards a superior may indicate nothing other than perhaps cowardice. But when we show respect to someone socially or politically inferior to us -- now that is a person of integrity. The finest form of praise is not the compliment you offer someone -- whether sincere or not -- but the real value you attach to his or her opinion. Telling a child she is clever is not nearly as meaningful as genuinely showing interest in what she has to say. Asking your colleague for his opinion goes much further in promoting his self-worth than saying a few nice words.

A new sense of urgency for a San Ignacio Police Generator
Whenever there is an interruption in electrical power in San Ignacio, the San Ignacio Police Station also goes dark and this hinders the operations of San Igancio Police. As a result, a group of concerned citizens recently met at Hodes Place in San Ignacio Town to discuss what can be done to assist the police during such blackouts. At the same time a new measure of urgency now exists at the community level, so that San Ignacio Police can have its own standby, a 55 Kilowatt Olympian Generator now sits at Caesar’s Gift Shop and Guest House at number 62 miles on the George Price Highway, which has kindly been stored there by the owners for the last five months. This expensive Standby Generator came courtesy of the United States Embassy in Belmopan and is intended for the San Ignacio Police Station.

Southern Regions Benefits from Belize Global Fund Malaria Elimination Project
The Southern Region of the Ministry of Health added two new Mahindra pickup trucks to its fleet of vehicles. The new vehicles will assist in the Vector Control Program with a focus on the reduction and elimination of Malaria cases in the south where the disease is concentrated in a few communities. Funding for the purchase of these pickup trucks was made possible through the “Elimination of Malaria in Mesoamerica and the Island of Hispaniola” regional initiative, which Belize signed unto as a COMISCA member state. The initiative, signed in June 2013, is funded by the Global Fund which has committed an initial US$10 M over the next three years. The funding is expected to assist countries to identify gaps in their national budgets to begin the execution of an elimination strategy.

Over 300,000 Overnight Visitors for 2014
2014 was an outstanding year for the Tourism Industry in Belize. The year started with several properties in Belize earning awards in TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travelers’ Choice Awards. Ambergris Caye was then named the #1 Island in the World, for the second year in a row. Scuba Diving magazine outlined Belize as the “Central American paradise” who “earned a host of 2014 Top 100 Readers Choice Awards.” Delta Airlines employed additional flights through the Atlanta route to Belize, while United Airlines announced a new direct flight for Chicago-Belize, operational December, 2014, to May, 2015. Then, there was the announcement by Southwest Airlines that they would begin nonstop service to Belize, via Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport, commencing October, 2015. In October, 2014, Belize saw one million visitors into the country, including overnight and cruise arrivals, which was two months earlier than the projected time. Now, the total arrival numbers are in and the Belize Tourism Board is pleased to announce that Belize has surpassed the elusive 300,000 overnight visitors mark. The total overnight visitors to Belize in 2014 were 321,220. This shows a 9.2% increase in overnight visitors, when compared to 2013.

UDP Youth Leader Honored by Her Majesty
The Public Relations Director of the Youth Popular Front, Denielle Neal, is one of 60 youths from across the globe that is being recognized by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for outstanding leadership and service to peers and the community. 18-year-old Neal will travel to London, England in June to receive the inaugural Queen’s Young Leaders Award. Neal has been active in community organizations since early childhood. She says the emphasis placed on community service by her high school, Pallotti, bolstered her desire to serve. Her ascension to youth leadership dates back to 2011 at the age of 14 when she became an executive member of the Youth Enhancement Services’ (YES) fellowship group.

The Ultimate Judge visiting Belize
Officers of the Courts of Belize will have the privilege to spend some time with the ultimate Judge of Belize. Sir Dennis Byron, the President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, the highest court of Belize, will arrive in the country on Thursday, January 15. Sir Dennis is coming to Belize on the invitation of the Bar Association of Belize. He will be the Keynote Speaker at the Bar’s Law Conference 2015 on Friday, January 16. According to Eamon Courtenay, President of the Bar Association of Belize, Sir Dennis will be making courtesy calls on key public officials. The Governor General, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Leader of the Opposition and Attorney General are expected to be on the list of people visited by President Byron.

Improving access to justice is the focus of the judiciary
There are currently 17 Belizeans who have been locked up at the Belize Central Prison for more than five years and have never been convicted of a crime. It is a human rights blackeye almost comparable to Guantanamo - perhaps even worst when factoring that the people we have locked away are our own countrymen. It is an issue that predates the tenure of Honourable Kenneth Benjamin as Chief Justice, Honourable Wilfred Elrington as Attorney General and Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay as President of the Bar; and they, just like their predecessors, have registered complaints, issued challenges and made pledges to speed up the pace of justice. However, at the 2015 Opening of the Supreme Court, these distinguished gentlemen returned to report that their efforts have only resulted in marginal gains. Chief Justice Benjamin introduced a bold new measure on Monday, January 12, to motivate all players in the justice system to pick up their pace.

Public Sector Workers Trust beneficiaries prepare for legal battle against trust protectors
In 1993 when the United Democratic Party took office, it took over an administration laden with maladies enough to give skeletons mange. The economy was performing poorly; the unions were agitating for salary increases at a time when the IMF was instituting standby arrangements and the government coffers had been emptied out by an unconscionable PUP Maladministration. The then Prime Minister, Dr. Manuel Esquivel, whilst facing all these onerous conditions still managed, even at a huge political cost, to salvage the economy and brought it back from the brink of collapse. One of the things that was a point of contention back then was the issue of salary increase. After many hours at the table an agreement was reached and the government approved a raise of 7% in three installments of 3, 2 and 2% over three years. This happened in 1995. At this same time the issue of increments which had been frozen was also a sticking point. As a result of government's arrangement with the IMF there was simply no way that the frozen increments could have been paid to the deserving public servants and teachers.

These days, we spend so much time with electronics at work and even more so socially. When was the last time you and your family spent a day “unplugged,” without watching any TV, checking any emails, or staying glued to your cell phones? Perhaps, such an idea is impossible to happen. Set a goal of spending at least one day a month (if not per week) without your gadgets, and instead, enjoy the outdoors or have a board game marathon. Individual resolutions are easy to give up on, because they are all about you in a world where you’re focused on taking care of everyone else. So, moms and families, why not try making resolutions as a group this year? It can be fun, painless, and are sure to benefit your entire household. For many of us, the New Year means it’s time to take stock of our lives and fix what we don’t like. Whether it’s our diet, exercise routine or tendency to procrastinate, there is always room for improvement in the coming year. We do not only benefit from New Year’s resolutions, our children can also learn a lot about self-discipline and the value of making goals. In fact, this is perfectly in line with article 12 and 13 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: the right to freedom of expression.

Belize City primary schools basketball competition heats up
The Belize City Primary Schools Basketball competition continued on Tuesday 13 January, 2015, with three games on the schedule. In the first game in the boys’ competition, St. Ignatius School defeated James Garbutt SDA School by the score of 33-11. The top scorers for St. Ignatius School were Glenford Bermudez with 11 points and Tairel Carcamo with 2 points. For James Garbutt SDA School the top scorer was Ralston Menzies with 4 points. In game two, St. Joseph School defeated St. John’s Primary School by the score of 35-2. The top scorers for St. Joseph School were Justin Williams and Daemion Garcia with 8 points each, while the top scorer for St. John’s Primary School was Levan Tillett with 2 points. In the only game played in the girls’ competition, St. Luke Methodist School defeated St. John’s Primary School by the score of 6-1. The top scorer for St. Luke Methodist School was Khia Leslie with 4 points, and the top scorer for St. John’s Primary was Taliyah Hyde with 1 point.

Belize Athletics Association to hold National Track and Field Championship
The Belize Athletics Association invites all athletes and track enthusiasts once again to be a part of a National Track and Field Championship event. The event had to be postponed and is now set to be hosted at the Marion Jones Sports Complex on the 24 and 25 January, 2015. All athletes 16 years and older can participate in the events. Registration forms can be obtained from and returned to the BAA via email ( [email protected]) or from our Facebook page (Belize Athletics Association). Registration forms can also be obtained from and returned to the National Sports Council’s offices throughout the country. Please be advised that registration forms should be submitted no later than Wednesday 21 January, 2015; no late registrations will be accepted. Cost of registration is $5.00 per athlete.

Belize Athletics Association to hold Annual General Assembly
Belize Athletics Association will hold the 2015 Annual General Assembly at the University of the West Indies Auditorium, Princess Margaret Drive, on 31 January, 2015 at 2:00pm. There is one vacancy open for the election of a committee member for which nominations are sought. All members are required to pay their 2015 annual dues by the 27 January, 2015. Payment of dues can be made at any of the National Sports Council offices throughout Belize. All members are asked to please bring along their identification cards.

Cycling Community mourns the passing of Duncan Vernon
The cycling fraternity in Belize and Belizeans at home and abroad is mourning the passing of a great Belizean Cyclist Duncan Vernon. Duncan Vernon captured the Annual Cross Country Cycling Classic Title three times. He accomplished this great feat in 1957, 1960 and 1961. He placed second three times in 1956, when he finished behind Edward Miguel and again in 1958 when he also finished behind Edward Miguel, and again in 1965 behind John Miguel when the race went from Belize City to Orange Walk and then back to Belize City. It was in the 1960 Cross Country Classic that two winners were crowned. It was the first and only time in the history of this historic cycling event that two riders were crowned champions. The two riders that crossed the finish line together were Duncan Vernon and Johnito Majarrez. According to cycling history in Belize, the two riders officially crossed the finish line together and as a result it was pronounced a dead heat.

Workshops for writers to begin in Cayo
The first in a series of workshops for writers is scheduled to begin this Saturday, January 17th at the San Ignacio Public Library. Being brought forward by the Belize Book Industry Association BBIA, the Workshops are intended to further expand an already thriving writing community. At the first lecture, the ABCDE of Short Fiction will be presented by Dr. Virginia Hampton, who is a lecturer of English at the University of Belize. There will be further workshops on the ABCDE of Short Fiction for this year, but in March and April, Dr. Hampton wants to do more sophisticated versions, such as talking about character development, publishing and playwright writing. Her presentations on the Playwright’s Craft will further be developed at the University of Belize. “You don’t just write something and hand it in, it needs to be revised; whether it is a poem or a play or a story, and so that’s one reason for the workshop,” says Dr. Hampton.

Failing Grade
Imagine teachers in Belize entering their classrooms one morning to find them half empty. The Ministry of Education does not have any information to explain the empty classrooms but enquiries reveal that a letter had been sent to the various Managements informing them that students would be attending rallies on designated Fridays to learn more about their rights. The rallies are being organised by a group of concerned parents who have read reports showing that high repetition and drop-out rates can be largely attributed to poor teaching and school administration. The Management Authorities appear ineffective in weeding out poor teachers, the Teachers’ Union mandate is to protect teachers and so the full brunt of this institutional failure falls on parents and students. Some parents therefore decided to take matters into their own hands and hold sessions in every district to teach the students and their parents how to monitor the quality of the education they are receiving, rate their teachers and school administrations as well as report instances of inappropriate or inequitable behaviour and poor educational practices.

Patrick JonesPJ

No-case submission expected in Titan case
Attorney Godfrey Smith, Senior Counsel, is expected to make a no-case submission on behalf of his clients Rohn Knowles and Kelvin Leach, the Bahamian executives of Titan International Securities, after the prosecution led by Christelle Wilson closed its case today. The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) accuses both men of failure to declare funds totaling US$12,300 upon leaving Belize as they tried to do in September of 2014. In December when the case was heard before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer, a police officer who picked up both men from the Philip Goldson International Airport testified that the envelope he confiscated from Leach contained US$6,300 and 11 Belize dollars and was so labeled.

Leading cane farmers restate position on sugar crisis
The reports of the demise of the sugar industry in Belize and especially that of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) appear to be greatly exaggerated, in the view of at least one senior leader of the Association, although the Association was quick to distance itself today from their comments. Attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd maintains that the planned signing of the Commercial Agreement between multiple parties and BSI/ASR is under protest and the case for writ of mandamus to force the SICB to open the season under consultation will not be withdrawn immediately.

PUP launches education agenda
Last year the PUP used the occasion of Rt. Hon. George Price’s birthday to launch its Social Justice Agenda in which the party re-committed to the view that all should benefit from the bounty of the nation. One of the three pillars of the agenda in addition to economic/financial and governance reform is education reform – making sure not only that all of Belize’s youngest residents participate in the process of development, but are also able to contribute to it. At this morning’s launch of the party’s Education Agenda, former Minister of Education Cordel Hyde, the party’s standard bearer for Lake Independence, lamented the state of affairs that has kept Belize’s education system from developing and which, he says, contributes to the social ills that plague this young nation.

PUP marks 96th birthday of Rt. Hon. George Price
It has become an annual tradition for the People’s United Party (PUP) to honor and recognize the legacy and contribution to Belize’s development of National Hero and Father of the Nation of Belize, the Right Honourable George Price. This is usually done both on his birthday, January 15, and National Service Day, observed on the date of his death, September 19. Today’s observance at the Lord’s Ridge Cemetery featured appearances from students of three City primary schools and PUP party supporters. After prayers and wreath-laying, grandnephew of Price and PUP chairman Henry Charles Usher said that Price wanted more time to help shape modern Belize.


Caye Caulker, Belize
Caye Caulker in Belize was another location that I added to my itinerary last second, hearing about it from other travelers. The only thing I wanted to do was the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, based from San Pedro. Turns out that this place is packed with hotels though, whereas Caye Caulker has more of a backpacking vibe for it, making my decision to go there instead very easy. I stayed in the Bella’s Hostal just next to the Dirty McNasty’s, which seems to be the place-to-go for all those party hungry backpackers. I was glad I did not stay there.

An afternoon at Cahal Pech Ruins
I’ve never gotten over the fact of how even though Cahal Pech ruins are just a short walk from downtown San Ignacio, it feels very secluded. I can’t pinpoint the age I was when I first visited this Maya site but I think it must have been when I was a grade school because I can recall how huge the temples seemed and running through the arch ways with a bunch of friends who’s faces are unfortunately blurry in my memory. Last week I had the opportunity to revisit Cahal Pech and I excitedly explored every inch of the place just like I must have done when I was a kid. The truth is that since Maya sites are surrounded by nature, I find them very relaxing and hiking temples is a great way to get a nice work out. Enjoy the photo essay.

10 Astonishing Birds of Belize!
Almost 600 bird species have been identified in Belize, 20% of them winter migrants from North America. Even if you are not an ‘avid birder’, you’ll be amazed by the colorful species that you will encounter on any nature trip. The tropical forests, savannahs, numerous cayes, wetlands, and coastal plains of Belize offer a myriad of habitat to many birds. Nearly half of our nation’s land and adjacent waters are protected under forest reserves, marine reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and other protected area designation. We listed the most impressive birds found in Belize: 1. Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) 2. Keel-Billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus) 3. Blue-Crowned Motmot (Motmotus motmota) 4. Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) 5. Red-footed booby (Sula sula) 6. Great Egret (Casmerodius albus) 7. Magnificent frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) 8. Jabiru Stork (Jabiru mycteria) 9. King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa) 10. Yellow Head Amazon (Amazona oratrix)

15 year History of Saga Humane Society
Saga Humane Society recently celebrated it’s 15th year as a not-for-profit humane organization on Ambergris Caye. In order to know where you are going, it is often said you need to know where you have been… Although the organization was named after one of the founder’s dogs, it is an appropriate name as Saga is a seemingly endless story of a community’s tireless dedication to its animals. In March of 1999, Dr. Bronwen Eastwood, a Veterinary Surgeon, got together with six other members of the island community (Walker Marchal, Sari Frank, Eileen Jamison, Ruben Gonzalez, Ramon Nunez, & Lane Llewelyn) to form The Saga Society (also known as The Saga Humane Society or just “Saga”). On June 16th of that year, it was officially registered as a non-profit, non-governmental organization under the Laws of Belize, possibly the first of its kind in Central America, as a means to address stray animal challenges.

International Sourcesizz

Start Using Your IRA to Invest in Foreign Real Estate
So, how has your IRA been performing over the past few years? If you’re like most, you’ve probably seen minimal growth or even stagnant returns at best. At worst, your retirement account may have lost money and/or been eaten alive by broker fees. These difficult economic times have not been kind to what was once our most promising option for saving for retirement and reducing our taxable income. Surely, Americans are telling themselves, there must be a better way. Rather than relying on the standard options that have failed them in recent years, many Americans are taking control of their own retirement savings. And with the subpar performance of traditional domestic investments, many are also looking overseas at emerging real estate markets, such as the many opportunities available in Central America. Investing in offshore real estate is a far cry from the boring Option A, B, or C type investment choices most custodians offer. It’s exciting. It’s outside the box. It gives you complete freedom over your funds and your future. And it offers incredible investment potential that no traditional option could ever rival. Better yet, it’s all perfectly legal.

What Factors Leads To The Development Of Tropical Storms & Hurricanes?
I thought I would give everyone some background on what we look for in terms of environmental conditions and other factors that can lead to the development of tropical storms and hurricanes. There are generally six items (and sometimes more) that we look for in the tropical Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico that are necessary for tropical cyclone development (called tropical cyclogenesis). They are: 1. Ocean water temperatures that are at least 26 degrees Celsius or 79 degrees Fahrenheit to a depth of at least 50 meters or 150 feet. 2. Moist air at about 10,000 feet. 3. A generally unstable atmosphere. 4. An area of enhanced vorticity (spin) which can be caused by low pressure developing or from a tropical wave or tropical disturbance. 5. Weak vertical wind shear. 6. The area of interest has to be at least 5 degrees of latitude away from the equator. So, let’s look at each item a little more in depth:

FIFA and CONCACAF Introduce Club Licensing in Region
FIFA, in collaboration with CONCACAF, today held final discussions during a landmark seminar on club licensing in Miami. The main objective of the two-day event was to inform member associations about the implementation of the FIFA Club Licensing System in CONCACAF that will introduce a set of minimum criteria into national and continental competitions from 2015 and 2016, respectively. FIFA Vice-President and CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb opened the seminar by stressing the importance of club licensing for the future of football in the region: “This seminar is a continuation of everything we do for the professionalisation and the transparency of football. The member associations must be the agents of change, the catalysts for the transformation of CONCACAF.

Consolidated Water Co. Sees Significant Drop in Short Interest (CWCO
Consolidated Water Co. (NASDAQ:CWCO) was the target of a large decrease in short interest in December. As of December 31st, there was short interest totalling 283,423 shares, a decrease of 43.6% from the December 15th total of 502,223 shares, reports. Approximately 2.0% of the shares of the company are short sold. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 206,438 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 1.4 days. Separately, analysts at Zacks downgraded shares of Consolidated Water Co. from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $13.80 price target on the stock in a research note on Friday, November 7th.

CARICOM reveals initial results of pilot project to reduce youth violence
The Caribbean Community revealed Thursday initial results from of a pilot project to reduce youth-on-youth violence, particularly in schools. For over seven months CARICOM has conducted surveys and focus groups to grasp the experience of 520 school children in five of the 15 member-states: Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago. The majority of students between the ages of 11-16 said they were victims of bullying, theft and robbery by other students. "Information from the survey revealed that violence in schools was related to gangs moving into the schools and communities (27 percent); easy access to drugs and guns (14.8 percent); lack of positive activities (13.2 percent); among other factors," CARICOM said.

CONCACAF draw lights 2018 touch paper
The road to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ kicked off, officially, on Thursday evening in Miami Beach, when representatives of CONCACAF conducted a preliminary draw for the region’s qualifying competition. The event was overseen Jeffrey Webb, President of the North, Central American and Caribbean Zone, but the job of pulling balls from the pots fell to a quintet of men who have all tasted World Cup action on the field of play. Shaka Hislop, goalkeeper of the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors that made history in Germany 2006, Carlos Pavon of Honduras, Mexico favourite Pavel Pardo and former USA defender Tony Sanneh were all on stage to lend a hand. The biggest VIP, however, was Brazilian World Cup winner from 2002, Ronaldo, who did his part to help decide the fate of some of the smallest fish in the footballing pond.

How Do Sea Turtles Find the Exact Beach Where They Were Born?
The marine reptiles use Earth's magnetic field as a guide back home, new study says. For loggerhead sea turtles, home is where your (magnetic) heart is. After hatching on beaches around the world, these huge marine reptiles undertake multiyear, epic migrations at sea. Then, the turtles return to the exact spot where they were born to mate and lay their own eggs. Scientists have long known that the turtles, like many animals, navigate at sea by sensing the invisible lines of the magnetic field, similar to how sailors use latitude and longitude. But they didn't know how the turtles were able to return to the very spot where they were born.

Ignacio Volunteers serve abroad over break
While most were sleeping in, lounging around and enjoying winter break, 22 students gave up those few weeks to serve as teachers in Jamaica and Belize. The two groups of Ignacio Volunteers spent their fall semester raising money and preparing for the trips. Allison Rogers, political science senior and group leader at the Belize Christmas Camp, said that this included weekly meetings to educate the volunteers about the Mayan culture and lifestyle. They were also required to participate in a day of service with children from local schools along with an overnight retreat. Students who volunteered in Belize were teaching at a camp located in Mayan villages in Southern Belize. They taught the children of the village math, English and arts and crafts, in addition to playing sports like soccer and volleyball.

Bain warned of likely implications of participating in Belizean case
PROFESSOR Brendan Bain yesterday admitted that four human rights advocates had warned him about the likely implications of him giving his expert witness in a Belizean court. Under cross-examination from Queen's Counsel Hugh Small yesterday, Prof Bain recalled that he was approached by Dr Ernest Massiah, director of UNAIDS for the Caribbean; Ian McKnight, former executive director of the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition; Dr John Walters; and Dr Peter Figueroa, a well-known epidemiologist and HIV/AIDS researcher. The doctor admitted that Dr Massiah was the fourth person that had cautioned him about the likely consequence of the report that he was to tender in Belize. Prof Bain said that Dr Massiah told him that it would be dangerous for him to participate in the case.

Baseball team serves and scores during Belize service trip
Of all the ways students can spend winter break, several members of the Loyola baseball team chose to spend their holidays volunteering in Belize. Seven members of the baseball team embarked on a nine-day trip to Belize to hold a baseball camp for Mayan children. The players served in the small, Mayan village of San Jose from Dec. 27 to Jan. 5. The villagers of San Jose live without any electricity or running water. While the players were there, they stayed in a community center and slept on mats on the floor. Doug Faust, head baseball coach, said that not only was the trip an opportunity for the team to teach others, but also a chance for them to learn. “The trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity to not only see and spend time in a Mayan village, it allows them to truly make a difference in the lives of the children they work with,” Faust said.


Belize Permit, 3min. I went to Belize for a yoga retreat and was lucky enough to catch a permit of a lifetime!
Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza, Belize City, Belize, min.
nouvelle espèce de tarentule, Belize, .5min.
Global Degree visit Belize and Honduras | Season 1, Episode 1, 6.5min. Global Degree set off on their epic round-the-world journey, starting with Belize and Honduras. Highlights include an impromptu rap about Utila, one of the coolest places in all of Honduras; running around the Mayan ruins in Copan; and of course some truly awesome hostels.
Bullet Tree River Belize, .5min. Short clip with a Waterproof Panasonic Lumix in the river @ Bullet Tree Village behind Mahogany Hall Resort, Cayo Belize, during the summer time when its really hot in Belize.
Cross Catholic Outreach Vision Trip - Belize Nov. 2015, 10min.
Fly Fishing Belize 2013, 50min. This is a great video, 50 minutes and good production values and entertaining!. 5 Friends just having fun on their vacation on the beautiful island of Caye Caulker in Belize
Ross Kemp au coeur des gangs Belize, 43min. Entre le Mexique et le Guatemala, se trouve Belize, un petit pays anglophone de plus de 318 000 habitants. Depuis la fin des années 1980, il est devenu un point de transit majeur pour le trafic de cocaïne entre la Colombie et les Etats-Unis, et donc l'un des endroits les plus dangereux du monde.
2014 Bowen Vacay Roatan, Belize,Cozumel,Costa Maya, 10min.
2014.11 - Caye Caulker, Belize, 10min.
San Pedro Belize Aug. 2014, 11min.
Soldiers learn to fight in merciless jungle of Belize, 2min. 40 selected officers and non-commissioned officers of the marine Corps and the Airmobile Brigade to follow in november and december 2013.

January 15, 2015


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

VIP to contest municipal elections in San Pedro with a full slate
In a press release issued on Tuesday January 13th, the VIP outlined their vision for San Pedro Town. “Mother Nature has endowed us with a beautiful island, pristine reef, crystal clear waters and abundant marine life. These priceless gifts are the life blood of San Pedro, ranking it among the best destinations in the world. The improper dumping of toxic substances such as plastics, oil, arsenic and heavy metal pollution in our waters is negatively affecting the health of our environment at an alarming rate. We need to take a stand now to work on restoring our island to its natural state and ensure our future livelihood. Raising this call comes with the full realization that fixing the physical and social damage done to our environment and our community is a task for giants.

Over 300,000 Overnight Visitors for 2014
2014 was an outstanding year for the Tourism Industry in Belize. The year started with several properties in Belize earning awards in TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travelers’ Choice Awards. Ambergris Caye was then named the #1 Island in the World, for the second year in a row. Scuba Diving magazine outlined Belize as the “Central American paradise” who “earned a host of 2014 Top 100 Readers Choice Awards.” Delta Airlines employed additional flights through the Atlanta route to Belize, while United Airlines announced a new direct flight for Chicago-Belize, operational December, 2014, to May, 2015. Then, there was the announcement by Southwest Airlines that they would begin nonstop service to Belize, via Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport, commencing October, 2015. In October, 2014, Belize saw one million visitors into the country, including overnight and cruise arrivals, which was two months earlier than the projected time.

San Pedro Police hold Staff Appreciation Party
San Pedro Police officers along with invited guests, gathered at Fido’s Courtyard on Saturday, January 10th for the annual Staff Appreciation and Christmas Party. The event was organized by Tammy Peterson with assistance from the San Pedro Police Department senior officers and the business community. At the event, officers got to enjoy a delicious meal and some even received awards for their hard work throughout the year. According to Deputy in Charge of the San Pedro Police Department, Inspector Henry Jemmott, the party serves to show appreciation to the hard working officers in a fun environment along with their family and friends. “This year has been good to the San Pedro Police Department. We have seen a stronger community involvement and are seeing police officers diligently improve in the service they offer to the people,” said Inspector Jemmott. The officers enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner with all the sides as well as accompanying cocktails.

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Police Report Sanpedrito Neighborhood Crime Free
The San Pedro Police Department seems to be hard at work as they also presented to the group their current Action Plan being implemented which includes: * More ‘Meet & Greet’ activities with the community * Work on putting together more neighborhood watch groups * Continue joint operations with the Belize Coast Guard and Customs Department * Work closely with the Special Branch Unit in weekly operations on the island * Continue to deploy patrols in North Ambergris Caye * Closely Monitoring of Prison Releases (being vigilant of released criminals after they have served time in prison. This includes keeping an eye on their activities and home inspections) * Conducting strategic meetings to tackle specific crime issue that come up A Public Relations training program for the San Pedro Police Officers has been developed and will be taking place in February. This training includes changing of attitudes of the police officers towards island residents in an attempt to better the relationship between the officers and members of the community, thus enhancing the trust and respect for each other.

Pic of the Week: CrossFit Junkies Paddleboard to the Reef
Caught a group of four CrossFitters enjoying a sunny day by the reef on paddle boards. They were performing CrossFit routines balancing on their boards and having a great time while they got some exercise. It take about 30 minutes to paddle from the shores of downtown San Pedro to the second largest Barrier Reef in the world. It's one of the privileges living in one of the most beautiful islands in the world; don't you agree?

