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12/11/2016 to 12/20/2016
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December 20, 2016


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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials


The San Pedro Sun

SPHS Female Basketball team wins NSSSA national basketball tournament
The San Pedro High School (SPHS) Female Basketball Team returned victorious to the island after winning National Championship, at the National Secondary School Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) National Tournament. The championship was held on Friday, December 16th, at the Stann Creek Ecumenical College Sporting Complex in Dangriga Town. The competition saw the participation of regional champions from across the country, including the SPHS Male Basketball Team, who despite their great performance managed to claim third place. The female basketball team from San Pedro High is comprised of Princess Bailey, Baybee Lopez, Rebecca Barkhouse, Ariene Benguche, Jucely Rosalez, Ada Cordova, Aliyah Elliott, Sophie Guan, Lisandra Novelo, Aaliyah Pilgrim, Sueny Vasquez, Karina Ayala, Laisha Gamez, Joshana Soberanis, and Natividad Cawich. In the first female match, which started minutes to 3PM, the SPHS girls played against Anglican Cathedral College, where they dominated the game and won 30-19. This victory qualified them to the championship match later that evening. Meanwhile, the male team, comprising of Leonard Lopez, Tyrese Arzu, Zimmer Perez, Guillermo Nunez, Christian Orellana, Robert Palacio, Tyrese Martinez, Tyreek Azu, Jahson Salgado, Glendford Cadle, and Zian Bulnes, played their first game against Wesley High School (WHS). It was a close match, WHS walked away with the 55-46 victory.

Belizean Arts Gallery hosts book signing for “Caye Boy visits the Jungle”
Belizean Arts Gallery treated children’s book enthusiasts on Sunday, December 18th as author Jessica Wigh signed copies of her third book in the Caye Boy series titled: “Caye Boy Visits the Jungle”. Illustrated by Andrew Young and published by Little Blue House Publishing, this new book highlights the experience of island brothers Gilford and Alvis on an adventure to the mainland of Belize, visiting their mother’s family. The scenery differs from their home in Caye Caulker Village, and the boys are excited to see cows, horses, black dirt, plants, mountains, their cousins, food, the jungle, animals, and waterfalls. After some days on the mainland, they were eager to return to their little blue house on the island. From 12PM to 2PM, Wigh greeted fans and chatted to them about her books. Accompanied by their parents, several children attended the event and even got their copy signed with a personal message.

ACES’ festive Christmas program brings in the holiday spirit
Ambergris Caye Elementary School (ACES) hosted their annual Christmas program on Thursday, December 15th. Held at the school grounds, the event was attended by families, friends and invited guests to witness the talent of the student body, while revealing in the Christmas spirit. Teachers Mandy and Rangel did the honors of welcoming the audience to the show, thanking them for all of the support that makes these events successful. ACES preschool toddlers first took the stage, presenting a dance to “I am the happiest Christmas tree”. After a big round of applause for their efforts, Infant One danced to “Santa Claus is coming to Town”, while Infant Two danced to “Burrito Sabanero.”

Annual San Pedro Lions Children’s Christmas party brings the treats!
Packed with lots of presents, goodies, food, drinks, and even Santa Claus, the annual Children’s Christmas Party courtesy of the San Pedro Lions Club was held on Sunday, December 18th. Over 100 children participated in the fun festivity held at the San Pedro Lions’ Den. Many children eagerly awaited a special invited guest, who they were told, was on his way from the North Pole. Minutes later, they all jumped in excitement as Santa casually strolled into the Den. He greeted everyone and began handing out candy before taking his place onstage surrounded by a mountain of gifts. One by one, each child was called by name for a quick sit on Santa’s lap. After posing for a picture, they received a gift from the jolly bearded man dressed in red.

Children from the Inspiration Center visit the Belize Zoo
It was a wonderful Christmas treat for children from the Inspiration Center, who, along with their siblings, caretakers and center staff, got to visit The Belize Zoo on Friday, December 16th. Headquartered in Belize City, the non-governmental organization does exceptional work in providing services to children living with disabilities. Thanks to the help of generous sponsors, the children experienced the magical excitement of the zoo as an early Christmas gift. Upon their arrival to the zoo, the children were warmly welcomed by the zoo’s friendly staff. It was a joyful day, as the children got to feed and interact with some of the country’s native animals such as jaguars, parrots, deer and even the national animal, the tapir! The children’s expressions were priceless, and their big beaming smiles lit up the zoo.

The Island Academy Christmas Pageant brings down the house!
The students of Island Academy truly heightened the Christmas spirit with their annual Christmas Pageant on Wednesday, December 14th. From heart-felt carols to dancing, and even some drama, the students made sure the audience truly experienced the joy of the season. The first performance of the night saw Teacher Elizabeth’s beginner class singing their rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’, followed by the ‘World is a Rainbow’. The youngsters even lured the audience to sing along, ending to much applause. The grand finale saw the entire student body take the stage, along with Lady Bowen and teachers to sing along to the classic ‘Feliz Navidad.’ The Island Academy also recognized co-directors of the pageant: the mastermind behind the dynamic presentation was Teacher Cady, who wrote the scripts, and Teacher Suzanna, who coached the students. Lady Bowen thanked the students and teachers for their participation, and the audience for their support for making this pageant another amazing show!

2016 Holiday Lighted Boat Parade brings the Christmas Season to Ambergris Caye
It was a newcomer to the Holiday Boat Parade who won top prize for the best decoration, lights and spirits at this year spectacular event that was held on Saturday, December 17, 2016. Captains Ronnie and Lisa Cyrier manned a giant marlin atop their small vessel and had spectators in awe with the marlin moving its head and tail. They were on board the Caye Da Di Sea which was sponsored by Dooley Bear Adventures. Nothing short of a spectacular show of lights on the sea, the Holiday Boat Parade stepped up its entertainment by providing a SUPER light show by world class flyboarders Mark and Kristen who stunned the crowds with their acrobatics in the water. With their lighted wet suits jet packs they looked like ghostly spacemen in the dark night as powerful jet skies propelled them into the air.

Ambergris Today

Thank You Sponsors for Christmas Inspiration at The Zoo
Thank you for allowing me to express my sincere gratitude to the amazing sponsors that made the Christmas Inspiration at The Zoo day such a huge success. It all started when I wanted to take a friend of mine and her daughter, who uses a wheelchair, to enjoy the new wheelchair friendly paths at The Belize Zoo for a day out. The idea somehow took on a life of its own and I ended up taking my friend, her daughter and a group of beautiful children from The Inspiration Center, an outpatient rehabilitation centre for children, from all over Belize, who have special needs. 20 clients from The Inspiration Center, their siblings, their carers and some of the dedicated and fantastic staff team arrived at The Belize Zoo on a rainy day in a comfortable bus, along with the lovely driver Charles. They were greeted by Jamal Andrewin Bohn, Director of Education, along with his energetic and entertaining team of educators, who took everyone on an adventure full of wonder, laughter and joy, to visit all of the gorgeous wild animals who live there. Not only was the tour educational, but it was also interactive and children were allowed to feed some of furry and feathered zoo residents under the careful supervision of the education team. This close up, human and animal interaction created magical memories for these children.

Pic of the Week - What is Santa Claus Up to In Belize?
What does Santa Claus do while in Belize? He looks for adventure!!! He might be getting in shape for all the work he needs to get done on Christmas Eve. One thing for sure, Santa is having loads of fun! His friends at Passionkite Belize hooked him up with the perfect gear to practice this extreme sport. By the looks of it, seems like Santa has tried this before. - pics by Passionkite Belize and Tula Ayuso

San Pedro Holiday Boat Parade Shines Brighter Each Year
It was a newcomer to the Holiday Boat Parade who won top prize for the best decoration, lights and spirits at this year spectacular event that was held on Saturday, December 17, 2016. Captains Ronnie and Lisa Cyrier manned a giant marlin atop their small vessel and had spectators in awe with the marlin moving its head and tail. They were on board the Caye Da Di Sea which was sponsored by Dooley Bear Adventures. There were nine boats in the competition this year and as usual hundreds of residents and visitors who crammed onto piers, beach areas and viewing stations to enjoy the spectacle of lights on the water. Lighting up the parade was a giant whale shark, a coquettish mermaid, two large cocktail glasses, a friendly nurse, christmas trees, AIDS/HIV Commission ribbon and of course the winning marlin. The San Pedro Holiday Boat Parade had another successful year. 1. First Place – Caye Da Di Sea, Dooley Bear Adventures, Captains Ronnie and Lisa Cyrier 2. Second Place – H.M.S. Shag at Sea, The Phoenix Resort & Chuck and Robbie’s Dive Shop, Captain Robbie Best Charity - Island Divers,San Pedro AIDS Commission Honorable Mentions: 1st - Mi Vida Loca, Belize Diving Adventures, Captain Everette 2nd - No Problem, Premier Divers, Captain Ruben Navidad 3rd - Blue Attitude, Ecologic Divers, Belize Red Cross, Captain

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Dr. Colin Young has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of the Social Security Board
Dr. Young is currently the CEO in the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities.

Syds is closing down for good. RIP to a Caye Caulker landmark
Syd's is CLOSED...... :'( :( :) :0 :) thanks for all your support..... its been a wonderful 40+ years in Caye Caulker

"Castle House" burglarized
59 year old Stanley Smith reported to this news-shack that the the property he was hired to clean on Four Mile Lagoon known as the "Castle House" belonging to Christina Witt and Cody Witt of Missoula, Montana USA was burglarized between Saturday night December 17th, 2016 and this morning. The burglar(s) gained entry to the house by breaking a front glass louver window. The matter was reported to the Corozal Police who sent their forensic scenes of crime investigators to process the scene and lift some finger prints left behind. We await the official report from the Corozal Police in this latest string of burglaries plaguing Corozal.

Golden Citizen program from BEL
BEL recognizes and awards senior citizens for their meaningful contributions to society.

Las Posadas
Join in this beautiful candlelight procession as we accompany Mary and Joseph in their quest for lodging in Bethlehem. Praying and singing traditional posada songs, we will culminate our journey with a feast at the San Pedro House of Culture. A wonderful family outing, and a great way to prepare for Christmas. Hope to see you there!

Channel 7

Cayo's Most Cruel Killing: Grandmother Executed in Front of Granddaughters
The Christmas week got off to a bloody start out west where a 68 year old woman was executed in front of her grandchildren. Last night around 7:30, Paulina Urbelina Sanchez was outside her Santa Elena home, waiting for her daughter to bring her dinner when a gunman emerged and shot her about 4 times. She collapsed on her verandah and took her last breaths as her 2 young granddaughters looked on in terror. Courtney Weatherburne has more details on this ruthless murder. Paulina Urbelina Sanchez, decorated her house just the way she always did for Christmas. She wanted the house to be perfect for their family gathering this Friday. But all those grand plans were shattered last night. Sanchez was shot and killed at her door in front of her two grandchildren.

Triple Traffic Fatality Kills Young Yo Creek Neighbors
Three young men from Yo Creek Village in Orange Walk lost their lives in a terrible traffic accident on Saturday night. It happened at about 8:30 on the Yo Creek Road, when neighbors 22-year-old Minor Hernandez, 26-year-old Jason Gongora, and 22 year old Giovani Gongora crashed into a Tillett bus. They were in a pickup heading to Orange Walk from their village when they collided head on into bus which was going to Yo Creek. The massive impact crushed the pickup, and killed three of them on the spot. Alex Courtenay reports. This was the gruesome scene that motorists travelling along the Orange Walk and Yo Creek road witnessed on Saturday night. A twisted metal coffin of three young men. By the time they arrived on the scene near Cuello's distillery, there was nothing the police or emergency personnel could do.

Love Thy Neighbor, or Kill Him?
A San Martin resident was stabbed to death by his friend on Friday night. 27 year old Freddy Cerritos also known as "Pilly" and his friend Howard Martinez were chatting when Martinez pounced on Cerritos and stabbed him. Now usually when we report on these weekend knife or machete murders, liquor is almost always a factor. But this one is a curious case because reports are that these men were not drinking and that they were just talking. Courtney Weatherburne traveled to Belmopan to find out how a conversation turned into a killing. Voice of: Resident: "My boy tell me that they were talking like normal friends do and the neighbor asked the guy if he believes in God and he said no and they were silent for a while and all of a sudden he just threw himself on the on the other guy and that is how a split second it just happened."

Home Invasion In Orange Walk
Last night Orange Walk police responded to a 911 call from the residence of Navin Padwani. Padwani who lives on the road to Corozal told officers that just before 10 two masked men, one holding a firearm, entered their home. They struck Padwani and demanded money, but after not getting what they wanted fled the scene when the cops showed up. Inspector Jose Mendez of the Orange Walk Police told us more about the home invasion, and warned residents to be wary during the Christmas season. Insp. Jose Mendez - Orange Walk Police: "Sometime around 9:45 pm last night, police responded to a call of an aggravated burglary process on the Belize Corozal road. That would be the same building where the Western Union office is. They responded, where one 55 year old Navin Padwani, business man of said address, reported that 2 male persons wearing masks enter his premises armed with a hand gun demanding monies."

Family of Belizean Americans Claim Immigration Department Kept Them From Travelling
After 3 days of fighting with the Immigration Department, a family of Belizean Americans are on their way to Louisiana tonight. They were scheduled to fly out of Belize from last week Friday, but because they did not meet the Immigration requirements, Immigration officials prevented them from boarding their plane for 2 days in a row. Wayne Tucker is a Belizean American who has living in Cayo for the past 4 months with his 3 children and his wife, Lauren LaRavia. He's a Belizean American by descent, and so automatically, his children should also qualify for nationality. The problem is that up until 4 months ago, they were living in the US, and so he and his wife never applied for nationality in Belize up until a few weeks ago. So, when the 5 moved to Belize, their 3 kids didn't have their documents in hand, which according to the Immigration Department, made them ineligible to travel. They got an agent to do it for them, which is something which the Immigration Department no longer allows. The Department is trying to clean up its image, and the use of immigration agents is discouraged because it introduces an often dubious third party to the equation. But this family did use an agent, and so the Nationality applications for their 3 children were not processed.

Doctor of Ecology is New SSB Boss
The Social Security Board has a new CEO - and he is a scientist. Dr. Colin Young - who is currently the CEO in the Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development will formally take up the office on the first working day of the new year, which is January third, 2017. Young, who holds a Ph.D. in ecology takes over Social Security - after it has been without a CEO for the past three months after Richard Flowers demitted office without a successor in place. Young, who is a well-connected UDP is expected to connect more effectively with staff and senior management. A press release says that he has, quote "executive leadership experience in complex negotiations, diplomacy and management."

Car Tyre Weed Traffickers Plead Not Guilty
On Friday we told you about two men who were busted with a sizable stash of weed in a spare tyre. The GSU stopped Dean Caine and Alston Adolphus in Lord's Bank and found 8 parcels of weed, weigh about 9 pounds. Both men were arrested, and appeared in the Magistrate's Court today where they were charged with drug trafficking. Caine and Adolphus both pled not guilty and were released on bails of $6000 each. Their case was adjourned until February 23 of next year.

Kirk Lamb Pleaded, Got Off With a Fine
Another man charged for trafficking only half a pound of weed was fined ten thousand dollars in court today. Kirk Lamb was charged along with his brother David, and pleaded guilty so his sibling could have the charge against him withdrawn. And while Lamb got a heavy fine which he has to pay by April 30th, he's lucky he wasn't confined for a heavy term in prison. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser said that she used her discretion and refrained from giving him a custodial sentence because he saved the court time by pleading guilty and has no previous conviction for drug offences. If he defaults on payment he will serve 3 years. Lamb was busted on Friday afternoon when the Northside Strike Team, found 2 bags of weed on the floor of his bedroom. Kirk Lamb said he told the police that he was holding the cannabis for someone because it was Christmas time and he needs to eat.

San Ignacio Jacking Is A Repeat of One 8 Years Ago
Reports to 7News 10 minutes ago say that a man was grazed in the Lakeview Street area of Belize City during a robbery. He was taken to the hospital, but reports so far say his injuries are minor. There was also an armed robbery on Friday afternoon - this one happened in Cayo. 44-year-old Jun Wen Li, who runs City Corner Supermarket at the corner of Joe Andrews Boulevard was sitting behind the counter when a man entered with another following right behind him holding a handgun and pointing it at him and his workers. A 3rd man entered the store and went behind the counter and took all the money out of the cash register, as well as some electronic items. The three men then ran off and hopped into a white Mitsubishi car with no license plates. Our records show this same store was robbed in similar fashion eight years ago on December 8, 2008.

FECTAB VS. NCL: The Beef Is Real!
On last week Friday's newscast, we finally got to show you what NCL's Harvest Caye Island getaway looks like. That gave us the opportunity to speak with their Senior Vice President of Destinations and Strategic Development, Colin Murphy, about FECTAB. That advocacy group has accused the cruise line of routing guests who signed up with local tour operators from Belize City to their southern cruise port. That effectively locks those guests away, causing FECTAB members to lose business, since those guests can't take those tours they signed up for. We showed you how Murphy and Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia Jr. denied this allegation, saying that FECTAB is intentionally misinforming the public. Well, we've managed get a copy of an email which FECTAB President Tom Greenwood sent to the BTB, confirming that this happened.

American Arrested 40 Years Later for Killing Tourists Who Visited Belize
A man has been arrested in California for a killing that happened in Belizean waters 38 years ago. Two British students, Peta Frampton, and her boyfriend Christopher Farmer came to Belize on vacation in June of 1978. They hired American Silas Duane Boston to take them to Mexico on his yacht, the "Justin B." But, Boston ended up killing them in July - and dumping their bodies in the sea. Boston was arrested in Northern California last week after his two sons - who were just boys then, told police that they had witnessed it. ABC 10 in Sacramento covered the story last week - and here is their report:... Boston has pleaded not guilty to the murders. He is also accused of killing his wife Mary, who went missing in 1968. Boston ended up in Belize with his sons Christopher and Vince in the 70's, while he was running away from statutory rape charges in California.

Deadline Met: A Strategy for All Armed Forces
The Government's security and national defense advisors have put together the first draft of the new National Security and Defence Strategy. It supposed to be a comprehensive and honest look at the evolving security needs of the country, and how the state's resources can best be used to improve efficiency and effectiveness. For the past few months the Ministries of Home Affairs and Defence have been in consultations with their counterparts from abroad, and they even invited contribution from civilian organizations. They were attempting to meet a December 15 deadline, and they managed to do so just in time. George Lovell, CEO in the Ministry of Home Affairs, granted an interview to the Government Press Office on Friday, and he discussed a few key points in this first draft:

The Party Police
Today police officers from the Eastern Division North and Precinct Three held a party for deserving children in the division. The children, who were identified by officers in the Community Policing Branch, were treated to food and games at Queen Street Police Station. We spoke to the deputy of Precinct Three about the party... Members of the Cadet Youth Corps also joined in.

Channel 5

Santa Elena grandmother gunned down over land dispute
A mother of nine was savagely murdered at her house in Santa Elena, Cayo. The gunman entered her home and unleashed a barrage of bullets that took her life.  Paulina [...]

Family wonders why their son was killed by close friend in Belmopan
On Friday evening around five thirty a man was killed by his close friend. It happened in the San Martin community in Belmopan. The men got into an argument and [...]

Ex-spouse chopped up former lover in Buena Vista
There was an attempted murder in Buena Vista Village, Cayo that happened on Thursday evening after five. The village is also where a farmer, Armando Medrano, was murdered on the [...]

Triple tragedy: Road crash in Yo Creek kills three young men
A triple road fatality outside of Orange Walk Town late on Saturday has forever marred Christmas week for three families in the community of Yo Creek. Police have yet to [...]

O.W. couple survives home invasion
A couple who own a business on the Belize-Corozal Road in Orange Walk Town were attacked late on Sunday.  A masked and armed pair stormed into their residence, intent on [...]

Accused gun thieves at B.E.L. charged
A B.E.L. Security Guard was robbed at gun point of his firearm and even though he put up a fight he was over powered by a pair of gun men. [...]

G.S.U. catch weed stash on Philip Goldson Highway
Two city men were quickly apprehended in a drug bust over the weekend after one got nervous and told the cops where the drug was hidden.  The duo of Dean [...]

Simone Biles is coming to Belize!
Four-time Olympic gold medallist Simone Biles is coming to Belize. A Belizean-American of Garifuna descent through her mother Nellie Cayetano, the nineteen year old, four-foot-eight gymnastic wonder was said to [...]

Anwar Barrow assesses performance as he gets ready to leave B.T.L.
Chief Executive Officer of Belize Telemedia Limited, Anwar Barrow, the son of Prime Minister, is to leave state-owned Belize Telemedia Limited in the first quarter of 2017, after what the [...]

Will U.S. Supreme Court side with Belize in arbitration dispute?
Will the Government of Belize persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to listen to its arguments to dismiss an arbitration award granted to Belize Social Development Limited in 2009? A decision [...]

No change for electricity rates in first half of 2017, says B.E.L.
Will your light bill go up on New Year’s Day? No, but we can tell you that it will not go down either. According to power provider Belize Electricity Limited, [...]

Colin Young to be named C.E.O. of Social Security Board
A second C.E.O. in government service is calling it quits. Last week, we confirmed that the C.E.O. in the Ministry of Education for at least eight years Doctor Colin Young [...]

Eastern Division North gives kids a Christmas treat
Eighty children from the least privileged areas of Eastern Division North got a Christmas treat from their friendly neighborhood cops based at Queen Street. With Ozzie the Clown as guest, [...]

Sports Monday reviews the football scene
Good evening I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday. Week 2 of the PLB playoffs brought a sense of finality. 4 teams would be presented with a final opportunity [...]

LOVE FM

Laborer Drowns in Village Lagoon
Corozal Police were called out to the village of San Narciso over the weekend where a laborer lost his life. According to Police Commander, Superintendent Dennis Arnold, three persons were at the lagoon in the village paddling a canoe when it began taking in water. Just after four o’clock on Sunday afternoon the canoe capsized […]

Yo Creek Accident Takes Three Lives
Three young men lost their lives as a result of a traffic accident over the weekend on the road leading to Yo Creek Village in the Orange Walk District. They are 22-year-old, Minor Hernandez; 26-year-old, Jason Gongora and Jovani Gongora, all of Yo Creek Village. The accident happened on Saturday night at around nine o’clock […]

Elderly Woman Slain over Land Dispute
An elderly woman is dead after being shot multiple times in the Cayo District over the weekend. Reports reaching Love News are that on Sunday night at about seven thirty, Police were called to La Loma Luz Hospital where they saw the lifeless body of 61-year-old, Paulina Urbelina Suarez of an Orange Street address in […]

From Drinking to Arguing to Murder in Salvapan
While we were preparing to air our evening news last Friday, December 16, a murder was in the making in Belmopan. We hear more in this report from our correspondent, Fem Cruz. FEM CRUZ “Based on information received of a stabbing incident on Friday December 16th sometime around 5:45pm on Guyana Street in the Salvapan […]

Dr Colin Young Takes the Reins of SSB in 2017
Effective January 3, 2017, Dr Colin Young will begin his 3-year contract as the Chief Executive Officer at the Social Security Board. Dr Young will be vacating his seat as the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of the Environment, Forestry, Sustainable Development and Climate Change to take up his new post. The CEO seat […]

Limiting the Belizean Access to Harvest Caye
Harvest Caye Cruise Port owned by Norwegian Cruise Line saw its first cruise call on November 17 from the Norwegian Dawn. The Belizean media was not invited to the grand ceremony on the private island located just off the coast of Placencia. That invitation came almost a month after and last week, Love News, went […]

Belize Predicted to be a Trend for Travelers in 2017
Belize has been recording an upward trend in its arrival figures and for 2017 online predictions are that the Latin America region will be a key travel trend. Colombia, Costa Rica, Belize and Mexico are expected to have a high tourist arrival. An international website has noted Belize as having plenty to offer travelers who […]

BEL Proposes Unchanged Rates up to June 2017
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) has made a submission to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), proposing that the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) be maintained at just under thirty seven cents per kilowatt hour for the remainder of the Annual Tariff Period which ends on June 30, 2017. BEL is also proposing to simplify the tariff basket […]

US Investigators Solve Cold Case Spanning from Belize
Several international news agencies are reporting on a cold case of murder that reportedly happened over thirty eight years ago when a British couple was killed just outside Belize’s waters. According to The Washington Post, the couple, Christopher Farmer and Peta Frampton left the coast of Belize on June 26, 1978, aboard a boat named […]

Belize and Cuba – A Match for 44 Years
An event to commemorate the 44th anniversary of the creation of a growing relationship between Cuba and CARICOM was held this past Friday in Belize City. During his speech, Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley, spoke about Cuba’s contribution to the Caribbean nations, specifically Belize. DARRELL BRADLEY “I, myself know of very close friends who have

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Almost 11,000 grams of weed found in Orange Walk
Orange Walk Police reported that on Friday, around 4:50 a.m., while conducting a house search at the residence of 28-year-old Jovanni Mauricio Polanco of #29 Muffles Street, Orange Walk Town, officers found 10,705 grams of Cannabis. Polanco and 26-year-old Katley Karina Moralez Molina, a Nicaraguan […]

Orange Walk businessman robbed and shot
Last night around 9:54 p.m., police responded to a 911 call regarding a shooting incident at a residence at #13 Belize/Corozal Road. Orange Walk Police visited the residence where they met 51-year-old Divya Padwani who reported that about 9:50 p.m., two masked men, one […]

Government Hilux stolen in San Ignacio
According to police reports, On Thursday, 51-year-old Fransico Quiroz, of #9 Far West Street, San Ignacio Town, Cayo, parked a green two-door 2003 Toyota Hilux pickup truck on the street exactly in front of his house around 5:30 p.m. Friday morning at 1:45 a.m., […]

Motorcycle stolen in Ladyville
Yesterday , 42-year-old Mosef Norris, a truck driver of 18 ½ Miles Sand Hill Village, Belize District reported that his house was burglarized. He further reported that between the hours of 3:00 and 3:30 a.m., he was awakened by his son who told him […]

Orange Walk traffic accident claims three
On Saturday around 9:00 p.m., police visited the scene of an accident about 3 1/2 miles from Orange Walk Town on the Yo Creek Road in front of Cuello’s Distillery. Officers saw a green 1998 Ford F150 two-door extra cab pickup, property of Ernesto […]

City Corner robbed in San Ignacio
On Friday, 44-year-old Jun Wen Li, a Chinese businessman of corner Joseph Andrews and 3rd Street in San Ignacio Town reported that about 3:13 p.m. while he was sitting behind the counter in his supermarket – City Corner Supermarket, he saw a man enter […]

Belmopan police seek one man in connection with murder
On Friday around 5:35 p.m., Belmopan police visited the Western Regional Hospital where officers saw 27-year-old Freddy Cerritos, a mason of Guatemala Street in the San Martin area with several stab wounds to the body. He was pronounced dead at approximately 5:40 p.m. The initial […]

Police issues official report on Santa Elena murder
According to official police reports, last night around 7:30 based on information received of a shooting incident on Orange Street, Santa Elena Town; San Ignacio Police visited Loma Luz Hospital where they saw the body of 61-year-old Paulina Urbelina Suarez. She was seen with several […]

Colin Young new Social Security CEO
The Social Security Board (SSB) issued a press release today informing that Dr. Colin Young has been appointed as its new Chief Executive Officer. Young is currently the CEO at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Sustainable development and climate change. He is expected […]

Association of Planners sign UN agreement
The Belize Association of Planners (BAP) signed an agreement with UN-Habitat for BAP to review the legal environment for urban planning and municipal development in the City of Belmopan. President and Executive Director of the Belize Association of Planners (BAP) Carolyn Trench-Sandiford signed on […]

Blogs

The crowning glory in the kitchen: Relleno
The day I learned to make relleno, I felt an indescribable pride. Raised to stand on my own two feet, independent and knowledgeable both at books and in the home, the ability to command a complex, labor-intensive dish is something this home cook aspired to for ages. My only regret is that my mother wasn’t around to see this happen…but I am pretty sure she’d be proud – heck she probably would have been learning right alongside me. For many, the relleno is a family-style meal, which also involves using more than one member of the family’s help! When making a big meal like this, it’s not uncommon to see Mom, Aunt, Niece and Grandma running the show. Young children are often sent to run errands and learn to steer clear of the cooking space, sneaking ever closer as the smell of the bubbling pot gets more and more intense.

Story of a Pizza Taste Tester
North Ambergris Caye residents and visitors have been waiting with bated breath to enjoy the official opening of the new pizza container at popular local hangout – The Truck Stop (TTS). Of course a few lucky ones, myself included have already sampled the goods as they perfect their process. Jackie, one of the business owners at TTS Facebook messaged me the other day and asked if I would like to join in on Friday’s “press” tasting afternoon. I was all in for that adventure. The night before the event I had Facebooked the San Pedro Sun crew to find out which one was going and hopefully score a ride. I got a fast answer; it was Mary. We left off the communication with thoughts that hopefully Friday would present a good 4 wheeled solution – I was prepared to walk or hitch a ride if need be. It ended up that we had a couple of options thanks to Mary arranging to start with a cab to bridge and then Truck Stop staff Mike was willing to meet us at the bridge and delivers us to the all important taste testing.

Which is Better Mid Morning or Sunset?
Even though we did this one second I am putting it first. A super fun way to start the day gliding over the reef at 300 feet with a complete birds eye view of the Barrier Reef, island and lagoon. I really like the daytime aerial view because everything is so bright and colorful. Sometimes you can see marine life. My fellow parasailor saw a big eagle ray while he was up in the air. Although I had us using tripods, we could not help getting some shake in the video but overall I’m super happy with how it turned out. Watching it as I was editing reminded me of how relaxed I felt floating in the sky and I picked music to match for both. Brian the owner, said I should try a sunset parasail since I had not done one before. I was hesitant at first because I knew I liked daytime for pictures and video, but I decided to take his advice and I was glad I did. As you saw above, he graciously said we could do daytime as well so I could get the bright island pics I was after.

Renting a Home on Vacation: Why Didn’t I Ever Think of That?
When I first started going on vacation in my early 20s, my friends and I always looked for the cheapest, all inclusive places in a warm climate. I’ve seen most lower budget spots in the Caribbean – Aruba, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Paradise Island, Bahamas, Grenada, Curacao. Time off and sun were important to me…quality? Not so much. I even attended Club Med singles-mingles week in Turks & Caicos. Don’t ask. And then things changed. It just happened to be my 30th birthday and friends invited me to Costa Rica. NO ALL INCLUSIVE! No more all you can eat, watery spaghetti over sterno burners. No more all you can drink budget keg beer. No horrid music by the pool or aggressive staff members prodding me to join the volleyball game on the Lido Deck. See a bit of the country. Do our own thing. And then another change to my idea of vacation. I got an invite to meet 8 friends in Sicily at a rented house. Apparently this has always been very popular with Europeans. Cook your own meals or eat out when you want, swim in your own pool, stock your full sized refrigerator, peace and quiet when you just want to read, watch the channel you want at the bar because you hold the remote. Staying at what seemed like a palatial mansion, we even saved money. And in return gained freedom!

5 Superb Things That Make Belize Paradise on Earth
Anyone who lives in Belize will tell you that it is absolutely gorgeous here year round. Most of us would rather not live anywhere else – frankly, even those of us who leave miss home like crazy. It’s easy to repeat (as we all invariably do) that Belize is mother nature’s best-kept secret, that we’re the jewel of Central America, that Belize is paradise. …But if someone asks you what makes Belize paradise on Earth – what do you say then? Here’s a crash course speech for the next time you’re faced with the question. 1. Best mix of regional cultures. 2. Friendly to travelers. 3. Fresh, Never frozen. 4. Laid Back attitude. 5. Truly wild.

International Sourcesizz

The extinction crisis is far worse than you think
Frogs, coral, elephants -- all are on the brink. Three quarters of species could disappear. Why is this happening? CNN explores an unprecedented global crisis.

What to do when visiting Belize
Latin America is set to be a key travel trend for 2017. With Colombia and Costa Rica also on the rise, the Central American country of Belize, nestled between Mexico and Guatemala, has plenty to offer travelers looking for a walk on the wild side. Visitors can head off in search of Belize's ancient history at the Xunantunich ancient Maya archeological site on the Guatemala border. Culture vultures who aren't put off by the lack of infrastructure for tourism in the country -- which covers a total area of around 23,000 square km (or 8,900 square miles) -- can visit these Mayan ruins to capture emblematic photos of Belize. Plus, the archeological site is on the top of a hill, offering breathtaking views.

13 Beautiful Resorts Where the British Royalty Spend Their Vacations
Most historians agree the British monarchy began losing political power all the way back in 1215, when King John of England signed the Magna Carta, transitioning the nation over to constitutional law. Eight centuries later, our beloved British royals serve more as regal figureheads than as lawmakers and rulers. Maybe that’s why, in modern times, they find so much more time to go on holidays, reportedly spending $7 million on travel in 2012. Chaa Creek: In 2012, Prince Harry visited this eco resort in western Belize, dining on traditional Maya kac’kick soup, visiting ancient Mayan ruins, and sleeping in a Treetop Suite—an airy accommodation high up in the greenery, with a private jacuzzi and lots of light. The secluded resort, located on an organic farm and engulfed by jungle, played host to Harry during his Diamond Jubilee tour, which honored Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne. Unsurprisingly, the hotel staff deemed Harry friendly, laid-back, and warm.

Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism hosts training in fishery sector sanitary controls in St. Vincent and the Grenadines
A two-week training covering “Food safety in the fishery sector” and “Fishery products laboratory testing” was delivered to 30 inspector and laboratory analysts from 15 CARIFORUM countries during the period 28 November to 9 December 2016, by four international experts. The training, which covered inspection, control and testing in the fishery sector, was based on eight operational manuals developed under a project funded by the European Union (EU). The training was organized by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM). Food safety hazards, best practices in fish inspection, controls in aquaculture, traceability and modern approaches to laboratory testing and accreditation were the key areas covered

Videos

  • Belize Telemedia Limited - 4G LTE Network, 28min.

  • Holiday Boat Parade 2016 San Pedro Belize, 2.5min. Another successful year for the San Pedro Holiday Boat Parade. Extreme sport flyboarding light show highlighted the entertainment of the parade with top world flyboard athletes in action. Colorfully decorated boats bring in the season's cheer to San Pedro, Belize.

  • The Scouts Association of Belize, 31min.

  • Becky's Gift Shop (Christmas Special), 26min.

  • Morning Parasail Between Barrier Reef and Ambergris Caye Island with Castaway Caye Watersports, 3min. Always a fun San Pedro Tour - Parasailing with Castaway Caye WaterSports. Glide between the Belize Barrier Reef and Ambergris Caye Island for a great view from Caribbean sea to Lagoon side and many favorite places.

  • Parasailing at Dusk Castaway Caye WaterSports, 2.5min. Relax on an evening Parasail with Castaway Caye Watersports. Picture yourself floating between the Belize Barrier Reef and Ambergris Caye Island as the sun sets.

  • SMCU Christmas Concert, 2min. SMCU Christmas Night Concert with the Panerifix Steel Band

  • Melvan "Majeli" McGregor: The Breeze of Belize!, 31min. This incredible and historical three part documentary series on Melvan "Majeli" McGregor illuminates a whole new spectrum within Belize's music world. It brings us some much missing pieces in Belize's music history as the legendary Belizean musician unravels the movers and shakers in Belizean music during the 1950's, 60's, 70's, and even the 80's some ten years later as he returned from Ottawa, Canada, playing an awesome horn. Majeli comes back to Belize in 1979 like a Belizean prodigal son to pay tribute to two of his idols, legendary Belizean musicians and saxophonists, Pete Mathews and Bill Belisle, whom he credits for inspiring him to play jazz the way he does and to later pursue his musical career abroad digging deep into the realms of the African-American art form called Jazz.

  • dive vídeo panorâmico mergulho santuário Belize 360 vr, 3.5min.

  • Belize it, Baby!, 6min. Had a great week in Belize full of good people, delicious food and one sweet island. Spent a few days in Caye Caulker eating lobster, dancing, and having a blast at the Sports Bar. Left there and had to check out the ATM caves in San Ignacio. (Cameras weren't allowed unfortunately). I would highly recommend Caye Caulker to anyone looking for a nice chillout spot with gorgeous water and plentiful snorkeling. ATM caves were pretty amazing, really enjoyed seeing the Mayan artifacts and the old skeletons.

  • Belize Trip 2016, 6min. Spooner and I take on Belize.

  • Scuba Diving in Belize, 5min. Scuba in Ambergris Caye.

    December 19, 2016


    FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

    Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

    Specials and Events

    Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    SPTC donates motorcycle to San Pedro Fire Department
    On Wednesday, December 14th, The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) handed over a Lifan X-Plore 200 Motorcycle to the San Pedro Fire Department (SPFD). Newton Lennan, Officer in Charge at the SPFD welcomed the donation and thanked the SPTC for their continued support. Present at the handing over were Mayor Daniel Guerrero and Deputy Gary Greif. Greif, who holds the Transport Portfolio. Grief stated that the donation is another effort to address the transportation issues of the island’s fire department. He added that in times of emergencies, the mobility to affected areas will be swift and the evaluation for assistance will be better addressed. Greif also indicated that this will not be the only donation coming from the SPTC and announced that they will continue assisting in every way possible.

    Descanse en paz, Desiderio Donaldo Guerrero
    El Señor Desiderio Donaldo Guerrero, conocido tambien por DUCK, nacio a sus padres Pablo Guerrero y Marciala Tzul en esta bella isla pescadora de ese entonces. Desafortunadamente, su madre Marciala fallecio durante sus primeras horas de vida de Desiderio. Asi fue como Duck se entrego su vida cotidiana; a vivirla junto a sus seres queridos, y se realizo como pescador en su juventud y vida. Hace 26 años atras, la familia Sabido le abrio sus puertas de su casa, adoptandolo como parte de la familia en la cual vivio sus ultimos años. Durante estos 26 años, la familia Sabido lo vio como familia, dandole saber que tambien era querido y donde vio nacer a sus cuatro nietos – 4 nietos quien se adoptaron de inmediato, y le brindaron amor y cariño llamandolo tatito. Desiderio Donaldo Guerrero, Duck, vivio su vida muy tranquila, donde formo parte de el grupo famoso de San Pedro: Rompe y Raja. Ese fue su pasion y pasatiempo por mucho tiempo.

    San Pedro Town children to benefit from construction of a children’s shelter
    San Pedro Town will soon see the establishment of a children’s home. The project is a joint effort between the San Pedro Lions Club and the non-profit organization Raise Me Up, as they transition the old Lions Clinic building located on Lions Street across from Maya Island Air, into an environment full of encouragement and opportunities for our children in need. The building, which had been rented out to private businesses for several years, was the site of the first clinic on the island. The clinic was officially opened in 1978, after a construction process of two years. The health center’s construction was man- powered and financed entirely by members of the local Lions Club. When the clinic was opened to the public under the presidency of Betito Marin, it provided care to everyone regardless of their financial status.

    Wolfe’s Woofer: Paying the Rent
    Maria called Marvin a few choice names until he came stumbling out to sit with me on the porch. He held his head with his hands. Maria said, “Tell Mr. Dennis what you done.” “Mr. Dennis, I’m in big trouble. I got drunk last night and spent all the rent money. I called you because I was hoping you could help me out.” “Marvin, I’m stone broke,” I said. “I can’t help you.” “Oh no! Maria, what I’m gonna do? That landlord going to want his money.” “Don’t ask me,” Maria said. “You the one got drunk.” “Maria, please don’t get mad with me for this,” Marvin said, “but I got an idea.” “What?” “You think maybe you could be real nice to him? If you spend some time with him maybe we could trade you for the rent.”

    Caye Notes: San Pedro Association of Justices of the Peace
    The San Pedro Association of Justices of the Peace & Commissioners of the Supreme Court would like to wish everyone Season’s Greetings and hopes for a happy and prosperous New Year. Our town is facing many challenges and it is our desire to work harder to serve our community and enhance the future of the island for the benefit of all. We encourage our neighbors to be more supportive, empathetic and loving so that we can build a stronger San Pedro together.

    Doctor Love: Gimme
    Dear Dr. Love, My wife and I disagree about how much we should spend on our four year old son for Christmas this year. My wife wants to buy him everything he wants, which is a huge list, while I think it is better to give a number of small, fun things and only one or two larger (and more expensive) items. We have had disagreements in the past. She thinks he should have some little item every time we go for groceries, while I think it is important not to give a child everything they want. I am worried this is going to become a real problem as he gets older and demands more stuff. /s/ Gimme

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Economy!
    by Abdul Marin Nunez. We are missing opportunities Where is Belize’s uranium, marble and agriculture industries? Belize already has nuclear energy With all the uranium in this country Dah nuclear Science wi pickney fi di study Where are our nuclear scientists of this country? Why are we not exploiting this facility? Belize has the second largest Barrier Reef We don’t know the medicine in the reef These two things, also will give us debt relief Australia has the largest which not as vibrant as ours Yet they make almost a billion off visitors Meanwhile Belize is seismic testing to sell oil rights Belizeans have to stand up and fight

    Christmas Inspiration at Belize Zoo 2016
    The best little zoo in the world hosted the cutest little kids in the world. The Inspiration Center children got to visit The Belize Zoo and make memories for a lifetime thanks to some generous donors. I'm not the photographer in the family, as I get too excited and emotional to hold the camera still, but this gives you an idea of what a special day it was.

    Community Out-Reach Day
    The Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project is hosting our first event of 2017 on January 14th. The Downtown Rejuvenation Project plans to make the House of Culture Property exactly what the name implies, a property for the display and interaction of our culture. Over the 202 years since the property was built, it has been a place of exclusion where only a certain class of people was allowed to visit; however, the new House of Culture will be one of inclusion where everyone will be welcome from the drain sweeper to the Prime Minister. On January 14th, come out and enjoy free BBQ, listen to live entertainment and participate in activities as you immerse yourself in the property's historic ambience. Saturday, January 14, 2017 at 11 AM - 4 PM , Government House ~ House of Culture (NICH) Regent Street, Belize City, Belize

    Poets Corner: Guatelizean
    By Abdulmajeed K Nunez. So Belizean di call deh self Gaza While the Israeli president th thank Guatemala For helping them to settle Gaza Fast tract to the ICJ You fools think Israel won’t help Guatemala to have their way Guatelizeans can’t you see your trust and patrimony is being betrayed Government is giving our land away Dear Guatelizean Belize will become Yugoslavia Once Guatemala get piece While claiming they want PEACE! Mexico and Honduras gwen claim Nothing for the Belizeans will remain From voting for the ICJ we have to refrain What a joke, the government of Belize It’s no secret that our territory they have conceded The seventeen Proposals Reshashed to thirteen Then Maritime Area’s Act Now a COMPREMI Are all designed for realization of Manifest Destiny? Guateleans can you see

    Las Posadas Starts in Benque
    The celebration of Las Posadas for 9 days has started in Benque! Merry Christmas!

    The Reporter

    Murder in Belmopan
    A fatal stabbing incident in the San Martin area of Belmopan has claimed the life of a 27 year-old Belizean mason of the area. According to an official police report, the incident occurred around 5:30 p.m., on Friday December 16th, at a residence at # 8 Guyana St, San Martin area. Investigations indicate that 27-year-old Freddy Cerritos was involved in an altercation with a man who inflicted multiple stab wounds to the upper part of the body. A stab wound was also observed above Cerritos’left knee. Cerritos was rushed to the Western Regional Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries about 5 minutes later. Belmopan police are currently seeking a Honduran national, who they say is a suspect for the murder. The suspect is also known to the police.

    Belize City celebrates life of Cuba’s Fidel Castro
    A memorial service was held at Belize City Hall on Friday to commemorate the life of Cuba’s recently departed, Commandant Fidel Castro Ruiz. The event was also in celebration of Cuba’s CARICOM day, which is a celebration of the partnership and relationship between CARICOM states and the Cuban government. The day is officially observed on December 8th. The Mayor of Belize City gave a quick recap of the event and its origin stating: “In 1972, four CARICOM states formally recognized and engaged in diplomatic relationship with Cuba. At that time, it was a very significant gesture because of the backlash that these countries suffered from the United States, due to the the significant amount of pressure that was vested against Cuba by the US. …Later in 1981 when Belize gained its Independence, it joined the other CARICOM states in recognizing the autonomy of Cuba.” Her Excellency Lissette Perez, Cuban ambassador to Belize was present. She commented on the extent that the Cuban medical brigade have impacted the lives of many CARICOM nations. She also stated that there exists the potential for future cooperation among the nations.

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Woman shot to death in Santa Elena
    A woman was shot just before 8 pm tonight in Santa Elena town, Cayo. She received gun shoot wounds to the left side of her body. The victim was rushed to the San Ignacio hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival. The incident occurred at a residence near the Loma Luz Boulevard in Santa Elena. According to the police the gunshot wounds were inflicted by a lone gunman. Police are currently at the scene investigating.

    Imagine the Possibilities. No. Realize the possibilities
    Now, imagine, if you will, that we had an administration focused on building Belizeans, instead of burdening them with debt, and squeezing more and more taxes for those debts, from fewer and fewer Belizeans. We should take some of that 1.3 billion they are looking to “print”, and set up a team, such as Mexico did with FONATUR (Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo, National Fund for Tourism Development – formerly known as INFRATUR) and go into Southern Belize and identify small business and niche business possibilities, and help these businesses grow with technical assistance and affordable capital. I would have made sure that the void that Harvest Caye would have obviously caused, in ships going to Harvest Caye more than Belize City, was addressed before I, as the Minister of Tourism, gave my stamp of approval to NCL and Harvest Caye project.

    Blogs

    “Doctora, You Have an Emergency.” A Year of Waiting for the Phone to Ring
    The voice on the other end of the phone was always calm. Sometimes too calm. I often couldn’t tell based on the tone whether she meant that someone had called about a broken toenail, or whether a dog had been run over and now it’s skull was hanging out of it’s scalp. Honestly it could go either way. How many times could it happen? During almost ten years as a veterinarian in Florida I had not spent even 1 minute on call. I moved to Belize and started a year of being on call 100% of the time. Only when I left the island was I potentially safe, otherwise all bets were off. Sometimes I was already at Saga in my time off (bonus, no travel time) but often I was in the shower, on the couch in my pyjamas, scuba diving, running, on my bike, or in the gym. Sometimes I was asleep in bed. Many times I was eating breakfast at Estels Dine by the Sea on a Sunday morning and once ended up pulling bones out of the business end of a dog then saving a chihuahua from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) back to back while my visiting friends packed my pancakes into a takeout container. When I look back, I was pretty lucky. When I got called out on a weekday night it was rare and usually serious. Most people (and their pets) let me go about my evenings in peace. It was much more likely to get called in on my days off, between Saturday at noon and Monday evening. It was also likely to be a dog, as I saw only six cats and one parrot for an after hours emergency. I looked back at my log to see how the year panned out. Some of the cases I will never ever forget, others I could barely recall even seeing it on paper.

    San Pedro’s Holiday Boat Parade Lights up the 2016 Christmas Season
    Yesterday was the San Pedro Lighted Boat parade – 9 boats in total…people in costumes and Santa suits…candy and music…and swirling dancing boats parading along the shoreline. As the sun fully set, YOLO went to take her spot in the parade…the boats were lining up in order. First a surprise. 2 Flyboarders all lit up with what looking like phantom jet skies behind them. One guy and one girl. The woman is Kristen Smoyer…the world champion flyboarder! Crazy. And the boats. #1 Blue Attitude. Sponsored by Ecologic Divers – the Red Cross boat.

    Dare to SKYDIVE San Pedro! You Know You Want To!
    Have you ever had that dream where you’re flying above everything and it’s just you and the clouds? You don’t know where you’re going and you don’t really care because you can fly! Doesn’t it make you want to skydive? “NOPE!” That was my response for the longest time to any question that had to do with jumping out of an airplane on purpose. Just “NOPE!” Still, about a month ago when I was asked if I’d do it, I got to thinking of all the crazy things I’ve done to risk my life. “I bet I’d be more likely to fly into a wall strapped to a bungie cord. Besides, I bet there’s not a more satisfying checkmark on the bucket list. What the heck, let’s do this!” So, I was booked and determined to face my ultimate fear! As I prepared for my most extreme adventure yet, Solani told me of the time her uncle went skydiving. She was too young and has wanted to do it ever since. I couldn’t leave her on the ground after all that! Besides, she seemed a lot more brave about it than I was. So just in case I chickened out, someone from the Ambergris Today Team would get to fly!

    International Sourcesizz

    Travel trends for 2017: off the beaten track in Belize
    Latin America is set to be a key travel trend for 2017. With Colombia and Costa Rica also on the rise, the Central American country of Belize, nestled between Mexico and Guatemala, has plenty to offer travelers looking for a walk on the wild side. Visitors can head off in search of Belize's ancient history at the Xunantunich ancient Maya archeological site on the Guatemala border. Culture vultures who aren't put off by the lack of infrastructure for tourism in the country -- which covers a total area of around 23,000 square km (or 8,900 square miles) -- can visit these Mayan ruins to capture emblematic photos of Belize. Plus, the archeological site is on the top of a hill, offering breathtaking views. Home to the second largest coral reef system in the world, stretching over 130km (81 miles), Belize is a prime destination for divers and snorkelers. There are plenty of places to go, but the most famous diving hotspot is the Great Blue Hole, a submarine sinkhole made famous when French naval officer and explorer, Jacques Cousteau, named it one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world. A trip to the site requires a little forward planning, since the Hole, which is more than 300 meters in diameter (984 feet), is situated 80km (50 miles) off the coast and is nestled among the Belize Cayes, a series of coral cayes in the Caribbean Sea. The trip also requires a certain budget.