Belize Reports Over 300,000 Overnight Visitors for 2014
The Belize Tourism Board is reporting that 2014 was an outstanding year for the Tourism Industry in Belize. The year started with several properties in Belize earning awards in TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travelers’ Choice Awards. Ambergris Caye was then named the #1 Island in the World, for the second year in a row. Scuba Diving magazine outlined Belize as the “Central American paradise” who “earned a host of 2014 Top 100 Readers Choice Awards.” Delta Airlines employed additional flights through the Atlanta route to Belize, while United Airlines announced a new direct flight for Chicago-Belize, operational December, 2014, to May, 2015. Then, there was the announcement by Southwest Airlines that they would begin nonstop service to Belize, via Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport, commencing October, 2015.

Four Caught in Major Heroin Drug Bust in Northern Belize
According to media in the mainland, the anti-drug unit acted upon information received by them and intercepted the four persons at the entrance of Corozal Town and were believed to be traveling north into Mexico. They are 32 year old Jose Antonio Lara a fisherman/Tour guide of Julio Street San Pedro, 30 year old Lenon Leonardo Tillett a BEL contractor of #20 Ebony street Belize City also of College Road Corozal Town 42 year old Gerardo Beraldo Allen, a tour guide of Back street Caye Caulker and 35 year old Heirder Martin Perez an administrative assistant for Hol Chan Marine Reserve of Escalante Subdivision San Pedro Town. Perez is the holder of a licensed 9 mm pistol which was in his possession loaded with 13 live rounds.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Police Intercept Heroin headed North
The drugs were found in bags on the back seat of a white Chevrolet Tahoe, 4 door with license plate number BC-C-41809. The 15 parcels of suspected heroin weighs 19.621 Kilograms. The persons arrested are: (1) Jose Antonio Lara 32 yrs D.O.B 14/06/82 a fisherman/Tour guide of Julio Street San Pedro (2) Lenon Leonardo Tillett 30 yrs D.O.B 18/08/84 a contractor for B.E.L of #20 Ebony street Belize City also of College Road Corozal Town (3) Gerardo Beraldo Allen 42 yrs D.O.B 21/10/72 a tour guide of Back street Caye Caulker (4) Heirder Martin Perez 35 yrs D.O.B 18/11/79 an administrative assistant for Hol Chan Marine Reserve of Escalante Subdivision San Pedro Town. Perez is the holder of a license for 9 mm pistol Springfield Brand serial number XD965878 which was in his possession loaded with 13 live rounds of Aguila brand ammunition.

Great Opportunity to find about educational opportunities!
COBEC is a group of US universities that allow Belizean students to attend for in-state tuition and possible other opportunities. If you know Belizean students who are interested in furthering their education in the US, please share the information about the upcoming 2015 Consortium for Belize Educational Cooperation (COBEC) Winter Fair.

by Charles X Leslie Jr. - First, let us establish who we are dealing with: Who is behind the iron mask of the ASR (American Sugar Refining)? ASR is owned by the Fanjul brothers. The Fanjul brothers are Cuban borned. They are Alfonso "Alfy" Fanjul, José "Pepe" Fanjul, Alexander Fanjul, and Andres Fanjul — they own the Fanjul Corp., a vast sugar and real estate conglomerate in the United States and the Dominican Republic. It comprises the subsidiaries Domino Sugar, Florida Crystals, C&H Sugar, Redpath Sugar, Tate & Lyle European Sugar, La Romana International Airport, and resorts surrounding La Romana in the Dominican Republic...and now Belize. WHAT KIND OF MEN ARE THE FANJUL BROTHERS? The Fanjul brothers were a focus in the Jamie Johnson documentary The One Percent, which showcases the corrupt use of cane workers and especially "imported" labor. The U.S. Dept. of Labor's "List of Goods Produced by Child or Forced Labor" report lists sugarcane from the Dominican Republic as having child and forced labor. The NY Times reported: "The sugar situation hurts American businesses and consumers, but its worst impact is on the poor countries that try to compete in the global agricultural markets. Their farmers might never be able to compete ".

Government of Belize Press Office

Gang Resistance Education And Training
On Monday U .S. Embassy officials welcomed police officers and NCOs to kick off a U.S. Government Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) funded nine-day training course to become Gang Resistance Education And Training (GREAT) instructors. The officers are being taught by U.S. and Belizean instructors and will be trained to teach children in schools across the country measure that will help build self confidence and reduce their susceptibility to gang influences. Currently more than 6,000 Belizean students have completed GREAT courses in approximately 50 schools across the country.

Inaugural Meeting of CZMAI Reconstituted Board of Directors

Jada's Spicy Meatloaf
Jada shows us how she makes her wonderfully spicy and savory meatloaf. You can always replace the ground beef for ground turkey. This dish is sure to satisfy for any season.

Mrs. Dorla McFoy passes away
Our Deepest Condolences goes out to the McFoy Family. Mrs. Dorla McFoy was a kind, friendly, fun-loving person and one of the sweetest, most enthusiastic and supportive parent to our Junior Company during our early years... A treasured member of our BNDC Family. We are sadden by the news of her passing and she will truly be missed. BNDC extends Support, Love and Warm Hugs to our members, Lucretia & Tiffany McFoy and the rest of their family during this difficult time.

Channel 7

Murder On A Sea-Style Drive-By
When we left you last night, it was with the news that a fisherman had been murdered in his boat near the Belcan Bridge in Belize City. Well, tonight, we can confirm that the deceased is 29 year-old Pedro Aldana Ayuso Jr., a resident of Oleander Street. Turns out that it was kind of a drive by on the sea, where the gunman came up in another boat. Today, we spoke to his family and police about the circumstances of this unusual murder. Monica Bodden reports::…. The body of 29 year old Pedro Ayuso jr lay dead inside this floating skiff – near the Belcan Bridge in Belize City. Police responded to the shooting just after 7 last night. We learned that Ayuso who is a fisherman of Orleander Street – had just dropped off a friend at Conch Shell Bay and was returning home – when another skiff approached his boat from behind and fired two shots at him. Both shots caught Ayuso in the abdomen – and he died minutes later in his vessel. The killer’s boat then sped off in the direction of the Bel China Bridge.

ADU Busted Heroin While Looking For Stolen Car
Tonight, four men are at the Hattieville prison after they were arraigned in Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court today for trafficking heroin. They are 32 year old Jose Antonio Lara a fisherman/Tour guide of Julio Street San Pedro, 30 year old Lenon Leonardo Tillett, a BEL contractor of #20 Ebony street Belize City and of College Road Corozal Town, 42 year old Gerardo Beraldo Allen, a tour guide of Back street Caye Caulker and 35 year old Heirder Martin Perez an administrative assistant for Hol Chan Marine Reserve of Escalante Subdivision San Pedro Town. Perez was carrying his loaded licensed 9 mm pistol when police found all four of them outside a Restaurant, which is at the entrance to Corozal Town on Monday night. The Anti Drug Unit was on an operation when it found 15 parcels of heroin in this Chevy Tahoe on the back seat. They weighed in at 19.6 kilograms which is 43 pounds, the largest heroin bust on record in Belize. Tests have not been done yet to confirm what grade it is – but depending on the grade, it could have a street value of anywhere between two and four million US dollars.

Farmers Signing With ASR/BSI
BSI has started signing contracts with cane associations and growers groups. This evening, the company sent out a public notice saying farmers representing production of more than 400,000 tons of cane have made petitions to the Sugar Industry Control Board to enter into independent agreements with BSI. And, today announcement says, quote, “the process for signing agreements between BSI and these groups of farmers has now commenced.” End quote. So the process which started in mid November 2014, when BSI appealed directly to farmers, is now coming to fruition two torturous months later: many, not all, farmers are signing directly with BSI. But, there’s not much to celebrate in sugar-land. After five decades, the BSCFA is substantially splintered, the crop is starting five, maybe 6 weeks later than it should have, and the Fair Trade funds have been plundered to keep the farmers going during months of uncertainty and no income. Indeed, from the outside, it seems to be a fractured industry but one that’s held together by a single supply and demand imperative: the farmers need to sell their cane, and the BSI mill needs that to make sugar.

Hulse Says Farmers Got A Fair Deal
And, hostages no more for sure…today’s announcement from BSI/ASR says, quote, “Any group of farmers (which wishes) to sign an agreement with BSI can request a copy of the agreement from BSI.” It adds that, quote, “BSI expects soon to have sufficient cane committed…which would allow for the parties to then agree on a start of crop date.” BSI says “the agreements need to be signed by the individual farmers…to complete the signing process.” So what are they singing unto? Well, it’s the “cane compromise” hammered out by Prime Minister Dean Barrow – and depending on who you listen to: it’s either a raw deal, a fair deal, or the best deal the farmers are going to get. Labour Minister Godwin Hulse said today, it’s not perfect, but it’s not terrible either:…

Will GOB Bail Out Farmers?
So, while Hulse says the agreement has inbuilt flexibility – what about the Government? Are they flexible enough to consider bailing out the BSCFA from its Fair Trade Funds fiasco? As we’ve reported, the organization has spent 6.5 million dollars of the funds for non approved purposes – that is, to put directly into the pockets of farmers who are bawling on hard times due to the delay in the start of the sugar crop. That has meant firing 16 persons, and cancelling all but one project under the Fair Trade initiative. And all this week, farmers have continued to line up to get their share, about 750 dollars, of the last four million dollars approved for disbursement at the special general meeting. So should GOB bail them out now? A-G Elrington is not in favour of that:.. Mike Rudon - Channel 5 News "There has been some talk within the BSCFA if perhaps requesting that government assist with the petrocaribe monies to replace the monies that was dispersed recently." Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Attorney General "Why should the tax payers be asked to pay for deliberate actions on the part of some cane farmers who's actions were clearly misguided and wrong and ill-advised? So those are the things that would go through my mind that makes it difficult for me to say well, I could support it."

Man Charged For Jailhouse Murder Five Years Later
29 year-old Lorenzo Smith Jr., an inmate who is serving a 10-year prison sentence, is on remand for murder tonight after he was accused of killing another inmate – five years ago! Smith had already served half of his 10 year sentence after being convicted of arson, and our information says that he would have been released on parole. But that's all out the door because according to police, he killed a fellow prison inmate, Alfonso Eck, in jail in 2009. More than 5 years later, he was arraigned this evening on the charge of murder before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, and was remanded until his next court date in February, 2015. He appeared very upset at his arraignment claiming that police are trying to pin an old murder on him for no reason other than that the investigators were trying to take advantage of him.

More Guatemalan Citrus Workers Stream Across Western Border
Today another 60 Guatemalan workers streamed into Belize across the western border at Benque Viejo. Just like we reported last week, they are here to work in the citrus industry. It’s an old, well-established practice, but it still raises eyebrows – since most of them don’t have a passport. Today Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse said they are not here to work for Green Tropics:… Reporter "Labourers seen coming across the border and the allegation that they're going to work for green tropics." Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Labour "I had answered before but the truth of the matter is green tropics need work permits and we're not about to give work permits. We have a committee that's well established and unless it is proven to us that they can't find adequate Belizean labour, we won't give permits."

Woman Must Pay 10K For Weed Plant In House
42 year-old Olympia King, a mother of 6, must come up with $10,000 dollars after she was convicted yesterday of growing a marijuana plant in her house. According to Police, back in July 2012, they searched the family's apartment on Saint Joseph Street, which was being rented by King. They found a 3-foot marijuana plant growing on her verandah. Inside the house, they also found a pipe, which they suspected was being used to smoke weed. Their case concluded yesterday, in which Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer found her based on the evidence presented by police. She was ordered to pay a fine of $10,000 for the cannabis plant that was found at her house on St. Joseph Street in July 2012.she was given until March 31 to pay the fine. If she defaults on payment she will serve 3 years.

QRT Gets Half Pound of Weed
And while police get a conviction on that drug case, they've also made other drug seizures as recently as yesterday. Yesterday, a Quick Response Team from Police Precinct 3 conducted an operation targeting known criminals and hotspots. They searched Pinks Alley, Pickstock, Victoria Street, Kelly Street, and Castle Street, and they ended up finding 235 grams - or 8.28 ounces of weed. The officers ended up charging 33 year-old Henry Gillett, a tour guide of #6 B Brides Alley, with drug trafficking. They also charged Damion Cattouse, a 31 year resident of Guadeloupe Street in the Kings Park area, with drug trafficking for 1.2 grams of crack cocaine.

AG Says PM Responsible For Court Of Appeal
Yesterday on the news, we focuses din on the remarks made by the Attorney General Wilfred Elrington at the ceremonial opening of the Supreme Court. Referring to the Bar Association’s complaint about the administration of the court of appeal, he said it was a matter of “above his payscale.” Today we asked him to elaborate on that: Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Attorney General "Really and truly all the appointments with respect to judges and court of appeal and a like is a prime ministered...." Jules Vasquez "But it's an administrative problem not an appointment problem." Hon. Wilfred Elrington "It may well be an administrative problem but it is an administrative problem that is newly dealt with the prime minister's level not the attorney."

Getting Close To Lucky Boy, The Black Jaguar
About 18 vets from Cornell University have been stationed at the Belize Zoo since Saturday. They are here to do a check-up on Lucky Boy- the Black Jaguar. Lucky Boy earned that name after he was found abandoned and in dire condition at an abandoned resort in Southern Belize. Basically, he’s lucky to be alive! He was rescued and taken in by the Belize Zoo in 2012 and since then he has become a part of the zoo family. Although his health has improved substantially, he’s a special case, so he needs regular checkups. But Lucky Boy’s lucky streak continues: he’s getting medical care from one of the finest veterinary schools in the US. Today Courtney Weatherburne was there to see how they did it:…

US School Adopts St. John's Anglican
Builders are hard at work finishing up a new classroom building on the Compound of Saint John's Anglican Primary School in Belize City. It is a donation from the President and students of Bridgewater State University from Massachusetts in the US. Now, you may have heard of Peacework and Price Waterhouse Coopers, the US organizations who have an ongoing partnership with the Ministry of Education, but now, the state university wants to assist St. John's Anglican Primary School. It's part of a tripartite agreement between Bridgewater, The University of Belize and St. Johns, and today, the media was welcomed to see the progress on the new classroom. The Minister of Education told the gathering that this donation is not the only instance of generosity from Bridgewater alumni:

Reiki In Belize
Reiki – it is a form of spiritual self-healing and an American and Belizean Reiki Master are trying to popularize it in Belize. This method might seem unorthodox but according to American Reiki Master Lorraine Meyer, Reiki has refreshed and rejuvenated her life and she says it can have the same effect on you. The workshops start tomorrow at 6 in the evening to 8:30 and the Reiki sessions are set for 10 in the morning to 5:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Do Cane Farmers Have To Have Another Assembly
At the top of the newscast we told you about BSI’s announcement that is has started to sign independent agreements with farmers. But where does the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association stand in all this? Well, they could be left out in the cold – because the last communication they sent to ASR/BSI was that their membership had taken a resolution not to sign. Today Labour Minister Hulse said that it is his understanding that the BSCFA may have to get another resolution from its members to nullify the last one:… Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Labour "It is my understanding that because they mandated and I think Ms. Matura went to court to get an injunction against Mr. Cancino signing because we cannot do so without the membership approval. I think that's there position. They have to get their membership approval before they sign." Julez Vasquez "ASR-BSI probably won't accept they're signing an agreement until they have another resolution from the general assembly."

Big Falls Owners Raising Cane, And Eating It!
And while all our coverage has focused cane in the north – there are a few hundred acres of cane growing near to Big Falls on the Western Highway. Some have speculated that the cane is to be supplied to the new Green Tropics plant in central Belize, but that won’t be completed until 2016. So, it turns out that the cane was actually destined for the north – as the farm owners were trying to break into the regional monopoly. But, it didn’t work and so that cane ends up being for eating! Hulse explained: Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Labour "Those guys had an agreement with BSI to sell them cane as one of the harvesting groups. So they were encouraged to plant more cane because ASR had said they will expand the mill, they'll go to 10 thousand tons, then 15, etc. So as business men they invested and they're planting huge acreages and the cane is now standing because they won't be able to sell it. Green tropics is a different thing, I know for a fact because I went with them to see green tropics and green tropics won't be ready until 2016 or 2017 so they have some cane to eat, which is unfortunate."

Channel 5

Four Charged for Heroin Bust
Four men were arraigned this morning in the Orange Walk Magistrate Court for drug possession and trafficking of forty pounds of heroin, worth ten million dollars. It follows a huge [...]

Fisherman Gunned Down in the City
A fisherman was heading home to Oleander Street in the City on Tuesday night when he was ambushed in his boat. Pedro Ayuso Junior, also known as Pete, was in [...]

Smith Charged for Murdering Inmate
While no one has been charged for the murder of “Pete” Ayuso, a prison inmate was this afternoon arraigned for a murder that happened five years ago. Twenty-nine year old [...]

Cop Remanded for Carnal Knowledge
But in the south, there’s a complicated story in Independence village which we’ve been following for the past week – one which involves a Policeman, a minor, and to some [...]

B.S.C.F.A. Collects Signatures from Farmers
The protracted standoff between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and ASR/B.S.I. has been in the news headlines for weeks, but is the crisis finally coming to a resolution?  That’s [...]

Crop Season Should Start Soon
Still yet, the petition to gather as many signatures approving the endorsement of the agreement has been described as B.S.C.F.A. yielding to pressure being brought by government, as branch directors [...]

Disbursement of Fairtrade Monies Continues
Regarding the use of Fairtrade funds being paid out to farmers, Cansino says that the suggestion to replace the spent monies with PetroCaribe dollars is a singular idea coming out [...]

Ministers Defend G.O.B. in Sugar Debacle
Government has gone on a PR push to counter an abundance of flak for their role in the recent sugar debacle. While it is true that farmers have decided to [...]

Elrington Says Splinter Groups Can Deliver Cane
There has been some confusion as regards a court case in 2010, when other associations took legal action to fight for the right to deliver cane to the factory. That [...]

Minister Hulse on Ownership of Cane
One of the three biggest stumbling blocks which stood in the way of resolution was the issue of ownership of the cane. The factory has maintained that farmers must relinquish [...]

Hattieville Resident Remanded for Unpaid Court Bill
Twenty-three year old Hattieville resident, Gian Stiane, is behind bars tonight on the first day of a three year conviction. Staine appeared before Magistrate Herbert Panton on a charge of [...]

Elrington Says Farmers Were Wrong To Take Legal Action
Acting first on behalf of cane-farmer Lucilo Teck, and latterly on behalf of the B.S.C.F.A., attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd sought an order of Mandamus from the Court. That order would effectively [...]

No Petrocaribe Rollout to Replace Fairtrade Monies
While it has not to our knowledge become an official inquiry, there is increasing discussion in the B.S.C.F.A. asking government to roll Petrocaribe monies into the Association. According to officials, [...]

Education Stakeholders Sign Tripartite Agreement
This morning at the Saint John’s Anglican Primary School in Belize City, education stakeholders turned out in numbers. The occasion was two-fold: the construction of a new building gifted to [...]


BSI/ASR Signs Agreement With Groups Of Farmers
The subject of the current sugar crisis has been dominating the media for the past weeks. But amidst all of it BSI/ASR has been quiet even when there has been called out many times and the publicity they have been receiving is nothing positive. Tonight though, the silence ended as the company issued an announcement. But the company did not come out on the defense, on the contrary they are informing the nation that following petitions made already by groups of farmers representing more than 400,000 tons of sugar cane to the SICB to be recognised and exercise their Constitutional right to enter into separate agreements with BSI to deliver cane for the 2015 crop, the process for signing agreements between BSI and these groups of farmers has now commenced.

GOB Expected To Amend Sugar Act On Monday At Parliament
But the hurling of stones at GOB does not stop there as Prime Minister Dean Barrow is also being attacked for now wanting to amend the Sugar Act which was found unconstitutional back in 2010. Or was it only two clauses of the sugar act that were found unconstitutional? This is a question that is yet to be answered rightfully since the decision of the court is being interpreted in various manners even by attorneys. The bottom line is Prime Minister Barrow announced that with the ruling of 2010 there comes freedom of association making way for the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers and the United Cane Farmers Association. And that is where the problem lies because while these associations say they are now fully certified, the mixed feeling is this is not legal since GOB is yet to amend the sugar act as was ordered to do back in 2010. And then there are those who interpret the ruling in a different manner and are of the feeling that the Sugar Act which recognizes the BSCFA as the only association, is still binding since there was no decision ever handed down in that case and there was no Supreme Court Order, instead there was a consent order. But Elrington says it is the same bag of rice.

Foul Play Ruled Out In Death Of Fisherman
Yesterday we reported on the unfortunate death of 29 year old Henry Noh, a fisherman from the Village of Pathakan in the Corozal District who met his death while on a fishing trip with nine of his friends. When we left you yesterday the Corozal Police Department was investigating if foul play was involved in Noh’s death.Today we can tell you that foul play has been ruled out after a post mortem examination conducted in the presence of police officers by Dr. Loyden Ken and Dr. Roque Blanco certified the cause of death to be Asphyxia due to Inhalation of Fluids consistent with drowning.

Did Cane Farmers Receive A Good Deal In Commercial Agreement?
But when it comes to the negotiation of the Commercial Agreement did cane farmers really have a chance at getting what they were fighting for? You can come up with your own concept after hearing the response of Minister Elrington. “The position of the cane-farmers historically has never been strong. You have a perishable crop. The crop cannot stay in the ground for more than a few weeks otherwise it starts to rot. So you don’t have much scope to negotiate. You don’t have a very strong negotiating position. People have mortgages to pay. People have loans. So you have got to take all of that into consideration. If I don’t agree with the proposal that you are putting, what next? Do I have a fallback plan? The farmers unfortunately don’t. That is not unusual in this kind of industry. And I will say to you…they should have learned from what occurred in the citrus industry. This is a replay of what recently took place in the citrus industry.”

Mayor Bernard Elected As Chairman Of OWTHS
There is a newly elected Chairman foreseeing the functions and roles of the Orange Walk Technical High School Board and it is no other than Mayor Kevin Bernard. When we caught up with the Mayor today on his campaign trail, he stated that he plans to continue to look after the best interest of the students and faculty of the school. “The Board is there to guide and to set policies and look at the performance of the school and find way how to further improve the institution and what happened yesterday was of course we had the election, we had to elect the executive of the Board and so both myself and Mr. Emir Cruz were candidates and I was able to secure majority votes after two voting because at the first one we had a deadlock and then the second voting I was able to gain the majority votes and so it is my privilege to serve as Chairman of the Orange Walk Technical High School Board...

Four Men Charged For Huge Heroin Bust
Yesterday we told you about 4 Belizeans arrested and charged for what is said to be the biggest Heroin Bust in Belize’s history. As we reported, the Anti-Drug Unit made the bust at the entrance of Corozal town last night when they intercepted a vehicle carrying more than 40 pounds of the lethal drug. The drugs were found in three bags on the back seat of a white Chevrolet Tahoe with Belize City plates. They added up to 15 parcels of Heroin along with one small piece. The total weight is 19.621 Kilograms or equivalent to 43 pounds and is estimated to have a street value in the vicinity of 10 million dollars.

GOB Did All They Could In Commercial Agreement Negotiation, Says Hulse
On Tuesday the People’s United Party held a Press Conference in which they spoke vastly about the current Sugar crisis. Of course the opposition took the opportunity to lay blame squarely on GOB for not intervening in the negotiation of the commercial agreement between BSI/ASR and BSCFA sooner. For the P.U.P cane farmers have no other option but to now sign the agreement with BSI/ASR. So, basically it is being shoved down their throats since the leader of the nation has come out in favor of the powerful ASR. In the press conference Leader of the Opposition, Honorable Francis Fonseca stated that GOB should have stood beside cane farmers instead of with the international investor. And today Attorney-General Wilfred Elrington responded to Fonseca’s comments by stating that a responsible leader does not hold the foreign investor hostage.

Government Is Not To Blame For Current Sugar Industry Crisis Says Hulse
The Government of the day has been widely criticized and even accused of being in bed with BSI/ASR after Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that there will be no crop if a commercial agreement is not signed between the miller and the producer during a press conference held last week. Internationally and locally the sentiments vary when it comes to the recent sugar crisis and if we talk about the opinions on the social media, well, GOB is being chastised for basically forcing caneros to sign the agreement with the manufacturer. Also, GOB is accused of not playing its role when it comes to influencing the start of crop via the Sugar Industry Control Board. The bottom line is that accusations are being placed squarely at the door of GOB for aligning with BSI/ASR thus helping the company defeat cane farmers who are on the verge of signing the commercial agreement two weeks after they voted against it.


Monday Night Drug Bust
The Anti Drug Unit along with Corozal Police made a huge drug bust on Monday night. Fifteen parcels of heroin were confiscated and four men were arrested after authorities intercepted a white Chevrolet Tahoe near the entrance of Corozal Town. Inside the car were 32 year old Jose Antonio Lara, a Tour guide of Julio Street in San Pedro Town, 30 year old Lenon Leonardo Tillett, a contractor for BEL of Ebony Street Belize City, 42 year old Gerardo Beraldo Allen, a tour guide of Back Street in Caye Caulker Village and 35 year old Heirder Martin Perez, an administrative assistant for Hol Chan Marine Reserve of Escalante Subdivision San Pedro Town. Within, Perez had a licensed 9 mm pistol Springfield Brand loaded with 13 live rounds of Aguila brand ammunition.

Hon. Wilfred Elrington Updates Dr. Errol Elrington Accusations
In latter July 2014, we reported that Dr. Errol Elrington, the brother of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General, Wilfred Elrington and Senior Counsel Hubert Elrington is wanted in the United States of America by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The information came off the US Inspector General’s website adding that there is a warrant for the arrest of Dr. Elrington in relation to racketeering, Medicaid fraud and health care fraud. The warrant, according to the site, is a result of US investigators, who believe that Elrington falsely billed Medicare and Medicaid more than $400,000 US dollars, for services that he never performed. The website reported that Elrington had employed an unlicensed physician and after being interrogated by Federal and State agents fled the United States for Belize. Today, Love News asked Wilfred Elrington to update us on the situation with his brother and the accusations.

Man Detained For Rape And Burglary Seeks DNA Results
At the end of January 2014, forty-three-year-old Ana Foster, was raped and murdered in Sittee River in Southern Village. A year later no one has been charged for her gruesome murder. But during the investigation, Dale Reynaud was detained and charged for burglary. His DNA samples were obtained but to this date, the results of those samples have not received, at least to our knowledge. Today, Reynaud told our Correspondent, Harry Arzu, that he wants the results of the samples taken because he is tired of the victimization he has been receiving after being falsely accused. HARRY ARZU “This month will make it a year now since Anna Foster, a resident of Sittee River village in the Stann Creek district was reportedly rapped and brutally murdered. Her body was late found in a citrus orchard on the Sittee River village road. When the residents learned of Foster’s death the village went into a state of shock and promptly organized community meetings in an effort to resolve criminal activities that were going on in the village and more importantly to seek justice for the murder of Anna Foster and others. A number of suspects were detained by police including 48 year old Dale Renad who spoke with Love News.”

Belize City Shooting; Fisherman Fatally Wounded
A shooting that occurred just after seven o’clock last night claimed the life of 29-year-old Pedro Aldana Ayuso, a Belizean Fisherman of Oleander Street in Belize City. According to his spouse, Ayuso had just left home when she received a call stating that he was being rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Ayuso was reportedly in a boat returning home and when he neared the Belcan Bridge, another skiff approached him from behind and shots were fired at him, fatally wounding him in the abdomen. Superintendent Hilberto Romero briefed the media. SUPERINTENDENT HILBERTO ROMERO “On Tuesday the 13th day of January 2015 police visited an area near the Belcan bridge where inside a skill a male person was observed motionless, he was taken to the KHMH where he was pronounced dead thereafter. He was identified as Pedro Ayuso, 29 years of an Oleander Street address. He had two gunshot wounds to the abdomen and one to the hand. We have not established a motive at this time, this shooting happened in the river he was in a vessel. The only information we have is that another vessel was heard speeding off after the shooting. He is not known to the police and we are doing our investigation at this time and following up on some leads that we have. We have no such connection and linkage to any of the murders that occurred recently.”

Business or Politics in The Sugar Industry?
We noted earlier in our newscast that there was a press conference held by the People’s United Party on Monday, January 12 where the main focus was the sugar industry. The Leader of the Opposition opened the conference notably accusing the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, of abandoning the farmers and going into negotiations to get a deal and signing an agreement. LEADER OF OPPOSITION, HON. FRANCIS FONSECA “The crisis in the sugar industry for us is not an issue which we seek to exploit for any political advantage. All parties have a critical role to play and must be valued and respected. Our party condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision by Prime Minister Barrow and his UDP government to destroy this long established partnership in the industry. Barrow and the UDP have abandoned the caneros and the Belizean people’s interest and have decidedly sided with the multinational ASR. When Mr. Barrow and the UDP under political pressure finally engaged in this crisis all they were interested in was getting a deal, signing an agreement. It didn’t matter how fair or unfair that deal was, that agreement was. Mr. Barrow as usual just wanted to look good. Well Barrow has now forced that deal, forced that agreement he has got his deal and the farmers and all Belizeans now know that the agreement is one sided and unfair to the farmers of Belize. It is for this one sided unfair deal that Barrow and the UDP even as we meet today are actively working to break up and destroy the 55 year old institution that is the BSCFA.”

Fair-trade Funds; Senator Speaks on Cane Farmer’s Membership Decision
One of the major concerns among some of the directors of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association is the consequence, if any, that the association will face after the decision was made to draw down four million dollars from the funds given by Fair-trade International. In the recent PUP Press Conference, Opposition Leader threw out the suggestion for the Government to help the farmers with the Petro Caribe funds. LEADER OF OPPOSITION, HON. FRANCIS FONSECA “The boast about Petro Caribe money what better use of Petro Caribe money than to help the cane farmers. Commandant Chaves would certainly approve of that so certainly I think that is something that should be explored. The government can and should step forward and examine that issue and see if in fact Petro Caribe monies can be made available to the farmers for that purpose.” Senator of Government Business, Godwin Hulse responded to that suggestion saying that the decision to use Fair-trade funds was a decision made by cane farmer’s membership.

Farmers in Disunity; Will Changes be made?
When Audrey Matura- Shepherd began making appearances in the media regarding the sugar industry and the cane farmers, the matter regarding an order handed down in 2010 by Justice Legall on the unconstitutionality of parts of the Sugar Act took centre stage, that even the Prime Minister, Dean Barrow had commented on why the amendments ordered were not carried through. Now that it seems as though the dust is settling, it leaves the question as to whether or not the changes will be made. We asked Senator Godwin Hulse to comment. SENATOR GODWIN HULSE “The BSCFA is not unconstitutional, it is a properly constituted body and a legal one. It was the act that said ‘you have to be a member of that and only that body can do business’ basically and that did not confirm with the constitution’s provision of the freedom of association.

Senator Clarifies Joint Meeting With Pm and BSCFA
On December 12, 2014, the discussions and negotiations on the opening of the sugar crop and the signing of a Sugar Commercial Agreement seemed to have improved significantly when the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister emerged from a joint meeting with the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and BSI/ASR. Shortly after coming out of that meeting, it was announced that both parties had come to an agreement and that they will be signing off on it in the coming days, but that never happened and now, thirty three days later, the crop is still yet to start and the “no” agreement has been signed, despite indications from some farmers that they will be signing. Today, Love News spoke with Godwin Hulse, Senator of Government Business, who clarified for us, just what occurred following that meeting with the Prime Minister. SENATOR OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS, GODWIN HULSE ”As I understand it there were a few directors to be exact Mr. Fred Ortega who was not in full agreement with the agreement but the general assembly and the directors who manage the association were in agreement and so they were prepared to sign.

Classroom Donated to South Side Primary School
St. John’s Primary School in Belize City has been and will soon be able to better accommodate their standard one students following the donation of an additional building on their compound on Amara Avenue in Belize City. Due to the recent rains, the completion of the building has been delayed but a ceremonial handing over was done this morning at the school. The school building was constructed with monies from a fund through the cooperation of the President of the Bridgewater State University, Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria. Love News spoke with Dr Mohler-Faria who explained how the undertaking happened. DR. MOHLER-FARIA “The building is comes from a fund which I established in my parent’s name and so from that fund we take the proceeds and the plan is to do projects every year. This is going to be the very first project so the money to support this comes from the fund that we have established in my parents name. It is the John and Francis Ferrier Fund for social justice. The fund is established not just for Belize but to support projects that Bridge Water is doing around the world so the very first one was done here in Belize. The contribution I believe that was made from the fund was about $35,000 USD.”


Murder number four for Belize City
29 year old Pedro Aldana Ayuso is Belize City’s latest murder victim, shot dead around 7:00 Tuesday evening inside a fiberglass skiff near the Belcan Bridge in Belize City. This is murder number four for 2015. According to police, the fisherman, who resides on Oleander Street in Belize City, had dro...

Corozal Man Drowns on Fishing Trip
A fishing trip in the Corozal District ended in tragedy on Tuesday morning. According to police investigations, on Tuesday January 13th at around 4 am, Henry Noe Noh, a 29 year old Belizean Laborer of Patchakan village, along with 9 others, left Patchakan Village on a fishing trip to a lagoon situat...

Independence police officer faces charges of carnal knowledge
We have told you the story of the 16 year old whose nude photo made it onto facebook after the wife of a police officer found the photo of the minor on her husband’s phone. That stirred an investigation and the minor  of Independence Village, Stann Creek District, told police that sometime in the ...

Men busted with $10 million dollars worth of heroin
Police made a major drug bust over the weekend where a whopping 19. 621 kilograms of suspected heroin were found inside a white four door Chevrolet SUV. Police have since arrested and charged four men for the offence of drug trafficking: 32 year old Jose Lara, Belizean Fisherman and Tour Guide;  30 ...

Police continue to remove illicit drugs from off the streets of Belize City
According to authorities, sometime between 4 pm on Tuesday and 2 am on Wednesday,  QRT personnel from precinct three conducted an operation within precinct 3 zone targeting known criminals and hot spots...

BSCFA decides to sign agreement with BSI/ASR
BSCFA is signing on to the agreement. That was the general consensus of a meeting held on Tuesday, with the 18 branch directors of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. Over the weekend, all directors met with their respective branches, to decide whether they would accept the agreement or not.

GREAT Police Program
On Monday, 36 police officers received training from the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program, GREAT for short. The program was first introduced in Belize in 2010. Since then, over 5,000 primary school youths have graduated from the program. The GREAT program, which is geared at teaching v...

Patrick JonesPJ

Belize and Bridgewater University sign tripartite agreement
This morning the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the University of Belize signed a tripartite agreement designed to cement a relationship already established with Bridgewater State University of Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Bridgewater State hosts several Belizeans completing Master’s degrees in education in various disciplines and more opportunities […]

Court of Appeal performance to be addressed
During Monday’s ceremonial opening of the 2015 Supreme Court in Belize City, President of the Bar Association of Belize Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay leveled a broadside at the Court of Appeal which he says was “historic in its under-performance” with regard to the last session of 2014, having […]

Government Ministers comment on sugar agreement
While a majority of sugar cane farmers are staying with the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) there is internal wrangling over the signing of the Commercial Agreement with Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI) and American Sugar Refining Inc. (ASR), scheduled to take place later this week. Senior […]

San Ignacio woman reports her husband missing
Police today issued a missing person’s report for a man from San Ignacio town. According to police the wife of 35 year old Anibal Diaz went to the police station to report that he left his home in the Santiago Juan area of San Ignacio around 7 pm on Monday […]

Shooting on the Haulover; one man dead
Police are investigating the murder of a man last night in Belize City. The victim has been identified as 29 year old Pedro Aldana Ayuso. According to police reports, Ayuso had dropped off a skiff at the Conch Shell Bay area and was approaching the Belcan Bridge when another skiff approached from behind. Police say two gunshots were fired at Ayuso and he was hit to the abdomen after which the skiff sped off in the direction of the BelChina Bridge.


From St. Petersburg to Bass Pro Shops: Florida is Filled with Wonderful Places
Florida, like my home state of New Jersey, has a bit of a public relations issue…it gets a bum rap. Sure there are plenty of retirees playing shuffle board (we have seen more than a few courts since our arrival in the Sunshine state – nicknamed the “Gunshine” state), tourists, and rabid football fans but there are tons of interesting spots to check out and fascinating & delicious foods to eat.

10 ways to get (even more) excited about your Placencia, Belize vacation!
One of my favorite things over the last couple months, has been getting emails from future guests, with fun questions about how to improve their trip, and general excitement (right now, all the Northern climates are thrilled to escape the polar vortex). I know I am not alone in this, but when I travel, I become obsessed with the place I am going and I read blogs, forums, and look at images of where I am going, to daydream about it. To me this is part of the excitement of the trip! So, specific to Placencia, are some ideas for those of you heading down! No sea grass sea. Don't be discouraged if you come down and there is sea grass, it may be gone tomorrow! Caribbean Beach Cabanas, actual photo!

One Day in Belize: Cave Tubing on a Budget
If you are planning a day in Belize—maybe on a cruise stop—you probably have already figured out that the country’s top day trips are zip-lining through the jungle and cave tubing through spring fed, underground rivers. When we watch the Travel Channel we see people have a blast doing both of them. Okay, the Travel Channel makes practically everything look like fun—but who cares, when we took our first Caribbean cruise together in 2010 we were pretty psyched when we saw the excursions in our cruise catalog. Only problem: Both were priced out of our budget. What to do? What to do? Armed with a short list of possibilities, my search finally brought me to Vitalino Reyes’ family-owned business, Vital Nature and Mayan Tours. Our email confirmation had told us to walk through the cruise terminal at the port and look for a representative holding a sign. (Non-cruise line vendors have to stay outside the terminal itself.) We wound between the crowds gathering in the terminal and hesitantly exited on the other side. Aha! Sure enough,there was the sign, and iti was held by Vitalino himself, the owner of the company. He smiled and thanked us for having decided to book with them, then dashed my hopes that he’d be our escort for the day when he turned and introduced us to our guide, who escorted our group to a clean and comfy passenger van. Our destination was Nohoch Che’en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve, an archaeological park 35 miles out of town but we got an extra bonus as we drove out of the city. Our tour guide and driver offered to give us a brief tour of Belize City. Well, that was a nice idea and we all jumped at it, especially since we wouldn’t have time to see the capital city on our own.

International Sourcesizz

What Is The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) & How Does It Affect Tropical Cyclone Development
I have been asked to explain what the Madden Julian Oscillation is; especially since I refer to it so often during the Hurricane season. So, here is an explanation of the MJO and how it impacts the hurricane season: The Madden Julian Oscillation is the biggest contributor to the variability we see in the tropical atmosphere (between sunshine and calm weather and frequent showers and thunderstorms with gusty winds) throughout the year. It is basically a link between the atmospheric circulation and tropical thunderstorm activity and travels from west to east year-round at a forward speed of between 9 and 18 mph. The overall circulation pattern that is the Madden Julian Oscillation shows itself in the form of higher than average rainfall and thunderstorm activity. The MJO cycle between suppressed rainfall and higher than average rainfall usually lasts between 30 and 60 days and travels from west to east across the entire tropical region of the Globe. Think of it as an area of concentrated energy and upward motion that is surrounded by sinking air.

How Belize Had its Biggest Year Ever in 2014
Belize’s 2014 tourist arrivals reached another milestone this week in what has emerged as the most successful year in its tourism industry’s history. Belize hosted 321,220 land-based, overnight visitors in 2014, according to Belize Tourism Board (BTB) statistics issued Tuesday. The 2014 overnight visitor total represents the first year in which Belize has reached 300,000 land-based visitors. The 2014 overnight arrivals total also represents a 9.2 percent increase over Belize’s previous record of 294,177 land-based travelers in 2013. Belize also posted an all-time record in combined overnight and cruise-ship arrivals in 2014, hosting 1,289,351combined travelers. BTB officials announced in December the country had reached one million combined land-based and cruise-ship visitors two months earlier than the agency had earlier forecast.

Prof Bain said he was warned about giving evidence in Belize case
Under cross-examination from Queen's Counsel Hugh Small, Professor Brendan Bain testified that prior to him giving evidence in a Belize court, he had met with two doctors who warned him of the consequences of participating in the case. Professor Bain said he met with the doctors, John Walters and Ian McKnight, while in Guyana in May 2012. Bain said he told them he would consider what they had said. He said he again met with McKnight after he returned to Jamaica. "I got the impression that he, McKnight, was trying to negotiate me out of participating in the (case)," Bain testified.

Bain says rights group did not write to him about expert evidence
PROFESSOR Brendan Bain testified yesterday that he was warned by two colleague doctors, prior to him giving evidence in a Belize court, of the consequences of participating in the case that had challenged the constitutionality of the buggery law there. Bain, who gave the evidence under cross-examination from Queen's Counsel Hugh Small, testified about the "pressures" he faced from rights groups and his colleagues after he gave evidence in 2012 and said that University of the West Indies (UWI) Vice-Chancellor Nigel Harris had tried to pacify the fallout. Bain said, too, that Harris had asked him to reach out to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and was asked to inform them that he did not mean to hurt them when he gave evidence. Bain testified that one of Harris' concerns was that funding could be stopped for the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART) programme if the tension continued. Bain testified, however, that he did not reach out to the community because he had called a representative of the Health Resources and Services Administration, an arm of the US Department of Health and Human Services that funded CHART, and was satisfied that funding of the programme would continue.

Cultural guardian confronts the looters
Donna Yates is tackling the illicit trade in antiquities, and although it can be dangerous, the archaeologist says it’s a world away from Lara Croft. “We can’t do anything. These people have killed before and will kill again.” This was the warning from Guatemalan wildlife poachers when they told Donna Yates, a 20-year-old student archaeologist from Boston University on only her second dig, that a nearby Mayan ruin was being looted. Their fears were well founded: the vandals who targeted the site, called Cancuén, went on to kill a man who had spoken to an archaeologist and they also beat a woman to the brink of death. Their haul was an altar, which they buried temporarily in a village near the border in the hope of smuggling it into Belize. The raid was the trigger for a major operation involving the Guatemalan secret service and the US authorities, which eventually led to the altar’s recovery.

Top 10 Most Beautiful Belizean Women
Belize is another country found in the North American continent, specifically, central America. Its capital is Belmopan and its official language is English. People of Belize are called Belizeans. Some of the most beautiful places found in Belize are the following, thus, Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Xunantunich, Belize Barrier Reef, Lamanai, Great Blue Hole, Caracol, Actun Tunichil Muknal, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize Zoo and many more. Belize is also home to the most beautiful women in the world. And for this top ten article we listed some of them. Women included for this top 10 are mostly beauty queens, talented actresses and hot models like Lisa Tucker, Kisha Sierra, Catherine Bruhier, Chantae Chanice Guy, Idolly Louise Saldivar, Kadejah Tunn, Jessel Lauriano, Amber Rivero, Kimberly Robateau, and Destinee Arnold. ch56

Quintana Roo Will Change to Eastern Time
At 2am on Sunday, 1 February 2015, Quintana Roo, México, will jump to 3am, making Q. Roo almost exactly the same as Eastern Time in the USA. This is being done mostly for the convenience of tourists, especially cruise ship passengers. The reason it is not EXACTLY the same is that Daylight Savings Time in Q. Roo will begin the first Sunday in April, while in the USA it begins the second Sunday in March. Thanks to The Chetumal Connection for this tip.


Guatemala and Belize 2014/2015, 4.5min. Our first trip with an underwater camera so i made a cheesy little video for friends and family.
One Health Seminar: Amphibian Conservation in Belize, 33min. Michael G. Starkey talks to the Students for One Health at UC Davis about the current issues facing amphibian populations in Belize and what they can do about it
Stephen Murphy Live Performance in Belize, 5min.
Jam night at Legends San Pedro belize, 3min.
Belize Vacation 2015, 6min. My amazing week in Belize.
Good critter karma, scorpion, 1min. Found this little dude sweeping the house. Surprisingly easy to catch and move outside. I am much less creepified by them now.
Promocional Turístico Belize, 7min.
Roatan/Belize/Cozemel, 16min.
Liberty of the Seas, to Belize and Cozumel, 10.5min.
Traveling from Santa Cruz Village in Orange Walk Belize, to Botes, Mexico, 3min.
Paraíso do Belize visto pela lente de uma GoPro, 8.5min. Estás cansado e frustrado com a tua GoPro? Não sabes o que fazer com as filmagens que fazes com a tua máquina? Já estás a pensar no desperdício de dinheiro por teres comprado uma GoPro? Então, sugiro garantires a tua cópia do GoPro Ebook, que te vai ensinar dicas fantásticas, incluindo como ganhares dinheiro no YouTube com as tuas filmagens.

January 14, 2015


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Exploring South of San Pedro Town
What better way than to start by fueling up with some delicious coffee! Tamara and I jumped up on the trusty purple bug (aka her cart) and drove down the scenic (paved) southern road, past resorts and homes to our ultimate destination: Rum & Bean coffee bar. Located inside the Mahogany Bay development (which is to the right of where the paved road ends currently), Rum & Bean is an adorable coffee house that serves up hot or iced caffeinated beverages to suit your every need. After a quick tour of Mahogany Bay development, we were back on the cart and headed out to our next stop, the fabulous Victoria House. Victoria House is a chic tropical resort offering breathtaking views, gorgeous grounds and delicious food at their Palmilla Restaurant. But we wanted more of a snack and the quintessential michelada! So off to Admiral Nelson’s bar we went! Tamara insisted that I try their fabulous wings, made sticky and sweet ‘n’ spicy. How could I resist? While we waited for the wings to arrive, our micheladas were served right up. Beer, spices, lime juice, salty rim – mhmmm…it was ‘sip, sip…ahhh’ for both of us. Out on their dock El Gato catamaran was pulling up with happy guests, and on a beach hammock strung between two coconut trees, another read his book. This quintessential picture of beachside serenity calmed our caffeine high and had us relaxing sip by sip.

What’s new? Ray’s Big Dog
San Pedro has a new dog in town! Ray’s Big Dog officially opened its doors to the community on Saturday, January 10th and they are serving up some good eats. Located on the Tackle Box dock on the beachfront of Black Coral Street, Ray’s offers all beef or chicken hot dog sausages with a variety of toppings. But it’s not all about the dogs, Ray’s also offers peel n’ eat shrimp and classic ice cream floats. Whether you prefer a beef hot dog slathered with chili and cheddar cheese like the Four Way, or prefer something a bit sweeter like the Apple and Chardonnay chicken hot dog, owner Dawn and Paul LoCascio have something for everyone’s taste buds. Ray’s Big Bog is open from daily from 11AM to 7PM. Check out their website for a full menu:

Two island residents arrested in large heroin bust in northern Belize
Police in Corozal are reporting that they arrested four men during a major drug bust in a well coordinated anti-drug operation. The drug seizure took place on the morning of Tuesday, January 13th, in the Corozal District in northern Belize. Two of the four men caught inside the vehicle at the time of the drug operation are residents of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye. According to multiple reports, the four men are 32-year-old Jose Antonio Lara, fisherman of Julio Street of San Pedro Town; 35-year-old Heider Martin Perez, Accountant of San Pedro Town; 30-year-old Lenon Leonardo Tillett of Belize and 42-year-old Gerardo Allen of Caye Caulker Village. All four men were inside a white 4-door Chevrolet Tahoe with license plate BC-C 41809.

Flyn Fish takes the top prize in the 2015 Captain Morgan’s Wahoo Challenge!
10 vessels participated in the 2015 Captain Morgan’s Retreat Wahoo Challenge. The annual event was originally scheduled to take place on Sunday, January 4th but due to inclement weather conditions, it was postponed to Sunday, January 11th. All teams had 12 hours to fish and catch the most Wahoos, and the team with the highest cumulative weight of wahoos would win the tournament. At the end of the full day fishing tournament, Team Flyn Fish took the top prize. This Wahoo Challenge was no ordinary feat, as the teams had to brave the turbulent open waters outside of the Barrier Reef. The day proved difficult for catching wahoos, but a couple vessels still managed to reel some in. Flyn Fish captained by Enrique “Ricky” Marin Sr. pulled in two wahoos, a 42 and a 38 pounder. They ended the competition with the highest grand total wahoo cumulative weight of 80 pounds. For their catch, Flyn Fish walked away with the top prize of $3,000 cash. Taking the second prize was 2014 champions Mad Storme captained by Adrian Huesner, who managed to catch a 64 pound wahoo. They receive a prize $1,500 cash.

Ambergris Today

Flashbacks: The Bullfight Comparsa for Carnival
El Torito has been one of the all time favorite ‘comparsa’ (dance) during the three days of Carnabal. This dance has one person dancing with the effigy of a bull and the rest of dancers are all bullfighters. Then there is one ‘matador’ who is supposed to be the hero- the one who kills the bull by piercing the sword into the bull’s neck or back. Traditionally all dancers are dressed in red and white with black also as the matadors do in Spain where this sport originated. A comparsa is only as beautiful as the costumes worn by the revelers. The Torito comparsa is only as good as a well-built effigy or figure of a bull. The comparsa is only as exciting as the stunts performed by the bullfighters and the ‘matador’. The dance is only exciting and fun when all the dancers and many times the spectators are shouting “Ole” as the bull misses its target and the matador performs his stunts.

In Loving Memory of Edilberto Marin
Betito was also an elected member of the San Pedro Town Council and was among the founding fathers that led San Pedro into the status of township. He served three consecutive terms and retired from community politics to dedicate his efforts in other organizations. He joined the ranks of Lions International in 1975 and served arduously as a Lion up until the time of his passing on. Through this service club Betito was actively involved in the very first Lions Clinic, Mosquito Coast Park, The Lion's Den, San Pedro High School, The San Pedro Poly Clinic, and countless other essential projects and programs for his community. He was a Justice of the Peace, a businessman, a councilor, a loving great grandfather, grandfather, father, husband, brother, uncle, cousin, father in law, ‘compadre’, brother in law, and most of all a noble friend. He lived in marriage with Manuelita Ayuso Marin for 49 years and finally, on January 7, 2015, passed on to enjoy the fruits of what he harvested to live in everlasting peace with his Creator.

Hon. Omar Figueroa Sworn In As A Minister Of State
- Government Press Office, Belmopan, January 12, 2015 - The newly-elected Member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Omar Figueroa, was today sworn in as a Minister of State by His Excellency Sir Colville Young, the Governor General of Belize, at Belize House in Belmopan.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

8% conviction rate for murders in #Belize for 2014
"During the course of the year 2014, 778 new matters were filed inclusive petitions of bail and other petitions. Our records show that 786 cases were disposed of in the matrimonial division, 315 divorce petitions were filed and 258 of the same were disposed of. The disposal rate of cases continues to be unsatisfactory largely due to lengthy trials punctuated by voidier inquiries into the admissibility of admission and confessions. In 2013, the conviction rate was peg at 39%, which although generally above the acceptable general average, was solid by there being only an 8% conviction rate for murders. The remand population at the central prison remains at unacceptably high numbers, notwithstanding a drastic improvement in 2014. Although the total remand population has fall by 27% from 510 persons to 370 persons. The numbers of persons awaiting trial in the Supreme Court has only been reduced by 8. Of the remaining remandees awaiting their trial in the Supreme Court, 17 of them or 9% have been in custody for more than 5 years. Also, 40% of the total number have been on remand for more than 2 years."

(The Following is the submitted view of Mr. David Madrid, former CEO of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) on the current impasse in the Sugar Industry)
The situation with BSCFA/ASR BSI started back in 2010. That's when negotiations started. Looking back, I was the CEO of the BSCFA. Mr. Ortega was the most influential Director, bar none. He personally convinced the directors to give then Oscar Alonzo $ 20,000.00 to negotiate the commercial contract along with the bagasse. At that time, I submitted the 2010 budget for administrative/operational in the amount of $760,00.00, accepted by the farmers. The 2013/14 budget in the amount of $2,600,000.00 also was approved of. Mr. Alonzo took the money and never did any type of negotiations. Mr. Ortega pushed for the termination of myself and I took the BSCFA to Court where only Mr. Ortega and one other Director testified against me. The Supreme Court found that I was an excellent CEO and in fact the COM was mad with me because I did not allow any type of dishonest activities.

Maya Wedding Re-enactment at Santa Rita Reserve on Thursday, 5th February, 2015 at 8:00 PM.
We would like to invite you and all of your friends and family to this event and to encourage you to participate further in developing and preserving our historic resources to their full potential. Our vision is for Corozal to develop a sustainable cultural tourism product and this requires the support of the whole community. We have fantastic natural and historic resources which could provide employment and economic benefits to our district. Please take this opportunity to attend the Maya Wedding Re-enactment and be inspired to commit fully to our development as a community. Cover charge: Admission $10 and children 14 and younger are free! Thank you in anticipation of your support. Regards, Rosita May Rep & Dahlia Castillo Treasurer For BTIA Corozal

America Music Abroad concert tour on Open Your Eyes
This morning the U.S. Embassy joined representatives from the San Ignacio & Santa Elena House of Culture (NICH) and the Town Councils in San Pedro and Corozal on Open Your Eyes to discuss the upcoming America Music Abroad concert tour in Belize. Join us for a free concert in San Pedro on January 24, In Corozal on January 26, and San Ignacio on January 28. (starts at 1:13:40 of the link)

by Charles Leslie. ACTION: Expropriate BEL and BTL. If you are after power you will need a source of cash to assist you along the way of procuring power. ACTION: Government told BTL to enforce the Telecommunications Act Edition 2002 Section 44 (5) which requires that all cell phone numbers, whether Pre-paid or Post-paid are tied to a person, thus, establishing ownership of said number. ESTABLISHES: - Control of BEL and BTL gives you access to large sums of money. - Control of BTL gives you access to private information on who owns what number, you are then able to keep track of dissenters, listen in to phone calls, access emails - basically spying on citizens. CASE STUDY: - Anwar Barrow, son of PM now basically in charge of BTL. - 03/21/09: In the course of the budget debate yesterday in the House of Representatives, the Minister of Public Service, John Saldivar dropped a bombshell when he said with much bravado that he had intercepted an e-mail from the Leader of the Opposition, John Briceño.

BOLEDO DRAWING for Tuesday, January 13, 2015: 05

PUP announces Cane Farmers will sign BSI/ASR Deal
According to the PUP's Abelardo Mai, cane farmers will sign the BSI/ASR agreement under duress. His statement and those of Leader of the Opposition enforced the feeling that the farmers do not want to dismantle the BSCFA. However, Fair Trade premiums would also be dispersed, signaling either another suspension or de-certification from Fair Trade. Farmers used the funds to support their families during the recent hardship rather than the programs for which they were intended under the Fair Trade agreement. Of note is that the new Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association formed in 2009 representing approximately 1200 members has decided to splinter off the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and agree to sign the agreement with ASR/BSI, independently from the B.S.C.F.A. which has been organizing harvesting for cane farmers of the north for 55 years. Other Groups of cane farmers have also sited branching off from the B.S.C.F.A. The Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association (CSCPA) and approximately 300 of its members have agreed to sign the agreement voluntarily after a meeting they held last night.

Neighborhood Watch Groups in Corozal
The National Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator and the Corozal Community Policing Unit in conjunction with The Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) through the United States Embassy in Belize invite all persons and neighbourhood watch groups in Corozal, especially those who intend to form new neighbourhood watch groups, to attend a special meeting on Saturday January 24th at the Las Vegas Casino (Corozal Free Zone) starting from 8:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M. We ask that you share this invitation and encourage your friends and neighbours to attend, including all those from our surroundings villages.