    Belize’s Itz’ana Resort Planning Spring 2017 Debut
    The Itz’ana Resort and Residences in Belize is planning a spring 2017 opening, the property announced. The Placencia-area boutique resort and development will include a Great House featuring a signature restaurant called Limilia (the brainchild of renowned chef Mara Jernigan), a private “Rum Room,” a “Hemingway-inspired library,” an open rooftop deck and more. The property also includes an 18-slip marina (with a max of 65 feet in length). Itz’ana, which also has a major real estate component that includes a collection of solar-powered waterfront bungalows, boasts its own private island club.

    How the pioneer of modern cruising became an underdog — and now a leader again
    Starting the cruise industry was the easy part. But staying on top? That’s where the waters get murky, Norwegian Cruise Line will tell you. Depending on the decade, Norwegian has either been coming up with concepts so innovative that it redefined the cruise industry, or sailing through a minefield of disaster. There rarely has been an in between. In a way, doing business at the extremes came with the job title of pioneer. Norwegian launched the modern cruise industry exactly 50 years ago Monday, making its name as a risk taker and a game changer. Today, Norwegian is the No. 3 cruise line in the world in terms of capacity, with a presence that continues to grow. Its ships, among the largest in the world, appeal to middle-class travelers who value vacations with flexible options. Earlier this fall, Norwegian launched Harvest Caye off the southern coast of Belize, a new private island with an environmental focus featuring manatee observation tours and visits to see endangered scarlet macaws and toucans. No jet skis will be allowed in the waterways, but guests can combine their trip with a visit to mainland Belize.

    Fishery sector sanitary controls training held in St Vincent and the Grenadines
    A two-week training programme covering “Food safety in the fishery sector” and “Fishery products laboratory testing” was delivered to 30 inspector and laboratory analysts from 15 CARIFORUM countries during the period 28 November to 9 December 2016 in St Vincent and the Grenadines, by four international experts. The training, which covered inspection, control and testing in the fishery sector, was based on eight operational manuals developed under a project funded by the European Union (EU). The training was organized by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM). Food safety hazards, best international practices in fish inspection at each stage of the supply chain, controls in aquaculture, and traceability as well as modern approaches to laboratory testing and accreditation were among the key areas addressed.

    Videos

  • 7th Annual Habinahan Wanaragua (Dance Jankunu) Competition & Show in Dangriga, Belize., 3hr.

  • Here's a look at last night's Holiday Boat Parade!!!, 2.5min. Nothing lights up Christmas in Belize like the Holiday Boat Parade in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye!

  • Belize GAP and Jay Thurrott, 6.5min. In 2014, Jimmy Yawn and I brought some giant airplants from Belize to Florida to research why the Belize giant airplants are resistant to the Mexican bromeliad weevil. That generation has gone, but Jay Thurrott is growing the next generation of Belize giant airplants in Florida for future studies. The seeds are beginning to germinate.

  • Softball practice in Belize, 2.5min.

  • BabyLion feat. Lova Boy - Love Letter To Belize (Official Audio), 3.5min.

  • BabyLion feat. Lova Boy - Love Letter To Belize (Official Audio), 2min. Come along with us as we Rappel down a Giant Waterfall in Belize.

  • Belize - Stingray and cute Turtle, 1min.

  • Belize, 4min.

  • Belize City " Project in Review" Video Presentation, 20min. This video presentation shows a complete PSAST project review form 2014 July -2016 September.

  • Belize Swimming Hole, 3min. A quick 30 minute walk from San Ignacio brings you to branch mouth, the confluence of the Mopan & Macal River.

  • Belize, 4min. Cave Tubing & Zip Line in the Belize jungle. Nov8, 2016.

  • Krismus Eena Di Paak, 1min. Last night at "Krismus Eena Di Paak" with the Panamanian Band, the Panamanian Band was asked if they new any songs from Selena and this was what transpired. It wasn't planned, but Rohjani belted out this song to start things off and it was incredible to say the least.

  • Sambai Fire Dance @ Krismus eena di Paak, Battlefield Park, several videos.

    December 18, 2016


    FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

    Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

    Specials and Events

    Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    San Pedro Holiday Boat Parade
    Congratulations to Caye Da Di Sea (Dooley Bear Adventures) for taking the top prize in this year's San Pedro Holiday Boat Parade! Second prize went to HMS Shag at Sea and third place was Island Divers (representing the San Pedro AIDS Commission).

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Grand Welcome Motorcade for Simone Biles, OlympicGymnast
    12/22/2016, 4pm-5pm, Belize City

    Saga's Home For The Holidays Photo Contest
    Welcome to the Saga Home for the Holidays Photo Contest, where your vote helps to give our Saga dogs and cats loving care for the holidays and beyond. The Saga Home for the Holidays Photo Contest lets you show off your pet hammin' it up for the Holidays. You post your pets photo for the world to see, while helping ours find their own home for the holidays. Got a pic of your mutt under the mistletoe, your Dalmatian and his dreidel, your Siamese on Santa's lap? Enter them all and change the life of a shelter animal Enter the contest by posting a pic of your dog or cat in their Christmas or Hanukkah finery! Any Holiday themed photo is acceptable, even reindeer antlers!

    Toy Drive in Belize City

    Corozal Crime Petition
    This is not the kind of news we want to hear at this time of the year, but nonetheless, it is of great concern to this news-shack. A series of recent armed robberies, assaults and burglaries have prompted residents of Corozal to take action. On Friday, December 16th, concerned residents and victims of recent armed robberies and crime began to circulate a petition requesting an immediate town meeting to address the issues of crime, violence, and safety in Corozal Town. Known to be one of the safest districts in Belize, a recent string of armed robberies, vicious assaults, violence, and burglaries have left the community of Corozal shaken. Many local residents, including retirees have expressed their current safety concerns to us and ask that immediate measures are taken and implemented to minimize these acts of violence and threats against our community, that have shattered our peace and quiet. The petition continues to state that "We are not safe in our business! We are not safe in our town!"

    The Reporter

    Several Coast Guard members receive awards during luncheon
    Several members of the Belize National Coast Guard received awards from the Minister of Defense, John Saldivar during their end-of-year ceremony on December 15. The awards were presented during a Christmas luncheon for the staff at their headquarters off the George Price Highway. In Saldivar’s address to the awardees he remarked, “I especially want to congratulate each and every member of the Belize Coast Guard for the work that you have done over the year and the work that you continue to do to preserve our souverity and territorial integrity.” The awardees at the ceremony were: Patrol Commander George Cardinez, Seaman Cocom, Engineer Trevor Geovaughan Vasquez, Seaman Moore and Seaman Operator Ryan Gabourel, who received the Commandant’s Award.

    BTL officially launches 4G LTE service
    The Belize Telecommunications Limited (BTL) officially launched its new 4G LTE Advance data service at the company’s Church street office in Belize City on Friday. The 4G LTE Advance data service refers to the 4-generation long-term evolution mobile technology that allows for data speed burst surpassing 100 megabytes per second (MBPS). The advance system offers five times faster speed than the current 4G network and is the foundation for the future 5G network. With the launch of the new network, BTL’s customers will now be able to access better internet speed, including live streaming of HD videos without buffering, faster uploads and downloads on social media, quicker access to Facebook, snapchats, instagram and emails, Video chats with crisp, clear video and voice with no buffering.

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Corozal town residents concerned about crime situation
    A petition is being circulated in Corozal town residents requesting an urgent meeting with the police to address the issue of crime and safety in the town. Concerned Corozalenos decided to request action following a series of armed robberies and assaults that have occurred […]

    Fatal traffic accident in Orange Walk
    There was a fatal traffic accident a short while ago on the road from Yo Creek village to Orange Walk town. A green Ford 150 pickup was trying to overtake a passenger bus around a curve when the collision occurred. Eyewitness and images provided […]

    Traffic accident on George Price Highway
    Just before 2 a.m. this morning, a grey car ran off the road and crashed into a coconut tree on the side of the George Price Highway. The incident occurred at the top of Mount Hope hill in Unitedville, Cayo. Including the driver, there […]

    Motorcade for Simone Biles to be held in Belize
    A motorcade will be held through the streets of Belize City for Olympic gold medal gymnast Simone Biles next Thursday. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) made the announcement today via its Facebook page, inviting the general public to come out. Biles made international headlines this […]

    Was Manuel Medrano murdered at his farm?
    On Thursday, the decomposing body of a man was found at a farm about a mile away from Buena Vista village in the Cayo District. The decomposed body was identified as that of sixty year old Manuel Medrano. Reports are that Medrano did not […]

    Blogs

    A Group of Beautiful Kids from Belize’s Inspiration Center Interact with the Animals at the Zoo
    Yesterday was an amazing holiday treat for a group of kids from Belize City’s Inspiration Center, the staff and for me. The center is the first of its kind in the country focusing on children with disabilities. It is a non-profit organization that provides diagnosis, treatment, education and rehabilitation for kids with all types of disabilities. The staff works tirelessly with the children and families to help maximize potential for inclusion and participation at home and in the community. One very special organizer and some very special sponsors made this event possible AND made it extra special with some surprises for the kids. I was SO lucky to meet a number of the children yesterday at one of my favorite spots in the whole world. The Belize Zoo. Another institution DEVOTED to education for kids and adults as well as diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for animals of Belize.

    International Sourcesizz

    Behind-the-Scenes: Norwegian Cruise Line Impresses with New Harvest Caye
    For the most part, the concept of cruise line private islands has been the same for years – a controlled shoreside experience mostly insulated from the surrounding region – so it’s refreshing to see Norwegian Cruise Line expand on it to craft a whole destination experience that embraces the mainland and its local operation with the brand new Harvest Caye (pronounced “key”) in Belize. Before Colin P. Murphy, Senior Vice President, Destination & Strategic Development for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., and Dan Drahozal, Guest Services Director, offered a select group of journalists an exclusive tour of the Belizean port-of-call, I had high hopes for the island development based on beautiful renderings, but only after experiencing the stellar island for myself can I confirm that it is set to give the competition a run for their money.

    Videos

  • This is what happens when you fly a drone over Belize's San Pedro, 1min.

  • Eye to eye with Eric the eel, 15sec.

  • Belize, 5min.

  • Punta Arenas Cave 2 San Pedro, Belize, 30sec. December 2016.

  • Trying to go west of Mountain Pine Ridge in Belize, 8min. It's a 3 hour drive to get to a point 2km from our jungle house, because you have to go around. This is me scouting for a shortcut.

  • Belize Mother Nature's Best Kept Secret, 3min. Information on the wonders of Belize, from the refreshing Caribbean Sea to the lush green jungle and Mayan pyramids. There is so much that still remains undiscovered.

  • Belize cave tubing and zip line, 4min.

  • Top of Lamanai-Mayan archeological site in Belize, 1.5min.

  • Exploring the fishing village of Sarteneja...in Belize..., 2min. Beach area in Sarteneja,Belize.

  • Belize Vlog: Part 2, min. 11

  • Best of Belize Trip 2015, 5min.

  • Hatchet Caye - Your Belize Private Island Resort, 2.5min. Come with us on a virtual tour of our little private island. Enjoy the scenic views of this tropical Belize island.

  • Amber from iTravelBelize.com Tandem Jumps with Skydive San Pedro, 6min. On Friday, December 16, Amber Edwards from iTravelBelize.com and Solani from Ambergris Today jumped with our tandem instructors Rich Servato and Max Lesziak from our Belize dropzone, located in San Pedro Town on the beautiful island of Ambergris Caye.

  • BELIZE DIVING 2016, 10min. Diving at the coast of Belize and Great Blue hole.

    December 17, 2016


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    Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

    Specials and Events

    Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    Dental volunteers return to Ambergris Caye
    For the second time in this year, Doctor Pierre Boumerhi and a team of dental volunteers from Pennsylvania, USA visited La Isla Bonita to provide a week of free dental services. The kind dentists were stationed at the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II from Monday, December 12th to Friday, December 16th. During that week, starting from 8AM to 11:45AM and 1PM to 5PM, the group of volunteers provided their services to hundreds of island residents, including children. Many people in San Pedro Town who do not have proper access to dentistry services or cannot afford it, benefited from the group’s generosity. Some of the services provided included teeth cleaning, cavity fillings, fluoride applications and tooth extraction. The Polyclinic was also provided with a donation of useful dentistry supplies for their dental room. Currently the Polyclinic counts with a dental facility, however, it operates with limited resources. The recent donation of provisions is expected to boost the service of the dental clinic.

    Increasing number of Manatee deaths by boat collision
    The Antillean manatee is an endangered species in Belize. Unfortunately, death reports of these large mammals are increasing annually. On Tuesday, December 6th, a seven-foot manatee was found dead at the mouth of the Placencia Lagoon, and was later transferred to the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic (BWRC). After being examined, it was determined that the manatee died due to a collision with a boat. The manatee received eight propeller cuts across its entire back. Of the eight, three penetrated into its body cavity, which led to broken ribs and ruptured kidneys. One of its lungs ruptured as well, causing fatal bleeding. As one of their largest patients so far, the manatee’s weight exceeded the clinic’s scale, and the mammal’s weight was undetermined. BWRC stated that this accident could have been prevented if the boat captain respected no wake zones, and looked out for these large mammals moving. The San Pedro Sun contacted Belize Manatee Conservation Program Coordinator Jamal Galvez for some figures relating to the manatee population, and for comments on the latest manatee loss. “I won’t say that the number of manatees are decreasing or increasing, but we estimated to have around 1,000. Whenever manatees are hurt or injured, it is of grave concern to me. However, the number of manatee deaths has increased over the years. Some of these deaths can be avoided if the public used more caution. Hitting a manatee with a boat and leaving it there is unacceptable. It is the public’s duty to contact us for help. Maybe if we were contacted, we could have offered this manatee some assistance, and it could have been saved,” said Galvez.

    Ambergris Today

    Belize Receives International Road Safety Award for Decreasing Road Deaths
    The Government of Belize, on December 13, 2016, received the prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award. Accepting the award on behalf of the Government and People of Belize was the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum, Ms. Yvonne Sharman Hyde and the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Works, Mr. Errol Gentle, based on their leadership role to move road safety to a higher integrated level in the region. This award was presented in The Lancaster Suite, Savoy, The Strand, London.

    Caye Boy Author Releases Third Children's Book
    Caye Caulker resident Jessica Wigh is excited to announce the third and latest edition in the “Caye Boy” series of children’s book. Following her first two books “Caye Boy: Barefoot Adventures of an Island Child” and “Caye Boy and Kite Day,” The Caye Boy series follows the daily lives of two island children and celebrates growing up in Belize. “Caye Boy Visits the Jungle” takes the storyline to the mainland, where the island boys get to experience the adventure of being in the Jungle, visiting the maya ruins, waterfalls and local farms. All three books are written by Jessica Wigh. A book signing will be held on Sunday, December 18, 2016, from 12-2pm at Belizean Arts Gallery located at Fido’s in San Pedro Town. Everyone is invited, especially the children.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Wildtracks Update
    Yesterday, a joint operation by the Forest Department and the police resulted in the confiscation of a young howler monkey from hunters trying to sell him - in Belize, catching, keeping or selling primates is illegal. This young monkey, five months old at the most, has just been transferred to Wildtracks. However.... he should be with his mother, in the wild. She would be able to do a much better job of rearing him than we can. He needs her milk, he should be in the forest, learning to be a wild monkey. Whilst we may not be able to replace that experience, we can ensure he has the best possible chance to return to the wild - integrating him with other howler monkeys and moving through the different stages of the Primate Rehabilitation Programme, building his social and climbing skills towards his eventual release.

    Belize Archives Project on Spanish Accounts of the Battle of St. George’s Caye reaches a New Milestone
    On 7th, September, 2016 a panel of researchers from Belize and Quintana Roo, Mexico gave a presentation entitled “Spanish Reports on the Battle of 1798: Preliminary Findings,” at the Bliss Institute as part of the September Celebration activities. The lecture was a report on a project which begun in 2012 to transcribe over 1000 pages of manuscripts from the Spanish Archives in Seville, Spain that were donated to the Belize Archives in the 1990s by a Spanish archaeologist, Juan Luis Bonor. The 18th century records provide first-hand accounts of the Spanish activities at the Battle of St. George’s Caye.

    Prime Minister Departs the Country on Personal Leave
    The Office of the Prime Minister informs the general public that the Rt. Prime Minister Dean Barrow left the country today, December 16, on personal leave with his family. The Prime Minister is scheduled to return to Belize on Tuesday, December 20, 2016. The Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Patrick Faber will act as Prime Minister during Hon. Barrow’s absence.

    New Year's Eve Countdown at Central Park
    Join us to bring in the New Year 2017! The San Pedro Town Council presents the New Year's Eve Countdown at Central Park on Saturday, December 31st - starting at 10 PM! All the way from St. Maarten in the Caribbean, we bring to you DJ OUTKAST! And joining him after is the Caribbean Roots Band from Corozal! There will be party favors and a SPECTACULAR FIREWORKS DISPLAY! Don't miss out!

    Annual Christmas hampers from Belcaribe Communications
    Belcaribe Communications Services will hand out some two hundred and two packages of Christmas supplies to the neediest families as well as toys. General Manager Sandra Mahler says this is their way of spreading cheer in this Christmas season. Some, like recently bereaved Shakira Young, the mother of murder victim Tyler Savery, say they will use their gift to share with others.

    Job Vacancy: Caye Caulker Traffic Control Administrative Clerk
    Deadline Tuesday December 20th.

    Seashore Drive - Christmas Laser Light Show

    1st Chiquibul Challenge Marathon
    Join the race for conservation and participate or sponsor the first Chiquibul Challenge Marathon! Run or walk a half marathon (20km), or go for the full distance (40km) in one of the most beautiful and pristine places on Earth. Learn more about the challenges for Chiquibul and contribute to its conservation. Half Marathon Entrance Fee: $150BZ National or Resident/$150USD International Participant Full Marathon Entrance Fee: $200BZ National or Resident/$200USD International Participant Ranger Challenge: We're challenging Belize's Protected Areas Management Organizations to enter their fittest rangers to square off and decide which organization has the fittest Rangers in Belize! We encourage Protected Areas Management Organzations to seek sponsorships for their rangers. Limited sponsorships will be offered by the Chiquibul Challenge Marathon organizers for conservation organizations.

    Holiday Safety Tips from the Belize Police Department
    Season’s greetings to all. As we approach the final week before 2016 Christmas , The Belize Police Department share some safety tips to make your holiday more peaceful and safer; whilst shopping, at home/leaving home, and driving/drivers. Be safe and have a festive season Belize.

    DEFENCE MINISTER CONGRATULATES & AWARDS COAST GUARD
    Minister of Defence Hon. John Saldivar yesterday presented a number of awards to members of the Belize Coast Guard at their End of Year Award Ceremony and Christmas Luncheon held at the Coast Guard Headquarters on the George Price Highway just outside Belize City. In his address to members of the Belize Coast Guard and invited guests, Hon. John Saldivar remarked, “I especially want to congratulate each and every member of the Belize Coast Guard for the work that you’ve done over this year, and the work that you continue to do; and for the commitment that you have to our country and to preserving our sovereignty and our territorial integrity. This year has been a great year for the Security Forces of Belize.” Hon. Saldivar also took the opportunity to congratulate the Belize Defence Force, whose Commander, General David Jones, was present at the occasion. Also speaking at the ceremony was Coastguard Commander Admiral John Borland, who assisted the Minister in presenting the awards.

    Bahamian motivational speaker visits Belize
    Bahamian born, international motivational speaker, corporate trainer, talk show host, bishop of motivation and author, Spence Finlayson, was the featured speaker in Belize City, Belize, for the Anglican Diocese of Belize Cursillo Retreat recently. Finlayson, a cursillista and a member of St Barnabas Anglican Church in Nassau, spoke on the topic “Developing Leaders” and was enthusiastically received by all of the participants from the various Anglican churches of Belize. Cursilllo focuses on showing Christian lay people how to become effective Christian leaders over the course of a three-day weekend. The weekend includes talks given by priests and by lay people. The major emphasis of the weekend is to ask participants to take what they have learned back into the world on what is known as the fourth day.

    Scholarship Opportunity for the upcoming EMT Class!
    Belize Emergency Response Team

    BEL Submits Proposal to PUC to Maintain Electricity Rates
    Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) has made a submission to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), proposing that the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) is maintained at $0.3699 per kWh for the remainder of the Annual Tariff Period: January 1 to June 30, 2017. The Company is also proposing to simplify the tariff basket for all Industrial customers into a single “Industry” classification. If approved by the PUC, medium and large manufacturers and processing plants as well as others engaged in value-added production will benefit from a new rate structure that will lower their electricity bills over time. BEL’s submission made on December 10, 2016 is in fulfillment of its Mission “to provide reliable electricity at the lowest sustainable cost, stimulate national development and improve the quality of life in Belize.”

    Channel 7

    Deputy Commish Says SPU Cops Were Smuggling Contraband, But Not Weed
    Last night we told you about the credible report we received that Cayo police had intercepted a pickup attached to the Special Patrol Unit. It was suspected to have a sack of weed onboard, and contraband beer. Reports we received from San Ignacio say that Cayo Cops took the truck to the station to be searched, which is when a senior police officer called to tell them to release the truck, pronto. Well, today Deputy Commissioner Russell Blackett told us that he and another senior officer did make such a call, and he makes no apologies for it. He says San Ignacio police had already searched the truck and they didn't find any weed. He adds that 10 officers from the SPU had just been brought in from one week of duties at tourist sites in Cayo - and they needed to go home. He says that they did have three cases of contraband beer, which was confiscated after they left Cayo. Reports we got said that Blackett had told Cayo police not to search the Nissan Navarra pickup - but says that is a lie. He says police took the vehicle to the station where the driver handed the officer in charge of Cayo the key, so that he could freely search the pickup. Blackett says he called 20 minutes later when no marijuana was found but the truck was still being held.

    Caretaker's Body Found in Remote Cayo
    Last night we told you about the very initial reports of a body found in a remote area of the Cayo District. Well, tonight, police have confirmed that it is murder. They say 60 year old caretaker Manuel Armando Medrano was killed by strangulation on the farm where he worked. His body was found wrapped in a blanket in an area one mile behind Ontario Village on the Young Gial Road. Police say there were no signs of robbery or theft - and they have no motive and no suspect. Medrano is a Belizean from Buena Vista. A post mortem was conducted on site and his remains were handed over to his family members who live in San Ignacio.

    BTL Says It's the First Telecom In Central America Or Caribbean With 4GLTE Advanced
    It's been active for a few weeks now, but BTL officially launched its 4G LTE Advanced service today. Now, if you're scratching your head like…but didn't they launch 4G exactly four years ago - on December 14, 2012? Well they did launch something called 4G - but that was actually more like 3.5 G HSPA. And so while the marketing people may have kind of rounded it off, this time you can believe the hype: the new 40 million dollar 4G LTE switch is at the cutting edge of global telecommunications. According to BTL and HAUWEI execs., this is the first 4G LTE Advanced switch in the region. The difference there is the word "ADVANCED" - and at the launch this morning we found out what it means:... Nestor Vasquez, Chairman, BTL: "Here we are on the 16th day of December 2016 making good on our commitment to provide Belize with the most modern, reliable, advanced mobile network in the entire Caribbean and also in Central America. Because neither the Caribbean nor Central America has the 4G LTE Advanced, that's the difference."

    BEL Asks PUC To Keep Rates Stable
    And while BTL is keeping data charges the same, BEL says it wants to do the same for electricity rates. The company has proposed to the PUC, proposing that the Mean Electricity Rate should be kept at 36.9 cents per kilowatt hour for the first half of 2017. That's the average rate, but BEL is proposing some relief for Industrial consumers - who would benefit from a new rate structure that should see lower electricity costs over time. Of course, that's just the proposal, the PUC, as regulator, still has to approve it. BEL made its submission on December 10th, and the regulator will reply next week.

    BNTU And Minister Will Seek To Mediate Differences About Cutting Strike Pay
    All this week, we we've been telling you about the school managers who are insisting that classes resume January 3rd after the Christmas break. That will allow the schools to make up 4 days lost in October's 11 day teachers strike. The Ministry and the Managing Authorities say that this is the best formula to reach the mandatory 180 school days. The teachers union - on the other hand - says that teachers aren't prepared to cut their Christmas break short to do this. Today, we got a chance to speak with the Union about that stalemate, but, first, we'll you why they were back in the Supreme Court. Their lawsuit against the Ministry to stop the pay cut had its first procedural hearing today. There is an injunction in effect which is restraining the Ministry of Education from cutting the teachers' pay for those 11 strike days. The attorneys for both sides went back before the Chief Justice to inform the judge that they will attempt to settle this dispute out of court. At the last hearing, the Chief Justice suggested mediation and today, both parties showed up to court to say they will try. BNTU's attorney, Eamon Courtenay told us more:

    When To Return After Christmas Holidays? BNTU Says It Might Not Return At All!
    So, what's going to happen after the Christmas break? Will teachers show up for class on January 3rd, as the Managing authorities and the Ministry wants? Or, will they do their own thing and return to class on January 9th? The BNTU has already told its members to ignore the Ministry and the Managing Authorities and return to school on the ninth. So, given that the Association of Managers for Primary and Secondary Schools, and even the Catholic Bishops have said that classes resume early, will the teachers show up? That's what we asked their attorney, and here's how he put it: Eamon Courtenay, SC - Attorney for BNTU: "All of that is very interesting, because nobody is talking to the teachers. As I understand it, the government who doesn't employ teachers is interfering in the teachers' conditions of work. The education rules are very clear about when holidays are to be held. There's no doubt about that and the teachers are entitled to their holiday. In so far as the fact that there are days to be made up, that is not a matter for the government, for the chief education officer, or for the minister of education, that is the matter for the teachers and the managing authorities."

    Neighbor Versus Neighbor Murder in Belmopan
    There's been a late evening murder in Belmopan - and it is a case of one neighbor killing another. It happened about 45 minutes ago in the San Martin Area of Belmopan. According to PLUS TV, there was a quarrel between two men who are neighbours, on Guyana Street near Parque de Las Americas. That ended with a stabbing which killed one of the men. The man who stabbed him reportedly fled the scene driving a pickup. The victim didn't die immediately, but succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. We'll have more on this on Monday's news.

    Family Loses Everything to Blaze
    Instead of putting up a Christmas tree and buying and wrapping gifts, Nikita Haylock and her family have to go searching for a place to live after their Reggae Street home burnt down last night. The fire is believed to have started on the lamppost near the house. The blaze spread quickly and destroyed everything. Fortunately, no one was inside the house when it started. We spoke to a resident who stood helplessly by as the fire consumed the house. We also spoke to Haylock's mother who told us this is her daughter's second hard hit. Malcom Mattews, Resident: "We saw the fire. The first thing I saw in the air was smoke and after that I saw flames. I got excited then I got stupid because I wanted to see but I was afraid to come out. I was way at the top." Therese Leiva, Mother: "The information I got on the fire last night, I was at home about 7:20 because we prepared my next granddaughter to go to the Christmas school event at All Saint's school. My daughter called me about 20 past 7 the same time while I was preparing and she told me her house is on fire. I said 'what? how is that?'."

    Harvest Heaven
    As we told you last night, the media was taken on an all day tour of Harvest Caye yesterday. We gave you just a small preview last night - but tonight we have the story of all the attractions at Harvest Caye, and why Norwegian is banking big on this hundred million dollar investment:... Colin Murphy - Senior VP., Destinations & Strategic Development, NCL: "When I'm here, I'm usually the only guy that doesn't actually have much to do so I walk around and I talk to the passengers and I would guess that speak to a thousand passengers a day and response has been overwhelmingly positive. I hear comments like best port ever, best port on this Itinerary, wish we had more time. So it's been overwhelmingly a positive reaction from passengers." Daniel Ortiz reporting: On the Ground at Harvest Caye, it is very easy to see why any tourist who lands here, may immediately want to spend his or her entire day right in this location. All around, it is a paradise, conducive to fun, rest, and relaxation. With so much to do and enjoy, more than likely, you'll want to stay longer.

    Tom Wilson's Side Of the Story
    So, NCL's ships will go almost exclusively to Harvest Caye to ensure the greatest revenue stream for that Island port. While that has city tour guides already feeling the pain, last month we spoke to Andrew Caliz - a Toledo Tour Operator who also says he's been boxed out. Caliz owns Big Falls Extreme Adventure on the Rio Grande River in Big Falls Village. He had connected with Tom Wilson's H2O Tierra to rent out his riverside property. But the deal fell through, and H2O Tierra ended up renting from the Big Falls Lodge, further up the Rio Grande. Yesterday we asked Wilson if he gave Caliz a raw deal:... Tom Wilson: "Contrary to what he might have said, we actually worked for Mr. Caliz for more than a year and a half trying to come to an agreement to utilize his site there at big falls. He had an investment there yes, BTB actually contacted us and asked us to please try and work with him. We started more than 2 years ago negotiating on Mr. Caliz to use his property. We invested quite a few thousand dollars putting together a contract agreement. Also we surveyed out the area that we would be using so that we could actually use a legal description in the contract."

    PM On Personal Leave
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow was away last week, dealing with official business and a stomach ulcer. This weekend, he's taking a break, going on personal leave with his family. The PM left the country today and returns on Tuesday, December 20. Deputy Patrick Faber will hold over as Prime Minister until his return.

    GSU Found Weed In Spare Tyre
    Today the GSU made a sizeable weed bust in the rural Belize District. It happened in Lord's Bank where they stopped and searched a Mercury SUV driven by 35 year old Dean Edward CAIN. He was accompanied by 39 year old Alston Sydney ADOLPHUS. They are both city residents. The GSU found 8 parcels of weed stuffed in the spare tire. The parcels weighed a total of 4.1 kilos or 9 pounds. Both CAIN and ADOLPHUS were arrested and charged for Possession of a Controlled Drug with the Intent to Supply.

    Junior Messenger
    Last night on the news, we showed you an interesting slice of the Senate Inquiry into immigration irregularities. They discussed the section of the report dealing with yesterday, the portion of her report addressing allegations against Heredia came up. You'll remember it as the section on the Visas where according to the Auditor General, Manuel Heredia signed for 52 visa foils. The Auditors did not follow up to find out what happened to those visa foils, so yesterday, we asked Heredia about it. He said that he was only the messenger, and delivered them to the Immigration Officer in Charge in San Pedro: Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism: "You know the type of person that I am. My integrity, my transparency. If you know that it's easy to answer. First of all it violated natural justice right, because I will accuse you of anything I have to summon you to answer if indeed what I will put out in the public what evidence is there or I should be able to defend myself at least and to put to the short of that - we are already filing for an injunction against to be put aside and I am sure that already the auditor general is having seconds thoughts about her report. If you listen to the last one, 'I didn't know this, I didn't know the other' and I am sure that at the next one there will be harder questions put to her that at the end of the day that will be put aside or squashed."

    Integrity Commission Accountant Still On Track
    At the last senate meeting in November, the opposition was objecting strenuously to the Prime Minister's partisan nominees to the Integrity Commission. Accountant and UDP Trustee Nestor Vasquez came under extra scrutiny because PUP Senator Eamon Courtenay said that he wasn't a member in good standing of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. Courtney tried to bring back a motion to block his appointment at yesterday's house meeting. But the President Li Mark Chang rejected it because a matter which has been voted upon cannot be brought back at the next session. So then what is the status of the accountant nominated to serve on the integrity commission? That's what we asked the leader of Government business, Godwin Hulse:...

    Political Postcards From the Edge
    Defence Minister John Saldivar has been busy since being re-instated from a Cabinet suspension, but he's not to0 media friendly - so often, when he has events, we only get pictures, sort of like postcards from the political edge. That's surely the case fro yesterday's Coast Guard Christmas Luncheon and End of Year Award ceremony. Saldivar presented various awards to outstanding officers and concluded happily, quote, "This year has been a great year for the Security Forces of Belize."

    No Apologies For Weed Smoking/Dealing
    A drug peddler's paradise. That's how police described this residence in King's Park, but the people living there, the people selling the drugs don't think the name fits. Over a dozen adults and children live there, and it's also where you can buy small quantities of weed. You may also remember it as the place where the Prime Minister's niece, Candice Anderson was shot. Over time, several of the adult residents have been arrested and charged for drug trafficking, but they say the $10,000 fine and three years in prison makes no sense, especially when they've never been busted with more than a quarter pound of weed. We spoke to Harlee Kelly, one of the residents today, and she explained why the constant police presence at their home borders on harassment...

    Helping With Hampers
    Today several organizations in Belize City did their best to spread the Christmas spirit throughout the community. One of them is BELCARIBE, which held its annual Christmas hamper donation event. The company, along with partners Smart and Puma, put together hampers full of useful items for families whose children are sick, or were lost through gun violence or fires. We spoke to BELCARIBE's general manager, Sandra Mahler and Smart's Marketing and Product Development Manager, Josue Carballo about the event...

    On the Twelfth Day, Darell
    The Belize City Council also held its own Christmas event today. As an end to the Council's 12 Days of Charity, the mayor and some of his councilors held a Christmas lunch at the BTL Park for residents of the Sister Cecilia Home. Here's what Mayor Bradley had to say about the lunch and the success of the 12 Days of Charity.

    FCCA for Kids
    The Florida Caribbean Cruise Association and Norwegian Cruise Line also held a Christmas party today - but instead of the aged, they invited the young. Deserving children from 8 schools gathered in the Tourism Village to celebrate the holidays with the staff of the Norwegian Pearl. The kids were treated to food and drinks as well as toys courtesy of NCL. The Norwegian Pearl's Entertainment Director, Juan Carlos Sanchez, told us more... Juan Carlos Sanchez, Dir., of Entertainment - Norwegian Pearl: "Right now we are having our annual gift giving program which is a collaboration between Norwegian Cruise Lines crew members as well as the FCCI making sure that we are giving back to our community." Alex Courtenay, 7News: "Who is benefitting from this? You know you are giving away toys, who are you giving them to and where do the toys comes from?" Juan Carlos Sanchez, Dir., of Entertainment - Norwegian Pearl: "Basically it's benefiting the children. We have 8 different schools that are very well represented in today's event and all of the toys and the gifts that were collected are through the efforts of the staff and crew of Norwegian and of course the FCCI as well."

    Channel 5

    Mediation ordered in BNTU case vs GOB
    The Ministry of Education and the Belize National Teachers Union will enter into mediation in the days ahead, to resolve the standing issue of teachers salaries post the eleven-day strike [...]

    On school holidays, who’s talking to the teachers?
    As far as Managing Authorities are concerned, their position is clear.  At a meeting held on November second with ministry officials, it was unanimously agreed upon that classes should resume [...]

    B.N.T.U. steadfast: return to school on January ninth
    According to career educator Adelaida Guerra, trade unionist and claimant in the case brought against government, B.N.T.U.  is quite clear on its position based on the existing Education Rules.  Acting [...]

    Government must stick to the rules
    Courtenay says that government is treating teachers with disrespect and that the Education Rules must be adhered to by the Ministry of Education, as well as the Managing Authorities.   [...]

    Update on the Murder in Buena Vista
    The decomposing body of a sixty-year- old man was discovered on Thursday at his farm a couple miles away from Buena Vista Village in the Cayo District. When Manuel Medrano [...]

    Welcome to Harvest Caye: Alcatraz or Paradise?
    Almost four weeks after officially opening its multimillion dollar cruise tourism investment on Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line formally invited members of the local media to visit the exclusive island [...]

    Is there still time to stop Net Vasquez appointment to Integrity Commission?
    There have been seven persons recommended, but not yet appointed, to the Integrity Commission. It has been fifteen days since the names of Marilyn Williams for Chairman; Armead Gabourel; Lisbeth [...]

    Defence Minister restates position on Sarstoon access
    At the August House meeting, area representative for Fort George Said Musa asked Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington whether citizens of Belize can now freely travel on the Belizean [...]

    P.U.P.’s welcome Longsworth in House; Peyrefitte in Senate
    Thursday’s meeting of the Senate was the last for Vanessa Retreage, who steps down at the end of the year from her powerful portfolios of Attorney General and Minister of [...]

    Senators debate the bill for B.I.L.
    During Thursday’s meeting, the Opposition People’s United Party questioned additional government spending for work by Belize Infrastructure Limited, the special purpose vehicle designed by Government to spend Petrocaribe monies on [...]

    Public officers on suspension over fake Danny Mason birth certificate
    Four employees of the Vital Statistics Unit have been sent home on suspension by the Public Services Commission, for two months. Their offense…? Major misconduct in allegedly causing the preparation [...]

    Cops catch teens trying to rob Western Pines house
    News Five was informed this morning just after nine-thirty of a burglary in progress at a home in the Western Pines area of Western Paradise Village, Belize District. We arrived [...]

    Hungarian embezzler sent home by Special Branch
    According to San Pedro Police, sixty-two-year-old Maria Nagy Sandorne Dobria, also known as Maricska, was handed over to Hungarian police by Special Branch Division of the Belize Police Department on [...]

    Christmas fun in Ambergris – but watch out for golf cart thefts
    Golf carts are the hot items for thieves on San Pedro and police say that drivers need to ensure that they lock up their carts. When we spoke with Assistant [...]

    The Battle could have gone differently, Spanish documents show
    In early September we told you about the preliminary findings on the St George’s Caye Battle from the Spanish perspective. A local team made up of historians, Archives and NICH [...]

    A Christmas party by the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association
    Primary school students from across Belize City were treated to a special Christmas treat earlier today, thanks to the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association.  The F.C.C.A. hosts an annual Christmas party [...]

    Sharing the spirit of Christmas with Bel-Caribe Communications
    Jesus of Nazareth admonished his followers during his time on Earth to never forget the least of us, saying, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers [...]

    CTV3

    More Visa Irregularities
    Still on the topic of visas, the hearing took time to look over the process of distribution by Foreign Service offices. The Auditor General’s report cited that there were a number of irregularities in the processing of visas by embassies and consulates. One particular issue was the fee related to visa applications for foreigners from the People’s Republic of China. According to report, the $8,000 repatriation fee charged to Chinese nationals was suddenly discontinued. Senator Mark Lizarraga – Representative for Chamber of Commerce and Industry: “Did you find instances where the fees that were allocated on the law were not charged?” Carla Faber, Head of Audit Team: “Yes we did found instances.” Senator Mark Lizarraga – Representative for Chamber of Commerce and Industry: “And did you find evidence or documentation to support that the 8000 repatriation deposit was being followed, that provision for the 8000?” Carla Faber, Head of Audit Team: “That was discontinued.”

    LOVE FM

    CJ Orders Mediation for BNTU and Government on Salary Deductions
    Last month, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin allowed an injunction filed by the Belize National Teachers Union against the Government of Belize. That injunction sought to stop the Ministry of Education from withholding the teachers’ salary for the month of November. The teacher’s got their salaries but the Ministry still wants to dock the salaries of […]

    BNTU Not Ready for Early Re-Opening of School
    Other than fighting off the Ministry’s intent to dock the teachers’ pay, BNTU is also fighting not to go back to the classrooms on January 3. According to the Ministry of Education, managing authorities of both the primary and secondary levels agreed to make up the time loss by cutting Christmas and Easter vacations short, […]

    Hulse Disputes Briceno’s Statements on Sugar Industry
    On Wednesday we told you of concerns expressed by Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno, as they relate to the sugar industry. According to Briceno the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association expressed concern over what was referred to as the high handed attitude of the leadership of BSI\ASR. BSCFA strongly believes that there must be […]

    Heredia Named for 52 Visa Stickers
    The Special Senate Select Committee held its last meeting for the year on Wednesday. Members of the committee delved deeper into the findings of the Auditor General’s Special Report. During this week’s public hearing, Tourism Minister, Manuel Heredia was mentioned. According to what the report says, Minister Heredia received fifty two visa stickers and the […]

    Net Vasquez and the Integrity Commission
    Upon the announcement of having Nestor Vasquez head the Integrity Commission there was much opposition coming out since it had been noted that he was not a member of the Belize Institute of Chartered Accountants which is one of the requirements. When we had spoken to Senator for Government Business, Godwin Hulse, he had indicated […]

    Media Gets Personal Tour of Harvest Caye
    Yesterday, the media was invited for a tour on Harvest Caye in the Stann Creek District. Love News was a part of the tour and we spoke to Colin Murphy, the Senior Vice President of Destination for Norwegian Cruise Line who says that they offer tourists a hundred percent Belizean style experience. One of the […]

    Making Fish and Seafood Ready for the World
    Discussions are alive and although the progress has been slow the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) has expressed optimism when it comes to the introduction of region wide laws, rules and regulations geared at making fish and seafood from the Caribbean not only ready for world trade but also safe for local consumption. According to […]

    PM and Family Take Personal Leave
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow has left the country on personal leave with his family. The Prime Minister is scheduled to return home on Tuesday, December 20. Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber will be Acting Prime Minister during the Prime Minister’s absence.

    GSU Gets Nine Pounds of Marijuana in Belize Rural
    The Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) were in the rural areas of Belize District at around midday today when they were led to a black SUV through the Lord’s Bank Road in Ladyville. The team conducted a search on the vehicle and its occupants when they came across eight parcels; all containing marijuana. The parcels were […]

    Telemedia Launches 4G LTE Internet
    The Belize Telemedia Limited has launched its 4G LTE Data Service countrywide and has had many of its consumers boasting of the new high speed internet that they have been experiencing. Today, the company did an official launch at its Church Street office in Belize City. According to the Executive Director for BTL, Anwar Barrow, […]

    Amandala

    Hungarian fugitive nabbed in San Pedro
    A Hungarian woman, Mària Nagy Sàndorné Dobria, 62, aka “Maricska,” has been flown back to her home country, where she could face millions in fines for a multi-million-dollar pyramid scheme that went belly-up, reportedly resulting in losses to over 1,000 people who invested on the promise of high returns. Officer in charge of the San Pedro Police Station, Henry Jemmott, told Amandala Dobria had been in Belize for about 7 to 8 months, and Belizean authorities began to investigate her some months ago when they were alerted that a fugitive was in town. They were able to confirm with photographs that Dobria is the woman who has been on Interpol’s wanted list, after a request from Hungarian police.

    When will primary and secondary school classes resume?
    As teachers and students prepare to depart their classrooms in light of the Christmas season, there is great uncertainty and even confusion as to when they are required to return to their classrooms. On Monday, the Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Carol Babb, wrote the managing authorities of primary and secondary schools informing them that classes will resume on January 3. “Please be reminded that classes begin on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 for schools. I look forward to your cooperation in ensuring that teachers, parents and students are aware of the date for the opening of schools in 2017,” her letter concluded. However, the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) subsequently released a statement which contradicts Babb’s position. In their release the BNTU encouraged its members and teachers to enjoy their full three weeks of Christmas vacation afforded to them through Education Rules and then return for school on January 9, 2017, which is the original date, for resumption of classes on the academic calendar.

    Unidentified woman found floating in Belize River in Burrell Boom
    An unknown female of Creole descent, believed to be 30 to 35 years old, was found dead at about 10:30 this morning in the Belize River about 3 miles downstream from the Burrell Boom Bridge. A man who was in a boat saw the corpse and quickly called police. ACP Edward Broaster, Commander of Eastern Division Rural police, said that police were dispatched to an area behind the Los Lagos community on the Belize River and saw the body of a dark-complexioned female about 5 feet 5 inches tall. The body had several cut wounds, including to the back and head. The body was taken to a medical school at the Burrell Boom junction, where a post-mortem examination was conducted. At the conclusion of the autopsy, conducted by Doctor Mario Estradabran and his team, Dr. Estradabran certified the cause of death of the woman to be “traumatic cranium insophalic injuries due to chop wound.” The body could not be identified due to the advanced state, of decomposition.

    Father of 11 murdered on farm in Buena Vista
    The decomposed body of a Guatemalan farmer was found on a ranch a couple miles from Buena Vista this evening, off what we are told is the Young Gial road leading to Valley of Peace. Police have not officially disclosed the name of the farmer. An onsite post-mortem will be conducted tomorrow to certify the cause of death, after which the corpse will be buried. Today, in an interview with KREM, Carlos Medrano, the eldest son of the farmer, said that they all became worried when they had not seen or heard from their father in three weeks, so his younger brother came to the farm to look for him, and not finding him in the house, began to look for him on the ranch. When he came to an area by the river, he found the corpse, wrapped in a sheet which was covered with cohune leaves. The upper part of the body was decomposed.

    More on the Vega family land scandal
    In August 2012 when word broke that Lands Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega had been gifting his family prime government land at dirt cheap prices, he defended his actions by saying, “I am not a normal person in Belize. I work much harder than a lot of other people.” The proud Vega would go on to resign from Cabinet in October of this year when his son, Andre Vega, walked away $400,000 richer from a questionable land transaction which occurred while the senior Vega was Minister of Lands. With his resignation, many believed that Vega’s name would not pop up again for such things, but it has quickly resurfaced, as a result of revelations made by PUP Deputy Leader Cordel Hyde during the house meeting of December 9. Hyde revealed that 1,600 acres of farmland outside Carmelita, in the Orange Walk District, were systematically transferred into the hands of three members of the Vega family only weeks after Minister Vega issued them. In some cases, the lands were transferred to the Vega family even before they were, officially transferred from the Ministry.

    The next Speaker of the House – Laura Tucker Longsworth
    Laura Tucker Longsworth will make history as the country’s third appointed female House Speaker in the House of Representatives. Since assuming office in 2008, Prime Minister Dean Barrow had previously appointed two male attorneys for the post of House Speaker. However, Longsworth has no legal background training; instead, she has much nursing experience. She is a founding member and President of the Belize Cancer Society (BCS), which she represents on the Non-Communicable Disease Commission in Belize. Additionally, she chairs the National AIDs Commission and is Chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee for the Nurses and Midwives Council of Belize.

    End of the road, or ticket to the Big Dance!
    It’s “do or die” this weekend in the Premier League of Belize (PLB) Opening Season 2016-2017 semifinals game 2 on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, as two more teams will exit the competition, and two will earn the right to take center stage next week in the championship finals series. Belize City fans have been treated to a healthy serving of playoff action in this PLB season, with both city-based teams in the semifinals. But they still want more; they would like to see some finals action for Christmas. There are no guarantees on Saturday night at the Isidoro Beaton, but come Sunday afternoon, all roads will lead to the MCC Garden. Police United are in the driver’s seat. It will be a tall mountain to climb, but our BDF soldiers are undaunted by the 2-goal deficit; and fans can expect them to live up to their motto: “Shoulder to shoulder!!” and from whistle to whistle!!

    OWFA Amateur League 1st Division 2 results
    Five games were played on Sunday, December 11, at the People’s Stadium in Week 8 of the Orange Walk Football Association (OWFA) Amateur League 1st Division 2016-2017 competition. In the opener, Desert Storm, Jrs. FC won, 2-1, over Chan Pine Ridge FC. Goal scorers for Desert Storm were Brian Westby (23’) and Arnold Henriquez (49’), while Adial Carrillo (29’) scored for Chan Pine Ridge. In game 2, Progresso FC got the 3-0 win over Progresso, Jrs. FC, with all 3 goals credited to Eliazar Itza. Game 3 saw Progresso United FC defeating San Felipe FC, 4-1, with goals from Hector Carlos, Jr. (28’ & 43’) and Dennis Charley (78’ & 88’); while Roy Cawich (2’) tallied for San Felipe. In game 4, United Ballers FC bombed Crystal FC, 4-nil, with goals from Edwani Munoz (1’ & 85’), Raheem Eagan (45’) and Enrique Lopez (70’). And in game 5, Travion Martinez exploded for 5 goals (7’, 11’, 38’, 56’ & 59’), to lead Trinidad FC to a 5-0 win over Sinbad FC.

    Yabra 10 & Under Grassroots reg. season completed; semifinals this Saturday
    The Yabra 10 & Under Grassroots Football Tournament 2016 completed its regular season on Saturday, December 10, at Yabra football field with 2 games played. In the opener, Face of Belize won, 1-0, over Reality Youths, on a goal by Nazeeh Jenkins; and in the nightcap, it was Carlston FC and Ladyville Rising Stars playing to a 0-0 draw. With the completion of regular season, the top 4 teams (See standings below.) advance to the semi-finals, which take place this coming Saturday at Yabra field.

    Big station prizes in KREM New Year’s Classic
    KREM Radio manager Michael Hyde today released some of the major station prizes already secured for the Elite Male category in the upcoming 27th Annual KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic 2017. The reigning Elite Male champion is Belizean Joel Adan Borland. Major Elite Male station prizes announced so far include (location – amount – sponsor): San Roman Village – $2,000.00 – Freetown Drug Store; Shell One Stop, Orange Walk – $1,000.00 – Hon. Johnny Briceno & Jaime Briceno; Maskall Junction – $1,000.00 – Hon. Edmond Castro; Mile 11 – $1,000.00 – National Concrete Products; Coke Factory Cut-off at Mile 9 – $1,000.00 – Powerade.

    Editorial: Belizeans of The Year
    With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that the re-colonization of Belize may have begun only a few months after our political independence in September of 1981. The re-colonization of Belize, certainly a case of cultural, entertainment, and intellectual colonialism, began with the introduction here of American cable television in 1982. (The change of Belize’s school holidays in 1964 from April and May to June and July, apparently in order for our school holidays to coincide with the summer holidays in the United States, was overlooked at the time and that change has still not been properly calibrated by Belizean nationalists. All Belizean families which can afford it for decades have been sending their children to America’s inner cities for summer vacation. Before 1964, our children spent the long holidays in the countryside, at the cayes, and in the coastal villages of Belize. Belizean children used to learn to love Belize during the old time holidays. These days, our children become seasoned in America.) The effects of the re-colonization were especially devastating to the two generations of Belizeans who have grown up since cable television, and who had no knowledge of the pre-television Belize. The effects of the re-colonization were exacerbated by the spraying of Belize’s marijuana fields with paraquat in 1985, almost immediately followed by the introduction of crack cocaine.