In 1970, under the leadership of Mr. Thaddeus Barrow, The Southland of Los Angels, California was blessed with the first Belize/Caribbean Band, The Skyliters. It began with a vision that became a reality. A group of young musicians, Bill Cayetano, bass player (who gave the group its .name), and six others began sharing the Belizean cultural experience with Belizeans and Caribbean peoples here in Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. They were later joined by Patrick and Raymond Barrow, Earl Waite, Eddie, Aston, Ricky Navas and Harrington Trapp. The Skyliters has backed many popular artists such as: Lord Kitchner, Sparrow, John Jones, Calypso Rose, Lord Melon, Lord Welmington, Azuquita, Ken Lazarus, Eric Donaldson. They also performed along with Byron Lee and the Dragonnaires, when they made one of their earliest appearances in Los Angeles.

Channel 7

Drug Unit Makes Major Bust in Corozal
Tonight, the Anti Drug Unit has charged four Belizeans after officers made a major heroin bust in Corozal town last night. How large? 7News has confirmed that they intercepted more than 40 pounds of the lethal drug - the largest such bust in Belize's history. That quantity of the drug has a street value in the vicinity of 5 million US dollars. The drugs were found in three bags on the back seat of a white Chevrolet Tahoe with Belize City plates. They added up to 15 parcels of Heroin along with one small piece. The total weight is 19.621 Kilograms or 43 pounds. Details of the actual circumstances of the bust are sketchy at this time, but 7News has confirmed that the ADU - acting on intelligence, intercepted four persons, who were believed to be northbound to Mexico. They were at a at the entrance to Corozal town. They are 32 year old Jose Antonio Lara a fisherman/Tour guide of Julio Street San Pedro, 30 year old Lenon Leonardo Tillett a BEL contractor of #20 Ebony street Belize City also of College Road Corozal Town 42 year old Gerardo Beraldo Allen, a tour guide of Back street Caye Caulker and 35 year old Heirder Martin Perez an administrative assistant for Hol Chan Marine Reserve of Escalante Subdivision San Pedro Town. Perez is the holder of a licensed 9 mm pistol which was in his possession loaded with 13 live rounds.

Sugar Saga Winding Down, BSCFA Still Standing, Just Barely
Tonight, after a prolonged saga of discord, uncertainty and delays, the Sugar Industry is inching closer to a start for the 2014-2015 grinding season, but it is not without some measure of deterioration. The result of a month and a half of disagreement is that the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association has been broken into almost 2 equal parts. Before this crisis, the total membership of the association was approximately 5,500 strong. Now, after the latest survey the membership has decreased to approximately 3,088 farmers. As we told you last night, the 18 branch chairmen of the association went back to their branch members during the weekend to take a survey on whether or not their committee of management should accept the cane deal with the factory owners and sign it.

SICB More Important Than Ever
But even as these new configurations of reaping groups and associations form, they have to be monitored and assisted by the Sugar Industries Control Board, chaired by former UDP Area Rep, Gabriel Martinez. If not carefully monitored, It could result in chaos. Today, Martinez, spoke with the media and discussed the formation of these new cane organizations. He says that they are well within their rights to do so, and he and his team have been working to facilitate the process: Gabriel Martinez, Chairman - Sugar Industries Control Board "Yesterday we had a group of farmers who came to the office to petition to be considered as reaping groups and thereafter sign the agreement with BSI in order to start a crop. What the individual farmers and test groups are doing at this time is visiting the office of the SICB and requesting that they want to start a crop and register as a test group. When they will go to BSI and sign, I don't know if they will do it today or tomorrow or weekend - I don't know.

SICB Says It Will Protect Small Farmers
In his discussion with the media about the next steps, BSCFA Committee Chairman Ezequiel Cansino said that the next step that their attorney, Chris Coye, will take is to communicate with BSI's attorney to finalize the arrangements so that the signatures be formalized on the cane deal. There is some uncertainty as to whether BSI will accept this without a resolution from the general assembly. But, as we told you, BSI may require that the BSCFA's remaining membership go back to another general meeting to pass a resolution to sign the deal. All of that will be discussed among the attorneys. What all of this means for the factory owner is that they will have to enter into agreements with each of these new associations, including BSCFA. So, who will get to deliver their cane first? Well, SICB chairman, Gabriel Martinez, says that it is not in anyone's interest for any association to get preferential treatment when deciding who should go first.

Tourism Numbers Reached New Highs in 2014
As we showed you in our last segment, the sugar industry is in a state of flux and uncertainty, but - numbers-wise at least - the tourism industry is coming off one of its best years ever. A release from the Belize Tourism Board says that for the first time, in 2014 more than 300,000 overnight visitors came to Belize. The precise figure is 321,220 - which is a 9.2% increase over 2013. Every month of the year except November - showed an increase in arrivals, topping out in April, when there was a 23% increase. March saw the most visitors - 30,754 - passing through the Phillip Goldson International Airport - that's up 20% from the previous year. And while those are sharp increases - it's not even close to cruise tourism which registered a huge 43% increase in 2014, when compared to 2013. June and July - which are normally sow months were up over 100% - and December had a record 141 thousand cruise visitors arriving in Belize. And that's because two ships cancelled! Director of Cruise Initiatives for the BTB Valdemar Andrade discussed the reasons for the upturn:...

Costa Ricans Learn About GREAT Program
Yesterday we told you about the training for the Gang Resistance Education and Training program, also known as GREAT. Today a trio of senior representatives from Costa Rica was Belize to learn about the programme. That group includes the Vice Minister of Public Security Maria Elizondo. Today the Costa Rican officials accompanied GREAT police coordinators to city schools to observe and assess the feasibility of the program being adopted in their country. According to the head of Community Policing Elroy Carcamo, this visit along with other evaluations speak volumes to the success of the GREAT program.

Southern Police Investigating Constable
Today reports fanned out across social media that a police officer from Independence was on the run because police want to arrest him for having sex with an under aged girl in the police barracks. Well today we spoke to the officer commanding the southern formation who told us that officer isn't running anywhere - he remains on active duty and worked last night. But Superintendent Ralph Moody did tell us that the constable is under investigation for involvement with logwood smuggling and the carnal knowledge case. Moody told us he expects this constable will be arrested and charged in the next few days - but he couldn't say with certainty for which investigation. But, as we said at the top, until then, he remains in uniform and on active duty.

AG: Court Of Appeal Problems "Above My Payscale"
Last night we had a lot of news about the legal system - and efforts that are being made it make it more efficient and responsive to the society's call for justice. But one part of the story that we neglected to discuss is the court of appeal. According to the president of the bar, it has fallen into a troubling state of inefficiency:.. Eamon Courtenay, President of The Bar "The bar association wishes to put on record its serious concern about the state of affairs in the court of appeal. The last session in the court of appeals was historic in its underperformance. For the first time in history there was not a single criminal appeal heard. That is unacceptable. On the civil side, there were a record low number of civil appeals heard. The association took a decision that we should publish to the public the state of affairs and also decided that it intends to take drastic and dramatic action to have this matter resolved." Now, this would seem to fall in the lap of the Attorney General - who is responsible for the administration of the justice system at the policy level. But, he surprised the gathering when he told the members of the legal fraternity that they shouldn't look to him, because the working of that high court is above his payscale:..

Man Drown On Northern Fishing Trip
A Corozal resident lost his life early this morning during a fishing trip. 29 year old Henry Noh along with his friends went to fish fishing in a lagoon between Chunox and Sarteneja villages around 4 this morning. At around 10 they decided to split up, and, an hour later, Noh's body was found in the lagoon. Officer Commanding the Corozal formation Superintendent Andrew Ramirez provided more details: Supt. Andrew Ramirez, Corozal OC. "Sometime around 10am this morning, a couple of them decided to split up per group and then Mr. Noh decided to swim across. He apparently suffered some type of cramps and as a result he went under the water. His friends made frantic searches and I think about an hour thereafter, his body was found in the same said lagoon."

Woman Says KHMH Left Her In A Bad Way
Tonight a young mother is accusing the KHMH of negligence after she delivered her first baby at the hospital in December and then found that cotton swabs had been left inside her. The first time mom explained that weeks after delivering her baby, she detected a foul odor coming from her body and suddenly became ill. Now, this story is not pleasant stuff, and If you're squeamish, you might want to take a five minute break. But while it may be cringe-inducing, her complaint is real, Monica Bodden found out more:... Monica Bodden reporting Today marks exactly one month since 18 year old Lucia Martinez delivered a healthy baby girl at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.

18 Year Old B'zean is One Of 60 Young Leaders Selected By Queen
18 year old Belizean Denielle Neal is the recipient of the Queen's Young Leaders Award. She one of only 60 young people from across the world selected for the honour. In June, she will travel to London to receive it directly from the Queen. It is the culmination of years of youth leadership, which started from the age of 14. That's when she got involved with Youth Enhancement Services and YWCA where she earned distinction for her ability to lead and counsel young women. She came to our studio today to share her experience as a young leader in her community. The award ceremony will be held in London in late June. Along with the award, she will be given the opportunity to enroll in a course at the University of Cambridge and she will enjoys a week long residential stay and mentoring services.

Malaria Meeting MDG's
There were only 17 cases of malaria in southern Belize in 2014. That's part of a national trend where incidences have gone down by 98% - since the year two thousand - when 1486 cases were reported, compared to just 26 in 2013. Still, vigilance remains a priority, and the Southern Region of the Ministry of Health has added two Mahindra pickup trucks to its fleet. The new vehicles will be used by the Vector Control Program to focus on a few communities where the disease is concentrated.

Late Evening Murder In City
And before we close tonight - 7News has confirmed a fatal shooting in the city. Reports are preliminarily, but a man was shot in a boat near the BELCAN Bridge. The shooter was reportedly in another boat. He was taken to the KHMH where he was pronounced dead on arrival a few minutes ago. More details on this tomorrow.

Channel 5

Breaking News: Late evening shooting in the city
Late this evening, there was a shooting in the area of the swing bridge in downtown Belize City. We’ll have more of this in Wednesday’s newscast, but we can say [...]

Caneros Suggest PetroCaribe Funds to Replace Disbursed Fairtrade Monies
It is safe to say tonight, that the sugar industry has plunged into further chaos. According to stakeholders, there is still abundant uncertainty as to when the mill at Tower [...]

Did G.O.B.’s Attorneys Exploit Opportunity to Delay Mandamus Hearing?
According to Ortega, the P.M.’s press conference last Thursday was unfairly weighted as it appeared that he was in support of ASR/B.S.I.   While P.M. Barrow openly said that he expected [...]

B.S.C.F.A. Membership Says It Will Sign Agreement In Protest
Ortega further explains the reason why farmers believe that they have been cornered into signing the agreement.   Alfredo Ortega, Former Vice-Chairman, B.S.C.F.A. “That has caused a situation among the [...]

Should G.O.B. disburse Petrocaribe funds to replace Fairtrade money?
And our question for tonight is: Do you think Government should disburse Petrocaribe funds to replace Fair-Trade money disbursed to farmers? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones [...]

Major drug bust in Corozal
Late this evening police in the north confirmed that an anti drug unit operation yielded a huge bust of heroin near the outskirts of the Corozal. The exact quantity of [...]

Tourism Numbers Continue Upward Trend in 2014
Last week on ABC, Belize was named as one of the top destinations to visit in 2015.  Well, today the Belize Tourism Board announced that 2014 was an excellent year [...]

CCJ President to Attend Law Conference in Belize
But there is some good news delivered on Monday.  This coming Friday, January sixteenth, attorneys and judges will meet for their annual Law Conference which is a major event in [...]

Bar Association Calls Out Court of Appeal for Underperformance
The January session of the Supreme opened on Monday with the usual fanfare. But beyond all the pomp and ceremony, there are serious issues facing the judiciary. The president of [...]

…Attorney General Says It’s Beyond His Pay Grade
In responding to the concerns of the Bar Association, particularly the dormancy of the Court of Appeal, Attorney General Wilfred Elrington admitted that the matter was above his salary.  That [...]

Professor Bain Takes UWI to Court in Jamaica
A week-long session in the Supreme Court of Jamaica commenced earlier today, following a lawsuit filed in 2014 by Professor Brendan Bain.  The litigation involving the University of the West [...]

Angel Dorado’s Third Conviction in Less Than Six Months
Angel Dorado today picked up a third conviction in less than six months in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court for drug trafficking.  At eleven this morning, Dorado was found guilty [...]

Belize City Woman Fined for Marijuana Cultivation and Possession of Pipe
In December 2014, forty-four year old mother, Olympia King, of Saint Joseph Street, Belize City, was found guilty of cultivation of marijuana and possession of a pipe used for marijuana [...]

Denielle Neal Bestowed Prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award
A Belizean student of the national university is receiving royal honours tonight as one of the Queen of England’s Young Leaders.  Denielle Neal is one of sixty young persons from [...]

Costa Rican Officials Visit Belize City Primary Schools for GREAT Program
The Vice Minister of Public Security, Maria Elizondo, and two other senior officials from Costa Rica are in Belize. The two-day visit to the jewel is to get a first-hand [...]

Is George McKenzie Jr. Terrorizing His Neighborhood?
The police department is not commenting as to why a complaint, subsequently followed by an order of the court, against George McKenzie Junior for anti social behavior, has been made. [...]

Tragedy In St. Vincent
In the eastern Caribbean, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is grieving a number of fatalities from a horrible traffic mishap. At least five persons have been killed following a tragic [...]

Belizean Reunites with Long Last Nephew on Sabado Gigante
Belize has been getting its share of attention on the international media. We already know of the kudos from ABC in respect of the country as a Life-Affirming Destination. In [...]


Tourist Arrivals Continues On The Rise
The secret is out about Belize as 2014 statistics revealed a welcomed increase in overnight Tourist Arrivals to our shores, according to the latest statistics from the Belize Tourism Board. In October of 2014, Belize saw one million visitors into the country, including overnight and cruise arrivals which were two months earlier than the projected time. BTB reports that Belize has surpassed the elusive 300,000 overnight visitors mark. In 2014, statistics show that 321,220 overnight visitors were recorded which is equivalent to a 9.2percent increase when compared to last year, 2013. March 2014 was the highest month with the most overnight visits and an increase of 8.1% from last year. The month with the largest percentage change was April, with a 23% increase over 2013. April 2014, had 28,969 visitors while April 2013 had 23,555 visitors. Visitors to our shores originate from North America which continues to be our largest market for overnight arrivals. Airport arrivals also saw a significant increase in 2014, with a 7percent increase over 2013. Like overnight arrivals, March saw the most visitors for 2014 with 30,754 airport arrivals and April saw the largest increase with 20.7percent more than in April 2013.

SICB has Its Work Cut Out With The Formation Of Two Associations
With the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association and the United Cane Farmers Association now officially registered, the Sugar Industry Control Board will have its hands full as it will need to work with three associations instead of one as has been the case for more than 50 years. Today when we spoke with Chairman of the Sugar Industry Control Board, Gabriel Martinez, he stated clearly that the same rules that apply to the BSCFA will apply to CSPA and UCFA. "Yesterday we had a group of farmers who came to the office to petition to be considered as reaping groups and thereafter sign the agreement with BSI in order to start a crop. The rules of the industry will apply to everyone and there is no preference for anyone in order to keep the industry stable and sustainable and I guess tht is the wish of everyone.”

Sugar Roads To Be Fixed As Crop Commences
Tonight cane farmers are closer to signing a commercial agreement with BSI/ASR even if some of them are doing so under duress. And while no date has been set for the crop to commence, there is one other impediment, the sugar roads which are currently in bad conditions and the current weather is not making it any easier. Even if a date is set for crop, cane farmers will face a hard time when it comes to taking out their product from the fields. But all is good says Chairman of the Sugar Industry Control Board, Gabriel Martinez, because Government will come to the rescue. Gabriel Martinez- Chairman, SICB “I must say that in one of the meetings when the Prime Minister intervene with both parties the BSCFA and Belize Sugar Industries Limited that question came and he was prompt to answer that whenever there is certainty that a crop will start then the sugar roads will be priority.”

Paramedics Learn More About Stigma And Discrimination
Stigma and discrimination happens when others devalue a person or a group of people because they are associated with a certain disease, behavior or practice. Those who are stigmatized often experience discrimination in some fashion. The effects of both can be even worse for groups who already are marginalized because of their gender, sexuality, ethnicity or substance abuse. And in keeping with the Stigma and Discrimination people face on a daily basis, members of the Corozal Community hospital were engaged in training sessions organized by the Ministry of Health and the National Aids Commission. Clemente Novelo is the President of National Aids Commission. Clemente Novelo – NAC – President “Working with the Corozal hospital and the members and our colleague we are trying to reduce stigma and discrimination and that is one of our main focuses, we had embraced with NAC and ministry of health together working with this program and we want that this institution be a friendly in reducing stigma and discrimination.”

Two Branches Of BSCFA To Sign Agreement
BSI/ASR via the Prime Minister has announced that they will open the gates of the factory and start the crop start the crop once they have a commitment of 500,000 tons of cane to mill. All indications are that the factory already has that quota secured with group A of the San Estevan Branch under the directive of Arturo Hernandez which is moving away from the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. The quota of 500,000 tons of cane is expected to increase as the Patchakan Branch and some members of the Guinea Grass Branch and group B of the San Estevan Branch join forces with Hernandez and seek refuge under the now registered Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association who has aligned with the United Cane Farmers Association. The members of these branches are willing to sign the commercial agreement with BSI/ASR on their own free will, meaning with no if’s or but’s. But as previously mentioned there are cane farmers who feel they are being forced into signing the agreement. Today we asked Chairman of the BSCFA Committee of Management, Ezequiel Cansino, what percentage of cane farmers is starting the crop under duress.

Will BSI/ASR Sign Agreement With BSCFA Without Resolution Being Passed By Its Membership
When we left you last night word was that BSI/ASR was not willing to sign the Commercial Agreement with the BSCFA unless they called a special meeting with its membership and have them dissolve the resolution they passed on January 4th in which they rejected the Commercial Agreement. With BSI/ASR having the ball on their side of the field, the BSCFA is in no position to play hard ball and they are already in communication with their lawyers to see what steps need to be taken as it pertains to the situation. Ezequiel Cansino, Chairman, Committee of Management, B.S.C.F.A. “Si sabemos esta situación que ellos han dicho por eso mismo estamos comunicando al abogado de ellos y que él se los pase a lo que es el Board de BSI para ver que opinan de ello si siguen en ello pues tal vez no van a ver obligados a ir a una asamblea pero por parte de ellos de que se pueda firmar nosotros estamos dispuestos a firmar lo más rápido que se pueda.”

Belize Central Prison Packed To Capacity, New Law Introduced
The Belize Central Prison was established in 1993 and in August 2002, the non-profit Kolbe Foundation Ltd was awarded the contract to manage the facility. And with spiralling increase in crime, the facility is facing problems with overcrowding. The solution to end the knotty issue of prison congestion at the Belize Central Prison appears to be underway as a new law has been enacted for 2015 onwards. The new law which is coming in effect this year will simply persuade the courts with regards to inmates who have been incarcerated over 3 to 4 years and have been remanded to be brought to trial. Currently, there are 1,568 inmates house at the Belize Central Prison and of that figure as it stands; the facility has 188 inmates awaiting trial in Supreme Courts, countrywide. So what is contributing to the congestion? According to reliable sources we spoke with at the facility, it is the police lacking in their investigations because in all fairness the Courts have a duty to adjourn cases when evidence has not been presented or yet to be compiled. Simply put, if all evidence is not compiled and brought forth to court, you cannot put anyone to trial. And so the new law will force the police to pull through with their investigations quicker and in turn will speed up the process at the courts.

Fishing Trip Turns Deadly For One Corozaleno
A fishing trip ended deadly for one resident of the Corozal District. Police are currently investigating the details surrounding the drowning of 29 year old Henry Noh from the village of Patchakan. Initial Investigation has revealed that at 4:00 this morning Noh and nine other friends went on a fishing trip at a lagoon between Chunox and Sarteneja villages in the Corozal District. It was not until around 10 this morning when tragedy hit. Officer Commanding the Corozal formation Superintendent Andrew Ramirez elaborated on the details of the incident.

Major Heroin Drug Bust In Corozal
Late this evening, a major heroin drug bust in Corozal Town was detected by members of the Corozal formation and anti-drug Unit. As a result, four persons were arrested and pending charges from their investigation. While details are sketchy, police arrested 32 year old Jose Antonio Lara, fisherman and tour guide of San Pedro Town, 30 year old Lenon Leonardo Tillett, BEL contractor of Belize City, 42 year old Gerardo Beraldo Allen, tour guide of Caye Caulker and 35 year old Heirder Martin Perez, administrative assistant of San Pedro Town. Perez had in his possession a licenced 9mm pistol Springfield Brand firearm with 13 live rounds of Aguila brand ammunition.


Ladyville Resident Pleads Guilty to Charges
Fifty-seven year old Lionel Scott, a resident of Ladyville who makes his living mainly by selling bottles, was sentenced to three months today by Magistrate Herbert Panton after he plead guilty to damage to property for breaking 30 glass louvres windows. Magistrate Panton ordered Scott to pay 300 dollars in compensation to Tillett three months after he has served the sentence. If Scott defaults on payment he will serve another three months. The incident occurred on December 31, 2014, in Ladyville. Kenneth Tillett, a security guard who works at Mike’s shop, reported to the police that he was doing security work when he saw Scott picking up bottles at the shop. Tillett said he told Scott to stop and Scott got angry and went to his house, located on Quail Street and broke his glass louver’s, that have a total value of 300 dollars.

Toledo District Practicing Preventative Measures
Toledo District steps up efforts being made to prevent vector borne diseases caused by wet weather conditions and flooded breathing sights. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details: PAUL MAHUNG “Rainy weather conditions have stepped up efforts being made to prevent vector borne diseases in the Toledo district. With wet weather conditions and flooded breeding sites for mosquitoes throughout this district and surrounding environments of residential areas in Toledo ongoing efforts are spearheaded by personnel of the Ministry of Health as explained by Public Health inspector Lyle Williams.”

BTB Releases 2014 Stats For Tourism in Belize
In the latter part of last year we brought you the story of Janae Matute and her mother Georgia Matute. Janea is now 14 years old and was born with cerebral palsy. Janae was born pre-mature by way of a c-section performed by Dr. Raju Meenvalli. The case was taken to the courts of Belize where the ruling was in favor of the Matute’s. The case was appealed all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice and that ruling was in favor of the Matute’s. The Matute’s were awarded more than two million dollars in damages which after months complained that they did not received. However, last week, they got a cheque of three hundred thousand dollars as explained by their attorney, Fred Lumor. ATTORNEY FRED LUMOR “I think it was last week that the government sent through the attorney general’s ministry a cheque for $300,000 which is part payment of the monies owed to the Matute family. The government has indicated that they will submit to us proposals for scheduled payment of the balance and we are supposed to work that out for the payment of the remaining balance”.


Two shootings, no injuries
There was a shooting in Belize City on Monday morning.According to police reports, sometime around 9 a.m., shots were fired on Faber’s Road Extension.37-year-old Harrison Blades visited the police station in his Mazda van, which had a bullet hole to the left front passenger side door.Initial inve...

Bout of anger costs laborer jail time and fine
57 year old Lionel Scott makes his living mainly by selling bottles, but on New Year’s Eve, when he was stopped from picking up bottles at a shop in Ladyville, he got angry and broke several glass louvers at the home of security guard Kenneth Tillett...

Jail time piles up for Angel Dorado
Angel Dorado is already serving time in Hattieville Prison for separate charges of committing a mischievous act and wounding, totaling 2 and a half years...

Mother fined over cannabis plant
Cannabis is regularly discovered in Belize City, but not cannabis plants which can usually be found in the countryside. However, in July of 2012 police found such a plant at the home of 44 year old Olympia King on St. Joseph Street.Late last year Olympia King, a mother of six, was found guilty of c...

Belizean Nurse Accused of Homicide in Bronx, New York.
Cherrylee Young, a 41 year old Nurse at the University Nursing Home, in Bronx New York, is  being accused of killing a 77 year old patient with sight disability.Reports are that on December 8th, Cherrylee Young, originally from Belize, beat 77 year old Frank Mercado who fell onto a table that brok...

Belize sets records in tourism arrivals
More than 1.2 million persons visited Belize in 2014, according to the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), which released its end-of-year statistics for tourism arrivals. Over 320,000 of those persons were overnight visitors, sending Belize past the 300,000 mark for the first time.Cruise ship arrivals tota...

Queen’s Young Leadership Award 2014.
A press release sent on Tuesday from the British High Commissioner’s office in Belmopan announced Belize’s winner for the Queen’s Young Leadership Award 2014.This year’s award recipient is Denielle Neal from Belize City...

Human Waste near Citrus Farms?
There are reports of pollution coming from the Southern District of Stann Creek that have been causing quite a stir within the local farmers and residents of the nearby communities. Harry Arzu has the details of that story. Harry Arzu – Dangriga Correspondent“Farmers who have their farmlands in t...

Omar Figueroa sworn in as Minister of State
On Monday, the newly-elected Member of the House of Representatives, Hon Omar Figueroa was sworn in as a Minister of State, by His Excellency Sir Colville Young, the Governor General of Belize, at Belize House in Belmopan. Hon. Figueroa was elected at the by-election held on 5th January, 2015, in th...

Nude picture of teenager on FB results in search for a police officer
A police officer is being sought by Independence Police ,after an image of a naked 16 year old girl was found on his phone, and viciously posted to face book by the officer’s enraged wife. The image of the apparently sleeping and naked 16 year old girl surfaced on Facebook a week ago. The girl, ac...

American Businessman dies in traffic accident in Belize
There was a fatal traffic accident on Friday night. According to reports, sometime around 6 pm, a Road Traffic Accident occurred by Altun Ha Junction at Lucky Strike Village in the Belize District, 30 ½ miles Old Northern Highway. The incident involved a red Chevy  Suburban. According to police re...

Transvestite Porfilio Rodriquez bailed for burglary
He was behind bars for the Christmas season, but the man Porfilio Rodriguez, otherwise known as ‘Vanessa Champagne Paris’, was released on bail of $10,000 last week Friday, after he successfully sought bail before Justice Troadio Gonzalez...

PUP accuses Government of abandoning cane farmers
On Monday, the People’s United Party (PUP) spoke out with regard to the ongoing crisis in the sugar industry in the North. The party has multiple representatives in the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts, and has a long affiliation with the industry in which some of its members make a living. In opening the briefing, in addition to reiterating its support for the cane farmers, PUP leader Francis Fonseca attacked the stance of Prime Minister Dean Barrow as giving in to the quick deal over truly addressing the concerns on the table. “The decision by Prime Minister Barrow and his UPD Government to destroy this long-established partnership in the industry. Barrow and the UDP have abandoned the caneros and the Belizean people’s interest, and have decidedly sided with the multi-national ASR.

Supreme Court emphasizes criminal justice reform in new legal year
The 2015 legal year for Belize’s Judiciary and Magistracy opened with prayer to the Almighty on Monday morning, at the Wesley Methodist Church in Belize City. It is tradition for the Judges, Magistrates, legal staff officers, attorneys senior and junior and other users of the court system, including the press, to gather at its seat on Treasury Lane on the second Monday in January, to hear of the work done in the past year and look ahead to the coming one. If 2014 was a year of action, as expressed in last year’s address by President of the Bar Association Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, then 2015 can be comfortably described as the year of reform, particularly in the long-troublesome Criminal Jurisdiction, which suffers from an inability to obtain convictions in major cases, and apathy on the part of practitioners to enlarge the box they sit in to uphold the rights of all to a fair trial. Chief Justice of Belize Kenneth Benjamin outlined several initiatives designed to improve in that area, but first we bring you the comments of Attorney General Wilfred Elrington, who approvingly quoted Methodist minister the Reverend Roosevelt Papouloute’s sermon to his special congregation, at the multi-denominational church service on Monday morning. Here are those remarks.