    From the Publisher
    Theoretically, I’m supposed to wield a lot of power at Kremandala. After all, I am the chairman of the board. In real, everyday terms, however, I don’t have that much of a say. My children know how to use their authority, either as individuals or in tandem, to sidetrack, delay, or plain ignore me when it suits them. What can I say? I’ve reached that point in my life when a man looks back and considers how things have been, how they unfolded, how good or bad it was, and how it might have been otherwise. What I see now, what I did not see when I was a young adult, is that we young Belizeans thought much of ourselves and our people back then in the 1960s and 1970s, and the reality has turned out to be different from our perception. I remember that in August or September of 1964, the new, co-educational Sixth Form opened at St. John’s College (SJC) in two, adjoining, one-flat, ferroconcrete buildings which the Landivar Jesuits had used for many years to house the so-called internos. The internos were upper class students from Central and South America whom their wealthy parents sent to SJC to attend high school, primarily so they could learn English.

    Michael Peyrefitte as Attorney General worries me
    Dear Editor, The thought of Michael Peyrefitte as Attorney General really worries me. Will he know what to do? Back in 2005, my husband-to-be Leonardo Caretella was in the Belize Central Prison and I had only been in Belize for two years and had not learned how Belize functions. Leonardo had suggested I might try to get him a pardon. Mr. Pitts had already told me there was no chance. However, I was talking with the collection of ladies that I travelled with on the bus to visit our loved ones. One lady suggested that I should try Michael Peyrefitte, as he was the up and coming young lawyer. So, I went to see Mr. Peyrefitte, paid him my $1,000 and heard his advice. He told me to go and see Francis Fonseca, the then Attorney General, as he was the one who could give pardons.

    Adolphus Rosales says NO to ICJ
    Dear Editor, As in the past, I ask that you favour this article with the utmost of importance. It is an advice to our Government, Opposition and my Belizean people in general: “NO INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE”. Guatemala is NOT a country that respects and abide by its words and agreements. Some may say that Guatemala did not “ratify” the 1859 Treaty Convention. While that may be so, when an agreement is made between two or more “Contracting Parties” and whether it is made verbally or in writing, it has the force of law; and in the case of the 1859 Treaty Convention between England and Guatemala, it was made in writing. I quote the last two paragraphs which are as follows: a) In witness whereof, the respective Plenipotentiaries “have signed and have affixed thereto the Seals of their Arms”.

    ICJ maybe, but now is not the time
    Dear Comrade Editor, I write in response to Assad Shoman’s Letter to the Editor of December 6th, 2016, “Now is the Time”, published in the Amandala of Sunday, December 11th, 2016, in which he put forward a position for submitting the Guatemalan Claim to the ICJ for a determination “once and for all”; and in response to those Belizeans who maintain that we should not submit the Guatemalan Claim to half our territory to the ICJ, as we could possibly lose what we presently own and enjoy as a result of risks inherent in such litigation. I will address Assad’s letter first. Assuming that I agree with the position of submitting the Claim to the ICJ, I humbly submit that “Now is Not the Time” to do so. This is so, among many other things (social, political, economic) that will require further elaboration, as the actions of our Foreign Minister to date, except maybe for his grudgingly delivered address to the UN General Assembly earlier this year, inspire very little confidence in the Belizean people that we are being wholeheartedly and vigorously represented at the diplomatic level with Guatemala.

    Let us protect and preserve our sovereignty and territorial integrity!
    The purpose of this article is to invite the Prime Minister of Belize to reflect on the defense of our sovereignty and territorial integrity which has been a burning issue reverberating throughout this country. The vast majority of Belizeans are crying out to the government to give it priority and to address and act on the matter urgently. In addition, this article serves to invite the Prime Minister of Belize, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Security to become aware of the seriousness of the incursions that have been made and are being made by vessels of the Guatemalan armed forces into Belizean territorial waters, such as the Sarstoon River. This article also seeks to echo the need to further strengthen the national spirit of Belizeans and to promote the courage and heroism of our forefathers. Most importantly, however, this article aims to give a clear and objective overview of how we can resolve, once and for all, the territorial dispute between Guatemala and Belize.

    The Mayas, Cenotes and the Holy Cross
    THE CASTE WAR OF YUCATAN by Nelson Reed. The cenote itself was insignificant from a practical point of view. It lay in a dell, tucked between steep, rocky hillocks, a grotto perhaps fifteen feet deep and eight feet wide, the floor of the chamber filled with several feet of water that maintained its level despite heavy use. But the inconvenience, the low, dark entrance, the small size, and hidden quality were exactly the features that appealed to the Maya imagination, characteristics that would make this a “virgin” cenote par excellence. There was, in fact, a larger and more useful cenote a half mile to the east. It would be natural to find a cross at such a “virgin” place, and there was one here. It was only three or four inches long, lightly carved in a mahogany tree that grew at the edge of the grotto — the work of a wandering hunter or, some say, of Jose Maria Barrera. It was the original “Little Holy Cross.” This would also be a natural place for the survival of celestial voices, lying as it did among the least assimilated of the Huit Maya, beyond the frontier, deep in the jungle, safe from the eyes and ears of the white man. If there was a speaking cross, Barrera used it; if not, he adapted one, using traditional means. A wooden cross was produced, displayed on a platform of poles that stood on the slope of a hill just to the east of the grotto.

    Opposition criticizes motion to raise ceiling of treasury bills and notes to $1.3 bn
    Belize’s domestic debt, which the Government has reported at $746.2 million as of September 2016, could exceed a billion dollars by next year, with the further issuance of treasury bills and notes by the Government of Belize in the months ahead. Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber on Friday introduced a money motion in Parliament to raise the ceiling of treasury notes and bills to $1.3 billion, which would allow the Government of Belize to settle next year’s compensation bill to the former owners of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), a group of companies controlled by British billionaire Michael Ashcroft, to the tune of another $180 million, for a total exceeding half-a-billion dollars. The issuance of a new batch of Government paper, which is mostly taken up by domestic banks—and potentially Ashcroft’s own local bank—was strongly criticized by Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) leader, Johnny Briceño. He said that what the Government is asking Parliament is to “allow them to be able to print money through the Central Bank so they can continue their insatiable appetite to spend money…”

    The Reporter

    Decomposed body discovered in Buena Vista village
    An apparent murder victim was found badly decomposed at a remote farm in Buena Vista Village, Cayo on Thursday afternoon. Reportsindicate that around 1:00 p.m, Belmopan police were called out to the scene of an apparent murder where officers found 60-year-old Armando Medrano. He was […]

    BEL security guard held up for gun
    A security guard at Belize Electricity Ltd. headquarters near mile 2 1/2 of the Philip Goldson Highway in Belize City was held up and robbed for his gun on Thursday afternoon. According to police, two armed robbers rushed the security guard stationed at the gate […]

    Belize loses arbitration appeal
    An appeal filed by the government of Belize in the US Supreme Court to review an arbitration settlement for US $19 million has been rejected. After months of consideration, the U.S. Solicitor General asked the Supreme Court to refuse GOB’s appeal on the arbitration award […]

    Still no answers in baby Janeeka’s death
    One week after baby Janeeka Campbell’s death due to mysterious circumstances, there are still more questions than answers and police still cannot say if anyone will be charged for the death. According to doctors who conducted the autopsy on the child’s body, she suffered blunt […]

    Love FM Christmas Parade 2016 sets new high
    Belizeans thronged Belize City streets to see the annual love FM Christmas parade on Saturday afternoon, December 10, and the 2016 edition set a new standard; it was bigger and better in every way. So much so that many who had seen the parade at […]

    UB girls get self-defence training
    The young women of the University of Belize struck a blow for women’s right with their protest march “Don’t Call me Baby” protesting street harassment a month ago, and in further activities for the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism against violence against women, the […]

    Taiwan helps fund Belize online license and permit system
    Belizeans will soon be able to apply for a license or a permit online through theBelize Electronic License and Permit System(BELAPS) being implemented by the Central Information Technology Office (CITO) in Belmopanwith financial assistance from the Republic of China on Taiwan. BELAPS is part of […]

    World Bank helps FIU in anti-money laundering risk assessment
    The Government of Belize has been seeking ways to assure the United States’ government that the Belize banking sector has a clean bill of health with regard to transactions involving the profits of drug trafficking, and to assure U.S. authorities that Belize banks do not […]

    Editorial
    The reason being given for the unexpected and premature withdrawal of Ms. Vanessa Retreage, Attorney General and (since September 2016) Minister of Natural Resources from the Barrow Cabinet is unreal and unreasonable. Announcing her resignation and replacement at a press conference in Belmopan on Wednesday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow explained […]

    Cash strapped GOB authorizes $1 Billion credit
    In the midst on an economic recession, growing public debt, pending arbitration settlements and efforts to restructure the 2038 Superbond, the government of Belize recently introduced legislation which will in effect give it the ability to print more than $1 billion in Belizean currency. The […]

    Christmas cut short
    Students’ and teachers’ Christmas holidays have been cut short by one week following a decision from the Association of General Managers of Pre and Primary Schools to re-open classes on January 3. The decision comes after the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) had avised its […]

    Woman murdered and dumped in river
    Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a woman whose mangled body was found floating in the Belize River this week. Officer Commanding Belize Rural Eastern Division, Assistant Commissioner of Police Edward Broaster explained that a boat captain discovered the body around noon […]

    PM shuffles Cabinet again
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow put a brake on the rumor mill by confirming that Attorney General Senator Vanessa Retreage is leaving office at the end of the year. Barrow answered the flood of speculation, saying Retreage had given a one-year time limit for her service […]

    The Belize Times

    BARROW SCREWS BELIZEANS!
    As we go to press, the Belize Times has been able to confirm that representatives of the IMF are currently meeting with officials from the Ministry of Finance, and the discussions are not positive. Even worse than that, very highly placed sources tell us that government is struggling to meet its wage bill for this month. Traditionally in December public officers are paid their 15th salaries and then their end of month salaries one week after, before Christmas. But accounting officers are reportedly being told to advise staff that it is unlikely they will receive that second pay before the end of the month. In a press conference held on Tuesday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow in trademark fashion glossed over the situation, stating that “while acknowledging that there is a problem that must be addressed, I don’t think it is quite fair to give the impression that the sky is falling.” Perhaps Mr. Barrow was referring to that particular patch of sky over his Seashore Drive mansion or the pieces of sky over privileged members of his Cabinet, but it is abundantly clear that the situation is dire and there will be extremely difficult days ahead for normal Belizeans.

    Document Proves that Guatemala Has Annexed the Sarstoon
    In a document which has just come to our attention and which outlines travel allowance from January to August 2016 for officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, there is a very troubling affirmation. The document makes reference to a trip of Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Carlos Raúl Morales to Washington, D.C. between March 14 and 17 this year. This is the meeting where Belize and Guatemala got together with the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) to discuss the way forward in resolving the age-old territorial dispute and funding for the OAS Office in the so-called Adjacency Zone. During that meeting, according to this document, they set out what steps would be followed to obtain funding not only for the office but also for the separate referenda to be held in both countries on whether or not the differendum should be submitted for final resolution to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

    BEWARE FAKE COPS
    A group of robbers dressed as police officers concocted a daring robbery by setting up a fake checkpoint which helped them to fool their victims into thinking they were law enforcement. The incident happened at around 6:00 p.m. on Monday, December 12, at mile 20 on the Phillip Goldson highway. Four employees for Travellers Liquors Limited, including salesman Armando Perez, were on their way to Belmopan. They were moving a cargo of their company’s merchandise when they spotted what they believed to be a legitimate Police checkpoint. There were 2 persons, in Police uniforms standing near a homemade checkpoint sign. They only had one traffic cone, but one was dressed in the khaki shirt and blue pants police officers use. The other was dressed in the black battle dress uniform. Believing that these individuals were legitimate Police, the employees pulled up the cargo truck next to the checkpoint sign. That’s when one of the two Police look-alikes requested to see the driver’s license for the driver. When he produced it, the fake cop pulled out a gun and ordered the driver of the vehicle to pull the truck over to the side of the road. When they complied, the men ordered them to get out of the vehicle, and they were forcibly locked into the back of the truck at gunpoint.

    A Hotbed of Vegas – Land Grab was Family Affair…
    When presented with evidence of blatant corruption in the Ministry of Natural Resources involving his former Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega and his family, Prime Minister Dean Barrow did as expected, stating – “I don’t know that there is any need for an investigation. If the facts are as you say and as the honourable member for Lake Independence recited, then that is to be condemned out of hand. There’s no need for any investigation.” Apparently, that is to be the end of that if the Prime Minister were to have his way. But it is unlikely that the documents showing that then Minister of Lands orchestrated a scheme to acquire a 1600acre parcel of land near Carmelita will go away anytime soon. More than fifty land transfer documents are ample proof of what was simple and unadulterated, brazen corruption. Those documents show residents of Orange Walk close to the then Minister being given title to 25-acre parcels (in most cases) – all connected – and then those persons immediately transferring those parcels to German Vega and Sons Imports Limited, owned by the then Minister’s brother, or directly to the then Minister’s wife, Marilene Vega. In some of those cases persons transferred the parcels of land to German Vega who then immediately transferred them to Marilene Vega.

    THINK ABOUT IT!
    It was an insult to Fidel Castro for Dean Barrow to send Patrick Faber to represent Belize at the funeral services in Cuba. Patrick Faber may be the Deputy Prime Minister in a UDP government but, like his government, he knows very little about the achievements of the great leaders from the Caribbean nation of Cuba. And worse he cares even less about the ideas that have held the people of Cuba together for so long. When Fidel and his comrades including the awesome guerrilla warrior Ernesto “Che” Guevara overthrew, by military means the USA puppet/dictator Batista, they were faced with a nation and people in crisis. Tourism had brought exploitation and prostitution to new levels. Cubans were by and large uneducated and illiterate. There was no healthcare for the masses. No housing project and a culture of poverty and dependency. Under Fidel Cuba has long been the top nation in the world for its literacy and healthcare programs which benefit every Cuban. Despite a crippling and brutal total embargo by the US against Cuba, Fidel brought his people to economic self-sufficiency.

    That Proverbial Creek
    On Friday, at a sitting of the House at which Prime Minister Dean Barrow was absent, Lake Independence Area Representative Cordel Hyde made a shocking revelation, backed up by pages and pages of evidence. Not for the first time, there was proof in the offering that Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega had abused the powers of his office as Minister of Natural Resources. Not for the first time, members of his family were named and implicated in what can be considered no less than outrageous, blatant and unabashed corruption. There can be no other way of looking at what was obviously an orchestrated play to place more than 1600 acres of land outside Carmelita in the hands of the Vega clan. Fifty-five parcels of crown land sold for a pittance to affiliates of Minister Vega and then reacquired by the Minister’s brother and his wife – a shameless family affair and another contemptible act by Vega to enrich himself and his family members while he was Minister of Lands. But what happens now? Allegations against the former Deputy Prime Minister have been rampant and supported by evidence. Just one such instance was enough to warrant his resignation from Cabinet, though he refused to resign as Area Representative of Orange Walk North. There certainly has been no contemplation of criminal action by Prime Minister Dean Barrow.

    Police United Leads PLB playoffs
    The Police United are leading the Premier League of Belize football playoffs with 3pts from a 3-1 win over the Belize Defence Force at the Norman Broaster Stadium on Sunday, while the undefeated Belmopan Bandits drew 1-1 with FC Belize at the MCC Garden. Police United’s Carlton “Fubu” Thomas scored their 1st goal in the 22nd minute, Daniel Jimenez added a 2nd goal in the 38th minute, and Byron “Barrow” Usher delivered a 3rd goal in the 49th minute to lead 3-zip; until Shane “Chucky” Flores scored the BDF’s only consolation goal in the 91st minute. In Belize City, FC Belize’s Mexican import Hector Martinez headed the ball away from Bandits’ goalie Shane Moody Orio and into the net in the 35th minute to lead 1-zip at the half.

    Wesley College Boys Win CSSSA Basketball Championship
    The Wesley College boys won the Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) basketball championship with 2 back to back wins in the finals against the Gwen Lizarraga High School boys at the SJC gym last Wednesday and Friday, December 9. In Game 1 of the Finals on Wednesday, the Wesley boys blew out Gwen Liz: 47-34, led by Tevaun Lennan with 15pts. Kerdell Tench added 10pts and Xylon Belgrove and Gregory Buckley put up 8pts apiece. Gwen Liz’s Kenyon Requena and Trey Gentle scored 11pts apiece; Jarrell Westby added 9pts and Kenneth Buckley and Ivan Cacho threw in a bucket apiece. In Game 2 on Friday, the Wesley boys won 60-47 vs. Gwen Liz, led by Elden Gladden with 14 pts. Joshua Bradley and Tevaun Lennan scored 11 pts. apiece, while Xylon Belgrove added 8pts and Gregory Buckley had 6pts.

    ACC Girls Win CSSSA Basketball Championship
    The Anglican Cathedral College girls won the Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) basketball championship by 2 back to back wins in the finals against the Wesley College girls at the SJC gym last Wednesday and Friday, December 9. In Game 1 of the Finals on Wednesday, ACC won 36-3 vs. Wesley, led by Shandra Palacio with 16 pts., and Zaria Jenkins added 12 pts. Gianni Fortune scored 4pts, and Bria Gabourel and Kailah White threw in a bucket apiece. Wesley’s Taliyah Hyde scored 3pts. In Game 2 on Friday, ACC bombed Wesley 44-11, led by Zaria Jenkins with 32pts and Shandra Palacio added 8pts. Gianni Fortune scored 4pts. Wesley’s Taliyah Hyde scored 3pts, Marcelina Williams added 4pts, and Cherish Wade threw in a bucket.

    Questions to Ministers
    Would the Member for Queen Square and Prime Minister please confirm or deny reports that his Minister of Natural Resources was threatened by a family member of his former Deputy Prime Minister? Would the Member for Queen Square and Prime Minister please confirm or deny reports that the IMF is in Belize City to oversee the retrenchment of an unspecified number of public officers early in 2017? Would the unelected Senator and Minister of Forests please confirm or deny reports that the son of a colleague and former Minister has received a forty-year logging contract in the Sibun Reserve? If so, can he say when and by whom that license was approved? Before she leaves office, could the unelected Senator and Minister of Natural Resources please state her connection to a company called Aviation Alliance Limited, and also confirm or deny reports that the company is owned by the son of her political boss?

    MoE and BNTU on Warpath Again
    The Belize National Teachers Union is once again standing up to the Ministry of Education. The union is encouraging its members to take their full Christmas vacation, and to work with their schools’ managers to come up with their own schedule to make up the 11 days lost in the October strike. The Ministry is attempting to short the hardworking teachers of 4 days of their Christmas Vacation, while at the same time stripping those teachers of 11 days of salary. Christmas Vacation usually ends on January 9, when teachers and students are to return to class. To make up the days, the Ministry made a decree that classes will start on Tuesday, January 3rd. They also want to short the teachers and the students 2 days of their Easter holiday by extending classes up to April 11. Education Minister Patrick Faber and his management team have consistently ignored the teachers who have been trying to negotiate for another way of making up the school days. They have workable plans which will lessen the burden by increasing the school day by 1 or 2 hours. Instead of hearing them out, the Ministry is attempting to interpret the school rules in its own way so that it can take action.

    Retreage GONE…Barnett is 3rd Lands Minister in 13 Months
    For weeks rumours of the imminent departure of Attorney-General and Minister of Natural Resources Vanessa Retreage had been circulating. This week it became clear that the rumours were credible and on Tuesday, the announcement came at a press conference in Belmopan. The explanation came from Prime Minister Dean Barrow who stated, practiced smirk in place, that it was simply a matter of Retreage’s one-year contract with government coming to an end. But just as credible as the rumours of her departure were the rumours that Retreage had come under fire from senior members of Cabinet – allies of disgraced former Minister Gaspar Vega who were angry that documents proving Vega’s corruption were being leaked. There were also reports from high-level UDP sources that the brother of Gaspar Vega, German Vega, had made threats against Retreage which she got wind of.

    Rosewood Again!
    So you thought that when our precious Belizean rosewood was placed on Appendix II of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 2013 that we had solved our rosewood problem. Who can ever forget the grand fiasco in which family members of prominent UDP Ministers were deeply involved; it is no wonder it took so long to do something about it. The rosewood Minister at the time was so frustrated that she burned the illegal rosewood to make sure the rosewood Dons would not get it. Well, the problem only went quiet, it never went away. Even after the rosewood became a protected species, residents in southern Belize continued to observe and also report illegal rosewood being harvested throughout Toledo and Stann Creek. But it appeared no one was able to or maybe interested in dealing with it. Supposedly no one knew who was cutting, who was buying, or where it was going.

    WHAT A BLOODY ECONOMIC MESS!!!
    By: Norris Hall. When the Prime Minister of Belize was in the American capital last week, some of Washington’s investment bankers were not too pleased about the purpose of his visit. When he called on their doorsteps, he and his entourage went begging for an extension for the repayment of a $1.1 billion debt. This does not include the accumulated interest. The bankers had twice agreed to further underwrite this consolidated loan. When he took office he successfully re-negotiated the repayment arrangements made by the previous government. But his government began to renege on their payments because of a self-made debt crisis caused by the mismanagement of the national economy. It is on the precipice of total collapse and exacerbated by an absence of any clear cut policies and the well-established institutionalized corruption.

    Port Loyola Housing for the Poor! Really???
    By Gilroy Usher, Sr.  “Port Loyola Housing for the Poor” – that’s one of several large signs on a huge, yellow, concrete, three storey building at the Cor. Central American Blvd. and Cemetery Rd. in Belize City which Port Loyola Representative “Shoes” told the media he gave to his daughter. The name of the business gives the mistaken belief that things will happen to make life better for the small man and woman of the area. Documents at the Belize Companies Registry in Belmopan show that Port Loyola Housing for the Poor was registered as a limited liability company on July 21st 2008, with two Belize City residents – Martha Davis registered in Port Loyola at #7286 Reggae Street and Manuel Malic who is registered in the Collet Division at #4 Lakeview Street as the owners of the business. Port Loyola Housing for the Poor is a profit making operation. The main source of its revenue is allegedly secret government contracts for a wide range of activities. As a limited liability company only the things that are directly owned by the establishment can be used to settle its debts.

    GOB Falling Asleep at the Economic Wheel
    By: Eduardo Santos. The current financial crisis is yet another crisis that has shaken our economy and forced the government and financial institutions to ponder once again the overall working of financial systems. The crisis which began in the US and then spread to Europe, has now affected the livelihoods of almost everyone in the world including Belizeans. In addition to easy lending of money, the impacts include securitization and changing nature of banking, excessive use of derivatives, inflow of easy money, improper financial regulations concerning spending, inconsistent government policy and weak oversight. These reasons were also the cause for the inflation within our already fragile economy. One of the main causes of the economic turmoil was the borrowing of cheap money from the PetroCaribe Funds, especially with its lax interest rate as set forth in the agreement. This led to substantial increase in the current account deficit which in turn, caused macroeconomic imbalances within our economy. These imbalances interacted with the flaws in the Government of Belize’s fiscal policies to put great stress on the financial intermediation process.

    Thinking Out Loud
    As I write this article early in the week, my emotions are caught somewhere between anger and hope, with some frustration thrown in for good measure. Everybody knows that this is my favourite time of the year. It serves to bring out the child in me, because children can find joy in the simplest things. Christmas makes me want to be a better person, to see smiles on the faces of my family and friends, to do good for the people of this town. But that good feeling has been damaged by a callous action which makes me very angry. Just one day after we celebrated as a community our annual tree-lighting ceremony, our tree was deliberately destroyed by fire. As I write this details are still sketchy, but Police have detained and released two persons responsible. For some reason unknown to me at this time, these two men came to Orange Walk and set our tree on fire. Despite being told that there were witnesses on the scene, I am informed that the men were released because of a lack of witnesses.

    Did Alleged Murderer Commit Suicide?
    San Ignacio Police are currently investigating the sudden death of a man from Yalbac Village which is allegedly connected to a murder on Sunday. According to official reports, Police were called to the village just before 5:00pm on Tuesday and found the body of Maximiliano Williams lying off the main road with a gunshot wound to the chest. A 16-gauge shotgun was found beside him. Police had been seeking Williams for questioning in the murder of another man from the same village, farmer Melecio Gonzalez. That incident happened at around 8:30pm Sunday night. Police were summoned to the village in the Cayo District where they found the farmer lying dead in his own crops. Preliminary indications indicated that he had been bludgeoned to death.

    Electrician Minister Confused About Pharmaceutical Bill
    The Belize Times recently shared the comments of Health CEO Dr. Ramon Figueroa explaining the reason behind the short tender for pharmaceuticals from September 2016 to March 2017. That is when he revealed that the Ministry “had an incredibly outstanding bill above and beyond the approved budget for last year for pharmaceuticals. Actually it was for this financial year.” He disclosed that “outstanding was about $23/$24 million…It really went through the roof. Before that it was pretty much stable.” The matter was put as a question to Ministers inside the House of Representatives at the last meeting on Friday December 9th and Minister of Health Pablo Marin closed off his response with the quote: “without data you are just another person with an opinion; with limited data, you are just another confused person.”

    Another Vega Land Mess…NSV vs. BTL
    The scandal of how 1,600 acres of land in Carmelita made its way to private owners and then on to former Minister Gaspar Vega’s brother and wife is slowly being digested by the Belizean people. But it is clear that even while the recent revelations are certainly bad enough, they are only the tip of the iceberg. There is another mess caused by what appears to be a Vega family land hustle spanning years, and one of Vega’s nephews is currently suing BTL over a piece of land in Hopkins Village. That land is lot #1004 in the village, and BTL was granted a lease in November 2010 for 7 years, and given the option to extend up to 30 years if they so wished. BTL placed their cellular phone tower there, along with other hardware required to run their telephone services in the village. They were under the impression that only they had claims to this land, since their lease expires next year.

    Cop Charged for Human Trafficking
    A Police Constable attached to the Benque Viejo deh Carmen Police Station has been charged for human trafficking offences after a patrol of his colleagues busted him with an SUV-load of undocumented Salvadorans. According to Police, they intercepted the vehicle but had no idea what they would find when they stopped it. According to San Ignacio OC Supt. Richard Rosado, “”Police and a team of volunteer special constable were conducting anti-crime patrols within the Santa Elena Town area and upon reaching in front of the Ministry of Works compound on the George Price Highway, attention was drawn to a black heavily tinted SUV vehicle bearing no license plates. The said vehicle then overtook the police mobile and the police subsequently intercepted the vehicle. Police subsequently approach the said vehicle and notice that there were 8 persons in the vehicle with the driver.”

    CCJ Orders PUC to Return Speednet’s Money
    The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has handed down a major victory in favour of Speednet Communications Ltd. (parent company of the telephone brand SMART) and against the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in an appeal of a case filed in 2011. The PUC has thus been ordered to return to Speednet $790,600. As outlined by the CCJ in a release, the dispute arose out of a difference in interpretation of the relevant regulations which set out the licence fees per ‘channel’ at $100. The channels (contained in the 14 Point-to-Point links that Speednet applied for in 2010) were used to provide call, SMS and data service to customers. According to the CCJ, the cost should have been $1,400. They agreed with Speednet that they were using the cheaper “radio frequency” channel as opposed to “voice” channel.

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Corner store in San Ignacio robbed
    Reports reaching our newsroom is that Corner store, a Chinese grocery shop in San Ignacio, was robbed shortly before 4 p.m. today. BBN could not confirm the amount of money stolen. However, it is confirmed that cash, an iPad and a phone was stolen. No […]

    Defence Minister awards Coast Guard officers
    Minister of Defence John Saldivar yesterday presented a number of awards to members of the Belize Coast Guard at their End of Year Award Ceremony and Christmas Luncheon held at the Coast Guard Headquarters on the George Price Highway just outside Belize City. In his address […]

    BEL proposes to maintain electricity rates
    Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) has made a submission to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), proposing that the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) is maintained at $0.3699 per kWh for the remainder of the Annual Tariff Period: January 1 to June 30, 2017. The Company is […]

    Senate debates government motions
    The Senate met in Belmopan yesterday to consider several motions and bills tabled at last Friday’s sitting of the House. Among them, the Senate debated government’s motion to increase the ceiling on Treasury Bills to $1.3 Billion. Several senators, including those representing the business […]

    Belize compiling comprehensive records of St. George’s Caye battle
    On September 7, a panel of researchers from Belize and Quintana Roo, Mexico gave a presentation entitled “Spanish Reports on the Battle of 1798: Preliminary Findings,” at the Bliss Institute as part of the September Celebration activities. The lecture was a report on a […]

    PM Barrow departs country on personal leave
    The Office of the Prime Minister has issued a statement informing the general public that Prime Minister Dean Barrow left the country today on personal leave with his family. The PM is scheduled to return to Belize on Tuesday, December 20, 2016. The Deputy […]

    Hattieville man arrested for keeping firearm without gun license
    A man in Hattieville village, Belize District was arrested yesterday around 10:30 a.m. for keeping a firearm without a gun license. According to reports, police were conducting a mobile patrol on Mahogany Heights Road where a search was conducted on Ian Earson Young Jr., […]

    Black Orchid throwing Brukdown celebration
    The Black Orchid resort, located just outside the village of Burrell Boom, will be hosting the first of its December “Brukdown” jam events this coming Sunday starting at midday. The event will feature the best of Creole culture including a delicious array of local […]

    New speed bumps in Santa Elena
    The Bishop Martin Neighborhood Watch Committee (BMNW) had requested that bumps be installed in key areas in Santa Elena. Perez and Orchid streets were main concerns for the group because seven accidents have occurred in the area recently. The streets are also located directly behind […]

    Security at BEL’s Corporate Headquarters robbed of firearm
    The security at Belize Electricity Limited’s (BEL’s) Corporate headquarters located on the Philip Goldson Highway was robbed around 2:30 this afternoon. Two assailants approached and overpowered the security guard at the front gate of the corporate headquarters and stole his fire arm. The company […]

    Blogs

    CAYE CAULKER HUMANE SOCIETY
    Barefoot veterinary medicine at its best.

    Holy Pizza Truck Stop!
    by MADISON PEARL. This is a blog that I have been wanting to write for a long time, but I felt like it was missing something. Something like PIZZA! The Truck Stop is an amazing kid friendly place up north here on Ambergris Caye. It has lots of yummy food and fun activities like corn hole, horse shoes, giant Jenga and they even have family friendly movies on Friday nights. The best part is that we don’t even have to go somewhere else to eat, it’s all there! They have “food trucks” which are just shipping containers with kitchens in them. Cool! They have wings, cheesy fries & ice-cream! Gluten free? They can hook that up too! I know cause my grandma is allergic to gluten and she can’t eat just anywhere. Here’s the yummiest part of this experience… you ready? PIZZA!!! They recently added a new “food truck”. Its called “A Slice Of Haven” They have so many different toppings like, mash potato and bacon pizza, conch pizza, and of course the classic pepperoni and cheese pizza. We got a chance to talk to the chef and learn some cool stuff. He said that in New Haven they say “Fresh Muzz” instead of “Motzerella”. They make thin crust pizza and it cooks super fast in this really fancy brick oven; I think it gets as hot as 600 degrees . Seriously, I timed it at like three minutes!

    Come together: Pier 366 dining is a communal affair
    The focal point of Pier 366 is the communal table. Some nights during the week, it will be used as the Chef’s Tasting Table, to which the personable and pleasantly efficacious Garfield Victor will bring his insider’s take on the fare being served. It is a fun experience. Every time Chef Garfield came out trailed by staff bearing deliciousness I kept thinking, “Man, Forest Whitaker should play him in the ‘Pier 366’ movie. They share that gentle bear demeanor and instant likability. It starts at the entrance, where the ever-changing catch-of-the-day board lists the evening’s fare and prices. In Belize dollars. You can pick off the board or from the iced-down display inside the restaurant. Your host will suggest a number of ways to prepare your fish — blackened, grilled, Jamaican jerked, Asian-styled “En Papillotte,” fried and Creole — whew! And after your selection you can retire to the gazebo lounge swings with a drink or head for your table.

    Driving directions from San Ignacio to Placencia, Belize - specifically to Caribbean Beach Cabanas!
    San Ignacio is a little trickier than smaller villages in Belize - but follow the signs to the Western Highway. You can go on either bridge, as you can see on the right of this map. You can see the road marked Western on the far right. Follow the Western highway headed east, towards Belmopan. You will turn right onto Hummingbird highway. Hummingbird Highway is by far the prettiest part of the drive. You will wind through hills and towns, up and over bluffs, and through the Mayan mountains. As you approach Dangriga, you will see a Shell Gas station on your right. The turn off of the Hummingbird Highway and onto the “Southern Highway” is just ahead. Turn Right onto the Southern Highway. You should see signs for “Punta Gorda” and/or “Placencia”. Follow the Southern Highway for about 35 minutes, and then you’ll approach a round-a-bout. Here, follow the signs to Placencia. It’s the “left turn” in the round-a-bout. You are now on the road to the Peninsula.

    Post renovation and ready for high season at CBC!!
    We are thrilled to have reopened, including our brand new Villas! If you are headed here, enjoy these images of the renovations to our units, the new pool and tiki area, and grounds!! Renovations on Cabanas: new doors, new roofs, all new paint inside and put, new tile floors, upgraded cushions, new hammock, new art and kitchenware, renovated kitchen and upgrades to all decor, brand new spa baths! Note guests enjoy luxury robes, resort beach towels, and welcome basket with lots of complimentary gifts :)

    8 Things to See and Do in Belize in 2017
    With a diverse landscape that includes the second-largest barrier reef in the world, pristine rainforests, and jungles teeming with wildlife, it’s no wonder that Belize is one of the most exciting adventure destinations to visit in 2017. The only country in the region where English is the official language, Belize is a natural paradise where more than 500 species of birds, four types of big cats, and monkeys thrive. All major airlines, including United, Delta, American, and Southwest offer non-stop flights to Belize, making it easier and more affordable than ever to visit Belize in 2017. Here are eight things you can see and do in Belize in 2017: 1 – Paddleboard along the Southern Belize Barrier Reef. 2 – Explore Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. 3 – Paddle, Snorkel and Explore the Reefs and White Sand Cayes of Glover’s Atoll. 4 – Explore the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave. 5 – Exploring the rich coral reefs and white sand cayes of Lighthouse Atoll. 6 – Visit Hopkins Village. 7 – Go Fishing. 8. Snorkel and Scuba Dive Belize’s Blue Hole.

    Truck Stop’s Taste of Haven makes pizza taste like heaven
    Ben Popik’s Truck Stop on Ambergris Caye has a new food truck, called Slice of Haven. Just opened on Wednesday. That is no misspelling. This is New Haven-style pizza, a favorite of Casa Picasso and food truck impresarios Jackie and Adam Feldman, who created the Truck Stop’s other two restaurants, Rasa (Southeast Asian/Malaysian fusion) and Arepa (Central American fare). Their favorite Connecticut pizza joint was Pepe’s, where the crust was thin and slightly charred and the toppings were so fresh you want to slap them on the cheek. Taste of Haven pops out 12-inch pies that would make Pepe’s proud. “The crust is charred,” emphasized Jackie as we waited at the big spool table for our first sampling, “not burned.” That is a distinctive characteristic of New Haven-style pizza — the char. Also, the crust is thin and slightly moist, not doughy and chewy. According to Hasni Ghazali, the brilliant chef who helped the Feldmans set up all three food trucks, the dough ferments for 24 to 48 hours before it becomes pizza.

    International Sourcesizz

    The lionfish invasion: A call to arms?
    A battle is brewing in southeastern U.S. waters, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea: it’s the lionfish against all comers. With voracious appetites and virtually no predators, these invasive fish are damaging reefs and fisheries. Oblivious to their enemy status, the lionfish are winning this war — for now. The quest to remove this unwelcome guest is spawning inventions that range from underwater robots to fish traps armed with special recognition software. While testing for these devices is still underway, the innovators and marine managers are hoping that technology can turn the tide against lionfish. “It’s the inverse of every fisheries management plan you’ve ever heard of,” says Corey Eddy, a marine biologist who studies lionfish around Bermuda. “Usually we’re trying to minimize the pressure on fish populations so they can rebound. Now we’re saying, let’s start wiping them out.”

    THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA (TAIWAN) DONATES USD 109,000.00 FOR THE ICT PROJECT TO THE GOVERNMENT OF BELIZE
    The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is pleased to announce that H.E. Ambassador Charles K. Y. Liu will present a cheque of USD 109,000.00 to the Ministry of Finance and the Central Information Technology Office (CITO) of the Government of Belize for the bilateral ICT Project on December 14th, 2016. This 5-year project – the BELAPS (Belize Electronic License and Permit System) - aims to assist Belize in boosting the efficiency of its existing import-export licensing and permit issuing processes. Following the first contribution in September, these two donations totaling USD 218,000.00 demonstrate Taiwan’s continuing commitment to help Belize expand e-Governance initiatives throughout its government system.

    Do you want to be a Foreign Service Officer? Take the test!
    The Embassy of the United States of America announces that applications for the position of Foreign Service Officer (FSO) are now being accepted from U.S. citizens by the Department of State. One of the first steps in becoming an FSO is to take the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT), which is offered worldwide at various locations and only to U.S. citizens. The FSOT will be offered in Belize at the U.S. Embassy in Belmopan on Tuesday, January 31 and Wednesday, February 1, 2017. The registration deadline for candidates intending to test overseas is January 25, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. If you are a U.S. citizen and are at least 20 years of age and interested in serving as an FSO, please visit the Department of State website at http://www.careers.state.gov/ for information on eligibility, application, registration, testing, and more career information.

    Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism hosts training in fishery sector sanitary controls
    A two-week training covering “Food safety in the fishery sector” and “Fishery products laboratory testing” was delivered to 30 inspector and laboratory analysts from 15 CARIFORUM countries during the period 28 November to 9 December 2016, by four international experts. The training, which covered inspection, control and testing in the fishery sector, was based on eight operational manuals developed under a project funded by the European Union (EU). The training was organized by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM). Food safety hazards, best international practices in fish inspection at each stage of the supply chain, controls in aquaculture, and traceability as well as modern approaches to laboratory testing and accreditation were among the key areas addressed. Particular attention was paid to explaining the sanitary requirements for exporting fishery and aquaculture products to the EU and markets in other developed countries. Practical work helped the participants to understand the role of rapid and field testing, to enable better decision-making on the safety of fishery products.

    Antarctic 'pole of ignorance' finally addressed
    The last major unknown region on Earth has just been surveyed: the South Pole. Although the Americans have had a base at the bottom of the planet for decades, what lies underneath the thick ice there has been a mystery. Now, European scientists have flown instruments back and forth across the pole to map its hidden depths. As well as finding previously unknown valleys and mountains, the team says it has acquired important data that will have uses far from Antarctica. Much of this data is still being processed, but already the team can confirm the existence of a vast basin that appears to play a key role in controlling the flow of ice towards the ocean. "It's an over 1,000km-long basin that extends from the Weddell Sea right down to the pole," said British Antarctic Survey (BAS) team-member Dr Fausto Ferraccioli. "It's really one of the major features of the Antarctic continent and it's likely to have very large significance because it underlies some of the fastest flowing ice streams in this region."

    College of the Ozarks group spends Thanksgiving serving in Belize
    A group of College of the Ozarks students, faculty, and staff spent their Thanksgiving break serving others in Belize the week of Nov. 12-22. Over the course of the trip, the group built a library and provided books for it and taught a discipleship curriculum for elementary students. The group also hosted three conferences — one for pastors, one for women and one for health care professionals. These conferences were based on community building, rest and renewal.

    Garinagu organization and political growth in Belize - Part 4
    Garifuna women in Belize have also achieved becoming public servants as both local and national representatives. It is known that, in the terms starting from 1963-1972, Venancia Petillo served as the first Garifuna woman to be elected to become a Town Board Councillor in the Toledo District representing the PUP political party. She was also the first Garifuna woman to become a senator. Dorris June Garcia from Dangriga served as president of the Senate, representing the UDP political party 1984-1989. Garcia reached a milestone becoming the first Garinagu appointed to the position of president of the Senate. Another Garinagu woman obtained a prominent position. Sylvia Flores, from Dangriga served as mayor of Dangriga, and speaker of the House during the 1998- 2003 term. Flores also served as an area representative 2003-2008 and as minister of defence and national emergency management (2003) and minister of human development and women (2005).

    Videos

  • Channel 5 25th Anniversary Interview - Stewart Krohn , 5min. The man with the vision that started it all.

  • Channel 5 25th Anniversary Interviews, 6 all together wifh people critical to the development of Channel 5

  • Journey To Nohoch Ch'en, 29min. In early 2015, a team of 22 explorers set out into the far reaches of Belize's treasured Chiquibul National Forest on a mission to reach the never before explored Nohoch Ch'en Sinkhole - a massive bowl with sheer limestone walls dropping 500 feet below the jungle, and breathtaking views. Join the crew as they discover the extraordinary and mystical features of Nohoch Ch'en, ranging from it's incredibly unique gradient of ecosystems, the rare and endemic species living inside, and an unknown ancient history left by the Maya people... Nohoch Ch'en is but one of many amazing features of the Chiquibul, but it is not without it's threats. Deforestation and incursions from over the border threaten this beautiful land, and it is up to the governing rangers of FCD (Friends for Conservation & Development), and all of us to protect it.

  • Generous Church Belize, 2min. from East Lake Community Church

  • Belize 2015, 3min.

  • A túlélés törvényei - Belize, 43min. Man vs. Wild

  • Miss World Belize Contestant Profile, 1min.

  • 1971: Modern kids, 4min. You can keep your Pokémon, your Wi-Fi devices and your 'video' games! Back in BBC Archive's day we had Clackers. Good, old-fashioned, potentially deadly Clackers.

  • Boo's Belize 40th 2016, 12min.

  • Chaltunha Hostel San Ignacio - Hotel in San Ignacio, Belize, 3min.

  • Mary Rodriguez (San Pedro Sun) Tandem Jumps with Skydive San Pedro, 7min. On Thursday, December 15, Mary Rodriguez from San Pedro Sun jumped with our tandem instructor Max from our Belize dropzone, located in San Pedro Town on the beautiful island of Ambergris Caye.

  • Herping Belize Part I, 7.5min. Reptiles and amphibians are not the only fascinating creatures found in the rainforest. You wont want to miss this journey through Belize, even the amazing walking batfish was found!

  • Belize City Peace Poster Contest Video Presentation 2016-2017, 2min. PSAST Project in Review & Award Ceremony 14 December, 2016 9:30am - 11:30am at Bliss Centre, Belize City

  • Belize 2016 Compilation - GoPro Hero 3 1080p, 8min. ust a few clips compiled from our trip to Belize this year - what a magical place. Kudos to everyone who was part of this special trip.

  • Three days of Guided Fly-fishing in Belize with Hardcore Fishing Charters, 6min. Flyfishing in Placencia Belize with Hardcore Fishing Charters. Nick Ross my buddy in the pic and me tall guy. Had an amazing 3days with Hardcore Fishing Charters!!!

  • Bird Migration Patterns - Western Hemisphere, 1/2min. Our latest SOS dataset maps out the migration paths of 118 species of terrestrial birds in the Western Hemisphere. These paths, represented by the moving dots, are overlaid on the average daily surface temperature of the Earth. By combining these two datasets, it's easy to see the seasonal migration patterns.

    December 16, 2016


    FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

    Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

    Specials and Events

    Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    11th Annual San Pedro Sun Caribbean Christmas contest
    Be sure to have your lights shinning bright on Friday night, our judges will be out in full force!

    Belize prepares to participate in Copa Centro Americana
    The Belize National Football Team (Jaguars) has been in training camp since Tuesday, December 6th in preparation for their participation in the 2017 Copa Centro Americana (UNCAF) football tournament. The international men’s football championship will be held in Panama City, Panama from January 13 to January 22, 2017, and will mark the 14th edition of the UNCAF. The participating members of this league this year will only include six Central American countries: Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Belize. Guatemala will not be participating this year, due to a suspension by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) for political interference by the Guatemalan government. As a result the tournament will be played in a round-robin format, which means that all teams will meet each other in turns.

    Saga says goodbye to Dr. Samantha English
    After a year of hard work and dedication to the San Pedro Saga Humane Society, Dr. Samantha English is leaving the island. The staff at Saga honours her as a hard- working veterinarian who spent endless nights watching over hospital patients who all benefited from her services. The many animals she saved and the many friends she made while on La Isla Bonita, will never forget her. During her stay in San Pedro Town, Dr. English, along with the staff at the Saga clinic, oversaw the shelter animals at the clinic. She was also very instrumental in overseeing the spay/neuter program SNIP for the public and treating hundreds of locally owned pets (dogs) for vaccines, sickness and surgeries. She did not do all this alone, and on many occasions, she teamed up with Saga’s very own technician Ingrid Lima, and from time to time, would also have assistance from visiting veterinarians.

    Despite Ministry of Education’s mandate, BNTU advises teachers to enjoy full Christmas vacation
    The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) issued a press release on Monday, December 12th, notifying teachers and students to enjoy their ‘full’ Christmas vacation. Originally, the Ministry of Education (MOE) had announced that three days would be docked from the Christmas vacation due to the BNTU’s 11-day strike. While the MOE advises schools to be opened on January 3, 2017, the BNTU is informing teachers and students to return to the classrooms on January 9, 2017 instead. BNTU President Luke Palacio explained that it is up to the Managing Authorities and teachers who should decide when the days will be made up. “The Ministry of Education has relied on Rule 131 (4) of the Handbook of Policies and Procedures for School Services 2000 to forge ahead with an amendment to the school calendar where a school falls short of the one hundred and eighty school days; however, that rule clearly states that special arrangements shall be made by the school and not the Ministry of Education to fulfil this requirement. We believe that our school managers and not the Ministry should plan alongside its teachers and implement that make-up time,” said Palacio.

    First Marine Climate Change Report Card for the Caribbean in the works
    Under the Commonwealth Marine Economies Program, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), are preparing the first ever marine climate change report card for the Caribbean. The news was released through a press release on Thursday, December 8th, noting that the program will be funded by the Government of United Kingdom (UK). With an expected date of March 2017, the report card will provide comprehensive, peer-reviewed and highly accessible information on what is already happening, what could happen in the future, case studies from across the region, knowledge gaps and potential socio-economic impacts. It’s also aimed to raise awareness of climate change issues across the region in a way that will spur action and drive future change. The 12-page document will contain hundreds of pages of reports produced across the Caribbean.

    Senator Vanessa Retreage resigns from Cabinet
    Prime Minister Right Honorable Dean Barrow has reshuffled his Cabinet for the third time this year. From Deputy Prime Minister Gasper Vega resigning, to former Minister of Defense John Saldivar’s portfolio changing, to now the Attorney General and Minister of Natural Resources, Senator Vanessa Retreage, announcing her resignation. This news was confirmed via the Prime Minister’s press conference on Tuesday, December 13th. On August 1, 2016, Attorney General Retreage took on the role of Minister of Natural Resources from Senator Minister Godwin Hulse, while he took on Saldivar’s former portfolio as Minister of Defense. She even made history as the first female Attorney General of Belize, as she took over the post from Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington following the United Democratic Party’s general elections in November 2015.

    Ambergris Today

    Police Warn of Increase in Island Golf Cart Theft
    Island authorities are informing the public that there is a band of thieves that is currently stealing golf carts, even if they are securely locked. With a high incident report, the San Pedro Police is advising residents to be on the lookout and to secure golf carts with double locks if possible. The thieves are even breaking padlocks and a number of golf carts have gone missing from private homes and those parked on the street. Police chief says that during the holiday season the department increases police patrols and that most downtown areas are heavily patrolled. It is the monitoring of neighborhoods that proves more difficult and where thefts are mostly taking place.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Island Academy Christmas Pageant 2016
    The students of The Island Academy once again presented their Christmas show extravaganza that included songs by the youngsters and a fantastic play titled 'Jingle Bell Hill' by the upper class students.

    NO.1 Flairtentender in the world. Coming to Belize
    Months at work to make this happen. And finally.... the NO.1 Flairtentender in the world. Coming to Belize. Some of you guys know how much I have worked to make this happen. How much l've wanted to post that he is coming and couldnt because so much could go wrong. Now I can say, Alexander Shtifanov, the number one Flairtender in the world is coming to Belize. Excited much? March 6th at Rain Restaurant in San Pedro. March 11th at BTEC in Belize City. Of course I have to end this at the famous Tipsy Tuna in Placencia on March 17th. He will also be doing 3 performances like in the video. Spaces are very limited. Contact Belize Mixology or inbox for details.

    FCD meets with BECOL
    BECOL contains hydro infrastructures in both the Chiquibul and Vaca landscape. FCD met with BECOL personnel to update them on the conservation efforts, particularly on macaw conservation and tourism activities.

    Bram: A Christmastime Tradition
    "Christmas allowed the slaves three weeks to a month's license to enjoy the festivity of the season with music, dancing, food, drink and even the discharging of gunpowder" - British Honduras Almanack 1670. Visit the Museum of Belize (NICH) to learn more about the Bram by reading the linked to article by Myrna Manzanares.
    "Call:I bild an ol' house, [response: ol' house] I build an ol' house,[ol' house] I builda pon di rocky road [ol'house] an di breeze kohn blow ah downg.[ol' house] I bild an ol' house [ol' house] I bild an ol'house [ol' house] I builda pon di standin' block [ol' house] an di breeze ko blowa dong [ol' house]"

    Lions Club Children's Party Dec. 18th
    Children's Party Sunday the 18th! Come take a photo with Santa! Tickets $5 for kids and Dinner available for $5 for kids and $10 for adults! Join us starting at 4pm!!