Belize economy loses millions due to crop delays
Belize’s sugar exports netted the country $30 million less in 2010—a year of major upheaval in the industry—than it did the year before, and indications are that the Belize economy lost millions in production and export earnings in the period spanning December 2013-January 2014, when the start of the crop year was delayed by almost two months. The country is grappling with a similar situation this year. In fact, the 2012/2013 sugarcane season was the last crop year to start early. It began on November 28, and according to information published by the Central Bank of Belize, deliveries up to the end of December 2012 were 40.2% higher than those of the corresponding period of the previous crop year. That crop year ended with Belize garnering $107. 4 million in sugar receipts from the export market. We were unable to get more current data on annual export earnings for sugar from our data sources. However, we were able to glean some information from monthly economic reports published by the Central Bank of Belize.

Criminal justice system reform in 2015: Chief Justice Benjamin
The 2015 legal year began today with the traditional ceremony of pomp and circumstance. Members of the bar, the bench and the various auxiliary support staff of the Judiciary attended a church ceremony at Wesley Methodist Church on Albert Street, from where, led by a police marching band, they marched onto Regent Street to the main Supreme Court building, where Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin inspected a Belize Defence Force guard of honor, before proceeding to his chambers to deliver his address, declaring the legal year open. Benjamin said that last year, 2014, was devoted to studying the various areas of reform needed in the Judiciary, but for this year, the focus will be on reforming the judicial system. Last year’s budget for the Judiciary was a little under 9 million dollars and that was a modest increase of $166.449 in allocation for the fiscal year, Benjamin noted.

Prof. Brendan Bain vs UWI being heard this week in Jamaica
Justices Lennox Campbell, Paulette Williams and Frank Williams today began a 5-day hearing in the Supreme Court into the constitutional claim filed last year by Professor Brendan Bain, who had filed suit against the University of the West Indies (UWI) alleging breach of due process in his termination as director of the university’s Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training (CHART) Network. Bain, a resident of St. Andrew, Jamaica, served as an expert witness in the constitutional challenge by Caleb Orozco and the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) against the Government of Belize over Section 53 of Belize’s criminal code, which calls for a 10-year sentence for anyone prosecuted and found guilty of intercourse against the order of nature.

Cañeros to sign “with a heavy heart”
Belize’s sugar exports netted the country $30 million less in 2010—a year of major upheaval in the industry—than it did the year before, and indications are that the Belize economy lost millions in production and export earnings in the period spanning December 2013-January 2014, when the start of the crop year was delayed by almost two months. The country is grappling with a similar situation this year. In fact, the 2012/2013 sugarcane season was the last crop year to start early. It began on November 28, and according to information published by the Central Bank of Belize, deliveries up to the end of December 2012 were 40.2% higher than those of the corresponding period of the previous crop year. That crop year ended with Belize garnering $107. 4 million in sugar receipts from the export market. We were unable to get more current data on annual export earnings for sugar from our data sources. However, we were able to glean some information from monthly economic reports published by the Central Bank of Belize.

Dr. Omar Figueroa becomes Minister of State
When Dr. Omar Figueroa captured the blowout victory for the ruling United Democratic Party in Cayo North a week ago on Monday, January 5, we asked him about the prospects of him also being offered a ministerial post, but he told us that he wanted to just focus on serving the constituency rather than becoming a member of Cabinet. His party leader, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, had also indicated to the press that he did not wish to undertake any Cabinet shuffle to accommodate a ministerial posting for Dr. Figueroa, especially in advance of the March municipal elections – a move which could have no doubt stirred dissent within the ranks of the UDP. However, after Figueroa’s victory, we were informed by a ranking member of the UDP that the party was looking at working out an imminent accommodation to get Figueroa into Cabinet, and on Friday, that was confirmed with an official release from the Office of the Prime Minister, announcing that Dr. Figueroa would be installed in a newly created post: Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Court grants leave to hear Teck’s request for writ of mandamus
The Supreme Court of Madam Justice Shona Griffith became the latest staging ground for the standoff between cane farmers and BSI/ASR, which have been unable to come to an agreement so that this year’s sugar cane season can begin. Around 10:00 a.m. this morning, Friday, the courtroom of Justice Griffith was packed with attorneys as an application was sought for leave to hear a claim brought by Lucilo Teck, a cane farmer who is seeking a writ of mandamus from the court that would order the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) to begin the cane season. All stakeholders were represented. Teck was represented by attorneys Audrey Matura-Shepherd and Anthony Sylvestre, and Senior Counsels Michael Young and Rodwell Williams represented the SICB and BSI respectively. The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association was listed as an interested party and was represented by Eamon Courtney, S.C., while Nigel Hawke, a Deputy Solicitor General in the Attorney General’s Ministry, represented the Government of Belize.

Belizean arrested for robbery in Mexico
Belizean Roberto Heredia Bradley, 37, has been detained by Mexican police in the city of Playa Del Carmen in the state of Quintana Roo, pending charges of robbery, threat of death, and handling stolen goods and carrying an illegal weapon in Mexico. Allegations against Bradley are that he held up and robbed a woman with a knife in the Zazil-Ha Zone of Playa Del Carmen and escaped with her purse, containing her cellphone and money. Police, who were on patrol in the area, quickly captured the man, and the items reported as stolen by the woman were found in his possession. The incident occurred on Thursday. According to Mexican online newspaper, Diario Respuesta, the Mexican woman was walking in the Zazil-Ha zone in Playa Del Carmen when a man held a knife to her throat, threatening that if she screamed, he would kill her.

Police vs Bandits, game 1 in PLB finals this Wednesday, January 14
Well, the champion of the Premier League of Belize 2014-2015 Opening Season will come out of Belmopan again; that is because both teams in the finals, defending champion Belmopan Bandits and current sub-champion Police United, are using the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan as their home field this season. Of course, the Bandits are more legitimately the Belmopan team, as their track record in Belmopan goes all the way back to the nineties, while the Police team has moved around a bit, playing at one time in Belize City, before moving their home field to the capital, Belmopan. Game 1 in the home-and-away PLB championship finals series was originally scheduled for for Saturday, January 10, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium, but was postponed due to rain, and is now scheduled for this Wednesday night, January 14, at the same venue. Police is the #1 seed, so the first home game will be for the Bandits, and the return match this coming Saturday night will be Police’s home game.

KREM Classic: Families celebrate!
When Mexican Hector Rangel crossed the finished line on New Year’s Day to win this year’s Krem New Year’s Cycling Classic, he was not the first foreigner to do so, but it was his first victory at this prestigious and prize-laden event. The first foreigner to take the Krem crown was Miguel Perez in 2001, after Belizeans had swept the previous ten outings from the inception of the race in 1991. The 1991 winner was Michael Lewis; 1992- Francisco Flores; 1993 – Derrick Mahler; 1994 – Douglas Lamb; 1995 – Robert Mariano; 1996 – Nigel Matus; 1997 – Fred Usher; 1998 – Francisco Flores; 1999 – Ernest Meighan; and 2000 – Ariel Rosado. After Miguel Perez in 2001, Belizeans took over again in 2002 with Barney Brown the winner; 2003 – Douglas Lamb; 2004 – Marlon Castillo; and 2005 – Michael Lewis.

CSSSA high schools football tournament kicks off today
The Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) announced today that its 2015 high schools football tournament gets under way today with 6 female teams and 10 male teams participating. According to CSSSA President Deon Sutherland, if weather permits, the games will be played at the old Hostel field next to the Racoon Street Police Station. (That’s because the MCC has still not been declared open by the National Sports Council.) From the tournament schedule released, the females will be playing a single round-robin before playoffs involving the top 4 teams. The males are divided into two groups of 5 teams each. Each group will play a single round-robin, after which the top 2 teams from each group will go on to the 4-team playoffs. Games are played from Monday to Friday, starting at 4:00 p.m., and on Saturdays, starting at 10:00 a.m. The tournament starts today, and the playoffs are scheduled to begin on Monday, February 2.

Editorial: From BEC to ASR
When the nationalist movement began in Belize in 1950, the giant Belize Estate and Produce Company (BEC) was a major issue. BEC was the largest landholder and employer in Belize, and controlled the forestry and chicle industries, besides having entered areas of business such as insurance and import commission. BEC was a quintessentially British company, and it was being challenged by a remarkable Belize native, one Robert Sydney Turton, who had risen from absolute poverty to compete with BEC in mahogany, chicle, and import commission. The tariff structure in British Honduras was such as to force British Hondurans to trade with the mother country – Great Britain. This suited BEC, it may have actually been designed for BEC, but such a tariff structure discriminated against RST, who was doing more and more business with the United States. The devaluation of the Belize dollar at the end of 1949 was the straw which broke the camel’s back in Mr. Turton’s view of things. It appears that the BEC owners and executives were tipped off by the British, whereas Turton was caught off guard. Devaluation cost him a lot of money. The agitation by the new People’s United Party (PUP) in 1950 for self-rule was a Robert Sydney Turton agenda matter. But, the masses of the Belizean people had been fed up with BEC for a long time, and they looked with longing towards opportunities in the United States of America, just six hundred miles away. Robert Sydney Turton and the Belizean people, then, were on the same page.

From the Publisher
When the Belize Estate and Produce Company (BEC) muscled the Maya out of their ancestral lands in Yalbac, and forced them to resettle in what is now known as San Jose Palmar, this was 1936, and roots African people in the capital, now known as Belize City, would not have had the slightest idea what was going on. When the roots African people of that capital had risen up against their European and European-sympathetic masters in July of 1919, the Maya in the villages of the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts would not have known of that uprising until some time after it was over: the uprising lasted only two days. The situation is different today, because of radio and television communications, and because of a modernized road system which enables us to drive from Belize City to Orange Walk Town in just an hour, and to Corozal Town in a half hour more. In Belize City, the roots masses have known of the struggle of the Maya and Mestizo cane farmers against the giant transnational company – American Sugar Refining (ASR), even as that struggle has been going on over the last two years or so. The whole country of Belize, in fact, was being updated from hour to hour and from day to day.

PUC rejects BWS’ proposal for 12.5% rate hike
In November 2014, the Belize Water Services (BWS), a utility company whose majority shareholder is the Government of Belize, asked the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve its business plan which proposed total tariff increases of 12.5%: 5% in April 2015 and 7.5% in April 2017. After considering the BWS’s application, the PUC announced its initial decision today that it would not approve the BWS’s request, but that it would instead approve a nominal 2% tariff increase, which, along with an increase in water usage from 10 billion gallons to 12 billion gallons over the next five years, should be enough to secure the company $30 million more in revenues. What the PUC decision means for BWS’s 44,000 customers is that their water bills would increase this April by about 2%, if the PUC’s initial decision remains unchanged. Water rates will continue to be the highest in San Pedro and Caye Caulker, where consumers pay more than double the rate of mainland customers.

PUP condemn PM’s stance in sugar dispute
Since last Thursday when Prime Minister Dean Barrow gave his blessings to the formalization of a new association/s to replace the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) – a 55-year old institution that acts as the voice of over 5,300 sugarcane growers in northern Belize – as a means of breaking a protracted standoff between the association and the millers, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) and its parent company, American Sugar Refineries (ASR), certain sectors of society have urged the cañeros to remain united at this existential crossroads, and have even regarded the PM’s statements as a plot to “divide and conquer” the beleaguered association. Today, the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) weighed in on the volatile situation via a press conference at their Independence Hall headquarters in Belize City, where they joined the choir of advocators who have pledged their unwavering support for the unification of both the association and its general membership.

David Hill’s accident caused by a heart attack
A postmortem exam conducted on the body of American national David Hill, 65, of Rock Stone Pond Village, Belize District, confirms that his death was caused by a heart attack. The autopsy was carried out at about 9:00 this morning by Doctor Hugh Sanchez, medical coroner, at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH). According to police reports, at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday evening, David Hill was driving his Chevy 1500 Suburban on the Old Northern Highway from Sand Hill towards Rock Stone Pond, upon reaching Mile 30 ½ on the highway, by the Altun Ha junction in Lucky Strike, Hill went into cardiac arrest and lost control of the vehicle. As a result, the vehicle ran off the road and crashed. Travelling with him at the time was his common-law wife, Eleanor Arana of Rock Stone Pond.

Court grants leave to hear Teck’s request for writ of mandamus
The Supreme Court of Madam Justice Shona Griffith became the latest staging ground for the standoff between cane farmers and BSI/ASR, which have been unable to come to an agreement so that this year’s sugar cane season can begin. Around 10:00 a.m. this morning, Friday, the courtroom of Justice Griffith was packed with attorneys as an application was sought for leave to hear a claim brought by Lucilo Teck, a cane farmer who is seeking a writ of mandamus from the court that would order the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) to begin the cane season. All stakeholders were represented. Teck was represented by attorneys Audrey Matura-Shepherd and Anthony Sylvestre, and Senior Counsels Michael Young and Rodwell Williams represented the SICB and BSI respectively. The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association was listed as an interested party and was represented by Eamon Courtney, S.C., while Nigel Hawke, a Deputy Solicitor General in the Attorney General’s Ministry, represented the Government of Belize.

Patrick JonesPJ

Jail time piles up for Angel Dorado
Angel Dorado is already serving time in Hattieville Prison for separate charges of committing a mischievous act and wounding totaling 2 and a half years. But he faces another five years behind bars if he cannot pay a $10,000 fine assessed by Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith after she […]

Mother fined over cannabis plant
Cannabis is regularly discovered in Belize City, but not cannabis plants which can usually be found in the countryside. However, in July of 2012 police found such a plant at the home of 44 year old Olympia King on St. Joseph Street. Late last year King, a mother […]

Unchecked anger costs laborer jail time and fine
57 year old Lionel Scott makes his living mainly by selling bottles but on New Year’s Eve, when he was stopped from picking up bottles at a shop in Ladyville, he got angry and broke several glass louvers at the home of security guard Kenneth Tillett. For this […]

Majority of farmers decide to stay with BSCFA and sign agreement
The impasse in the sugar industry continues as there is still no date set for the start of the 2014-2015 sugar crop. But there is apparently some light at the end of the dark tunnel for the cane farmers. According to information received, the eighteen branch leaders of the Belize […]

Large heroin bust in northern Belize
There are reports of a major drug bust involving a large quantity of suspected heroin. Details are still emerging, but reports received say that police made the bust this morning during an anti-drug operation on the outskirts of Corozal town. Reports say that police intercepted a vehicle with Belize City […]

Belize sets records in tourism arrivals
More than 1.2 million persons visited Belize in 2014, according to the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) which released its end-of-year statistics for tourism arrivals. Over 320,000 of those persons were overnight visitors, sending Belize past the 300,000 mark for the first time. Cruise ship arrivals totaled 968,131, but […]

Body of a man recovered in Corozal
There are reports of the body of a man being retrieved from a river in Corozal. According to information received, the man, whose name we will withhold pending notification of his family, is from Patchakan village. Initial indications are that the man and some friends had gone on a fishing […]


7 of Belize’s Most Impressive Attractions To Visit in 2015
There is so much to see in Belize. Sun, sand and beach, tropical rainforests, mountains, extensive cave systems, the mostly unexplored remains of the ancient Maya civilization and it’s diverse cultures. We have compiled the top 7 impressive attractions in Belize just in time for your 2015 vacation. You better Belize it! 1. The Great Blue Hole: 2. Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM Cave): 3. Xunantunich Maya Ruin: 4. The Belize Zoo: 5. Belize Barrier Reef: 6. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary: 7. Gladden Spit

Worried about January weather
I recently saw a forum post from someone who was worried about January weather in Belize. They were concerned about the forecast, wondering if it was jeans n sweater weather and would they be out of luck on activities. This morning was a prefect example of how the forecast can look bad and be throwing down with rain one minute and do a 360 not long after. I had every intention to walk to town and go to the Tuesday morning farmers market, unfortunately Chaac the Mayan god of rain, water and lightning had other plans. He opened the flood gates and poured full force over the island causing me to abandon ship on leaving the house.

The Animals of Belize
Who said a honeymoon had to be taken immediately after the wedding? Jim and I just took ours, two and a half years after the fact, and it could not have been sweeter. We stayed at the Hamanasi Resort in Belize and loved it. Yes, it’s expensive and not all that easy to get to (three planes, the last so small I thought it might be easier to carry it to our destination), but hey: It was our honeymoon, so it was worth it. Hamanasi is committed to eco-tourism and sustainable practices, and that was clear from, for example, the extensive composting (which brought in great birds, including tons of warblers), careful snorkeling guidelines (“Please do not touch the coral or feed the fish.”) and wooden, multiple-use containers for shampoo and conditioner. The staff is sincerely friendly and accomodating, the country is a fascinating amalgam of cultures and races, and the food rocked. But for me, nothing was as wonderful as the animals. (Of course, Jim is my all-time favorite animal, but you all already knew that…). Hamanasi settles between the extensive rain forests of the Maya Mountains and the Southern Barrier Reef, which is perhaps the healthiest reef in the western hemisphere. Because of the range of habitats, there were fascinating and beautiful animals everywhere. Here is the male Iguana who sat just a few feet from our dining table every day, courting a smaller female in the branches below. He was one big lizard, perhaps three feet long. We loved having him eat breakfast with us every morning.

International Sourcesizz

You Better Belize It! Eight Fabulous Hotels in Belize
The Central American country of Belize is surrounded by Guatemala to the west and south, Mexico to the north, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. The tropical country attracts visitors with its lush jungles, snorkeling, and Mayan ruins, among many other things. Between the scuba diving, zip-lining, horseback riding, and Mayan ruin exploration, travelers don't have to stick to lying out on the beach -- though that's fine too! Read on for eight of the most fabulous hotels in the gorgeous country of Belize! Turtle Inn, Blancaneaux Lodge, Chan Chich Lodge, The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Chabil Mar, Robert's Grove Beach Resort, Portofino Beach Resort, Xanadu Island Resort.

Watch revolting moment maggot emerges from insect researcher's skin - having been kept there ON PURPOSE
Entomologist wanted to know what it felt like to produce another 'living, breathing being' from his own flesh An insect researcher has purposefully reared fly maggots inside his body, and filmed the moment they crawled out of his skin. Piotr Naskrecki is an entomologist and photographer from Harvard University, who was bitten by mosquitoes on a photography trip to Belize in the summer of 2014. When he got back, he had three bits that weren't healing. It turn out that these weren't regular mosquito bites: they contained the larvae of the botfly. Bot flies - which don’t have their own jaws, so can't bite or sting - have to rely on mosquitoes to get their eggs into a living host.

How to incubate a parasitic fly under your skin
Entomologists aren't like you and me; they're way more comfortable with truly disgusting stuff. Which is why not one but two entomologists recently announced that they had incubated parasitic bot flies under their skin. On purpose. Bot flies are parasites. First, a female bot fly chases down a mosquito and lay eggs on its belly. Then, when the mosquito gets its next blood meal, the eggs hatch and the tiny larvae drop onto the skin of the animal below, where they burrow in head-first. The bot fly, as a foreign object, inflames the immune system, sending white blood cells to the site — which the larvae use as snacks. Over the course of about 10 weeks, bot fly larvae grow from the size of a grain of sugar to that of a peanut, writes Piotr Naskrecki, one of the bot fly incubators, and an entomologist at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, at Harvard University. This process, as you might expect, is weird for the host, but "relatively painless," Naskrecki writes, "unless the larva decides to munch on nerve endings."

Court throws out second application by Prof Bain
Professor Brendan Bain's case against the University of the West Indies (UWI) started out with him losing two applications concerning witness statements filed in the controversial matter. In one of the applications, Bain, through his attorney Georgia Gibson-Henlin, had tried to have the court strike out portions of the witness statement of UWI Vice-Chancellor Dr Nigel Harris but the application, which was opposed by Queen's Counsel Hugh Small, was shot down by the court. The court also shot down an application by Bain to allow into the proceedings an additional witness statement filed by him. Bain is suing the UWI regarding the decision last year May to terminate his services as director of the regional coordinating unit of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART). The decision came from the fallout over Bain's evidence in a Belize court which irked gay-rights and other lobby groups, who reportedly pressured the University to let him go.

CONCACAF Announces Starting Dates for 2018 World Cup Qualifying
CONCACAF announced on Monday the starting dates for its 2018 World Cup qualifying process, which if you can even believe it, starts this year. The “minnows,” if you will, kick things off in the first round of qualifying the week of March 23-31 as North and Central America’s bottom 14 teams, according to the August 2014 FIFA rankings, will be drawn into home-and-away series. The seven series winners will move on to the second round where they’ll again be drawn into a home-and-away series, this time among CONCACAF’s ninth- through 21st-ranked teams (June 8-16). The first- and second-round draws will be held on Thursday, Jan. 15, in Miami.

Caribe Goin’ Up: 3 Mainstream Rappers Of Belizean Descent
Let’s be honest, no one is ever really sure whether to group Belize in with “Latinos” because of its unique background within Latin America. The only country in Central America whose official language is English, its colonial history has more in common with Caribbean nations like Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas, than its neighbors Mexico and Guatemala. Still, Spanish is commonly spoken there, and also who cares about labels. At the end of the day we’re all fam. More importantly, Belize is cranking out some rappers that have the clubs lit. Here are three artists you may not have known were of Belizean descent. iLoveMakonnen, O.T. Genasis, Shyne.

See what Belize said in the Caribbean Property Investor magazine
We talk to “King of Magic” David Copperfield about his private island home in The Bahamas and present a guide to golf in association with OMEGA. Plus, we look at the joys of travelling by private aircraft and 7 of the very best water toys.


Belize bird songs Part 2 new years day 2015, no music, 4min.
Dad kiteboarding in Belize, 1min.
Xunantunich - Belize, 4.5min.
THE SKYLITERS LIVE WITH KPFK'S HOST MARIO CASSETA!, min. This rare live performance of the legendary Belizean band in Los Angeles in the 1970's, The Skyliters, came to Belizean Legends through the courtesy of Belizean music producer and artist, Patrick Barrow of Caye Records and Belize Music World. Barrow who was also the rhythm guitar player in the L.A. based band, later formed the reggae band, Babylon Warriors. This live performance done in the North Hollywood area in the 1970's during a KPFK radio, 90.7 FM, with the late radio DJ and broadcaster, Mario Casseta, was a full recording of the Skyliters captured live on tape.
Relaxing Rainforest Bird Songs of Belize, no music, natural sounds, 20min. Made early in the morning on new years day 2105. Usually our subjects will be Cute wild animals, nature, birds, mountains, oceans and some travel locations.
RDX Concert Belize 2013 RDX P1 (Unofficial Video), 13min. Flavaz Ent. & T-Dubs Promotion's RDX Concert highlights. Look out for the Official DVD!!
Study Abroad in Belize, 8min. This experience has truly been the most amazing experience of my life and I have all of these people to thank for that.
Lewis Family - Belize - Tube and Zip, 3min.
Adventure & Conservation in Mexico & Belize, 3.5min. A highlight reel from my solo trip to Mexico & Belize in May 2014. Making this has taken way longer than I'd like, but deciding what to cut from this epic trip has been a tough choice. There's so much more stuff that just couldn't fit into 3.5 minutes.

January 13, 2015


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

A Fish Fabulous Day on Ambergris Caye
How much fun can you have spending a day fishing? Well, A LOT! What's more fun than catching a mess of fish on AmbergrisCaye, followed by a catch-of-the-day BBQ and a snorkel to cap off the day? Nothin' I tell ya!

Island Students benefit from Reading Program
Reading is essential to a child’s proper mental growth and development, and as such it is important to read to children from a very young age. Doctor Judy Raiford Pantelides is on Ambergris Caye implementing a reading program for preschool children and on Friday, January 9th the first reading was done at Holy Cross Anglican Primary School. 14 students listened attentively as community member and Vice-principal of San Pedro High School (SPHS), Conchita Flota read “Lola Loves Stories” to them. Dr. Pantelides is originally from Virginia, USA, where she carries out a reading program similar to the one being implemented here in San Pedro Town. She has worked as an adjunct professor at Christopher Newport University (CNU) for the past nine years since retiring from the public school system. Dr. Pantelides believes that reading to children stimulates their ability to learn and focus more in school. “I have worked together with a group of Kiwanis in Newport News to begin a Mayor’s Book Club where over 1600 preschool children have about 35 community readers read special books to them each month. For 4-5 months out of the school year, a book is given to every preschool child to take home. Our goal is to provide a diversity of community leaders to share the joy and excitement of reading with the children,” said Dr. Pantelides.

Ambergris Today

Meet Julian – San Pedro’s First Baby of the New Year
The population of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize is not big enough yet to have a baby born on New Year’s Day, but every year Ambergris Today searches for the FIRST baby to be born in the new year and shower him/her with an array of gifts donated by the business community. After some hunting we finally found our first baby of the New Year. Meet Julian Jacob Pinelo. Baby Pinelo was born on January 2, 2015 at 2:30a.m. to Jamilet Juan and Roberto Pinelo weighing in at 6 pounds 10 ounces. After Julian and his parents were settled back home the staff of Ambergris Today made it to their home to present him with all his new gifts. Julian was wide awake and happy to receive his gifts.

Make Tepache - Fresh Homemade Pineapple Juice
Tepache is a popular drink in the mestizo community of Belize. It is made from pineapple peels which are fermented to produce a tangy refreshing drink. Tepache is also healthy and great for the body because fermented foods aid in digestion and supports the immune system. It aids in the breakdown of our food, helping the body absorb the important nutrients we rely on to stay healthy! So drink up and enjoy this local favorite. Ingredients 1 Ripe Pineapple (we will be using only the peels) 1 Half a Cup of Brown Sugar 2 Sticks of Cinnamon 1 ½ of Distilled Water

Letters To The Editor: Searching for My Family
I am writing as I am looking for any family that I may have in Belize. My name is Raymond Willis Oliver. I live in England and was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, to a woman named Dorothy Willis who was born on 2nd Feb 1941. She had a daughter named Lorraine in 1961 who died and another 2 daughters born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, one born 4th June 1967 named Tanya. At the time Dorothy was known as Dorothy Willis, formerly Bishop and the father was from Belize. His name was Thaddeus Rexford Gillett. The other daughter was born on 2nd April 1962 named Juanita, same father and mother but at that time Dorothy was known as Dorothy Gillett. Dorothy Willis and Joseph Gillett married at the civic centre, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England on 15th June 1968. I heard that Dorothy, Thaddeus, Juanita and Tanya went to Belize in 1968.

Celebrity Spotting: American Idol Singer Honeymoons in San Pedro, Belize
American Idol fans might have recognized her while she vacationed in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Former American Idol contestant Kimberly Caldwell just recently celebrated her marriage to professional soccer player Jordan Harvey with a honeymoon in La Isla Bonita. The celebrity couple got married bringing in the New Year and then immediately came to Belize for their honeymoon. “And it begins! Honeymoon at the #MatachicaResort in Belize”, commented Kimberly on her first honeymoon post on her personal Instagram account on January 3, 2015.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Consejo Village Library- Morning Coffee Cafe January 18th
Enjoy a hearty slice of homemade pie or cake, coupled with a bottomless cup of brewed coffee or tea for only $5 BZD. Happy New Year To Everyone! To start 2015 off right, we are offering our four most popular pies at the November MCC. The test cakes were received so well, so we are expanding with additional cakes and some surprise desserts. Pies: Chocolate Cream, Banana Cream, Peanut Butter,Toasted Coconut Cream Cakes: Fresh Banana Cake w/Caramel Cream Topping, German Chocolate Layer Cake w/ Coconut Pecan Topping Additional Cakes and Desserts: They are a surprise. Again, come chat with friends and learn more about CVL, its services, and resources. This is an informal, friendly gathering in a cafe style atmosphere with a “come and leave when you want” style of service. No meeting nor solicitation will be surprised upon you.

Commentary: The persistence of Belize's '4A Policy' involving Guatemala's unfounded claim
By Frank Edward Paco Smith, Jr. (JP). Much ado has been made as a result of the government of Belize’s recent signing of 13 bilateral agreements with the Republic of Guatemala, the only nation which summarily rejects Belize’s territorial integrity. This purportedly “momentous” occurrence took place during the SICA heads of state summit on 17th December 2014 on the Placencia Peninsula in Belize. In effect, the government of Belize (GOB) endeavoured to sign agreements with our aggressive neighbour to the west that span a variety of topics, in what I can only discern to be yet another hare-brained determination, in a long line of irresponsible and incompetent discernments, as it relates to Guatemala. A full list of these “agreements” can be accessed here. Needless to say, amid the hullaballoo of what summarily amounts to a slap in the face of the Belizean people as well as the basic tenets that accompany being a sovereign nation, with its territory intact, as detailed by our constitution via Part I and Schedule 1 of the Belize Constitution, I dare say that I am not impressed.

The newly-elected Member of the House of Representatives, HON. OMAR FIGUEROA, was today sworn in as a Minister of State by His Excellency Sir Colville Young, the Governor General of Belize, at Belize House in Belmopan.

Cop Wanted for questioning about Sex with a Minor
PC #860 Patrick O' brien is being sought by Independence Police after a16 year old female was seen naked in a photograph that surfaced on Facebook a week ago. The teen visited the Police Station along with her mother and reported that in June of 2014 while she was still 15 yrs old, the policeman had sexual intercourse with her. Charges are expected to be levied against O'Brien for Unlawful Sexual Intercouse. If his name sounds familiar that is because he was one of several officers implicated in a logwood robbery several weeks ago. He was one of 4 police officers that Alexander Chiac accused of assisting a U.S. National Charlie Sellars, of confiscating and stealing his logwood. No charges have been levied as yet against any of the officers.

Channel 7

Cane Farmers Get Ready To Sign Compromise Agreement; Will BSCFA Survive?
Tonight, the cane crisis continues, but things are beginning to take shape - and all sides are moving closer to signing an agreement. The Cane Farmers Association - fighting for its very survival - is right in the mix. But, tonight, there are credible shows of alternate grower groups, possibly large enough to supply the BSI mill without the cane farmers association. Still, it's too early to say definitively which model will emerge - but today at a PUP press conference, one of the champions of the Cane Farmers Association, the PUP's representative for Orange Walk South, Jose Mai told the media that the branches have met and are willing to sign with BSI:.. Hon. Jose Mai, OW South "Jules, as we speak today there are a number of meetings held in the different branches. I attended one of them yesterday. Actually, the agenda was one thing, to get the farmers to sign, to commit that they will accept that they were willing to begin the crop, given the agreements of BSI.

PUP Says Barrow Administration Abandoned BSCFA
And while Mai sees the farmers ultimately sticking with their association - the situation remains very fluid tonight - there are multiple credible reports which show things going in other directions. But as of news time - we can confirm this: no farmer or group has yet signed with ASR/BSI. As Mai said, they are expected to do so in the next few days - but we still aren't sure what configuration will take precedence in the end. But, contrary to what Mai said today, the BSCFA may actually be in last place. That's because we are told ASR/BSI has indicated that until the association can present a resolution nullifying its last resolution not to sign - then, ASR/BSI cannot enter a contract with them. As we reported on Friday, 15 Branch Directors met to consider just this point: whether they should convene another special general meeting just to determine whether they want to go back to the agreement - but they decided instead to have branch meetings where members would vote and report back to the BSCFA. That report will be tabled before the committee of management tomorrow. But, reports to us suggest that ASR/BSI want a firm resolution from a General Assembly - not the results of a survey.

Party Leaders Disagree On How to Deal With ASR
And so the leaders of the nation's two mass parties have very different views on ASR/BSI. Now, that's not surprising - they disagree on just about everything. In fact, last year the only thing they seemed to agree on was the Christmas Cheer program! But, in this case it's notable, because foreign direct investment is the sacred cow of developing countries. Fonseca says he respects that, but only to a certain point - while Barrow had a very different take. We juxtapose these two views tonight:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "These are people who can afford to absorb the loss and walk away from Belize and I am telling you it is quite clear to me that they would do precisely that, if any effort were to be made to compel them."

Supreme Court Opens; Hemorrhages Identified
Today, as is the tradition, the Supreme Court held it's Ceremonial re-opening as it usually does on the second Monday of January every year. This is third opening that Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin presided over as the Chief Justice of Belize. It's an opportunity for the Judiciary to report to the general public on how its handling civil and criminal cases filed in the court system. Today's report was filled with the usual tales of woe, but also an outline of possible fixes for a justice system riddled with inefficiencies. Our News Team was there for the ceremony, and Daniel Ortiz reports: Daniel Ortiz reporting The Judiciary, Legal Fraternity, and several VIP's all gathered at the Wesley Methodist Church for the 1 hour service.

Technology; The Fix Supreme Court Flaws?
So, now that the Judiciary knows what is wrong with the system, what IS being done to fix it? Well, a Criminal Justice Board has been formed to handle all the problems with the number of backlogged cases. The idea is to set up a guideline for judges in called the Criminal Procedure Rules, which would allow judges and magistrates to dismiss cases with prolonged delays or a glaring lack of evidence. This means that the police investigators will have to ensure that the case files for all accused persons are complete, or else the charge will be thrown out, rather than face an endless stream of adjournments: Justice Kenneth Benjamin - Chief Justice of Belize "The most significant step has been the drafting of criminal procedure rules. These rules prescribe time limits for the disposition of criminal cases incorporating the principle of active case management by the courts themselves. Under the rules, no person should await trial in Supreme Court for more than 2 years, which shorter time limits being applied to persons in custody and remand and to magistrate court matters tried summarily.

CCJ President Coming To Belize
And a last bit of news coming out of today's ceremonial opening is that the president of the highest court in Belize is coming here for two days. Viewers may only have heard the name Dennis Byron, but he is the President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, headquartered in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. He arrives on Thursday as a guest of the Bar Association of Belize, and will speak at the Law Conference 2015. The Bar President announced it today: Eamon Courtenay - President of the Bar Association "The executive of the association, my lord, takes great pride, in having the signal honor of welcome to Belize on Thursday of this week Sir Dennis Byron, the President of the Caribbean Court of Justice. He will be coming to Belize as a guest of the association and will deliver a keynote address at the lunch, at the conference on Friday. We will, during the course of his visit, be having courtesy calls with persons whom he had ask us to arrange."

Fatal Accident On Old Northern Highway
Full of rolling curves and one way passes, The Old Northern Highway remains one of the most dangerous roads in the country. But that wasn't what caused a fatal accident this weekend near Altun Ha. It happened after 6:00 on Saturday evening, at mile 30, by the Altun Ha Junction at Lucky Strike Village. A red Chevy Suburban driven by 65-year-old David Hill, of Rock Stone Pond, lost control of the vehicle and ran off the road. As a result of the impact, Hill lost consciousness; and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. His wife, was treated and released. Police say he didn't hit anything, he appeared to have caught a heart attack and that caused him to lose control on the road.

Police Seized 3 Guns; Arrested 3 Persons
Police say they have taken four guns off Belize City streets since the start of 2015. They include1 .38 Smith & Wesson revolver with four live rounds found near Vernon Street, One .357 Astra Brand revolver and six rounds found in the vicinity of Zericote and Ebony Streets, One 9mm Glock Pistol with 11 rounds found at Brides Alley, and the one we told you about on Friday, a 9mm Smith & Wesson pistol with 7 rounds found on Faber's Road Extension. Two were labelled "Found Property", while 3 persons were arrested for Kept Firearm and Ammunition without a Gun License in the two other weapons.

A Great Community Police Program
Today 36 police officers attended the Gang Resistance Education and Training program at the Biltmore. We reported on the 145 primary and high school students who graduated from the 13 week program in June of last year. But today the main focus was on the police officers - further training them to impact the lives of more Belizean youth. Coordinator of the training Ron Doyle explained the dual benefits of this program today. Courtney Weatherburne reporting Many at risk youths grow up with scenes like these as their defining image of police in the community. But as part of the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program, these police officers are trying to change that. Although they are dressed in their uniforms they are not here in the capacity of police officers - but as educators.

Hon Omar: State Minister
The UDP's newest area representative was sworn in as a Minister of State today. This afternoon at 4:00 in Belmopan, Dr. Omar Figueroa, appeared before the Governor General to take the oath of office. Figueroa who is a jaguar expert and has a Ph.D. in Ecology takes up the deliberately vague post as Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister. This modest elevation is seen as a nod to his credentials, and also the fact that he garnered 66% of the vote in a recent Cayo North by-election - the largest margin in that area in half a century. His appointment becomes effective immediately and Figueroa is expected to be invited to attend Cabinet's regular Tuesday meeting tomorrow. Strictly speaking, Ministers of State are not members of Cabinet, but can be invited in for meetings.

Channel 5

B.S.C.F.A. Branches Signing On…
There is some movement, though little happiness, in the sugar industry tonight which has been in crisis for months now resulting in a delay of the 2014 sugar crop.  News [...]

…And Branching Off from the B.S.C.F.A.
As Cansino mentioned, there are branches who have decided to disassociate themselves completely from the B.S.C.F.A.  Now can they legally do that? Prime Minister Dean Barrow says that they can, [...]

Disbursement of Fairtrade Monies Commences
And that brings us to the Fairtrade disbursement of four million dollars. Up to Friday, we understood that following warnings from that certifying body, Finance Committee Chairman, Javier Keme, had [...]

P.U.P. Condemns G.O.B. for Destroying the Association
As has become apparent, the backs of farmers have been broken by a combination of ASR/B.S.I.’s inflexible stance, and G.O.B.’s deliberate withdrawal from the equation at a critical juncture. In [...]

…Says U.D.P. Fell Asleep At the Wheel
According to Fonseca, the signs of today’s sugar cane debacle were foretold when the government refused to allow cane farmers to purchase controlling shares in B.S.I.  He claims that a [...]

Will the B.S.C.F.A. Survive the Crisis?
Even as the Opposition has its say, and expresses full solidarity with and support for the cane farmers of Belize, the fact is that at this point cane farmers have [...]

Supreme Court Opens With New Optimism
The traditional opening of the Supreme Court was held this morning in Belize City with all the usual pageantry and ceremony that are attached to the event. After a service [...]

Bar Association Addresses Concerns at Kolbe
The treatment and conditions of inmates at the Belize Central Prison are serious concerns which the Bar Association has been busy addressing.  In November, leading Human Rights Attorney, Joseph Middleton, [...]

AG Promises Bigger Budget for Judiciary
In January 2014, during his presentation at the last opening of the Supreme Court session, Attorney General Wilfred Elrington openly admitted that funding for the judiciary was rather inadequate.  While [...]

Bar Association Presidents Calls for Unity
The revised Legal Profession Act caused some stir among members of the Bar Association in September when the amendment resulted in the discontinuation of compulsory attendance.  In retrospect, the move [...]

Belizean Nurse Charged with Bronx Homicide
A forty-one year old nurse aide originally from Belize, who worked at the University Nursing Home in New York, has been charged for the killing of a resident of the [...]

Belize City Man Fined for Domestic Dispute
Following the opening of the Supreme Court, a number of cases were dealt with. Forty-five year old Alvin Jones, who had been in police custody since last week Thursday, the [...]

Anti-Social Behaviour Order Under Attack
In this newscast, you’ve heard of charges for Displaying Gang Membership and Associating with a Criminal Gang, but did you know that under the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act [...]

George McKenzie Jr. Served with Unusual Order
Although the order was issued December fifteenth 2014 for the period of one year, it was not until after two this afternoon that McKenzie Junior was taken into police custody [...]

New Officers Receive GREAT Instruction
Belize has received top marks among countries in Central America for its success in the GREAT Program of the Central America Regional Security Initiative to curb crime in the region. [...]

Omar Figueroa Sworn In
Cayo North Area Representative Omar Figueroa has been sworn in as Minister of State in the Barrow administration after soundly defeating P.U.P. opponent Richard Harrison at the polls a week [...]

Sporting highlights with James Adderley
Good Evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   As the mighty La Ruta Maya approaches its 2015 edition, the pre-season is rife with the expected vigorous preparation [...]


BSCFA On Life Support As Some Cane Farmers Opt To Move Away From The Association
Controversy continues to stir within the sugar industry as the negotiation between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and BSI/ASR seems to have been permanently placed in the freezer. Today, while the BSCFA begun issuing checks to farmers and braces for an uncertain future; sugar cane farmers are also worried about their future in the industry. In the immediate future, farmers must brace for yet another loss in their investments as the crop has yet to start. Amid the process for application for a Writ of Mandamus by Lucilo Teck and a handful of other interested parties, farmers face a difficult choice, and as most see it, the only one available given the delicacy of the situation in the sugar industry. Farmers have voted for officials of the BSCFA to not sign the agreement with BSI, but following the Press Conference by the Prime Minister there was a distinct shift in the farmers’ confidence in that vote.

Two New Associations In Town
The news tonight is that the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association could possibly see a reduction in its membership as there is now two new associations, Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association and the United Can Farmers Association. The organizations made the official announcement today at the same time inviting interested cane farmers to join the group. According to Chairman of the Corozal Sugar Cane Farmers Association, Elvis Canul, they are a registered and certified association, a move they finalized following the blessing of the Prime Minister last week. Here is what he told us in an over the phone interview with him this afternoon. “Tenemos nuestra certificación que estamos registrados como una compañía y estamos preparados para tomar negociaciones como una asociación en esta situación que se encuentra la industria. Tenemos comunicación con United Cane Farmers asi es que y juntamente estamos viendo que nuestros derechos y son reconocidos por la conferencia que dio el Primer Ministro que otorgo que estamos en nuestro derecho de hacer nuestras asociaciones y eso es el algo que CSCFA y UCFA pues ya tienen anos que estaba peleando por eso. Como una asociación tenemos nuestro comité que ha estado atento de todo lo que ha estado pasando con las negociaciones y estamos preparados para negociar directamente con BSI para que nos reconozcan como una asociación. Estamos conscientes del agreement y nosotros estamos dispuestos a firmar hasta cierto nivel nuestra intención nunca fue de que piensen que ay división dentro de los caneros pero ya con esta situación que se ah avanzando pues vamos a air firme como una nueva asociación separado del presente.”

Fourth Minor Charged for Possession Of Controlled Drug
Another police search yielded success as on Saturday around 8:35pm, police searched a man while conducting mobile patrol on Lover's Lane and inside a small pocket on his right foot, police found (4) four small pieces of white buff substance suspected to be crack cocaine. The minor and the suspected drugs were transported to the Orange Walk Police Station where in the presence his father, the suspected drug was weighed amounting to 0.2 grams of crack cocaine. Police have since arrested and charged the 16-year-old male of Palmar Village for the offense of Possession of Controlled Drug.

Nationalization of BSI Is Still An Option For The P.U.P
With the nationalization of the Belize Electricity Limited and Belize Telemedia Limited by the Barrow Administration, there are those who believe that Governments next move should be to nationalize BSI/ASR in order to save the Sugar Industry. Now, the Prime Minister has stated that it’s easier said than done since they are not in a position to change the constitution and GOB does not have the requisite majority in the house. But for the PUP the nationalization of the factory is not something that should be put to rest just yet. “We hope that that is not an option that has to be explored but we can’t take it off the table. The cane farmers are not, let’s be clear because some people seem to be a little confused, cane farmers are not employees of BSI/ASR, they don’t work for BSI/ASR they are partners with them in the sugar industry and I think that is fundamental difference in understanding between us in the People’s United Party and the present government under Mr. Barrow, he thinks that these are employees of BSI/ASR who are behaving bad and need to be scolded and they should get inline and sign the agreement these are partners in the industry, these people are on equal footing with anybody from ASR/BSI and they must be protected.”

Three Minors Charged For Kept Firearm
Over the weekend Orange walk police made two arrests for violations of drug and illegal firearm possession. On Friday around midday, police searched a house on Mahogany Street, Orange Walk, where they found a pen gun mini flare pistol attached with a min flare cap which is consistent with a .22mm calibre firearm. Police then arrested and charged 22 year old Braulio Sebastian Acosta and three male minors all of Mahogany Street, Trial Farm Village, for Kept Prohibited Firearm.

P.U.P Says GOB Was Out To Destroy BSCFA
As cane farmers prepare to sign the seven years Commercial Agreement with BSI/ASR, there is the sense of feeling that they are making the wrong move, hence they are signing under protest, well at least those who plan to remain under the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association as there is already talk of the formation of two other associations who are currently seeking more membership, the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association and the United Cane Farmers Association. If the majority of cane farmers move away from the BSCFA, which has been in existence for more than 50 years, this could mean the demise of the association which is presently on life support. Already the BSCFA is under pressure with the disbursement of the four million dollars in Fair Trade funds. Without the four million dollars they basically have no money to operate and already 16 employees working under Fair Trade projects have been let go. To make matters worse, the BSCFA now faces a suspension and even a possible de-certification from Fair Trade due to the disbursement of the fund.

Omar Figueroa Sworn In As Minister Of State
Today at the Belize House in Belmopan, newly elected member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Omar Figueroa was sworn in as Minister of State by his Excellency Sir Colville Young, the Governor General of Belize. The follows his victory in Cayo North over his opponent Richard Harrison on January 5th to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of PUP’s Joseph Mahmud in November of last year. According to the release from the Government of Belize, Figueroa’s appointment is immediately in effect.

How The P.U.P Would Deal With Sugar Crisis
Now the question is, if the manufacturer, in this case BSI/ASR packs up and leaves, what next? While the talk is good cane farmers want to see action. So, today Fonseca was asked how he would deal with the sugar crisis, if he would be in the shoes of the Prime Minister. From all accounts he would not be in bed with BSI/ASR. “We know that the farmers had a very credible plan and all they needed was the support of the government and that was not forthcoming so it depend on how far you want to go back because if we had a PUP government at that time we would have been there for the cane farmers, we would have made sure that every opportunity was provided by the cane farmers for them to own BSI, I really think that the government has not really been engaged in this crisis that has been building over time it has taken over the headlines in the recent months but this has been building up over time, the farmers for a very long time has been calling for the SICB to get engaged in this impasse that exist between them and AS/BSI so the government has not been engaged...

P.U.P Says Barrow Forcing Cane Farmers To Sign Agreement
The current state of the Sugar Industry was widely discussed today during the opposition’s press conference. From the economic impact to political mileage, Leader of the Opposition, Honorable Francis Fonseca, fielded a number of questions from the media. All in all, the message was clear; the P.U.P is in full support of the cane farmers. The Party Leader also had a strong message for the Government of the day as he stated that while the Dean Barrow Administration knows fully well that signing an agreement, as is with BSI/ASR, will be a hard pill for cane farmers to swallow, he is shoving it down their throats. “The crisis in the sugar industry for us in not an issue which we seek to exploit for any political advantage, our party condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision by Prime Minister Barrow and his UDP government to destroy this long establish partnership in the industry, Barrow and the UDP have abandoned the caneros and the Belizean people’s interest and have decidedly sided with the multinational ASR...

Cane Farmers To Sign Commercial Agreement Under Duress
Without the support of the Prime Minister of Belize, cane farmers feel they have been left alone navigating in turbulent waters. About to drown, they have decided to sign the commercial agreement with BSI/ASR under protest. Today the People’s United Party held a press conference in Belize City to discuss the current sugar crisis. During the media briefing, Orange Walk South Area Representative, Honorable Jose Abelardo Mai, stated that with 1.5 million tons of cane out in the fields, cane farmers have no other choice but to throw in the towel and sign the agreement. “The farmers I believe in their own wisdom have decided to sign the agreement and to stay with the Belize Cane Farmers Association, of course under force measures, it I with a heavy heart that you go and sign your name as a matter of fact I almost signed yesterday but after doing some reflection I said no, I will sign but after I made my statement very clear, I am unhappy and I share this feeling for many farmers and if we have to sign it is with a heavy heart.


Matute Family Receives Portion of Payment
In the latter part of last year we brought you the story of Janae Matute and her mother Georgia Matute. Janea is now 14 years old and was born with cerebral palsy. Janae was born pre-mature by way of a c-section performed by Dr. Raju Meenvalli. The case was taken to the courts of Belize where the ruling was in favor of the Matute’s. The case was appealed all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice and that ruling was in favor of the Matute’s. The Matute’s were awarded more than two million dollars in damages which after months complained that they did not received. However, last week, they got a cheque of three hundred thousand dollars as explained by their attorney, Fred Lumor. ATTORNEY FRED LUMOR “I think it was last week that the government sent through the attorney general’s ministry a cheque for $300,000 which is part payment of the monies owed to the Matute family. The government has indicated that they will submit to us proposals for scheduled payment of the balance and we are supposed to work that out for the payment of the remaining balance”.

Farmers Say Yes to Signing of Agreement
The Area Representative for Orange Walk South, Jose Abelardo Mai made an announcement today at a PUP Press Conference that the farmers will be signing the Sugar Commercial Agreement in order to get the crop started. The decision to sign, as Mai told the media, is one being made with much reservations and a move deemed necessary for the livelihoods of the sugar cane farmers. JOSE ABERLARDO MAI “The point we make is that there are no other cane farmer organizations out there with a very effective cane harvesting and delivery system in place. As is the case with Belize Sugar Cane Farmers there is a mechanism in place. Why fix it if it works the less reliance on small farmers the greater its efficiency of profit making by the company. This economic philosophy is the driver behind the actions of the government and the miller and what we have seen so far leaves little doubt about whose interest the government really serves. It is an unfortunate state of affairs that if left unchecked will ramp up the already high levels of poverty in Northern Belize. As we speak farmers are presently in a state of disarray and confusion caused by no less than the threat issued by the Prime Minister on behalf of ASR that sugar cane would be accepted only from farmers and their alliance that were prepared to sign commercial agreements with the company. There are a number of meetings being held in the different branches, I attended one of them yesterday, actually the agenda was one thing and that was to get the farmers to sign, to commit that they will accept and they were willing to begin the crop given the agreements of BSI. In order to avoid the members from going over to associations that will be defunct any way the farmers I believe in their own wisdom have decided to sign the agreement and to stay with the BSCFA, of course under forced measures.”

Mai Blames GOB And ASR For Bankruptcy
The impasse and the uncertainty that loomed over the industry and the cane farmers in the past weeks have placed them in an unfortunate situation when it comes to their financial wellbeing. So much so that in their last General Assembly Meeting, they had agreed to draw down four million dollars from the Fairtrade Funds despite the possible consequence of decertification. Following the press conference today, Mai told Love News that while he understands the financial plight of many of the cane farmers, he was one of the persons who opposed the use of the Fairtrade Funds. JOSE ABERLARDO MAI “I am very concerned about that because I am not entirely convinced that that was the wisest thing to do, to vote for the money to be given to the farmers but I understand the farmer. I do not fully agree with it but I understand why the farmer is asking for it and I will put the blame squarely at the feet of government and ASR they have put us in this very compromising and poor position that we have no money. The only source of income that many people have is sugar cane and the proceeds that come from sugar cane. Some people have no money so what is expected? They will ask for it so it puts us in a bad spot economically with the association but I understand why the farmers are asking for it.”

Medical Physicians Conduct Two Weeks Training
Two week training is underway at the Belize Emergency Respond Team at #1675 Sunrise Avenue, Coral Grove Vicinity. Conducting the training is Dr. Maura Bruce, Urgent Care Physician, and Dr. Mark Bruce, American College of Emergency Physician Ambassador to Belize. Dr. Mark Bruce spoke to Love News about the training and the work the team performs. DR. MARK BRUCE “Our first team was here one year ago at this time and it was the inaugural team for this process and since that time there has been two other teams from Wisconsin that have come down here and one team from Belize that has gone up Milwaukee and we are already starting to see some significant changes in a very good way with the whole A&E and the systems based approach of emergency medicine which includes and is a big part of it that is BERT so it is not just about the doctors and nurses it is about the entire team of emergency services which starts with the first time the person calls for help, the dispatch, when BERT arrives...

Farmers Signs Agreement; Writ of Mandamus Useless
Last Friday, we told that the cane farmer, Lucilo Teck, through his attorney, Audrey Matura Shepherd was granted leave for judicial review as it pertains to a writ of Mandamus against the Sugar Industry Control Board. It was a small victory for the cane farmers as they sought intervention from the courts to have the SICB set a date for the opening of the sugar crop. But the celebration of that victory was short lived as over the weekend, the majority of farmers came to a consensus to sign the Sugar Commercial Agreement. Such a decision can only be attributed to the fact that the next court date for the writ of Mandamus would be in 45 days thus having the season further delayed. Love News asked Mai if the decision to sign now leaves the writ of Mandamus useless. JOSE ABERLARDO MAI “I think it is exercising every legal right the cane farmer has and I think that we should continue with the process because we are a country of laws and we have to uphold laws we live by laws, we believe in the legal system.” RENEE TRUJILLO “With some of the farmers singing to the agreement to get the crop started does this make the application for judicial review moot?”

Weekend RTA Leaves One Dead
Police visited the scene of a road traffic accident on January 09, 2015 near Altun Ha Junction at Lucky Strike Village, Belize District, 30.5 miles on the Old Northern Highway where they saw a red Chevy 1500 Suburban with license plates BC-C-38791off the road with damages to the right side of the windshield. Initial investigation revealed that 65-year-old David Hill, American businessman of Rock Stone Pond, Belize District was driving the red Chevy Suburban on the Old Northern Highway from Sand Hill Village towards Rock Stone Pond and upon reaching miles 30 ½ on the Old Northern Highway in the Lucky Strike Village he lost control of the vehicle and ran off the road. Travelling with him at the time was his common-law wife Eleanor Arana of Rock Stone Pond. David Hill lost consciousness which caused the accident and both were transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Upon arrival, David Hill was pronounced dead at 7:47pm. Eleanor was treated and was later released. The body now awaits a postmortem examination and police investigation continues.

Weapons And Ammunition Retrieved From Streets of Belize
The Belize City police continue to target specific areas within the city and have since retrieved weapons and ammunition from off the streets of Belize: In the vicinity of Vernon Street, a .38 Smith & Wesson Revolver with Serial Number 6982 and four .38mm special rounds. Near the vicinity of Zericote and Ebony Street, one .357 Astra Brand Revolver and six rounds of .38mm. A 9mm Glock Pistol with 11 rounds in a magazine in Brides Alley. In the Faber’s Road Extension Vicinity, one 9mm Smith and Wesson pistol with seven round. A total of four firearms and twenty-eight rounds of ammunition were found with two of these being found property. The possession of the two kept firearm and ammunition without a Gun License lead to the arrest of three individuals. Police operations continue in their effort to remove weapons off the streets of Belize City

Sugar Industry: What If Fonseca Was in Government?
As the party in opposition, Fonseca was asked what his moves would be had he been the Government. FRANCIS FONSECA “We can go as far back as when the cane farmers themselves made it absolutely clear that they wanted to own this industry and had a very credible plan and package, I know the Prime Minister and government has dismissed that package and plan but we have farmers here with us who are representatives, Ramon Cervantes Jr was a member of the team that participated in the negotiation of that package so we know that the farmers had a very credible plan. All that was lacking was the support of the government and that was not forthcoming. So it depends on how far you want to go back because if we had a PUP government at that time we would have been there for the cane farmers, we would have made sure that every opportunity was provided to the cane farmers for them to own BSI. I really think that the government has not been engaged in this crisis.