    The Belize International Yoga Festival is honoured and proud to have The Larubeya Band join us
    They will entertain attendees from 11:00am to 2:00pm at the vendor section! Don't miss this! Larubeya Band is a Garifuna Band whose mission is to preserve Garifuna Culture and Heritage for Generations to come through the performance of Garifuna music. Its members are from Belize, Honduras and Guatemala and their style of music is a rich combination of the styles of Garifuna music played in all three countries. The group was Originally founded by Mr. Benedicto Baltazar ,AKA Bal T, in 1990 in Belize City, and it later was joined by talented Garifuna musicians such as Mr. Lugua Centeno and the late Ras Chi. Larubeya was instrumental in the recording of Stone Tree's Album entitled "Garifuna Soul" by Mr. Aurelio Martinez. Larubeya band however later split up as everyone parted on their own journey due to personal or tragic reasons.

    KIds Yoga, Dance, Art, and Health Camp
    Full Lotus is doing a Kids Yoga Camp at the end of the month. "Full Lotus is excited to offer kids classes again! This mini yoga camp runs Dec 28th - 30th for three hours per session, 9am - noon. This is a great gift and a wonderful way to see if your child would benefit from our upcoming after school classes. Miss Jasmin Ford will be teaching children ages 6-12 many different yoga postures, songs, healthy breathing and movement games, art projects plus providing some healthy snacks. We aim to give the kids of Cayo positive influences and pastimes. The price for this 3 day camp is $45 or $20 drop in per class. Space is limited so sign your child up soon, we have a nice printed certificate if you will be paying in advance and giving this as a gift."

    Community conservation agreement in the Vaca Forest Reserve
    FCD received today official endorsement from the Forest Department to support and mobilize steps leading towards a community conservation agreement in the Vaca Forest Reserve (VFR). The VFR is approximately 40,303 acres located nearby Benque, Arenal and Succotz.

    Media Tour - Harvest Caye
    A familiarization tour of the newly opened Harvest Caye, Cruise Port.

    Run for DS, run!
    Today, 25 Embassy employees took part in the 5K Jungle Run to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) and to support the Diplomatic Security Foundation. Thank you, RSO Belize, for organizing the run and congratulations, DSS!

    Paradise Theater playing this weekend:
    The American Honey, Uncle Buck, When the Bough Breaks, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

    Channel 7

    Police, The Stench of Scandal + The Aroma Of Marijuana
    Tonight 7News is investigating a story of police high-level interference that carries the stench of scandal - and the aroma of marijuana. According to multiple sources, on Tuesday afternoon San Ignacio police received information that a vehicle was coming from Arenal loaded with a sack of weed. They got the plates on the pickup and police set up a checkpoint in Santa Elena. But when the vehicle with the license plates arrived, it turned out to be a vehicle with private plates attached to the Special Patrol Unit. The officers reportedly confessed to have a few contraband beers and firecrackers, but the intelligence said marijuana, so police took the vehicle to the police station to search it. But when they got there, 7News has received reports that a senior officer from Belmopan called and told the cops doing the search to release the vehicle immediately. Now, by this time police had already picked up the strong scent of marijuana in the pan of the pickup. But, the senior officer - as we understand it - was insistent that they release the SPU vehicle immediately or face consequences. With that, the police let the pickup go -carrying its cargo of contraband and very likely a sack of marijuana on board.

    Chon Saan In Belmopan to Be New HQ For Immigration
    The Immigration Department is looking for a new building for its headquarters - and 7News has confirmed that Government is about to buy the Belmopan Chon Saan building for that purpose. Minister of State in the Ministry of finance Dr. Carla Barnett today confirmed to us that they are finalizing a price and it is just about a done deal. But, what about the whole issue of buying a property from the President of the Senate? After all, Li Mark Chang's family owns Chon Saan. Well, he told us that the building is too big for his restaurant - and he wants to move into a smaller building. He also added that he's giving a government a deal: they will pay half up front, and the other half at a later date. Dr. Barnett also addressed that issue. She said that because the sale involves Chang - who is a UDP insider, she made sure that the highest standards in transparency were met. She says that they looked at three buildings, and selected Chon Saan as the most suitable. She concedes that government's valuator and Chang's arrived at very different values, but she says the final value is closer to the Government value.

    No Answers In Mystery Body Found
    From a death investigation to a murder: the woman whose body was found yesterday afternoon in the Belize River, was killed and dumped there. At a press briefing this afternoon, police had told us that she might have went swimming or either fallen in the river and was attacked by a crocodile. But after police spoke with the investigators this evening, they confirmed that it wasn't a croc attack that killed her; it was 2 chop wounds to the head. It is after her body was thrown in the river that the crocodile may have mauled her and ripped off one of her arms. Now while police have a clearer direction in this case, they are still trying to identify the body. As we told you, the woman is of creole decent and is believed to be in her 30's. There is a tattoo with the letters M.I.C.H and a rose on her right breast, another rose tattoo on her right foot above her ankle and an animal shaped tattoo above her left knee. Police revealed today that the only other details they have is that she may have been homeless and that she was last seen on Sunday morning walking along the Burrell Boom Road. This afternoon police gave an update on the case.

    Another Body Found, This One Out West
    And there is the report of a body found in the Cayo district today. Reports say a decomposing body was found in a sheet early this afternoon. It was found in a remote area between Buena Vista and Valley of Peace villages. Police removed the body, and not much details are known at this time. We'll have more details tomorrow.

    PUP Says Government Must Prod Investigation of Vega Family Land in Carmelita
    The issue of the Carmelita land scandal just won't go away. Today, PUP Senator Eamon Courtenay brought it up in the Senate as something the government has to act upon with deliberate haste because the society demands action:... Hon. Eamon Courtenay, PUP Senator: "It begs the question Mr. President and members what if anything we as a country we are going to do about this. What if anything we sign a convention that commits us fighting corruption. We have institutions that are available to fight corruption and here is something that requires attention. It is interesting Mr. President, members of the senate that 2 days ago I believe it was or a day ago, the Prime Minister was asked about this and he was very clear and I want to quote him, he said "there is no need for an investigation if the facts are as you say."

    Courtenay Wants Police To Investigate Carmelita
    After the meeting, Courtenay called for a criminal investigation into the land transactions which resulted in 50 adjoining properties ending up within the hands of the Minister's family:... Hon. Eamon Courtenay, PUP Senator: "First of all there must be an investigation by the police to determine, with the advice of the director of public prosecutions whether any criminal offence has been committed and it appears quite clear that criminal offences were committed and secondly, it seems to me based on the same CCJ case that a claim brought by the attorney general for malfeasants in public office needs to be brought against the Honorable Gaspar Vega," Reporter: "Do you expect that the government would go after him as you're calling?" Hon. Eamon Courtenay, PUP Senator: "I expect that the government is going to go after him as I said and that's why I brought it up on the adjournment in the context of the convention. They are the ones who said they are committed to the convention against corruption. They are the ones who have now appointed the integrity commission. Is Minister Vega going to file his returns? Is he going to file his returns going back 3-4-5-6 years? Because remember, family members are also included."

    PUP Senator Welcome New Speaker Longsworth, Bristles At New Senator Peyrefitte
    And as the senior opposition senator, we also asked Courtenay to comment on the upcoming changes in parliament - which could significantly change the tenor and mood of both houses. Well known nursing professional and president of the Cancer Society Laura Longsworth is going to be the Speaker of the House, and former house Speaker Mike Peyrefitte is going into the Senate. Courtenay was alternately gracious and aghast:... Hon. Eamon Courtenay, PUP Senator: "Let me refer first of all to the proposed appointment, the nomination of Mrs. Laura Longsworth as a speaker. Speaking for myself, I think it is a fantastic nomination. She is an exemplary person, a great Belizean. She has done tremendous public and private service to this country and I believe that she will bring a certain level of dignity and grace to the house that has long gone and so I welcomed her appointment and I think that it is going to attenuate to a large extent the vulgar display by parliamentarians in the house. So I think, personally I support it and I am very happy to see that happen. As to the advent of Michael Peyrefitte in the senate - oh my God. I suspect that the debates would be more robust. The debates will be more colorful, but I love good debate so I am looking forward to meeting him in the senate."

    Brazen BEL Holdup
    It's Christmas - time which means "crime-time" for some criminals - who are getting increasingly brazen with robberies and holdups. An example of that came this afternoon when two men robbed a BEL security guard. In broad daylight, the assailants approached and overwhelmed the security guard who was posted at the front entrance of the company's corporate headquarters. They stripped him of his firearm and fled. Seems the gun is all they wanted, and they didn't make any attempt to enter the business. No one was injured, and police are investigating.

    Harvest Caye Welcomes 7News
    A month ago, we took you to the opening of Norwegian Cruise Lines' Harvest Caye cruise port off the Placencia Peninsula. It is 100 million dollar investment in Southern Belize, and a one-of-a-kind destination since it is the only port of call in the country that has a berthing facility for cruise ships. Still, even though it is a big deal, Norwegian made it a point not to invite the local press to the opening - even though we made multiple requests. In the end, we had to paly the role of party crashers and sort of spy on it from afar to show you what the finished development looks like. Still, we kept pressing, and finally today, after weeks of more requests, NCL finally relented and invited the press to visit the island for a tour. Now, it's been a very long day to cover most of the features, and our news team is still on the road at this hour. But, they've managed to put together a small peek at the trek through Harvest Caye. We'll have our full story for you in tomorrow's newscast, with all the bells and whistles that island has. But for tonight, we have a portion of our interview with NCL's Colin Murphy discussing what the first 4 weeks of cruise ship calls to the island have been:

    NCL Replies To FECTAB
    Today's encounter with the NCL local boss allowed us to ask him about a few of the complaints coming from the local tour operators who are members of FECTAB. The biggest issue for them is that almost - if not all - of Norwegian's Cruise ships will divert from the Belize City harbour, to their Harvest Caye island getaway. That means that all the business that those local operators got from tourists coming off NCL's ships has disappeared. The concern is that NCL guests spend the most money - and now all that has gone south. We asked Colin Murphy and Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia Jr. about that and here's what they had to say: Colin Murphy, Senior VP - NCL: "At the moment we have 80 sum calls scheduled for 2017, we're hoping to grow that as time goes by. We have no contracts with any other cruise lines to come to Harvest Caye at present so it's just our 3 brands. Obviously we've made a significant investment here, we've planted a flag in Belize so it will make a lot of sense for us to support that with more calls."

    NCL Says FECTAB Misleading
    So, what about FECTAB's other complaint against Harvest Caye? According to the local operators, they had guests booked on NCL cruise ships. They say that these guests bought tours from them, and they couldn't go on those tours because, instead of going to Belize City, they landed at Harvest Caye, far from their intended tour operators. We asked Murphy and Heredia about that one, and they said that FECTAB is misleading the public. Here's how they put it: Daniel Ortiz, 7News: "We have heard FECTAB complained that some of their guests would have been on ships that were supposed to go to Belize City and those ships were directed here and those guests were locked away from them." Colin Murphy, Senior VP - NCL: "Well I've heard that but I can't believe it's true frankly, because we've been working with the government, with BTB for years on this project and everyone knows what we were planning to do. Everybody knew what the start date was and actually as you know, we delayed this project a year so that the folks in Belize City got an extra 12 months of calls from us that was originally communicated. So everyone knew what the start was for Harvest Caye. If they're taking passenger bookings for days on the ship, they knew it wasn't going to be in Belize City. I don't understand how that can happen."

    Hulse Says GOB Did Have Issues To Clarify With NCL
    And it seems we weren't the only ones meeting the top brass from Norwegian. Chairman of Cabinet's Investment Committee Godwin Hulse says he did the same yesterday. He says they discussed the required ratios of local involvement and employment:.. Hon. Godwin Hulse, Chmn., Cabinet Investment Committee: "When we started the negotiations with NCL both in the MOU, it was clear that initially they will be able to bring up to 25% of foreign personnel which they will phase out over a period of 5 years, but it was also crustal clear that when it came to tour guides, boat captains and those that has to be Belizean unconditionally. I met with them just to review that together with Minister Heredia and Minister Panton as well as the senior staff of the BTB and the BELTRAIDE to reiterate that. As I understand it, the minister is down there today, NCL has assured us that they are complying to the letter with the agreement both in terms of hiring only local tour guides and people associated with that element and also on the island as best as possible hiring as many locals."

    Opposition Questions 7 Million for BIL
    And going back to today's Senate Meeting - there was a back and forth about the Supplementary Appropriation budget. This approves 14.3 million dollars in government spending above what had already been approved in the budget. 7 million of that is for Belize Infrastructure Limited - mainly for work on the Civic Center - and that drew strong criticism from the opposition:... Hon. Valerie Woods, Senator, PUP: "On the matter of BIL, my very brief comment is that we were here not so long ago on supplementary bill for BIL (Belize Infrastructure Limited). I joined all colleagues on both sides of this chamber who are asking for more information. Yes, we know that we cannot stop money bills, but we should not, especially in a week following the signing of UNCAC just accept these types of bills where the overruns are as grossly increased. We have absolutely no knowledge of where these expenses are to suggest to look at a field there or a field down south is simply not enough when we're millions of dollars of overruns."

    Government Raises Treasury Bills Ceiling, Labour, Business and Opposition Express Concern
    And there was also a lot of talk across the floor about the Treasury Bills Amendment Bill. That increased the ceiling on what is called government paper, or treasury bills to 1.3 billion dollars. The business sector, labour and opposition said it's too much borrowing:.. Hon. Rufino Lin, Ag. Senator, Business Sector "I believe that we must have a limit to borrowing. Private and Sovereign borrowing must be capped beyond which red flags must be raised. Borrowing in the private sector is not achieved simply by the stroke of a pen, it is achieved after careful, candid and meticulous review of the borrower's repayment capacity. There are key financial ratios that guide a banker as he/she reviews and evaluates a customer's financing requirements so both borrower and lender have a financial and social responsibility to be honest with each other. This bill really opens the opportunity for a level of borrowing that in my view places us in a dangerous path. So, this bill without any sort of limit just allows the borrowing of more and more money I think is one that we do not really support."

    Senate Approves Special Agreement, PUP Says "For What?"
    And finally from today's Senate meeting, the upper house approved the International Court of Justice Motion, and its accompanying protocol, authorizing ratification of the special agreement to submit it to the International Court of Justice. Now, this is mostly symbolic - since government doesn't need the Senate's ratification to proceed. Today's meeting was preceded by a session with the Minster of Foreign Affairs explaining the reason for bringing the motion to the senate - and not surprisingly, the government side was convinced and the opposition was not. Here's both sides of that story:... Hon. Godwin Hulse, Chmn., Cabinet Investment Committee: "The question of course was that whether in fact we should authorize the ratification, that is the main issue. As for the foreign minister, his team and the government the consensus says we should approve the ratification of both the special agreement and the protocol there too. It doesn't mean that we're doing anything else but ratifying that and as you all know, this has to be made clear..."

    Fancy (And Tiny) New Street Sweeper
    Today the streets of Belize City were introduced to a new method of maintenance. A brand new street sweeper was unloaded on Chetumal Street, where we caught a few operators demonstrating its capabilities. We also met Councilor Phillip Willoughby observing the demonstration and he gave us some information about the sweeper, and some other equipment that arrived along with it... Phillip Willoughby - Councilor responsible for Flood mitigation: "This is one of 5 equipment that has come courtesy the Flood Mitigation Project, granted by the government of Belize through IDB for the Flood Mitigation infrastructure improvement project for Belize City. The four other equipment that we'll be getting are a back hose a roller, a vacuum truck and an asphalt truck. We have in country four of the equipment thus far and the other will be arriving shorty which is the asphalt truck." Alex Courtenay, 7News: "Now sir, we've seen this machine sweep up some of the debris that was on the street. Where should we except to see this in the City."

    Highway Hijackers Strike Again
    The highway hijackers have struck again! this time it was a Shaw's Bus. Last night around 8:30, the Belmopan bound bus stopped near Gracie Rock and 2 armed men got on the bus demanding money from the conductor. But the conductor outsmarted the robbers and gave them an empty bag. Rural Police told us more about this second highway robbery and what they are doing to prevent recurrence. Police are not sure if those 3 men they caught were involved in last night's bus robbery. As we told you on Tuesday, 2 men who were dressed as cops, set up a fake check point at mile 20 and stole almost 50,000 from a Travelers truck.

    Catholic Bishops Tell Luke, Go Back To School
    For the past two nights we've been reporting on the dispute on when school should resume after the Christmas holidays. The teachers union says it should start on the 9th January as per normal, and the ministry and school managements say it should be on the third to make up for days lost due to strike. Well, the Roman Catholic Bishop have written to the teacher's union president. This time, the Catholics are telling the union to get back to school on January third, The letter, signed by both Bishops Glancey and Wright says that the plan to return to school on the third is reasonable, and it avoids extending the school year into July. The letter notes that that the Catholics supported the teachers in the labor and good governance issues that they fought for, and adds that teachers have said they are willing to make up the time. But, the Bishops are against extending the school day after 3:30, because it would quote "overly tax children beyond their limits to pay attention," end quote.

    High School Managers Says School Opens On Third
    And so while that's for Primary schools, what about High Schools? Well, the Belize Association of Principals of Secondary Schools also agreed with the Ministry to open school early after the Christmas - so that they could achieve the minimum of 180 school days in a school year. In a release today, they add, quote, "It must also be noted that the addition of 6 days to the school year will not affect the 30 working days vacation leave that teachers are entitled to per year." It concludes, "It is therefore the position of the Association that schools reopen on Tuesday January 3rd, 2017."

    Manuel and The Visa's
    Earlier in the newscast, we showed you our interview with Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia in which he joined the press on a tour of Norwegian Cruise Line's Harvest Caye island getaway. That gave us the opportunity to ask him about his name being brought up in yesterday's Senate Select Committee Hearing. The Senate, as we told you, is going through the Auditor General's report on the Immigration Department with a fine tooth comb. Yesterday, the portion of her report addressing allegations against Heredia came up. You'll remember it as the section on the Visas where according to the Auditor General, Manuel Heredia signed for 52 visa foils. You'll also remember that the Auditor General also noted in her report, quote, "We observed that there appeared to be a special connection between the Honorary Consul of Belize in Lebanon, Khodr H. Harmouch and Hon. Manuel Heredia in order to have…three members of the Harmouch/ Harmouche family acquire Belizean nationality." It also notes that in one case, quote, "Minister Heredia requested File for processing a year before applicant had qualified for Nationality based on his file."

    Channel 5

    The Awful Death of “Jane Doe” in the Belize River
    The body of a woman fished out of the Belize River on Wednesday, remains unidentified tonight.  No one has come forward to verify her identity despite very distinct features on [...]

    Murder in Buena Vista, Cayo: Body Found Decomposing on Ranch
    There’s another murder to report tonight. About two miles off the Buena Vista Road in the Cayo District a body of a middle-aged man of Hispanic origins was discovered. According [...]

    Security Guard at B.E.L. Stripped of Firearm
    With Christmas just around the corner, criminals are on the loose. This afternoon, they are targeted Belize Electricity Limited in broad daylight. Police are investigating the hold up of a [...]

    Senate Ratifies Special Agreement and Protocol; is Referendum Next?
    In the Capital, the Senate hosted its final session for 2016 at the National Assembly. It reviewed and passed nine bills brought back from the House and several motions. Of [...]

    Opposition Disagrees – Agreements Did Not Need to be Ratified to Have Referendum
    The Opposition contends that there has been a rush to judgment and that the Government need not have acted with such haste. They say their view is bolstered by an [...]

    Why Investigation is Needed in Carmelita Land Scam
    One thousand six hundred acres of prime farm land gobbled up by a powerful family in five years, at great loss to the Government and people of Belize. That, in [...]

    More Money in the Economy Not a Good Thing, Opposition Senator Claims
    Among the bills considered by the Senate today is the Treasury Bill (Number Three) Amendment Bill, which juggles the limits that Government can raise on treasury bills and treasury notes. [...]

    Tourism Minister Wants Injunction to Quash Senate Inquiry
    Belize Rural South Area Representative, Manuel Heredia Junior, according to the Auditor General’s report, received fifty-two visa foils that were to have been delivered to the Officer in Charge of [...]

    Couriering Visa Stickers Was Part of “Service” to Constituents, Says Heredia
    According to Heredia, acting as a courier to convey documents, including passports and visas foils, from San Pedro to the respective departments within the Ministry of Immigration is simply part [...]

    Guardian Accused of Lying About Deliberations of Senate Committee
    Who is leaking inaccurate suggestions of private deliberations of the Senate Special Select Committee on Immigration to certain sections of the media? That question came up in the full meeting [...]

    N.C.L. Will Be Kept to Agreement on Hiring Belizeans
    A News Five crew was on Harvest Caye today at the invitation of Norwegian Cruise Lines. It is the first time the media was invited to experience the cruise port [...]

    FECTAB Complaints About Losing Tours Not True, According to N.C.L.
    Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia Junior also took on Federation of Cruise Tourism Association of Belize for their allegation that visitors who booked with NCL to call on Belize, did [...]

    N.C.L. Will Feed Local Tourism in Mid-South and Toledo
    Since NCL launched its Harvest Caye destination on November seventeenth, there have been concerns among local tour operators that their counterparts in Placencia aren’t getting a slice of the tourism [...]

    New Belizeans Sworn-in in Time for Christmas
    Over a hundred and twenty persons are new Belizeans. The group of persons took the oath making them citizens of the country in Belmopan on Wednesday. They come from as [...]

    Interdicted Cop and Brother of Policeman to be Tried in Separate Sex Assault Cases
    Interdicted police officer, Darren Evan Martinez who was accused of committing a heinous act on an eight year old child in February of this year, will have to stand trial [...]

    Fake Commuters Tried to Rob Shaw Bus to Belmopan
    There was yet another robbery on the George Price Highway near miles twenty. A pair of robbers, pretending to be commuters, boarded a Shaw bus en route to Belmopan and [...]

    Northside Police Seek Contributions for Christmas Hampers
    Christmas is a time of sharing and caring and the Police of Eastern Division North Precinct Three want to spread some cheer this holiday season. Press Officer of Eastern Division [...]

    Healthy Living: How to Avoid a Heart Attack for Christmas
    Christmastime is said to be a period of joy and merriment; where families come together and celebrate and build memories with their loved ones. The kids look forward to see [...]

    CTV3

    Armed Robbery at Chinese Store in Corozal
    Corozal Police are investigating the armed robbery of a Chinese store in the Santa Rita area of Corozal Town on Tuesday night. Two armed robbers targeted Ban Store located on Mile 85 on the Phillip Goldson highway just before the store closed its shutters. The men entered the store, despite an off-duty Police Officer being on guard, and one proceeded to tackle the officer while the other demanded money as he brandished a firearm. The store attendant, fearing for his life, handed over cash which the men took and ran away. Reports are that the men got away with $800.

    Senate Committee Questions How Visas Were Illegally Sanctioned
    There were also other cases of visas illegally sanctioned by the Ministry of Immigration. One such case reviewed during the hearing had the Chairman Senator Aldo Salazar ask, “how did that happen??!!”. Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee: “List of applicants whose application were not approved by the Director, how did that happened?” Carla Faber, Head of Audit Team: “Her signature was not on the form, so how did it had been issued and we are talking about Belmopan.” Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee: “I thought she was the person who could issue VISAS, who had the authority.” Carla Faber, Head of Audit Team: “She approves the VISAS for issuance but she did not issue the VISA, after she had finish approving a VISA application she sends it to the officer in charge at the VISAS section.”

    More Visa Irregularities
    There were also other cases of visas illegally sanctioned by the Ministry of Immigration. One such case reviewed during the hearing had the Chairman Senator Aldo Salazar ask, “how did that happen??!!”. Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee: “List of applicants whose application were not approved by the Director, how did that happened?” Carla Faber, Head of Audit Team: “Her signature was not on the form, so how did it had been issued and we are talking about Belmopan.” Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee: “I thought she was the person who could issue VISAS, who had the authority.”

    Human Smugglers Got Belizean Passports And Nationality
    There have been numerous reports of Human Smuggling rings in Belize. There have been Police arrests and confiscation of vehicles in the past, but no significant bust of any sort of operation. But perhaps greater efforts will or are going towards cracking down on those activities from outside of Belize, as the Auditor General’s report noted that a foreign service assisted her investigation with evidence that human smugglers were given Belizean passports and nationality. Just who that Foreign Service is could not be identified, because as the Auditor General pointed out, it is very classified information. Senator Mark Lizarraga – Representative for Chamber of Commerce and Industry: “You said that it was also observed that an alleged human trafficking/people smugglers were able to obtain Belizean Nationality by registration and I guess passport because you are dealing with it in the passport report.”

    Auditor General Speaks On Mismanagement In VISAS And Nationality Section
    In last night’s newscast, we showed you snippets of the Senate Special Select Committee hearing on the Auditor General’s special audit into immigration department. Tonight we continue to air several aspects that caught our attention. Firstly, in the second session held on December 7th, Auditor General Dorothy Bradley made a critical concession in the eyes of her detractors when she corrected a statement in her report that Ministers signing recommendation letters for the processing of visas, nationality and passport documents were irregular and not illegal. This concession meant that the controversial actions from Ministers who issued letters directly to Immigration officials was perhaps less controversial than suspected. Yesterday, however, the Auditor General cited illegality when the Committee discussed the approval of visa applications that were backed by unauthorized sponsors.

    LOVE FM

    Roman Catholic and Association of Secondary School Principals Tell Luke to Put Interest of Children First
    The Roman Catholic Management has written to the President of the Belize National Teachers Union, Luke Palacio following a release from the BNTU earlier this week regarding the date for the re-opening of schools. In its release the BNTU took issue with the Ministry of Education stating that classes would resume on Tuesday, January 3, […]

    Minor Detained for Robbery of Big-H Delivery Truck
    Dangriga Police have detained a sixteen year old minor and are looking for a second individual following the robbery of a delivery truck on Monday. Police say the Big H delivery truck was making a delivery in the Harlem area in Dangriga when the driver was approached by a male person wearing a black t-shirt […]

    Elderly Man Robbed and Killed on a Ranch in Western Belize
    The body of an elderly man was found on his family ranch this afternoon just outside Buena Vista Village, Cayo District. Love News met up with the victim’s son, Carlos Medrano minutes after he got the news of his father’s demise. CARLOS MEDRANO ” A post mortem was conducted on-site. While the family believes that […]

    GoB Hits a Snag in Arbitration Appeal to the US Supreme Court
    Earlier this month the Government of Belize had petitioned the US Supreme Court to review a ruling handed down in July by the DC Circuit Court that upheld the monetary award to the Belize Telemedia Limited via the London Court of International Arbitration. That revision, however may not come for Belize as it was reported […]

    Referendum Motions Go to the Senate; Opposition Disapproves
    The final Senate Sitting took place today in Belmopan. It got underway just after eleven o’clock as the Senators engaged in a closed door meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister, Wilfred Elrington to get a briefing on the matter as motion was being presented in the Senate regarding the Referendum Act. Senator responsible for Government Business, […]

    PUP Senator Says Treasury Bill Amendment Poses Danger for Belize
    At last Friday’s Sitting of the House of Representatives, four bills were introduced namely the General Revenue Supplementary Appropriation Bill, the amendment of the Treasury Bill, Income and Business Tax Amendment Bill and the Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters Amendment Bill. The amendment to Treasury Bills Bill was what stood out as the opposition […]

    Police Says Croc May Be The Culprit in Woman’s Death
    Traumatic Cranial Injuries is what the results of the post mortem conducted yesterday. Revealed on an unidentified woman believed to be in her thirties. The post mortem was conducted on-site and subsequently laid to rest in Lord’s Bank Village, Belize District. Initially, police had noted that the woman’s feet were tied but with further investigations, […]

    The Guardian

    Strength in change - Cabinet and Parliament Shuffle
    It is very rare for changes in both the Legislative and Executive Branches of Government to result in a strengthening of the Administration. Belize may be witnessing one of those extremely rare phenomenons as the changes announced by Right Honorable Prime Minister Dean Barrow on Tuesday, December 13, are receiving thumbs up from all sectors of society. The Attorney General and Minister of Natural Resources Senator Hon. Vanessa Retreage has upheld a verbal one year commitment she made to Prime Minister Barrow and is now moving on to focus on her private career and development. Since word surfaced that Retreage was moving on from public service, rumours have been flung wildly. She disappointed the conspiracy theorists at a press conference with PM Barrow on Tuesday in Belmopan. “Sadly it's only because time is up and I can't confirm any of the juicy gossip that has been going around,” said Retreage. “I remain committed to this UDP administration and will provide any support I can whenever I can to this UDP administration and I am confident that this administration will see the country through these troubling times that we are having.”

    School to re-open on January 3rd - BNTU says no way
    Once again, the Belize National Teachers Union is encouraging its members to take an adversarial stance against the Ministry of Education. They are rejecting the plan to make up 6 of the 11 school days lost in their October strike. It appears that their vacation is more important than helping the students catch up after falling behind due to their reckless actions. The Ministry of Education has publicized the intention to short the Christmas break by 4 days, so instead of classes resuming on January 9, the next term should start on January 3, which is a Tuesday. Also the plan is to extend classes an extra two days into the Easter Holiday. So, instead of the Easter break starting at the end of Friday, April 7, students and teachers are expected to show up for 2 more days into the week before Good Friday. That means April 10 and 11 are to be school days. This was the plan of action decided upon by the Ministry and the managing authorities of the different schools countrywide.

    Police officer nabbed with 8 illegal immigrants
    Eight undocumented persons were intercepted over the weekend in Santa Elena Town, Cayo. On Saturday at about 9:15 pm a police team accompanied by volunteers from the Special Constables were conducting patrols in the Santa Elena Town Area in the Cayo District when their attention was drawn to a heavily tinted vehicle that was speeding towards Belmopan. That vehicle, an SUV without a license plate number, was pursued and brought to a stop. A closer inspection revealed that a police constable attached to the Benque Police Formation Edif Alex Sierra was in the driver seat along with eight Salvadoran Migrants--four adults and four minors under the age of 16. An investigation launched by the Departments of Human Services, Immigration and the Police has shown that the occupants of the SUV had no form of travel documents with them. As a result those persons will be charged for immigration offences and so will the police officer for facilitating the transportation. Police were also able to find two thousand US dollars in the said vehicle.

    Carl Ramos Stadium now officially opened
    Dangriga and the surrounding communities in the Stann Creek District can now enjoy a professional football match at the Carl Ramos Stadium. The 1.2 million-dollar upgrade has been completed and the Dangriga stadium is now the envy of the south, and this facility is state of the art. It is just one of the many sporting facilities which the Government of Belize and the Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL) have partnered to construct and upgrade for the footballers countrywide. It was opened on Saturday, December 10, with its first official football match. There was also a ceremony hosted by Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture; Dangriga Area Representative, Hon. Frank “Pawpa” Mena; Defence Minister Hon. John Saldivar; who is a long time football fan and team owner; and Dangriga Mayor Francis Humphreys.

    Belize signs to UN Anti-corruption Convention
    Belize is now the 184th country to sign on to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). The Barrow Administration has done as was promised to the people of Belize. With this step, the government is demonstrating to the world that it is serious about tackling corruption in public life, despite the insistence from critics, that the leaders stubbornly ignore that it exists. Acting Prime Minister Hon. Patrick Faber signed the treaty on Friday, December 9th in Belmopan. He did so in the presence of the United Nations Resident Coordinator Christian Salazar Volkmann; other Government officials such as Dr. Carla Barnett; and a representative for the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The signing is simply a completion of the Government’s expedited plan to get the convention enforced on Belizean soil. That plan started in November when the Cabinet agreed to move straight to accession.

    Belizean entrepreneurs receive seed funding to expand their business
    Thirty-six young Belizean entrepreneurs were recognized for their hard work during an award ceremony of the EMPRENDE Belize Fund, which was held in the IVET Dining Room, ITVET Campus on Freetown Road, Belize City. During the award ceremony, His Excellency Charles Liu, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Hon. Tracy Taegar-Panton, Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade & Commerce, presented a cheque for the total sum of US$200,000 to the recipients as part of the EMPRENDE Belize Fund. The entrepreneurs will receive grant funding of up to US$5,555 each to establish or expand their businesses and will execute their investment plans as approved by the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) and the Regional Centre for the Promotion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (CENPROMYPE).

    CCJ interpretation of ‘Channels’ eases SMART 5 million dollars in fees
    Speednet, the parent company of Smart, the second major telephone company in Belize, has won judgment against the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The Caribbean Court of Justice has ruled against the utilities regulator allowing Speednet to save 5 million dollars in licensing fees. The dispute between Speednet and the PUC dates back to 2011 when Speednet was paying for the licensing of 238 channels which they use to provide phone calls, text, and data usage to their customers. They paid $1,400, but the PUC informed them that they owed $800,000. The huge disparity existed because the PUC was attempting to charge them for usage of voice channels, whereas Speednet was paying for radio frequency channels. The regulators were of the view that the telecoms company was being undercharged. Speednet disagreed, believing that they were being overcharged. They paid the $800,000 for that year under protest, and then, they filed a lawsuit against the PUC disputing the amount. After that, they did not pay for the 5 years outstanding, while the litigation was ongoing.

    International Diana Award given to Belizean Youth
    On Friday December 9, 2016 Ernest Anderson, a fourth form Industrial Studies student from Orange Walk Technical High School, was awarded the International Diana Award. Ernest won this award for the reading and writing program he instituted at Louisiana Government School. For the past three and a half years, Ernest has volunteered as a tutor and mentor to the Standard Three primary school students and significant progress has been made in the behavior and academic achievements of his students. Deputy British High Commissioner, Mrs. Grace Chun, presented Ernest with the Award. Ms. Chun spoke of the late Princess Diana’s charitable works and she encouraged youth to volunteer and build up their communities. Ernest is a scholar of BNE’s Energy for Life Program. This program is a BNE employee initiative where scholarship recipients are sponsored, mentored and tutored by employees of BNE. The three directors of the Program are: Albert Roches, Manuela Lue and Leila Leslie.

    A step closer to having full local electricity production in country
    On Tuesday December 13 the Belize Electricity Limited and SS Energy a subsidiary of the sugar producing company, Santander in western Belize signed on to a 15 year agreement (with an automatic extension of10 years) for the supply of electricity to the national grid. Public Utilities Commission (PUC) chairman, John Avery explained that the signing is in keeping with request for proposal for generation of power which was launched in October of 2013. At that time it was promised that the process would be fair transparent and open. He added that Santander was selected as one of the bidders to negotiate with BEL for power purchase as Belize has the least capacity for local power production in the first 6 months of the year. The company he said, is also well established with proven technology.

    General managers say school should open on January 3
    On Wednesday November 2nd , 2016, General Managers of Pre and Primary Schools met with senior officials of the Ministry of Education to explore ways to compensate for the loss of instructional time due to strike action taken by the Belize National Teachers Union. Managers believed that it is in students’ best interest to seek ways to help students to catch up while at the same time meeting the minimum 180 school days in a school year as required in the Education Rules 131 (3) of 2000. Managers unanimously agreed that 6 school days will be added, January 3rd to 6th and April 10th and 11th, 2017. The managers’ decision to add the six days will assist schools to comply with the minimum 180 school days requirement. Additionally, managers accept that given the structure of the school year, any compensatory school days would involve a change in the vacation periods as described in Rule 132 subsections (3, 4 and 5) of ER 2000. General Managers believe that the 180 school days minimum requirement is also underscored in Rule 132(2).

    IICA reports to stakeholders in Belmopan
    The Inter American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture IICA held its annual meeting at the George Price Center for Peace and Development in Belmopan last Thursday to report to stakeholders on achievements and its plans. In attendance were experts from the Department of Agriculture, Belize’s Agricultural Industries and Mexico. According to IICA’s Representative in Belize Dr. Dowlat Budhram such reporting mechanism occurs similarly in the 34 member states where the organization operates. In reviewing with the Guardian the achievements of IICA during last year, Dr. Budhram mentioned that SIRDI in the North was assisted with a building with European Union funding and so are more effectively able to do some research on sugar cane. The second significant piece of work by IICA during the same time frame was to work with the Department of Agriculture’s Extension Service in the implementation of the farmer field school methodology. Under this program, extension officers from other areas such as citrus, bananas and the Pesticide Control Board PCB were provided critical training.

    Julius says he will not apologize to the Speaker of the House
    After Said Musa’s failed attempt to try and get the House to vindicate Julius Espat for his UNCOUTH BEHAVIOUR, that he displayed in the house on the 26th August, 2016 .The same behaviour that caused him to be named and suspended from the House of Representatives , he has now taken to Facebook to throw another tantrum and be a further EMBARRASSMENT and DISAPPOINTMENT to the People of Cayo South and the entire nation. For clarity we will reproduce the entire post he placed on Facebook so that you, our readers will get the full effect of how uncouth this man is. Below is the post as taken from his Facebook account.

    Education CEO moves on
    Mr. David Leacock, Chief Executive Officer with responsibility for Education, in the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture will be leaving this post effective December 31, 2016. In a letter dated September 7, 2016, Mr. Leacock gave notice to the Prime Minister of his intention to resign after he had verbally informed the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture. Mrs. Debbie Domingo, current General Manager of Anglican Primary Schools, will succeed Mr. Leacock as Chief Executive Officer. Mrs. Domingo holds a Masters in Education in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida and Bachelor of Science in Biology Education. She has served as a teacher at Wesley College (1987-1994), Vice Principal of the Anglican Cathedral College (1994-2000), Principal of Sadie Vernon High School (2000-2005), Dean for St. John’s College Junior College School of Professional Studies (2006-2011) and General Manager of Anglican Schools (2011-2016).

    Unacceptable: Violence against Children Must Stop Now
    The National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) joins the nation in mourning the tragic loss of another innocent Belizean child. It is truly a tragic outcome. Media reports about the questionable circumstances surrounding the tragic death of baby Janeeka Campbell leaves the NCFC with grave concerns and a number of questions. The death of any child is regrettable. Sadly, the recent results of the Belize Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2015 indicate that children below the age of five experience the most severe forms of violence against them. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that parents have all the support they need to raise happy and healthy children. Together, with its partners the NCFC continues to work on strengthening the support that Government and NGOs give to families. However, as citizens we need to remember that “it takes a village to raise a child”.

    Protection for Chiquibul receives financial aid from PACT
    In August of this year the Ministry of the Environment unveiled the Chiquibul Forests Investment Initiative (CFII) which will see an investment of an unprecedented 15.8 million dollars over the next two years for the protection of the Chiquibul forests. At the time the ministry promised that it would begin to outlay the finances as soon as possible and that has now started. On Tuesday December 13, through the Protected Areas Conservation Trust’s (PACT) Environmental Management Fund, the fist trache of funding was issued to the BDF, the Forestry Department, Friends for Conservation (FCD)and Development and the Ya’axche Conservation Trust. During the ceremonies the BDF received $434, 101; FCD received $770,000; Ya’axche received $400,000 and the Forest department received $572,749. Denicia Francisco, Executive Director of PACT says that the organizations have received the finances as they are directly involved in the protection of the Chiquibul forests. She says that over the next two years $2.5 million dollars will be made available to these organizations from the PACT’s Environmental Management fund.

    No leadership void in UDP as Hon. Patrick Faber leads UDP in National Assembly
    On Friday 9th December, 2016 , the eyes of the nation were focused on the Capital , Belmopan. This was a day when a few historical moments were about to occur in Belize. The first being that the government was about to sign to bring into effect, the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. The UNCOUTH Julius Espat via a Privilege Motion, to be moved by Said Musa, was going to attempt to get Julius’ suspension from the National Assembly lifted. However the biggest moment of the day, was when the young, educated and dynamic UDP Deputy Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Patrick Faber was to be the Leader of the National Assembly for the first time. It was not the first time that a Deputy Prime Minister would lead the House. As Hon. Curl Thompson had done it before when he once lead the House in the 1980’s when he was Deputy Prime Minister. The difference was that Hon. Thompson had already been Deputy Leader of the UDP about 5 years and Deputy Prime Minister for about 3 years. Hon. Faber on the other hand has only been Deputy Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister a little over 6 months.

    Rosewood found in Benque will not be burnt
    The forestry Department is currently investigating the case of at least 30 thousand board feet of Rosewood flitches which were found at a wood works shop in Benque Viejo del Carmen. Chief Forestry Officer, Marcello Windsor told the Guardian newspaper that some officers conducting patrol and inspection in the area of Benque came up on the Rosewood which could not be accounted for. The Forestry is at this time preparing a case and Windsor said he could not give much information as he does not want it to affect case. As of Tuesday December 13, the rosewood was being transported and measuring is still taking place. The department is also going through the process of determining where the wood originated from and are asking the persons at the wood shop to cooperate.

    Town Council in San Ignacio distributes gifts to children
    Some 400 Christmas gifts were distributed by the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council at the Cayo Welcome Center on Friday night of last week in keeping with the fast approach of Christmas Day. As part of the program by the Town Council it was also to officially present a 19 feet high, fully decorated Christmas Tree to the community. On hand to put on the lights of the Christmas tree was Mayor Earl Trapp and his Councilors. The frame for the Christmas Tree had been donated by the Cayo Steel Works and the staff of the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council had also managed to raise funds for 75 gifts. In presenting the Christmas Tree to the Cayo community, Mayor Earl Trapp was able to highlight some of the achievements of his Council. He said that as Mayor of the municipality his priority was to seek new opportunities for residents “…that can create jobs and bring about betterment in the community.”

    Special Envoy and Counsellor for Belize at Inter-American Development Bank present Hurricane relief to four institutions in Belize
    The Special Envoy for Women and Children, and Counsellor for Belize on the Board of Executive Directors at the Inter-American Development Bank presented donations in the amount of US$18,425 to four institutions in Belize to provide relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Earl. The donations were presented by Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children and Ms. Elvira Mendez, Counsellor for Belize at the IDB Board of Executive Directors. Also present was Cassandra Rogers, IDB Country Representative in Belize and the representatives of the four institutions that received the donations. The funds were raised through contributions made by employees at the IDB headquarters in Washington DC in four events organized by Mrs. Elvira Mendez during the months of September and October 2016. The IDB corporate office then matched the funds that had been raised bringing the total to US$18, 425.00.

    Superbond meeting not yet focused on details
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow gave a briefing on his recent meeting with holders of Belize’s bonds at a press conference on Tuesday, December 13, and there is not really much to report. Basically, all that has happened thus far is Belize has placed its cards on the table. “So far we’ve set out the broad contours,” said PM Barrow, “We know basically what we are talking about but the devil is always in the details and those details won’t be discussed until the next meeting which we are hoping to have before the end of year.” Prime Minister Barrow said he did not meet with the bondholders. In an interview with News 5 he said, “I went to meet with our team prior to their meeting with the bondholders because this is the point now where the rubber is beginning to meet the road.” Belize’s team comprises of Ambassador Mark Espat, Financial Secretary Joseph Waight, attorney Lee Buchheit and advisors from CitiGroup. Prime Minister Barrow gives the final nod on the position put forth to the bondholders by this team. So far the team has simply opened the books that contain information on the country’s financial position and projections.

    Remembering UDP’s first victory at the polls
    On Wednesday 14th December we in Belize and more so in the UDP marked the THIRTYSECOND ANNIVERSARY of the United Democratic Party being elected to government for the first time. The election was the first in Belize since it achieved full independence from the United Kingdom in 1981. At that time in its more than 30 years of existence the then ruling People United Party, had never lost an election at the national level, whilst the opposition had never won more than six seats out of a possible eighteen (1974).However, by 1984 the PUP were presiding over an economy in recession and one that had just recently been bailed out by the DREADED IMF. The party was internally fractured and faced a United Democratic Party that had made significant gains since losing the previous election in 1979. Senator Manuel Esquivel , whom George Price had defeated in the then Freetown Constituency in 1979 had become UDP leader in December 1983.

    Lavern Longsworth out after less than 2 Years
    After getting her life sentence for murder quashed and agreeing to a plea deal of 8 years imprisonment for manslaughter, Lavern Longsworth is out of jail after serving just over 2 years. Longsworth was convicted of murder but the Court of Appeals reduced it to Manslaughter and instead of serving life in prison she was sentenced to serve 4 and a half more years in prison on June 27, 2014. Her attorneys, Godfrey Smith and Leslie Mendez, appealed her murder conviction in the June 2014 Session of the Supreme Court on the grounds that in July 2010 she wasn’t totally to blame for her actions when she doused her common-law husband, David White, in Kerosene and lit him on fire. Her attorneys successfully convinced the Court of Appeals to accept reports done on Longsworth by British Forensic Psychiatrist, Dr. Gillian Mezey. In those reports, the Doctor found that Longsworth was suffering from battered woman’s syndrome because she suffered years of physical abuse at the hands of the deceased. She therefore concluded that Longsworth should not be held fully liable of the crime she was convicted of.

    Bobby Mansaray charged for home invasion
    Holy Emmanuel Street resident Bobby Mansaray, 22, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison because he was accused of forcing himself into Claudio Arzu’s home with a firearm and causing physical harm. Mansaray was unrepresented when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith on Monday, December 12. He said, “The man fabricated the story. I was somewhere else. I could not be in two places at the same time as I am not God.” He pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated burglary and wounding. However, since it is alleged that the crime was committed with a firearm Mansaray was denied bail and remanded to the Belize Central Prison until his next court appearance on February 26, 2017 or when he is able to secure Supreme Court bail. Disclosure is to be provided by February 12, 2017.

    Denzel Flowers chops his stepmother
    There is still no explanation as to why Denzel Flowers, 19, got so angry and chopped up his own step-mother on Thursday, December 8, but police believe they have enough evidence to convict him of attempted murder for that vicious attack. Based on information received about a chopping incident in progress, police visited #4305 Louise Bevans Street at about 10:55 a.m. on Thursday and saw 52-year-old Consuelo Lopez being chopped by her stepson Denzel Flowers. Lopez received multiple chop wounds to her hand and head. She was bleeding profusely and police rushed her to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where doctors performed emergency surgery to save her life. She was then sedated to ease the pain and prevent further damage to her body. Lopez is still in a critical condition but her prognosis is much improved.

    Leroy Richards busted with 700 grams of weed
    Police say they caught Leroy Richards, 30, on a bicycle carrying a sack of weed but he claims the police is fabricating a story against him. According to police, on Wednesday, December 7, they saw Richards riding a bicycle on Antelope Street Extension with a sack on the handle. The officers stopped him, conducted a search and found cannabis inside. Richards was immediately arrested and escorted to the police station where the cannibis was weighed. It amounted to 700 grams; therefore, he was charged with drug trafficking.

    3 months for stealing shrimp from Public’s
    Mark Middleton, 42, also known as Rugu, is now serving a three month sentence after he pled guilty to stealing shrimps from Public’s Supermarket. Around 8:30 on Wednesday morning, December 14, the security guard at Public’s Supermarket was on patrol when his attention was drawn to Middleton who was carrying a knapsack on his back. The security guard noticed when Middleton went to the freezer section and took out a bag of shrimp out of the freezer and placed it in his knapsack. The security guard approached him and took away the bag of shrimp. Police were called to the establishment and Middleton was arrested and charged for theft. The bag amounted to four pounds, valued at $64.

    Martin Matura charged for Port Loyola Center burglary
    The Port Loyola Health Center was burglarized around 3 a.m. on Friday, December 9, but police say they caught the culprit inside the facility so nothing was reported stolen. The man police say they caught red handed is Martin Matura, 40, a resident of #15 Central American Boulevard. He was arrested and charged with a single count of burglary. Matura was unrepresented when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith and pleaded not guilty to the charge. Prosecutor in the case, Inspector Egbert Castillo, strongly objected to bail. Castillo’s objection was based on the prevalence of the crime, the strength of the prosecution’s case, and the fear that Matura may try to interfere with witnesses since he lives in the area and it was the security guard who alerted the police about the burglary in progress and gave police a statement in the matter. With that, Chief Magistrate Smith denied bail and remanded Matura into custody at the Belize Central Prison until February 24, 2016.

    Mysterious murder of Armando Pelayo in Corozal
    Corozal Police continue in their investigation of the murder of 36 year-old Armando Pelayo, who was fatally shot and chopped inside his home. The incident is believed to have happened shortly before 3 a.m. on Thursday, December 8, at his house on G Street in Corozal Town. The cops came upon him bleeding out after being shot in the back of the neck, and the lower back. His assailants also chopped him in the face and the forearms. Police came up on the scene completely by chance because they were following a suspicious car which led them to his home. This burglary patrol team spotted a white Toyota Camry car with dark tinted windows and international license plates. They followed it, making sure that the occupants were not going on any criminal operations.

    Robert Emmanuel Popper pleads guilty to theft
    Robert Emmanuel Popper, 43, a seasoned thief, is now serving a three year jail sentence for snatching Dwayne Crawford’s bag with his cash and other personal items. Crawford reported to police that just after 3 p.m. on October 15 he was walking on Princess Margaret Drive heading towards Nazarene High School when a short brown skinned man passed and snatched his bag from his right arm. Inside the bag was a blood sugar testing machine, a black Samsung flip phone valued at $175, a black and yellow Wahl brand trimming machine valued at $150, a black leather wallet valued $50 containing $185 cash, identification and banking cards. Popper appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith on Monday, December 12, where he was read a single charge of theft. Popper has a long rap sheet for several offenses of dishonesty and he wasted no time in pleading guilty to theft. He told the court, “I am Sorry for what I did. I am an addict of alcohol.” Chief Magistrate Smith told him that she cannot ignore his prior convictions so she sentenced him to three years imprisonment.

    San Pedro Tiger Sharks win in preseason basketball game
    The National Elite Basketball League sponsored its first pre-season basketball game on Saturday 11th December, 2016, at the Orange Walk Multi-Purpose Complex in Orange Walk Town between the Orange Walk Running Rebels and the former two times champions the San Pedro Tiger-Sharks. The former champions, San Pedro Tiger-Sharks defeated the Orange Walk Running Rebels by the score of 61-53. The top scorers for the San Pedro Tiger-Sharks were Ashton Edwards who had a game high of 15 points, while Kurt Burgess contributed 13 points, Dar Harris contributed 10 points along with Jamal Kelly and Douglas Valley who scored 8 and 7 points respectively.