PUP Says Barrow Is Out to Destroy the BSCFA
As we mentioned earlier, Mai’s announcement came out of a media briefing called by the People’s United Party at its headquarters on Queen Street in Belize City in which the Opposition Leader, Francis Fonseca was the first to address the press. Fonseca spoke of the decision made by Prime Minister Barrow, which he referred to as the abandonment of the cane farmers. FRANCIS FONSECA “The crisis in the sugar industry for us is not an issue which we seek to exploit for any political advantage. The reality is that the great majority of these cane farmers and their families are already supporters of our party whom we represent in the national assembly. We have a deep commitment to them, we care deeply about our cane farmers, their families and their livelihood and that is what is at stake today. The sugar industry is the life blood of the north and its survival and success is vital to our national economy. This industry as you all know very well has had a long history of growth and development based on a working tripartite relationship.

Sugar Cane Farmers Will Sign Agreement Under Duress
The Area Representative for Orange Walk South, Jose Abelardo Mai made an announcement today at a PUP Press Conference that the farmers will be signing the Sugar Commercial Agreement in order to get the crop started. The decision to sign, as Mai told the media, is one being made with much reservations and a move deemed necessary for the livelihoods of the sugar cane farmers. JOSE ABELARDO MAI “It is with a very heavy heart that you go and sign your name. As a matter of fact I almost signed yesterday but after doing some reflection I said, ‘No I will sign but after I have made my statement very clear, I am unhappy and I share this feeling with many farmers and if we have to sign it is with a heavy heart that we have to sign’. I don’t see the signing process being complete by five days and I don’t see the crop starting within the next ten days given if the weather improves. I don’t know what the future holds for us I wish that we could at some point continue the negotiations to see if the farmers can derive their equitable benefits but it is difficult to say at this point. I think the important thing right now is to start the crop and to allow the farmers to deliver their cane, there is 1.4 million tons of cane and I don’t see how it can be delivered given the short time and the time we have wasted.”

Hulse Says It’s Not Cane Farmer vs BSI But Rather Cane Farmer vs Cane Farmer
Minister Godwin Hulse today weighed in on the ongoing controversy in the sugar industry. Minister Hulse said contrary to the popular narrative, it is not cane farmers squaring off against BSI/ASR but rather a division within the BSCFA. MINISTER GODWIN HULSE “The cane farmers association needs to come to a consensus. Everything I am hearing in the media sounds as though its cane farmers v. BSI, it’s not. Its cane farmer v. cane farmer with an agreement that some agreed to and some don’t agree to. That is the real debate and that is what has to be fixed so they can get back on board. You don’t have a unified association right now saying ‘oh none of us agree or yes all of us agree” the quarrel is there.

Writ of Mandamus – Is it A Moot Point Now?
Last Friday, we told that the cane farmer, Lucilo Teck, through his attorney, Audrey Matura Shepherd was granted leave for judicial review as it pertains to a writ of Mandamus against the Sugar Industry Control Board. It was a small victory for the cane farmers as they sought intervention from the courts to have the SICB set a date for the opening of the sugar crop. But the celebration of that victory was short lived as over the weekend, the majority of farmers came to a consensus to sign the Sugar Commercial Agreement. Such a decision can only be attributed to the fact that the next court date for the writ of Mandamus would be in 45 days thus having the season further delayed. Love News asked Mai if the decision to sign now leaves the writ of Mandamus useless. JOSE ABELARDO MAI “I think it is exercising every legal right the cane farmer has and I think that we should continue with the process because we are a country of laws and we have to uphold laws. We live by laws, we believe in the legal system. “

Dr. Figueroa Sworn In As A Minister of State
With just seven days behind us since the historic bi-election was held for the Cayo North division, Dr. Omar Figueroa went before the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Colville Young at the Belize House in Belmopan, Cayo District, to be sworn in as the Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister. Dr Omar Figueroa 4The announcement of Figueroa’s appointment to Cabinet came last Friday following a meeting of the elected representatives for the United Democratic Party including Prime Minister, Dean Barrow. Figueroa made it to the House of Representatives after Joseph Mahmud tendered his resignation as a sitting member of the house under the People’s United Party in November 2014 thus leaving the seat vacant. Figueroa went up against Richard Harrison and garnered 66.4% of the votes cast in the bi-election. Figueroa is an ecologist by profession and was accompanied today at the Belize House by family, friends and supporters.

Chief Justice Cites Problems in Judiciary
The pageantry and ceremonial opening of the Supreme Court was the highlight of downtown Belize City earlier today. Legal practitioners such as Justices, Magistrates and attorneys at law convened at Wesley Methodist Church for an ecumenical service. Thereafter, the pump and circumstance was on full display on Regent Street as members of Belize’s legal system marched in to the Chief Justice’s Court room. There, Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin gave the opening remarks in which he addressed several issues. Hipolito Novelo was present and here is that report. HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING “Belize’s legal minds marched on Regent Street in Belize City after a celebratory mass at the Wesley Methodist Church. After a guard of honor inspection by the Chief Justice of Belize, Kenneth Benjamin, Justices, Magistrates along with attorneys and others of the legal fraternity filled the court room of the Chief Justice. According to CJ Benjamin, in 2014, 778 new matters were filed while 786 cases were disposed of; adding that the disposal rate remains unsatisfactory.” CHIEF JUSTICE KENNETH BENJAMIN “The disposal rate of cases continues to be unsatisfactory largely due to lengthy trials punctuated by voire dire inquiries into the admissibility of admissions and confessions. The systemic problems remain and are the subject of reform. In the capital cases, the assignment of counsel for unrepresented accused continue to be a challenge.”


DOE meets with owners of illegal dams at Barton Creek
For over the past few weeks we have been reporting on the construction of an apparently illegal micro hydro or water mills in the Barton Creek Area, very close to the Barton Creek Cave. We took the information to the Department of the Environment who sent at team there to investigate the reports. After that, the department had discussions with the two owners, Mike Bougart and Ian Anderson, to listen to their side of the story. At the conclusion of their preliminary inquiries, here is what is what the Department has gathered. “At this point we’ve determined that they cannot show any proof that they have permission from any Government agencies for these structures. We’ll be conducting a joint inspection this week, and then when we come back we’ll sit as a group and decide what we will do, and we’ll look at these type of issues.

Confusing Street Names in Salvapan
Before Belmopan became the capital, Salvapan and the other surrounding communities that were managed separately by their own community chairs. In those days the community residents only knew their address by their lot number. Then between 2000 and 2005 under the tenure of the first Mayor of Belmopan, Anthony Chanona, and with the assistance of the community chairpersons, the streets were given names. However today in the second decade of the twentieth century community the residents of Salvapan are uncertain about their real street names. A trifle matter, but it has been causing a great deal of confusion in the community. Not only that, it is also confusing important correspondences like electricity bills. Francisco Hernandez, who was the chairman of Salvapan before the communities became a part of the capital, shed some light into the street situation in the community. Francisco Hernandez – Former Chairman of Salvapan [Translated] “The problem that has happened with some of the street names is that the young people, some young people, through a lack of responsibility, or a lack of understanding, tore down the street names, or the street signs, that labeled the streets. For example, in the case of Costa Rica Street, it is not the street that passes in front of the football field, beside the Chinese shop. No, that is not Costa Rica Street. It has that name because they tore the street sign to confuse the people. Sometimes they would put the street signs on a post to say ‘this is Calle Las Americas,’ and the Costa Rica Street sign, they would put it somewhere else.”

Sugar farmers risk FairTrade decertification
Former chairman of the BSCFA and current director Alfredo Ortega was also called on to respond to the matter of a request of over $4 million in monies offered by Fairtrade to farmers for projects related to their work in the fields which they want to tide them over until the season starts. But Ortega was one of the four directors who voted against it on Thursday during a directors’ meeting. He explained why. “A vote was taken and the majority voted in favour that that money be dispersed. It will be used. It will be dispersed to the farmers. Four of us didn’t sign the paper, but the majority rules. We have eighteen directors. Fourteen of them have signed the paper, and it will go through.” But the cheques have not been disbursed as the Association continues to wrangle internally.

Should Prime Minister do more for cane farmers?
The current division in the sugar industry has as much to do with its future as it does with the role of the Government, which has so far tried to avoid using a heavy hand. But disaffected cane farmer Alfredo Ortega, who was singled out for personal criticism by Prime Minister Dean Barrow during Thursday’s press conference, is not taking it personally. He brought the matter around to how much more the P.M. can do on the ground, by meeting with the farmers and hearing their concerns. Alfredo Ortega – Chairman of the Orange Walk BSCFA “As the Prime Minister mentioned my name and other names that were agitating. I think that if the Prime Minister has a very good advisor, and the Prime Minister would go down North and talk one to one to the farmer, he will get to know what the situation is, what is the plea of the farmers, and it seems to be that he is not prepared to listen to the cry of the farmers. He is not prepared to see what is the suffering of the farmers. We are not agitating any badness. We are not agitating anything that would create an unruly situation within the cane farming community. All what we’re looking for is that the farmers get benefits out of sacrifices that they are doing within the production sector. But it seems to be that our Prime Minister is not prepared to do so, in ngetting more benefits for the Belizean people.”

Patrick JonesPJ

Police investigate robberies in San Ignacio and Santa Familia
Police in San Ignacio are investigating two reports of robbery this past weekend. The first is reported to have happened around 10: 30 pm on Saturday on the Branch Mouth Road. A twenty six year old man and his girlfriend reported that they were held up and […]

PUP chides Government over handling of cane farmers
The People’s United Party (PUP) has hit out at the Government for its stance in the ongoing crisis in the sugar industry in the North, accusing it of abandoning cane farmers in favor of Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI) and partner American Sugar Refining Inc. (ASR). The PUP […]

Governor General swears in a new Minister of State
A ceremony was held this morning at Belize House in Belmopan for the swearing in of Cayo North area representative Omar Figueroa as a Minister of State by Governor General Sir Colville Young. Witnessing the swearing in was Figueroa’s family, friends and supporters. Figueroa has been posted […]

Policeman sought for questioning
Tonight a police constable is on the wanted list by his peers. Patrick O’Brien, a constable stationed in Independence village is being sought pending investigations of an allegation of sexual misconduct by the officer. PC O’Brien is named in an allegation by a sixteen year old girl […]

Porfilio Rodriguez gets Supreme Court bail
He was behind bars for the Christmas season but Porfilio Rodriguez, otherwise known as ‘Vanessa Champagne Paris’, was released on bail of $10,000 last week Friday. Rodriguez successfully sought bail before Justice Troadio Gonzalez. As part of his bail stipulation, Rodriguez must report to the Independence Village Police […]

More than 1,500 prisoners in jail
Before the official start of the 2015 session of the Supreme Court, the 2014 session was brought to its official close with the jail delivery report. That report was presented by prison officer Jarette Twist, who is in charge of the Processing Unit at the Belize Central Prison […]

2015: a year of reform in the Judiciary
Belize’s legal leaders have promised a year of reform designed to correct longstanding abuses and difficulties in the judicial process. According to Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, a number of initiatives is in process to address such issues as juvenile justice, the conditions of the court, the lengthy time of remand for criminal cases, practice of attorneys in both civil and criminal jurisdiction among other things. Chief among these is the planned implementation of new Criminal Procedure Rules which will both assist the courts in creating conditions suitable to obtain justice while also respecting the rights and freedoms of persons under its jurisdiction.

Ceremonial opening of Supreme Court held in Belize City
Belize’s Judiciary marked the ceremonial opening of the 2015 legal year this morning. The pomp and ceremony started with a church service at Wesley Methodist Church followed by the procession of attorneys, Judges and Magistrates to their place of work. The ceremonial tradition of presentation of the members of the Court and inspection of the Guard of Honor by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin was held on Albert Street in front of the Supreme Court building.


What is Sustainability – Part 2
The dictionary states sustainability means the ability to sustain or capacity to endure, implying a relationship among generations. The noun, sustainability, represents the outcome of actions of sustainable development that are successful. In discussing possible working definitions of sustainable development often people will refer to the Brundtland Commission’s activities in 1987, part of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). The Brundtland Commission, a meeting of world heads of state led by Gro Brundtland the Prime Minister of Norway, recognized two over-arching world situations: (1) natural resources and the environment were being degraded at alarming rates, and (2) human poverty was rampant throughout the world. The Commission effectively reduced most discussions to “sustainable development” in addressing these issues, stressing that sustainable actions are those directed at “meeting the needs of future generations” in our daily living – the basic necessities of life, such as clean air, clean water, viable forests, fertile soil, oceans, and so on. Unfortunately, we really have no way of knowing what the “needs of future generations” might be, as we can’t predict what kinds of technology they might possess, which has left the Brundtland definition fairly useless from an operational perspective. The relationship among generations, however, is such that the activities of people in the present to meet their wants and needs must not destroy or close off vital and treasured choices for people in future generations. When, therefore, a community recognizes the need to craft a shared vision of social-environmental responsibility in the form of a desirable future condition, it is simultaneously affecting the world for its children’s children.

Birthday Bar Hopping in San Pedro, Belize with Fin Kardashian
While I am away, my blog correspondent is making sure the serious news of Belize is being covered. And weathering, it seems, a bit of rain. Things seem to be clearing up in San Pedro but here is a report from my very own favorite, Fin Kardashian. Doing Ambergris Caye…with a bit of attitude. Here’s Fin: Hello WORLD, So Christmas has passed and we are now living in a NEW YEAR so FRESH like the bloody rain. Is it me or does mother nature need to get laid? Anyways…Want to thank every one that helped with the soup kitchen, THANK YOU sooo much! (Check out post on Fin K’s AMAZING Christmas “Soup Kitchen”. So I had my New Year resolution to have a Calvin Klein underwear body but JUSTIN BEIBER just RUINED it for me!

3 way sausage fest at Ray’s Big Dog
The plan was to meet at Ecologic Divers office so we could see our friends off on a Sunset cruise. While I knew it would be a great ride, I was not sorry I was missing the boat and was about to enjoy an evening equally as fun. Kendall, Karen and I headed down the beach towards the Ray’s Big Dog press and hospitality party. As we walked towards the tackle box dock, there was no mistaking it from the big dog statue (which you will see Cowboy Doug power napping on below). One of the first groups to arrive, perfect timing to chat with the owners Dawn and Ray. It was interesting to learn more about the new kids on the block and their adventures of making it thus far in the wide world of starting a Belize Business. We also toured the kitchen, met the crew, saw shrimp steaming and the big pile of dogs and sausages laid out for the party. Being there early had another advantage, best choice of seats and we opted for beach side and people watching.

International Sourcesizz

New WOLA report on Mexico's Southern Border
Mexico's Other Border: Security, Migration, and the Humanitarian Crisis at the line with Central America. In February 2014, WOLA investigators paid a 12-day visit to several points along Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala. This visit was part of a larger project, begun in the second half of 2013, to monitor border security conditions, migration trends, and recent policy changes affecting this region. Staff from WOLA’s Migration and Border Security Program have visited six sectors of Mexico’s 1,969-mile northern border with the United States since 2011, and we have reported from several of them. This is our first report on Mexico’s 714-mile southern border zone. It comes after several months of preparatory research—combing official documents, interviewing officials, and paying site visits—followed by our February research trip. On this trip, we found a border very different from the U.S.-Mexico line. This one is simple to cross: with an ID card at an official entry point, by wading a river between towns, or by stepping over an invisible line in the backcountry. Starting in 2012, the number of U.S.-bound Central Americans making this first crossing—among them tens of thousands of unaccompanied children—began a surge that continues to intensify. Once on the Mexican side, these migrants encounter a border security policy that is hard to define, at times contradictory, and unevenly implemented—but clearly toughening, often with U.S. backing.

El emporio de Los Mendoza Matta
Las empresas de los cuatro hermanos –originarios de Morales, Izabal– a quienes se les vincula con el crimen organizado, han obtenido contratos públicos por Q74.6 millones. Veinticinco empresas de los hermanos Mendoza Matta captaron Q74.6 millones en proveeduría a municipalidades y organizaciones del noroeste del país, durante una década. Así se resume una de las facetas de esta familia vinculada con el narcotráfico y crimen organizado en Izabal y Petén. El portafolio corporativo de las 25 empresas de los Mendoza Matta incluye constructoras, gasolineras, transportes, hoteles, restaurantes y distribuidoras de productos agrícolas, entre otras. El pujante desarrollo empresarial podría ser, en opinión de dos analistas, un mecanismo para blanquear dinero de origen ilícito. Un informe de la Oficina de Naciones Unidas contra las Drogas y el Delito (UNODC) ubica a los hermanos Walter Obdulio, Milton Oswaldo, Edwin Alfredo y Haroldo como los sucesores de un grupo vinculado con narcotraficantes mexicanos que opera en Izabal, un departamento fronterizo con Honduras. Haroldo, el menor de los Mendoza Matta, guarda prisión preventiva señalado como el cabecilla de una estructura criminal que realizaba patrullajes, controlaba la entrada y salida de personas, y cometía delitos como homicidios, quema de cosechas, robo y matanza de semovientes, allanamientos a domicilios, matanzas y desapariciones de personas, así como despojo de tierras en Izabal y Petén, según la Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (CICIG).

A New Lawmaker in Belize
Dr Omar Figueroa is the newest Member of the National Assembly in Belize. Figueroa emerged victorious in the latest by-election for the Cayo North constituency, following the resignation of former MP Joseph Mahmud in November. He defeated Richard Harrison in the election, which took place last week. Figueroa was officially sworn in on Monday by Belize Governor General Sir Colville Young. Figueroa was additionally appointed as a Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, the government announced.

Caribbean Real Estate Market Hotting Up
Property and tourism sectors in the Caribbean and Central America set to grow in 2015, according to the latest edition of The Caribbean Property Investor magazine. According to the most recent issue of 7th Heaven Properties' annual magazine The Caribbean Property Investor, the Caribbean real estate and tourism sectors are poised for growth in 2015. Analysis of trends in The Caribbean Property Investor magazine, indicates that the high quality of living, good value for money and stability offered by the Caribbean region has reinforced its appeal to property buyers and investors, particularly in the face of social, economic and political volatility in other regions.


Skydiving into the Blue Hole, Belize, 9min.
2014 - Belize, 9min. Our 3 year anniversary to Belize.
Our 3 year anniversary to Belize., 7min.
Cave tubing in Belize 2014, 12min. This was when we went cave tubing in Belize, this is unedited raw footage so at times the volume is low or its too dark.
Livin' Belize-y, 5min. Some GoPro footage from our trip to San Pedro, Belize. January, 2013.
Dolphins Off the Coast of Belize, 1min. A pod of about 50 dolphins plays around our boat on a return trip from Half Moon Caye. Shot near Lighthouse Reef, about 2.5 hours off the coast.
Beers Produced by the Belize Belikin Brewery, 2min. This is the Belikin Brewing Company's summer season, and is covered in a golden foil. The name 'verano' means summer in Spanish and the company says that this beer is a 'summer in a bottle.' It is a good-tasting beer and might be better compared to the regular lager, but it might be due to the aging of some of the flavor; it might have softened a bit while others came through more. This lager has some good but slight orange peel flavor and has a little spiciness to it, as well. The beer brings a small sweetness to it and also has a very light tang to it also. The brew is zesty while also very refreshing. You can conveniently see yourself crushing a few of these in the middle of the summer heat.

January 12, 2015


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Wolfe’s Woofer: How Was School?
“I need a favor if you can do it,” Melody said. “Sure,” I said. “What’s up? Something to do with Davin?” “Can you pick him up from school for the next two days? The Christmas and New Year’s holidays have me running around like crazy.” The next day I was waiting outside when the door […]

Police Department explains fines for common offences
The Belize Police Department has released a list of fines associated with certain criminal charges. Any person charged for the below offense and found guilty in court will subsequently be required to face the charges. Possession of an article with point (e.g. ice pick) – fined $100 plus a court cost of $5, in default […]

Doctor Love
Readers, please send your letters. They can be emails, formal letters or handwritten notes. They are edited solely for grammar and spelling. Also, they are sometimes edited for length. Dear Doctor Love, I have been married for ten years mostly because my husband was in charge of our lives. Two years ago I got a […]

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

A question on sugar
A cane farmer, Lucilio Teck has applied to the courts to have a mandamus order to force the "sugar board" to open the season. Prime Minister Barrow has said that the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) cannot force Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) or American Sugar Refineries (ASR) to accept crop for harvesting without an agreement. The P.M. has said " it is Government’s unalterable conclusion that it is impossible…impossible, to compel B.S.I. to accept cane deliveries and mill and market cane against its will." The Government via Deputy Solicitor General Nigel Hawk, Barrow and Williams for SICB and Youngs Law Firm for BSI/ASR are all fighting Lucilio Teck and his attorney Audrey Matura Shepherd in court to quash this potential writ of Mandamus. If the government is 100 percent sure that the SICB, a government body is powerless and the cane farmers are also being misled, why not let the Sugar Industry Control Board ceremoniously open the season for harvesting?

for Sunday, January 11, 2015: First: 0910 Second: 9401 Third: 8850 Missing: 2, 3, 6, 7


O/W Mayor Weighs Issue On Prime Ministers' Press Conference
Following the Prime Minister’s Press conference yesterday’s on the issue of the Sugar Industry, much was left to be desired by cane farmers and the concerned entities of the North. Prime Minister Dean Barrow threw out a bombshell when he stated that he supports the larger cane groups if they want to go their own way and sign independently with BSI/ASR. When the issue is magnified, the announcement could lead to the breakup of the BSCFA which has served the north for over 50 years. And whilst there seems to be no amicable resolution in sight, today we caught up with Mayor Kevin Bernard while on his campaign trail and asked his view of the current happenings in the Sugar Industry. “I am of the view that the cane farmers has to benefit, BSI/ASR has to benefit and the government has a stake in this industry also has to play a key player in this thing but listening to the Prime Minister yesterday and indeed in his words he basically told the farmers go ahead and do what you need to do, those how want to individually sign go ahead and individually sign, I think it is a bad move on behalf of the Prime Minister, and this is not about politics, this is about government we are talking, bad move from the government of Belize in the case of the Prime Minister making such statement ...

Gateway IT Group Conducts Computer Repair For Orange Walkenos
Whether you use your computer at home for education, information, or a break from your busy life, nothing is more frustrating than when it fails to work properly. We all know that fixing or repairing a computer can put a dent in your wallet but thanks to the kindness of Students from Gateway Technical Collage in Wisconsin, USA, residents who were having computer issues had the opportunity to take in their devices to a free IT clinic. Rebbecca Marshner is the Leader of the IT division. Rebecca Marshner – IT Group Leader, Gateway “We are running a clinic for all the people of Orange Walk so we can fix laptops and notebooks and so if the power is on we can clean it up for you, if it has parts we can install them and like the maintenance type thing you know, we have a steady stream we have one or two lined up and they leave their phone number and name and they can leave and we work on them until four o’clock.”

Deputy Mayor Speaks On Last Phase Of Central Park
In October of last year we told you about the commencement of rehabilitation works at the Orange Walk Central Park which saw the collaboration of the Social Investment Fund and the Town Council. And while the park is still in its construction phases, today we got an update of the park progress from Deputy Mayor and Councillor in charge of parks and playgrounds, Ian Cal. Ian Cal – Deputy Mayor “From the look they are on track, the grass has been planted and the ground has been to street level because the park was below street level before so only the final touches are coming in now hopefully by the end of this month we can see it completed as per schedule and hopefully nothing else delay it and hopefully by the end of February the Orange Walkenos should see their park completed and rehabilitated.”

BCCI Issues Press Release
As each day passes and there is no crop, the amount in financial losses mounts causing a great impact to the economy of the north and the country on a whole. If we talk about the economic part of the situation it is important to mention that the export of sugar cane accounts for $107 million of Belize’s foreign exchange revenue. Due to the current sugar impasse between the manufacturer, BSI/ASR and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association the foreign exchange revenue can be impacted thus posing a crippling effect on Belize’s economy. The negative economic impact that the current impasse may have is of grave concern to the Belize Chamber of Commerce & Industry, (BCCI).

The Campaign Trail Is About Informing and Interacting With Residents Of Orange Walk
With the Municipal Elections just a few weeks away, candidates from both sides of the two major political parties are hitting the campaign trail in municipalities across the country. In Orange Walk Town, much is being done to touch bases with the electorate who will go to the polls on March 5th. So, how are the teams doing and what’s the reception like from the public? According to Deputy Mayor, Ian Cal they are taking a much different approach with their campaigns making it a more informative and interactive one with the residents. “We are on the campaign trail, we were campaigning on the ground since November but as a Council the campaign never ended or started from 2012 when we got that mandate we were visiting people and we were holding neighbourhood meetings, after election time we continued with the campaign but on a different aspect being an informative campaign where we went on different ...

The Reporter

Court grants cane farmers permission to seek mandamus order
Cane farmer, Lucilo Teck and executives from the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) were granted permission by the Supreme Court for leave to file an application for a writ of mandamus against the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB). Justice Shona Griffith made the decision after a hearing on Friday in which, attorneys from all sides made presentations. Teck was represented by attorneys Audrey-Matura Shepherd and Anthony Sylvester. Attorney Michael Young represented BSI/ASR, SICB was represented by Rodwell Williams. Eamon Courtenay represented the BSCFA and the government was represented by Deputy Solicitor General, Nigel Hawke. Griffith set the next hearing date for February 23rd but this has caused concern for the farmers who are desperate for the season to begin.

Haiti rocked by violence
Protesters in Haiti have clashed with police in a demonstration calling for the resignation of President, Michel Martelly over long-delayed elections. Police in the capital, Port-au-Prince, fired tear gas and sprayed water on hundreds of demonstrators. Haiti is facing a major political crisis, as the mandates of its lawmakers expire at midnight on Monday. If there is no agreement to extend their mandates, Haiti will be left without a functioning government. Mr Martelly would then have to rule the country by decree. The opposition accuses him of abusing his powers. Two weeks ago, Mr Martelly announced he had reached a deal with the Congress to solve the crisis.

Patrick JonesPJ

Independent audit of Belize City Council shows improvements
Increases in expenditure reduced possible gains for the Belize City Council in the 2013-2014 financial year, according to the recently released independently audited financial statements done by Pannell Kerr Forster Belize and made available to media houses this past week. For the 2013-2014 financial year, the Council collected $25.54 million in revenue while spending $25.68 million in expenditure for an operating deficit of $136,601. The corresponding figure for 2012-2013 was $1,969,959. Leading the way was increased property tax revenues from $7.27 million to $9.39 million. The Central Government doubled its subvention to Belize City, from $2.197 million to $4.2 million.


The Human Bot Fly, 5min. Raising two dipteran children was an interesting experience. It was embarrassing on a few occasions, when both of my arms started bleeding profusely in public; painful at times, to the point of waking me up in the middle of the night; and inconvenient during the last stages of the flies’ development, when I had to tape plastic containers to my arms to make sure that I will not lose the emerging larvae. But other than those minor discomforts it was really not a big deal. Perhaps my opinion would have been different had the bot flies decided to develop in my eyelids, but I actually grew to like my little guests, and watched their growth with the same mix of pleasure and apprehension as when I watch the development of any other interesting organism under my care.
Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing - Stories from Belize and Fiji, 3min. from Oceana
Spotted Eagle Ray, Half Moon Caye, Belize, 3min.
Le Belize, 5min.
Belize City to Caye Caulker, 1min. Coming in for a landing!
Rain in San Pedro, Belize, 1min.
Belize Youth Mission Report, 4min. This video is about Resolved: to Live on Mission
ZipLine w Belize, 8min.
Carroll Belize Movie Fixed wmv, 13min. Belize Snorkling.
Night Lapse Drive in Belize City, 3min. Tried the night lapse for the first time, just experimenting.
Ziplining in Belize, 10min. South Shore Zip Lining on January 6, 2015.
atv belize, 7min. This video is about atv belize with butts up cave tubing co. Belize.
I Love Belize, 3min. Montage of footage from my Nat Geo student expedition in Belize this past summer.
Cruise Day 4 Belize, 11min. Cave Tubing and Zip Lining.
GoPro Belize 2014-15, 7min.
Belize 2014, 4min. Music: "Breathing Underwater" by Metric.
Belize, 4min. Gord Martin - Belize - Food show

January 11, 2015


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

It’s been a great travel year in Belize! Part 3
As Old Man Time ticked towards 2015 it was time for me to measure how 2014 rated on my good/bad/mediocre/epic/thank God-the-year-is-over meter. The best way to recall the highlights (who needs to focus on the low-lights) was to peruse through the 50+ folders of digital images I had accumulated over the year in question. I already knew it had been a pretty good one, and as I reminisced over photos of beautiful, exotic places, colorful landscapes and smiling faces I couldn’t help but realize that what made the experience so special was not only the amazing locales but the special people I shared each experience with. Last year my JOB (not a dirty word) found me paddle boarding, snorkeling, birding, sailing, dining at fabulous restaurants, weekend stays at beachside resorts, enjoying super fun lobster festivals, art festivals, September celebrations, Carnaval and Holiday Lighted Boat Parades, exploring mainland destinations like Placencia, back-road adventures to villages in the Orange Walk and Belize Districts, over the border trips to Merida Mexico and Maya ruins on Ambergris Caye.