    Coast Guard, Tut Bay and Kelly Street win in CYDP Cup Tourney
    The Conscious Youth Development Programme Football Competition continued on Saturday 11th December, 2016, at the MCC Grounds with three games on the schedule. In the first game played, The Belize Coast Guard defeated Hattieville United by the score of 4-0. The goals for the Belize Coast Guard were scored by Allen Armstrong, Orvin Wade, Steven Coleman and Durran Addier. In the second game of the day, Tut Bay FC won over Yabra FC by the score of 3-0. The goals for Tut Bay FC were scored by Carlos Lino, Kevin Rowland and an own goal. And in the final game of the day, Kelly Street FC edged out Ladyville FC by the score of 2-1. The goals for Kelly Street were scored by Kadeem Myers and Deshawn White, while the goal for Ladyville FC was scored by Tyrone Parchue.

    2017 National Elite Basketball League season to commence on January 13
    The Commissioner of the National Elite Basketball League Karim Juan informed the general public that the NEBL will commence its fourth season on Friday 13th January, 2017. The fourth season will see eight teams competing for the top prize. The teams that will be competing in the 2017 campaign will be the Orange Walk Running Rebels, Belize Hurricanes, Belize City No Limit, San Pedro Tiger Sharks, Belmopan Bandits, Dangriga Warriors, Cayo Western Ballaz and a new franchise from Chetumal, Mexico. It is noted that games will be played in Chetumal, and the Chetumal team will also play games in Belize, using the same home and away format. For the up-coming season, each team will have a shot clock, which will greatly enhance the competitive nature of the game.

    Police United has one leg into the finals of the Premier League of Belize Football competition
    The Premier League of Belize Football competition semi-final round commenced on Sunday 11th December, 2016, with two games on the schedule. At the MCC Grounds, the top team into the playoffs, the Belmopan Bandits and the number four seed in the playoffs, FC Belize played to a 1-1 draw. The host team FC Belize was the first team that was able to make it onto the scoreboard when Hector Martinez scored his team’s only goal of the game in the 34th minute of play to give his team a 1-0 lead. The FC Belize defence was able to protect the slim lead and took it well into the second half of the game. It was not until the 75th minute of play that the Belmopan Bandits’ Jerome James was able to penetrate the FC Belize defence and scored the equalising goal for the unbeaten Belmopan Bandits. The second and final game in this series will be played on Saturday 17th December, 2016, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan commencing at 8:00 pm. Meanwhile, at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, the host team Police United edged out the visiting Belize Defence Force (BDF) by the score of 3-1.

    Cycling Federation to hold pre-Christmas Race
    The Cycling Federation of Belize in partnership with the Belize City Council and Leslie’s Imports present the Annual Pre-Christmas Cycling Classic on Sunday 18th December, 2016, commencing at 9:00 am. The Circuit Race will take place on the new Lake I/Chetumal Street Blvd in Belize City. The route will be between the Round-about at the George Price Highway and the intersection of Albert Hoy Avenue and Chetumal Street Blvd. The Elite/Master riders will do 40 laps, junior and youth riders will do 15 laps while the female riders will do 20 laps. The registration fee is $15.00.

    CRIQ
    I am writing this article from the waiting room of a Mexican Federal building in the state of Quintana Roo called the CRIQ, which is an acronym for the rehabilitation center for physical therapy services. I am however starting from the end of my story so let me back up a bit. My mother in law passed away on December 3, 2016. Please do not think that I am soliciting condolences for my wife’s relatives, in fact this sad occurrence ties in with my effort to reach out to people who may be afflicted with a stroke or cardiac arrest. My mother in law suffered a stroke about 10 days after I did. Her condition kept deteriorating with time while mine continues to see marked improvement. Maybe it’s the age issue, or maybe I had a very determined attitude to get back up and I paid heed to all council on the matter. So here I am at CRIQ in Chetumal, waiting for my appointment with the physiotherapist in an hour’s time.

    My Degree
    I am a very recent graduate of Saint John’s College Junior College, just having gotten my degree this week. By graduate I mean that I have my Associate Degree in hand, not that I participated in a graduation ceremony. While completing my degree took seven months longer than necessary, I am still elated that I can make my parents and those around me proud. Having said all that, I am not the proudest graduate. I am presently nineteen years old. Growing up, I had calculated my life: done primary school being twelve years old, four more years to graduate high school, and two years of 6th form, doing the math, graduating at eighteen years. I saw myself participating in a ceremony, wearing a hat and gown in a very humid gym, sweating out my hair and make-up, seeing my family near tears, and doing regular graduation stuff before jumping into the next chapter of my life. That chapter, I hoped, would have been to leave the country in pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree. But none of that happened. I graduated less than a month after my 19th birthday and yet I feel so behind and quite unaccomplished.

    WORDS OF LIFE with Barry Fraser
    This week, we look at two important prophesies about the long expected Messiah. Malachi 3:1 reads: “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. Isaiah 40:3 declares: A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Both these prophesies refer to John the Baptist. The Gospel of Matthew 3:1 & 2 reports: In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judah, and saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.”

    Young Artists woo their peers and policy makers
    A group of young Belizean artists are poised to take the local art industry into a stratosphere that a couple years ago most people wouldn’t have thought possible. Students of the Primary School Arts Skills Training (PSAST) program have been dominating art competitions in the country over the last two years and its all due to a dedicated teacher with a well developed curriculum that the Ministry of Education now hopes to integrate into the national education agenda. The Primary School Arts Skills Training program started in 2014 after His Exellency David Wu, Ambassador of the Republic of China-Taiwan, was so impressed with Saint Joseph Primary School’s art club that he committed funds to extend the program to primary school students from across the city. St. Joseph Primary’s students benefitted for years from the volunteer services of Taiwanese art instructor, Fiona Huang, and the success of that art club encouraged Ambassador Wu to support it on a wider scale so that more students and schools can have the same opportunity to excel in arts. “Belize is a very unique country,” said Ambassador Wu, “when I walk through the streets many, many people who I don’t even know greet me in a friendly way and this is something I will always remember about Belize.”

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Another Ministry of Education vehicle abused
    Reports reaching our newsroom is that around 8:45 tonight, a Ministry of Education vehicle was driven into a drain in front of Carillo Puerto gas station in Santa Elena town, Cayo. The vehicle, bearing license plate CZL B-170, was assigned to the Cayo district. […]

    Decomposed body of man found in Cayo
    The decomposed body of a man was found today in an area off the Young Gial Road (about 1 mile away from Buena Vista village) in Cayo District. A source told BBN that the body was found wrapped in a sheet at the victim’s […]

    Police find over 32 lbs. of weed in Black Man Eddie village, Cayo District
    Police in Cayo found 32.1 lbs of marijuana on December 13, 2016 in Blackman Eddie village, Cayo District. According to reports, police were patrolling on George Price Highway in the vicinity of Blackman Eddie village when they found a plastic bag on the side […]

    Police issue statement on body found floating in Belize River
    Police have issued an official statement on the body that was found floating in the Belize River yesterday. According to Ladyville police, information was received of a body floating in the Belize River and when they visited an area behind the Los Lagos Community […]

    Miss Belize Universe continues to gain popularity
    Miss Belize universe, Rebecca Rath continues to win the hearts of Belizeans at home and abroad. Rath has gained more popularity after winning the Miss Belize Universe pageant in September. “I am Rebecca Rath and I am representing the culture capital of Dangriga. I […]

    COMPOL and OC Belmopan appointed Supreme Court commissioners
    Yesterday at the Supreme Court before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, Commisioner of Police Allen Whylie and Officer Commanding Belmopan police, Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett were appointed as commissioners of the Supreme Court of Belize. The Oath of Allegiance was administered by the Chief Justice. […]

    Fair weather to continue
    The 24-hour forecast is for mostly cloudy skies with a few isolated showers today and tomorrow. The National Meteorological Service informs that a drier air mass is setting in. The wind will blow from the north to northeast at 5 to 15 knots. The […]

    Blogs

    Journey to Pirate’s Not-So-Secret Beach Bar & Grill
    Up until a year or so ago, there was an area 6.5 miles north of San Pedro Town that was referred to as the Secret Beach. Getting there involved traveling on a not-so-great dirt road that, at times, depending on the weather, could be nearly unpassable. For those adventurous souls with sturdy carts and stamina, the drive could take well over an hour from town, but after a bumpy and sometimes harrowing journey, the rewards were great. As if this gorgeous beach wasn’t enough to make the area a key destination, the new Pirate’s Not-So-Secret Beach Bar & Grill just upped the ante! Owner Maresha Reid has quite the track record for creating not only fantastic food but memorable experiences. This pint-sized, award-winning chef just wowed the judges at the annual Taste of Belize chef’s competition, taking second place against some very stiff competition. Known for her signature lionfish dishes, her Pirate’s Treasure Restaurant and Bar in the Tres Cocos Area of Ambergris Caye is renowned for authentic Belizean dishes and her very popular Chef’s Table experience.

    My Day on Ambergris Caye: Great Gifts, Clearing Weather and Wildflowers
    Tuesday was one of those few days we have each fall when it just RAINS. All day grey to black, POURING rain. Yesterday we started at grey. But by about noon, it was gorgeous. Sandy Toes Beach Bar has the cutest chairs along the beach. No natural segue so onto my gifts. One incredibly cool manatea that made her way down from Texas – thanks Patty. Perfect for trying my new loose teas from Belize Chocolate Company And my last topic: wildflowers. It took moving up north to find out that we have them here. Tons of them…and this seems to be the season. My friend Ken has the book – a labor of love for the authors i am sure – The Plants of Caye Caulker. I bet he can identify most if not all of these. But the book is with Ken in Connecticut so here are only photos. If you know any, please let me know. This is the flowering bush that produces cocoplum fruit. It’s actually on the cover of the book about Caye Caulker.

    Top 5 Destinations in Belize to Ring in the New Year
    With plenty of warm sunshine and balmy temperatures, it’s no surprise that more and more people are choosing to ring in the new year with an exciting vacation in Belize. Visitors can partake in fun parties, sip on cocktails, dance to over a dozen genres of music spun by the country’s popular DJs, feast on delicious foods, and watch the skies explode with color as 2017 kicks off. Fireworks ranging from expensive municipal productions to locals firing off bottle rockets, cherry bombs, and sparklers, Belize has a strong tradition of welcoming in the new year with an explosion of pyrotechnic fun. Here are five exciting places to enjoy New Year’s in Belize: San Ignacio Town, Placencia, Ambergris Caye, Belize City, Belmopan.

    Dooley Bear drops in on Holy Cross Anglican School students and a pizza party breaks out
    Dooley Bear, a gregarious chocolate Labrador with a penchant for travel and the subject of more than a few books, dropped into Holy Cross Anglican School in the San Mateo neighborhood on Wednesday for some petting and pizza. Dooley brought along his literary partners, Ronnie and Lisa Cyrier, so that they could read some of the books about his adventures to a special gathering of students. The occasion was the first Christmas Party of the newly resurrected volunteer literacy program which is designed to help students of all grade levels to enhance their reading, pronunciation and comprehension skills. The program is operated by a dedicated group of volunteers from the San Pedro community under the leadership of Susan Barkhouse and Brittney O’Daniel. Dooley Bear and the kids of Holy Cross were a great match. Lisa Cyrier is a speech pathologist who conceived of the books as a way to encourage and improve language skills and that’s what these kids are all about, too. Ronnie Cyrier illustrates the books and Dooley is in charge of canine antics that can be turned into amusing stories and illustrations.

    Pier 366: A New Family Style Seafood House In A Beautiful Location
    The resort, the Villas at Banyan Bay, has been on Ambergris Caye for well over 15 years. Located on one of the prettiest beaches on the island – Maratumbo Beach – it is now under new management. And there are some changes to come to the 2 and 3 bedroom condo hotel in the year to come. But the first major change was an overhaul and updating of the old Rico’s Restaurant. Here are some pics of the resort. I love all the flowers and trees that give keep the pool from the beach. I very much dislike feeling like you are on display while lounging in the sun.

    International Sourcesizz

    LEGISLATION TO STRENGTHEN US-CARIBBEAN ENGAGEMENT HEADS TO PRESIDENT OBAMA’S DESK
    (CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Representative Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), a former Chair of the Committee, today announced that their legislation to enhance U.S. engagement with the Caribbean has passed the House and Senate and is headed to the President for signature into law. The United States-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act (H.R. 4939) calls for a new, long-term strategy to strengthen ties between the United States and its Caribbean neighbors.

    Baldwin grad gets help from teachers for Belize books project
    A teacher at J.E. Harrison Middle School who worked as the gifted coordinator at Baldwin High School stays in touch with a number of former students. So when Baldwin High School graduate Adria Zern sent a Facebook message asking if teacher Debbie Reynolds could organize a book drive to benefit the primary school Zern works at in Belize there was no hesitation. Reynolds thought the book drive fit perfectly into the district's theme “BW Connects” by having middle school students and members of the high school's Literary Guild collect books for a Baldwin graduate working in a Central American country. As of late last week, Reynolds said around 200 books have been donated. Zern said the books will help children in kindergarten through the seventh grade. The school library has limited materials for the 120 students. Keith Harrison, high school teacher and sponsor of the Literary Guild, said the group's service project for the past four years has been a book drive to benefit Pittsburgh Carmalt School in Brookline. Reynolds asked Harrison if the guild would want to help Zern's efforts. Harrison taught Zern as a freshman in honors English. He said the project shows students that they can make a difference.

    CDB approves US$10 million to support Belize poverty reduction agency
    The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) will assist the government of Belize in strengthening an institution that is a key partner and important vehicle for providing services to poor and vulnerable communities in that country. CDB’s board of directors last Thursday approved a loan of US$10 million to Belize. It will be used to expand the services of the Belize Social Investment Fund (BSIF). BSIF, which was established in 1996, is responsible for promoting, appraising, financing and supervising the implementation of small and medium-sized sub-projects designed to benefit underserved communities. “CDB is pleased to support BSIF in scaling up its very important work, which increases access to basic social infrastructure and services to underserved women, men, boys and girls in Belize,” said Daniel Best, director, projects, CDB.

    Garinagu organization and political growth in Belize - Part 3
    The 1980s is a significant period in Belize and for the Garinagu, as the country in 1981 obtained its independence from Britain. Although discrimination continues in employment promotion and granting certain positions, prejudice against Garinagu decreased in the post-independence period. It is commented that negative stereotypes of the group decreased through the arts recognizing Garifuna Punta Rock music in the 1980s and also their participation in the nationalist movement and many contributions to the country recognized.40 Since this period, the Creole continued to exercise social and political power in Belize.41 Nonetheless, it is estimated that this may change with the growth of the mestizo population and increase in their socioeconomic status. Furthermore, other Spanish-speaking populations from neighbouring countries (Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico) continue to migrate to Belize in large numbers.42

    Caribbean Nations See Mixed Growth In Exports This Year
    Latin American and Caribbean exports are expected to fall approximately $50 billion, or 6 percent, in 2016, but three Caribbean nations saw declines in the double digits, the Inter-American Development Bank said this week. They are: Belize: The Central American nation of Belize saw a 24 percent decline in its exports compared to 13 percent last year. Belize’s exports include sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood and crude oil. Exports in Belize decreased to BZ $21.42 Million in September from BZ $59.35Million in August of 2016. Exports in Belize averaged BZ $ 48.62 Million from 2005 until 2016.

    50 years ago: Excitement surrounds British military exercise
    In the Dec. 7, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, East End news featured: “No doubt many residents are looking forward to the arrival of the contingent of British troops from British Honduras who are due to arrive for a military exercise on Sunday the 11th at 10 a.m. “The men will go straight from the aircraft to East End for their 24 hour military exercise, which will be conducted beyond the Tortuga Club near to the Great Bluff. “On the 13th the troops will give a firing display at Old Man Bay from 4-6 p.m. They will be firing out to sea and the public are invited to witness this display which will be repeated at West Bay, about half a mile down the Blue Horizon Road by the fuel tanks at the same time on the 14th. “After a little relaxation at their base camp on the West Bay beach the men of the Staffordshire Regiment will fly back to Belize at 8 a.m. on the 16th. It is hoped that some sporting events will be arranged whilst the men are here and that the public will enjoy the demonstrations.”

    Emerging Market Debt Default Risks in 2017
    From tiny frontier markets to the world's No. 2 economy, a range of developing countries could experience serious stress next year if a strengthening dollar and sluggish domestic economies make it harder to meet debt repayments. Emerging governments and companies must repay more than $300 billion next year in hard currency debt, roughly a third more than 2016 – the result of a borrowing spree after 2008 when Western interest rates collapsed. "One consequence of the very loose global monetary policy we've had for the past decade is that financing was easily available and went in some cases to corners of the market that didn't really deserve it," said Graham Stock, head of EM sovereign research at asset manager BlueBay. Meanwhile, the dollar's five-year rally, renewed by Donald Trump's US election victory, will extend into 2017, Reuters polls show. Following is a list of potential pressure points in emerging markets for 2017. Belize – The central American country said last month it wanted to "amend" $530 million in 2038 bonds for its third restructuring in a decade. The bonds carry a step-up coupon that climbs from 5 percent to 6.767 percent in 2017. Talks started last week with creditors.

    UKCIF funds road rehabilitation study in Belize
    The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a grant of £1 million (US$1.24 million) to assist in financing a technical assistance project for the rehabilitation of the Coastal Highway in Belize. The funds, which are being provided through the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF), will be used to conduct a feasibility study and prepare detailed plans to upgrade the road network in that country between the George Price and Hummingbird Highways. The Coastal Highway in Belize is currently used a secondary road for persons travelling between the northern and southern districts in Belize. The highway upgrade is expected to contribute to economic development, reducing travel time for goods moving to the country’s ports. The road rehabilitation will also improve the agricultural and tourism sectors’ access to these districts.

    Videos

  • Channel 5 feature with Ms Leonora Patnett who turned 103 years old this week., min.

  • Channel 5 25th Anniversary Interview - Isani Cayetano, 2.5min.

  • Channel 5 25th Anniversary Interview - Lauren Burgess, 3.5min. Lauren Burgess was the captivating personality behind the popular "Lauren Da Mawnin" and "Lauren Da Night" Shows.

  • Channel 5 25th Anniversary Interview, 2.5min. Safiyyah Muhammad was an entertainment host that developed interactive shows that were very popular among our younger viewers.

  • Channel 5 25th Anniversary Interview - William Neal, 4.5min. William Neal was instrumental in both the news and many of the original programming created for Channel Five.

  • Channel 5 25th Anniversary Interview - Daedra Isaacs Haylock, min. Daedra Haylock was a report and anchor for News 5 Live.

  • KIM & LEIGH GO TO BELIZE PT.3, 24min. I think it's safe to say that Leigh and I are in love with Belize haha. The last few days of our trip we explored mayan ruins, caves, and the baby blue hole.

  • Daniela Novelo performing her original rap at La Isla Carinosa Academy extravaganza, 2min. Very talented girl. We wish her every success.

  • A Christmas message from Mayor Daniel Guerrero., 3min.

  • Kaya University of South Alabama Belize archeology program with Kaya Responsible Travel, 2min. Hear from a University of South Alabama student about her experiences on a group volunteer project in Belize with Kaya Responsible Travel.

  • Hamanasi Resort in Belize, 4min. in January, 2011 my wife and I spent a wonderful week at the Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort in Belize. (.) It's a beautiful resort, with the most friendly staff. This video is a tour of the Honeymoon Suite we stayed in and some of the grounds and facilities.

  • El Secreto - Belize, 3min. El Secreto is a unique barefoot luxury resort surrounded by tropical beauty and bathed by turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean. El Secreto offers 13 exclusive individual villas with a smart combination of contemporary and traditional elements. The state of the art led lighting system paints with soft light the thatch, creating a warm romantic atmosphere.

  • Hatching Baby Iguanas in San Ignacio, Belize, 4min. Baby green iguanas are being hatched at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel's Green Iguana Conservation Project.

  • Belize 2015, 2.5min. Diving trip.

  • Skydive San Pedro, Belize. Load #1, 2min.

  • Belize 2012, 32min.

  • Belize 2016, 3.5min.

    December 15, 2016


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    Specials and Events

    Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    BSI prepares for EU reform on sugar market
    The Belize Sugar Industry (BSI) is bracing for direct competition in 2017 following the recent European Union’s (EU) reform on world sugar prices. In view of the introduction of beet sugar in Europe, Belize will no longer enjoy the preferential rates on sugar it has experienced in the past, thus, a reduction in prices of the sweet crystals appears inevitable. As such, BSI is preparing to try new markets and strategizing on how to continue selling Belizean sugar at a sustainable or better rate. Under the EU, Belize is considered a market with limited alternatives and high production cost. Changes in world prices and the pressure to compete with other sugar producers can have a heavy impact on BSI and the economy of Belize. Over the past years, Belize has become very dependent on sugar exports and reforms such as this can result in a deep dent on the sugar industry’s future. Even though a prime catastrophic effect of this change includes an increase of 3% in poverty, American Sugar Refining Belize Sugar Industries (ASR), which runs the Tower Hill Sugar Factory in Orange Walk District, is very optimistic of what the future has in store for the industry.

    SPTC and Projects Abroad team up for shoe giveaway
    San Pedro Town Council’s Sports Coordinator Kent Bob Gabourel teamed up with Regina Munji of Projects Abroad to coordinate a shoe drive for the island. On Saturday, December 10th, flip flops, tennis shoes, and sandals were distributed to children in need at the Central Park. Before the shoes were distributed, Gabourel and Projects Abroad contacted each primary school in San Pedro Town, and asked teachers to recommend students who were in need. These students were then given a slip and they gathered at the park at 1:30PM to receive a new pair of shoes. With the help of Project Abroad volunteers, Gabourel and his team distributed 180 out of 200 pairs of shoes to the island children. According to Gabourel, the idea to provide new footwear was sparked after a trip to Belize City. “Our inspiration came from the kids that walk around barefoot. When Regina and I went to Belize City for a track meet, we were at the field, and we saw the kids walking barefoot in the hot sun, burning their feet. When we saw that, we decided to do a shoe drive on the island. San Pedro is my home, and nothing is more satisfying to see happy kids receive new stuff,” said Gabourel.

    San Pedro Tiger Sharks win NEBL pre-season game against OW Running Rebels
    Two-time champions of the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL), the San Pedro Tiger Sharks, have begun the fourth NEBL season on the right foot by defeating the Orange Walk Running Rebels. At the pre-season game held on Saturday, December 10th at the Orange Walk Sporting Complex, the Tiger Sharks came out with a 61-53 victory over the host team. All basketball fans are encouraged to come out to support their favourite teams and players. The League is anticipating an excellent season for basketball. The first game of the season will take in Belize City between the current champions Belize Hurricanes against Belize City No Limit.

    Bahia Fest 2016 features Belize’s own Pablo Garcia
    To celebrate “Mujer Mujer” Magazines 10th anniversary, “Bahia Fest 2016” fashion weekend featured the work of a group of well-known designers on Saturday, December 3rd and Sunday, December 4th. This festive event took place at the Bellavista Hall in the capital of Quintana Roo, Mexico, and drew designers and international models from Chetumal, Merida, Campeche, Turkey, El Salvador, Mexico City, and Belize. San Pedrano Photographer Pablo Garcia represented Belize, modeling in the fashion show. Models showcased garments from the following highlighted brands: “La Maria”, “Medrano & Amaro” and “Enrique Polanco”. The event also featured musical entertainment from Saxophonist Edgar Ramírez. To cap off the night of glamour and design, the first lady of the Municipality Gabriela Rejón de Joaquín, gave recognition to the fashion and image designers, and models for their participation.

    National Committee for Families and Children responds to baby Janeeka’s death
    Janeeka Campbell, a 23-month old toddler from Belize City, made headline news on Tuesday, December 6th when her lifeless body was found with signs of bruises. Police reports indicated that she was taken to Saint Matthews Village on the George Price Highway to visit with her father that day. However, the puzzling reports suggested that she either died from an accidental fall or she was a victim of child abuse/neglect. Campbell’s death has prompted much reaction throughout the country, especially from the National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC). Campbell’s post-mortem was conducted on Thursday, December 8th, and the results were ‘inconclusive’. The pathologist classified her death as “Traumatic asphyxiation multifocal subarachnoid” hemorrhage due to head and chest trauma”, and stated that she did not die of natural causes. The NCFC issued a press release in regards to her death of Thursday, December 8th, stating that the death of any child is regrettable and that it is of grave concern. “We join the nation in mourning the tragic loss of another innocent Belizean child…media reports about the questionable circumstances surrounding the tragic death of baby Janeeka Campbell leaves the NCFC with grave concerns and a number of questions.”

    Ambergris Today

    Belize Signs Clean Energy with Santander Sugar Bagasse
    S.S. Energy Ltd. (SSEL), a subsidiary of The Santander Sugar Group announced on December 13, 2016, that its Board of Directors under the Chairmanship and Executive Directorship of Jose Gonzalez Rodriguez signed a Power Purchase Agreement with Belize Electricity Limited to provide clean energy to the electrical grid of Belize. The transaction marks the latest milestone in accelerated efforts by SSEL and will result in bringing home grown generated electricity to Belizean households. The completion of this definitive agreement is to provide 16 MWh of electricity by utilizing bagasse, the bi-product of sugar cane, as a renewable power generation source. The energy produced by the bagasse at The Santander Sugar Mill will be used as a primary fuel source and when burned in quantity, will produce sufficient heat energy to supply to the local consumer electricity grid. This will not only give Belize a reliable, local, energy source it will improve overall conditions by reducing the country’s dependency on imports from abroad.

    Belize’s Chaa Creek National Geographic World Legacy Awards Finalist
    National Geographic’s announcement of the finalists for the 2017 World Legacy Awards contained some very good news for Belize’s The Lodge at Chaa Creek and the local communities it supports while highlighting the value of sustainable tourism and responsible travel, the Belizean eco-resort’s owners said. The World Legacy Awards (WLA) is a collaboration between the National Geographic and ITB Berlin that seeks to honor companies, organizations, and destinations that drive positive transformation of the tourism industry. With categories like “Earth Changers”, “Sense of Place”, and “Destination Leadership”, the WLA’s aim to spotlight the best of the forward-thinking best.

    Belize is now a Signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption
    The Government of Belize today became the 184th country to sign on to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). The Acting Prime Minister of Belize Hon. Patrick Faber, in the presence of the UN Resident Coordinator Christian Salazar Volkmann, officials from the Government of Belize and members of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, signed the treaty making Belize a signatory of the UNCAC. The announcement that Belize would be signing on to the UNCAC came in October this year and in November Cabinet agreed to move straight to accession. The Senate held a special sitting on 30th November to approve the motion authorizing accession to the UNCAC. The signing signals the start of the development of the framework for the upcoming work plan of the Government of Belize under the Convention.

    40 Years of Amazing Flavors on Ambergris Caye, Elvi's Kitchen Celebrates
    The family of Elvi’s Kitchen celebrated the restaurant’s 40th Anniversary the best way it knows how to, with lots of love and exquisite food. The intimate gathering with family and friends was highlighted with amazing dishes that ranged from old favorites to new and exciting appetizers and a surf and turf Lobster & Steak combo that cannot be beat. Needless to say, Elvi’s Kitchen is synonymous to amazing food and great service. Throughout its four decades of operation, the restaurant has managed to stay on top of the game receiving international recognition for its outstanding cuisine. It is the food that has kept on evolving in taste and presentation that keeps people coming back to Elvi’s Kitchen. People re-visit the restaurant to find out that their favorite dishes are still on the menu and some have been transformed into something even more delicious, but still preserving the essence of a traditional Belizean meal.

    Prime Minister Announces Changes in Cabinet
    At a press briefing held on December 13, 2016 in Belmopan, the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow announced upcoming changes in his Cabinet. The Attorney General and Minister of Natural Resources Senator Hon. Vanessa Retreage has come to the end of her one year contract with government and will be leaving the Cabinet at the end of December 2016. In her remarks made today, Minister Retreage thanked the Prime Minister for the privilege to serve the government and people of Belize and explained that because of family and previous business commitments, she will be returning to private practice. The Prime Minister announced that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, will take up the post of Attorney General in January 2017, and the Ministry of Natural Resources will become part of the Prime Minister’s portfolio. Senator, the Hon. Dr. Carla Barnett, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, will take up the day to day management of that ministry.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Government of Belize Receives Prince Michael International Road Safety Award
    The Government of Belize, on December 13, 2016, received the prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award. Accepting the award on behalf of the Government and People of Belize are the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum, Ms. Yvonne Sharman Hyde and the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Works, Mr. Errol Gentle, based on their leadership role to move road safety to a higher integrated level in the region. This award was presented in The Lancaster Suite, Savoy, The Strand, London. The Government of Belize, for many years, has been assessing the road network in the country as the ranking of death within the Ministry of Health system being the fourth cause of death in Belize. In 2012 the Belize Road Safety Project was implemented and in 2013, with a multifaceted approach intervention, the project results have successfully demonstrated the benefits of all road safety partners working collaboratively on a high-collision corridor. Using Safe System interventions many lives have been saved on this 50 mile stretch of highway. Prior to the interventions, the demonstration corridor accounted for almost 50% of all road traffic deaths in the country of Belize. At the end of December 2015 less than 10% of road deaths have occurred on this corridor.

    Wildtracks Update: Happy World Monkey Day!
    To celebrate, we would like to share Kamal's progress with you. Kamal (shortened to Kam), an endangered Geoffroy's spider monkey, arrived in January 2016 - the most emaciated and sickly intake that Wildtracks has encountered. He was only ten months old when he was confiscated by the Belize Forest Department - skin and bones, and missing most of his hair from malnutrition and scabies. Far too young to be away from his mother, he was on his own, attached to a wire in someone's yard. Kam took time to put on weight. For the first months after arrival he was still skin and bones, terrified of sudden movements, and completely reliant on his carers. With the introduction of a diet of high nutrient milk formula, fruit and leaves, he gradually started putting on weight. Kam is now healthy and happily integrated with Cas, another young spider monkey. Kam and Cas have now moved out of the Nursery Unit and into one of the Forest Enclosures. They have begun their integration with Chippa and Izzie, two of the younger female spider monkeys in the Spider Monkey Complex, with the hope that they will become a unit of four.

    Bruk Dong Bram at CWC
    The SISE HoC's last Full Moon concert for 2016 will be Mr. Peetaz Bruk Dong Bram. It happens tonight at the Cayo Welcome Center, and it starts at 7:00pm. "HAPPENING THIS THURSDAY, DEC.15TH, CAYO WELCOME CENTER, 7 PM! Mr Peetaz Bruck Dong Bram!"

    Belize represented at Miami TIA 2016!
    Belize Tourism Board

    Primary Schools Arts Skills Training project
    The Embassy is honored to be part of and support the Primary Schools Arts Skills Training project. So inspiring to see many young talented artists! Kudos to all participants of this great initiative!

    Professional Development for NICH
    The Institute of Archaeology would like to congratulate the third round of site staff participants for completing a workshop aiming at professional development in the areas of first aid, customer service, and knowledge of Belizean prehistory.

    Garinagu organization and political growth in Belize - Part 2
    National policy directly targeting Garinagu, for the most part was associated with their settlement/land status and development in their regions. It could be that the reason why the British crown was hesitant in granting land rights to the Maya and Garifuna people was due to the British having problems getting the Spanish crown to give them rights over Belize, the reluctance of Britain to grant colony status to Belize, the Creoles were still slaves in Belize, they wanted no intermingling between the Creoles and the Garifuna people and Guatemala assumed Spain’s claim to Belize when it acquired its independence. All the residents of Belize began to apply pressure on the British crown to grant colony status to Belize and, in 1862, the British crown reluctantly granted them their wish. The government legislation regarding territorial rights was combined with the indigenous Maya. In official documents the land ordinances were designated to the Maya and Carib, in which “Carib” was the previous title name used to identify the Garinagu.

    SUSPECT IN COLOSSAL HUNGARIAN EMBEZZLEMENT CASE ARRESTED IN BELIZE, RETURNED TO BUDAPEST
    According to Hungarian news agency MTI and news site 24.hu, Mária Dobrai, the head of defunct travel agency Kun-Mediátor, which also operated illegally as an investment bank, has been arrested in Belize, on charges of large-scale embezzlement. Hungarian police returned “Maricska” to Budapest aboard a Lufthansa plane. Dobrai fled Hungary following an investigation into Kun-Mediátor’s dealings that had begun in April of 2015. At that time, authorities were alerted to irregularities following an incident in which angry clients cued up in front of the supposed travel agency’s office in the eastern Hungarian town of Karcag, demanding the return of their deposits, on which the firm had promised huge returns. At the time, István Dobrossy, lawyer of the furious Kund-Mediátor clients, claimed that the losses caused by the travel agency were between 5 and 20 billion (roughly €15million to €63million).

    Motorcycle presented to the San Pedro Fire Department
    Mayor Daniel Guerrero and Deputy Mayor Gary Greif, on behalf of the San Pedro Town Council and the people of San Pedro, presented a motorcycle to the San Pedro Fire Department. On site to receive the donation was Officer in Charge, Mr. Newton Lennan. OIC Lennan was excited for his department as this will be very handy for their daily use.

    "Meet & Greet" session with the residents
    ATM: Eastern Police Division South Officers are presently in your Port Loyola/Jane Usher Blvd/Freedom Street community, doing our weekly Wednesday's "Meet & Greet" session with the residents. I must say, the residents are very receptive, positive minded & in the Christmas vibes!!!!!

    TAIWAN Offers 4-Year Medicine Study Full Scholarship for Belizean Students
    The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is pleased to announce the release of the I-Shou University School of Medicine for International Students Scholarship Program, offered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF), in order to cultivate international medical talents and address the issue of insufficient medical resources. This is a four-year Full Scholarship MD Program for bachelor degree and applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree to apply. All courses offered by this Program are taught in English.

    PACT Awards $2.2 Million for Chiquibul Forest Investment
    The Chiquibul Forest is one of the largest protected areas. The plant diversity of the Chiquibul is vast, hosting over 300 species of trees, 452 species of herbs, and 109 orchid species. It represents 7.7% of our national territory. Along with the areas surrounding it, it forms a critical habitat for several threatened and endangered species such as jaguars, scarlet macaws and the black howler monkey. This investment represents the largest given to four agencies for a joint venture, in the history of PACT – a gesture of faith in the future of conservation and a gift that will continue to benefit Belizeans for many years to come.

    Channel 7

    Unidentified Body Found Bound, Dismembered In River
    Belize Rural police are tonight trying to determine the identity of the body of a woman which was found in the Belize River this afternoon. Around midday, a female of creole descent believed to be in her 30's was found in the Belize River, three miles down from the Burrell Boom Bridge. The body was clad in a dark blouse, blue jeans pants, and she had a tattoo with the letters M-I-C-H and a rose on her right breast. Notably, she was also missing an arm, and had deep gashes on her torso, which police suspect is the work of a crocodile. But what's even more concerning to police is that her arms appeared to have been tied. What is described as a "string" was found tied around her, suggesting that police that she may have tied and thrown in the river. This is only speculation at this point, but the circumstances are certainly very disturbing, especially considering that there are no missing person's reports matching the identity of this body.

    School Managements Say School Resumes on The Third, Not The Ninth!
    Last night, we told you how the Ministry of Education is sticking to the decision that schools' Christmas Holiday will be cut by 4 days to make up some of the time lost by the 11-day strike from the teachers. Well, tonight, the General Managers of the Pre and Primary Schools are sticking with the Ministry on this plan to resume classes on January 3, instead of January 9. In a press release sent today, Denise Lamb, the Vice chair of the Belize Association of General Managers of Pre and Primary School stresses that on Wednesday, November 2, the general managers of the Pre and Primary Schools met with senior officials of the Ministry of Education where, quote, "Managers unanimously agreed that 6 school days will be added, January 3rd to the 6th, and April 10th and 11, 2017. The managers' decision to add the six days will assist the schools to comply with the minimum 180 school days requirement. End quote.

    Senate Inquiry: The Deep Dig Into Visa Irregularities
    Today in Belmopan, the Senate hearings on Immigration irregularities continued with Auditor General Dorothy Bradley and her Chief Auditor, Carla Faber, giving testimony once again. It was the Auditor General's third day on the stand, while the chief Auditor has only had 2 days. But, in that time, the Senators on the Senate Select Committee have been combing through the 3 volumes of her audit. They continued to probe deep into all parts of the visa portion, and late this evening, they finally closed their questioning on visas issued between 2011 and 2013. They're now looking at her report on passports now, and today, our news team was there once again for the hearings Here are a few choice excerpts: Hon. Eamon Courtenay - PUP Senator: "How would you characterise the level of control if the stock of visas in the immigration department?" Dorothy Bradley - Auditor General: "It was clear to us that you can characterise it as being mismanaged." Hon. Eamon Courtenay - PUP Senator: "I was asking about your concerns with respect to the process which led to the issuance of nationality certificates. Auditor General indicated that you had serious concerns about that process and I'm wondering if any specifics could be shared with us."

    Cayo's Most Wanted Kills Himself
    Melecio Gonzalez was killed in front of his family on Sunday in Yalbac Village. The main suspect was his close friend Maximiliano Williams. Police had been looking for him and even released a wanted poster. But the manhunt ended last night when Williams killed himself. Yesterday evening around 5:00, one of his friends called police and told them that Williams had just left him when he heard a gunshot ring out. When police arrived, they found Williams' body on the side of the Yalbac road with a gunshot wound to the chest and the shot gun by his side. Today San Ignacio police gave us more details via phone. Supt. Richard Rosado - OC, San Ignacio: "Based on information received of a shooting incident in Yalbac Village in the Cayo district, a team of police officers visited the scene where the lifeless body of a dark complexion male person was seen lying face up a few feet from the main road in Yalbac, the body had an apparent gunshot wound to the left side of the chest and a 16 gauge shotgun was seen beside the body of the deceased. The body was later identified as Maximiliano Williams of Yalbac village who was wanted in connection with the murder of Melencio Gonzalez of Yalbac , the scene was processed and statements have been recorded , the body was later transported to the San Ignacio Community Morgue where it awaits a post mortem."

    Dangriga Cops Catch Big-H Jacker With Big Gun
    The Christmas robbers are out in force. Last night we told you about a bogus checkpoint in Belize Rural set up to rob a Travelers Rum delivery truck. Well, on Monday afternoon in Dangriga Town, robbers jacked a Big H Juice delivery Truck was being robbed. A man with a black handgun held up the driver and took of $1,500 dollars in cash from his pockets. Another man – who also appeared to be carrying a hand gun then swung open the delivery truck door, reached inside and snatched a knapsack with proceeds from the day's sales amounting to $3,000.00 dollars. Both men then sped off on bicycles. But, police were quick to respond, and they detained one of the suspects – a 16 year old - with some of the money.

    Rural Cops Foil Ladyville Looters
    Ladyville looters came up short after police foiled their operation this morning. Police responded to a burglary in progress in the Lake Gardens area around 10:36 but when they got there, they only found a number of house appliances outside, the thieves had already made their first trip with other items on foot and were going to come back for the others. Now while police didn't catch the culprits, the police prevented them from cleaning out the entire house. Police told us more about how this incident played out. ASP Juanito Cocom - OC, Ladyville Police: "A distress call was made that a burglary was in progress in the Lake Gardens area, that would be the extreme end of the Lake Gardens area, we responded but upon our response the culprits had already left the area, however apparently some of their looting was left in the premises at least we managed to deal with that part , to deter that part , we made runs within the area, it is a very bushy vast area ,muddy as well and we found some paraphernalia the guys used to break into the area. They pried open one of the back doors that had no burglar bars, at this point I can say the owner works somewhere out of the area and she has already been summoned but she has not come in as yet to ascertain what is missing from her residence."

    MIT Gets A Sackful Of Weed
    Recently we’ve been reporting on some sizeable weed busts in the city – the biggest being 45 pounds found in the Ceasar Ridge Road area one week ago. Well, the Mobile Interdiction Team has been doing its work on the highway. That’s where they got this sackful of marijuana earlier this week. The sack weighed in at 14.5 kilos or 32 pounds.

    123 New Belizeans Take The Oath, Learn The Rules
    123 new Belizean citizens were sworn in today at the George Price Center in Belmopan. They were welcomed by CEO in the Ministry, Edmund Zuniga – who also gave them a caution:… Edmund Zuniga - Director of Immigration: "Today we are swearing in 123 new Belizeans who come from 25 different countries of origin including Bangladesh, England, Burma, I think this is my first swearing in with somebody from Burma, who is the person from Burma? Good (waves), welcome. Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Philippines of course our neighbours from Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Nigeria and I have some special friends here from Nigeria; I see one over there; Pakistan, Paraguay, Russia, Salvador, Scotland, Slovakia, Venezuela and of course the great United States of America. The process for you to become Belizeans is even more open to scrutiny by the public at large. We take your applications at the immigration department; they are checked by the officers accepting the applications and further checked by senior officers who then submit them to the director of immigration who conducts her own check. Once she's satisfied that the applicant meets the requirements the names, your names and you can check your names are published in the gazette for 3 weeks so that the members of the public, your neighbours, your friend, and your enemies can have an opportunity to say whether or not they think you should be a Belizean. And let me assure you that we hold these ceremonies in public so that we can publicly welcome you into our Belizean family."

    "Rugu" Gets Three Months For four Pounds of Shrimp
    Today, forty-two year old Mark Middleton, also known as "Rugu" was sentenced to three months in prison for theft. This morning, Middleton went to Public's Supermarket in Belize City, where he put a four pound bag of shrimp in his knapsack. As Middleton was on his way out a security guard, who had seen the whole thing, stopped him, found the shrimp in his bag and called the police. During his trial, Middleton begged Magistrate Mendoza not to send him to prison because he had a daughter to take care of. The Magistrate reminded him that he was already given a chance after a previous conviction for theft, so he had to be sentenced to prison.

    Bodden Cheque Was Bogus, Sylvin Serves Time
    Sylvin Bodden also appeared in court today. In 2009, Bodden cashed a NICH Belize Bank cheque by purchasing a wristwatch and a pair of sunglasses. The cheque was later found to be bogus. Bodden pled guilty to the charge, and after hearing a plea for mitigation by his attorney, Justice Adolph Lucas sentenced him to 2 years in prison. The sentence is to take effect on October 25, 2016 and run concurrently with the remainder of a 2 1/2 year burglary sentence from 2014.

    DOE Considers Environmental Regs
    Today the Ministry of the Environment held a workshop to discuss a proposal about sustainable development and conservation. A draft was distributed earlier this year, and stakeholders gathered to give their feedback and concerns about the legislature. The DOE and a Spanish firm designed the proposal which makes recommendations on strengthening Belize's environmental regulations. Chief Environmental Officer, Martin Alegria told us more… Martin Alegria - Department of Environment: "This is a one day workshop to agree, valid on recommendations being done by consultant out of Spain who started reviewing the environmental screening process in Belize. Basically people know it here as the EIA process. In order to look at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities out there in terms of modernising such a procedure in Belize and coming up with the best scenarios, best solutions in order to have environmental management or protection while having sustainable development in Belize. So we started it sometime ago, presented a draft in mid-year, we distributed to all the stakeholders in there today and we advance a little more in depth on some of the issues that were raised and today he is presenting. The company's name is Limia and Martin; they're presenting the major recommendations from various thematic areas, legal, procedural etc. They are going through each and every line item there to see what the feelings or the positions are of all the stakeholders both from private sector, civil society and our government colleagues."

    Lavern Longsworth's Long Walk to Freedom
    2 and half years ago, Lavern Longsworth, better known as "Antichrist", went from serving life in prison for murder to a reduced sentence. Fuelled by a human rights project, her attorneys convinced the Court of Appeal that her conviction was excessive. In 2014, they said she was supposed to serve four and a half more years in jail, but Longsworth got paroled and she has been free since last Wednesday. It's a huge reversal from July of 2010 when she set her common-law husband David White on fire and he later died from those injuries. She was convicted of murder in November of 2012, but her attorneys appealed in 2014, arguing that she should be afforded a defence of diminished responsibility, given that she suffered from battered women's syndrome after years physical abuse at the hands of the late David White. The judges agreed and reduced conviction for murder to a conviction for manslaughter. They substituted a sentence of life for 8 years with consideration for the amount of time she already spent in jail.

    Mastering The Art of Art Education
    Over 200 students completed the 2 year Primary and Secondary Art Skills Training Project. The project was launched in July 2014 and since then, these kids have pretty much learned all they can learn about art at this stage. Today marks that end of the 2 year artistic journey and a ceremony was held at the Bliss to celebrate this accomplishment and also to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. Youth Development Officer from the Institute of Creative Arts Kim Vasquez discussed the objective and the vision for this project. Kim Vasquez - Youth Development Officer, NICH: "This has been a very exciting and momentous project, this you see here is the primary schools art skills training pilot project and so today is the culmination of a 2 year pilot project funded by the Republic of China Taiwan and implemented through the Institute of Creative Arts. Ms. Fiona the art instructor, she has done a splendid job, over the past few years we have had children from various primary schools in the city, they have competed in international and local art contests and they have won gold and numerous prizes and have also had several art exhibits over the course of the project as well."

    Big Money For Rural Cops
    Yesterday Belize City and Dangriga cops got their officer of the month award. Well, 25 officers from Eastern Division Rural will be getting theirs soon, in cash. $12,500 was donated to the formation and Assistant Superintendent Edward Broaster told us that the money is for those cops who excelled in their professional development program. Broaster says it is always important to uphold and recognize a good work ethic. ACP Edward Broaster - OC, Eastern Division Rural: "Earlier in the year we spoke to you about the professional development that we had planned for rural eastern division as it pertains to our professional development. We have received a very generous donation from Kerny, a director of a large corporate services business in Belize licensed and regulated by the IFSC in Belmopan under the Ministry of Finance. During our long discussions and consultations on the prevention of money laundering we had discussed how integrity and honesty are key characteristics in our mutual industries meaning the private sector and the police department."

    A Road Safety Award For Belize
    Today the Government of Belize received the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award. The award was granted based on the government's efforts to increase road safety in the country, particularly in the high-collision corridor on the Western highway. Before the CDB funded road safety project, that stretch of road was responsible for 50% of all road traffic deaths in Belize. After the project, it has only accounted for 10% of road deaths as of December 2015. CEOs of the Ministries of Economic Development and Works Yvonne Sharman and Errol Gentle received the award on behalf of the government. We leave you tonight with an unusual city sighting: a keel billed Toucan snacking on some Palm nuts right above a busy city street. We saw this beauty on Newtown Barracks, near Hummingbird Elementary, helping himself to the Palm nuts on Dame Minita’s tree. He didn’t seem bothered by the attention as he hung around on a five foot fence mugging for passers-by who were snapping pictures. The national bird likes brightly coloured fruits, and for the palm nut, he uses his long beak to crack it open.

    Channel 5

    Was Dead Woman Found in Belize River a Murder Victim?
    Ladyville Police are investigating the ghastly discovery of a badly decomposed body found floating along the Belize River earlier today.  The body of an unidentified woman was retrieved from the [...]

    D.P.P. to Decide on Charges in Baby Janeeka Death
    Today, the family of Janeeka Campbell said their final goodbyes to the two year old child as she was laid to rest at the Lord Ridge Cemetery in Belize City, [...]

    Accused in Cayo Murder Found Shot Dead; Suicide or Foul Play?
    Did a man who was on the run in connection with a murder take his own life? On Tuesday, Maximiliano Williams was found dead with an apparent gunshot wound to [...]

    Police Catch Burglars Removing Loot from Lake Gardens Home
    A residence in the Lake Gardens community in Ladyville was burglarized by thieves this morning.  Sometime around ten-thirty, Ladyville police were summoned to an isolated area where they discovered that [...]

    Senate Committee Chairman Disagrees with Interpretation of Ministers’ Intervention
    The Senate Special Committee on Immigration hosted its third meeting in Belmopan today. It continued its questioning of Auditor General, Dorothy Bradley, and Supervisor of Audit Carla Faber, on various [...]

    Senate Committee Hearings Resume with Discussion of Visa Process
    Inside the Senate Committee meeting, much of the discussion in the morning session was taken up with going over the requirements to issue visas, which the Department seemed to treat [...]

    What Happened to Manuel Heredia’s 52 Visa Stickers?
    The auditors noted in the course of their report that twenty-five thousand defective visas bought from Three-M Company in the U.S. were replaced at a cost of more than fifty [...]

    School General Managers Will Cut Short Christmas Break
    The Belize Association of General Managers of Pre and Primary Schools says that classes will resume on January third, 2017, contrary to what the Belize National Teachers Union stated on [...]

    No International Expert for Lucas Beheading Case
    When the teachers went on an eleven-day strike in October, they had put together a list of eight demands, called the good governance agenda. One of the demands was the [...]

    Is Senate Special Select Committee Moving Too Slowly? Chairman Says No
    Now back to the senate…Three meetings of the Committee are now complete and some are wondering why the Committee is taking its time and moving so cautiously in relation to [...]

    Will a Minister Sit Before Senate Committee in 2017?
    Despite initial cynical comments, some from those inside the process, that the Committee’s inquiry will amount to naught, the Committee is expected to produce a report on the testimony of [...]

    A.G. Reports Progress in Land Compensation Scam
    Outgoing Minister of Lands Vanessa Retreage clears her desk on December thirty-first, not before completing a list of tasks which include apprising the media on the controversial Ron J Limited [...]

    Carmelita Land Grab is Wrong, Says P.M.; Should It Be Investigated?
    As far as investigation into the questionable transactions involving land acquired by the Vega family in Carmelita, PM Barrow says that if the facts are indeed accurate, as presented by [...]

    P.U.P. Decries Reasons for A.G. Departure, Cabinet Reshuffle
    The Opposition People’s United Party has accused the government of completely losing control of the Ministry of Natural Resources, and calls for an immediate independent audit of the powerful Ministry. [...]