Beautiful Toledo, through the eyes of Tony Rath
With the stories of sun, sand and sea, it’s quite easy to overlook the fact that there are well over 8,000 more square miles of beautiful Belize to explore. Luckily for us, there are numerous proud Belizeans who share beautiful images of these ‘hidden’ gems every day. One such Belizean is the uber-talented, photographer extraordinaire Tony Rath. The volumes we could speak of Tony…who with his lens, and experienced eye, can portray stories untold of our beloved heritage. His talents take him to unexplored regions, and his photographs show us that we’ve barely scratched the surface. We chose a few of his shots of Toledo, which reveal the beauty of Belize’s southernmost district.

Editorial: A Fitness Plan for La Isla?
It’s a new year, and with that comes resolutions, right? According to my unofficial survey the #1 New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, exercise and get healthy. We all know how important it is to be healthy, and the long term benefits that come from good health are countless. Perhaps one of the most desired benefits of being healthy is living a long and prosperous life. So….I am declaring that my New Year’s 2015 resolution is to lobby hard, relentlessly, tirelessly, persistently and if necessary, annoyingly, for a HEALTHY Ambergris Caye. This island, our home, our love, our livelihood and our passion deserves a long, and HEALTHY life…yet we are slowly polluting her and the Caribbean waters that embrace her. If we, the stewards of this island, want her to live to a ripe old age then it is time to whip her into shape!

Letter to the Editor: Lara Goldman
I love The San Pedro Sun. I love the feel of the paper in my hands, and I love how it is one “old timey” thing in San Pedro that brings everyone and everything together. I love reading the articles about all the wonderful goings on in San Pedro….after they happened! So, as I read about the Senior Citizens Party at the Lions Den this week, I was not filled with joy about the wonderful event, but rather deep sadness and intense frustration. As I continued to read about the fantastic things that happened in San Pedro over the holidays, I grew more and more exasperated by the things I missed. While reading about events after they happened is nice, it would be so wonderful for the entire community, and the thousands of visitors to our community, if there were some sort of Community Calendar. All non-profit’s could possibly get on the calendar for free, but biz events (fashion shows, Valentines Events, etc.) could pay for the mention.

Illegal dumping of garbage continues: SPTC claims it will no longer be tolerated
Brackett also discussed the use of household garbage and appliances for land fill. He stated that the practice is unsanitary and can lead to several issues in the long run. “People are somehow under the impression that household garbage and appliances should be used as land fill. While we cannot stop you if it is your private property, take time to consider how unsanitary that idea sounds. Do you really want to build your home over a pile of garbage? When appliances rust or start to disintegrate, chemicals are released and that leaks into our water table. The use of garbage in land fill is pollution in so many levels. Natural products should be used for land fill, like trees, wood material, sea grass and saw dust,” said Brackett.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Belize Heroes and Benefactors Exhibit
The Corozal House of Culture is dedicated in its pursuit to preserve and promote Belize’s diverse history and culture. We are delighted to launch the Belize Heroes and Benefactors Exhibit Thursday January 15, 2015. The exhibit, produced by the Institute of Social and Cultural Research, honours seventeen outstanding Belizeans whom have contributed immensely to the development of our country. This informative exhibit will be on display through to June 2015. We kindly extend an invitation to our community to view the exhibit and learn more about our past and present heroes and heroines.

The official language is English. Belize served as a pirate’s sanctuary in the 17th century. Until independence in 1973, Belize was British Honduras. A peaceful country, Belize is tolerant of different races and religions. Belize is a top retirement destination in the world and real estate is affordable compared with Europe or North America. Orchid Bay in Northern Belize for example offers Villas, Condominiums & Land in an established beach community. Eco-tourism is a top source of revenue. In the 1900s, settlers arrived from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Bombay and Mennonites from North America and Germany. The entire country contains 4 highways.


Lucilo Teck mandamus application moves forward
The dispute between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI) and its American partner, American Sugar Refining Incorporated (ASR), with the Government of Belize as represented by Minister responsible for Agriculture Gaspar Vega and the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) a key party, officially entered the legal realm on Friday morning, with the hearing for an application for leave to file judicial review, in respect of a writ of mandamus urging the SICB to consult its industry partners on a date to start the 2014-15 sugar cane season. No sooner had the parties sat before Justice Shona Griffith, than the judge stunned the courtroom by announcing that she was inclined to grant the application and begin issuing directions for the progression of the case. However, the victory for claimant and senior cane farmer Lucilo Teck would not come that easily or that quickly. The SICB’s attorney, Senior Counsel Rodwell Williams, immediately rose on a point of objection which he explained for reporters afterward.

Is BSCFA prepared to split up?
On Thursday Prime Minister Dean Barrow cited the Supreme Court’s previous order to allow multiple associations of farmers in the sugar industry, saying that as a result there is no legal bar to individual branches of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) agreeing to break away and sign the Commercial Agreement with BSI/ASR. On Friday we got reaction from two BSCFA branch chairmen, who are in direct opposition on this issue. But first we take a look at a statement released by Attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd on behalf of her client farmer Lucilo Teck. In the statement Attorney Matura-Shepherd cites the court order, which, despite the Prime Minister’s statement on Thursday, is not a court order but a consent court order, which meant that the parties involved agreed to settle an agreement without hearing the case to completion.

The Reporter

PUC approves water rate increase
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) announced on Friday that it has approved a two percent increase in water rates after reviewing a request from Belize Water Services (BWS) last November. According to PUC Chairman, John Avery, the new rates will take effect April 1st, which is the start of what they call the Full Tariff Period. Avery said the PUC made the decision after looking at all of BWS’ requests and reviewing their financial status. BWS had initially requested that the PUC approve investments of $108.6 million but Avery said the Commission only approved $50 million based on their assessment of the feasibility of the type of projects BWS intends to undertake. According to Avery, BWS had also requested the Commission to approve $151.3 million in Operational Expenditure (OPEX) but the PUC instead approved $129.8 million.

Paris tightens up on security measures following attack
Some 500 extra troops are being deployed around Paris after three days of terror in the French capital killed 17 people. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said all necessary measures were being taken to protect the country. Police in France are hunting for any accomplices of three gunmen killed by police on Friday after two sieges. Tens of thousands of people have taken part in silent marches to remember the victims in Nice, Pau and Orleans. President Francois Hollande has warned the danger is not over yet. “We have to be vigilant. I also ask you to be united – it’s our best weapon,” said Mr Hollande in a televised address on Friday night.

The Belize Times

Cañeros say NO to Barrow! – PM defiant, ASR gives cane farmers ultimatum
The Barrow Administration who has a history of expropriating companies and changing Belize’s laws and the constitution purportedly in the name of the people of Belize, appears weak or perhaps compromised in the face of the worst crisis to hit the Sugar Industry. American Sugar Refining Inc., the owners of Belize Sugar Industries factory, and the Belize Cane Farmers Association which represents over 5,300 cane farmers, are not seeing eye-to-eye on critical industry matters, and this has caused a tremendous delay in the start of the 2014-2015 crop season which should have commenced since early December. Delays normally translate to heavy financial losses for the industry. ASR wants cane farmers to sign a seven-year agreement that will bind them to delivering quality cane to the mill, would name ASR the owners of the cane once delivered to the mill and would commit the payment of bagasse at 51 cents per ton. Up to Sunday December 14th, BSCFA was supportive of the proposal and following a general meeting its members approved the signing. But when the document was drafted and presented to BSCFA officials days later, it included an additional point that proposed to establish a new quality control body to be led by ASR. BSCFA officials considered this adjustment to the document as a sign of bad faith, and at general meeting held with its members on December 28th, the cane farmers rejected its signing. Instead of providing leadership and regulating the industry through the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB), as stipulated in the Sugar Act, the Government of Belize, instead chosen to be a mere spectator while the industry comes apart.

The Battle is Not Over!
People’s United Party Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca vowed that the Opposition Party will be ready for the upcoming Municipal Elections and General Elections at a press conference held at Independence Hall on January 6th 2015, despite the results of the Cayo North By-Election held on Monday January 5th which in favour of the UDP Candidate Omar Figueroa. Hon. Fonseca said that while the results were disappointing, he accepts the will of the majority of voters who turned out at the polls, and said that the time is right to begin the work to regain the seat whenever the next elections are called. The PUP Leader explained to the media that the odds were stacked tremendously against the PUP in Monday’s by-election, with the ruling UDP doing everything and spending up to $2.13 million to buy the elections, so he was proud of the valiant efforts put by the PUP candidate Richard Harrison, the PUP campaign workers and supporters. He thanked everyone who was part of the campaign.

Darrell Bradley playing games with BML workers
Next week Friday, January 16th, over 150 sanitation workers will be terminated from Belize Maintenance Limited as the Belize City Council ends its contract with the sanitation company. Despite the Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s promise that the workers shouldn’t fear being unemployed because the Council will hire them immediately, the workers have been in limbo for many months as Mayor Darrell Bradley made it very clear that he not only does not support the PM’s plan, but it makes him very uncomfortable to acquiesce to it. Bradley protested on the basis that the increase in staff, from 270 to 428 personnel, will mean an increase in financial burden to the Council. The Prime Minister’s ultimatum even had the Mayor threatening behind closed doors that he will not run for another term if he is forced to accept the PM’s decision. Bradley, despite being an over melodramatic politician, is premium political commodity in the UDP and they have done everything possible to keep him happy and on board.

The NOT NORMAL family and relatives of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Lands continue to hog up land all over Belize

New Year, Old Plans
This week’s result of the by-election in Cayo North was disappointing to say the least but not the least bit surprising. Elections in Belize are now decided, not by the quality of the candidate but by the quantity of the money that each has at their disposal. In that regard, Richard Harrison, who ran on the ticket of the People’s United Party, and who in the opinion of most independent observers was by far the better candidate, never had a chance in that contest. Petro Caribe money was rolling and the UDP spared no expense to secure a victory for their candidate Omar Figueroa. The by-election became necessary after the sudden and unexpected resignation of sitting member of the House Joseph Mahmud. In October of last year, Mahmud, whose victory at the polls in the General Elections of 2012 had helped to bring the People’s United Party (PUP) within 60 votes of forming the government, announced that he was resigning as representative for his area. He initially indicated that he would be serving out his term of office but made it clear that he would not be seeking re-election. Mahmud gave no reason for his decision and rumors began running amok. Less than a month later, Mahmud became the first member to voluntarily resign from the House of Representatives. Again, no explanation was given nor did Mahmud even have the courtesy of informing his own party that he was calling it quits. Party Leader Francis Fonseca, who admittedly only learned of Mahmud’s resignation via the public media, expressed in an interview that “I think it reflects poorly on him and I view that as disrespectful to the party.”

Think About It
The UDP Party and the UDP Government, which have become one and the same are in big trouble. Having spent millions of dollars in Cayo North, having pulled out all the stops and having a candidate campaigning non-stop since February, the turnout was only 2,600 voters who supported the UDP. Total voters in Cayo North constituency is 7,000. The very poor turn-out for the UDP took place despite the Prime Minister himself and most of his Cabinet Ministers putting in days and weeks of campaigning. Is that poor showing of only 2,600 out of 7,000 the best that such a massive and expensive effort could produce? The answer is: yes. The P.U.P. candidate had only three weeks to campaign. There was no way he could cover the amount of ground needed to bond with voters. He was on a small budget and he was the underdog in the campaign. Yet he brought out 1,300 voters. Imagine what he would have done if he had a six month period to campaign with quarter of the millions the U.D.P. spent in the area.

Editorial: Barrow Compromised!
The cane farmers of the north have rejected Prime Minister Dean Barrow and the American Sugar Refining, the owners of the Belize Sugar Industries. The brave cañeros have done so despite being in the middle of their own personal and collective crisis. They and their families are flat on their backs. They are down and out when it comes to money. But like Jesus in the desert for forty days and forty nights they have rejected all temptations. Our prayers and the prayers of the nation must be for them and for just and equitable solutions as they wrestle with their adversaries. Their adversaries start with the stubborn and arrogant Prime Minister. He is the cause of the problem. Had he been a true leader to Belize, the cañeros and other Belizean stakeholders would today be proud owners of B.S.I. Such a bold and Belizean move would have been one of the economic salvation for the people of the north. Instead the Prime Minister failed to provide any leadership and caused the American Sugar Refining Inc. to buy B.S.I.

Team C-Ray’s Yan Cattouse wins 25th KREM Junior Cycling Classic
Team C-Ray Road Addikz’s Yan Cattouse clocked 2:43:17 on his 50-mile ride to win the 25th annual KREM New Year’s Junior Cycling Classic from the Orange Walk Town Hall on the Philip Goldson Highway to Belize City. His prizes included the $1,000 1st prize, a $250 in phone credit from Digicell & trophy. Kaydine Pinello won the first $150 prize at the Tower Hill Bridge, while Patrick Williams won the prize at the Crooked Tree junction. Pinello then won $200 worth of sand and gravel at the Cattouse Farm at mile 14, and $50 gas at the SHELL service station in Ladyville.

Belmopan Bandits & Police United lead playoffs
The Belmopan Bandits are No. 1 in the Premier League of Belize football playoffs, after 1-0 wins over the Belize Defence Force and Verdes FC. In their 5th playoff outing at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio on Sunday, Shane Armstrong scored an injury time goal for their 1-0 win against Verdes FC. It was a much needed win as the Bandits’ top strikers Jerome “Jaro” James, Elroy Kuylen, David “Mikey’ Madrid and Edmund Pandy Jr were all drawing blanks in front of Verdes’ goal in the first half. Fortunately the Bandits defenders: Dalton Eiley, Tyrone Pandy, Norman Anderson, Shane Armstrong and Khalil Velasquez held off the best efforts of the Verdes’ strikers Gilroy “Bredda” Thurton, Jarret Davis, and Richard “Cheety” Jimenez. Bandits’ goalie Woodrow West made several magnificent saves to shut out the Green Machine the entire game.

Mexican Hector Rangel wins 25th KREM Elite Cycling Classic
Benny’s Megabytes’ Mexican import Hector Rangel rode in solo to win the 25th annual KREM New Year’s Elite Cycling Classic, clocking 3:50:26 for his 96-mile ride from Santa Elena (northern border), Corozal District on the Philip Goldson Highway to the Mahogany St./Central American Boulevard intersection in Belize City. He won a $2,500 1st prize, a round trip ticket to the continental USA sponsored by American Airlines, $250 in phone credit from Digicell and a trophy; another $500 1st prize in the over-35 Masters category, as well as over $3,300 in station prizes, including 2 cellphones as he won all of the last 17 station prizes to the city.

Petrocaribe Rolling??
A bye-election date has been set by the Governor General Sir Colville Young after he was notified by the Clerk of the National Assembly, Michael Peyrefitte, of the resignation of People’s United Party Representative for Cayo North, Joseph Mahmud, from the House of Representatives. The political fervour of the populace in the Jewel anxiously waiting to cast their political lots in the upcoming town council elections set for March 2015. This could well be the test of choice for both political parties. The leader of the Opposition People’s United Party has sounded the call to battle, “We are battle ready”, whilst the United Democratic Party leader and Prime Minister of Belize chants “Petro Caribe Rolling”. The engine to the PUP’s battle ready mode is running on the Party’s Social Justice agenda and other promised reforms, especially in the area of governance directed at making the executive more accountable and ensuring that Ministers and public officials are legally responsible for their illegal or unconstitutional acts.

Will the Corruption End in 2015? Not a chance
One of the rising stars in the Illinois Democratic Party was Jesse Jackson, Jr. He was an elected congressman serving in the House of Representatives. About a year ago he was convicted of illegally spending $750,000 in campaign money on everything from cigars to mounted elk heads and a gold watch – $60,857 at restaurants, nightclubs and lounges and $43,350 for a gold-plated men’s Rolex watch. His wife Sandi was also convicted of lying on her tax returns and will have to serve a year in federal prison. Mr. Jackson is serving a 2½ year prison term. U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is the son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson Sr. Similarly, Former Virginia Gov Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen are convicted of corruption in federal court; McDonnell was found guilty on 11 counts of conspiracy, bribery and extortion, his trial shattered his political career and peeled back his private life to the bone; both McDonnell’s now face years in prison. He too loved gold watches and often showed off his watch while driving down the highway. They were both accused of taking monies from a businessman; she purchased jewelry, clothes and shoes.

Two years later, and still nothing…
On the serene morning of Tuesday January 8th 2013, two years ago, the residents of Dean and George Streets in Mesopotamia and Queen Square constituencies in Belize City awoke and busied themselves as is their daily routine. The stillness in the air (which in retrospect now should have been a foreboding of things to come) abruptly ended with the frantic cries and wails spurned on by a ghastly discovery. It was like none the people in that community had seen before. True, the boys from the area were legendary warlords, but the throat-slitting, stabbing, butchering and near decapitation of the four men in that apartment building at the corner of Plues and Dean Streets were still too much. And besides, we are a country of laws anyway; none should be judge, jury and executioner all at the same time. The initial shock quickly turned into an internalizing of what had transpired. Men or ghosts (you take your pick) had secretly entered the apartment and slain the men, unbeknown to anyone. Not even the police officers at the police sub-station, located 100 yards down the street, knew what had taken place. And as luck would have it, the police camera on the lamppost was malfunctioning at just about the same time, so there was no video footage to see who went in and out of the building.

In this first entry for 2015 I would like to wish all constituents of Belize Rural Central in particular, as well as all Belizeans a peaceful, productive and very happy New Year. May we as a people pledge that we will all do our best to bring about a better life for everyone in this country; and not better in just material ways, but in the values proclaimed in the Belizean National Prayer. Yes, may all our endeavors tend to peace, social justice, liberty, national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety and useful knowledge. And indeed we need God’s guidance to attain these just objectives. In reflecting over the brief holiday period, I have realized of course that there is much work to do in order to retrieve the values that make Belize what it should be. We have to wake up and work to ensure that the downward trends of money politics, cynicism, selfishness and greed are reversed and that the Social Justice Agenda of our Party can guide us as a Government in waiting and also when we form the next Government.

Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Francis Fonseca’s New Year’s Message
In 2014 the UDP Government once again offered NO PLAN, NO VISION, NO HOPE, NO SOLUTIONS to the many very serious challenges Belize faces. In 2014 the UDP said NO to Reform of the Public Accounts Committee, NO to an independent inquiry into the UDP Penner Immigration Scandal, NO to accounting for Petrocaribe funds, NO to disclosure of agreements signed with Guatemala, NO to Equity, No to accountability. It was another year in which only a CHOSEN FEW UDPs mattered. All other Belizeans were ignored and neglected. Sadly, 2014 was another year of Murder, scandal, corruption and growing poverty in our beloved Belize. Our nation stood united in mourning the tragic and senseless execution of Special Constable Danny Conorquie. This was an attack on our national sovereignty and dignity.

UDP shuts down Government work for politics in Cayo North!!
The United Democratic Party shut down the Government on Monday, January 5th, as all Cabinet Ministers and their politically-appointed CEOs and hacks descended on Cayo North to lure support and in many cases intimidate voters from supporting the People’s United Party. Some of the Ministers were out with more than just their lying tongues. Some had special brief cases and manila folders, promising education scholarships and land access and even pledging to give away houses and National Bank loans in return for votes. The Cayo North by-election turned out to be a real “BUY-election” with the UDP spending over two million dollars to win the seat. Reports of vote buying (votes in exchange for up to $500) were rampant. Democracy was non-existent.

Let Better Pay for Cane-Cutters also roll…
Dear Editor, The escalating tension here in the North is indeed a very crippling experience that continues to dampen and even dismantle the spirits of many families particularly those whose livelihoods are anchored in the squealing axis of the Sugar Industry itself. As a canefarmer, I indeed stand in full support and solidarity with my compañeros cañeros in a most unconditional and steadfast manner as we hope that whatever differences between our representative, the BSCFA, and BSI/ASR are well-ironed out in a meticulous way that will seek to always protect and promote our interests in this very important industry.

PUP Northern Caucus calls on GOB to end Sugar Industry impasse
The Northern Caucus of the People’s United Party (PUP) expresses great concern on the state of affairs of the sugar industry today. It is especially troubled that the start of the crop has been delayed for so long. As leaders of the North we understand fully the hardships caused to over five thousand cane-farming families, the entire labor force, as well as the negative impact on the national economy, by the postponement of the Zafra. Hence we call on the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) to fulfill its obligations under the Sugar Act and declare the crop open by the 14th January, 2015. At the same time we urge the Belize Cane Farmers Association and Belize Sugar Industries/American Sugar Refinery to resume negotiations to reach an agreement that is beneficial to all parties. The PUP, through its Northern Caucus, has been following the negotiations between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and BSI/ASR and supports the cane farmers’ decision to reject the proposed agreement as it is clearly disadvantageous to the cane farmers.

Patrick JonesPJ

Rain in the forecast heading into Monday
It is a wet weekend moist and unstable conditions will support shower weather heading into the start of the new week. The general forecast for Belize and her coastal waters is for mostly cloudy skies with a few showers and isolated thunderstorms mainly over southern and coastal areas of the country. Winds over the open sea and along the coast will be easterly to northeasterly at ten to twenty knots with higher gusts near showers. The sea state will be moderate but locally rough at times. Operators of small craft should exercise caution.

Magistrate fines Corozal chain-snatcher
A Corozal man was fined $1,000 after pleading guilty to a charge of theft. 25 year old Pablo Alejandro Kumul appeared before Magistrate Hurl Hamilton this week where he wasted no time pleading guilty. Magistrate Hamilton ordered that the fine be paid by February 28 or in deafult Kumul, who had three previous convictions for drug posession, will spend ten months in prison.

Omar Figueroa to be appointed a Minister of State
Less than a week after winning the bye election in the Cayo North constituency, Omar Figueroa is headed for a Cabinet-level post. Today, the government press office issues a release announcing that Prime Minister Dean Barrow at a special meeting informed Ministers that he intends to appoint Figueroa as a Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister. The official release says that Figueroa will be sworn in on Monday by the Governor General.

PUC issues initial decision on BWS full Tariff Review Proceeding
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has released its initial decision in the 2014-15 Full Tariff Review Proceeding (FTRP) for Belize Water Services Limited (BWS). In the initial decision, the PUC recommends a 2% average rate increase over current tariffs to support the revised business plan approved by the regulator. The average rate approved, $17.49 per one thousand gallons, is based on a projected consumption of 12 million gallons of water and is eight cents lower than the projected tariff in 2010-2011 at $17.57, but higher than the average adjusted rate of $17.15.

NTUCB says it stands firm in support of cane farmers
the National Trade Union Congress of Belize has issued a statement, encouraging members of the BSCFA to remain united. The NTUCB says that there is what it calls a plot that has been skillfully weaved and orchestrated to divide the farmers and break up the Association.


Scoop…You’re Not in Belize Anymore
I do love waking up (almost) every morning and tell you about the events in San Pedro and all of Belize but today…today I am in Miami. And I have been for 2 days now…after helping carry two dogs to Hollywood Animal Hospital for knee surgery. Surgery that they couldn’t have in Belize. Boat to Ladyville, Belize, short taxi ride to the Belize International Airport, dogs in the hold and then to the hospital. My travel partner isn’t winning any spelling bees…

International Sourcesizz

Finding big adventure in tiny Belize
Belize, a slip of a country in Central America, is a cornucopia of natural beauty. Its eastern border hugs the mint-green waters of the Caribbean. Its barrier reef is the longest in the northern or western hemisphere. To the west and south, it nudges against Guatemala and is rife with lush emerald rainforests, jungles, rivers, caves and mountains. Formerly British Honduras, this place of wonder has more species of flowers, birds, trees and butterflies than all of the U.S. and Canada combined. It’s the heartland of the ancient Mayan civilization, filled with ruins, mystery and magic. Many tourists head east to the beaches — renowned for their diving and snorkeling — and stay put, with an occasional day excursion to see ruins and/or the jungle terrain. Since I’m not a diver, I chose to go both inland and coastal on an all-too-short eight-day trip. The recommended mode of transportation from the airport in Belize City — in any direction — is by resort-provided transfer or small planes that fly within the country. Neither was going to provide the opportunity to come and go as I pleased or see as much as I’d like.

Man falsely reported gunshot because ex-boss denied him reference
William Turner, the man accused of calling in a false report of a gunshot at a downtown Yellowknife office building, has admitted to CBC News that he made the call. On Wednesday, RCMP responded to the Northwest Tower after receiving a call reporting a gunshot at the building. Police evacuated the Javaroma coffee shop, located on the building's ground floor, before proceeding into the office tower. Turner told CBC News he made the false report to police from Belize, a country in Central America where he says he's currently living. He spoke to CBC on a cell phone with a Belize number.

Supreme Court to hear Bain case tomorrow
PROFESSOR Brendan Bain's case regarding the decision of the University of the West Indies (UWI) to terminate his services as director of the regional co-ordinating unit of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART) is set for trial in the Supreme Court tomorrow. The matter is set for five days before justices Lennox Campbell, Paulette Williams, and Frank Williams in Courtroom Number 9. Bain, who is a medical doctor, was issued with a termination letter, dated May 20, 2014, by Vice-Chancellor Eon Nigel Harris, after gay and human rights groups pressured the UWI, on the heels of Bain's expert evidence in a case in Belize where a gay man had challenged the constitutionality of the law that makes it a criminal act for men to have sex with men.


BELIZE 2013 PIC SHOW, 26min.
Caye Caulker - Belize, 2min.
man vs wild s03e06 Belize, 44min.
Snorkeling in San Pedro Belize, 4min.
Tribute to The Baymen by Heaven's Youth Choir in San Pedro Town, Belize, 2min. Heaven's Youth Choir from R.C. Youth Ministry pay tribute to the Baymen on eve of St. George's Caye Day in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. SHOW MORE
Belize Trip!, 2hr. Belize Trip! How fun is this!
Belize - The Great Blue Hole, 6min. Dive trip to The Blue Hole - December 2014.
Belize Zoo 2015 1, 6min.
Belize Zoo 2015 2, 9min.
SHARK, SNOOK, TUNA AND BONEFISH, BELIZE- Fishing Adventurer with Cyril Chauquet, 20min. Paradise Theater is located right across the Barry Bowen Bridge in San Pedro Town, Belize With two screens, watch four different movies each week
Minister Louis Farrakhan 2015, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan visited Belize Central Prison, 15min.
Belize Cane Farmers, 1.5min. Belize Cane Farmers say NO to the $0.51 per ton of Cane offered by BSI/ASR for our Baggasse used to produce Electricity! Cane Farmers deserve a better pay for the by-product of their sugar cane!

Click here to return to
Today's Belize News

Commons Island Community History Visitor Center Goods & Services
Search Messages CIG Info

Copyright by Casado Internet Group, Belize