    Sedi Still Working on Sarstoon Protocol as Guatemalans Thaw
    The Sarstoon Protocol continues to hang in the air. Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington says there’s been some incremental gains in dialogue, but he wouldn’t share much more on where those [...]

    New Supreme Court Commissioners Sworn In
    There is a small list of persons countrywide who are Commissioners of the Supreme Court. But today, following a rigorous selection process including background checks and a test, over a [...]

    Primary School Art Skills Training Program to Go Big in Schools
    Over the past two years we have been sharing with you the creative talents of primary school students through the Primary School Art Skills Training project. It started with teaching [...]

    Reviewing the Role of the Environmental Clearance Process
    How sustainable and environmentally sound is the process of developing tourism and industry projects, such as offshore drilling? Well, an initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, [...]

    New Legislation Will Classify Projects According to Size
    But to mitigate negative impacts is to identify alternative actions or technologies. According to Martin, one of his main recommendations is for the strengthening of the current legislation, making it [...]

    Wagner’s Lane Centenarian Marks 103rd Birthday
    The average life expectancy for a female in Belize is around seventy-three according to the 2015 World Health Organization stats. There are several people who have defied those numbers and [...]

    LOVE FM

    Third and Final Senate Inquiry for 2016
    The Senate Special Select Committee convened once more in the chamber of the National Assembly Building in Belmopan, Cayo District to continue to question the Auditor General Dorothy Bradley as it relates to the Auditor General’s report on visas as well as other findings in the Immigration and Nationality Departments for period 2011-2013. Bradley who […]

    Guatemala and UK to Discuss Free Trade Agreement
    UK’s Minister of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who is from the British Conservative Party was recently on a working visit to Guatemala where she met with the republic’s Foreign Minister, Carlos Raul Morales. Baroness Joyce Anelay was part of a joint press conference on Monday, December 14, where she spoke of the […]

    PUP Says Barrow Has Lost Control of His Government
    The People’s United Party has issued a press release in response to the changes announced yesterday by Prime Minister Dean Barrow stating that the Prime Minister has lost control of his Government. The release reads, quote, “The People’s United Party is utterly shocked at the bizarre explanation of the departure of Attorney-General and Minister of […]

    Body of Unidentified Woman Found and Buried in Rural Belize
    An unidentified woman believed to be in her thirties was laid to rest in Lord’s Bank Village, Belize District this afternoon. The woman’s decomposed body was found early this afternoon three miles from the Burrell Boom Bridge down the Belize River. Her hands were tied behind her back and she was wearing a dark blue […]

    Cop’s Accidental Shooting of Step-Daughter
    On Monday, a police constable attached to the San Ignacio Tourism Police Unit accidently shot his step daughter. San Ignacio Commanding Officer, Superintendent Richard Rosado, told us what went wrong. RICHARD ROSADO “On Monday December 12 at about 5:27pm information was received of a shooting incident in Santa Elena town involving a police officer and […]

    DPP to Determine Way Forward in Justice for Baby Janeeka Campbell
    Baby Janeeka Campbell was laid to rest today after she passed away last week. Belmopan Police suspect some sort of foul play since bruises were observed on her fragile body. A post mortem was conducted but the results did not make the matter any clearer. Belmopan’s Commanding Officer, Senior Superintendent Howell Gillett, gave us an […]

    Person of Interest in Weekend Murder, Found Dead
    Just before five o’clock yesterday evening police in San Ignacio responded to a shooting incident in Yalbac Village, Cayo District where a man was found with a gunshot wound to the chest. Officer Commanding San Ignacio Police Station, Superintendent Richard Rosado gave the details. RICHARD ROSADO ” At the scene, Police found a 16-gauge shotgun […]

    Police Thwarts Burglars in Lake Garden
    Police in Ladyville, belize District responded to a report of a burglary in the Lake Gardens area just across from the Lord’s Bank area. The call came in just after eleven thirty this morning. Commanding Officer for the Ladyville Police Station, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Juanito Cocom briefed the media on the incident along with […]

    Contradictions in the Sugar Industry
    In one of our news segments last week we brought an interview with Agriculture Minister, Godwin Hulse who had just completed a meeting with the sugarcane farmers and stakeholders in Orange Walk. In that interview Minister Hulse expressed optimism in the way forward. Today, however, the Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno posted on his […]

    Three Years for Four Pounds of Shrimp
    Forty-two year old Mark Middleton, aka “Rugu”, charged with the theft of 4 pounds of Shrimp from Public’s Supermarket, was sentenced to 3 months today by Magistrate Carlon Mendoza after he pled guilty to the charge. Middleton begged Magistrate Mendoza not to send him to prison because he has a daughter to take care of, […]

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    DigiCell 4GLTE to be launched on Friday
    Belize Telemedia Ltd. will be launching its new DigiCell 4G LTE network on Friday with an event to be held at the BTL Park in Belize City. The event will feature BTL booths selling 4G LTE-ready devices at “super-low” prices, according to the company. […]

    MOE intent to take a week from Christmas holiday
    A leaked memo issued to Primary School General Managers from the Ministry of Education says school are to re-open on January 3, 2017 despite the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) having informed its membership to return to schools on the 9. On Monday the […]

    PUP says Retreage got death threats
    “We find that explanation ludicrous and deceitful on the part of Mr. Barrow and Senator Retreage,” the Opposition PUP said in a statement following Minister Vanessa Retreage’s resignation from Cabinet. In a press conference yesterday, PM Barrow indicated that Retreage had not resigned from […]

    BAFFU launches printed magazine
    On Monday, the public presentation of the BAFFU printed magazine was held at the Image Factory Art Foundation in Belize City. BAFFU is an independent magazine published by the Image Factory Art Foundation. Since June 2014 a small team of five art activists have […]

    No new police barracks for Caye Caulker yet!
    In January of this year, BBN highlighted the deplorable conditions of the police barracks in Caye Caulker. The residents were requesting that something be done about the conditions of the barracks as it is not livable for officers. Now 11 months later, the conditions remain […]

    PM announces changes in Cabinet
    At a press briefing held yesterday in Belmopan, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced upcoming changes in his Cabinet. The Attorney General and Minister of Natural Resources Senator Vanessa Retreage has come to the end of her one year contract with government and will be […]

    Despite new bus fares overcrowding of buses continue
    Despite the implementation of new bus fares, commuters in the west continue to be plagued by the overcrowding of buses, use of below standard buses and generally poor service, particularly during peak hours on the runs between San Ignacio and Belmopan. On Saturday, there […]

    Blogs

    A Funny Chipped Tooth Parade Story
    Last Sunday marked the annual Love FM Christmas Parade. As always it was packed, lots of fun and there was much behind the scenes chaos. If you want to walk a parade in San Pedro this is a good one to do because it is night time and generally a bit cooler. This year I opted to do the fitness version and accept my trainers Sara and Greg’s invitation to join them in spot number 11. Carole and Rob who workout with them as well, also decided to join the fun. On behalf of Have Fun Stay Fit (HFSF) we were candy elves for the night. Our mission? Not to use our muscle and throw candy and take out the crowd. The Saints were behind us so we got a great live show the whole night as you can see a glimps of in the featured image above. While the Saints were doing flips Carole and I were doing squats, lunges, standing Frankensteins and much to my dismay jumping jacks. The Ambergris Caye Rotary was ahead of us; they were also handing out treats and ended up pusshin a cart near the end of the parade route.

    Christmas and New Year’s Eve Festivities in Belize
    December on through the ringing in of the New Year is a wonderful time to visit Belize. With plenty of warm weather, gorgeous sunshine, and lots of activities to enjoy, it’s no wonder that more and more visitors are discovering the natural beauty of Belize. December and all of the holidays are also a great time to experience local color in Belize. Visitors can witness parades through all of the major cities where Santa and his merry band of elves distribute goodies to the crowds and marvel at the local tradition of boat “parades” where flotillas of gaily-decorated vessels line up and sail past sites like Ambergris Caye and the Placencia Peninsula. Locals and visitors alike can revel in both Spanish and English-language caroling or simply enjoy the festive lights that adorn most cities and towns. In areas of the country like Dangriga where there is a strong Garifuna community, the Christmas season is a time for traditional Joncunu dances where participants don painted masks to imitate Europeans and dance to the rhythms of traditional Garifuna drums. Other local traditions include The Grand Ball where participants perform traditional ballroom dances, horse racing in the village of Burrell Boom, and Las Posadas, a Catholic ritual where the statues of Mary and Joseph are paraded through the street in a recreation of the Biblical search for room at the inn. In Maya communities like Punta Gorda in Belize’s Toledo District, groups of dancers don animal costumes to perform the traditional Deer Dance.

    “Make Someone Happy” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
    My friend John East writes one of my favorite blogs about life in San Pedro. This one is a well-deserved plug for an old friend who has opened up a deli in South Ambergris Caye. I’m not going to try to fool you. I’m sure that I could if I really wanted to. But I don’t. Want to fool you, that is. So I’m laying out upfront that I’ve written this edition to try and help a friend. Yes, this is an unadulterated plug to promote the new business that he opened just one week ago today.

    International Sourcesizz

    World's Largest Wave Was 62.3-Foot Surge in Atlantic: Scientists
    The largest wave ever recorded was a six-story monster in the North Atlantic Ocean, scientists have revealed. A World Meteorological Organization (WMO) expert committee found data from a buoy between Iceland and the U.K. Scientists attributed the 62.3-foot surge to a "very strong cold front, which produced winds of up to 43.8 knots [50.4 miles per hour] over the area" on Feb. 4, 2013. The previous record of 59.96 feet was measured on December 8, 2007, also in the North Atlantic. The WMO Commission for Climatology's Extremes Evaluation Committee classified it as "the highest significant wave height as measured by a buoy."

    British Honduras papers
    The Royal Commonwealth Society Library has just published an on-line catalogue for one of its earliest and most fascinating manuscript collections, the archives of the distinguished colonial administrator Sir George Arthur (1784-1854). These papers relate to his tenure as Superintendent and Commandant of British Honduras during 1814-1822. Now known by its modern name of Belize, British settlement in the area began during the eighteenth century when timber-cutters illegally established themselves in Spanish territory along the Bay of Honduras. They exported logwood, whose dyes were essential to the European textile industries. When Arthur arrived, British Honduras was a small, remote frontier settlement populated by about thirty European families, a few companies of the West India Regiment, nearly 1,000 free people of mixed race and African origin, and almost 3,000 African and native American slaves, mainly employed in woodcutting.

    CCJ rules against regulator in Belize telecommunications dispute
    The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) last week delivered its judgment in the case of Speednet Communications Limited v Public Utilities Commission. The CCJ, the highest appellate court in Belize, reversed the Court of Appeal and found that Speednet Communications Limited proved its case. The Public Utilities Commission is the regulator for the telecommunications industry in Belize, while Speednet Communications is a private telecommunications services provider in that nation. The Court ordered the Public Utilities Commission to refund Speednet Communications the sum of BZ$792,000 (US$394,000), less the lawful licence fee of BZ$1,400. The dispute between the parties arose out of a difference in interpretation of the relevant regulations, which set out the licence fees of BZ$100 per ‘channel’. According to the Public Utilities Commission, the term ‘channel’ referred to ‘voice’ channel, while Speednet Communications argued that it meant ‘radio frequency’ channel, which would mean that BZ$1,400 would be the total appropriate fee.

    10 inexpensive places to get away from it all
    Looking for some inexpensive places to take someone for the holidays – or a out-of-the-ordinary trip to give as a gift? Here are 10 places that won’t break your bank. 5. Ambergris Caye/Caye Caulker, Belize: If you’re willing to go downscale a bit, Belize might be the place for you. These long, thin islands, just off the coast of Belize City, have little or no pavement. Golf carts are your taxis, and there are no huge chain hotels. The four-star and up hotels can get pricey, but three stars can be had cheaply. Bring your dive and snorkel gear, and enjoy.

    New 'safe seafood' laws' regional export rules being readied
    The fisheries industry on Wednesday moved one step closer to making the Caribbean fish and seafood trade safer and more profitable when experts met in Barbados to finalise a raft of model regional laws, policies and procedures. The Caribbean region’s ability to cash in on a potentially lucrative, international export trade in fish and seafood – already worth US$315 million a year – is being held back by gaps in sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) said. But the experts, who are wrapping up an 18-month-long project to investigate fish handling policies and design a new seafood safety regime for the region’s fish and fishery products, are set to introduce a new regime for SPS measures in CARIFORUM states.

    CDB approves US$10 million to support Belize poverty reduction agency
    The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) will assist the government of Belize in strengthening an institution that is a key partner and important vehicle for providing services to poor and vulnerable communities in that country. CDB’s board of directors last Thursday approved a loan of US$10 million to Belize. It will be used to expand the services of the Belize Social Investment Fund (BSIF). BSIF, which was established in 1996, is responsible for promoting, appraising, financing and supervising the implementation of small and medium-sized sub-projects designed to benefit underserved communities. “CDB is pleased to support BSIF in scaling up its very important work, which increases access to basic social infrastructure and services to underserved women, men, boys and girls in Belize,” said Daniel Best, director, projects, CDB.

    Videos

  • Hands up for HIV Prevention Belize, 2min. Commemorating World AIDS Day 2016.

  • Cave Tubing - Belize - Dec 7, 2016, 11min. Cave Tubing in Belize while here with the Carnival Glory. We used Charlie Chan's Cave Tubing for our excursion. They were great guides!

  • MISS UNIVERSE 2016 || MISS BELIZE (Rebecca Rath) INTRODUCTION, 2.5min.

  • WOW so cool...turns out that Belize is Jennifer Lawrence's favorite vacation spot!, 2min. Cover star Jennifer Lawrence on Chris Pratt, her guilty pleasure, and R-rated movies.

  • Image Factory Art Foundation - First Printed Edition of BAFFU, 29min.

  • Police Department on Safety for Christmas Season, 32min.

  • Sounds of Sugar Free Touch Band - Christmas Feature, 24min.

  • Belize 2016, 3min. St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fort Worth, Texas served those who are mobility challenged in June of 2016. The video is a compilation of the weeks activity which included fitting and distribution of 100 wheel chairs. Praise God for his demonstration of compassion and hope through the gift of mobility!

  • Belize Adventures 2016 - Travel Video, 4min. Join me for a look into my 2016 Placencia, Belize adventure. I spent 9 days in Belize from the end of November and into early December. Visiting the Mayan ruins of Nim Li Punit and Lubaantun. Scuba diving with sharks, spotted eagle rays, hawksbill sea turtles and lobsters. Eating great food and lounging around the pool. A great trip with some of the family and lots of memories.

  • Mission to Belize -December 2016, 25min. There is still hope for the God-fearing citizens of Belize.

  • GEF Small Grants Programme in Belize, 12min. A brief summary of the successes and history of the GEF Small Grants Programme in Belize.

  • Hurricane Earl - River Flooding in Belize 04.08.2016, 7min.

  • Lirahunu Satuye Dance Club (from Belize) Meets Other Garifuna Artists in Bronx, 16min.

  • Toucan snacking on some Palm nuts in the city, 1min. This is an an unusual city sighting: a keel billed Toucan snacking on some Palm nuts right above a busy city street. We saw this beauty on Newtown Barracks, near Hummingbird Elementary, helping himself to the Palm nuts on Dame Minita’s tree. He didn’t seem bothered by the attention as he hung around on a five foot fence mugging for passers-by who were snapping pictures. The national bird likes brightly coloured fruits, and for the palm nut, he uses his long beak to crack it open.

    December 14, 2016


    FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

    Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

    Specials and Events

    Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    Little Angels Preschool holds successful Christmas Bazaar
    Little Angels Preschool held their annual Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, December 10th at the San Pedro Lions Den. Every year, Principal of Little Angels Marina Kay, along with her staff, organize this fair as one of their largest fundraising events for the school. The event drew an influx of children and parents to participate in a variety of fun games, raffles, and tombola to feel the holiday spirit. With plenty of food, snacks and refreshments for sale, there was much to keep the little ones and parents entertained before the commencement of the Christmas show. At 8PM, the preschoolers presented their Christmas program to the audience. Dressed in Santa suits and angel costumes, the toddlers sang and danced. The performance kept the crowd entertained, and they cheered the children’s efforts. Principal Kay extends much gratitude to all the volunteers, and parents and guardians who took the time out to attend this special event, and for making this fundraiser successful!

    Foreva Fancy hits the runway—Christmas Style!
    Following the Love FM Christmas Parade, Foreva Fancy Boutique presented their third annual Christmas Fashion Show on Sunday, December 11th. Foreva Fancy is always in the spirit of giving, and this year’s theme was, “Happiness Does Not Come from What We Get, but What We Give”. At 9PM, the Central Park overflowed with viewers of all ages. Before the show began, hostess of the night, Miss Petite Earth International 2016-2017, Vivian Noralez, along with host, San Pedro High School Teacher, Philip Ramsey, welcomed the crowd and recapped several fashion shows that successfully took place within this year. For Eduardo Aguilar, organizing fashion shows reflects his passion for fashion. Although it may be hectic and time consuming, the results fulfil his desire to continue showcasing his creativity to the residents and visitors of San Pedro. In June 2016, Foreva Fancy hosted their annual fashion show for the Public Workers: “What to Wear and What Not to Wear”, while in September 2016, he worked along with a committee to host the Queen of Bacchanal Pageant.

    SHINE benefits from Starry Night Fundraiser
    In an effort to raise funds for various non-profit organizations under ‘On Eagles Wings Ministries’ (OEWM), Michelle Nuñez and Britney Travis organized their annual fundraiser on Friday, December 9th. Friday night’s “Starry Night” event was hosted at the Hidden Treasure Restaurant, where over 75 guests attended to primarily contribute to the SHINE (Shaping Healthy Identities through Nurturing and Empowerment) youth program. At 7PM, guests enjoyed socializing during cocktail hour with complimentary drinks. They were also greeted with live music and delicious hors d’oeuvres served by friendly Hidden Treasure waiters. To contribute to the fundraiser, guests could also purchase Holiday Cocktail Specialty Drinks.

    SPTC Supervisor Ernesto Caliz accused of sexually assaulting a toddler
    62 year-old Ernesto Caliz Sr., former supervisor at The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC), was charged with sexual assault on a 3-year-old child. However, he is out of jail after he was offered a bail of $5,000. Caliz had been remanded to the Belize Central Prison until his next adjournment on January 6, 2017, but his attorney managed to have Justice Adolph Lucas approve his bail application on Friday, December 9th. The incident was reported to San Pedro Police early in December, when Caliz was accused of fondling a 3-year-old girl. He was arraigned on Tuesday, December 6th in San Pedro Town, after the Magistrate denied him bail. However, three days after, he was a free man after being granted a Supreme Court bail. The bail was given with the condition that Caliz is to appear before the Magistrate at San Pedro’s Magistrate Court on January 6, 2017 and any other date he is ordered to appear in court by the Magistrate. Another condition requires him to report to the San Pedro Police Station every Friday, starting Friday, December 16th until the case is closed. Caliz has been ordered not to interfere with any of the prosecution witnesses, especially with the complainant or any members of her family. He is not to go near where she lives.

    Palapa Bar hosts island launch of Belikin Calendar 2017
    The extravaganza of the anticipated 2017 Belikin Calendar came to La Isla Bonita on Saturday, December 10th. At a mini launch party hosted at the popular Palapa Bar and Grill, island residents and visitors had the chance to get their copy of the calendar signed by two of the featured models. Present at the event were Miss April, Dianira Rivera from San Pedro Town and Miss August, Miriam McCoy from Belize City. After the main launch of the calendar on November, 26th in Belize City, Belikin has been holding a series of mini-launch parties across the country for those who could not attend the official event. At Palapa Bar and Grill, patrons could obtain a copy of the calendar after purchasing a bucket of beer. Local island residents took the opportunity to congratulate Rivera, thanking her for representing the island. McCoy’s calendar shot was taken at Palapa Bar before the devastating Hurricane Earl in August of this year. She was happy to see the bar up and running again after it was completely destroyed by the hurricane.

    Ambergris Today

    Belizean Entrepreneurs Receive Seed Funding to Expand their Business
    Thirty-six young Belizean entrepreneurs were recognized for their hard work during an award ceremony of the EMPRENDE Belize Fund, which was held on December 12, 2015 at ITVET Dining Room, ITVET Campus on Freetown Road, Belize City. During the award ceremony, His Excellency Charles Liu, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Hon. Tracy Taegar-Panton, Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade & Commerce, presented a check for the total sum of US$200,000 to the recipients as part of the EMPRENDE Belize Fund. The entrepreneurs will receive grant funding of up to US$5,555 each to establish or expand their businesses and will execute their investment plans as approved by the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) and the Regional Centre for the Promotion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (CENPROMYPE).

    Construction of San Pedro Children’s Home to Commence in January
    Talk about a New Year resolution - The San Pedro Lions Club along with Raise me up will commence a new important journey together for the community as they work on transform the old Lions Clinic building into a children’s home. Raise Me Up is one of the island’s newest non-profit organizations that operates the food bank, the literacy program at Holy Cross, the adopt-a-bear program, the boat parade, the haunted house, the kids club after school program and this year it was also in charge of the San Mateo hurricane re-building project. The children’s home is their newest project that they will tackle in the coming year; it is set to provide a household for 36 children.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Public Alert; Fake Checkpoints
    In view of the recent robberies on our highways and criminals impersonating police officers and setting up check points on our highways, the general public is advised that every Check Point manned by the Belize Police Department will display clearly a Police Check Point sign. At least one police officer at the check points will be dressed in the number one uniform (Khaki shirt and blue trousers) and a marked police vehicle will also be present at the check point. If any member of the public should come across a Police Check Point that does not meet these requirements, they are advised not to stop and proceed to the nearest police station to report the matter.

    Carlos Raúl Morales meeting UK Minister of State Joyce Anelay in Guatemala
    To make his case for money from the UK to fund the Guatemalan ICJ referendum education campaign

    Renewal of fisher folk licenses
    The Belize Fisheries Department hereby informs the PUBLIC that it will commence with the renewal of fisher folk licenses on January 4th, 2017. A grace period for renewals will be in place until January 31st, 2017. Commercial Fishing Vessel owners are hereby informed that vessels must comply with the requirements under the VESSEL COLOR CODING SCHEME under the Managed Access program by January 31st 2017. Paint can be obtained from the Belize Fisheries Department offices in Belize City and Punta Gorda.

    New ‘safe seafood’ laws, export rules being readied
    The fisheries industry on Wednesday moves one step closer to making the Caribbean fish and seafood trade safer and more profitable when experts meet in Barbados to finalise a raft of model regional laws, policies and procedures. The Caribbean region’s ability to cash in on a potentially lucrative, international export trade in fish and seafood – already worth 315 million US dollars a year – is being held back by gaps in sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) said. But the experts, who are wrapping up an 18-month-long project to investigate fish handling policies and design a new seafood safety regime for the region’s fish and fishery products, are set to introduce a new regime for SPS measures in CARIFORUM states.

    SMCU Christmas Concert
    The Saint Martin's Credit Union is having a Christmas Concert this Saturday, December 17th, at the Cayo Welcome Center. The Benque Marimba Academy and the Panerrifix Steel Band will both be performing at the event. They'll have some giveaways too. "Join us at the Cayo Welcome Center next weekend for the annual St. Martins Credit Union Christmas Concert Saturday December 17th starting from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m."

    Open Mic Night!
    Who can make the best 4G LTE theme song? Come out and showcase you're musical greatness! $1000 cash for the winner This Friday night! December 16th 7:30pm at BTL Park!

    V Festival del Pueblo 2016
    The Festival of San Lazaro is coming up. You are invited to the "V Festival del Pueblo 2016," Dec. 19th, 1:30pm. The “Festival del Pueblo” is an annual cultural event advocating and promoting our tangible and intangible cultural heritage in this case our Yucatec Maya-Mestizo culture. Our community on a whole is looking forward for this event; your presence will be a pillar of strength and tower of motivation in spurring both our culture and festival on its upward momentum. This year highlights will be: Pre-Hispanic and Yucatec Maya music and dances, Maya art gallery, photograph gallery, map of Orange Walk South before the year 1950 and a small museum of the Yucatec Maya. Presentations of The Caste War: The Relationship between Mexico and Belize, Historic scenarios of Orange Walk by the Rio Hondo – War, Exploitation and Migration.

    Garifuna drums and wanaragua shells
    Ecumenical Auditorium will be blazing, with the sound of the Garifuna drums and wanaragua shells. Fullmoon concert kicks off immediately after with Unto Alegria Y Tradiciones de Panama, Breda David, and DI-X Band. Bringing back the old fashion Christmas.

    Beautiful replicas of Maya vessels
    Mr. David Magaña of San Jose Succotz has operated Magana's Art Center (MAC) since 1980, making beautiful replicas of Maya vessels and other artistic pieces because he wants people to see the art of the Maya. With people making replicas, everyone can enjoy a piece of the ancient Maya culture in their homes without the need to buy illicitly acquired pieces, thus decreasing looting. Kudos to Mr. Magaña!

    Mr. Peetaz Bruk Dong Bram
    Saturday, December 17 at 12 PM - 10 PM, Battlefield Park Belize City.

    Seashore Drive Christmas Laser Light Show
    Thursday, Dedember 15th, 6:30pm. Seashore Drive will be closed to vehicular traffic 5:30pm-10pm.

    Story Telling time at the "Krismus Eena Di Paak"
    Story telling has played a large part in our culture. This is one of the ways we have passed various aspects of our culture from one generation to the next. Keeping this in mind, The Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project will present Story Telling time at the "Krismus Eena Di Paak" at BattleField Park on Thursday, December 15th and Friday, December 16th from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Bring the kids out and enjoy some old fashion stories.

    Belize Fishing Report, December 4th – December 10th, 2016
    It was a pleasure to host a large group of Cabelas’ guests who spent 5 nights and four days fishing at the lodge. The group ranged from some first-time salt water anglers to some very experienced anglers. The good weather helped many achieve the goal of a first bonefish and in a couple cases, a first tarpon or first permit.

    Garinagu organization and political growth in Belize - Part 1
    Belize is located along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean (Circum-Caribbean), between Mexico and Guatemala. Unlike the Spanish-speaking countries in the region, Belize, which was once a British colony, maintains English as its national and official language. In addition, in 1981 Belize was the last country in the Central American region to gain its independence, in contrast with Mexico and the other republics of Central and South America that became independent in the early nineteenth century. Belize’s diverse population comprises the Creole, Mestizo, Maya, Menonites, East Indian, Chinese, Arabs and Garinagu.1 The Creole, predominantly of African descent, and mestizo, a Spanish and indigenous mixture, represent the country’s majority population. Belize City, the earliest settlement and former capital, is presented as central in the development of Creole culture.2

    Mingle Jingle Karaoke on Caye Caulker
    Plan your weekend right Folks in Caye Caulker! This Saturday night, December 17th, Martini's Bar and Grill is having their first ever Karaoke Mingle and Jingle from 7 pm to midnight/close. Come on out and have a merry, fun time! Get your pre Holiday fix! DJ Liz (yours truly) will be right there to take your song requests!

    Splashers
    It's almost Thursday and you know what that means! The Splashers will be stroking...tapping... and getting their Happy on Canvas! :) Join us at Crazy Canucks Beach Bar and get your Happy on too!

    Lots of rain in San Pedro
    It was rough out there today. Localized flooding as rain came down hard all day long.

    Prime Minister Announces Changes in Cabinet
    At a press briefing held today in Belmopan, the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow announced upcoming changes in his Cabinet. The Attorney General and Minister of Natural Resources Senator Hon. Vanessa Retreage has come to the end of her one year contract with government and will be leaving the Cabinet at the end of December 2016. In her remarks made today, Minister Retreage thanked the Prime Minister for the privilege to serve the government and people of Belize and explained that because of family and previous business commitments, she will be returning to private practice. The Prime Minister announced that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, will take up the post of Attorney General in January 2017, and the Ministry of Natural Resources will become part of the Prime Minister’s portfolio. Senator, the Hon. Dr. Carla Barnett, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, will take up the day to day management of that ministry.

    Ministry of Health Receives Note on Statement of Measles and Rubella Elimination
    The Ministry of Health is pleased to share that Belize received the official statements on the announcement of the Regions of the Americas having eliminated measles, rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS). The declaration was signed by the members of the International Expert Committee of the Measles-Rubella National Commissions. This declaration was first announced in September at the 55th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), which was attended by the Minister of Health Hon. Pablo Marin. Measles is one of the most contagious diseases that primarily affect children. The Expert Committee reviewed evidence on measles elimination presented by all countries of the Region between 2015 and August 2016 and concluded that it met the criteria for elimination. To maintain the measles elimination efforts, all countries must strengthen active surveillance to maintain immunity through their vaccination program. Belize was specially praised and awarded second place for Surveillance at this year’s meeting of Immunization Managers; having fallen from first place in 2015, from among 24 countries in the Caribbean Region.

    SMART training comes to Belize
    "An innovative software application designed to help rangers curb the illegal trade in wildlife and timber." SMART training comes to Belize courtesy the International Program of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and WCS.

    "Before the Flood" screening
    Free movie screening of Leonardo Dicaprio's must-watch documentary flim "Before the Flood" this Thursday night in Belmopan! You don't want to miss it!

    Channel 7

    Retreage Rolls, Causing Another Cabinet Shakeup
    Last night we told you about the unofficial reports that Attorney General and Minister of Natural Resources Vanessa Retreage will be resigning from cabinet. Well, it was confirmed today when the Prime Minister held a press conference to make it official. We'll get to that shortly, but first some background. Retreage - who is an attorney - was brought into the Barrow administration after the last election in November 2015 as Attorney General. And then, after in a cabinet shuffle in August, she was promoted to Minister of Natural Resources, while remaining Attorney General. That made her one of the most powerful ministers in Cabinet - and one who had the full confidence of the Prime Minister, more confidence than he placed in any of the elected members of Cabinet. But only four months into a difficult job, Retreage has called it quits. But today there was no weeping or hard feelings, the Prime Minister presented it as a planned progression:... Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "She has not made any decision to leave the cabinet. She is leaving as a consequence of the effluxion of time. The explanation for that being that when I invited the attorney to join the cabinet after the last election, she was quite clear to me that she would do so, but only for a year. She indicated that both in terms of her commitments to her law firm and her law partner, as well as to her family, she would not be able to serve for longer than a year. So as she put it, that year has now gone by. In fact you gave us a little bit brata. And as a consequence she will demit office at the end of this month."

    Digging Deeper Into Vega Family Flipping Scheme
    And, as she leaves, the latest breaking land scandal is the one with those 1600 acres of farmland in Carmelita village. PUP Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Cordel Hyde revealed a scheme at Friday's house meeting where 50 regular people got title for adjoining properties in the area and almost immediately flipped it to Vega family members. Last night, we were showing you but a few of those transactions which ended with both German and Marilene Vega owning the land, but tonight we show you a few of them which ended up with other members of Vega. Set 20 Here in this document, you'll see that instead of the land being sold to someone and then to the Vega family, the Lands Department immediately sold a piece of land in Carmelta Village to Ignacio Vega Sr. for just over 11,600 dollars. Set 21 In this one, you see that the Ministry of Natural Resources approved the transfer of another piece of land in Carmelita to Karen S. Vega.

    The Curious Case of NSV VS. BTL
    And one more land dispute that's gone to court has to do with another Vega family member. It's Vega's nephew Nestor Hernandez, the former Deputy Lands Commissioner who was terminated in 2014. He and his wife Susanna co-own a company named NSV Enterprise. The company is now locked in a legal battle with BTL over this piece of land in Hopkins Village. We understand that BTL was given a lease to this property, which is still valid and subsisting. The lease was granted on November 10, 2010 for 7 years, with an option to extend to 30 years. They built their phone tower and switch on it, on the clear understanding that their lease secured the property. That's until NSV came up with a title for the same property. Document's we've seen say that in January of 2013, when Nestor Hernandez was still at the Lands Ministry, a Moses Lopez, bought the land with title for $1,000 dollars. 4 months later, he then sold his title to NSV Enterprise. Now this piece of land is the very same piece that BTL has a valid lease to, and on which they already have their very expensive phone equipment installed.

    Copycat Cops set Up Bogus Checkpoint
    You might want to be very careful when stopping at police checkpoints. That's after a couple of police impersonators jacked a Travelers cargo truck last night on the Western Highway. Around 6:00, salesman Armando Perez along with 3 co- workers were heading to Belize city from Belmopan. At mile 20, they spotted 2 uniformed officers standing near this homemade checkpoint sign and a single cone. Perez stopped and one of the officers pulled out a gun and told him to park on the side of the road. They stole close to $50,000 in cash and cheques. Today, Ladyville police gave us more details about this frightening hold up. They also discussed what the drivers should look out for to keep safe. ASP Juanito Cocom, OC, Ladyville Police: "The Ladyville detectives along with the rural rapid response team acting upon information of a robbery, visited mile 20 on the George Price Highway. Upon arrival they met Armando Perez, a 52 years old Belizean Salesman Representative of Travelers Liquor Limited. He reported that sometime about 5:40pm he was travelling in the direction of Belmopan to Belize City in a 10-wheeler Freightliner white truck along with other 3 employees of Travelers Limited. Upon reaching mile 20 on the George Price Highway they came across what appeared to be a police checkpoint where they saw two male persons..."

    Min. Of Education Says School Starts on The Third
    Last night, we told you about the press release which the Belize National Teachers Union sent out. They're encouraging the teachers to ignore the Ministry of Education's make up days for the strike. Instead of ending their Christmas holiday early, the BNTU is telling its members to enjoy their entire holiday as prescribed by the Education Amendment Rules of 2012. They say that Ministry is taking on the authority of the school managements by changing the school calendar. Well, we've contacted Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber for comment, and he responded saying, quote, "Our position stands ... The issue of changing the schools' calendar when falling short of the 180 days is a matter for the managing authorities and the Chief Education Office. The decision to add additional days was made by the said two parties and so, the decision stands." That means that as far as the Ministry is concerned, school does start on January third - while the Union is telling its members to return to school on the ninth.

    Will New Fiscal Year Bring New Taxes?
    At today's press conference, the media also got to ask the Prime Minister about the possibility of new taxes in the coming fiscal year. Government's fiscal difficulties have been well publicized both locally to the unions, and internationally to bondholders. And as government asks holders of the superbond to give up something - government will also have to prove that it is prepared to itself go through some pain - and that usually means "people pain" in the form of higher taxes. Today the PM was non committal - but tended towards a less painful approach:... Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "So while acknowledging that there is a problem that must be addressed, I don't think it is quite fair to give the impression that the sky is falling. We have to take some measures. We have to take action, but I believe we can do so in a way that will concentrate rather more on the cutting of fat, the elimination of waste than on burdening the Belizean public with additional taxes."

    BEL's New Power Purchase Deal With Santander Sugar is Sweet
    The Santander Sugar Group has signed an agreement with BEL to supply energy to the National Grid. The Guatemalan company set up its sugar cane operation in Valley of Peace, Cayo, has been approved to sell 16 megawatts of electricity to BEL. It's part of an approval process which the Public Utilities Commission started back in October 2013. And after that extended review period, BEL, the PUC and Santander Sugar Energy Limited signed a power purchase agreement today. Here's how they explained it: A unique feature of this agreement is that energy sales will be in Belize dollars. The PUC Chairman revealed today that ASR has requested an increase in the price of the electricity they sell to the grid. That proposed increase is only in its very initial stages of review.

    Jury Says Teacher Didn't Do Dirty Deed With Student
    It made major news in May of 2013 when Primary School teacher Eddie Pinelo was arrested and charged with sexual abuse against one of a male student at a San Ignacio school. Well tonight, he's on day 2 of freedom from that allegation after he was acquitted in the Belmopan Supreme Court of the charge of unnatural crime. He was accused by the 14 year-old boy who said he visited Pinelo's Bullet Tree Home. He told police that while at the teacher's house, they drank Caribbean rum and coke, and after about 3 cups, he felt drunk. He said that he couldn't remember that he was taken to bed, but he alleged that Pinelo removed his clothes and had sexual intercourse with him. After 3 year and a half years, Pinelo finally got his day in court before Justice Antoinette Moore, and the prosecution called 6 witness to testify against him. He was represented by attorney Leeroy Banner.

    GSU Getting Weed By The Pound
    Today, the GSU came up big when it searched under an abandoned house on Old Fabers Road. They dug out just over a pound of cannabis hidden in a plastic bag under some cement blocks. The GSU later proceeded to Rivero Street where they conducted a search in an empty lot. This time they found about a pound and a half of cannabis between some zinc fences. No one was around either scene, so the drugs were all labeled and submitted as found property. And yesterday the GSU did a search at the Kolbe foundation where they found one pound of weed within the prison. This was handed over to the prison exhibit keeper.

    PACT Protects The Chiquibul With Grants
    Today the Protected Areas Conservation Trust handed awarded four conservation organizations a total of $2.28 million dollars in funding. Each organization mainly operates in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, Belize's largest national park. The investment is part of the Chiquibul Forest Investment Initiative, through which the government plans to provide $15.8 million dollars to safeguard the park. We spoke to representatives of the Ministry of Forestry as well as one of the award recipients to find out how the money will help the conservation efforts... Dr. Colin Young, CEO, Ministry of Forestry: "Today we had the grant award ceremony for what we call the Chiquibul Forest Investment Initiative. We disbursed approximately 2.5 million dollars today to 4 organizations. To Friends for conservation and Development that manages the Chiquibul National Park, they got about $770,000 Dollars. The Belize Forest Department about $570,000. Ya'axché Conservation Trust that manages the Bladen Nature Reserve and the Columbia Forest Reserve, they got $400,000 and the Belize Defense Force got a cheques for $434,000."

    FIU Learning To Use World Bank Tool For Risk Assessment
    Today was the first day of an FIU workshop aimed at providing stakeholders with the tools and skills needed to conduct a money laundering and terrorist financing national risk assessment. The assessment will identify the main sectors where there is a risk that money laundering and terrorist financing could take place, and recommend policies and actions to control and mitigate them. We spoke to FIU Director Kent Claire about the assessment and where the FIU is looking for potential high risk sectors... Kent Clare, Director. FIU: "It's a national risk assessment that countries are required to have in place. It is a FATF (Financial Actions Talk Force) requirement but beyond that there are some countries who have done national risk assessments even outside of that. So basically what it does, it allows you to determine what is the possibility or the risk of any type of financial crime. Not only financial crimes, but other types like cybercrime and so on that could potentially harm your jurisdiction and its ability to effect cross border transactions and international trade. Some countries have done it within 2 years. We are targeting something like 18 months. The process began back in September and we are hopeful that we can conclude hopefully early 2018, but it remains to be the same."

    The Name Of The Rose Is Calypso
    If you grew up in Belize in the 1980's - then you'll know why Calypso Rose is considered an honorary Belizean. The Calypsonian from Trinidad and Tobago enjoyed huge popularity both for her stage shows and her irresistible hits like Fire in Belize, Fire in Me Wire and Leh We Punta. But then, Calypsos' reign ended, replaced by the far faster, catchier and younger Soca rhythms. And that might have been it for Rose, a former star who appeared every now and then on retirement tours - because, who even listens to Calypso anymore, right? Well, try ALL OF EUROPE! That's right, Calypso Rose has made a commanding and certified comeback with the number one world music album in France this summer. In fact, Her new release, recorded in Belize at Benque's Stonetree records is the first international gold album coming from Trinidad and Tobago. And yes that does mean she is bigger in Europe than Machel Montano. It's incredible and unexpected - and the man behind the music is Ivan Duran who produced the album with Belizean musicians. He spoke to us via Skype from Montreal today - where he told us why Belizeans should embrace the album:.

    Golf Cart Scrooges On San Pedro
    For you islanders or those of you who want to have a sandy sea side Christmas on the Cayes, you might want to hold on tightly to your golf cart keys or properly secure the golf cart when it's parked. Golf cart thefts have been on the rise on San Pedro and today police warned that if you don't want to end up stranded during the holidays, take care of your golf carts. Jemmoth says that they have their patrols and police safety operations ready for Christmas.

    Cops Recognized For Going Above And Beyond
    2 Northside police officers were awarded today for their exemplary police work. Every month an officer is chosen and recognized based on professional conduct and performance. Now, it's not to say that none of the other officers work hard but the awardees for October and November say it's all about going above and beyond - that is what makes the difference. We were at the Eastern Division North office this morning when PC Jerome Middleton and PC Nelson Ramos got their well-deserved awards. Here is what they had to say. But city cops were not the only ones who were recognized. Several Dangriga officers were awarded including Corporal Carlos Galvez and PC David Mejia. These two officers saved a mother and her 8 month old baby from drowning near the Tobacco CAye Range. A strong wave had caused the boat they were traveling in to capsize but the officers sprang into action to save the lives they could. The incident happened on November 17th. And one civilian drowned.

    City Cops Care
    Northside Police will be giving a special Christmas treat to 6 families. That treat comes in the form of a hamper. Police are putting together food items and other supplies to package and deliver to these needy residents. Public Relations Officer Fitzroy Yearwood told us more about the initiative. Northside police have been giving out these Christmas Hampers for 3 years. And as part of spreading the Christmas spirit, the police will also be hosting a party for Northside kids on Monday at their office. It starts at 2 in the afternoon.

    PM Says Superbond Talks Shaping Up
    And finally, one last bit of information from the Prime Minister. Today after the press conference he discussed the schedule for Superbond talks. These are ongoing but coming to a head because the government is shortly expected to outline its proposal to bondholders. He gave the media a loose schedule of what is ahead: Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "So far we've set out the broad contours. We know basically what we are talking about, what's in issue. But the devil is always in the details and those details won't be discussed until the next meeting which we are hoping to have before the end of year. In early next year we expect a follow on meeting from the end of year meeting and there is where I think we are going to hopefully be coming close to a solution that will see a successful restructuring."

    Channel 5

    Attorney General Vanessa Retreage Leaves After 1 Year
    On Monday night broke the news that Vanessa Retreage was stepping down from Cabinet. This afternoon, Prime Minister Dean Barrow hosted a press conference confirming our report that Attorney General [...]

    A.G. Cites Personal & Professional Commitments; Says Thanks to “Great” Staff
    So, a year after assuming responsibility for Attorney General and four months after becoming the Minister of Natural Resources, Retreage goes back to her law firm Reyes and Retreage where [...]

    Death Threat Against A.G. Was Email Spam
    There has been speculation that Retreage’s resignation comes on the heels of a death threat she received via email sometime a few weeks ago.  The outgoing Attorney General said that [...]

    Cabinet Shuffles for Third Time in a Year
    In addition to the Attorney General’s resignation and the appointment of her successor, the most important piece of news coming out of the press conference was the Prime Minister’s assumption [...]

    Laura Longsworth Proposed for Speaker of the House
    A successor for House Speaker Michael Peyrefitte has been proposed, but will be made official at the next sitting of the House of Representatives.  That person is retired nurse Laura [...]

    The Carmelita Land Scandal: Why Vegas Have All the Luck
    Last week News Five dropped a bombshell that continues to wag tongues. In the span of five years, one thousand, six hundred acres of prime farmland along the Philip Goldson [...]

    Carmelita Land Question is “Mischief-Making,” A.G. Suggests
    The land flip has raised eyebrows, particularly in parliament where Hyde made his presentation.  When asked if she was aware of the situation, Minister of Natural Resources Vanessa Retreage told [...]

    New Lands Minister Says There Will Be Consequences for Prior Wrongdoing
    When asked about the dubious transactions, the incoming Minister of Natural Resources firmly stated that his administration is prepared to accept that there may be instances of wrongdoing in government [...]

    No New Taxes: 2017 Budget Will Be Lean & Mean
    Will there be a tax increase in the upcoming 2017 fiscal budget?  In light of grave economic conditions, the possibility of a hike in existing taxes is very real.  Today, [...]

    Highway Robbery! Fake Cops Stole Big Money from Travellers’ Liquors Workers
    Travelers Liquors Limited took a big hit on Monday night when it was targeted by thieves. But is it an inside job?  Forty-nine thousand dollars in cash and cheques were [...]

    Real Police Say Watch Out For Fake “checkpoints”
    But with criminals becoming so crafty, Police warn drivers to be vigilant when travelling on the road.   ASP Juanito Cocom, O.C., Ladyville Police “The scene was visited, processed where [...]

    Busting “Dynamite” Against the Law; Sellers Beware
    One of the more unwelcome Christmas-time “traditions,” at least here in Belize City, is the letting off what is colloquially known as “popshot” or “dynamite” – not to be confused [...]

    Police in Northside Award Officers of the Month
    Two police constables from the Eastern Division North were recognized with awards as “Officers of the Month of October” this morning at the Queen Street Police Station. Jerome Middleton of [...]

    Chiquibul Initiative Quartet Get Big Cheques
    Two point two-eight million dollars were disbursed today for the conservation and protection of natural reserves: Chiquibul, Vaca, Colombia and Bladen Forests.  PACT is the donor agency that is contributing [...]

    N.G.O.’s Say Process is on Track to Identify 13th Senator
    The idea of a thirteenth senator may soon become a reality. This Friday is the deadline for final submissions of documentation by non-governmental organizations to show they are in good [...]

    Santander to Provide New Power Source Beginning in 2017
    Three years ago, Belize Electricity Limited and the Public Utilities Commission opened a request for proposals for electricity generation of both traditional and renewable energy sources. Following a lengthy and [...]

    Identifying the Risks for Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing
    The World Bank is training entities working in the field of risk assessment for money laundering, terrorism financing, and related crimes to help Belize conduct its first National Risk Assessment. [...]

    CTV3

    AG Vanessa Retreage Quits, Triggers 3rd Cabinet Shuffle In 4 Months
    Attorney General Vanessa Retreage will not continue as Attorney General in the Barrow Administration, a post she has held since November 2015. Today Retreage confirmed what up to yesterday were strong rumours - that she had opted out of what was a secure Ministerial tenure in the UDP Government. This meant that she is also vacating her post as Minister of Natural Resources, which she held for four months following the Cabinet shuffle in August. Retreage spoke at a press conference called by Prime Minister Dean Barrow this afternoon in Belmopan. The meeting with the press followed a Cabinet session, in which the PM introduced his picks for the posts and got Cabinet to support it. Rt. Honourable Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize: “As from the 1st of January 2017, the Honourable Michael Peyrefitte will become the new Attorney General of Belize, now the AG also demits office, also is giving up her position as a Senator so the Honourable Peyrefitte will replace her as well in the Senate of the National Assembly of Belize, with respect to the Lands Ministry that will be placed under your humble servant, that will now be joined with the ministry of finance so I will be the new minister of lands or the minister of natural resources, Doctor Barnet who is already the minister of state in the ministry of finance will of course be the minister of state in the expanded ministry and quite frankly it is Doctor Barnette who will have day to day charge of the Lands Ministry.”

    What caused Retreage To Retire From Politics
    So what triggered Retreage’s sudden retreat and the need for PM Barrow to scramble to fix re-appointments in Cabinet? Is the Ministry of Natural Resources haunted by the ghost of Gaspar Vega that no one can hold the Ministry for too long? Reports up to late yesterday and this morning were that Retreage has been facing duress to vacate office. That pressure, according to the strong rumors, was on the Attorney General because of the purging she was doing at the Ministry of Natural Resources following the mess left behind by Vega. Retreage, we were told, even faced a serious threat to her safety and security in the course of executing her powers as the Minister of Natural Resources. The most recent issue is that of pursuing legal action against Andre Vega, the son of the former Lands Minister, and UDP attorney Sharon Pitts, for collecting $400,000 each as compensation for land which they had bought for a pittance, and which was found to be privately-owned. Today Retreage addressed the issue squarely, and while she admitted to receiving at least one threat, she claimed it is not the reason she is leaving.

    Another Maya Mound Destroyed In OW For Land Fill
    Tonight the archeological Department of Belize is investigating the case of another Mayan Monument being destroyed here in the north. This time though, the ministry of Works is allegedly the one to blame for bulldozing the Mayan Mount located about 1.5 kilometers away from the Fresh Water Creek forest reserve located on the Honey Camp road here in Orange Walk. Early this morning CTV3 received the report of the works being carried out our news team took the journey to the area. And here is what we discovered. As you can see almost half of this unnamed historic artefact is gone. Among the stones that were scattered around the immediate area monochrome pottery shards, typical of the pre-classical period, could have been seen, most reduced to rubble. According to reports given to our news team the material being extracted from the mount is allegedly being used by the Ministry of Works as road fill aggregate in the road rehabilitation of the Cocoa road which is a feeder road for sugar cane farmers in the area.

    AG Says GOB Will Take Vega and Pitts To Court
    The Attorney General also provided an update on two of the highly questionable land deals. The first one is the compensation deals for Andre Vega and Sharon Pitts that the Attorney General was looking to overturn and bring to a head with orders that will force Vega and Pitts to return the monies – all $800,000 of it. The second is the land deal involving RON J Company limited, the company which according to leaked documents the Ministry of Natural Resources under Gaspar Vega sold for six thousand dollars then bought back for a cool million. The Attorney General said why this particular case will require a more intense review. Attorney General Vanessa Retreage – Attorney General Ministry: “Ron J file has gone through, it has let us down another course and I will be making a release on that shortly, please appreciate that I have been looking into it, I really have, and I intend to make a release before I leave about what will be done...”

    Teachers Wont Cut Their Holiday Short
    Last month we told you that the Ministry of Education had announced its decision to include six additional days to the school calendar in order to make up for the time lost as a result of the eleven days of strike carried out by the Belize National Teachers Union. This obviously meant that both the Christmas and Easter holidays would be cut short, but according to a release issued by the BNTU, it clearly indicates that the members of the union are simply not having it and have instead decided to disregard MOE’s decision despite their proposal to compensate teachers for the make-up time. In the release the BNTU states and we quote “our position remains the same as that which we hold for the attempted deduction of teachers’ salaries for the strike’. End of quote. In other words, the BNTU is implying that teachers will remain at home and enjoy the holidays as stated in the actual calendar of holidays. The release further stated that while the decision was proposed and agreed upon in a meeting held between the MOE and the Managing Authorities of primary and secondary schools, The BNTU is of the position that the Managers along with its teachers should be the ones responsible to originate such agreement as it relates to the dates for the make-up sessions and not the MOE as stated in their Handbook of Policies and Procedures for School Services 2000.

    LOVE FM

    Departure of Attorney General Triggers Adjustments in Cabinet, Senate and HoR
    After completing a one year term as was agreed to with the Prime Minister, Senator Vanessa Retreage is returning to private practice as an attorney. Her one year stint as Attorney General and a few months as Minister of Natural Resources has now created the need for Prime Minister Dean Barrow to name the fourth […]

    PM Says No to IMF Programs; Speaks of Upcoming Fiscal Year and Taxes
    As we reported on Monday there is the suggestion for the Government of Belize to adapt programs designed by the IMF to have a more stable financial outlook outside of the proposals presented to the bondholders. There designed programs by the IMF are known to be somewhat draconian and with that we asked Prime Minister […]

    Lands Minister Speaks of Investigations; PM Reminds Press of PUP Land Greed
    It has been barely two months since Attorney/Senator Vanessa Retreage took over the Lands Department from Minister Godwin Hulse. During’ her brief stint several issues alluding to corruption have surfaced involving former Lands Minister Gasper Vega. Two moths is a short time to conduct a thorough investigation and with that she was asked just how […]

    Thieves Pose as Cops at Checkpoint, Robbing Delivery Truck of $50K
    A gang of thieves got smart last night and erected a police check point near mile twenty on the George Price Highway and targeted a delivery truck, relieving the driver and passengers of just under fifty thousand dollars in cash and cheques. An investigation is ongoing as explained by Assistant Superintendent of Police, Juanito Cocom. […]

    Buying Energy from Bagasse for National Grid
    Santander Sugar Energy Limited, a subsidiary of The Santander Sugar Group completed its negotiation with Belize Electricity Limited last month in regards to its proposal to supply the country with energy. Today, a power purchase agreement was signed between the two bodies. Santander will now provide clean energy to the Belize’s electrical grid. The company […]

    PACT Funds Protection of the Chiquibul
    A grant award ceremony was held this morning in Belize City where PACT, the Protected Area Conservation Trust, awarded two point twenty eight million dollars to four agencies tasked with protecting and preserving the Chiquibul Forest. Grantees included the Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD), Ya’axche Conservation Trust, the Belize Defence Force, and the Forest […]

    GSU Scores Another Round of Drugs on Southside Belize City
    The Gang Suppression Unit continues to carry out its aggressive operations in removing drugs and weapons off the streets and out the hands of the criminal elements. Just yesterday one of the GSU teams were on the south side of Belize City, particularly in the Faber’s Road and Rivero Street areas when they scored about […]

    Amandala

    Cordel drops bombshell in House – more Lands corruption!
    Hon. Gaspar Vega refuses to resign as the UDP’s Orange Walk North area representative in the face of previous scandals in the Lands Department, of which he was the Minister, and now, more damning scandals surrounding himself and his family have emerged. In the latest scandal, 1,600 acres of farmland on the Philip Goldson Highway, just outside Carmelita in Orange Walk District, ended up in the hands of Vega’s relatives while he served as the Minister of Natural Resources. The 1,600-acre farmland, originally Government land, was subdivided into 55 parcels and initially transferred from the Ministry of Lands into the hands of selected individuals according to documents leaked to our newspaper from sources close to the Lands Department. Those individuals then flipped the land to members of Vega’s family, including his brother, Ignacio German Vega, and his company, German Vega & Sons Import Limited. In total, German Vega and his company acquired 33 of the 55 parcels of land, all from persons who are allegedly close to the former Minister of Lands.

    Cop arrested for human trafficking
    Eight Salvadorans were busted without legal documents in San Ignacio at about 10:00 Saturday night, and surprisingly, a cop was the driver of the van (a Chrysler Pacifica) in which they were traveling. The van was stopped and searched on the George Price Highway near Carrillo Puerto gas station. In the van police found 5 adults and 3 minors, all Salvadorans. They were all taken, along with the van, to the San Ignacio Police Station. According to a police report dated today, Monday, “The SUV was pulled over, where the driver was identified as 23-year-old Edif Sierra, transporting eight Salvadoran nationals (4) females and (4) males in the country illegally without a passport.” Supt. Richard Rosado said on Channel 7 news tonight that the driver of the van was identified as being a police constable from the Benque Viejo Police Formation. Police said that the Salvadorans were searched and $2,000 USD was found on them.

    Travellers delivery truck held up on George Price Highway
    Hattieville police are presently investigating a robbery that occurred at Mile 20 on the George Price Highway at about 7:00 this evening. A Travellers delivery truck that was travelling to Belize City from Belmopan was stopped by robbers and the driver and the sales agent were robbed of an undisclosed amount of money. The thieves then escaped. ASP Rochel Chan, Commander of Hattieville Police, told Amandala that details of the robbery are not yet known, because their investigation has just begun.

    Speednet wins case against PUC; awarded almost $800,000
    After losing a drawn-out court battle to collect millions in license fees from telecommunications providers in Belize, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) may move to amend legislation which was deemed “ambiguous” by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Belize’s final appellate court, resulting in different interpretations by both the regulator and the telecommunications provider – Speednet Communications Limited. In a decision handed down today, the CCJ finally settled the matter by ruling that the PUC must refund money to Speednet, to the tune of $792,500 for annual fees less $1,400—the amount which the CCJ held was the lawful license fee. “

    Vanessa Retreage to resign from Barrow’s Cabinet
    There is breaking news tonight that attorney Vanessa Retreage, who is Minister of Natural Resources, has resigned from the Cabinet of three-term Prime Minister Dean Barrow. According to sources in the Opposition, word broke of her resignation sometime last week. However, the Office of the Prime Minister has not yet released a public statement. If this report is confirmed, Retreage will be the second member of Barrow’s Cabinet to resign in three months. The first was Gaspar Vega, who resigned in October after his son walked away $400,000 richer in a shady land transaction conducted while he was the Minister of Natural Resources. Following the UDP’s November 2015 elections at the polls, the post of Attorney General was removed from the portfolio of Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington and given to her.

    Hon. Finnegan goes to bat for Hon. Espat
    Rarely have parliamentarians of the ruling UDP-led government and the Opposition PUP shared a common position on any matter. However, during Friday’s meeting of the House of Representatives, Senior UDP parliamentarian Hon. Michael Finnegan loaned his support to senior PUP parliamentarian and former Prime Minister Said Musa, who appealed to the House Speaker, Michael Peyrefitte, to lift the suspension of Julius Espat who is presently prohibited from attending House of Representatives meetings. In an exclusive interview with 7News, Finnegan clarified, “I think we are parliamentarians elected by the people. I think we should show magnanimity in all various ways and we must rise above the fray and how the whole situation happened back in August; man, in my view, it was unkind to the House of Representatives.”

    BDFA Inter-Office Week 5 scores and standings
    The Belize District Football Association (BDFA) Inter-Office tournament continued last week with Week 5 games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. In the only game on Tuesday, December 6, National Aggregates and BWS played to a 4-4 draw. Shaking the net for Aggregates were Kendale Esquiliano (63’), Andre Alvarado (52’) and Faisae Ahmad (44’ & 62’); while BWS got goals from Israel Canul (47’), Edmund Pandy (67’), Ashley Hemsley (37’) and Orland Lyons (35’). Game 1 on Wednesday, December 7, saw Belize Bank Ltd. with the 2-1 win over BTL. Francisco Briceno (55’ & 69’) struck twice for Belize Bank, while Henry Mejia (70’) tallied for B T L. And in the nightcap, it was KHMH, 5-2, over Smart. Sharing the scoring for KHMH were Julius Allen (55’), Errol Sutherland (47’ & 62’) and Zebedee Moore (21’ & 31’); while Smart got a goal each from Stepen Baeza (68’) and Albert Kisling (28’).

    S.P. Tiger Sharks defeat O.W. Running Rebels
    On Saturday night, two-time NEBL champions, San Pedro Tiger Sharks traveled to Sugar City to take on the Orange Walk Running Rebels in the first ever NEBL pre-season game. San Pedro Tiger Sharks came out with the 61-53 victory. The Tiger Sharks was led by Ashton Edwards, who had the game high with 15 pts, while Kurt “Chengo” Burgess netted 13 pts, Dar Harris sank 10 pts, Jamal Kelly scored 8 pts, and Douglas Valley finished the night with 7 pts. Randy Usher was the top scorer for Orange Walk Running Rebels with 13 pts, while Roger Reneau tallied 11 pts, and Elvis Olivera finished with 6 pts. The NEBL season tips off on January 13 in Belize City, as defending champions, Belize Hurricanes will host the opening game.

    Chief Thursday Race results – December 8
    Here are the results from the December 8 regular Chief Thursday Race, which has been going on every Thursday since May of 2015. The Races go from Leslie’s Imports to Hattieville roundabout and return, for 28 miles. In yesterday’s race for Weekend Warriors (WW)/Elite, 39 cyclists started, and 27 completed the ride. Finishing order was: 1st place – Brandon Cattouse (C-Ray, 1:03:44); 2nd Ernest Bradley (Smart, st); 3rd Herman Requena (Smart, st); 4th Carlton Robinson (st); 5th Adrian Faux; 6th Delawn Abraham (1:05:43); 7th Kenroy Gladden (Kulture Megabytes, st, 1st “A” rider); 8th Mark Staine (Smart, st); 9th George Abraham (Bel-Cal, st); 10th Darwin Lodge (Lampaz, st); 11th Quinton Hamilton (st); 12th Palas Joseph (Lampaz, st); 13th Francis Cassasola (Santino’s, 1st “B” rider); 14th Santino Castillo (Santino’s); 15th Leroy Cassasola (Digicell-4G Elite); 16th Colin Maheia (FT Williams); 17th Darrel August; 18th Anthony Tun; 19th Isaiah Willacey (Santino’s); 20th Nelson Zyden, Jr.; 21st Sahir Figueroa; 22nd Clarence Tescum (Santino’s); 23rd Alicia Thompson (Kulture Megabytes); 24th Dean Belisle (Bel-Cal); 25th Stephen Bisset (Lampaz); 26th Vallan Symns (Kulture Megabytes); and 27th Rasheed Young.

    Unfinished business; nobody safe in game 2 of PLB semifinals
    Although the odds are decidedly in favor of defending champions Belmopan Bandits at home this coming Saturday night on their carpet field at Isidoro Beaton Stadium, it is not yet “signed, sealed and delivered,” not when FC Belize poses a question in Mexican striker Hector Martinez, that the Bandits have not yet adequately answered. Repeatedly roughed up at the MCC yesterday by veteran Bandits flank defender Ian “Yellow” Gaynair, Martinez nevertheless brought a lot of pressure on the Bandits, and a better playing surface will help him to be more effective. A long hard free kick towards the southern goal from the left side by FC Belize captain Matthew Leal seemed within the radar of Bandits sublime goalkeeper Shane Moody Orio, but the ball was artfully deflected mid-flight by the head of Martinez as it entered the eighteen, and it sailed just out of reach of a diving Shane, and settled into the right top corner of the net at the 34th minute for the FC Belize 1-nil lead.

    Editorial: Partridge perspectives
    A fan of this newspaper felt that the editorial in our midweek issue last week was too negative. In FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL, we sought to place Belize’s looming economic crisis in perspective as we Belizeans approach our annual December feast and January famine exercises. We feel the need to elaborate. On the Creole culture calendar, we would submit, there are three massive events, and they are Christmas, Tenth of September, and Easter (featuring the Holy Saturday Crosscountry), probably in that order of importance. Traditionally, our people have this saying: “Christmas bring ‘e own money.” If you really examine this saying, you will conclude that, since participating in the Christmas celebrations/bacchanal is an absolute cultural mandate, many Belizeans dig into their savings or take out loans in order to finance the holiday feasting. There is, therefore, a Christmas spike in our economic activity which is induced at the level of individual and family choice. In the case of the 2016 Pascua, the macro indications do not, strictly speaking, justify the hype. That was the thrust of our midweek editorial.

    From the Publisher
    With your permission, I want to use my column today to “pressure” you into looking at some European history and some economic development theory, with the case of Spain as a teaching model. As “British subjects,” we Belizeans were never taught enough about Spain, which was England’s great rival in the sixteenth century. Our British colonial masters, understandably, were focused in Belize’s schools on glorifying Protestant Great Britain and demeaning Roman Catholic Spain. Because of Christopher Columbus, in the first instance, and later the good will of the Papacy, Spain got a great jump on the rest of Europe where plundering the gold, silver, and precious stones of the so-called New World was concerned. The English were mere pirates trying to hijack the fabulously wealthy Spanish galleons sailing from Mexico, Cuba, and Peru to Spain in the sixteenth century. And yet, by 1814, it was the English who led the defeat of the French emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, who had dominated Europe for almost two decades, while Spain had crumbled before Napoleon’s armies.

    Death knell for Belize City cruise tourism
    Dear Editor, The diversion of Norwegian Cruise Line to Harvest Caye has created a huge dent and has negatively affected business in the Belize City cruise tourism zone. Many people in the industry now realize how valuable the passengers off that ship were, as they were more willing to venture out and experience Belize with the local and independent tour operators and guides. The biggest point that seems to get lost in this latest quagmire in cruise tourism in Belize is that about 3 to 4 years ago the cruise lines warned the Government of Belize that if they don’t install a docking facility in the Belize City harbor, they will cancel their calls to Belize. Tendering passengers to shore in smaller boats in the cruise ship business is a tedious process and will become a thing of the past. The Government solution to that warning is Harvest Caye, owned by N.C.L. The crux of the matter is that, just as how the other cruise lines like Carnival are able to rent or lease space here in Belize City at the Fort Street Tourism Village owned by Royal Caribbean and Diamond International, the same way they will be able to rent Harvest Caye, eliminating the entire tendering process for their guests. This may not be felt immediately but it is a high possibility, especially during the slow season. Until there is a proper docking facility in the Belize City harbor for ships, cruise tourism in this part of the country will slowly fade away into oblivion.

    Belize accedes to the United Nations Convention against Corruption
    Belize became the 184th signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) on Friday, December 9—International Anticorruption Day. Due to the absence of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, whose return to Belize was delayed due to medical reasons, Acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber signed the instrument of accession for the treaty on his behalf. Present for the signing was UN Resident Coordinator, Christian Salazar Volkmann; and Minister of State Dr. Carla Barnett. The signing was witnessed by members of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, one of the social partners which had been pressing the Government to sign on to the international accord. The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) also included the signing of the UNCAC as one of the key demands of The Barrow Administration when they went on strike on October 3.

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Suspect in Yalbac murder apparently commits suicide
    Confirmed reports reaching our newsroom is that Maximiliano Williams, the suspect being sought in the murder of Melecio Gonzalez, has apparently committed suicide. A reliable source confirmed to BBN that Williams was found today with an apparent gunshot wound to the left side of […]

    Accused pedophile prowling freely in San Pedro
    Photo courtesy The San Pedro Sun A Child Predator is back on the streets of San Pedro Town after spending only 3 days in jail, according to the San Pedro Sun newspaper. The 62 year-old man was charged with sexually assaulting a 3 years […]

    Belize praised for eliminating measles and rubella
    The Ministry of Health in a press release issued today, announced that Belize received the official statements on the announcement of the Regions of the Americas having eliminated measles, rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS). The declaration was signed by the members of the […]

    PM shakes up Cabinet again
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced his third Cabinet reshuffle since winning his third term in November 2015. The latest reshuffle will now see Barrow taking control of the Ministry of Natural Resources, which includes the Land Department. Vanessa Retreage has resigned as Minister of […]

    Vanessa Retreage resigns from Cabinet
    At the Prime Minister’s press conference today, Vanessa Retreage announced that she is resigning from Cabinet. Personal and family reasons were sighted as the reasons why she is leaving at the end of December. Retreage’s resignation comes as a surprise because she was appointed […]

    PM announces new House speaker
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow, at a press conference currently being held at the NEMO office in Belmopan, announced his latest Cabinet reshuffling, his third in just over a year of his third term. At the press conference, Barrow announced that House speaker Michael Peyreffitte […]

    Fishermen urged to renew licenses
    The Belize Fisheries Department issued a release informing the public that it will commence with the renewal of fisher folk licenses on January 4th, 2017. A grace period for renewals will be in place until January 31st. Commercial Fishing Vessel owners are informed that […]

    Almost $50,000 stolen from Travellers truck
    Reports reaching our newsroom is that last night, a Travellers liquors truck that was on its way to Belize City from Belmopan was robbed of $49,000 in cash. The truck met a check point at mile 20 on the George Price Highway and stopped […]

    Public Alert; Fake Checkpoints
    The Belize Police Department has issued a public advisory in view of the recent robberies on highways where criminals have been impersonating police officers and setting up check points. The BPD has informed the public that because of this, every check point manned by […]

    Belize~ A beggar Nation in S.I.C.A?
    Belize is a small, under-developed, independent nation member of Sistema de la Integration CentroAmericana (SICA); nestled in the Caribbean basin of Central America. Relatively peaceful and safe, compared to its neighboring countries, it has been acting like a socio-economic pressure-release-valve since the civil conflicts […]

    CEO Leacock resigns from Education Ministry
    Government issued a press release late Monday evening confirming that David Leacock, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the Ministry of Education has submitted his letter of resignation to the Prime Minister. The letter was submitted on September 7th, 2016 and his resignation takes effect […]

    Another government minister resigns?
    The government is reportedly faced with the dilemma of another Cabinet minister resigning from office in a span of two months. According to unconfirmed reports, Minister of Natural Resources/Attorney General Vanessa Retreage has tendered her resignation. The comes at an especially unstable time for […]

    Blogs

    More Christmas in San Pedro? Ok! The Truck Stop & Belize Chocolate Company
    “I don’t know HOW you do Christmas in Belize, I KNOW it wouldn’t feel like the holidays to me!”. It’s a statement that I hear from friends in the states. My response? I don’t need to be freezing cold to feel merry. In fact, watching a boat parade in flip flops, eating lobster on Christmas eve and enjoying all the holiday lights without my car heater blasting feel pretty good to me. Ambergris Caye does Christmas beautifully. PLUS, I don’t have to do a last minute search for a parking space at that JAM PACKED mall because I accidentally bought nephew Stewie 4 gifts and nephew Louie only 2. Warm weather + lots of non-stressful Christmas cheer = my perfect Christmas. Here are two more spots in town making the holidays more beautiful. Belize Chocolate Company…stop by in the air con and have a hot chocolate if you are DYING for that cold weather feel. The Truck Stop did an AMAZING job…and continues to do one…celebrating the holidays. The tree lit, everyone went to have icy cocktails and ice cream. It is Christmas in Belize after all.

    How to Survive Surgery Like A BOSS!
    by MADISON PEARL. This blog post is SUPER late cause it took me a while to catch up with school after surgery. I’m so glad to be sharing my stories with you all again! Here are five things you have to do to survive surgery if you ever need it. Madi and her surgeonI’m pretty sure you don’t want just any old doctor cutting into your belly. I am lucky enough that my Tati, aka grandfather, is the most amazing gastroenterologist alive today. Mom told me the story of how he decided to become one when he got really sick, but that’s another blog post cause it’s a really long story. My paediatrician, Dr. Wendy Rios, is a Boss and thanks to her I’m not even scared of needles most of the time. She’s like the kid whisperer! Dr. Ellington got to handle the needles this time cause he’s an anaesthesiologist. Lots of big words in hospitals. My surgeon, Dr. Gutierrez, has done the same surgery he did on me, on his wife! Honestly, having people you trust makes it so much easier and I can’t think of a better team of doctors and nurses than the ones at the Belize Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Center. They rock!

    This is Belize: Walk a mile or two in their shoes
    Moppit and I were sitting in the golf cart near Izzy’s smoothie shop at the north end of Middle Street yesterday afternoon. We were talking about life, love, this, that and the price of bread. For a dog, she’s a very quick study. As I droned on, Moppit gave me the occasional nod and tolerant expressions before returning to her own business of observing golf cart traffic. I have no idea where she picked up such habits so quickly. Rose had popped into Barbara Brown’s boutique & coffee shop for some flowers, a corsage for Moppit to wear to Sandy Rigby’s memorial service at Caribbean Villas. Sandy and Moppit had been inseparable companions for nearly three years, until she passed away in late November. Rose and I were offered Moppit on a trial basis and I can say that I’m pretty sure she has decided to keep us. A whole week now and we haven’t bungled the dog-human dynamic too badly. Moppit has even trained Rose to make dog food from scratch (heavy on the turmeric and turkey).

    International Sourcesizz

    CCJ rules against regulator in Belize telecommunications dispute
    The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) last week delivered its judgment in the case of Speednet Communications Limited v Public Utilities Commission. The CCJ, the highest appellate court in Belize, reversed the Court of Appeal and found that Speednet Communications Limited proved its case. The Public Utilities Commission is the regulator for the telecommunications industry in Belize, while Speednet Communications is a private telecommunications services provider in that nation. The Court ordered the Public Utilities Commission to refund Speednet Communications the sum of BZ$792,000 (US$394,000), less the lawful licence fee of BZ$1,400. The dispute between the parties arose out of a difference in interpretation of the relevant regulations, which set out the licence fees of BZ$100 per ‘channel’. According to the Public Utilities Commission, the term ‘channel’ referred to ‘voice’ channel, while Speednet Communications argued that it meant ‘radio frequency’ channel, which would mean that BZ$1,400 would be the total appropriate fee.

    Videos

  • Betty's Beauty Salon Chrismas Special Promotion, 1min. Now offering $60 on Nails. Come for your Beauty treatments at Betty's Beauty Salon in DFC area, San Pedro Ambergris Caye.

  • Mary Did You Know, rendition by Chanelle Parks, Allegro School of Music Choir, Pannerifix Steel Band & Los Hijos del West, 4min.

  • Sharks and stingrays,Caye Caulker,Belize 2016, 1.5min. You gotta Belize it !

  • Alex & Anastasia Loskutov. Diving Belize 2016, 18min. Ambergris Caye Island; Coral reefs; Sharks; Great Blue Hole; Guatemala cave tubing.

  • My Journey Through Central America. Belize | HD, 2.5min.

  • SNORKELLING WITH SHARKS IN BELIZE, 3min.

  • I know we've posted baby barn owl noises before but it really never gets old!, .5min.

  • UNICEF Belize - Multi Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) Findings, 37min.

  • Primary & Secondary Arts Skils Training Project (PSAST) Electronic Art Book, 22min.

  • Christmas Feature - Mirab's Toy Land, 31min.

  • Love FM Christmas Parade brings cheer to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, 4min. Here's your chance to see the Love FM Christmas Parade in San Pedro, if you missed it live on Sunday night.

  • Beer Diaries in Belize - Aurelio Martinez and The Garifuna, 36min. The Beer Diaries did an episode about Belize, and Aurelio Martinez is in a lot of it. Well worth a watch for the stories from Aurelio. "In this episode, host Mike Mann and his team explore Garifuna culture and how its people came to the Belize region. Unexpected weather pushes the team indoors where they meet famed musician, Aurelio Martinez, who joins the team on their road trip down the Hummingbird Highway. During this time, Mike and his team experience a full immersion of Aurelio’s music, stories and passionate views. By the end, an unanticipated Aurelio Martinez concert happens, coupled with witnessing the songwriting talents of Martinez, while recording a new album when his back is to the wall."

  • Belize - Caribbean Reef Shark, 1/2min. Nice visit by a Caribbean Reef Shark in the distance.....

  • travel to Belize, 13min.

  • Hellfighters in sanpdro city Belize, 4min.

  • Belize Jungle Zip Lining Jaguar Paw - GoPro Hero 5 Black, 2min.

  • An important message about Nassau groupers and spawning sites in Belize, 1min.

    December 13, 2016


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    Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

    Specials and Events

    Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    Love FM Christmas Parade brings joy to Ambergris Caye
    On Sunday, December 11th, Love FM hosted their annual Christmas Parade in San Pedro Town, bringing a festive parade full of colour, music and much Christmas cheer to the island. This year, the main streets of town were filled with brightly lit floats and participants in themed costumes, while hundreds of residents lined the side of the streets for a prime view of the event. The spectacular show saw elaborate and creative floats from the following organizations: The Rotary Club of Ambergris Caye, Foreva Fancy Boutique, Wings Department Store, ABC Pre-School, the Garifuna Council San Pedro Branch, The Saints Dance Crew, The San Pedro Town Council, Honourable Manuel Heredia Jr., San Pedro Leo’s Club, San Pedro Roman Catholic Marching Band, Isla Bonita Elementary School, San Pedro Walkaholics, Rasta Rentals, and Social Security.

    Elvi’s Kitchen celebrates 40 years of great food and service!
    Forty years of service is a momentous achievement for any business, and on Saturday, December 10th Elvi’s Kitchen celebrated just such an occasion. Among family and friends, the iconic San Pedro restaurant commemorated four decades of providing excellent food and genuine Belizean hospitality to the community. The event also served as a celebration of the accomplishments of Mrs. Elvia Staines, the pioneer of Elvi’s Kitchen. Assuming the role of Mistress of Ceremonies was Mrs. Elvia’s granddaughter, Amber Edwards. The event included several speeches from family members, as well as a special meal inspired by the restaurant’s years of service. Officially welcoming those in attendance was another granddaughter, Cindy Staines. Executive Chef of Elvi’s Kitchen, Jennie Staines then took to the podium to share a few words on the importance of this anniversary.

    ABC Preschool Christmas Show brings entertainment to Ambergris Caye
    The annual ABC preschool Christmas extravaganza brought much joy and laughter to island children on Saturday, December 10th. The children’s show took place at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium featuring a host of animated characters on stage delighting parents and children with another show to remember. Artists from Merida Yucatan, Mexico took on the role of characters from The Descendants, Super Heroes, the Paw Patrol and even Santa Claus, Frosty the Snow Man, Rudolph and the Red Nosed Reindeer! During each segment of the show children sang and danced along to their favorite musical presentations. Some of the characters even came off the stage to meet and hug their little fans while posing for photos. The show ended with the appearance of Santa Claus, who along with the whole cast, brought gifts for everyone. The ABC Christmas show is a fundraiser held by the school every year, with all proceeds benefiting the educational institution. Lots to eat and drink were on sale, adding to an enjoyable family night out.

    Hungarian National arrested in San Pedro for fraud
    On Wednesday, December 7th at around 4PM, San Pedro Police detained 62-year-old Nagy Maria Sandorne Dobrai on suspicion of embezzlement. According to San Pedro Special Branch information, there was an international warrant for the Hungarian National on the crimes of fraud and unauthorized financial activities. She was arrested at her residence at a resort in North Ambergris Caye. According to reports, the warrant for Sandorne Dobrai’s arrest was issued back in April of 2015, following Hungarian police’s raid of her home in Karcag, Eastern Hungary. Sandarne Dobria was the managing director of the travel agency Kun-Mediator, and the raid led to the seizure of 800 fraudulent contracts. According to a report by Daily Nes Hungary “István Dobrossy, who is the lawyer representing the Kun-Mediator clients connected with the embezzlement, the losses caused by the travel agency can be between 5 and 20 billion forints (1 forints = 0.0067BZ), depending on how many clients decide to lodge a complaint, and how many of them would exercise the creditors’ claim.

    Ambergris Today


    A Starry Night, a cocktail holiday party supporting SHINE ministry was held on Friday December 9, 2016, at Hidden Treasure Restaurant. Proceeds from this event will go toward the SHINE program for girls, Thrive - a high school empowerment program at San Pedro High School, and the SHINE Artisan Project, which will help give business skills and opportunity to women. Michelle Nuñez’s SHINE Girl’s Club is a youth enrichment program for young girls that stands for Shaping Healthy Identities through Nurturing & Empowerment. The club encourages young people and women in the community by provide resources for them to become who they are meant to be. It is a branch of the On Eagles Wings Ministries (OEWM). Workshops and programs target issues of self-esteem/self-confidence, body image, sexual risk behavior, drugs and alcohol, decision making and communication skills/future goals and ambitions.

    Love FM Christmas Parade Lights Up San Pedro
    The Love FM Christmas Parade is a much anticipated event during the season in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Hundreds of residents flock to the streets early enough to obtain a great viewing spot in which to enjoy the parade. This year the streets of downtown were jam packed. Love FM gathers groups, organizations and businesses that wish to participate in the fun and puts together a fun-filled parade full of lights, music and entertainment. This year saw the participation of the Rotary Club of Ambergris Caye, ABC Pre School, Foreva Fancy Boutique, Wings Department Store, the Garifuna Council of San Pedro, the Saints Dance Crew, the San Pedro Town Council, Hon Manuel Heredia, the San Pedro Leo’s Club, San Pedro RC School Marching Band, Isla Bonita Elementary School, Social Security Board, San Pedro Walkaholics and Rasta Rentals.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Christmas Tree Lighting
    That was a fun Christmas Tree Lighting at the Cayo Welcome Center. The SISE Town Council really had a great celebration this year. "It was a spectacular night Down Town San Ignacio at the Cayo Welcome Center on the 10th December, 2016, where the official Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony took place. Mayor Earl Trapp Jr. and the San Ignacio/Santa Elena Town Council has joined the caused to share the spirit of Christmas and love for the children of the Twin Town who are the future of our beloved Country Belize. This is indeed a promise kept by empowering our children so that they too can feel the spirit of christmas. Special thank to all the staff who worked tirelessly to make this event a success, especially to Ms. Melonie Usher, Ms. Lisa Gordon, Mr. Jaime Garcia, Ms. Karen Fernandez and Ms. Minnett Zetina who were behind the scene ensuring that all activities for the event were properly organized. Thanks a million to the Business Community who contributed toys. Thank you and may God Bless you all. Merry Christmas!!!"

    Krismus Eena Di Paak
    Combine “Krimus Bram” with “KREM Krismus” and an array of entertainment and delicious food, and what do you get? A new event called “Krismus Eena di Paak,” a four-day holiday party in downtown Belize City. Brought to you by The Ministory of Tourism & Civil Aviation; KREM; NICH; and the Belize City Downtown Rejuvenation Project. December 15 – December 18. Dec 15 at 12 PM to Dec 18 at 10 PM, Battlefield Park, Belize City.

    The Image Factory Art Foundation announces the public presentation of BAFFU printed magazine
    BAFFU printed is an independent magazine published by The Image Factory Art Foundation in Belize. Since June 2014 a small team of five art activists have collaborated to produce nine electronic editions featuring the works of over 300 artists, writers and poets. This effort has accumulated over 900 pages of an unprecedented art record for the country Belize. The 1st printed publication is a careful compilation of the 9 electronic editions. BAFFUprinted publication is edited by Katie Usher, Kyraan Gabourel, Briheda Haylock, Rasheed Palacio and Yasser Musa The magazine is a 48 page (9 x 12 inches) full color document and is for sale at $20BZ. What the editors say: It matters to me, that young Belizean artists know that they have a place, that it is ok, normal and even applauded that they want to be artists. (Katie Usher) Day in, day out, creativity is being beaten out of those who dream by gate keepers who maintain the status quo. Baffu is the freedom we breathe. (Kyraan Gabourel)

    Free Dental Services this week at Polyclinic II
    Dr. Pierre Boumerhi and a team of dental volunteers from Pennsylvania, USA are back on La Isla Bonita on a quest to provide a week of free dental services at the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II from Monday, December 12th to Friday, December 16th. The dental group of volunteers will dedicate a full week starting from 8AM to 11:45AM and 1 to 5 PM; providing the community of San Pedro with dental services such as cleaning, cavity fillings, fluoride applications and tooth extractions. Anyone in need of dental services can head to the polyclinic to make their appointments during the hours listed above.

    Looking for reliable internet on Caye Caulker?
    Looking for reliable internet? Today Tuesday December 13th Smart will here signing up customers. Look out for them right beside Purple Passion. For any questions call 280-2069 or 280-2071 and ask for Magali.

    Chief Executive Officer for Education Resigns
    Mr. David Leacock, Chief Executive Officer with responsibility for Education, in the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture will be leaving this post effective December 31, 2016. In a letter dated September 7, 2016, Mr. Leacock gave notice to the Prime Minister of his intention to resign after he had verbally informed the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture. Mrs. Debbie Domingo, current General Manager of Anglican Primary Schools, will succeed Mr. Leacock as Chief Executive Officer, with responsibility for Education, in the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture. Mrs. Domingo holds a Masters in Education in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida and Bachelor of Science in Biology Education. Mrs. Domingo has served as a teacher at Wesley College (1987-1984), Vice Principal of the Anglican Cathedral College (1994-2000), Principal of Sadie Vernon High School (2000-2005), Dean for St. John’s College Junior College School of Professional Studies (2006-2011) and General Manager of Anglican Schools (2011-2016). She is the current Chair of the Association of General Managers of Primary Schools and the Vice Chair of the Belize Board of Teacher Education. Her knowledge and experience therefore spans leadership at several levels of the education system.

    Environmental Clearance Process Validation Workshop
    The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change is currently implementing a five-year project entitled, “Management and Protection of Key Biodiversity Areas Project” with funding from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). The project goal is to support the Government of Belize to achieve inclusive and sustainable natural resource-based growth and to enhance climate change resilience. One of the key components of the project is to support the Department of Environment in institutional strengthening and capacity building for enhanced enforcement of environmental regulations. As part of the Environmental Clearance Process the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has gained widespread acceptance internationally as a tool for sound decision-making for developmental projects. The Environmental Clearance Process is precautionary in its approach to environmental management. It is designed such that potential problems can be identified in time and prevented before they occur, thus the negative effects are eliminated or mitigated. The preferred route in mitigating negative impacts is to identify alternative actions or technologies.

    Belizean Entrepreneurs Receive Seed Funding to Expand their Business
    Thirty-six young Belizean entrepreneurs were recognized for their hard work during an award ceremony of the EMPRENDE Belize Fund, which was held this morning in the IVET Dining Room, ITVET Campus on Freetown Road, Belize City. During the award ceremony, His Excellency Charles Liu, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Hon. Tracy Taegar-Panton, Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade & Commerce, presented a cheque for the total sum of US$200,000 to the recipients as part of the EMPRENDE Belize Fund. The entrepreneurs will receive grant funding of up to US$5,555 each to establish or expand their businesses and will execute their investment plans as approved by the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) and the Regional Centre for the Promotion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (CENPROMYPE). The funds are being distributed through the EMPRENDE Belize Fund, under the Regional Programme of Entrepreneurship and Inclusive Financing, which is being funded by the Government of China (Taiwan) and implemented in Central American territories as well as the Dominican Republic to strengthen the MSME sector in these countries. BELTRAIDE is the executing body in Belize.

    Cayo Posadas 2016
    The Benque and SISE Houses of Culture will be having Posadas, which run from Thursday the 15th to Christmas Eve. The SISE HoC will be open for the 2nd night of Posadas. The Benque HoC usually does something every day. "Save the date for the Annual Community Posadas in Benque December 15 to the 24th, 2016. Candle light street procession will commence at Our Lady of Mount Carmel accompanied by live marimba music will lead to Benque House of Culture on December 15th, 2016"

    Marine conservation Photography in Belize
    Here is an excellent chance for Belizean photographers to learn some new skills for a price that will not be offered again anytime soon! For only $1600 or BZ $320/day, take advantage of what could be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Kindly share with your friends!

    Channel 7

    BNTU Tells Teachers: Ignore Ministry's Make Up Days, Stay Home, Enjoy Christmas Holiday
    Your kids are going back to school early after the Christmas holidays, right? The Ministry of Education has already made it official: school starts on January third, not the ninth. That's to make up in part for the 11 days lost to the October 2016 strike. But today the Teachers Union sent out a release telling its members - and by extension, parents - basically to ignore that directive. The BNTU release says that school managements should decide on the formula to make up days - and the six "make - up" days currently on the calendar were planned by the Ministry along with school managers. The union rejects that model: they say the teachers and the managers should work it out. So, even though the managers agreed to the Ministry's current plan, the BNTU doesn't. Its release underscores the Education Rule which speaks to a teacher's entitlement to vacation days during Christmas, Easter and July. And the union says the majority of its members plan, quote, "to proceed with the original calendar of vacation days," end quote. That means basically that they plan to ignore the Ministry's makeup days.

    Girls Caught Late Night Socializing Taken In, Mother Charged
    On Friday police brought in two girls ages fifteen and sixteen after finding them out socializing on Glenn Street in Belize City after curfew hours. After their parents were contacted, the girls' 48 year old mother was arrested and charged for allowing a child to be in a public place between the hours of 8 pm to 6 am. This curfew for underage city residents started when Chester Williams took over as Commander of Southside Police and he told us more about why its enforcement is important... ACP. Chester Williams, Commander. Southside Police: "Well you will know that since I took over the division in July of last year, we have been saying that the issue of children roaming the streets of Belize City is an issue and it was one that we had been addressing. First we began with the issuance of a warning letter to parents whose children were found on the streets between the hours of 9pm and 6am. As time progressed, we did pick up a number of children an issued a number of warnings, but it seemed as if some parents are still in the habits of wanting the streets to raise their children. When things go wrong with the kids on the streets, then they began to point fingers at the police, the government, social department, everywhere but themselves."

    Off Duty Officer Tried To Help, But Got Stabbed
    Late last night an off duty cop was stabbed in the back while intervening in a domestic dispute. PC Raul Juchim was visiting a family friend when two men showed up looking for the family's daughter. After they were denied entry into the home, the daughter went out into the street after them, and her mother followed. When the altercation began to get rough, Juchim intervened and that's when he was stabbed. We heard more about what happened from Southside Police Commander Chester Williams and an eye witness to the dispute. ACP Chester Williams - Commander Southside Police: "Police Constable Juchim, who is attached to precinct 2 was socializing in Ordonez Street in the St. Martin's De Porres area when there was a domestic dispute within the area where he was socializing, not involving him. He intervene in the domestic dispute during which the male person who was a part of that dispute inflicted a small stab wound on the police constable. He was taken to the hospital where we was treated and release. The injury sustained is minor, not life threatening, he is currently at home recovering."

    13 Year Old Stabbed
    Juchim has been treated and released. The weekend saw another stabbing victim, this one a minor. A thirteen-year-old male was socializing with his friends in alley on Dolphin Street in Belize City when they were approached by a person known to them as Winston Staine. An argument between the two parties soon began, which is when the minor was stabbed. Southside Police Commander Chester Williams told us more... ACP Chester Williams - Commander Southside Police: "Yesterday, the first incident occurred around 5:30pm thereabout, where a 13 year old was socializing on Dolphin Street in the vicinity of Wesley Upper School when he was accosted by one, Winston Staine with whom him and two other minors had a disagreement, during which Mr. Staine inflicted the stab wounds to the minor. The minor was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he is currently admitted in a stable condition undergoing treatment."

    Man Charged For Chopping Stepmom
    Last week we told you about nineteen year old Linsdale Flowers who was arrested for attacking his stepmother Consuelo Lopez with a machete. Lopez sustained serious wounds to her arms and head before police arrived on the scene and detained him. Flowers has been in police custody since then, and appeared in court today where he was charged with attempted murder, dangerous harm and deadly means of harm. He was remanded into custody until February 11, 2017. Flowers' motives are still unknown, but police think that some sort of misunderstanding between the two caused him to get violent. We spoke to Lopez's daughter earlier today, and she told us that her mother is now conscious and is doing much better.

    Police Say Corozal Murder Vitim Was Getting Threats
    Last week Thursday, we told you about the mysterious early morning murder of Corozal Resident Armando Pelayo. The 36 year-old was shot and chopped multiple times. The cops found him by following a suspicious car, which drove up to his home. Police wanted to question Pelayo's common-law wife. She was seen leaving the house in tears when the cops found Pelayo in a near-death state at his neighbour's yard. Police say she left with her mother, who accompanied a driver to pick her up. On Thursday, the Corozal Commander, Sr. Superintendent Dennis Arnold, publicly asked them to come in and speak with the police. After hearing of it on the news, all 3 showed up to be questioned by police, and sources tell us that they were initially not cooperating with the investigators.

    A Killing In Cayo
    There was another murder over the weekend - this one happened in a remote village in the Cayo District last night at 8:30. It appears to have been the product of a drunken altercation. Courtney Weatherburne went to Yalbac Village today and here's her story:... Courtney Weatherburne reporting: Melecio Gonzalez lived in Yalbac Village with his wife and 3 kids. He was the caretaker of this cabbage farm right at the foot of his humble hilltop home. He would normally be here working on the farm with his co-worker but instead he was found dead last night, his body thrown among the same crops he once kept. Supt. Richard Rosado, OC, San Ignacio: "Police visited the scene where a the lifeless body of a male Hispanic person was seen in a lateral position on the roadside next to a farm land with an apparent injury to the right side of his head." Courtney Weatherburne, 7News: "And at this point police believe that, he was hit in the head with a rock?" Richard Rosado, OC, San Ignacio: "Yes, based on the initial investigation we believe he was hit in the head by one person by the name of Williams with a rock."

    Cop Charged For Human Trafficking Related Offences
    A police officer has been charged with offences related to human trafficking. On Saturday night after 9:00 a San Ignacio police patrol chased after a heavily tinted SUV. When they caught up with the vehicle, they found PC Edif Alex Sierra at the wheel and 8 undocumented Salvadorans crammed in the back seat - 4 adults and 4 minors under the age of 16. Now, we have heard reports or allegations of police involvement in these kinds of operations but this is the first time a police officer has been directly criminally charged for trafficking related offences. Today police told us more about this major bust and expressed his disappointment with the PC's direct involvement. Supt. Richard Rosado, OC, San Ignacio: "Police and a team of volunteer special constable were conducting anti-crime patrols within the Santa Elena Town area and upon reaching in front of the Ministry of Works compound on the George Price Highway, the police attention was drawn to a black in color heavily tinted SUV vehicle bearing no license plates. The said vehicle then overtook the police mobile and the police subsequently intercepted the vehicle. Police subsequently approach the said vehicle and notice that there were 8 persons in the vehicle with the driver."

    PM Returns Restored
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow returned to the country on Saturday after visiting specialists in New York. A press release says, quote, "He expressed how happy he was to be back home and that he was 'feeling fully recovered'." The Prime Minister had to extend an official trip last week after he experienced persisting symptoms of gastro-enteritis. He had been hospitalized overnight in Belize before he left. Things took a more serious turn when the PM went to visit a gastroenterologist in New York and he found a lesion on Prime Minister Barrow's colon. A biopsy was taken, but according to a government press release, the New York specialist is very confident that it is a colonic ulcer and nothing cancerous. The biopsy result will be known at the end of this week. The Prime Minister was forced to miss Friday's House Meeting and the signing of the UNCAC convention while seeking treatment.

    Is Hon. Retreage Rolling Out?
    And the PM will need all the strength he can muster because there are challenging days ahead. Persistent reports which we've been hearing from last week suggest that Attorney General and Minister of Natural Resources Vanessa Retreage may be headed for the exit, as in leaving the Government. It is an unconfirmed report at this point, and Retreage wouldn't comment today. But, if she departs, it would be seen as a major blow for the Barrow administration since Retreage has been praised for her integrity and incorruptibility. We're told she has pressing personal issues which are influencing a decision to leave. We'll keep following this story - which we stress is unconfirmed.

    Help Him Find His Grandma
    Last week we told you about 70 year old Gabriella Mendez, the Maskall village resident who went missing. Well, she still has not been found. Her family and police have searched the surrounding area, but haven't come up with any leads. Now, her family is asking the public to help in locating her. Grandson Luis Payes gave us more details... Alex Courtenay, 7News: "Can you please tell us where's the last time you saw your grandmother was and how long has she been missing?" Luis Armando Payes, Grandson of Missing Woman: "I saw her since Friday but on Monday my uncle was with her and he went back to the island but we gave her a phone whereby we can contact her everyday as she lives alone. We tried to call her and there was no answer so my uncle said 'Luis go and check up on your grandmother'. When we went there, we saw no sign of her and that became a concern for us so I said 'well I'm going to start looking around the village to see whether she's around a friend or relative'. We made checks and from since then up to now which makes it 8 days we have nothing, no kind of news at all, no signs. We received two instances where two different persons said they saw her in the Maruba Resort area because she's from Maskall Village. We've arranged search parties, the same village members have checked in the forest and all over the place, there's still no sign at this time."

    Carl Ramos Ready
    All across the country, the Belize Infrastructure Limited has been constructing major sporting facilities in the different municipalities. And this weekend, Dangriga's Carl Ramos Stadium officially opened with their first football match in the new facility. It is a multi-million dollar stadium which the footballers of that Southern Town had been waiting for, but probably didn't think would arrive any time soon. And, the UDP ministers were certainly enjoying a bit of chest beating; that's after Patrick Faber, John Saldivar and Frank "Pawpa" Mena each made an attempt at a penalty kick. Here's how that opening in Dangriga looked this weekend: Francis Humphreys, Mayor - Dangriga Town: "Carl Ramos Stadium, the only one of its kind in the country of Belize and I say that with all due respect to Minister Saldivar, Isidoro Beaton is a jem, but no other stadium has this kind of location, ambience and the history on which it has been built. So we have a spectacular view, we have a history that is second to none and now we have a facility of which every person in Dangriga and in the country of Belize can be proud. This is value for money."

    A Few Good Parcels For Good Folks
    On Friday's news, we showed you the big reveal by PUP Parliamentarian Cordel Hyde. He outlined a scheme where 50 adjoining plots of land in Carmelita Village, totalling some 1,600 acres, were acquired by persons related to former Minister Gaspar Vega. We'll, we've managed to get copies of those documents he was reading from, and our brief review of them reveals a consistent pattern. Take for Example Angelita Cruz. On September 2, 2013, the Ministry of Natural Resources approved the transfer of a parcel of land to her for just under $2,500. Then on August 27, 2013, she then turned around and sold it to the company belonging to Gaspar Vega's brother, German Vega. His company, German Vega and Sons Imports Limited, paid her $12,000 for the purchase, and she made just over 10 thousand dollars profit. Here in this document, we see that on September 2, 2013, once again, the Ministry of Natural Resources then approved Faviola Cruz for purchase an adjoining parcel of land for a little more than 2,300 dollars. Again on August 27, 2013, she then turned around and sold it for $12,000 to German Vega and Sons Imports, making over $10,000 profit.

    One More Well Meant Earl Donation
    Hurricane Earl…with all that has happened in the 4 months after that storm hit Belize, it might be just a faint memory to you. But for some, it is still a healing wound that is only just scabbing over. Well, this morning, the Special Envoy for Women and Children, and a representative from the Inter-American Development handed over donations of $18,425 to 4 four institutions in Belize. The recipients include the Liberty Children's Home, the Hand in Hand Ministries, the Belize Red Cross, and the Forest and Marine Reserves Association of Caye Caulker. Here's more: Liberty Children's Home received $8,000 to assist with roof repairs and a greenhouse to provide the children with fruits and vegetables. Hand in Hand Ministries will use their over $7,000 to build a home for a Belize City family of 4 which has been affected by the hurricane.

    CDB Gives to SIF
    Last Thursday the Caribbean Development Bank approved a loan of US$10 million dollars to Belize. The money will be used by the Social Investment Fund to finance social and economic projects in rural and under-served areas. The aim of the project is to provide these communities with climate resilient infrastructure, basic social services and increase gender equity. The project is estimated to cost about US$12.5 million, $2.5 million of which is being provided by the Government of Belize.

    Elvi's Kitchen: 40 Going On Forever
    When we think about the longest established restaurants in Belize, Dit's here in the City is the first that comes to mind: it's been opened for 60 years and counting. After that you might think of Chon Saan which opened up in 1974, and is 40 years old and counting. We're sure there are others across the country who've been holding up for a few decades, but certainly Elvi's Kitchen on San Pedro is one of the most famous. It's the flagship restaurant of that island town which probably has more restaurants per square foot than any other part of the country. But, while so many restaurants on the fickle island paradise come and go, Elvi's just keeps going, getting bigger, more popular and more specialised. We visited for their 40th anniversary celebration on Saturday:.. Jules Vasquez reporting: San Pedro's restaurant business is probably the most competitive in Belize, every delicate gesture is finely tuned, from presentation, to plating, to service, and, of course, to taste, and on San Pedro no one has done it better, for longer than Elvi's Kitchen.

    Baffu's Greatest Misses
    Since June 2014, the Image Factory Art Foundation has been publishing an electronic magazine called BAFFU. The independent publication showcases a dazzling array of visual works, poems and stories from visual artists, writers and poets from all across the region. And this is no newsletter; it's a major production: in fact, since its start two and a half years ago there have been nine electronic editions featuring works from over 300 contributors and a total of over 900 published pages. Today, was the launch of BAFFU's tenth edition, and this time it's in print. This edition is a compilation of pieces from previous editions. We spoke the three of BAFFU's editors and contributors about the latest installment and where their inspiration comes from... The publication is available at the image factory bookstore..

    Marie Sharp Recognized Again
    And another Belizean product has been celebrated in the Caribbean. The Caribbean Export Development Agency has recognized Marie Sharp's Fine Foods as the "number one export success story" in its Exporter Of The Year awards. Caribbean Export put together a video celebrating Ms Marie, and we have a portion of that for you tonight. She talks about her struggles of having her brand name stolen, only to persevere and re-establish her company as a global brand:..

    Channel 5

    Prime Minister Has Colonic Ulcer, Hopes it’s Not Cancer
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow returned home to Belize on Saturday night, following a week-long trip to New York where he met with a team of structuring advisors and lawyers, ahead [...]

    P.M. Still Has High Hopes for Superbond 3.0
    The prime minister’s health aside, the call to New York was for the three-man team, including Economic Ambassador Mark Espat and Financial Secretary Joseph Waight, to sit down with government’s [...]

    Can Belize Make February Payment for Superbond? G.O.B. Won’t Say
    On Friday, News Five spoke with Charles Blitzer, special advisor to the Belize Coordinating Committee.  During that interview he disclosed that bondholders have pored over government’s recent postings on Central [...]

    Is Vanessa Retreage Gone as A.G.?
    Is Attorney General Vanessa Retreage stepping down as Belize’s chief legal officer?  It’s a question that will be answered following a discussion during Tuesday’s weekly Cabinet meeting.  News Five understands [...]

    David Leacock Leaves as C.E.O. for Education; ex-C.E.O. Candelaria Saldivar Retires
    Late this evening, G.O.B. confirmed a story we have been following. Chief Executive Officer David Leacock, who has been the departmental head of the Ministry of Education since 2008, vacates [...]

    Treasury Bills a License to Print Money?
    A number of issues came up at Friday’s House meeting, which we didn’t cover because of time constraints. In addition to a supplementary appropriation bill, the Government for the third [...]

    Road to Amendment of Referendum Act Begins
    A simultaneous referendum on taking the unfounded Guatemalan claim to Belizean territory to the International Court of Justice in 2013 was scrapped back then. This came after then-Guatemalan president, Otto [...]

    Teachers’ Union: Have a Merry Christmas Vacation, Teachers!
    The Belize National Teachers’ Union has informed its members to go ahead and take their full three weeks of Christmas vacation, as the majority, the union says, rejects the Ministry [...]

    ‘Prime Minister in Waiting’ Did as Expected; the Boss is Pleased
    Acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber held his own as head of government in the House of Representatives on Friday, a first for any parliamentarian deputizing in that capacity.  Prior to [...]

    B.T.L. Paid for Settlement Agreement Draftsmen, G.O.B. Claims
    During the questions to Ministers portion of the House meeting, members from the Opposition fired several questions at their Government counterparts on issues of concern of either a national scope [...]

    Drunk Friend Slays Yalbac Farmer with Rock in Front of Daughter
    Our News Five crew is just back from the west where a man was killed in Yalbac Village in the Cayo District on Sunday evening. Farmer Milicio Gonzalez was killed [...]

    Belize City Chopping Victim Recovers as Stepson is Jailed for Christmas
    Police have arrested and charged nineteen year old Denzel Flowers with the attempted murder by chopping of his fifty-two year old step-mother, Eulalia Pop, also known as Consuelo Lopez. Flowers [...]

    No More Warnings! Curfew-Breaking Teens See Mother Charged for Second Time
    The curfew regulation put in place since April of this year has had mixed reviews among the population in the Old Capital, but police can claim some results in terms [...]

    Stabbings Fell Minor and Policeman in Old Capital
    The criminal elements kept off the streets over the weekend, but there are two separate stabbing incidents to report. On Sunday evening, a thirteen-year old minor got into an altercation [...]

    Benque Cop Caught Trying to Bring in Undocumented Salvadorans
    A Benque Viejo police officer is detained after he was busted with eight undocumented Salvador nationals. Around nine fifteen on Saturday night, police spotted a vehicle without a license plate [...]

    Artists Print First Edition of BAFFU Magazine
    The latest edition of BAFFU was released today at the Image Factory; it is also the first printed version. The publication contains a collection of unconventional works by a group [...]

    Meet Gimme Five’s Grand Prize Winner!
    This year, Channel Five celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary and to start the Christmas season right, we gifted twenty-five of viewers with tons of prizes in the annual Gimme Five Extravaganza. [...]

    Maskall Grandmother Gone Missing for a Week
    But while a family celebrates its Gimme Five win, another is desperately in search for a loved one. It’s been a week since sixty-nine year old Gabriela Mendez, has gone [...]

    A Healthy Serving of Sports Monday
    Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   {Feature on Sports Monday…}

    CTV3

    More Land Scandal Coming Out At Lands Department
    On Friday’s House Sitting, PUP National Deputy Leader Hon. Cordel Hyde exposed what can only be described as a land grab bonanza by the family of the former Minister of natural resources, the already embattled Gaspar Vega. Hyde brought documents to the for which show that the Vegas have been acquiring huge tracts of land under very strange circumstances. Honourable Cordel Hyde - Lake Independence Are Representative: “It was assumable that only four years ago that he member from Orange Walk North and it’s a pity he is not here today told the world and country and said to Jules and he said I am not a normal person in Belize and we laughed, we laughed and we took him lightly but these folks are very serious folks. I have in my possession, Mr. Speaker, fifty land documents from inside the famous lands department, lands transaction that revealed a meticulously orchestrated move to get land from government pass it on to ordinary people who then flip it to the minister’s family, of the former minister’s family.”

    Unfinished Project At San Lorenzo Road Costs Belizeans Millions Of Dollars
    $2.6 million – that’s how much the Government of Belize spent on the road to the San Lorenzo Housing site. This is a project that has lasted over six years and yet remains finished up to today. At Friday’s House Sitting, Opposition Leader and Orange Walk Central representative questioned the Minister of Works and asked for an explanation why the project seems never ending. Honourable John Briceno - Leader of the Opposition: “Can the Honourable Minister responsible for Works please inform this honourable house now that all the construction and repair works on the San Lorenzo Road has been discontinued, how much money was spent on the project and how much specifically was budgeted and spent on the paving of the road and could the Prime Minister also inform this honourable house who ws the contractor for this project?”

    O/W Christmas Tree Goes Up In Flames
    The Orange Walk Town Council together with Orange Walkenos are tonight working tirelessly in an effort of bringing back our Christmas tree after it was destroyed in an unfortunate incident over the weekend. On Saturday night news spread like wild fire that the Christmas tree that stood at the Central Park was engulfed in flames. Fingers are tonight pointing at two male individuals who may have intentionally caused the fire. Mayor Kevin Bernard – Orange Walk Town Council: “What really is upsetting and this is what you are seeing on the TV the remanence that is left after the burning of that tree, what is upsetting is that I got firsthand information yesterday from somebody that was there in the park when this entire thing started; he mentioned to me that there were these two guys sitting down right there lighting these whistlers and intentionally because it was not intentionally it was not that somebody lit the whistlers and then left it and it then just blew away...”

    Corozal Police Arrest And Charge Bladis's Gonzales Alledge Murderer
    A Corozal man is sitting behind bars tonight at the Central Prison after he was formally arrested and charged for the brutal murder of 30 year-old Bladis Gonzalez who was stabbed to death inside his home in October of this year. 44 year old Robert Locke, who was the prime suspect of the murder was on the run since the October incident. Locke was captured on Friday night by Belize City Police and later transported to Orange Walk where he appeared in Court today. No plea was taken from Locke who was remanded to the Central prison until his next court date scheduled for January third 2017.

    LOVE FM

    PM Returns Home Awaiting Results of Biopsy
    Belize’s 3-term Prime Minister, Dean Barrow was scheduled to return home last Wednesday following meetings with country creditors in New York, USA. Prior to his leaving for the US, he was experiencing some medical issues which reportedly worsened during his time in New York thus delaying his return home. The Government’s Press Office had quoted […]

    Restructuring of Bonds May Need Support from IMF
    As we reported earlier, Prime Minister Dean Barrow led a delegation to meet with creditors of the Superbond in New York, USA in an effort to see what can be done to ease the upcoming financial obligation as it relates to the coupon payment due in February 2017. The Superbond 2038 is in the amount […]

    BNTU Says NO to an Early Re-Opening of Schools; Minister Appeals to Teachers to Show Up
    As you have heard in our newscast, the Ministry of Education has announced the schedule that will make up the time lost in the classroom as a result of the teachers’ strike earlier this year. It is a decision that the President for the Belize National Teachers Union, Luke Palacio has expressed displeasure at and […]

    Police Constable Caught with Undocumented Salvadorans
    Eight Salvadoran nationals were detained in Santa Elena over the weekend for illegally entering Belize. Police there were conducting patrol when they came across a heavily tinted black SUV with no license plates. According to San Ignacio Commanding Officer, Superintendent Richard Rosado, the SUV was travelling towards La Loma Luz Boulevard when officers pulled it […]

    Melicio the Mexicano Slain at Yalbac
    San Ignacio police are looking for one Maximiliano who is accused of murdering Melecio Gonzalez over the weekend. The murder occurred in Yalbac Village and according to San Ignacio Commanding Officer, Superintendent Richard Rosado, Gonzalez aka Mexicano was socializing at his residence when an altercation occurred. RICHARD ROSADO “On Sunday 11 December 2016 about eleven […]

    Opposition Leader Says UDP Stole the 2012 Elections
    Last Friday during the Sitting of the House of Representatives, the Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno made a presentation on what he has deemed as corruption in the Immigration Department. Despite several interruptions and objections from the Speaker of the House, Michael Peyrefitte, Briceno went on to speak of the information given to him […]

    A Boost for Dangriga Sports at Carl Ramos Stadium
    As mentioned by the Minister of Sports, Patrick Faber last Friday during the Sitting of the House of Representatives, the official opening of the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga, Stann Creek District was slated for Saturday afternoon. That opening went as planned with Minister Faber boasting of the works of sport areas being conducted around […]

    Stepson Charged with Attempted Murder
    Nineteen year old Denzel Flowers, a welder who allegedly chopped his step-mother, was charged with attempted murder when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Flowers was also charged with dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. He was remanded into custody until February 11, 2017. The police reported that […]

    Police Holding Parents Accountable
    In the law books, the charge is “allow or suffer a child to be in a public place”. This is the first time we have heard of such a charge. Over the weekend, a 48 year old mother of Belize City was arrested and charged for the offence of ” Allow or suffer a child […]

    Police Constable Stabbed Whilst Intervening in Domestic Dispute
    Hours after the teenager was stabbed, a police constable was stabbed. Fortunately, he was treated and released as the injury was not life threatening. Williams told us what happened to Police Constable Raul Juchim last night. CHESTER WILLIAMS “Police Constable Juchim who is attached to Precinct 2 was socializing on Ordonez Street in the St.Martins […]

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Travellers Liquors truck robbed
    Reliable reports to BBN is that a truck belonging to Travellers Liquors was robbed a short while ago on the George Price Highway near Hattieville. The details are sketchy but information to BBN is that two culprits robbed the truck and made off with […]

    Teachers get full Christmas vacation
    The Ministry of Education had informed that classes would resume earlier after the Christmas vacation due to time lost during the BNTU’s sustained 11-day strike in October. The ministry had indicated their intent to take 6 days back: 4 from Christmas vacation and 2 […]

    Chopping victim’s mom and girlfriend detained
    Armando Pelayo Jr. was shot and chopped several times on Thursday morning in Corozal Town. However, his girlfriend and her mother were detained by police over the weekend for questioning. The duo have reportedly not been cooperating with police When Pelayo was fatally wounded, his […]

    Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative and Forest Department trained in SMART Technology
    The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) held a two day training workshop for employees from Forest Department and Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative (CSFI) on the use of the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) on December 6th and 7th. This workshop is a major milestone […]

    Belizean entrepreneurs receive seed funding to expand their business
    Thirty-six Belizean entrepreneurs were recognized for their hard work during an award ceremony of the EMPRENDE Belize Fund, which was held this morning in the IVET Dining Room, ITVET Campus in Belize City. His Excellency Charles Liu, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan), […]

    PACT to award $2.28 million in grants to safeguard Belize’s protected areas
    The Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) will award a total of $2.28 million in grants to the co-managers and defenders of the largest protected area in Belize. The Friends for Conservation and Development, Ya’axche Conservation Trust, the Belize Defense Force, and the Forest Department […]

    Independence police investigating manslaughter in Big Creek Port
    Yesterday, Independence police visited the Independence Poly Clinic where they saw 58-year-old Hueing Alexander White, a supervisor at the Big Creek Port lying on a bed motionless. Initial investigation reveals that on December 3, 2016 about 7:30 while White was working inside the Big […]

    Belmopan family loses over $2000 worth of household items in fire
    On Friday, Keaton Petillo, 30, a school warden of Belmopan City reported that around 5:00 p.m., he was at home with his two stepsons and his mother-in-law when he heard his stepson yelling that a mattress was on fire. Efforts were made to put […]

    Minor and police officer stabbed in Belize City
    There were two separate stabbing incidents in Belize City yesterday. According to police reports, yesterday evening around 5:30 p.m. police visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) where officers saw a 13-year-old boy of a Belize City address, suffering from two stab wounds to […]

    Police investigate human trafficking in Cayo
    According to a police report issued this morning, Saturday night around 9:15, while police were conducting a mobile patrol within Santa Elena Town, officers came across a heavily tinted black Chrysler Pacifica with no license plate passing the police mobile. It was traveling towards […]

    Police seek one man in connection with Cayo murder
    Last night around 8:30 p.m., police responded to a murder scene in Yalbac Village, Cayo where farmer, Melecio Gonzalez was seen lying on the roadside. Initial investigations reveal that at about 12:30 p.m. that day, one “Maximiliano, Abimael August, Eugenia August and Maria Izabel […]

    Cayo man murdered in drunken brawl
    A man is dead after a night of drinking with friends and family. According to police reports, the incident occurred sometime around 7 last night in the Yalbac area of Cayo. The victim has been identified as Melicio Gonzalez. Gonzalez reportedly had an altercation […]

    Rainy weather expected to continue
    The 24-hour forecast is for moist and unstable conditions with overcast clouds and showers to continue. Periods of rain, showers and isolated thunderstorms are expected over most areas. The Belize Weather Bureau has issued advisories that localized flooding is occurring over low lying areas […]

    Blogs

    How to make Chocolate
    Biting into a square of handmade chocolate could almost be a religious experience. The nuances of flavor, the texture…no wonder it has been called food of the gods! Knowing what I do now, each time I bite into a piece, I think of how complex the process of its creation was. am utterly grateful to the ancestor who once upon a time, accidentally or on purpose, decided that this delicacy should exist. So, how does chocolate actually get made? How is it that these bars, drops, squares, bonbons and truffles get to our greedy little paws? Luckily for us, our neighbors down the street run the Belize Chocolate Company, and they offer a fun 30-minute chocolate-making class. Sign us up! The Cacao pods (fruit) are first picked, then cracked open to remove the seeds. A thick (delicious) pulp surrounds approximately 50-60 cacao beans. They are fermented then sun-dried then roasted, ready for the next process which involves cracking the bean shells.

    LoveFM’s 6th Annual San Pedro Christmas Parade Keeps Getting Better
    Last night was the big lighted Christmas LAND parade through downtown San Pedro. The lighted BOAT parade is next week on Saturday. I used to consider this one the new kid on the block but radio station has done such an amazing job…and this parade just keeps getting bigger and better. This year was the longest, most well attended by dressed up children and threw out the most candy. Consider me the official Guinness book official of Ambergris Caye. The parade officially started at 5:30pm…and I was there a bit early. Man…what a pretty night. Big bright moon, pinkish purple clouds threatening for a bit but just a tiny spritz.

    Blackadore Caye hosts the ultimate Christmas office party
    There are office parties and then there are OFFICE PARTIES. Yesterday, the good folks who have been preparing Leonardo DiCaprio’s 104-acre Blackadore Caye for development into what will likely be Belize’s most prestigious and eco-friendly resort island ever held a party for staff and friends. Around 150 people came to the island on four boats organized by Marcos and Karen Zul’s Creative Tours Belize to shuttle back and forth from Ambergris Caye. It was a celebration and a bittersweet farewell at the same time. This was the last time that the public will be able to step onto the pristine island as construction is set to begin in 2017. The island base was alive with arrivals, the fizz and pop of Belikin caps and wine corks, kicky music, chatter and the greeting of old friends. Blackadore’s crew had a couple of whole pigs cooking underground, Mayan style, under the supervision of Pepe, a civil engineer who learned how to prepare and cook pibil as a child from his grandfather and other family members.

    International Sourcesizz

    Imbert sends out 'Belize warning'
    FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert said yesterday the Opposition had only to look to neighbouring Belize if it wanted evidence of what could happen to Trinidad and Tobago, should this country fail to become compliant with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Imbert, who yesterday lambasted the Opposition bench for failing to show in the Lower House for debate on FATCA, has warned that the population will suffer if T&T does not become FATCA compliant and the local banking sector will collapse. Government has secured a second extension from the United States to become compliant, and Imbert said while the deadline for the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) to report was September 30, 2017, Government has told the US that it was working toward February 2017 compliance. The BIR currently reports on request and has discretion, Imbert said, but the passing of FATCA will make disclosure of information automatic. The Parliament has been adjourned to January and the bill must be passed by a three-fifths majority.

    EU Identifies 28 Tax Regimes That Could Make Blacklist
    The European Union has targeted 28 jurisdictions considered to have harmful tax regimes, nations that will potentially face scrutiny in early 2017 as part of the process to define its tax haven blacklist. Based on documents seen by Bloomberg BNA, the 28 countries targeted by the EU Code of Conduct Group for Business Taxation include a range of Pacific or Caribbean nations with offshore financial centers. Among them is Belize, Grenada, Cook Islands, Montserrat, Cabo Verde, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Macao, Saint Lucia and Samoa. According to the confidential document, Anguilla, Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Jersey have been cited for potential screening by the Code of Conduct group in 2017, on account of their zero tax rates. Thirteen of the 28 are considered particularly problematic due to their failure to commit to the OECD’s Inclusive Framework for implementing the minimum base erosion and profit shifting reforms. “The Code of Conduct group has a solid and proven experience in dealing with harmful tax regimes, including regimes of third countries,” the confidential document states. “Assessments of these 28 countries could be undertaken autonomously by the Code of Conduct group with the assistance of the commission and experts in the review panels with a commitment to produce the outcomes in time for the final list.”

    Sustainable Seafood Delicacies Emerge in Belize
    Very nice read...makes me yearn for some hudut!!!!
    In celebration of Garifuna Settlement Day in Belize this past November 19th, I enjoyed the best bowl of hudut I have had the pleasure to try — prepared and served at Sandy Beach Restaurant, owned by a women’s cooperative of the coastal village of Hopkins. It was a mild, lightly creamy, coconut infused broth, with a hot habanero pepper included for extra kick. In the broth was a lightly fried half of a snapper and a big mound of mashed ripe and green plantains. A sweet treat of tableta – a fudge-like candy bar made of freshly grated coconut mixed in melted brown sugar and condensed milk, spiced with ginger – was dessert. I ate the meal so quickly that I still regret not pausing to snap a photo in reminder of its delight. The hudut, as is true with all seafood meals served from this cooperative, used protein fished by locals in nearby blue waters. The cooperative itself is one of the most successful small, community-based enterprises in Belize, owned and run solely by local Garifuna women. They are truly an example for other small businesses – both for the quality of the sustainably-sourced food and service and for a consistency and stability that works to their collective advantage. The prominent place that fishing plays in the lives of all Belizeans is a natural outgrowth of its proximity to the second longest barrier reef in the world, which runs through the territorial waters of the tiny, multicultural nation. No fewer than 500 Atlantic fish species are found here, not to mention a notably pesky Pacific invader, the lionfish. Add three coral atolls into this system – along with a few hundred sand and mangrove islands, or “cayes,” and heart-warming marine species such as manatees, dolphins, and turtles – and it is no wonder that the complex and diverse system attained global recognition in 1996 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Videos

  • MIRROW,MIRROW ON THE WALL ,WHO IS THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL ???, min. by Pulu Lightburn. TODAY I WENT TO COURT AND THERE WAS 26 PEOPLE THERE ,THEY WERE ALL DARKER DAN ME , YOUNGER DAN ME AN' BROKER DAN A MIRROW SHATTERED IN A 1,000 PIECES !!! IN BELIEZE ONLY LABOURERS (HARDSHIP) GO TO JAIL !!!1981WAS SUPPOSE TO BE THE BIRTH OF A NATION BUT IT WAS THE DAY BELIZE DIED;OUR YOUTHS ARE NOTHING BUT WALKING DEADS!!!! OUR SO CALLED LEADERS(GREADERS) HAS SACRIFICED THE YOUTHS OF OUR NATION TO SATISFY THERE ADDICTION TO GREED AND POWER !!! ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTE POWER ,CORRUPTSABSOLUTELY!!!ITS ALL OVER BUT DA CRYING.......???THIS IS THE ADDICTION DATS KILLING US!!!!!

  • TALA WALA-"Christmas de come", 3min. BELIZE MAROON KRIOLS PERFORMING "CHRISTMAS DE COME". DISPLAYING AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE OF THEIR CULTURE THROUGH THE FORM OF MUZIK. NOT ONLY A DISPLAY BUT ALSO PRESERVATION OF THIS ONCE DWINDLING FORM OF CULTURAL MUZIK ON THE BELIZEAN SCENE.........ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Byron Lee & The Dragonaires Christmas Soca Party, 12min.

  • , 16min. So...yeah I went to Belize. I know hard to Belize! (Sorry, pun never gets old!) Any who, Leigh and I headed to Placencia for #Belizegiving and it was an amazing experience!

  • Human Resource Assessment and E-llearning Workshops in Belize, 30min.

  • Belize Reef Dive video, 2.5min.

  • Christmas Feature - Painting like a Pro (Brother's Habet),22 min.

  • Los Hijos del West show their versatility once again:, 1min. Listen to their marimba version of a current hit!

  • The Zenaida Moya Show Episode 3, min. The Zenaida Moya Show first aired on Monday 12 December 2016. Episode 3 featured Senior Counsel Hubert Elrington and Attorney-at-Law Arthur Saldivar who discussed a strategic plan which seeks to set Belize on the road to economic independence.

  • Belize, 6min.

  • Training in Public Procurement - Belize, 4.5min.

  • Alex & Anastasia Loskutov. Diving Belize 2016., 18min.

  • Belize 2016, 6min. Nov 2016 Aggressor IV.

  • Flips off a boat in Belize!!!, 2min. Booze cruise on a catamaran in Belize with the Skydive San Pedro crew!

    December 12, 2016


    FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

    Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

    Specials and Events

    Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    US Embassy Provides Training to Improve Investigations into Aquatic deaths
    In a press release issued on Wednesday, December 7th, the United States (US) Embassy in Belmopan, Belize stated that 39 people underwent an Aquatic Homicidal Death Investigation Training through the US Embassy’s Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) program. From Monday, November 28th to Thursday, December 1st, several sections of Belizean law enforcement including Crime Scene Technicians, Crime Investigators, Coast Guard Dive Team, a Medical Examiner, and several others were trained.47-us-embassy-trainig-2 According to the release, this training was a part of CARSI’s overall commitment to assist in improving citizen security in Belize. “The goal of this course was to equip law enforcement managers and supervisors with the specific forensic and behavioral knowledge necessary for handling aquatic death investigations. The course was designed to provide the necessary tools for analyzing all aspects of an aquatic death case in order to determine the true cause and manner of death (homicide, suicide, accidental, or natural). The course also emphasized the importance of the role of the investigators at the aquatic death scene and of correctly interpreting the elements of a case thereby ensuring more accurate conclusions. Additionally, case management, forensic aspects of the aquatic death scene, and criminal investigative analysis were also discussed, among many other topics.”

    Wolfe’s Woofer: Physical Exam
    “You only have one more part of your physical exam left,” Sherry told me. “I made an appointment with the doctor for this afternoon.” We’re in Merida, Mexico for a few days getting my annual total physical done. “What do you mean ~one more part~?” I asked. “I thought I was finished with the entire thing.” “You haven’t seen all of the different specialists yet. You still need to see the proctologist.” When she finished explaining proctologist my eyes were as big as fifty cent pieces. “There is no way I will let somebody do that to me,” I told her That afternoon I sat in the doctor’s waiting room. The door to the examination room opened and the doctor came out with a clipboard under his arm. After checking his clipboard he said to me, “And you are Mr. ?.?.?”

    Full Basket Belize approves grant to SP Lions
    On Tuesday, November 29th, the San Pedro Lions Club received great news through a letter by Full Basket Belize (FBB), approving the club’s community grant application for $2,000BZ. Chairperson Jan Brown had been corresponding with FBB for grant assistance to fund the Belize Lions National Children’s Eye Screening Program. Since the San Pedro Lion Club is a non-profit organization, the club relies on fundraising and donations in order to support the community needs. “Grants aren’t easy to write, but we appreciate whenever our work is recognized. Some might not know that the eye screening program requires a lot of paperwork to be distributed, as well as report forms. Therefore, the grant request asked for money to pay for reams of paper and cartridges for printing,” said Brown. Although Belize Council for Vision Impaired (BCVI) clinics are only readily available in Belize City, Brown is dedicated to have children screened here on Ambergris Caye and Corozal. “I’ve been wearing glasses since age five and I know the value of being helped with vision needs at an early age. Children in Belize aren’t privileged to have an eye clinic in most districts.

    SIB figures show that Belize is still in recession
    The latest figures for October 2016 were released by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) on Wednesday, November 30th. The figures show that the country has experienced three consecutive quarters of negative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, and indicated that Belize’s economy is still in a recession. The first quarter saw a contraction of 0.2%, the second, 1%, while the third quarter showed a contraction of 0.8%. The primary sector experienced a decline of 24% during the third quarter, when compared to the same period last year, with slumps recorded from several major industries. Marine exports fell by 61%, as the shrimp industry continued to struggle towards recovery. Due to the closure of one of the major banana farms and the effects of Hurricane Earl, banana shipments dropped by 14%, from 28 thousand metric tons to 24 metric tons. However, the only significant growth within this sector was livestock production, which rose by 7% as poultry, swine and cattle production all recorded increases in production.

    Doctor Love: Up and Away
    Dear Doctor Love, I searched for a year after losing my job. I am over fifty, and have spent 27 years in the same career. After finding nothing for me close to home, I accepted a position as an instructor in a foreign country, where I am away for a month, then home for two weeks. It started out fine, but now my wife and I are starting to fight. She resents that I am not there to help with the children, the chores, and decision making. I tell her to do what she thinks is best, but that is not making her happy. She also is worried I will find a younger woman. If I mention a female name, she gets furious. Why is she suddenly questioning my every move? /s/ Up and Away

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Notes on the importation of human ashes into Belize
    As this is being asked more frequently, notes on the importation of human ashes into Belize. Note also that the importation of cadavers must follow a due process and the relevant paperwork must be completed before either the body or ashes arrives at the port of entry. This process is done at the Ministry of Health and not by BAHA or Customs/Immigration.

    Prime Minister Barrow Returns Home Fully Recovered
    Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow returned to Belize last night from New York after extending his travel to seek medical attention. He expressed how happy he was to be back home and that he was “feeling fully recovered”. Prime Minster Barrow had left last weekend to attend a meeting in New York regarding the Superbond. Prior to his departure he was experiencing discomfort in his lower abdomen and had to be admitted to the hospital overnight. The symptoms persisted during his travel and so the Prime Minister went to see a gastroenterologist in New York who ran a series of tests and discovered a lesion on Prime Minister Barrow’s colon. A biopsy was taken and, while the results are still pending, the doctor is very confident that it is a stercoral ulcer on his colon and nothing cancerous. The results of the biopsy are expected by the end of the week.

    Sisimito Sessions Spinners Specified
    The Sisimito Sessions' DJ's have been announced...and none of them will talk over the music! Contact us, or them, for tickets. "2 MONTHS FROM NOW IN PLACENCIA, BELIZE. THE ONLY PLACE FOR QUALITY TECHNO AND HOUSE MUSIC IN THE JEWEL. 28-29/01/2017. TICKETS FROM Barefoot Beach Bar, Placencia, Belize, Luna Loca in San Pedro AND Cayo Scoop has them in Cayo. or http://www.wantickets.com/Events/213814/Sisimito-Sessions/"

    Tackling the illegal timber trade
    WCS applauds the efforts of Belize Forest Department in tackling the illegal timber trade. Since 2013, rosewood (Dalbergia stevensoni) trade has been controlled by the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). At WCS we are committed to assisting the Forest Department in ensuring that rosewood is both sustainably harvested, and legally traded.

    The Reporter

    CARICOM and EU preparing to strengthen partnership with new program
    The European Union (EU) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will officially launch a multi-million-dollar program this week, geared at strengthening partnerships within the regions. The EU and CARICOM will hold the launch of the, INTERREG V Caribbean program, on Wednesday, December 14, in St. Lucia. The program prioritizes issues such as employment and innovation, natural hazards, the cultural environment, public health and renewable energy. The program has aims such as boosting the economic competitiveness of CARICOM member countries, and responding to environmental challenges and health issues. The program will also have a component which looks at promoting the joint cultural heritage of the region. The INTERREG V Caribbean program, will be launched at the end of a three-day conference, from December 12-14, where organizations such as the Association of Caribbean States, CARICOM, CARIFORUM, and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, with the Regional Councils of the French Overseas Departments of Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guyana, and the French Overseas Collectivity of St. Martin, will meet to discuss the coordination and implementation of the program.

    Belize becomes first country to sign onto UN sustainable development strategy
    This week, Belize became the first country in the region to sign onto the United Nations Multi-country Sustainable Development Framework (UN MSDF). Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elringtonn signed the UNMSDF, along with United Nations Resident Coordinator in Belize, Christian Salazar Volkmann, at a brief ceremony held in Belize City. The UNMSDF is a plan which covers the years 2017–2021, that represents the United Nations collective and coherent response to addressing the common development challenges of the English and Dutch Caribbean. According to the Government of Belize, the plan provides a common platform for development cooperation to Belize that is strongly rooted and linked to national priorities.

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    GoB passes amendment to issue up to $1.3 billion in treasury bills
    The government approved a motion at last week’s Sitting of the House to amend the Treasury Bills Act.The amendment will seek to raise the limit of principal sums represented by Treasury Bills and Treasury notes. In essence, the Government of Belize is seeking to print […]

    Police corporal detained for Human trafficking
    Reports reaching our newsroom is that last night, San Ignacio police intercepted a black Chrysler Pacifica with 8 passengers and one driver on the George Price Highway near Carillo Puerto gas station. The vehicle caught the attention of police because it had no license […]

    Belize gets US $10 Million loan for SIF
    The Social Investment Fund (SIF) is the latest benefactor of a US $10 million dollar loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). According to reports, the loan is to allow for SIF to extend it services. Those services include the financing of social and […]

    PM Barrow is back in Belize fully recovered
    PM Barrow returned last night to Belize from New York after extending his travel to seek medication attention. According to a Government of Belize press release, he expressed how happy he was to be back home and that he was “feeling fully recovered”. Prime […]

    Two detained for burning OW Christmas tree
    An act of arson was reported in Orange Walk Town last night. However, it wasn’t a house or a vehicle set on fire. Instead it was the town’s Christmas Tree erected by the town council. Two adults have been detained by police in connection […]

    Blogs

    Run to the End of the World and the Zoo Too!
    Twelve weeks had come and gone so fast. In my spare time I had been training, running, getting read for the End of the World half marathon in Placencia, Belize. This country’s only half marathon/full marathon. I love to run, but I knew this island was not really designed for it, so I dedicated my exercise time to my other favorite, Crossfit, and ran but only once or twice each week. As the year went on though, I really wanted to train for a distance race. So, back in September, through impossible heat, then rain, through mud, and puddles the size of lakes I ran, tiptoed, and waded my way to my 13.1 mile (21 km) goal. So the day before the race, we were up and off to what is the beginning of all trips, the ferry. Somehow we scored a big covered boat and I tried to sleep my way to Belize city.

    An AMAZING 40th Anniversary Party for Elvi’s Kitchen & The Best Meal I’ve Ever Eaten in San Pedro
    But last night was REALLY an honor. I was invited to an amazing party – large but very very intimate. The 40th Anniversary of Elvi’s Kitchen, one of the most popular restaurants in San Pedro and one I ALWAYS recommend to visitors. There was a childrens’ and special invited guest table where Miss Elvi presided. A cousins’ table and a huge, super fun grandkids table. And then the media – where I sat next to the only great grand child at the event – Madi from Ambergris Today. Elvi’s Kitchen was packed. 40 years is no joke. Remember that the first hotel for visitors was opened 50 years ago – the beachfront Holiday Hotel. Tourism was a tiny but budding industry. Beautiful Miss Elvi. Miss Elvi and her husband opened Burger Isle take-out – a small burger stand under a beautiful flamboyant tree. Burgers, fries, tostadas. San Pedranos would stop by on their way home from work. (Also super interesting is this list of firsts – Mr. Enrique Staines owned the first telephone on the island.)

    All I Want for Christmas is Belizean Black Fruit Cake
    Are you sick and tired of waiting for Belizean people to make you your Black Fruit Cake? Are you fed up with the fruits in your cake sinking to the bottom? This is s tutorial on how to make our Belizean Black fruit cake right the very first time. The fruits will float and not sick to the bottom.

    A very Truck Stop Christmas ……
    A craft fair, a Christmas tree lighting, some complimentary pizza pies and Santa Claus kept the Truck Stop packed to capacity with happy people on Saturday. The Truck Stop has tried hard to be more than a collection of restaurants, a bar and an ice cream shop since opening more than one year ago, north of the bridge on Ambergris Caye. On Wednesday and Friday nights, free movies are shown on an outdoors screen beside the lagoon. Fridays are reserved for family movies. Thursdays are now Trivia Night and Sundays are all about the whole roasted pig and a sometimes comically intense corn hole tournament. Once a month there is a hugely popular farmers’ market. Every night of the week there are gorgeous sunsets on the back-a-da-island dock and always there are places to just sit with friends and shoot the breeze. In short, Truck Stop has elevated itself from being just another island food and beverage stop to being a community gathering destination.

    International Sourcesizz

    Belize Private Island Resort Relaunches
    The newly relaunched Turneffe Island Resort is now open for reservations, following a property-wide renovation project. Turneffe Island Resort has fully renovated the hotel, including its 22 beachside guest rooms. “We are delighted to unveil the new Turneffe Island Resort on our 15-year anniversary. We’ve renovated the property, as we do after each season, but we’re especially excited to make a dramatic debut for guests, both returning and new, this season,” said Deborah Finkler, sales and marketing manager at Turneffe Island Resort. “We’ve enhanced our special adventure packages and have a brand new website to allow visitors to virtually experience all the luxury and adventure that the island and surrounding Caribbean waters can offer.” Spread across 14 acres, the island sits at the southern tip of the Turneffe Atoll – 35 miles off the coast of Belize City and only 30 miles from the world-famous Great Blue Hole, a collapsed 1,000-year old oceanic cave, where divers head 130 feet underwater.

    Caribbean Court of Justice pioneers new technology to improve court performance
    A suite of new high-tech court management systems is to be adopted by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). The CCJ will be one of the first adopters of a set of technology-enabled systems for electronic filing of court documents, case management and court performance measurement, according to a release on Friday. The region-wide initiative aims to ensure that courts across the Caribbean have access to the software and training needed to strengthen their operations and improve service delivery, the release said. A pair of pilot projects is scheduled to take place soon in Belize and Grenada, the release said. It announced the establishment of a not-for-profit corporation called Advance Performance Exponents Inc. (APEX), which will coordinate the new technology-driven solutions and services for Caribbean courts.

    Videos

  • BPP AGM, 44min.

  • The last hour before sun down in the garden is usually full of activity - specially by flycatchers - and some tree swallows, 2min.

  • Cave-Tubing in in Belize, 4.5min.

  • DJI OSMO, 4K BELIZE 01, 10min.

  • BELIZE by Allie McDaniel, 2.5min.

  • Morelet's Crocodile Moves Slightly South Mexico, Belize & Guatemala Alligator Adventure, 2min.

  • Chased by a Moray Eel in Belize, 15sec. We spotted a Moray Eel while snorkelling off Caye Caulker in Belize. Incredible travel location by the way! The eel was pretty deep down but just within breath range. When I got closer, it came out to see me so I start to back away and it keeps following. Not sure if it was being defensive, aggression or just friendly. But, I made sure to keep just enough space between us.

  • Chased by a Moray Eel in Belize, 2min.

  • Belize Hanal Pixan explanation by Maya elder Mr.Felipe Tzul, 9min. Mr. Felipe Tzul is a Maya elder from the village of Patchakan in the Corozal district who explained the tradition of Hanal Pixan in Maya T'aan(Yucatec Maya) and Spanish. Hanal Pixan is also known as Dia de muertos or Finados and is still celebrated by people of Yucatec Maya descent from Corozal,Orange Walk and Cayo. Today the Yucatec Mayas also identify themselves as "Maya , Masewal ,Maya Mestizo , Maya Masewal or Indio". This video was recorded November 2,2016 by Mr. Jeremias Tzul from Patchakan. The video was edited by Ak Kuchkabal Maya(Our Maya Family) a Yucatec Maya group founded in San Pablo village Orange Walk to gather information about the Yucatec Maya in northern Belize. This video is for educational purposes .

  • Take-off on Tropic Air from San Pedro to Belize city, 10min.

  • Feeding Howler Monkey in Belize, 1min.

    December 11, 2016


    FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

    Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

    Specials and Events

    Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    International Wheelchair Foundation distributes wheelchairs in San Pedro Town
    22 residents of San Pedro Town were the recipients of a humanitarian donation by the International Wheelchair Foundation. On Tuesday, December 6th members of the Foundation and the Belize Red Cross, along with members of the local authorities, handed over 22 wheelchairs in an emotional and inspiring ceremony held at the San Pedro Lions Den. This is the third time the US-based Wheelchair Foundation has made such an important donation to Belizeans in need. This year, they brought a total of 260 wheelchairs to distribute countrywide. 25 of those were destined to San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker Village. The highest demand for wheelchairs came from San Pedro (22), while Caye Caulker was the recipient of three wheelchairs delivered on Monday, December 5th.

    $800,000 land compensation not repaid; Solicitor General to sue Vega and Pitts
    Since October 31, 2016, the Government of Belize (GOB) has been awaiting a response from Andre Vega (Gaspar Vega’s son), and Attorney at Law Sharon Pitts to repay $800,000 that was given as compensation to them as a result of a faulty land transaction deal. On Tuesday, December 6th, the GOB decided to take a step further, and now the Solicitor General is expected to file suit against the two next week. The controversial land scandal involved formerly resigned Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Agriculture, Honorable Gaspar Vega, who authorized the sale of privately owned property. During the time Gaspar Vega was Minister of Lands, his son Andre Vega and Pitts acquired the private property. However, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) had to reacquire the land title, and thus compensated them $400,000 each. Minister of Natural Resources Vanessa Retreage told Belize City Media that Pitts indicated that after corresponding with her attorney Hubert Elrington, she would respond to GOB by Thursday, December 1st. “However, no such response has been received, and Vega has not responded [either]. Instructions have been given to the Acting Solicitor General to prepare the claims against both persons, with the intent to file the same before the year’s end,” said Retreage.

    Sagebrush Church aspires to feed and clothe the homeless
    Sagebrush’s outreach ministry teamed up on Saturday, December 3rd and hosted a “Feed and Clothe the Homeless” drive. From 7AM to 12PM, the congregation at Sagebrush Church donated non-perishable food, used clothing, sheets, toiletries, and shoes to more than 40 displaced individuals. The congregation and volunteers also fed them with hot oats, a variety of sandwiches, coffee, banana bread, cookies, biscuits and rice pudding. A team of barbers even offered their services, trimming and shaving to those who were interested, while another team of volunteers helped wash their feet, providing pampering pedicures to those willing individuals. The event was an effort to achieve Sagebrush’s mission statement: “To Know Christ and to Make Christ Known”, Sagebrush Pastor Rafael Torres said that helping others is always a pleasure. “This drive was a great success. We all loved, encouraged, counseled, and prayed for them all..."

    PM Barrow leads team to second meeting with Superbond holders
    The Prime Minister of Belize Rt. Honorable Dean Barrow left the country on Saturday, December 3rd enroute to New York City, New York USA where he attended a meeting discussing the Superbond. Barrow was joined by Financial Secretary Joseph Waight and Economic Ambassador Mark Espat. During the reunion, the trio once again tried to finalize an agreement with bondholders regarding the structuring of the Superbond payments. The Government of Belize (GOB), through an official statement issued by the Central Bank on Tuesday, December 6th, made a call to for comments from bondholders on possible structures to amend the Bond. The possibility to amend the financial terms of the Bond is crucial for Belize and the sole purpose of the meetings is to keep the negotiating process on sustainable footing. The next payment of $13 million Belize dollars is due in February and a second one in August. However, the second payment is set to increase payables up to $17 million. This increase is way ahead of the principal payments that are due to start in 2019.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    South Ambergris Caye Neighbourhood Watch
    Our December meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at Lone Star Grill & Cantina 7:00 pm. Hope to see you there!

    Poets Corner: Alphabetization
    By Abdulmajeed K Nunez. Let's jumpstart this ballot revolution I call on all teechaaz pupils at our tertiary institutions Let’s alphabetize this nation Many of our people are not literate Some can’t afford school, because they can’t afford the rate Let’s organize to get in their space Many would participate If this would be more compassionate In the 80s Shoman Did some alphabetization We need to disseminate information We’ve been giving the world false information Claiming we have a high literacy rate in this nation I challenge anyone To prove me wrong That Belize’s literacy rate is above fifty bredda man This is why Elrington said we lack sophistication By doing house to house visitation So doing we can do skills mapping Assessment and one on one instructing Change the direction of this country is going If I do just one thing Teach our people what the pre amble of the constitution is saying

    Ambassador Carlos Moreno hosted a Gender Based Violence (GBV) luncheon/round table in Orange Walk
    As part of the Embassy's 16 Days of Activism Campaign against GBV. The event was a great opportunity to hear about GBV issues in Orange Walk and learn what the local government and civil society are doing to address these issues. The Ambassador also highlighted the work that the Embassy is doing to address GBV, such as the CARSI grant, Gender Working Group, 16 Days of Activism Campaign, and other initiatives.

    Corozal Christmas Parade
    GET READY! Our traditional Christmas Parade will be held on Sunday, December 18th at the Corozal Central Park beginning at 6:00 P.M. Come on and join in. Bring your special float representing the Corozal Community. Have lots of fun and enjoy. See you there!!

    Committee for the Conservation of the Chiquibul and Mopan Watersheds
    The Guatemalan Committee for the Conservation of the Chiquibul and Mopan Watersheds met with FCD to identify community conservation projects for 2017. This effort is supported by the British Embassy in Belize.

    Barn owl chicks
    Gorgeously ugly pair of barn owl chicks. Growing like weeds! Thanks to the caring family that recovered them from a house undergoing roof renovations, these two babies will soon make it back into the wild and start work on the local rat populations

    The Reporter

    House of Representatives wraps up 2016 session
    The House of Representatives has held its final meeting for the year 2016. Deputy Prime Minister, Patrick Faber, led the meeting, which began shortly after 10 a.m., and lasted until almost 5 p.m. Faber was holding over for Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who was out of the country on medical business, and is scheduled to return on Sunday. At the meeting, the government made three motions, all of which went through the full process from being introduced to being passed. The government also introduced seven Bills to be read. Those included: General Revenue Supplementary Appropriation 2016/2017 (No. 2) Bill, 2016; Treasury Bills (Amendment) (No.3) Bill, 2016; Income and Business Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016; Private Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2016; Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (Amendment) Bill, 2016;Referendum (Amendment) Bill, 2016; and Non-Governmental Organization (Amendment) Bill, 2016. Of those Bills, three of them: General Revenue Supplementary Appropriation 2016/2017 (No. 2) Bill, 2016; Treasury Bills (Amendment) (No.3) Bill, 2016; and Income and Business Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016, were introduced and passed in one sitting.

    Researchers begin crocodile population survey
    The Crocodile Research Coalition (CRC) is collaborating with researchers all over Belize for a population survey of Belize’s morelet crocodile. The CRC and its partners began the five-component research this weekend, and expect to conclude it within a year’s time. The research components include: habitat monitoring; nocturnal eye shine surveys, capture and tag surveys, nest surveys, and community surveys. The nocturnal eye shine surveys entails going out at night and shining a special light, to capture the distinct eye shine of a crocodile. While the community surveys involve engaging persons on an individual basis to find out their perceptions on crocodiles. According to Marissa Coleman, researcher with CRC, explained that the last population survey done on the morelet crocodile, one of Belize’s only two fresh water species of crocodile, was in 1995. She explained that the survey is important because the morelet crocodile is the species most commonly involved in human/crocodile conflict. Currently Belize has no crocodile management plan, and the survey will help to craft a management plan.

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Mermaids coming to Belize
    Sirenalia, a company based in Texas, USA; which specializes in providing its clients with a unique mermaid experience, is planning a “whimsical” mermaid vacation in Belize.The vacation package is part of Sirenalia’s annual Tropical Mermaid Retreat. It will be held in February 2017 from the […]

    Police seek woman for boyfriend’s death
    Corozal police are still seeking the common- law-wife of Armando Pelayo Jr. She was the only person with him inside their G Street home in Corozal Town when he was chopped up and shot. When police arrived on the scene sometime around 3 a.m. […]

    Blogs

    Tis the Season to be Busy
    The start of the Holiday Season has everyone busier than ever. Events are popping up faster than people can mark their calendars. Planning and boat decorating meetings are happening. People are counting down the days till Christmas, bears are being bought. Below is a bit of the story of a few amazing ways that Santa has already done early deliveries on both Ambergris Caye and in Belize City. This is year two of the adopt a bear program and there are more locations than ever to get you bear and help give a kid a Happy Christmas; Sandbar Hostel, Wayo’s Beach Bar, Crazy Canucks Beach Bar, Palapa Bar & Grill, Marbucks Coffee House and Truck Stop (sold out.) Whether you are in or out of the country, there is a local elf who is willing to make your shopping easy for this great brown bear effort. Facebook Message or call Scott Barkhouse at 620-7480 for new backpacks $60bz and tablets $120bz. There are lots of brown bear pictures circulating on the internet to encourage you to buy a bear. Here is a photo collage from 2015 gift day at the Lions Den. The excitement in the room was amazing. Just watching the kids was so worth it and they greatly appreciated their presents with thank yous to Santa and beaming smiles.

    Ak’Bol’s yoga temple of tranquility is back . . . and so is Moppit!
    I took Moppit for a walk — sprint, actually — up the beach to Ak’Bol Yoga Retreat and Eco Resort this morning. And wow! The over-the-water studio looks magnificent! A temple of tranquility. Two of my favorite places on the water were decimated by Hurricane Earl — the Palapa Bar and Ak’Bol. Now both are back! Kirsten Miglio and her husband Dale have been patiently rebuilding and now Kirsten will teach her first yoga session under the new palapa on Sunday!

    Belize Barrier Reef celebrates 20 years as World Heritage Site
    The Belize Barrier Reef is the star in the country’s tourism industry. Belize has become well-known for its bountiful beauty including lush jungles, historical Mayan ruins, miles of pristine beach coast and of course its world-famous barrier reef system, perfect for snorkeling and soaking in the Caribbean spirit. The Belize Barrier Reef perfectly represents the bright and vibrant life in the jewel that is Belize. One cannot think of Belize without imagining varying shades of blinding blues covering the vast 300 kilometers that make up the barrier reef system. Belize’s barrier reef is the largest in the Western and Northern hemisphere. It is one of the biggest reasons tourists flock to the small nation which enjoys the best of Central American and Caribbean culture, cuisine and landscape. Belize has always cherished its unique marine environment and has worked tirelessly to preserve the integrity of such an important eco-system. Still, there are many dangers the world’s seas and oceans face, which require collaborative efforts by governments and environmental organizations to find solutions by way of feasible policies.

    International Sourcesizz

    TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY BIRDWATCHING
    Our ancestors could spot natural predators from far by their silhouettes. Are we equally aware of the predators in the present-day? Drones are remote-controlled planes that can be used for anything from surveillance and deadly force, to rescue operations and scientific research. Most drones are used today by military powers for remote-controlled surveillance and attack, and their numbers are growing. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicted in 2012 that within 20 years there could be as many as 30.000 drones flying over U.S. Soil alone. As robotic birds will become commonplace in the near future, we should be prepared to identify them. This survival guide is an attempt to familiarise ourselves and future generations, with a changing technological environment. This document contains the silhouettes of the most common drone species used today and in the near future. Each indicating nationality and whether they are used for surveillance only or for deadly force. All drones are drawn in scale for size indication. From the smallest consumer drones measuring less than 1 meter, up to the Global Hawk measuring 39,9 meter in length.

    CDB approves funds for poverty reduction agency in Belize
    The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) says it will assist Belize in strengthening an institution that is a key partner and important vehicle for providing services to poor and vulnerable communities in that country. The CDB’s Board of Directors has approved a US$10 million to expand the services of the Belize Social Investment Fund (BSIF) that was established in 1996 for promoting, appraising, financing and supervising the implementation of small and medium-sized sub-projects designed to benefit underserved communities. “CDB is pleased to support BSIF in scaling up its very important work, which increases access to basic social infrastructure and services to underserved women, men, boys and girls in Belize,” said Daniel Best, Director of Projects at the CDB. The loan will be used mainly for financing social and economic infrastructure, social services and organizational strengthening sub-projects in poor rural communities. The project is estimated to cost US$12.5 million with the Belize government providing US$2.5 millionin counterpart funding towards the project.

    Videos

  • Family and friends of Mrs. Elvia Staines have gather at the iconic Elvis Kitchen to celebrate the restaurants 40th anniversary, 1/2min.

  • Enjoying a drink at the Tipsy Tuna- Placencia, Belize - 2016, 1min.

  • Leaving Placencia Belize on Mayan Air Flight - 2016, 2min.

  • 2013 12 Belize Blue Hole, 25min. The Blue Hole east of Belize - One of the most well know dive sites in the world. I did this dive with my daughter during the first week after we certified as open water divers and it was an unforgettable experience. The Great Blue Hole is near the Lighthouse Reef, a small atoll 70 km from the mainland and Belize City.

  • Belize - Snorkeling Mexico ROcks, 8min.

  • Shark snook tuna and bonefish in Belize Fishing Adventurer, 20min.

  • Scuba Diving - Belize - Half Moon Reef, 5min.

  • Y nos fuimos para los cayos de Belize..., 6min. Buceo en Sapodilla Cays.

  • Bear Grylls. Belize, 45min.


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